Lupu on Moldovenism
Yesterday Democratic Party leader Marian Lupu attacked Romanian foreign affairs minister Teodor Baconschii, who had earlier made a statement that "Romania rejects any action which gives credit to the idea of a Moldovan nation and language separate to the Romanian (nation and language), on the basis of clear, scientific arguments"
Lupu's response was that "Such statements from the officials in Bucharest - statements offensive to most of our population - disturb our relations". The key phrases here are "offensive" and "most of our population".What in Baconschii's statement does Lupu find offensive? I think Lupu himself is on record as saying that Romanians and Moldovans are one people, sharing a common language, so that's not the problem. Maybe Lupu feels that Baconschii was attacking the right of self-identification (ie. if someone wants to identify themself as a Moldovan, they should be allowed to). The truth, however, is that Baconschii was addressing the aggressive ideological 'Moldovenism' which for over 80 years has distorted Moldova's history for Russian and Communist ends. I think Lupu understands this, and as a result owes an apology to the Romanian foreign minister for his opprtunistic and politically motivated remarks.
As for the 'vast majority' being offended by Baconschii's statement, how does Lupu justify this? Was there a referendum that I blinked and missed? Was there an opinion poll that somehow escaped the rest of us? How does Lupu account for the PL, PLDM and AMN voters who would have no problem at all with Baconschii's position? The truth is there may not even be a simple majority, let alone a vast one. Lupu should be more careful when claiming to speak in the name of the Moldovan people.
Lupu on the 7 April Monument
Marian Lupu made another statement yesterday in which he criticised the decision of the Filat government to install a monument to those who died, were beaten or had their rights abused on 7/4/09. Lupu's view, which has some merit, is that we should wait for the parliamentary commission to complete its work so that all the facts are known before any monuments are built.
On balance, however, I'm with Filat. The monument needs to be built before 7/4/10, the first anniversary of the revolt. It needs to be there to remind the Moldovan people of this seminal event in the Republic's short history. It needs to be there so that the communists who ordered the abuses have to walk past it every day. it needs to be there so that the victims of the security services know that their state has recognised their suffering and sacrifice.
Of course, the best monument that could be built would be a prison for Voronin and Papuc.
Next we find that Lupu is to follow his former mentor Voronin to Moscow in order to seek the blessing of Patriarch Cyril and congratulate him on his enthronement. Given the Russian church's continuing and massive intrusion into Moldova's political life (e.g. their explicit support for the communists in the 2009 elections, their willingness to reimforce the 'statalist' message), it would be wise for democratic politicians to give the Patriarch a wide steer until the Church changes its ways and refocuses on its spiritual mission.
Unfortunately, Lupu's visit to Moscow further demonstrates the extent to which he is under Moscow's thumb. Interestingly neither of Moldova's key office-holders - the President and the PM; both members of the church - have been invited to Moscow, indicating that the Russian church is playing favourites and that it is trying to send a message to the Moldovan people.
Of the People?
Marian Lupu also commented that anticipated elections may not be held this year and that the constitution might be modified in Parliament rather than by referendum. I'm not so bothered by the elections - the people had two chances in 2009 to cast their votes - but the thought that a group of politicians would take it upon themselves to modify the supreme law without consulting the people is troubling.
Government in a republic is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people, and yet the Moldovan people have never been given the opportunity to debate and vote on their own constitution. It would be a travesty if the historic opportunity now presenting itself is missed for the sake of saving a few bucks.
What is really curious, however, is the underlying reason that Lupu is flying these two kites. Does he think that enough communist deputies would migrate towards the PD and MU such that a left of center majority could be formed under his leadership which does not formally include the communists, but which leaves out the Liberals and the Liberal Democrats? Is he scared that a constitution put to a popular vote may be different in its content from one negotiated among political parties.
Taken all together, yesterday probably signals a turning point for the relationship between Lupu and his AIE partners. In the next parliament Ghimpu & Filat will need to achieve a liberal majority without relying on the Democrats. Otherwise Moldova's aspirations to strenghthen it's democracy and join the EU are likely to once again fall prey to the forces that seek to harm the country.