Igor Botan: Moldova's political year 2008
1. Top events of 2008
The political year 2008 was special. In fact, it crowned the eight-year rule of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM). Many events recorded in 2008 will have a long-term impact, others have just impressed. In this regard ten events are worth to be mentioned, in particular:
* The PCRM modernisation congress that set up the strategic goal to build the post-industrial society. The Ministry of Industry was dissolved immediately after the congress and plans to shut up the tractor manufacturer TRACOM were made public later;
* The dismissal of the longest-loved prime minister in the Republic of Moldova’s history, Vasile Tarlev, and his withdrawal from the PCRM team. Further, Tarlev joined the politics on his own, disagreeing with some PCRM-promoted policies and actions towards deindustrialization of Moldova;
* The publication of the "privatisation list". The cost of public property put on sale by the PCRM Government is impressive – approximately half a billion dollars. It is worth noting that the privatisation plans seem to be part of the "liberal revolution" announced by PCRM leader in 2007;
* The inventing of novel propagandistic formulas to justify the PCRM actions such as "the liberal communism", "the pro-Russian European integration of the Republic of Moldova" etc. Perhaps, the PCRM propaganda makers will persuade soon of existence of "faithful atheists". If so, one would be sure then that people are plunging into post-modernism and the post-industrial society will be built in the Republic of Moldova soon;
* The holding by police of a minibus carrying 200 kilograms of heroine, followed by the arrest of several officers of special services of the Interior Ministry. The case has rooted the unchallenged opinion that Moldova is part of the international drugs trafficking route protected by high-ranking functionaries. Transnistrian authorities have speculated the case, ridiculing the EUBAM, which they advised to check the import from Moldova to Transnistria;
* The stricter conditions for the accession of electoral competitors to the Parliament, in particular, raising the electoral threshold from 4 up to 6 percent, banning the electoral blocs and restricting the holders of multiple citizenship from acceding to high-ranking offices including from being members to the Parliament. This is a direct reaction towards the PCRM failure at the 2006 and 2008 regional elections in Gagauzia, 2007 general local elections, in particular, at the elections of the Chisinau mayor;
* The elimination of the Parliament Chairperson from the National Commission for European Integration and the Supreme Security Council. The chef of state was probably informed about negotiations the Parliament chairperson has held with the Centrist Union of Moldova (UCM for half a year. In general, the staff policy related to the dismissal and promotion of ministers, ambassadors, other public servants did not fit any criteria. The last case related to the dismissal of the minister of Culture and maintenance of the vacancy confirms the lack of any criteria on staff policy;
* The April and December meetings between President Voronin and Transnistrian leader Igor Smirnov. Such meetings did not take place after 2001. The meetings this year confirmed the regress in the Transnistria settlement process at the end of the PCRM mandate. There was a negotiation process in 2001, while negotiations are blocked so far in 2008;
* The conflict in the Gagauz autonomy occurred after the elections for the People’s Assembly in the region. The PCRM incapacity to reach compromises has fuelled the dangerous conflict for three months. Transnistrian authorities speculated the conflicting situation, searching and finding arguments to reject a status of autonomy within the Republic of Moldova by invoking the negative experience of Gagauzia;
* Moldova’s alignment to the EU declaration on the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war.
2. Fulfilment of tasks for 2008
The 2008 year was also the first implementation year of the National Development Strategy (NDS) for 2008–2011. The strategy has set five priorities: the consolidation of the democratic state based on the rule of law and respect for human rights; the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict and reintegration of the country; the enhancement of the national economy’s competitiveness; the development of human resources, the promotion of social inclusion; the regional development.
The NDS tasks for 2008 were detailed at the first governmental sitting this year: going on with country’s gasification and ensuring the drinking-water supply; long-term development of the agro-industrial complex; modernising public roads; opening jobs (300,000 new jobs); three-fold rise of wages in budgetary sector; doubling the number of budget-funded seats in education sector; three-fold rise of scholarships, etc.
Prime Minister Zinaida Greceanii reported Government’s achievements for 2008 while addressing the Parliament on December 12, 2008. As usually, the premier stressed the progresses: the GDP has grown by 6.2 percent; foreign direct investments have increased by 70 percent in the first half of this year compared with 2007; the Moldovan banking system has resisted in the conditions of the international financial crisis; the number of public servants has decreased by 624 persons; the "one-stop-shop" has allowed the certification of 65 percent of new urgently opened enterprises; the Prosecutor’s Office and CCECC are combating the corruption successfully; the Republic of Moldova has organised the summit of CIS heads of state "at a high-quality level"; the share of budgetary social allocations was increased; new infrastructure projects have been developed; Transnistria-based export enterprises have been issued customs documents etc.
