I have probably never seen such a concentration of corrupt and compromised people per square meter of electoral debates. Politicians with criminal cases pending, prison escapes, fugitives from justice, bank robbers, money launderers and public goods robbers met in studios and at campaign rallies, telling voters they will turn Moldova into heaven and, if the citizens elect them, they will bathe day and night in milk and honey.
Over the last few weeks I have often heard the question: are there any clean politicians? You can find a problem with everyone if you look for it! Moreover, expectations are higher from the allegedly clean politicians, and a small stain on the CV of a candidate claimed honest casts an enormous shadow over the whole party, while the smudged CV of a candidate from a compromised party seems not to be noticed against the background of all the stained résumés.
It was the last election week and the army of criminal, compromised or corrupt politicians have sought to stain everywhere. The effort would be commendable if the revealed evidence were real and properly presented. A few days ago, a very harsh headline published by a seemingly European media institution called New Europe.eu again accused NGOs of participating in money laundering in favor of a party: A secret operation with 56 million euro to eliminate Russia from a post-soviet state. The article says that, apparently, several European institutions have collected tens of millions of euros, transferring them to a list of Moldovan NGOs which, in turn, would allegedly fund the Action and Solidarity Party.
Money laundering is a serious issue for Moldova, so we wanted to better understand the source of the disclosures, how reliable it is, and what arguments it has. We were very surprised to find that the same website New Europe.eu previously published articles praising the runaway oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc and the sentenced to prison Ilan Shor. In 2018, Vlad Plahotniuc himself was an author on this portal, publishing a syrupy article entitled Moldova’s European Path, in which the oligarch appeared as the savior of the nation, and no one from the portal questioned the author’s integrity. “We have achieved a lot: sustained economic growth, encouraging new structural reforms, rising incomes, and living standards,” Plahotniuc wrote in May 2018 for the portal, at a time when Moldova was rife with corruption, poverty, and unpunished abuse. A year later, this savior fled leaving the European cause to others.
Before Vlad Plahotniuc began writing editorials for New Europe, Ilan Shor became the sympathetic hero of articles that praised him. The portal published texts about the round table Violation of the civil rights of the mayor and party leader Ilan Shor, planned in Strasbourg in June 2017; on the same portal Marina Tauber and Denis Ulanov, members of Shor’s party tell how Ilan Shor is unjustly persecuted in Moldova, and the editorial does not question the data.
It is strange that the laudatory articles about Shor are signed by some reporters, and Plahotniuc signed his own editorial, while the article about the alleged laundering of 56 million euros through Moldovan NGOs is not signed by a real name. In the European journalistic world, even in the Moldovan one, the situation is reversed: authors proudly sign serious investigations as well as articles of deep analysis, while articles in which some corrupt people are praised are often anonymous, or even marked with a P, suggesting it’s a paid item.
New Europe is a well-known publication that broadcasts questionable articles with anonymous authors in election campaigns. Some articles about Romania have raised the same doubts.
The election campaign came to an end, but nothing ends on Election Day, everything is just beginning. People should choose the least corrupt politicians on Sunday, and then continue to make the right and healthy choices every day: to choose quality products for their meals, to choose good education for children, to choose the right press from which to get information, to monitor the activity of officials, to monitor public money and to make constructive pressures. Only in this way, people can get to see the people they elected clean and the state – functional.