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24 martie 2020 - Special reports - Weekly review

D.S.M. WEEKLY REPORT - Main Political and Military Developments (WEEK 12 of 2020)

Sandu Valentin Mateiu

I. GLOBAL. Coronavirus economic and political impact. II. REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA. The Democrat Party joined Igor Dodon’s Socialists in the government. III. TURKEY / EUROPEAN UNION and UNITED STATES. The crisis fades away. IV. RUSSIA / HUNGARY. Hungarian Foreign Minister visits Moscow. V. Developments to track this Week 13 of 2020.

Sursă foto: Mediafax

English version by Mircea Mocanu

We see ourselves in an unusual all-out war, therefore responsibility is the key word for each of us. To the frontline personnel, from doctors and nurses to ambulance drivers, police and customs workers, those who face the danger of being themselves contaminated, we heartfully offer our huge admiration and gratitude for the courage they demonstrate each day. While congratulating our countrymen for the way most of them comply with the new rules, we call: 1) on the irresponsible, those who got used to jaywalk outside the law, to learn now, in the thirteenth hour, to be citizens, for their sake and the sake of everybody around them; 2) to imbeciles: to stop spreading rubbish, because false information can kill! Any fake news, any rumor, any exaggeration, any stupid notion broadcast to the public can only make people ill-react, panic, get out of the house, and, with multiplying social contacts, they will increase the virus spreading rate. Therefore, stay home and obey the authorities!

I. GLOBAL. Coronavirus economic and political impact.

Virus spread. While China managed to somewhat contain the epidemic, Europe became the pandemic focal point, with Italy in a critical situation. On average, Europe is doing still acceptable (considering…) but the worst is yet to come: the number of contaminated individuals will increase, with everything linked to that, before reaching a maximum. Almost all countries took measures to strongly limit population mobility, thus reducing the number of social contacts and contamination probability. All governments must find the middle way between limiting the virus spread and freezing the economy. The efforts of limiting virus spreading are made in order to preserve the national health system capacity (our only chance, as a vaccine might be produced, apparently, only after several months). Meanwhile, freezing the economy, combined with other decease effects, might lead to an economic recession.

Romania. The first shock wave is already gone, and the contamination rate is low; therefore, the health system can still cope with the situation[1]. However, the number of new Covid 19 cases is increasing, with first seven deaths in two days, and the peak was not reached yet, the point of inflexion after which one can say that the epidemic goes downhill. The general feeling is that situation is under control, and this helps a lot for further population compliance of isolation rules, those rules securing the limitation of epidemic spread.

Europe. In the initial race of virus spreading mitigation measures, there were two opposite phases: first, each nation rushed to take the national necessary measures, with little attention to European synchronization; then, consultations started at EU level, both those regarding EU border closing (respectively Schengen zone), and, especially, the economic measures. Perhaps, as the situation settles, including in Italy, the country most hit by Covid 19, cooperation at EU level will increase, both within virus spread limitation measures, and regarding the economic measures. 

Global. China managed to contain the virus spread with measures which only a totalitarian regime can implement quickly. The model is replicated as much as possible by other nations, and this is the reason for declaring the state of emergency: limiting the citizen rights… in order to protect them. Currently, Europe is the pandemic focal point, but authoritarian states, in absence of democracy advantages but also lacking the Chinese totalitarian perks, begin to face serious problems (Iran). Caught in the “cyclone eye”, with Italy so close to us (Romania), global aspects (less the economic issues, which might afflict us) are too far to consider, compared to the tragedy we started to live each day.

Very likely, the fight to stop contamination will be won, both in Romania and Europe, and in the whole world. The fight objective is to keep the number of new contaminations under the limit where the health system gets overwhelmed. Then, other questions will follow: How do we continue? When will a vaccine be produced? How and how quickly can we lift restrictions? How do we face consequences, especially the economic fallout? But it is still much walk to walk. Now, let’s stay home, let’s hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

