Former deputy foreign minister Andrei Popov says multiple clues indicate that a deal has long been struck between Vlad Plahotniuc and Igor Dodon, but Moscow is hinting in numerous way its disapproval. However, Popov thinks that with Moscow’s favorite having little choice, the Kremlin could bring itself to accept such a coalition and eventually even find advantages in it.
In an interview with RFE/RL Moldovan Service, Popov said Russia’s support for Dodon and his Socialist Party was strong and obvious in the past election campaign. And Dodon’s trip to Moscow within the first week after the elections spoke volumes. “The way he did it was rather embarrassing. In fact, I believe he was summoned. What for? I think it was to discuss with decision-makers in Russia both the Socialist Party’s result and its future options. (...) There are already many clues that we can put together and I reckon Moscow is not very pleased with Plan A, which I think is the main plan for both Vlad Plahotniuc and Igor Dodon”.
“Igor Dodon’s dependency on Moscow is considerably weaker than his dependency on Vlad Plahotniuc, and so the consequences of locking horns with Plahotniuc would be greater than if he disobeys Russia’s will”, says the former diplomat.
“The clues that I see, the press reports, the remarks by decision-makers in Russia make me quite certain that Moscow doesn’t want Igor Dodon to enter a coalition with the Democrats, but on the other hand I don’t really see any other options for Igor Dodon, given his dependency on Plahotniuc and vulnerabilities he is exposed to. The consequences of a conflict with Vlad Plahotniuc could be extremely serious for Igor Dodon, and so I think they will reach compromise sooner or later. But for the moment Igor Dodon is trying to escape this hammerlock and find a way out of this coalition”, says Andrei Popov.
The Democrats and the Socialists and their media, goes on Popov, will try to wrap up the prospective vote for the PDM-controlled Government into something pallatable, making it look like not being part of a formal coalition deal. It could be a technocratic government, a minority government, or something else, but the point is there will be a common PDM-PSRM vote to invest it, thinks Popov.
“It beats me why Russia wouldn’t approve of such a coalition. The arguments in favor are quite solid (from Moscow’s perspective) in terms of the government program, neutrality, a multi-sided, multi-vector foreign policy, without the European zeal. Plus, the top government positions, the prime minister and key ministers in such a Cabinet will probably be occupied by people much more neutral or even loyal to Russia who will abstain from statements or actions that could be perceived as hostile by Russia”, said Andrei Popov.
With votes split more or less evenly between the three major parties that entered Parliament following the February 24 elections, the Socialist Party (35 seats), the Democratic Party (30) and the electoral bloc NOW (26) seem to face a conundrum over government formation.