Moldova’s Crisis Offers Chance to Reform a Captured State

Unlike Georgia or Ukraine, where public opinion is firmly against Russian interference and united against Russian military aggression, the Moldovan public is evenly divided in its outlook to Europe or Russia.

But what surprised Moldova-watchers the most was that the often vociferously pro-Kremlin Socialist Party, led by President Igor Dodon, and the liberal, Western-oriented ACUM ('It's Time') Bloc could find common ground to form a coalition and remove the ruling coalition, the Democratic Party and its strongman Plahotniuc, from power.

Captured states have become increasingly predominant in Eurasia, a disappointing outcome following almost universal optimism when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

A mix of a reconsolidation of power into the hands of a narrow elite of mostly former Communist Party apparatchiks that was able to reap the financial and political benefits of mass privatisation and weak democratic institutions unable to keep the system fair for all citizens.

While quite a number of 'colour revolutions' throughout the region have tried to wrest power from these interests, none have been completely successful in anything but handing power to new elites.

This tells us two things about Moldova - first that we need to take notice that a captured state does not relinquish power often or easily, and secondly that Moldova, regardless of the relative ease of this transfer of power, has a lot of work ahead if it is going to succeed in a meaningful way.

Parliamentary elections took place on February 24, with the result that no party was in the position to form a government independently.  The biggest surprise of the elections was that the new, pro-reform ACUM Bloc did as well as it did, with 26.84 per cent of the vote.

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