3. Reactions of opposition towards progresses reported by governors
The opposition has recalled governors and tried to explain citizens the true sources of the economic growth at the extent allowed by the access to the media. According to data released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), after the 1998 Russian financial crisis and slowed world economic growth at the end of the last century, the economy of developed countries has increased by 2–3 percent and of developing countries by 6–8 percent a year in 2001–2007. After the PCRM won the rule in 2001, approximately 1/3 of employable Moldovans have got along, leaving for other countries. Annual remittances have grown about ten-fold during the PCRM rule, from approximately 150 million dollars up to about 1.5 billion dollars. Thus, remittances were equivalent to the state budget in 2007 and 2008, being estimated at approximately 1/3 of the country GDP!
In those conditions, only a Government hating own country would have failed a conjectural economic growth. However, the Republic of Moldova remained the poorest country in Europe in 2001–08, being unable to reduce the difference with other poor states. More than that, the difference is deepening so far. The table below reveals that while being an agrarian province of the USSR, Moldova was planned for an economic collapse in case of an independent development, and this occurred in 1991. The PCRM predecessors had assumed the risks of promoting deep reforms, in spite of all committed mistakes, while the PCRM has won the governing when the most painful reforms were over and the regional economic conjuncture improved cardinally.
Real Historical Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
The conclusion is that in eight years of rule the PCRM did not make any significant progress, but seized on the favourable regional economic conjuncture and made propaganda. For example, speaking about enhancing the competitiveness of the national economy when the trade balance deficit in 2008 represented around 2/3 of GDP (about 3 billion dollars) is embarrassing. Statistics reveal that the deficit has increased by about one billion dollars in 2008, exports turned over 1.4 billion dollars and imports 4.1 billion dollars. By generalising all these accounts, the opposition recalls the ruling party that in 2008 "the negative trade balance was 7-fold higher than in 2000." Should authorities made something real in the economic sector, it was done contrary to the ideology and political programme of the ruling party. The "liberal revolution" declared by the PCRM in April 2007 is an example in this respect.
4. European integration and consolidation of the state based on the rule of law
2008 was a true year of good intentions. While traditionally addressing representatives of diplomatic corps, President Vladimir Voronin stated that "year 2008 is the prologue of ordinary parliamentary elections… This year claims new European modernisation efforts from Moldova, which will focus above all on improving our justice, consolidating the human rights… I believe nobody doubts any longer that Moldova is very receptive to this kind of reforms, that our statehood is becoming very strong through extension of freedoms."
In 2008 Moldovans have permanently heard the European integration theses, about good but failed laws etc. A number of standard assessments on European integration have migrated from a report to another. However, two worthy examples explain the way the state based on the rule of law is being consolidated in Moldova. The first one refers to intention of some citizens to verify the functioning of the newly adopted law on public assembly and their immediate assaulting by police. This is a joking, eloquent example of analyses on development of Moldovan democracy, though it was very hurtful for enthusiastic experiment makers. The second example is linked to the prolongation of broadcasting licence for PRO TV channel. Although this case was commented much, the "benevolence" of the Audiovisual Coordinating Council (CCA) to introduce a moratorium unstipulated by the law on execution of a special provision of the Audiovisual Code should be noted. Once the moratorium deadline is over after parliamentary elections, the CCA will organise a contest on the basis of an act under the law and contrary to the law. In fact, CCA didn’t have serious argument to refuse the automatical license prolongation for PRO TV. The PRO TV case cannot be understood well, if the context is not made clear; mainly who controls and uses the media space in Moldova, particularly before the parliamentary elections. By manifesting its "benevolence" through dodging, the CCA is doing anything but not consolidating the rule of law.
Given the above facts, EU ambassadors had to doubt publicly in 2008 over the intention of Moldovan authorities "to extend freedoms", raising their concern twice. The community of ambassadors has demanded a meeting with the chief of state at the end of the year, with the president reconfirming the positive intentions. The last occasion was a pretext for certain ambassadors to reiterate the dominant message of the last year – the signing of a new Association Agreement for Moldova will depend on respect for democratic freedoms and quality of the electoral process.