Economic and financial stimuli. Both in Europe and in the United States, economic measures are meant to keep the economy afloat during “virus time”, in conditions when worrying signs are visible: stock exchange fall, increased unemployment. We face the danger of having the economy blocked (starting with tourism and services) by broken supply chains, stock exchange fall, financial instability. Therefore, the measures included: The Federal Reserve Bank ‘made money cheap’  (diminished the interest rate close to zero), the EU suspended the Stability Pact, the European Central Bank launched a program to buy-off the bonds available in the market, economic support programs were put in place, practically money was offered (President Trump intends to offer a $1000 check to each citizen). The U.S. launched a trillion-dollar plan, the EU approved a program for grants totaling 300 billion Euros. These support programs are colossal, the financial decision-makers have a perspective on this pandemic, and this makes them apply such measures. Of course, differences appear at EU level, but, in European spirit (which is not just a simple word), a solution will be found[2]. We can only quote opinions by economic experts who foresee recession and, to a great extent, positively appreciate the already applied financial and economic measures. We can also notice that, in European cohesion perspective, the virus crisis acts as a test. The problem is that several economic responsible authorities speak about a greater danger than the 2008 financial crisis. Let be healthy and get that bridge crossed!

Russia faces a much more serious problem, even before the virus strikes hard: the effects of American sanctions add to the fall in oil prices, which is multiplied by the dispute with Saudi Arabia regarding the crude production (the Ruble plummeted). Moscow launched a massive investment program, but this long-time prepared program does not aim at relaunching the economy anymore, but just at its very survival in current conditions. One should consider that reserve money should also be used to support current budget (the planned budget tallied for $40 a barrel oil price, and now the oil price is only $20 a barrel, therefore, Russian economy has roughly half of the planned income from crude imports). Political effects in a Putinist system are immediate[3], and there is no wonder that President Vladimir Putin decided to hold on April 22nd, as planned, the essential referendum for approving the constitutional changes passed in the parliament. Russia’s economic isolation looks advantageous only at first glance, when global economic problems are not yet widespread. But they make a major disadvantage in a later stage, as Russia is all alone to face the multiple problems at the horizon.  

Political and security issues start to show. Firstly, on the background of pandemics and its economic effects, the global domestic and foreign policy dynamics dwindles, elections are postponed, some conflicts are frozen, and some tensions are calmed down, at least temporarily. Certain effects are positive: rapid political solutions are identified (Romania was appreciated for finding a quick political solution for government), the popularity of certain leaders increases (Macron swiftly surged in polls), others fall (Brazil’s President), and leaders rise at the moment level (Bavaria’s leader became the pinup figure at national level in Germany). Remarkably, Hungary positively responded to Romania’s request for securing a transit corridor for Romanian citizens returning home, who were caught at the Austria – Hungary border-crossing, as result of emergency decisions in Budapest to close the Hungarian borders. However, there are many negative effects, which will increase as social and economic problems generated or amplified by the pandemic become more and more visible.

Significantly, even during such global pandemic situation, Russia’s information war did not halt, as an EU report identifies the Kremlin’s new disinformation strategy: the broadcast fake news is attributed to other sources. In Kosovo, a political crisis was generated by the very way Kosovo responded to the coronavirus crisis: prime-minister Albin Kurti hastily dismissed the internal affair minister, in a disagreement regarding the state of emergency; hence, the government can fall, because his coalition partners are determined to not tolerate such behavior. In Israel, the opposition, which intends to submit to the Knesset bills blocking the possibility that Benjamin Netanyahu form the government or continue as interim prime minister, accuses the power that, under the pretense of coronavirus protection, denies the parliament the right to convene, in order to prevent such bills from being voted. As any crisis, this Covid 19 pandemic is a test which will reveal domestic and foreign political problems[4].

Military issues. We are still far from seeing the Coronavirus crisis downhill, especially in Europe and the Middle East. However, it is only afterwards when we will see military effects, as results of future political crises, which will revive and increase post Covid 19. For the moment, we see a slower pace: 1) NATO practically interrupted the exercise planned to be conducted in Europe; 2) the Pentagon announced that American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan is suspended. The same, in Iraq, on the backdrop of Iraqi pro-Iranian militia missile attacks, the U.S. troops would transfer to safer bases, and some of the coalition member nation withdraw their contingents from Iraq. In exchange, Russia continued its military activities: 1) two Tu 22M3 strategic bombers conducted a flight over the Black Sea; 2) in Crimea, air force and artillery exercises were conducted. However, Russia changed its priorities: it conducted a test exercise for the way Russian troops respond in the Coronavirus crisis. Let’s hope that the announced Russian military humanitarian mission in Italy will be a step forward to increasing the trust between Russia and the West.


