Her victory marks a turning point in the civil conscience of Moldovan society. Dodon, the outgoing president, represents an opaque and corrupt system, in which everyone covers each other. Sandu’s victory is attributed to the “new men”, the exponents of the urban middle class, extraneous to the system of corruption of the last decade, a generation of energetic young people sensitive to the reputation of their country, and migrant workers.
Moscow (AsiaNews) On December 24, Christmas Eve, the presidency of the newly-elected head of state of Moldova, Maja Sandu, was inaugurated (photo 1). With her victory against outgoing president Igor Dodon (photo 2), Sandu feeds the hopes not only of the majority of Moldovans, but also of many former subjects of the countries of the Soviet empire.
Her victory, unexpected for its proportions with 58% of the votes, was not only the victory of the “pro-Europeans” against the “pro-Russians”, or an “anti-Putinist” revolt similar to the recent revolutions in Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, defined as “fires on the edges of Russia”. That victory was a real turning point in the civil conscience of Moldovan society and the beginning of a change that promises to be very profound.
Indeed, the real watershed in Moldovan politics does not lie in the orientation between Moscow on the one hand, and Brussels or Bucharest on the other, nor in the gaze between the past and the future. The real question is rather between two different types of politics, between the “collective Dodon” and the “individual Sandu”.
Dodon represented, and continues to represent, an opaque and backward system, a widespread corruption in which everyone is tied to each other (or at least not strangers), everyone covers for each other and really only commands money. Oligarchs of past years, like the most intrusive of all, Vlad Plakhotnjuk (photo 3), former president of the Democratic Party of Moldova, insisted on Dodon’s preference for the Kremlin, to scare Brussels with the “Russian threat”.
The ruling class of the country has often been likened to a mafia clan, to an interest group where the cake is shared only among closest relatives, also involving the “relatives” of Transnistria and Odessa, in southern Ukraine. An example of this behaviour was the resignation of the government of Ion Kiku on the eve of Sandu’s inauguration, on December 23, the result of an intrigue organized by Dodon himself with Ilan Shor (photo 4), a politician at the head of a personal party, entrepreneur and secretary of the rescue council of the Bank of Moldova, another rather obscure character, who escaped the judges by fleeing abroad without giving up leading his group of parliamentarians. Sandu is now forced to quickly form a new government to avoid new early parliamentary elections.
Sandu’s opponents are still embroiled in the historic Landromat case, the so-called “Russian laundry”, a money laundering system (over 30 billion dollars) between Russia, Moldova and the Baltic countries. The local judiciary has been investigating since 2014 and both by Plakhotnjuk and Dodon himself are linked in various ways to the scandal. The fate of the last elections is therefore attributed to the “new men”, the exponents of the urban middle class extraneous to the corruption system of the last decade, a generation of energetic young people sensitive to the reputation of their country, and to migrant workers, even more interested to the future of the country, who voted for Sandu by over 90%.
Yet Dodon and his cronies are not ready to leave the field, and in view of the possible new elections has launched a counterattack. The parliament, over which the ex-president still manages to exercise strong control, has taken a series of populist measures in recent days: the passage of control over the secret services from the president to the parliament; the status of the Russian language as a “language of communication between nations”; broadcasting of Russian television channels; the lowering of the retirement age.
In doing so, Dodon is confident of winning the parliamentary elections and sitting in the chair of prime minister, with the explicit support of Moscow, of which Dodon does not seem to be ashamed despite numerous criticisms. But even in Russia, many now seem to be unenthusiastic about supporting the unpresentable former president. If the delicate situation of Transnistria, garrisoned by Russian soldiers, were not involved, the Kremlin could more easily find an agreement with the new president.