Pro-EU/Russia protesters set for clash on the streets of Chișinău

Politics - May 24, 2023

Ever since taking power, two years ago, the pro-European government in Moldova has generated the resentment of the Kremlin-backed opposition parties.

In the context of the financial difficulties encountered by the small non-NATO neighbor of Romania, the political forces of runaway oligarch Ilan Şor (a party named simply ŞOR, after its founder) and the Party of Moldavian Socialists (PSRM) have been at the forefront of organizing protest demonstrations.

The casus belli? Higher energy prices and inflation that ŞOR and PSRM blame on the pro-EU government that is refusing to buy Russian gas since last year.

And while many Moldavians considered this a fair price to pay in order to break free from the Kremlin’s sphere of influence, those enrolled in the opposition have spent the last few months taking to the streets and demanding the resignation of the pro-EU government and sitting president, Maia Sandu.

The followers of the socialist party, who is now the second largest force in parliament, but hastily eroding in opinion polls, claim to be nationalists, in a newly found (but not very credible) attempt to distance themselves from the pro-Russian image.

However, their popular support is dwindling in favor of the new ŞOR Party, who is not only vacuuming the socialist voters as far as opinion polls are concerned, but also managing to organize significantly big demonstrations. The acolytes of Ilan Şor are openly pro-Russian, and they are demanding Moldavia’s return under the bear, whom they say will keep it safe. To take things even further, they consider the national language should be none other than Russian.

Besieged by nearly daily ŞOR protests, pro-EU President Maia Sandu called for a national rally of all Moldavians who believe in an European future, on the 21st of May. In response, ŞOR also called on all its supporters to take to the streets on the very same day.

The ground is set for extremely high tensions in the capital of Chişinău, context in which the EU is sending an anti-coup mission in hopes of preventing a violent overthrow of the government.

What will happen on the 21st of May in the small ex-soviet Republic that is now slowly breaking free, in a de facto manner, is uncertain. What is certain is that things are bound to happen.