Things turned out as they should have. The Socialist Party flags are flapping at half-mast. Since 2016, Igor Dodon has had fame delusions, considering himself the most beloved of Moldovan presidents. He was flattered by the opinion polls as Moldova’s most formidable political leader. He felt victorious, especially in the first round, but he lamentably lost the race against Maia Sandu at a 15 percent difference. It was the tightest election campaign in the history of Moldova. People mobilized as if for war. We had a turnout of over 52 percent, the highest rate we have ever had in the presidential election.
The Diaspora exceeded all expectations and turned these elections into a historical record. More than 260,000 voters turned out at the polling stations abroad despite extreme conditions, giving the pandemic, long distances, cold, rain, and queues of hundreds of meters. About 93 percent of the vote was for Maia Sandu. We may call it a sacrifice as well as a highly patriotic attitude.
The vote of the 31,000 electoral mercenaries from the Transnistrian region of Moldova cannot be compared with Diaspora’s vote.
What happened on Sunday is reminiscent of the National Liberation Movement we went through in the late ’80s and early’ 90s. On November 15, as well as on November 1, both the Diaspora and the citizens at home, expressed a solidarity vote protesting “against a traitor, a demagogue and a truant” (‘epithets’ may continue). This fact was acknowledged by Vladimir Voronin, Communist Party leader, and Dodon’s so-called political godfather, in a post-election statement.
Igor Dodon is no longer president, nor is Galina Dodon the first lady. The opinionated person, who enjoyed Putin’s grace for four years lost the game and his comfortable throne. Nothing could help him satisfy his vanity of being president for another term.
The teleconference with Putin, which was to be taken as a sign of their friendship, did not help. The diplomatic favors of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov did not help either, as did the participation of Russian intelligence services in the elections in support of Dodon.
The “telephone conversation” with Patriarch Kirill of Russia to discuss “relations between the Russian Church and Moldova,” the bait for the pro-Russian electorate, did not help again.
Dodon organized election concerts in Moscow to no avail.
The army of electoral mercenaries from the Transnistrian region of Moldova (over 31,000 votes) militarily mobilized, paid, and carried to the polls on the right bank of the Nistru River did not help.
Vote rigging in Comrat, Vulcanesti, and Taraclia, cities in the South of Moldova where over 92 percent were given for Dodon, did not help.
Dodon’s neo-Nazi anti-Romania, anti-EU, anti-USA, and pro-Russia electoral parades of the Socialist Party in Chișinău did not help.
The hundreds of hours of television broadcast and the anti-Maia Sandu propaganda did not help. Dodon’s harmful statements on social networks and the complicity of the Central Election Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in restricting the right to vote abroad did not help either.
Dodon lost the fight with his citizens, who preferred Maia Sandu to him. This is what happens “with all the regimes that neglect people,” declared Maia Sandu after the election.
Dodon lost not just the election. He lost everything, and the presidential elections have set the beginning. The only thing Dodon can do now is to choose the prison in which he will serve his sentence, although the court may decide it too.
In almost 30 years since Independence, Moldova has had different presidents. None of them responded to National Expectations and Ideals, voted at the Great National Assemblies. None, however, was more hypocritical and slavish than Dodon. Four years of Dodon’s rule were more than a simple time lost for Moldova. They were years of great humiliation and shame for us. Dodon is the first president to bring flowers to the graves of mercenary Cossacks who fought on the Nistru River in 1992 against the Independence of Moldova. He is the first president to declare Krasnoselski in Tiraspol, the Transnistrian region president (that was almost a recognition of Transnistria’s independence). As President, Dodon was accused of violating laws against the “betrayal of the homeland” and complaints have been filed with the Prosecutor General’s Office to suit him.
Dodon lost the presidency. Has Russia also lost Moldova?
“Russia has lost Moldova, a country that has been balancing for years between European ambitions and proximity to Moscow,” Russian election expert Konstantin Kalacev said. A similar opinion was expressed by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Russian National Liberal Party.
Russia cannot lose control of Moldova because it controls the Transnistrian region of Moldova. Moreover, Dodon is not the only influential Russian agent in Chișinău. Russia instead gained a dialogue partner, which Dodon has never been, a partner with whom it could negotiate all hot issues in the Russia-Moldova relations.
Moscow won’t give up fighting for its interests. Putin no longer needed Dodon, a fictitious president with whom he failed to solve anything in four years and was not accepted by anyone except Russia. This fact damaged the Kremlin’s image too. In this sense, Maia Sandu is a win for Russia and Romania, Ukraine, E.U., and the U.S.A, for whom Dodon did not count.
Since November 15, Moldova has had a new viable player in international relations.
The first step towards change has been made. Dodon has fallen, and the presidency is free. The great battle for Parliament and Government will follow, which is the second step for change. It will either end with a new solution for a new parliamentary majority and change government or early elections.