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9 Apr, 2009 09:23

ROAR: Russian Opinion and Analytics Review, Apr.9

ROAR: Russian Opinion and Analytics Review, Apr.9

This Thursday, ROAR presents more opinions on the events in Moldova, and one on the looming events in Georgia.

Mikhail Rostovskiy writes in MOSKOVSKIY KOMSOMOLETS that the disturbances in Moldova knocked the ‘civilized world’ into a state of stupefaction and torpor: how can it happen that ‘bad’ Communists honestly win an election after which ‘good’ democrats hit the streets and commence pogroms?

In fact, he continues, the situation is not at all complex: the usual problems of a post-Soviet state (a divide between the intelligentsia and the rest of society, and a totalitarian mentality widely spread among the ‘democrats’), plus the wish to swallow a neighboring country harbored by some EU member states, bring such situations into being.

The author says that the unsuccessful ‘democratic revolution’ in Moldova was, actually, a riot organized by pro-Romanian chauvinists. According to the author, the idea of ‘uniting all Romanians in one EU state’ has already been voiced, and not once, by Romanian nationalist politicians, and was also presented as a future triumph of democracy.

But to be a democrat, says the writer, one needs first of all to respect the majority opinion, and in Moldova, the majority opinion was definitely against the ‘revolutionaries.’

IZVESTIA interviews the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Trans-Dniestr Republic, Vladimir Yastrebchak, who says that certain forces in Romania are interested in stirring up conflict in Moldova. He continues by saying that for the Trans-Dniestr republic, it is important that the government of Moldova remains stable: it would be impossible to negotiate with a government preoccupied with various troubles, and considering the idea of a merger with Romania.

The Minister says, however, that if the Moldovan opposition takes power, that would definitely mean that Moldova is becoming a province of Romania. He believes that Moldova’s future is in integration with Romania, but – without the Trans-Dniestr region.

Sergey Karaganov, a political scientist and Chairman of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, interviewed by ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA, says that there is a clearly-seen ‘external element’ in the events in Moldova which makes the events similar to the ‘multi-color revolutions’ that occurred in several post-Soviet states in 2004 – 2006.

The academic continues by saying that in his opinion, the riots were definitely organized by Romanian nationalists, and local pro-Romanian forces. They lost the election, the Communists won fair and square, and all the international monitors confirm that. On the other hand, yesterday’s European newspapers were calling the marauding crowds of hooligans ‘pro-Western forces that wage war on Communism…’

Asked what Russia and the EU should do about the conflict, Karaganov says that Russia should not in any way increase its military presence in the Trans-Dniestr region, it is already quite sufficient to repel any attempts at military confrontation, and that Russia should prompt the EU to intervene because Romania’s EU membership makes the EU partly responsible for what is happening.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI publishes an article by Fedor Lukianov, the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine RUSSIA IN GLOBAL AFFAIRS, who writes that the events in Moldova look like a ‘multi-color-revolution farce’ rather than a genuine revolution. He writes that it has become a habit in post-Soviet countries to doubt the results of elections, and try to compensate for a poor performance at the polls by street protests.

The writer says that in the cases of genuine ‘multi-color revolutions’ there was always a foreign authority (international monitors) who pronounced the election ‘dirty,’ and by doing that, supported the street protests. In the case of Moldova, international monitors were satisfied with the way the election had gone, and saw no cheating on the part of the participating political parties.

Lukianov says that in his opinion, Romania as a state could not have been involved in the stirring up of the ‘revolution,’ but there can be marginal elements in Romania that could. As for the EU or the U.S. as potential masterminds, Lukianov says a firm ‘no:’ neither Brussels nor Washington would bother now with Moldova, he says.

The writer concludes the article by saying that the era of ‘multi-color revolutions’ ended together with the previous Washington administration’s ideology of ‘promoting democracy.’ However, that ideology has left a legacy: the idea that the triumph of 'electoral fairness' is more important than formal norm and the rules (including the laws). A dangerous idea, says Lukianov: 'fairness' can be stretched, and stretching it beyond the limits of law causes neglect to those limits in other cases as well. That is how the ‘revolutions’ triumphed in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan.

In KOMMERSANT, Andrey Fedorov, the former Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, writes that if in Moldova the test of the survivability of the government is nearly over, in Georgia it is going to start one of these days. The writer says that one should not count on the lack of Western support of president Saakashvili. He is still firmly in place, he is receiving financial support from the U.S. and the EU, and he continues playing the role of ‘a victim of Moscow’ in the eyes of the world community.

For Russia, he continues, the resignation of Mikhail Saakashvili under the pressure of the people’s demonstrations and protests looks like the best option. But that will hardly happen. Besides, says the writer, we do not know who will replace him and what kind of position in regard to Moscow that person will have.

The conflict between the Georgian president and the Georgian opposition is important for international relations in Europe and the world, continues Fedorov: the forces inside and outside Georgia that do not want stability in the Caucasus, and are against normalization of Russian-Georgian relations, have invested heavily in Saakashvili, and now await the outcome of his struggle against the opposition.

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT.