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8 Apr, 2009 12:31

ROAR: Russian Opinion and Analytics Review, Apr.8

ROAR: Russian Opinion and Analytics Review, Apr.8

This Wednesday, ROAR presents various opinions on the events in Moldova.

MOSKOVSKIY KOMSOMOLETS writes that before last Monday, and especially Tuesday, few people believed in the possibility of an ‘orange’ revolution in Moldova. The paper calls the Tuesday events ‘the Revolution of the Black Armbands’ and reports, quoting the internet blog of one of the main organizers of the disturbances, Natalya Morar, that the entire organizational work needed to persuade fifteen thousand people to hit the streets was done by internet and sms messages.

The paper quotes Fedor Lukianov, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine RUSSIA IN GLOBAL AFFAIRS, who says that the violent protest in Moldova is not ‘another orange revolution’ because the time of the orange revolutions has passed, ending in 2007. The expert says it is already a habit that in every post-Soviet election the opposition tries to change the result by street action. An orange revolution, he says, presumes that besides the local opposition there is also an outside foreign interest in the events. That is not the case in Moldova.

Vladimir Zharikhin of the Institute of the CIS Nations disagrees: the events do look like an ‘orange revolution.’ Zharikhin states that because the Communists have been in power for eight years, and now there is a crisis too – the opposition was sure of its victory, but the victory escaped them, so they took to the street. He also states that President Voronin has every right to use force against them, and most probably he will.

In IZVESTIA, Maksim Yusin writes that Tuesday became the first day of the ‘Color revolution' of Moldova, one more in the series of ‘color revolutions’ in the post-Soviet era. The only thing the revolution lacks, says the writer, is its distinct color: it hasn’t been chosen yet.

The writer says that the ideology and policies pursued by president Vladimir Voronin are not Communist at all: in fact, he is performing one unending balancing act between the West and Moscow. He is against joining Moldova with Romania, and his electorate consists of the majority of the Moldovan citizens who do not want to lose their own small but independent country.

Besides, if Moldova becomes a province of Romania, the Trans-Dniestr region will be lost for it forever. Yusin writes that if the opposition overcomes president Voronin, that would be not a popular revolution, but a revolt and usurpation of power by the nationalists, and in that case, the territorial integrity of Moldova cannot be guaranteed.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA’s columnist Dmitry Steshin writes that Moldova was doomed to an anti-Russian revolution, and a change of power and government was only a matter of time and pretext. He says that in the past few years the West has been poking the Russian border with its finger, sector by sector, for the whole perimeter, probing for strength. The main idea was to surround Russia with states belonging to the same military-political alliance.

However, he writes, something repeatedly went wrong with post-Soviet candidates for NATO membership: in Kyrgyzstan, after the Revolution of the Tulips, they decided not to become Russia’s (and China’s) enemy after all. In Uzbekistan, they pulled out every smallest seedling of ‘orange blossom’ and then flattened the earth with the boots of Uzbek soldiers. Georgia was supposed to be the next in line for NATO membership, but something went wrong with its ‘short victorious war:’ the war turned out to be the exact opposite of victorious.

In Ukraine, says Steshin, NATO feared that the country may split, and a full-blown civil war may start. So finally, the choice fell on Romania, an experienced NATO member, which is now supposed to swallow Moldova whole. The only obstacle on this path is the totally pro-Russian Trans-Dniestr region. The situation has been definitely considered by the masterminds of the events: the Trans-Dniestr region may be given to Russia as compensation for the loss of Moldova to NATO, or as an implanted and pre-arranged casus belli for a future armed confrontation with Russia.

Another KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA columnist, Aleksandr Kots, concentrates on the role played by the former correspondent of one of the Moscow newspapers, Moldovan Natalya Morar, in the stirring up of the ‘revolution’ in the streets of the Moldovan Capital. He writes that by her actions of Monday-Tuesday, Natalya has crossed the line no journalist can cross without losing status and the right to report news forever: she became an activist and a leader of a political event.

The writer calls Morar ‘the Godmother of the Moldovan revolution,’ and reminds the readers that a year ago everyone in the Russian journalistic community felt at least some amount of pity for her: as a foreigner working for a Moscow-based publication, she was denied entry into Russia after an assignment she had completed for her paper abroad, and even being a registered wife of a Russian citizen didn’t help. We wondered then, writes Kots, what was the reason for the Federal Security Service (FSB) to deny Natalya’s entry twice in a row, and putting a ban on issuing Russian visas for her.

Then, in February 2008, it looked really strange: there were quite a few critics of the Russian government in the Russian print press, many of whom were quite vocal and loud, much louder than Morar, and there were many foreigners employed by Russian publications who never considered self-censorship necessary. And the government tolerated all that, talked to these journalists, and supplied them with information. So why be so tough on this young and pretty Moldovan girl?

Today, says the columnist, having seen how Natalya Morar first through the internet and later – in the streets, with a megaphone in hand, led crowds of thousands against the elected government of her own country, and how her actions later caused stone-throwing, vandalism, and chaos for which she had probably been planning, gives a fresh new impression of her. And a thought: maybe the FSB was right about her after all?

In KOMMERSANT, well-known Moldovan author Kirill Kovaldgy writes that an ‘orange revolution’ in its pure form is impossible in Moldova because Moldova as a place is totally different from all other former Soviet republics.

Moldova as a republic has only existed for 40 years, writes the author. He remembers his childhood spent in the same country, which was then called Bessarabia, and by its essence, still is that old Bessarabia, maybe even more so today.

Historically, Bessarabia is the daughter of two mothers: Russia and Romania. It had never been an independent nation before WW II, and it had always been part of a big and strong empire: Russia or Romania. Even in Soviet times, it was at first part of the Socialist Republic of Ukraine, and only later was given the status of a Soviet republic and named Moldova.

Now, says the author, the matter is again in the hands of big and strong powers: Russia and Europe, of which Romania is a part. The incorporation of Moldova into Romania, he continues, means the division of Moldova, because the Trans-Dniestr region is going to join Russia in that case. But after Kosovo, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia it would be extremely unhealthy for Europe.

It means that the knot of problems around Moldova cannot be cut by sword, but will have to be untied by hand.

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT.