Igor Dodon has been the youngest president of Moldova and defied the myth that being young means being a modern official. Igor Dodon has acted like the country’s oldest president by comparing himself with former senior deans of the presidency or other states’ heads in the area.
Igor Dodon was elected president of Moldova at the age of 46, in November 2016. Official data show that he failed to establish good relationships with neighboring states. This is because the president has never had an official visit or a working trip to Bucharest or Kyiv. He generally has visited very few European capitals. What is more, he delivered some aggressive and unconstructive speeches in Brussels during his first visit. All these together demonstrates that he has poor political communication with the EU. Instead, he visited Moscow many times. Meanwhile, Russia has become an increasingly isolated state on the international scale due to serious human rights violations and high-level political corruption. The few leaders that Igor Dodon has met in his four years in office are also leaders of states having corruption-related problems and power abuse, like Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Belarus.
Before jumping to conclusions and rating Igor Dodon’s activity as insufficient or inadequate, it would be good to look at other countries’ presidents’ achievements.
Let’s take as an example Mrs. Kersti Kaljulaid, the President of Estonia. She was elected to this position in October 2016, just a few weeks before Igor Dodon’s inauguration. Kersti is also the youngest president ever in Estonia, being elected at the age of 46.
It is difficult to name all the achievements of Kersti Kaljulaid over the past four years. The list is extensively long. But it is worth mentioning at least some points, in terms of international cooperation. In these four years, the president from Tallinn has had 49 official visits and dozens of working trips, in contrast to Chisinau’s president, who has had only six official visits.
In the very first month of her term, the President of Estonia visited three capitals: Riga, Vilnius and Helsinki, Estonia’s neighboring states. During the second month of the presidency, Kersti visited Warsaw, Berlin, and Paris. Then followed visits to all European capitals, also attending some of the most important international forums. She also visited the Kremlin once, mostly chancelleries with which Estonia has partnerships, and Estonian citizens have economic, social, or cultural interests. In four years, Kersti Kaljulaid has become a diaspora representatives’ Baltic diplomacy leader and a prominent voice for transparency and democracy. She has also been awarded high decorations of modern democracies in countries such as Finland, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Lithuania, etc. After only one year of governance, Forbes listed Kaljulaid as one of the world’s 100 most influential women. Surveys within the country show that she would enjoy the trust of over 70% of citizens of all ages.
Compared to the President of Estonia, Igor Dodon has visited the Kremlin 14 times. But he has never visited Bucharest nor Kyiv. He speaks several foreign languages but seems to speak the language of division and hatred best.
The November 1, 2020 election results revealed that the majority of Moldovan voters are people aged over 50. Surprisingly the youngest electorate, people under 40, were from the diaspora—tens of thousands of young people. Igor Dodon’s comments on the election results offended Moldova’s citizens from abroad. His speech in a post-election press conference has aged Dodon lamentably. He verbally attacked the diaspora representatives, calling them a parallel electorate, poorly informed about the realities of the country.
Does a president have the constitutional and moral right to segregate and divide his citizens? Does he have the right to criticize others when he has failed what others have done? This is the decision of the country’s citizens. They simply choose whether they want as a leader someone with a mentality as old as the Soviet Union.