The Democrat Party joined Igor Dodon’s Socialists in the government. What was expected to happen did happen: the charade continues, with all the team rallied in power. The domestic objective is visible: The Democrats want a share of the pie, and the advantage of exerting power takes ‘personalized’ forms: access to public money[5]. In exchange, the Democrat Party (PDM) launders the crest of an anti-reform and pro-Russian government by offering a little democratic polish and a claimed pro-European orientation. The foreign objective of this arrangement is that PDM provides a minimal pro-European shade for the governing alliance, hoping that western sponsors would close their eyes to the absence of reforms and will provide financial support. Romania was not fooled though, the Romanian Foreign Ministry sent an undoubtful message: we do not buy it as is, we wait for reforms!

This move also provides Igor Dodon a pretext for implementing Moscow’s plans at a slower pace, and diminish the Kremlin’s pressure this way, like ‘we cannot do more, because the Democrats do not agree, and we need them for convincing the EU and U.S. to pay’. It was quite a relief for Igor Dodon, as it seems, to yield the defense, foreign and reintegration ministries to the Democrats. This way, financing the National Army by the West can continue, a ‘smoke and mirrors’ operation which can be conducted to charm the EU in order to get some money, and Kozak plan implementation can lag or be postponed. The spell on the European Commission might work, because Republic of Moldova’s (RM) new strategic partner, Hungary, will likely make efforts to persuade Brussels that the anti-western Socialists are… pro-European! Therefore, this bad play now being performed in Chişinău at the expense of an impoverished population is a cloud with a silver lining.

The cooperation agreement between the Socialist Party (PSRM) and the Democrat Party of RM (PDM) was signed on March 16th. Less than half an hour after that, Prime Minister Ion Chicu appointed five ministers from PDM. The government claiming to be technocrat, but being all political and about politics instead, transferred very important ministries (from political and economic points of view) to PDM: Cristina Lesnic was appointed vice prime minister for reintegration, Oleg Ţulea – foreign minister, Alexandru Pânzari – defense, Igor Şarov – education and culture, and Sergiu Răilean – economy and infrastructure. This distribution follows the logic which brought PDM to power: by taking the Ministry of Economy, the Democrats got access to investment funds, but also promise the EU and the U.S. a minimal guarantee that would-be support money will not go down the drain; by taking over the Education and Culture Ministry, PDM gets the monkey off Dodon’s back by removing Moscow’s pressure and by keeping off the domestic pressure put by Moldovan Socialists, who push for the ideological offensive of ‘re-Sovietization and Moldovization’ in RM’s education and culture; by appointing three technocrats (more or less) for reintegration, foreign affairs and defense, the regime seeks to revive the cooperation with the West, because the west is where the money comes from. The three new ministers, although created by the ‘Plahotniuc’s PDM era’, have careers suggesting they belong to the technical apparatuses of these ministries, which has the nature of providing hopes they will truly serve the RM interests. The appointment of Oleg Ţulea, former ambassador to Hungary indicates the Chişinău regime’s strategy of conquering Brussels with support from Budapest (which is determined to be ‘the European advocate of a non-European government’). The same, the appointment of a professional, Eugen Caras as ambassador to Washington, shows that Igor Dodon seeks to reestablish vital traditional links with the United States, also in order to secure RM financing from the West.

As expected, the two parties presented the agreement as reopening the path to European integration. PDM leader Pavel Filip declared that “PDM role in this government is clear – to secure the implementation of the EU Association Agreement, rapprochement to the European Union, maintaining territorial integrity, energy security, continued strategic partnership with the United States, maintaining good relations with neighboring Romania and Ukraine. And I assure you we will keep our word”. One can be reluctant about these, since the declared objective is secondary and must not impact on the main objective: dipping into the power jar for clan interests, albeit in complicity with the Socialists. The declaration of Socialist leader Zinaida Graceanyi is funny: “this new agreement is based on the former agreement signed by PSRM with the ACUM bloc”. Beyond obvious manipulation, Graceanyi slipped the truth: “signing this agreement establishes a solid basis for governance”. It is true, the power pyramid was recovered by bringing the PSRM – PDM complicity to legality through a governing agreement. The only problem is how to convince the West of the opposite, knowing that the real political basis of this agreement is blocking the democratic and pro-European reforms which might jeopardize the status of PSRM and PDM elite.

