Experts warn that playing on old East-West rivalries may backfire for pro-Russian Socialists in Moldova’s July election.
Moldovans face one election in July, but two competing campaign narratives.
On the left, the pro-Russian parties are framing the upcoming parliamentary poll in terms of nationalism and Moldova’s geopolitical position, while to their right, the pro-European camp lined up behind President Maia Sandu says it is all about the fight against corruption.
Opinion polls point to a win for the latter, potentially handing Sandu the friendly parliament she so badly needs to pursue reforms and undertake a promised overhaul of the Moldovan judiciary, seen as key to modernising the country and dragging it out from Russia’s orbit and closer to the European Union.
In branding Sandu and her camp as “puppets” of the West and promising an alliance of parties on the left, Igor Dodon, Sandu’s predecessor as president and the leader of the pro-Russian Socialist Party, “is trying to frighten citizens into thinking that tomorrow Moldova will be occupied by Romania and then by NATO” if the right wins, said political expert and former deputy foreign minister Valeriu Ostalep.