“We want to be in Europe too”
Moldavia wants to join Romania and be a part of Europe. But the Communist Party’s “unjust” victory has silenced the Romanian people.
(Madrid) THE EVENTS THAT OCCURRED a few days ago dragged Moldova – the poorest country in the continent, with its heart torn between Romania and the former Soviet Union – out onto the European stage.
The recent results of the parliamentary elections in Moldova once again awarded victory to the Communist Party, which won with 49.92 percent of the votes, followed by the Liberal Party with 12.90 percent, the Democratic Liberal Party with 12.24 percent and the Our Alliance Moldova party, with 9.87 percent of the vote. The level of participation was sixty percent.
In view of another unjust Communist Party victory, thousands of people protested in the National Assembly Plaza in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. President Voronin’s communists won some false elections, in which the votes of the communists were multiplied, and the citizens’ right to vote was not respected. To this, we must add the legal Moldovan migrants who work all over the world and do not have the right to vote. In Spain alone, there are 15,000 Moldovans with residence permits who did not have the right to vote.
The people were silenced, a response to their emphatic “no” to the Moldovan president’s dictatorial politics, to their desire to join Europe, to become a part of Romania. We mustn’t forget that 65 percent of Moldovans are ethnic Romanians.
FROM BESSARABIA TO AN INDEPENDENT REPUBLIC
If we look back at history, we will remember that Moldova is Romanian territory. After the Russian Revolution, Moldova’s western region, Bessarabia, was turned into an independent republic. In 1918 it joined Romania, with the narrow strip of Transnistria remaining inside the USSR. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact granted the USSR control of Bessarabia in 1940, and in spite of being expelled once again in 1941, Soviet troops reoccupied the area in August 1944.
Under Soviet rule, the northern and southern regions populated by Ukrainians and Romanians were transferred to the Ukraine, and Transnistria (with an important Ukrainian and Russian population) merged with the rest of a Soviet republic called “The Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova”. After the Soviet collapse in 1991, the Moldovan Republic became independent, sinking even deeper into dictatorship, corruption and poverty. Without ever becoming acquainted with democracy.
A COMPLICATED GEOPOLITICAL SITUATION
The little country in the East sunk into oblivion and fell off of Europe and the world’s radar. Short on resources, essentially rural, landlocked and lacking energy routes, it didn’t elicit any interest.
In view of the protests in April 2009, the OSCE and the European Parliament delegation, which declared that “the elections exhibited the transparency demanded”, will have to, nevertheless, explain how it could be that more people voted in 2009 than in 2004, in a country whose emigration rate is one of the highest in the world, and whose GDP is practically maintained by remittances sent by emigrants.
The cry for help, the voices of thousands of Moldovans in Chisinau– joined by those of the Moldovan diaspora – chanting “We want to be in Europe” and “We are Romanians too”, caused the European media to react for a day, in spite of the fact that the authorities rapidly took control of the Parliament and the town hall. There were reprisals: more than 200 arrests, and President Voronin himself barred foreign journalists from entering the capital. Consequently, during the past few days there hasn’t been any information regarding what has happened. Even so, Moldovans continue to take to the streets, protesting peacefully.
THE PRIORITY IS RUSSIA
The current reality makes it clear that the situation is not consistent with what Moldovans must be feeling. The big geopolitical players have an equation in mind that is not very far removed, in which the most vulnerable elements are other countries in the close vicinity of Russia, Georgia and the Ukraine, with their color revolutions and entourage of open controversial consequences in their relations with the EU, NATO, Russia and the United States. The premise of the analysis is that the EU, above all, does not wish to change the course of the process of normalizing its relations with Russia. Geopolitically, Europe’s priority is cooperation with the giant, after being assured that without Russia, Europe cannot survive energy-wise, and the new European and global security structure cannot be built.
As a consequence, the global actors appear to be more concerned with defining their geographic spheres of influence in different fields of interest than saving democracy in Moldova. Besides, the events are taking place during a delicate time for the so-called efforts to solve the frozen conflict in the separatist region of Transnistria, a source of instability from the end of the Cold War, given that not long ago, Moldova, Transnistria and Russia reached an agreement, according to which a European mission had to replace the Russian peacekeeping forces. As such, what is occurring in Moldova raises some serious doubt. It is clear that Veronin is not the type of leader that we want, and his political doctrine is not what we are looking for either. But, according to Javier Solana, from a formal point of view this revolt, which is related to the invalidity of the election, doesn’t do much, since “the international observers stated that the elections met many of the international standards, in spite of there being a need to improve the process”.
THE EU’S SILENCE
A recount of the votes followed, but Europe kept its mouth shut, deciding not to mediate or take a stance. The EU has not made any statements regarding the tensions at its eastern border for almost twenty years. Disinterested? Continuing to play Moscow’s games? Fearing a possible involvement in an affair destined to lead to tensions in its relationship with the Russian giant?
The question is: What will the European positions regarding this country; the separatist region of Transnistria, which is opposed to Europeanization; and the human rights abuses that the Moldo-Romanians were subject to during the twentieth century be.
Finding itself in an uncomfortable position, Romania, in turn, will have to pay attention to Voronin’s dangerous moves. The diplomatic war that he initiated with the expulsion of the Romanian ambassador from Chisinau, the border closing and Romanian citizens’ consequent need for visas to travel to Moldavia, and his incendiary declaration: “Romania is involved in this whole process”, are events that are extremely difficult to face up to for Romania, a member of the EU and NATO that has never stopped looking at its sister to the east, but in its current state is risking its credibility in the new European geopolitical scene.
MOLDAVIA IS EUROPE
And what is it that Moldova’s population wants? It knows that it it must be a part of Europe, because it is Europe. And it is also aware that its path to the EU involves the recovery if its Romanian identity. Unfortunately, in a complex world, there is not much time left to look at such a small country on the map, and reflect on its lack of democracy and its thorny geopolitical situation. The EU’s representative in Chisinau, Kalman Mizsei, did not manage to inform the population about the organization’s expansion, given that twenty percent believe in Russia’s support for its joining… although yes, it is true that 45 percent of Moldovans have confidence in Romania’s support.
This percentage, together with the fact that the protesters hung the Romanian and European flags from Voronin’s National Assembly, clearly shows in which direction the Moldavans would like to walk.
In this sense, the EU must make a statement, because the voices of the Moldovan’s, although silenced for the moment, have asked for help, and made it clear that after the Balkans and Transcaucasia, the time has also come for Moldova.