5. Transnistrian conflict
During the same traditional address to foreign ambassadors to Moldova delivered at the beginning of the 2008 year, President Voronin has promised: "We will do our best to see representatives and our compatriots from Transnistria in the next Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, which will meet in the jubilee year, the 650th anniversary of the Moldovan state, to make the residents of the region effectively participate in building a modern, European Moldova." It has become evident at the end of 2008 that Transnistrians will not participate in the parliamentary elections. Even more, unfortunately, the Transnistria settlement has become a true tale of the white bull-calf during the PCRM governing, just good to be discussed in the non-functioning "5+2" format.
In fact, what kind of relations do we have between Chisinau and Tiraspol? The former Tiraspol foreign minister, Valeri Litskai, was right when he said that de facto there are confederate relations between two Moldovan entities – the Republic of Moldova and the Dniester Moldovan Republic. It is true, as the two entities have organised common football etc., championships for many years, Transnistrian enterprises have to apply to Chisinau’s services to get customs documents etc. However, the conflict remained frozen and one can say that the legal status of Transnistria will be probably uncertain for many years ahead. That’s because Russia will unlikely change its attitude towards Chisinau and Tiraspol (like towards two equal parties) in the near future. This will be confirmed every time needed, inclusively during the "2+1" consultations accepted by President Voronin at the December 24, 2008 meeting with Smirnov.
However, some changes will probably intervene in the political life in Transnistria in a medium term and they will have an impact on the conflict resolution process as well. In 2008, Igor Smirnov has cleaned up a little the political scene of Transnistria, sweeping away some ‘founders" of the separatist regime. He got rid of Grigore Maracuta long ago, and this year he dismissed the foreign minister Valeri Litskai. Now is the turn of KGB head Vladimir Antiufeev and there were many allegations about his dismissal in the latest period. In this context, Igor Smirnov has promoted his son Oleg, leader of the Party of Patriots from Transnistria (PPT), on various occasions this year. Thus, Smirnov is accompanied by his son politician at meetings with important Russian envoys. Therefore, Oleg could be up for the next presidential elections while Igor Smirnov would be his No.1 electoral agent. The Smirnov dynasty is probably prepared in Transnistria.
6. Foreign policy
Things have stagnated rather than developed in the foreign policy area in 2008. In fact, the foreign policy of Moldova has been based on two dimensions in the past years: the European integration and avoiding the antagonising of Russia. Via the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and recently released Eastern Partnership (EP) the EU treats its neighbours with howt they deserve. On their turn, the ruling elites of the countries included in the ENP accept EU conditionality in the measure that allows them to control the domestic situation and keep the governance. If ignoring certain European standards is needed for maintaining the governance, this happens for sure.
As regards the second factor, avoiding the antagonizing of Russia, Moldovan authorities "are redeeming a faux pas" and sometimes in an awkward manner, rather than develop relations with Russia. And all this happen after the affront faced by former president Putin in 2003 in connection with the "Kozak Memorandum". Moldovan authorities should not act "behind Europe which we want to join" when asked Putin to draft what is called "Kozak Memorandum" and probably we would not have had embargoes and the need to improve relations with Russia. Now the "things are re-fixed" by underlining constantly that the Republic of Moldova does not want to join NATO. That was the only reason why the national security concept of Moldova was adopted in 2008, to repeat again and again that Moldova doesn’t want to join NATO. Instead, the strategy drafted under the concept was not finished. Perhaps, it was not agreed in terms of limits for concessions in avoiding the antagonising of Russia.
The new foreign policy concept was not mentioned in 2008. What for? Relations with direct neighbours Romania and Ukraine did not melt anyway. However, Moldovan citizens cannot enjoy the small border traffic because of bad relations with Romania. The fact that President Viktor Yushchenko has cancelled his visit to Chisinau in 2008 points to the stagnation of Moldovan-Ukrainian relations despite the fact that good relations with Ukraine are very important to Moldova, including for the Transnistrian settlement. In this respect, it seems that relations are maintained at a certain level due to the Brussels-Kiev-Chisinau trilateral. At least, the EUBAM mandate would be extended thanks to the Brussels interest towards controlling the Transnistrian section of the Moldova-Ukraine border.
7. "Chromatic revolution" announced in 2008 or "Who is Mr. Tarlev?"