Maybe the power also counts on PDM to convince Brussels and Washington that, in a geopolitical perspective, RM resumed the balanced itinerary between the East and the West, and Igor Dodon pro-Russian adventure is about to be moderated. In fact, again, RM is led by a non-European post-Soviet elite and this ‘problem’ plays its cards of its own ‘problem’, Transnistria, thus counting on geopolitical benefits from the Russia vs. the West dispute. Remarkably though, in perspective, the pro-Russian path that Igor Dodon is pushing RM will never end. An indication is the fact that dismissed ministers were recovered by the RM Presidency (they went back to previous positions as councilors). Basically, the new government has a clear mission, which is renewing the promises of implementing reforms in view of reopening the money flow from the West, in order to secure RM’s economic survival. Later, this should allow Igor Dodon to win the presidential elections and then allow PSRM and PDM win the parliamentary elections (being previously away from power, PDM became irrelevant in the polls).  

As usual, Romania and its Romanians (including those across the Prut, with Romanian citizenship) are lucky: the situation got clear in Chişinău. Now, we see the whole pyramid of power reunited in government, where it will do what it knows best (will use public money in its own interest) and will request support from the West. In the meantime, they will maintain RM in the grey area, where there is no rule of law, and will pay attention not to upset Moscow (especially the Socialists, PSRM being a party created to serve Russia’s interests). Now, Bucharest sees clear waters in RM[6] and has the chance to escape consequences of near past mistakes: in Chişinău, a blast from the past is in power and the pro-European forces are in opposition, and these pro-Europeans cannot be accused of being unionist, which used to be the worst in RM.

At the end of the day, the problem is clear. Despite our current problems, Romania’s government should consider systematic support for RM citizens during the coronavirus crisis, through aid directed to hospitals and population (not through money sent to the power in Chişinău, because they might turn into… al-terrain cars and new villas). At EU level, Bucharest might show interest in the ACUM position, as ACUM coalition was the pro-European party overthrown from government by the current power, who requests EU support, as Russia has big cash-flow problems (see above).

III. TURKEY / EUROPEAN UNION and UNITED STATES. The crisis fades away.

Due to circumstances or not, the crisis triggered by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with NATO and the EU, respectively with the United States, but especially with the European heavyweights, faded away. A videoconference with the European heavyweight leaders opened the path to an agreement, albeit fragile. Later, in the coronavirus context, Turkey closed its borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Also, the declarations offered by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo showed that Ankara and Washington started to talk the same language. However, this is only an initial phase in overcoming previous tensions, and Ankara should review its attitude if it wants better relations with the U.S. and the EU. This is quite difficult indeed, because nothing changed in Turkey. Anyway, EU leaders showed Recep Erdoğan how much he can push it with the EU. For Russia, this détente between Turkey and the West is a failure of Moscow’s strategy of removing Erdoğan’s Turkey away from the U.S. and the EU, respectively weakening NATO. In addition, as Mike Pompeo suggested, Moscow should respond whether it is accountable for the death of 34 Turkish soldiers in Idlib.   

The migrant crisis that Recep Erdoğan triggered against the EU ended. Assisted by his ministers, Turkish President Recep Erdoğan had a videoconference on March 17th, with three of his European counterparts: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They discussed “the Syrian crisis and migration, as well as common measures against the Coronavirus pandemic”. Also “humanitarian actions for Syrian refugees in Idlib” were discussed. British Prime Minister participated, although UK is no longer an EU member nation and UK was not threatened by Erdoğan with the ‘migration wave blackmail’. Britain preserves good relations with Ankara, and probably served as mediator. However, high-ranking British officials visited the Turkish-Syrian border in a fact-finding mission on the Syrian refugee situation. 

On March 18th, German sources announced that, after the meeting, an increase in European Union financial support for Syrian refugees was decided, according to the 2016 agreement, and the money would be transferred to Turkey. After the videoconference, Angela Merkel specified that Ankara was warned about complying with the agreement signed with the EU regarding the refugees. Meanwhile, the long-time suspended negotiations regarding the EU-Turkey customs union will remain on hold. Merkel stressed that the most important thing, in this moment, is providing humanitarian aid to the refugees in Idlib, and she reiterated, an agreement with Turkey, that only a political solution would lead to solving the conflict in Syria. In the same time, as planned, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavuşoğlu and his EU counterpart Josep Borrell discussed ways to implement and upgrade the 2016 agreement regarding the refugees. Later, Ankara announced it closed Turkey’s border with Greece and Bulgaria, “in the context of measures to stop coronavirus spreading”. Thus, profiting another crisis, the pandemic, President Erdoğan decided to end the migrant crisis.

