Summarizing results of the year with consultant for the diaspora Olga Coptu within IPN’s series “2020 in Review: Good and Bad Aspects”.
Olga Coptu said 2020 was a complex year during which the diaspora of the Republic of Moldova showed unprecedented capacity to mobilize. A record number of over 260,000 Moldovans abroad cast their ballots at the recent presidential elections. The mobilization process among the diaspora started much earlier, together with the pandemic, when the diaspora became the target of hate speech, being accused by Moldovan decision makers of bringing and spreading the virus. The “malefic” episode with the mandatory health insurance policy for those who return to the country and public accusations against the expatriates followed.
But those who returned did it out of a strict necessity. However, the diaspora mobilized actively for the Republic of Moldova, transmitted humanitarian aid to the medical system, provided specialty assistance to doctors in the country and supported the families by remittances. The paradox was that even if the officials blamed the diaspora for all evil things, it continued silently and devoutly to make a contribution to concrete situations by concrete deeds. These contributions reached hospitals, mayor’s offices and those in need. By this example, the diaspora showed more maturity than the senior administration. On the other hand, the politicians, being unable to manage the serious situation owing to the pandemic, instead of co-opting the diaspora into solving problems, identified a scapegoat in the person of the diaspora.
Regrettably, the pandemic, instead of uniting society, widened further the gap between those who remained at home and those who left. This artificial construction culminated with the famous expression “parallel electors” who actually played a crucial role in the recent elections. It should be noted that this split of society disappeared practically on the election day, when the diaspora played the role of a catalyst, giving an example of civic spirit and a lesson of patriotism.
The politicians react too slowly to the changes happening in society. The community of those who leave the country is growing constantly, while the political parties delay the involvement of diaspora members in the ranks of the active politicians. They are eager to see if the relevant parties in the eventual snap parliamentary elections will put persons from among the diaspora on the lists of candidates. In this regard, the diaspora is somehow “used” by the politicians in Chisinau who do not recognize its merits and do not take concrete steps to solve the problems enumerated by the diaspora over the last ten years. Starting with the parliamentary elections of 2010 until now, except for 2019 only, all the political parties practically excluded the representatives of the diaspora from the process of being elected to Parliament.
It is evident that not many of those who left are ready to return for a political career to the Republic of Moldova as not all the persons are suitable for a high-ranking post. However it is recommended that the parties should become more inclusive. None of the parties that are now represented in Parliament have party “cells” outside the country. Even if the law does not allow creating party branches outside, devoted sympathizers can mobilize a large number of voters in the diaspora. In 2021, it will not be enough to bank on associations for organizing electoral meetings. The diaspora is sufficiently mature to take part in the decision-making process by having representatives put on the top of the list.
An open call of the President is needed by which the diaspora will be requested to become involved. There will be not many possibilities of development at home if the citizens who settled abroad are ignored.