The Moldovan parliament on August 6 approved a new government headed by Natalia Gavrilitsa. This means that the pro-Western president of the country, Maia Sandu, in whose political career Russia has played an important role, has completed its own vertical of power. The country’s new leadership makes it clear that it is ready for open and pragmatic relations with Moscow and is not going to conflict with it.
On Friday, August 6, the transit of power in Moldova, which began in November last year with the election of Maya Sandu as president, was completed. The autumn victory of the pro-European Mrs. Sandu over the pro-Russian President Igor Dodon was, in fact, only the beginning: in a parliamentary republic such as Moldova, the head of state does not have full power. To fulfill all her election promises, the main one of which is to cleanse the country of corruption, Maia Sandu needed to rely on the majority in parliament and her government.
However, the defeat of Igor Dodon, who, despite many years of political and financial support from Ru-ssia, was unable to oppose Maia Sanda with absolutely nothing, even then showed that she and her Action and Solidarity (DiS) party were quite capable of successfully completing the offensive they had begun. … Sandu’s team went to this systematically, first achieving early parliamentary elections, and then winning them on July 11. As a result of the v-ote, the pro-presidential Di-S won 63 out of 101 seats in the legislature. After that, the appointment of its own government became largely a technical formality. The necessary ritual – v-oting for a new cabinet he-aded by the closest ally of the president Natalya Gavr-ilitsa – was performed on August 6.
Ms Gavrilitsa is not the only member of Maia Sandu’s team in the approved government. Andrei Spinu , who was a member of DiS and until recently, headed the staff of President Sandu , became the vice-premier responsible for infrastructure and regional development .
Vladislav Kulminsky became another Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the whole range of issues related to the country’s reintegration and unrecognized Transnistria , including negotiations on the settlement of the conflict . Before becoming close to Mrs. Sandu, he managed to work in the government of Moldova, when the cabinet was headed by Iurie Leanca in 2013-2015.
After leaving the government, Vladislav Kulminsky became close to Maia Sandu and actively worked for her during last year’s presidential campaign and in the recent parliamentary elections.
He was one of those who promoted the idea of ??abandoning the usual geopolitical agenda in favor of pragmatic cooperation with the East and West.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration was headed by Nicu Popescu . He already held this post two years ago, when Maia Sandu became Prime Minister of Moldova for five months. This happened in June 2019, after Russia, the EU and the United States together helped to deprive the influence and power of the notorious oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, who ruled the country for a long time without holding any government posts.
Moscow played an important role in the events of that summer. The current deputy head of the Kremlin administration, Dmitry Ko-zak, who then oversaw the Moldovan direction as De-puty Prime Minister, negotiated with Maia Sandu, as well as with Igor Dodon that his Party of Socialists, pro-European DiS and the Dignity and Truth Platform party should be created in parliament, the anti-oligarchic coalition and dism-issed the people of Vladi-mir Plahotniuc from all leading posts in the country.
Mrs. Sandu was ready for this, but the problem was in Igor Dodona, who resisted and refused to oppose the oligarch.
According to Kommersant’s information, the Kremlin conducted negotiations with Mr. Dodon quite harshly and in a language far from diplomatic.
But this ultimately led to the desired result. The coalition was created, Maia Sandu became prime minister, and the oligarch Plahotniuc, now one of the main accused of organizing a scheme to steal $ 1 billion from Moldovan banks, fled the country and, according to some sources, is hiding in Turkey.
But that coalition did not last long. Already in November, Igor Dodon’s socialists, having united in parliament with deputies from the Democratic Party, which was led by Vladimir Plahotniuc before his flight, dismissed the government headed by Maia Sandu. Be that as it may, the forced anti-oligarchic alliance of political antagonists played a role. An irreversible process of destruction of the regime built by Vladimir Plahotniuc was launched in the country. Its basis was total control over law enforcement agencies, courts and the most influential media, as well as corruption – the oligarch sought loyalty either for money or by threatening criminal prosecution.
After the flight of Vladimir Plahotniuc, a lively competition policy returned to the country, which in many respects made possible both the triumph of Maia Sandu in 2020 and the victory of her party in the parliamentary elections a month ago.
The autocracy now established in the country will last at least four years – until the next parliamentary elections. And if the authorities manage not to disappoint the society and show the result, then for all eight years. This happened only once in the thirty years of Moldova’s independence: in 2001, the Communist Party won the parliamentary elections and its leader Vladimir Voronin became president (the head of state was then elected in parliament), who eventually ruled until 2009.
One of the top priorities of Maia Sandu and the new government is fighting corruption. “The appointment of an incorruptible government, supported by a parliamentary majority consisting of honest people, was what hundreds of thousands of citizens wanted, who participated in the elections, hoping to change the situation in the country for the better. Millions of people will be watching you. You are facing serious challenges, much is expected from you, ”the president admonished the new cabinet after the members of the government took the oath.
Prime Minister Gavrilitsa promised to “selflessly and persistently work to cleanse state institutions of thieves and corrupt officials” so that “state institutions work in the interests of citizens and protect the interests of the state.” “We will work to create jobs so that public investments bring real results for citizens in the shortest possible time, and so that everyone can see in their family, in their community and in society the profound transformations they expect,” she said.
The European Union, which actively supported Sandu’s team even before it came to power, in turn, assured: they are going not only to continue, but to increase this support.
Brussels has already promised to allocate € 600 million to the republic for economic recovery after the covid crisis.
Although the new Moldovan government openly states that its priority is European integration, the program declares its intention to promote “dialogue with the Russian Federation in a constructive and pragmatic manner” on all issues: from the economy and trade to the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict. At the same time, the part devoted to relations with Russia in the program of Gavrilitsa’s cabinet precedes the section on relations with the United States. However, while Mrs. Sandu has never visited Russia and has not met with any of the high-ranking Russian officials, with the exception of Dmitry Kozak. In a July interview with Kommersant, she said that coordination and elaboration of the first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin would begin after the government was approved.