A shot from a Charlie Chaplin’s movie “The Great Dictator”
So, let’s imagine a small poor country in which the government is controlled by the oligarch-felon. He is in control of the puppet Parliament and Government, political parties, army, judicial and law enforcement systems, media. The formal power of the President is limited in a representative functions. All spheres of society are corrupt. Bribery is flourishing. Justice is selective. Criminal cases against political competitors are fabricated. The opposition are under severe pressure and forced to emigrate. Competition in business is not allowed. State assets are being plundered. The country has become a base for money laundering and drug trafficking. Unemployment. Demographic catastrophe. High mortality. The population lives below the poverty line and is forced to leave the country massively for earnings. The rights of national minorities are being violated. Democratic institutions are used only as a screen for dictatorial actions of the unscrupulous ruler of the country. Ambitious dictator even has bored to be a behind-the-scenes player and now he appoints himself the leader of the ruling Democratic party. Makes foreign visits. He is accepted by the world’s strongest-leaders of States and leaders of international organizations. After all, he is the main “Democrat” of his country. A person who is an outcast in a decent society tries to look white and innocent in the eyes of the international community by all truths and untruths.
What country is it? Haiti under the Duvalier government, or Zimbabwe under Mugabe? No. This is Europe. XXI century. The Republic of Moldova under the gangster criminal oligarch, an informal host of the country, Vladimir Plahotniuc.
But here everything seems to be in order with the dictator-oligarch, he has got everything but the love and respect of the people, instead he has got hatred of the people for the power and its embodiment – Plahotniuc. And this hatred, in spite of the pressure and repression is increasing day by day. And scaffold for Plahotniuc is not far off. He feels it by some animal instinct. And takes all possible means to support his regime, realizing that only in his personal Moldova he has a future. But we must be prepared for the wrath of the people and for international persecution as well. Plahotniuc is a man with a poor imagination, he uses the means that were traditionally used by petty dictators of the past and the present. He hires lobbyist firms to promote his interests in Europe and the United States. He spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on it. Pocket media of the country eulogise him. He has appeared to be a writer -he publishes articles in prestigious journals and online publications of the EU and the US-Politico, EU Observer, the Wall Street Journal, Daily Caller. And then he also does not spare money to promote his views to the international public opinion. So the article of Plahotniuc in Daily Caller was distributed by the lobby group Podesta to 200 e-mail addresses of advisers and assistants to congressmen of the USA and in the White house.
The main theme of his articles is always that Moldova is the flagship of democracy in Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet space, the guardian of European values, located at the first turn in the fight against the Russian bear. “We can’t handle this alone… the West has to help Moldova to resist aggressive Moscow” – declares Plahotniuc, referring to the United States and Europe.
Expensive articles and equally expensive visits are promoted with the help of American lobbyist companies hired by the Democratic party. Though it is not something that can be done in Europe – lobbying in Europe is outside legal field.
Plahotniuc is well aware that in a fair election to the Moldovan Parliament in November 2018, his Democratic party will gain votes within the statistical error. Therefore, despite opposition protests, recommendations of the Venice Commission, criticism of civil society and foreign partners, the ruling democratic party and the Pro-presidential party of socialists changed the electoral system in Moldova. With the help of a mixed system, Plahotniuc desires to drag his people in single-mandate districts, or then force independent deputies to enter his faction in the future Parliament of the country by threats, blackmail or bribery.
It should be noted that both the US and the EU acknowledge the Moldovan problems. And either do not want, or can not solve them, or use them to their advantage. The website of the US Department of Justice, in 2016 reports on the situation in Moldova as follows: “Corruption remains the most serious problem in the country. At that time, as the law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, the government is not efficient to comply with the legislation. And officials often engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Corruption in the judiciary and other state structures is widespread. Throughout the year the government has made progress in investigating cases of corruption involving public officials and judges. But these legal actions were mostly selective. The judicial power is corrupt and compromised. It is noted that individuals pay bribes to the police, the health care system and education. Legal entities pay bribes mostly in courts and fiscal authorities”.(2016 MOLDOVA HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT \https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/pages/attachments/2017/03/06/doshrr_2016_moldova.pdf#page=22).
