EDITORIAL: Red Moldova, Red-faced Russia

Anti-communist protesters light a bonfire on the steps of their parliament in Moldova

Anti-communist protesters light a bonfire on the steps of their parliament in Moldova


Red Moldova, Red-faced Russia

Last Sunday, voters in Moldova returned the Communist Party to power in a massive landslide.  Two days later, Moldova’s streets exploded in violence, organized on Twitter.

Russia, it’s policy in shambles, is panicking and screeching hysterically about “foreign interference.”

0408-for-webmoldovamap1Russia is engaged in an ongoing imperialist struggle to break off a narrow segment of Moldovan territory known as Transdniestria, where there is a pro-Russian population similar to those in Abkhazia and Ossetia in Georgia.  Moreover, in Russia itself, the Communist Party is the only vaguely “oppositional” force in the parliament, and massive street protests in the captial are unheard of.  For all these reasons, events n Moldova strike terror into the hearts of the Kremlin’s denizens.

The Jametown Foundation’s Vladimir Socor has explained why the Communists are so popular in Moldova, and the Moscow Times has highlighted the extent of the Kremlin’s massive policy failure there.  As the MT states:

Anti-government protests in Moldova this week unfolded in a similar manner to Western-backed uprisings that toppled governments in Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Serbia in recent years. But what should worry the Kremlin is not the threat of a similar uprising at home but the fact that both Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin and the opposition groups turned to the West instead of Russia to mediate the conflict, analysts said Wednesday. Because of the shortsightedness of Russian diplomacy and its failure to project its own “soft” power, the Kremlin faces the possibility of being sidelined once again in a former Soviet state that it considers to be within its realm of influence. “The policy mistakes are clear and were much discussed after the Orange Revolution in Ukraine,” said Nikolai Petrov, a political analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, referring to the weeks of street protests in what was once Russia’s strongest post-Soviet ally. The 2004 protests resulted in pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko winning the presidency over the Moscow-backed candidate.

And yet, the Kremlin must also see opportunity.  Maybe Putin’s thugs are already plotting some sort of military intervention, the only way it seems that Russia is able to make any “accomplishments” in dealing with its smaller neighbors in former Soviet space, sheer brute force.  Russians never tire of attacking Americans for using military power, yet they also never tire of making use of it themselves.  America, meanwhile, has a large following of friends and the world’s leading military alliance to boot, while Russia stands increasingly alone.

And after all, what did Russia gain from using military force in Georgia? Did it manage to oust the nakedly hostile government in Tbilisi? It did not. Did it manage to win the world’s respect for its military prowess?  No, it looked like an incompetent, aging bully.  And on top of all that, Russia set a precedent for secession which is now being invoked in places like Dagestan, along with the headache of managing Abkhazia and Ossetia without any direct benefit other than the annexation of territory Russia doesn’t need.

The Russian misadventures in Moldova ought to be a lesson, but it’s one the thugs who prowl the Kremlin are not nearly clever enough to learn.

9 responses to “EDITORIAL: Red Moldova, Red-faced Russia

  1. The Moscow Times has a balanced article on the Moldavian situation:

    Beyond the elections and protests, we are seeing an enormous demographic and generation shift — a trend not only in Moldova but in other former Soviet republics as they rediscover and reassert their national identities. According to exit polls, the majority of Moldovans who voted for the Communists were older, rural and less educated. They also had fond memories of the “stable times” when Moldova was a Soviet republic. Opposition voters tended to be young, urban, educated and more drawn toward Europe and an integrated future.


    The recent violence in Moldova has been a wake-up call for the Kremlin. It caught a disturbing glimpse of its nightmare scenario in which a pro-Romanian and pro-NATO government could come to power. Under this scenario, younger Moldovan leaders with no interest in reuniting with Transdnestr would be more ready to cut this troublesome sliver of land loose. Then they would race toward European political, economic and perhaps security integration, establishing another “pro-Western” nation on Ukraine’s border. This would leave the Kremlin with the responsibility of supporting an impoverished Transdnestr surrounded by an unfriendly Moldova and a divided Ukraine, creating an even bigger headache than it is now.


