Shortly after the events that occurred in Chisinau, Romanians and Moldavians everywhere started to show their support and partisanship with the people of Moldova. Furthermore several manifestations of protest have been organized abroad. The Romanian communities in the US consequently joined the Romanians from Europe by organizing meetings via internet. The purpose was to bring awareness to the public, and to inform the public opinion with regards to the electoral abuses of the communist regime in Moldova. The meeting organized in Boston has proved to be the most complex and successful manifestation of the Romanians and Moldavians living in the US. The event took place Friday, April 10th at 4 o’clock p.m. in Harvard square and was initiated by the Romanian Students Association of Harvard and MIT. The were over 100 supporters of this great cause, a democratic and free Republic of Moldova. Radu Tarau, the sent-out reporter for Radio Diaspora Online, captured the highlights of the event. Emanuel Stoica and Rares Pamfil, the leaders of the Romanian Student Association of Harvard and MIT took the time to answer the questions addressed by our reporter.
Which is the purpose of this action?
E.S The purpose of this action is supporting the protesters from Chisinau and other cities from Moldova, asking for free elections and for freedom of the press that has suffered tremendously lately. Even if the democratic forces will try to recount the votes in Moldova, it wouldn’t change the situation. The opposing party needs access to the independent and national press which right now is controlled entirely by the governing party. The message of the opposition does not reach the farthest parts of Moldova.
We Need a Stronger Voice
R. P. Not only do we want to gather all the Romanians in the vicinity, we also want to make the American people aware of this political menace and encourage them to take seriously these happenings. I’ve been talking with students from New York and Washington. In Washington at this moment a similar event is taking place. By synchronizing these events we set forth a stronger voice that will say that we are beside the people of Moldova and will reach some media channels of the West, will reinforce that this is not something that can be ignored.
R.T. Will the solution be the organization of new elections or the vote recount?
E.S. The vote recount is not a solution, it’s just part of the process by which the correctness of the election can be verified, it’s a stage, I don’t think that it would solve much. The fraud didn’t happen when counting the votes, but when voting happened. Of course there is no way of proving who they voted for, the people that committed the fraud I mean. By verifying the electoral lists and gathering the fraud cases the most you can prove is that the election process was a fraud. You cannot change the outcome. According to the sociological studies the most important channels in Moldova, and here I am not referring to Chisinau where there is a variety of news in place, are the national tv channel Moldova 1 and a Russian channel. The tv channel Moldova 1 is entirely controlled by the leading party. The news portrays the opposition in a negative way. It is hard to have an accurate image when watching Moldova 1.
R.P. The recount of the votes could confirm the victory of the communists during the elections. On the long run we all wish there were a victory of the liberals, of the opposing party. I don’t know if organizing new elections is something doable as long as the West, the O.S.C.E. or other organizations that could say something are not pressuring in this direction.
R.T. The results are absolutely different from what the expectations were?
E.S. After all, all the manifestations are sprouting from this. people have sensed that change has occurred in the Moldavian society, that the majority of the people was not voting for the communist party. When they saw the results they were shocked.
The US and EU Did Not Take a Firm Enough Position
R.T. The US and Europe’s reaction in support of Russia’s position was disappointing
E.S. Indeed the reaction of the West was pale. The were a few European members of the parliament that have commented harshly the situation in Moldova, and it’s good that they did. the events have captured the attention of American newspapers. There have been several articles in New York Times and The Economist referring to the situation in Moldova. After more then 10 years The Republic of Moldova is in the midst of international mass-media.
R.T. I am not sure that US and Europe were in support of Russia’s position, but they didn’t adopt a firm enough position regarding the issues raised by the Moldavian protesters. I think that the fact that the protest was so violent from the get go made possible an ambivalent reaction coming from the West, from the press, and from the politicians of Bruxelles. Maybe if in the following days the events develop calmly more people will participate and the purpose of the protest will be more clear.
R.T I notice that there are participants of other nationalities?
E.S. There are people that found out about the situation in Moldova by reading publications such as New York Times, they came to support us and we appreciate the fact that they came.
R.T. Among Romanians there is a belief that the young Moldavians’ drive to go out in the street was due to the fact that Romania is already a EU member and the solution to their problems would be achievable if united with Romania.
E.S. In Chisinau, and generally in Moldova, the youth looks toward Romania and has high expectations such as citizenship and I hope that Romania will step forward regarding this matter. There are signs that the situation will change and it won’t be fabricated the way it has been until now. The unification with Romania is the natural step. Maybe is not best suited to say that everybody wants this in Romania and Moldova, it would not be true to say it. It is an ideal to consider, and it would have to be done in a thoughtful and careful way. What is imperative now is something else. The government wants to blame the opposition of the above mentioned saying that they have a state that they are trying to strengthen and some young people manipulated are coming from outside and trying to demolish what was built.
R.T. Which will be the result of the events in Chisinau?
E.S. I hope that the elections will be held again and that the opposition will have success with the main media channels in Moldova. These are two pragmatic issues which hopefully will be finalized. I do believe that Romania will have to act tactfully and in a smart way because so far it is unclear whether Romania has a strategy regarding this situation.
Harvard Law School Student Joining the Moldavian Cause
R.T. What made you participate and support a cause that has nothing to do with you country?
Bakhtiar Hajyev: I think it is mine because I share the same values with the courageous people who stood up for freedom and democracy in Moldova. I also believe that as all other free nations, our nations, the nations of post-soviet countries (Moldova and Azerbaijan) also deserve democracy and a in free society, with free elections and freedom of opinion. I was surprised when I heard about this events both in Moldova and around the world and I’ve decided to come and support democracy and democratic values.
R. T. Surprised about the turnout?
B. H. Surprised about the turnout here, surprised about the turnout in Moldova, I was surprised about the reaction in Moldova because I was in Moldova three years ago and my first impression was that Moldova will be the last post-soviet country to stand up for democracy but I was surprised positively that they the stood up before other nations.
R.T. You would think that communism is something outdated how come is still hanging on in places like Moldova?
B.H. I think it is part of the geo-political game. Sooner or later these nations will express their freedom and free will and they will gain their democracy.
R.T Romania and Moldova, two countries with the same language and the same flag, do you think that at some point what happened to Germany will happen to Romania and Moldova?
B.H. When I was in Moldova three years ago I met the Moldavian president Vladimir Voronin and My impression was not negative. When I talked to students in Moldova their reaction was that they had to be united with Romania. After this recent protest in Moldova I contacted my friends to check whether they are safe or not and there was a comment that we Moldavians are Romanians occupied by Russians. Again, it is up to the Moldavians and the Romanians if they decide to unite that can happen if not it is again their choice. But they have to have a choice to make a choice.