Kozlovsky on Moldova

Oleg Kozlovsky, leader of the Oborona protest movement, writing on the Huffington Post:

Some countries are just more lucky than others. Moldova wasn’t lucky enough to be known in America or Western Europe. Indeed, it’s a small East-European ex-Soviet country, poorest on the continent, and there’s little of interest about it. Except maybe for the fact that Moldova is the only place in the world where Communists keep winning West-approved elections. So they did, or claim to have done, at general elections last Sunday.

What followed the voting was completely unexpected both by the government and the opposition. About 10,000 protesters, mostly students, held a protest in Chisinau on Monday again what they called fraudulent elections. The young people, who organized themselves via Facebook, Twitter and SMS, demanded freedom of press, creation of a broad opposition coalition and new elections. The protest was peaceful and ended same evening.

The other day more young people came to protest and the situation went out of control. Police were taken by surprise as 30,000-strong crowd stormed the Parliament and President’s Residence. Organizers, both civil groups and opposition parties, couldn’t control their supporters and the demonstration turned into a riot. Hooligans, who were reportedly a minority of the protesters, vandalized and looted official buildings and even put the Parliament building on fire. Riot police arrived at the site in the night and arrested every young person they found. It looks like the police allowed the protests become violent intentionally or even infiltrated them with provocateurs in order to have an excuse for harsh action.

The governement is now in control of Chisinau and accuses the opposition of attempting a coup. Communist President Vladimir Voronin may now use the protests to crack down on the civil and political activists and the arrests are already said to have begun. Organizers of the Monday action, like youth leader Natalia Morar, deny the accusations and explain that they tried to prevent violence. However, the government doesn’t seem to be listening. If the crackdown continues, the whole democratic opposition in Moldova may be beheaded and the already threatened democracy effectively destroyed.

Western leaders are largely ignoring the dramatic events in Chisinau. Will they allow the pro-European democratic forces in Moldova to be crushed by the Communist regime? Will they be just as short-sighted as they were when Lukashenko destroyed the opposition in Belarus or when Putin established his “sovereign democracy” rule in Russia?

American and European leaders should speak up in support of peaceful solution in Moldova and call both sides to refrain from violence. They should offer their mediation between the government and the opposition. Voronin has already agreed to such negotiations, the opposition will surely do as well. Otherwise, another “last dictatorship in Europe” is going to appear in this unlucky country.

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3 responses to “Kozlovsky on Moldova

  1. I think the content of this article is somewhat misleading and not very well informed, for example this

    ‘…..Will they allow the pro-European democratic forces in Moldova to be crushed by the Communist regime? Will they be just as short-sighted as they were when Lukashenko destroyed the opposition in Belarus…’

    Moldova is not Belarus and the situation is far more nuanced. Read the following and you will understand why -

    ‘Moldova: Torn between the Communists and the far right’

    http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/39188

    Aspects/sections of this opposition are about as unpalatable as the Soviets/Nazis and do not merit our support.

    The EU is the best hope for Moldova, as it was for the former Yugoslavia. An encouragement to the rule of fair democratic rule, mutual self-interest and abandoning secterian/ethnic/nationalist violence.

    What was exceptionally rich was Sergei Lavrov’s (Russian FM) appeal to the EU to help preserve Moldovan sovereign integrity. Lavrov seems to have forgotten Russia stirring the pot in Trans-Dniester has done precisely opposite of that, in addition to the fact that Russia displayed little concern for preserving the sovereign integrety of Georgia.

    • Anyone reading the article needs to read the accompanying comments for balance and their objections to the common practice of painting nationalist groups as “far right”. I’m not disputing that there aren’t some of that element at play there, but, the headline “Moldova: Torn between the Communists and the far right” seems to me very misleading.

  2. With Belarus we are dealing with homosovieticus, in Moldova it is a liitle more complex and nuanced.

    All I am saying here is one should be very wary of who we support, and not repeat past mistakes. This is the Balkans. As we have seen from recent press reports the KLA were no angels in Kosovo for example.

    Soft power and influence from democratic neighbours in the EU & the TransAtlantic alliance is the key/answer here.

    Have a look at the author’s credentials of the article I linked to, and where it was published (a publication not known for it’s sympathy for Russia/Soviets/Communists.)

    Not all (or even the majority of) the opposition are of the ‘far right’ of course, those that are calling for union with Romania and have chosen violence unfortunately predominantly are.

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