  2. I wish everything was that simple and clear.
    During 1992-1996 “Peaceful” demonstrations in Moldova were organized by Romanian “Brothers”.
    Moldova doesn’t trust Russia and never will.
    Good for her.
    Should Moldova trust Romania?
    I don’t think so.
    Only facts. Moldova was ready to join Romania in 90s. Romania said, that it doesn’t want Moldova without Pridnestrovie.
    Pridnestrovie didn’t want to be part of Moldova, because it didn’t want to become part of Romania. Official Romanian language is Romanian, official Pridnestrovian language is Russian. They didn’t want to change their Russian Language to our Romanian Language.
    As simple as that.
    Romania said to Moldova, that it doesn’t take it
    without pridnestrovie.
    One has to be blind, not to see, that all what Romania wanted, was conflict with Russia.
    Why? Ask Romania.
    Now, 15 year later, Romania wants to unite with us again. It’s again, a big friend of Moldovans.
    Our kids trust in Romanian Friendship. We don’t.
    No, we don’t like communists, but what was the alternative during election?
    Mr Filat is the biggest Thief in Moldova.
    Mr. Ginku likes Romania, we understand, but he had his own interests in mind. Who do we choose? We raise our kids and hope that one day, one of our sons will be a president, we can trust…
    For now, alas, we have to choose among the ones we are given to choose.
    Yes, we want mango, but among 3 apples there wasn’t mango, if you know, what I mean…

  3. Liz, it seems to me that the “kids” have chosen a future away from Russia’s plantation. They see their future aligned with Romania, the EU and NATO and not the pathetic reversion back to the USSR that the Russians are on course with.

    Isn’t it really about time that the third term Communist status quo was challenged in Moldova?

    I admire their determination.

  4. What is absolutely amazing in all this is the sheer Russian hypocrisy demanding the EU guarantee Moldovia’s “territorial integrity”, never mind the fact that Transdenister separatists are armed, funded, and protected by, oh thats right, MOSCOW!! Not to mention Russia carving up Georgia.
    What stunning hypocrisy from the communazis in the Kremlin.
    Good on the youth of Moldovia for trying to turn their nation permanently towards the west and away from Russia.

  5. Why is nobody mentioning the fact that Moldova, i.e. Basarabia is land stolen by the Russians from Romania?
    The Ribbentrop-Molotov pact anyone?
    Or about the hundred of thousands of Romanians deported to Siberia from Basarabia, and hundred of thousands of Russians and other ethnic groups brought there, to shift the ethnic scale in favour of the slavic people?
    Hello? Any answer?

    • Cobra, you are entirely correct.
      Moldova (Bessarabia) was part of Romania and stolen by the Russians, with all the associated horrors that Russian rule brought with it.

  6. Moldavia, the main part of which was an independent principality in the 14th cent. and came under Ottoman Turkish rule in the 16th cent. It became a highly fortified Turkish border region and was a frequent target in Russo-Turkish wars. East Moldavia passed to Russia in 1791. Russia acquired further Moldavian territory in 1793 and especially in 1812, when the Russians received all of Bessarabia (the name for the area of Moldavia between the Prut and Dniester rivers). The rest of Moldavia remained with the Turks and later passed to Romania, which seized Bessarabia in 1918. Source Infopese.

  7. Romania as many equally horrible things to Moldova as Russia did.

    Moldovans already said NO to Russian and Soviet Imperialism, and are saying NO to Romanian Imperialism.

    Sure Maybe Moldovans have more in common with Romanians language wise, but an Independent Moldova can look out for its citizens better then any other country can.

    Nobody can buy the price of Independence. Nobody can take away our honor.

  8. Ion, or should I say Ivan, are your for real, come on now, “Romanian imperialism”? You must be living in a parallel universe. “Moldova” is just the Romanian name for the historical Romanian principate of Moldavia (of which less than 40% is in the current “Republic of Moldova”). The fact that the MSSR hijacked the name Moldova is very similar to the use of the name Macedonia by Southern Slavs. So while Bessarabia (a.k.a. the Republic of Moldova) is historic Romanian territory and has an overwhelming ethnic Romanian majority (almost 80%), the truth is that most Romanians aren’t interested in re-unification, because most ethnic Romanians in Bessarabia are unfortunately culturally Russified and brainwashed, so it would only mean trouble. Just like Finland would not be interested in taking back Karelia, even though it’s historically Finnish territory, because Finland doesn’t want more Russians than it already has.

    Yeah, you got some real “independence” and “honor” there, with Russian troops in your country, with people having to sell their organs or pimp their wives to feed their children, and 5% of the population imposing Russian as the only de facto official language over the remaining 95%. Very honorable, eh?

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