THE MOLDOVAN REVOLUTION: UnTWITTERED

For DAILYBABEL.COM

More than thirteen days have passed since the violent upheaval of April 7th gripped Chisinau, Moldova’s capital, causing disorder unseen in the country since the 1992 war with Transdnistria.

The repression of the protests and their participants has paved the way for the Communist Party to take a tougher stance in governing, ensuring Moldovan independence, and quashing all voices of discontent. The Communist authorities have used the events of the past week and a half to finger-point at their political rivals in Romania. Even though here in the streets of Chisinau no one is convinced of Romania’s direct involvement in the demonstrations, the Communist government has imposed visa restrictions on Romanian citizens, declared the Romanian ambassador persona non grata, and taken measures in obscuring Romania’s role in Moldovan history. With this in mind, the new leader of the Moldovan Parliament plans to eradicate any elected officials in possession of a Romanian passport from the newly elected assembly.

Members of parliament will be forced to choose between dual citizenship and maintaining their responsibilities as democratically elected officials. As the ruling Communists swiftly impose strict sanctions and border regulations, unification with Romania will remain a fantasy to those who had sought it. Nevertheless, the possibility remains that the Communist party will not be able to definitively stop the penetration of Romanian influence into Moldovan society. Many Moldovans possess Romanian passports and work or study in Romania. Furthermore, the growing influence of European integration, strongly felt in Romania, and the growing difficulties in relations between Russia and former Soviet republics, could form a synergetic force that could break down Moldova’s political structure once and for all.

The Myth of the Moldovan Revolution

From the beginning, the events in Moldova were defined in a variety of ways by both domestic and foreign analysts that thoroughly exaggerated the scale of the events. The demonstrations were sold as an open revolt, a coup d’etat, while the demonstrators were portrayed as either peaceful protestors or extremists seeking reunification with Romania. Someone invented the marketable concept of a “Twitter revolution,” while others cited the protests as the opposition’s attempt to seize power and unify Moldova with Romania. However, upon closer inspection, the ‘real’ facts provide more glaring, ‘real’ answers. There is no indication of an attempt at ‘revolution,’ whether it be ‘ordinary’ or ‘Twitter.’ Yes: protesters coordinated their efforts by means of online sites such as the news website unimedia.md and the pro-Romanian and anti-communist curaj.net. Yes: the most active protesters were those in support of reunification with Romania who, by the way, acted without direct Romanian political assistance. And, in an example of stark juxtapositions, peaceful demonstrations and violent riots coexisted on Chisinau’s streets in a simultaneous orgy of disruption, but not revolution.

The truth is that, despite the ongoing accusations made by Moldovan authorities, the Moldovan opposition was, and is, a passive player in this Twitter charade. It does not possess the logistical know-how or the organizational infrastructure in order to out-wit and out-maneuver Moldova’s Communist state organizations, media, and intelligence services. To that extent, a coup d’etat is virtually impossible in today’s Moldova where no social or political, domestic or foreign agents are at work in overthrowing the status quo.

As a result, Moldova is an unlikely motherland for a Twitter revolution, or any revolution, for that matter. The social and political development of Moldova is still eons away from getting to where Ukraine was before its Orange Revolution in 2004 or where Kyrgyzstan was before its Tulip Revolution in 2005. It now appears that Moldova’s future of political and social reform lies with the EU’s Eastern Partnership, but any changes will be slow and gradual… the exact opposite of a revolution.

Denis Cenusa is a political analyst and expert in international relations.

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