“Pro-Romanian” President of Moldova

By Vitali Kulik

This March 23rd after almost three years pause Moldova obtained its President, thus getting out of evidently prolonged constitutional dead-end. Having just taken the office, the elected President, 63 years old Head of the Supreme Magistrate Council of the Republic of Moldova Nicolae Timofti, have already gained the reputation of the upholder of unification with Romania and “anti-Russian” project in the yellow press.

Local, primarily Russian-speaking press immediately dappled with quotes relating to that Nicolae Timofti doesn’t deny the possibility of reunification with Bucharest within a medium prospect, and also with the news as if  recently he has commented one representative of Moldova court corps, who held a speech in Russian language. Simultaneously,  information was spread that the key priority of the newly elected President of Moldova is withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of this country. The crown of this propaganda campaign is the news that Russian Security Council in respond to the election of pro-Romanian President in Moldova adopted a decision to grant 150 million tranche to Transnistria.  Famous with his love to Moldova Konstantin Zatulin in this respect also supported enhancement of military presence in the region.

According to our sources in the Moldovan Parliament, this whole informational campaign regarding Nicolae Timofti is not more than a rat race, considering that the elected President before had quite a moderate speech voting on his candidacy, within which among foreign political priorities he outlined first of all Ukraine, and only then Romania, Russia, etc, having said absolutely nothing about withdrawal of Russian troops and other “mortal sins” assigned to him from the point of view of Russian politicum.

Moldova Map
The ground for rumors about Romaniaphilia of the newly elected President of Moldova seems to be the fact that N. Timofti at the edge of 70-80-s of previous century worked in court system of the former Moldovan SSR together with the current Chairman of Liberal Party of Moldova Mihai Ghimpu, who openly supports the ideas of unionism. On the eve of the voting on the candidacy of the present president Ghimpu stated openly that “God sent him (N. Timofti – ed) to us”.
It’s worth noting that as a result of election of out-of-party President Mihai Ghimpu has become the sole leader of the party, included into the alliance, who found himself without top position ) the Leader of liberal-democrats Vlad Filat – the Prime Minister, the Head of the Democratic Party Marian Lupu – the Speaker of the Parliament). That is why “uncle Misha” (as Ghimpu is called for fun in Moldova) treated the process of choosing of the future president so thoroughly, as he should provide certain guarantees of interest consideration for the politician left out of power Olympus of Moldova. Evil tongues although say that the Leader of Moldovan liberals has already received his praise (or some equivalent) for loyalty to the candidacy of Timofti.

Naturally, to hung up on one or two suitcases of money means to simplify overmuch the situation in Moldova on the eve of the Presidential elections. As there was also overpressure on the leaders of the ruling Alliance exposed the number of western embassies with demonstration of the prospect of unfavorable consequences in case of non-election of the President. There was also understanding of that another pre-term Parliamentary elections except for a serious blow on party money bags can turn for some parties of the ruling Alliance kindly speaking mush less successful than previous ones.

Obviously, the level of inspiration of Russian-speaking Mass Media in the process of “bones washing” of N. Timofti personality proves that the situation in Moldova has once again deviated from Russian scenario. Moscow, naturally, maintains its dominating positions on the both Dniester banks (monopolistic gas supplier, military presence in Transnistria, etc.), however lately it more often loses in tactic battles to West in this field.

It’s enough to recollect that only a few months ago Evgenij Shevchuk won elections in Transnistria, having left behind the candidate of the Kremlin with more than 50% of votes. This victory literally shocked Russian political establishment, which suddenly got afraid of that unshakable positions of the Kremlin in this region can collapse in one moment in the arms of market-supporter and reformer Shevchuk.
Along the right bank of Dniester the situation develops in a sad way for Russians.  All the attempts, taken by the Kremlin during past two years, to establish pro-Russian coalition in Moldova were in vain. Another miscount of Russian foreign policy in this country were the hopes that quite moderate successes of Kishinev on the way to Eurointegration, squabble inside the ruling coalition, and which is the most important – inability to elect the president shall provoke already the third pre-term Parliamentary elections and establish the ground for the communists to return to power. Now election of the candidate from the ruling alliance “For European Integration” for the post of the President of Moldova means preservation of existing composition in the Parliament for at least four years. By this Moldavian opposition represented by communists risks already in the near future to undercount its deputies, seduced by the idea to serve for the current power, even for free. In these terms Moscow probably is prone to its favorite method – support of Transnistria, observed in the world picture of Russian policymakers as “anchor” to keep Moldova in the Kremlin’s orbit. Although it’s worth considering that Transnistria headed by Evgenij Shevchuk is not the one it used t be by his predecessor Igor Smirnov. Will Moscow be able to consider these new nuances, and Kishinev to evaluate them appropriately – this is still a question.

Of the same interest is the way elections of N. Timofti shall influence further development of Ukrainian-Moldavian relations.

To answer this question objectively, it’s worth to note that not only political preferences of the newly elected President of Moldova, but to estimate his real role and place in the process of decision-making in this country.

Most interviewed experts agree that Nicolae Timofti is a pretty powerful lawyer, wasn’t involved in any corruption scandals and had nothing to do with big policy till recently.

By this we should consider that Moldova is a very small country, where all famous persons are public and interconnected in this or that way.
The traditions of nepotism (oursness), which gained national coloring is a special subject for discussion. The author hasn’t set an objective to clarify which exactly relative bonds brought N. Timofti to the top post in Moldova, however according to our information he is pretty well-known among those leaders of the ruling alliance (and business-groups standing behind them), who particularly introduced his candidacy for consideration in the Parliament.

Considering above described the new President of Moldova shall attempt to save neutrality (or, it’s better to say, equidistance) from the main players even inside the Alliance which elected him. It means that the key figures in Moldavian politicum for the near prospect shall remain the Prime Minister Vlad Filat and the Speaker of the local Parliament Mariann Lupu (to be more precise his financial sponsor Vladimir Plakhotniuk). And it’s more rhetoric question whether Mr. Timofti is fated to play the role of sitz-chairman with only representative functions.

Anyway, election for the post of the President of Moldova of the candidate from the ruling coalition “ For European Integration” (almost irrespective real added value of this politician within the process of decision-making in this country), is naturally a good sign for Kiev. In particular this creates prerequisites for successful regulation of problem issues of Ukrainian-Moldavian cooperation on the basis of earlier achieved “pack” agreements (if, of course, as in Kishinev they note, Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs won’t ruin the process of demarcation of boundaries in the region of Dniestrian hydronode and village Giurgiuleşti).
Translated by EuroDialogueXXI from Zerkalo Nedeli.Ukraine