Starting 2004, PCRM propagandists have been obsessed with the danger of a chromatic revolution. All chromatic revolutions in the CIS area have been organised by former insiders. Saakashvili was minister of justice during the presidency of Eduard Shevardnadze, Yushchenko was prime minister under the governance of Leonid Kuchma, Bakyev was prime minister under the chair of Askar Akayev. PCRM strategists and propagandists in Moldova are trying to disclose possible revolutionary scenarios of insiders for a long time. Longest-sighted of them have observed the danger two years before the "rose revolution" in Georgia, suspecting premier Vasile Tarlev of subversive plans. On October 9, 2001, the website www.pro.md published the article "Who are you, Mr. Tarlev?". Many observers attributed the article to the No.1 presidential advisor, who denied that he was the author, but noted that he would have been proud should he wrote it. The writer said that "by hiding himself behind the goal to defend the interests of domestic producers, Tarlev uses Bonaparte-style corruption and protectionism methods to destroy the middle class, small and medium business in favour of foreign oligarchies"?!
If so, may be the Ministry of Justice was right when refused to register the "Russia’s Friends in Moldova" organisation, set up by Mr. Tarlev after his resignation in March 2008? May be the name of the organization indicates at the oligarchies Tarlev had plans to protect? Meantime, the PCRM governance hurries up to go ahead, giving green light to the privatisation of any public property. Even more, the Ministry of Justice refused to recognize Tarlev’s election as Chairman of the Centrist Union of Moldova (UCM) during the party ordinary congress on September 27. Thus, Tarlev’s mates had to convoke an extraordinary congress on December 13, 2008 in order to re-elect the leader of the party. In this way, Mr. Tarlev got acquainted with the grin of Moldovan democracy, which he regarded as a friendly smile when he was prime minister. Under these conditions, he has no choice but to declare the "green revolution" aimed at supporting the producers of "ecological agro-food products" provided that UCM wins the parliamentary elections.
8. Expectations from the electoral year 2009
* Representatives of the ruling party have stated that the Parliament will fix the Election Day in early February. Thus, the elections will take place in April as the appointment of the Election Day should be done at least 60 days before the elections take place. Therefore, the newly elected Parliament will not be able to respect the provisions of the law on elections of the chief of state. Though would the elections day be fixed, for example, for March 15, 2009, the provisions concerning the elections of both Parliament and president would be respected. One can suppose that the ruling party has an interest in extending President Voronin’s mandate for two more months on the base that the new Parliament was elected too late and was unable to elect the new president before the expiration of his mandate on April 7, 2009, as the legislation stipulates.
* What could be the reason for proceeding so? Due to the synchronization of the parliamentary and presidential elections it is obvious that the configuration of the new Parliament, the new Government and the negotiation of candidacies for the state President position will be negotiated "en gross" by the parties represented in the new Parliament. It is difficult to predict who will be PCRM negotiation partners and above all the negotiations will require time. Why dealing with very serious questions concerning the design of the new power under the pressure of terms stipulated by the law on election of the chief of state since it could be ignored under the excuse that the parliamentary elections were set too late? Why to put the election of the President as first question on the new Parliament agenda? For ruling party it seems to be more convenient to have as first questions on the new Parliament agenda – the election of the new ruling bodies of the Parliament, the appointment of the prime-minister and the confidence vote for the new Government, leaving the election of the president ultimately. In this way, step by step, under the control of the incumbent president could be consolidated a possible qualified majority of 3/5 of all deputies that will elect the new president of the country. The 2001 precedent reveals that the incumbent president Vladimir Voronin can remain ad-interim president until the new president is elected. Thus, the incumbent president still could nominate a new prime minister after the parliamentary elections.
* The above mentioned scenario is just a speculation and will not necessary take place. But in any case for its possible realisation, the PCRM will need at least 41 mandates for being able to block the election of the new president. Only under these conditions PCRM will be able to impose itself as pivot of a possibly ruling coalition. Another condition is that the opposition parties antagonistic towards PCRM to obtain less than half mandates so as to be unable to design independently the parliamentary agenda. If PCRM will manage to obtain an absolute majority of mandates or to form a majority alliance it is not excluded the scenario when the incumbent president will be elected as the new chairman of the Parliament and will keep, at the same time, the position of the ad-interim president according to Article 91 of Constitution until the election of a new president. In this case he would fully control and influence the design of the new power.
