Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Moldova loses its fear

Following the resignation of Vladimir Voronin as President, one major change can be observed in Moldovan public life. The fear is gone.

* We have a constitutional court prepared to rule against the communist party

* Police are prepared to move against Maria Petrenko (mother of a leading communist deputy), who has been illegally occupying a school building for two years.

* Journalists are able to put tough questions to Voronin, such as Saharneanu's request to comment on all the journalists and media organisations abused during the eight years of communist rule

* Most notably, some of the people oppressed by the communist regime have begun to talk.

On the last point, I listened yesterday to a JurnalTV interview in which Sergiu Mocanu (leader of the 'Popular Action' movement and a former cousellor of Voronin) and Anatol Caslaru (Director of Carmez, a meat packing company) started to describe the operations of the regime.

Mocanu was the most forthcoming, stating that Voronin 'was very hardworking in seeking to do evil to the people of Moldova'. He described how Voronin would work to bring elements of the Moldovan economy under his control.

Anatol Caslaru's example illustrates this process, and explains why food prices are so high in Moldova while salaries are very low. Caslaru was invited by Voronin's clan to participate in a scheme under which a meat-packaging cartel would be formed by the country's major importers and producers of that food product. The idea was that the cartel would keep the price paid to producers artificially low while prices demanded from consumers would be pushed up. Voronin and his accomplices would cream off the artificial profits, made at the expense of the Moldovan people. Caslaru refused to participate in the scheme. He was thrown in jail and Voronin's associates assumed control over Carmez so that their scheme could be put into effect.

It appears that we will be reading and listening to stories like this for many months to come.