In the report of Amnesty International for 2016-2017, available on the website of the U.S. Department of justice notes “the feeling of powerlessness of the population of Moldova in the face of corruption. The deterioration of living conditions continues to define the political климат”.(https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/pages/attachments/2017/02/24/ai_2017.pdf#page=254).
Plahotniuc in 2012 began to use the resource of large lobby companies, concluding contracts with them for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then being a Vice-speaker of the Moldovan Parliament, Plahotniuc signed a contract with “Potomac Global Advisors, LLC”. The company had to support Plahotniuc in participating in the International Leaders forum, which was held by the democratic party of the United States. Also, “Potomac” was to organize meetings of Plahotniuc with officials of the White House, the State Department, the Ministry of Trade and the US Congress. The democratic party of Plahotniuc is actively cooperating with the lobbyist company Podesta Group. Their goal is to get support in the US Congress and improving the Moldovan-American relations. Only in 2016, Podesta Group organized 250 PR actions for the Moldovan democratic party, including two telephone conversations with assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and correspondence with her by e-mail. In total for its services Podesta Group received 484 thousand dollars and 47,1 thousand dollars.(https://www.mold-street.com/?go=news&n=6394).
July 28, 2017 with Cornerstone Government Affairs, which works with many big corporations: Johnson&Johnson, Microsoft, Nike, Pfizer and others, and July 27 – a new contract with Podesta Group. In both cases the contract on behalf of the PDM was signed by the Secretary General of the party, Constantin Botnari. The new contract with Podesta Group is concluded for 6 months, it came into force on September 22, 2017 and is valid until March 21, 2018. For six months, the Moldovan Democrats of Plahotniuc will pay Podesta $ 120 thousand, $60 thousand for every three months. Unless the parties agree otherwise, the contract will be automatically extended on March 22, 2018.Democrats also must reimburse the lobbyists for administrative costs, to pay for travel business class, stay in five-star hotels, to cover all the costs for advertising, design, buying domain and hosting. The contract with Cornerstone Government Affairs is concluded until 31 July 2018. For one year of cooperation with USPR men, Moldovan Democrats will pay $ 360 thousand — $30 thousand each month.(https://totul.md/news/soedinennye–demokraty–ameriki–dpm–podpisala–kontrakty–s–lobbistami–iz–ssha–na–polmilliona–dollarov/).
Both lobbying companies under the terms of the contract will help to establish bilateral relations between Moldova (read – Plahotniuc) and the United States, to build communication with the target audience, including the US Congress, the Executive Power, politicians and non-governmental organizations. In the contract with Podesta Group it is written to establish a dialogue with the media. In addition, this company will conduct research and analyze issues of interest to their client. Both lobbyists pledged to hold meetings with congressmen and their subordinates, representatives of the US Executive power, politicians, journalists and representatives of non-governmental organizations for the Democratic Party of Moldova.
In 2017, the democratic party of Plahotniuc signed a contract with the European lobby company Burson-Marsteller. This company is the second most influential lobby group in the EU. The contract amount was not disclosed because of “commercial secret”.(http://www.moldova.org/en/democratic–party–moldova–concluded–contract–burson–marsteller–poll–services/).
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent by Moldovan “Democrats” and the criminal oligarch on lobbying their interests in the US and Europe. And this is all in a poor country with a rapidly declining population and a completely degraded economy and social sphere. The citizens of Moldova are concerned about the earning of daily bread, they are trying to somehow survive in their country. And behind their backs the odious criminal power uses everything that is possible to preserve their positions. But people’s hatred for the regime is already preparing the scaffold. Payback is inevitable.
The world ruled by dictators, oligarchs and crime – a priori not viable.