Monday, April 26, 2010

Alliance fights over sending Moldovan soldiers to WWII parade, President refuses to go to Moscow

The ruling Alliance for European Integration (AEI) has been embroiled in an internal conflict recently over whether to send Moldovan military staff to a parade in Moscow celebrating 65 years since the Soviet victory in the war.

Initially, the Defense Minister announced that Chisinau would not send troops because authorities did not have any money and because Moldovan soldiers would attend the May 9 celebrations in Moldova. This prompted AEI officials like Prime Minister Vlad Filat to say that Chisinau would, in fact, send military staff over to Moscow.

Democratic Party honorary head Dumitru Diacov argued that Liberal Party head and interim President Mihai Ghimpu ordered the Defense Ministry to keep Moldovan soldiers from participating in the parade in Moscow. The Liberal Party appointed the Defense Minister after the seat distribution within the coalition. The Liberals generally have a very critical position toward the Soviet past and toward Russian policy in Moldova.

Just yesterday, Mr. Ghimpu, reacting to the rest of the Alliance arguing for Moldovan soldiers attending the parade, told Radio Vocea Basarabiei that he now refuses to go to Moscow in protest of this decision. "How can I attend a parade next to the army that brought Communism to us, organized a famine, and deported us to Siberia," Mr. Ghimpu asked.

This recent debate points to the emerging conflict within the ruling Alliance as early legislative elections have now become unavoidable and will most likely take place within a year. Since the coalition is so heterogeneous ideologically, its members are likely to take divergent positions with regards to controversial issues in Moldova, like Romanian identity, foreign policy toward Russia, and position toward the Party of Communists.

It also shows the ambiguous position Moldovan society has toward World War II. Many pro-Romanian politicians and regular citizens believe the Soviet Union was an occupying force and refuse to celebrate the USSR's victory over Nazi Germany because they argue another dictatorship simply took over Moldova after World War II ended. On the other hand, many pro-Russian politicians and regular citizens argue Moldova was liberated by the Soviet forces.

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