The videoconference between European heavyweight leaders and Turkish President brought a certain détente between Ankara and the EU, but the consequences are not clear yet. It is sure that Turkey closed the borders with the EU, that Europe will pay more to Turkey for helping the refugees, and that EU - Turkey negotiations on a customs union will be resumed. Perhaps it was the unitary European reaction that convinced Erdoğan that it was probably the time to slow down, especially that Ankara remained alone to face Russia, the ‘friend’ who humiliated him in Moscow by literally leaving him to wait at the door, and who sent Tu 22M3 strategic bombers toward the Bosporus in order to remind him about waiving the Montreux Convention stipulations (according to this treaty, Ankara is entitled to close the Straits for Russian submarines based in the Black Sea which cross into the Mediterranean Sea for combat missions, not for repairs).

Turkey’s relations with the United States. On the backdrop of major divergences between Ankara and Moscow regarding Syria, the declarations offered by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are relevant for understanding the new perspective of Turkish-American relations. On March 18th, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted to Mike Pompeo’s statements: "Regretfully, in a bid to drive a wedge between Russia and Turkey, who are cooperating in Syria, US officials even resort to plain lies”...  that "Russia has killed dozens of Turkish military personnel" in Syria. In fact, Pompeo had declared that “probably, Russia killed dozens of Turkish soldiers in Idlib”. He also announced new sanctions against several Syrian officials. Moscow can be sure that, as soon as Washington has airtight evidence that the air attack which killed 34 Turkish soldiers was conducted by Russian aviation, the United States will accuse Russia without hesitation. The most important is that, after an interlude of disputes, the United States speaks about concrete measures to support Turkey in Syria.

IV. RUSSIA / HUNGARY. Hungarian Foreign Minister visits Moscow.

Hungarian Foreign Minister’s March 18th visit to Moscow provided the opportunity for discussions on economic issues. These issues were Hungary’s gas supply and the Kremlin’s assurance that Budapest would work within the EU for lifting the sanctions imposed by Brussels to Moscow in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Thus, Péter Szijjártó declared: “Hungary traditionally has a major interest in maintaining effective cooperation with Russia, based on mutual respect. Just as the Western European countries aim to do, except that we speak sincerely about this”.

According to Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, Hungary will purchase from Gazprom 2.2 billion cubic meters of gas this year, and a contract was signed regarding the delivery of 1.5 cubic meters of gas starting with 2021. Negotiations for supplementing this quantity to 4.2 billion cubic meters were also initiated. He underlined Hungary’s interest that this gas should be transited through Turkish Stream (according to Moscow’s plans to by-pass Ukraine) beginning the end of next year. In this respect, Hungary is ready to start building a 15-kilometer segment to the Hungarian – Serbian border, to allow the transit of 6 billion cubic meters of gas. The two underlined that both parties have previously agreed to try minimizing the effects of sanctions introduced by the EU against Russia. Other cooperation projects were discussed too, especially in food industry, and they underlined the negative trend in bilateral trade was overcome. Péter Szijjártó stressed two common Russo-Hungarian projects in Syria, worth 350 000 Euros, in support of Christian communities persecuted in Syria.

Firstly, let’s notice Budapest’s energetic and coherent foreign policy, yet rather duplicitous: in the same time, Hungary forces the EU framework and favors Russian projects of by-passing Ukraine. This course of action will likely upset the United States, who already asked Bulgaria to stop the works for Turkish Stream; therefore, the pipe segment in Serbia and that segment announced by Szijjártó do not have a perspective yet. Also, Budapest’s policy of courting Moscow, both for economic and foreign policy interests, is coherent, without being traditional though, as it is claimed. The statement regarding the lack of sincerity by the West is wrong: of course, all Europeans want to have good relations with Russia, but what can you do to cope with Moscow’s blatant aggressions but impose sanctions? Isn’t it strange that Viktor Orbán’s Hungary, which talks about the need for good relations between the West and the East, is regarded with mistrust by almost all its neighbors, let alone the deep mistrust of western Europeans. Additionally, the concern about Christians all around the world showed by Budapest in cooperation with Russia in… Syria, can be regarded in a wider perspective: the target of such endeavor can be the American conservative evangelical circles, who can help Hungary to reach the United States support for Budapest projects, some of which might be not very Christian.