* Normally, key political developments before March-May 2009 will be linked to preparations for electing the Parliament, head of state and appointing the Government. Deceptions and even tears in connection with the compilation of "closed lists" of parties’ candidates are likely during preparations for elections. Sounding public scandals, spectacular statements on withdrawal from parties and sensational revelations are not unavoidable. Such scandals would be a manifestation of the curse of "closed lists" in which many party members see themselves on the top or not of all.
* Up to 5–6 political parties could be represented in the future Parliament. The avalanche of surveys at the end of the year confirmed that eight parties have real chance to pass the 6-percent electoral threshold, the quality of campaigns being decisive for those which will use their chance. According to surveys, the PCRM has a more or less stable rating; the rating of the Liberal Party (PL) and Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM) is on the rise; that of the Moldova Noastra (Our Moldova) Alliance (AMN), Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM), Christian Democratic Popular Party (PPCD) is on the decline; the rating of Social Democratic Party (PSD) is oscillating; as regards the UCM, there is no correlation between the rating of the party and of its leader, former premier Vasile Tarlev. At the same time, in 2008 mayoral elections in nine localities (approximately 1 percent of all mayoralties) where offices became vacant for various reasons, proved curious but irrelevant results which cannot be ignored: PDM won in 3 out of 9 mayoralties; PCRM in 2; AMN in 2; PPCD in one; independent candidates in 1. Curiously, the parties with an increasing rating, PL and PLDM, have ignored the elections in those mayoralties, though they could be a very useful test before the 2009 parliamentary elections, nominating just one candidate each and registering very poor results. Therefore, the possible profile of governance configuration after the parliamentary elections is very vague so far.
* A post-electoral governance of the acting strayed opposition shall not be excluded, though it is unlikely. The fact that the opposition is dispersed so far is a key factor capable to ensure the PCRM victory. The latest surveys confirm this possibility. Battles between opposition parties, reciprocal blows results in a relatively good image of the PCRM for many undecided electors who count for approximately 40 percent. In addition, given the fact that the PCRM propaganda-making machine has specialised in inciting and outlining contradictions between opposition parties, one may suppose that the effect will be strong but below expectations of propaganda profiteers.
* The conduct of major political forces suggests that the political situation in the country could destabilise. There is a series of indicators that the PCRM is more interested in winning the wanted electoral score than ensuring a positive appreciation of the electoral process by specialised international institutions, though it would like both of them. In other terms, the interest to keep the rule will be stronger than the "European integration" objective. Public statements by representatives of three liberal parties – AMN, PL and PLDM (all of them having great chance to succeed to the new Parliament) – not to cooperate with the PCRM could cost very much. However, the 2nd edition of the "April 4 betrayal" is not excluded. Of course, this would be "for the supreme interest of society."
* The fact that the PCRM has become a true cartel party in the last years will be felt at the 2009 elections. Decisions promoted by the party leader have nothing with the posted ideology and they express some interests. The PCRM has extended unimaginably, willing to cover all spaces. It is the carrier of some pre-modern symbols (hammer and sickle) but has a post-modernist conduct, calling for building a post-industrial society. In ideological terms, the PCRM formally displays an extreme left doctrine, but declares goals typical to post-industrial rightwing parties. The declared "liberal revolution" and the widest campaign to privatise public property reveal the timid protest of ex-premier Tarlev "green revolution". As regards the attitude towards religion, PCRM leaders equally honour militant atheist V.I. Lenin and the Church. This is a pragmatic attitude – human, material problems may be resolved easier as long as people are under the "opium" (religion) influence. The bad side is that the PCRM has almost lost its identity, which is reduced to the identity of its leader. PCRM strategists know very well that after the multi-dimensional extensions mentioned above, the "entropy has grown" dramatically in the PCRM structure and it is being "bifurcated". In this regard, the failure at general local elections and regional elections in Gagauzia in the last two years was not an accident. Therefore, the propaganda and the opposition denouncement are becoming the last refugee of the PCRM. But the propaganda is often counterproductive.
