With this piece from Navigator, I venture into Moldovian politics, about which, admittedly, I know very little. The headline reads:
Dodon Fires Odious Defense Minister For Fooling Around With NATO
Background: Moldova is a small Eastern European nation bordering on Romania and Ukraine. The map doesn’t show this clearly, but Moldova is surrounded by Ukraine and hence landlocked; it does not have an outlet to the Black Sea. The capital city is Chișinău, which Russians pronounce “Kishinev”. Moldovans speak a variety of languages, including something called Bessarabian. Linguists dispute whether this is a Latin or Slavic language. I personally don’t know enough about it to have an opinion. The written language certainly looks Latin to me. Moldova obviously has a colorful history, given its place right there in the center of things. It was one of the 15 Soviet Socialist Republics from 1940 to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. On August 27, 1991 Moldova seceded from the Soviet Union and declared itself an independent Republic. As with several of the ethnic Soviet Republics, secession was immediately followed by internal civil wars and secessions within the secession.
The main conflict was around a strip of land called Transnistria. Transnistria, an ethnic mixture of people, mainly Ukrainians but also Russians and Romanians, effectively seeks to re-unite with Russia; resulting in still another “frozen conflict”, just like the ones that existed in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, regions which seceded from Gruzia.
As one can see, all of this is quite a messy political backdrop to the current story. Apparently Moldova’s cozy relationship with NATO began very soon after independence: In 1992 Moldova joined the NATO Cooperation Council. However, the Moldovan constitution enshrines the concept of neutrality between the power blocs.
Which leads us to the current story, and the firing of Defense Minister Anatol Șalaru. Apparently the incoming President Igor Dodon who hails from the Socialist Party of Moldova, was not happy with Șalaru’s maneuvering ways nor his pro-NATO stance. Typical of the modern era, in which couples break up via text messages and Twitter, Dodon announced Șalaru’s firing on his Facebook page. To make his decree even more official, Dodon stamped it with the official Presidential Seal of Moldova. The Moldovan coat of arms is pretty cool: It consists of a one-headed eagle (symbolizing the Roman origins of the people) with a cross in its beak, and shield protecting its belly. The shield in turn shows the symbology of what they call an “aurochs”, which is a fancy word for a bull. The bull symbol was inherited from the symbology of the medieval Kingdom of Moldavia.
The Navigator piece reminds us that Moldova is a Parliamentary system, under which the President has limited powers, and the government is formed by a Parliamentary coalition. However, the President is allowed a quota of two posts which he and he alone can control: Minister of Defense, and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Hence, Dodon was completely within his rights to fire Șalaru as soon as he humanly could. Here is the Romanian text of what Dodon posted on his Facebook:
Cîteva minute în urmă am semnat decretul privind demisia din funcție a ministrului de faimă proastă Șalaru. Îi mulțumesc lui Mihai Ghimpu pentru acest demers și îi sugerez să o facă și în raport cu ceilalți miniștri liberali din cabinetul actual.
Reamintesc că acest ministru este cel care a cochetat cu NATO știind foarte bine că sîntem o țară neutră conform Constituției Republicii Moldova, a favorizat și a stat în avangarda apariției tehnicii militare americane în Piața Marii Adunări Naționale de Ziua Victoriei, care nu poate fi calificată altfel decît o provocare. A pledat și pledează deschis pentru unirea Republicii Moldova cu România. A disponibilizat numeroși profesioniști din sistemul de apărare și securitate de stat, înlocuindu-i cu persoane apropiate Partidului Liberal și ideologiei unioniste.
Toate aceste lucruri sînt incompatibile în mod categoric cu atribuțiile funcționale ale unui ministru în domeniul apărării al unui stat independent și suveran, care are specificate clauze clare în Constituție cu privire la neutralitate.
Mai mult decît atît, acestei persoane i-au fost în repetate rînduri aduse acuzații grave în ceea ce ține de prejudicierea patrimoniului în valoare de zeci de milioane de lei Ministerului Apărării, bugetului public național, prin vînzarea munițiilor, tranzacții dubioase cu armament și bunuri materiale aflate la balanța ministerului Apărării.
Sînt de părerea că în funcția de ministru al Apărării trebuie să vină o persoană profesionistă, onestă și devotată statului Republica Moldova.
Moldova are viitor!
I can’t read Romanian, but I see the word “NATO” in there, and I am guessing that the phrase “cochetat cu NATO” means something like “cozied up to NATO” !
According to the Navigator piece, Dodon felt that he had to reassert Moldova’s constitutional stance of neutrality and stop this fooling around with a definitely non-netural military alliance such as NATO.
The Russian press is very happy about this, of course, because it is another case of “the wheel turning”, and slightly more Russia-friendly leaders entering into office in various posts around the world. Or at the very least, more reasonable leaders who are not so keen to egg on a full-blown war against Russia.