Apart from all this, let’s hope that EU relations with Russia will improve, and Hungary’s role in this regard will be recognized. The problem is that Ukraine should remain independent and sovereign, which does not seem to be a concern for Budapest, when it launches foreign policy projects in the east.

V. Developments to track this Week 13 of 2020.

► UKRAINE. The appointment of a General Prosecutor cleared the air: there is a small restauration in view of harmonizing current power with the oligarchs, but also with the system itself (oligarchs in uniform, as the former general prosecutor called them, those who make fortunes by abusing the position of state prosecutors). Let’s see the reaction by the West, considering that the new general prosecutor is an ‘apparatchik’, her husband claiming he was the one wheeling and dealing in the institution she used to lead. Perhaps the United States will be silenced regarding the investigations due to begin on Poroshenko’s henchmen, and, especially, regarding the company where Joe Biden’s son used to work. This is a risky policy though, forgetting the promises made to Ukrainians that justice would begin to work in service of the people.

► IRAN / UNITED STATES. Iraqi pro-Iranian militias continue missiles attacks against bases where American soldiers are billeted, and Iran gains courage: Tehran announced it revenged and would continue to revenge General Soleimani’s death. Counting that the United States is busy with the Coronavirus, and being subjected to new sanctions, Tehran is likely attempting to overcome its own domestic economic crisis (the little oil Iran was able to export is sold for peanuts) and the trust crisis (its own reaction to coronavirus was slow and ineffective). The U.S. will likely respond tougher than before. For the moment, Washington will likely be more restrained, because the Iraqi Parliament is to vote a pro-American prime minister, who might limit Tehran’s political influence in Iraq. In addition, Iran has another problem, which is Lebanon, where the Saudi and western economic support ended, after the Hezbollah saw its policy successful in dominating the political stage. Lebanon went default and will take the problem to the IMF. 

Probably for domestic reasons, Iranian President Rohani made the mistake of bragging about Iran’s revenge and further revenge for the death of General Soleimani. He is terribly wrong if he thinks President Trump will tolerate that Tehran admitted aggressive actions committed by Iraqi militias under its control. During a recent press conference, Trump and Pompeo stopped just shy of openly accusing Iran for these attacks.

► ISRAEL. Benny Gantz was appointed to form the government. In the parliament, the opposition is preparing bills meant to preclude Benjamin Netanyahu from being prime minister. The Netanyahu grouping reacted by preventing the Knesset from convening, in the context of Coronavirus pandemic. There is only a delay which shows the difficult situation Netanyahu finds himself in: as soon as he loses his power, even as interim prime minister, as he is holding right now, his fall becomes certain. This explains why the opposition denied the information launched by Netanyahu, that a solution was found during the negotiations held between ‘White and Blue’ and Likud (of course, such solution keeps Netanyahu in the driver seat).

[1] This is the reason for limiting social contacts: to reduce contamination rate in order to keep the health system in control of the situation. Nations in Eastern Europe have an additional reason to be firm in imposing strong measures: their health systems have multiple vulnerabilities, ranging from low number of personnel to poor health infrastructure.

[2] ‘Coronavirus’ European bonds are considered, but this means sharing the burden, which is not palatable to Germany and the Nordic member nations.

[3] Opposite to western democracies, the Kremlin shows off as being the providing entity for the citizen. Therefore, when the regime stops providing, the citizen discontent is fended towards the power, regardless the real economic or other objective causes.

[4] Serbian President Aleksandr Vučić’s outburst speaks volumes about his attitude towards the EU: while thanking China for aids provided in support against Coronavirus, he rhetorically asked “where is the EU with aid for us?” Well, the EU was busy in Italy (where all aids coming from China to the EU were directed), because in Italy the situation was much worse than in Serbia! However, perception rules, and the EU lost face by denying Belgrade a minimal sympathetic support.

[5] This support is extracted, with persuasion, from western sponsors, using the ‘poor people’ argument, although he eventually turns into… 4by4 cars and villas for the ‘sons of the people’, those who flourished in Soviet times and who aggregated all kinds of opportunists.

[6] Considering that in Chişinău there will be no evolution, only a charade, a streak of actions meant to hide stagnation, we will focus, in the future, on real problems, those that RM population faces. This should be Romania’s main concern, as the political regress in Chişinău is predictable, as well as irrelevant, in the general picture.