* The hardware of the propaganda and administrative resources will particularly aim at the UCM in the electoral campaign. PCRM strategists will keep ridiculing the UCM leader, though they know that Tarlev’s secret arm is that he is adequate to the majority of PCRM voters. His messages are understandable to voters and Tarlev is more credible in eyes of certain PCRM electors. In addition, Tarlev can amazingly reply to assaults by PCRM propagandists, in compliance with the Constitution, Tarlev was in charge with interior policies, while the PCRM leader with the foreign policy and settlement of the Transnistrian conflict. Thus, sectors Tarlev was in charge with have developed, while those coordinated by Voronin have stagnated and regressed. These are real facts! The weak sides of Tarlev are that few citizens identify the UCM with his name, he is not experienced as opposition politician and the combative potential of his tem is unclear. Anyway, it will be enough for the UCM to pass the 6-percent electoral threshold in order to open the "green revolution". But it will not be easy.
* The 2009 elections will change many characters on political scene. So far, only two parties have announced whom they would likely support for the posts of chief of state and prime minister. AMN chairman Serafim Urechean would like to be chief of state, while PDM leader Dumitru Diacov has introduced Valeriu Bulgari as PDM candidate to the office of prime minister. PCRM leader Vladimir Voronin has told a TV broadcast that PCRM candidates will represent a cardinally renewed and strong team as never before. Silhouettes of the new team members have been introduced during the same broadcast – young politicians as ministers and deputy ministers. The further political fate of emblematic characters of the PCRM "old guard", its reactions towards updating the list of candidates and impact on electoral sector are unclear.
* The quality of constitutional modifications from 2000 will be tested again after the 2009 parliamentary elections. The "power vertical" built by President Voronin in eight years was based on an absolute parliamentary majority obeying the party discipline and its party leader who was also the head of state. The mechanism of the power vertical will be disassembled for sure after the 2009 elections. The PCRM will unlikely win an absolute parliamentary majority and President Voronin will have to say goodbye to the presidential seat. The governance will be normally de-concentrated between Parliament, Government and Presidency. The eventual post Vladimir Voronin will accept in Government or Parliament will attract for a while a surplus of influence of the institution concerned. So, it is difficult to imagine the way the entire constitutional mechanism will function as entity. In particular, former governors will have to protect some interests crystallised in the last eight years.
* Given the fact that PCRM strategists have loyally copied many formulas elaborated in Russia (for example those related to the "power vertical", "directed democracy" etc.), all possibilities of post-electoral reconfiguration of the governance achieved or spread in Russia in the last year should be taken into consideration. It does not matter if PCRM strategists will succeed, it matters that they may like to reproduce some Russian versions. The fact that Moldovan authorities have recently opposed the strict separation of the post of chief of state from party activity even after the second presidential mandate of Vladimir Voronin should give food for thought – who else would like to impose the party discipline in the presidential institution?
* The post-electoral political route of President Voronin will depend on the electoral result of the PCRM for sure. Anyway, Voronin proves that he wants "to stay" in the Moldovan politics, not only to keep hold of. Although he has reached the limits of the possible in the Moldovan politics – two presidential mandates – one cannot imagine anything else for him but claiming the post of prime minister or speaker. The post of premier is really very difficult, particularly when effects of the international financial crisis will deepen. Then Vladimir Voronin is habituated to give orders and indications and one cannot imagine him to execute the instructions of somebody or explain his policies to the Parliament. But the most important is that the prime minister runs the risk to receive non-confidence vote in the Parliament. It seems that Voronin will not accept the office of Parliament chairman. Knowing how "attached" he is to the European integration process, one cannot imagine Voronin accepting a seat he has recently eliminated from the National Commission for European Integration. Or may be Voronin will revise his decrees and include the chair of Parliament in these commissions?
* Perhaps, the chairmanship of the PCRM parliamentary faction would be the most honourable post for Vladimir Voronin. Unfortunately, this office would not guarantee the publicly confirmed desire to play the role of Moldova’s Dang Xiaoping. Firstly, playing a certain role requires appropriate conditions. It is hard to imagine that President Voronin does consider that the current situation in Moldova is like in China in the late 1970s. Otherwise, one should exclaim that the PCRM has built a great democracy in the last eight years, just well for European integration. Secondly, Great Dang has succeeded Great Helmsman, while Vladimir Voronin has succeeded himself. As successor, Dang announced the change – the arrival of the "Spring in Beijing". In this respect, the change Vladimir Voronin could announce is unclear. He could announce another "liberal" or "post-industrial revolution" or maybe the comeback to the Marxist-Leninist sources in conditions of the international financial crisis. So, it is unclear what post-electoral role President Voronin would like to assume.