November 22, 2022 10:11
Maia Sandu definitely holds one of the toughest jobs in the world. This woman, who always speaks in a calm voice, is the president of a country of two million people that borders Ukraine, includes a breakaway territory occupied by Russian troops (Transnistria) and is subjected to energy blackmail , to daily cyber attacks and a permanent information war. This country is Moldova.
On November 21, Sandu was in Paris for a meeting of the support platform for his country, organized by France, Germany and Romania, a neighboring country and linguistic “brother”. Europe is doing what it can to help Moldova, which has obtained candidate status for EU membership since June and is now literally living in the eye of the storm.
In 2020 Sandu was elected with a pro-European and anti-corruption agenda, which is the country’s main problem. She certainly didn’t imagine that she would end up with a war in neighboring Ukraine upending the lives of Moldovans. In fact, when Russia bombs Ukrainian infrastructure, there is also a lack of electricity in Moldova. The reception of refugees, trafficking of all kinds, threats, inflation and attempts at destabilization are by now the order of the day.
Democracy in danger
Maia Sandu is convinced that Vladimir Putin wants to open all the “fronts” he can and that one of them is Moldova. On the evening of 21 November, invited by the French Institute for International Relations, the Moldovan president declared that Russia is waging a “hybrid war” in her country to discredit the institutions, divide the population and radicalize society. “Moscow wants to change the geopolitical order and get closer to the border of the European Union,” Sandu accused her.
With the minister of the interior, another woman with a steely character, at her side, Sandu raised an alarm: “We risk collapsing”, she admitted, convinced that Moldova will remain democratic only if it joins the European Union . “Otherwise it will be very difficult.”
All the more difficult if we consider that an end to the war in Ukraine is not yet in sight. “I don’t believe in peace negotiations,” said Sandu, who was born when her country was still part of the Soviet Union. “Putin will start again six months later, he is not convinced he has lost”.
On November 21, the countries meeting in Paris announced an increase in aid to Moldova to try to make the population spend a winter without a major energy crisis.
Europe is now aware that it cannot ignore the vast revision of geopolitical maps caused by the Russian invasion. The determination of the Moldovan president bears witness to this, like the visit of another head of state to France, also on November 21st: the Uzbek president Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Uzbekistan is another significant case: located in Central Asia, the country does not have a common border with Russia but is taking advantage of the situation to diversify its international relations, hitherto dominated by that with Moscow. Uzbekistan is now turning to China (which was waiting for nothing else) and Europe to loosen the Russian grip, creating further problems for Moscow.
Putin, as we well know, is nostalgic for the defunct USSR. But with his aggressive revisionism he has obtained the opposite result to that hoped for: those who can distance themselves from Russia by asking Europe for help so as to no longer be at the mercy of the head of the Kremlin.
(Translation by Andrea Sparacino)