Over 30 percent of Moldovans trust a lot, and an equal number quite trust Vladimir Putin, only 13% trust Angela Merkel and 5% - Barack Obama. These are the latest data of the Public Opinion Barometer. I read, I re-read and my mood oscillates between sadness, anger and misunderstanding. Is it a wonder, a miracle, that Putin charms people or a curse on my country again? After the shock followed by rational thinking and situation analysis, we can say that it’s not about a miracle or curse. There are historical, social, anthropological and emotional explanations.
People have always needed idols, protection, and security of being led by a strong and self-confident leader in all circumstances. People need models, with qualities that inspire and help them. After 1990, Moldova had such wonderful and kind people who fought for real reasons: Grigore Vieru, couple Teodorovici and many others who fought for independence, for preservation of the Romanian language and use of the Latin alphabet. I remember with pleasure the enthusiasm of those years, the joy of hope and dream together. Unfortunately, things have worsened since then. The disappointment and hopelessness were in minds and souls of people. Manipulation and lies coming from the East took over public opinion, the thoughts of many people. In tough times, like a mirage, the Moldovans always set their faces to immense Russia.
86% of Russians agree with the policy, the views and actions of Vladimir Putin. Russia is like a wounded lion after 1990. Exactly so was Germany after World War I. A wounded lion but still strong to try again to become leader of animals, will try to take revenge and attack where possible. Russia does not accept its current position. It attacked Ukraine. USSR was broken, but Russia controls completely or partially countries like Belarus, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Russia shows its teeth to the whole world and threatens Turkey and all countries who dare to do the same like Turkey.
Vladimir Putin and especially his immense propaganda apparatus managed to convince the Russians (just as in the past acted Communist Party leaders like Lenin and Stalin!) that the West is the Great Evil, that people are unhappy there, that all West and especially the US want the collapse and destruction of Russia. All these, in conditions when some people from Russia under the president’s protection, control everything and impoverish the Russian people. Russians are poor but proud and eager to become citizens of a great empire again.
Vladimir Putin, this almighty leader, showed to Russians (and to the whole world what he thinks!) that he is a super-man, a Charming Prince who rides a horse, shoots with a gun, swims, flies planes, plays hockey, practices judo and wrestling (of course, he is the winner of all these sports! Who can defeat this modern superstar!?)
When asked about the Russian leader's popularity in Moldova, there are many answers. Statistics is worrying, but it is about the feelings of Moldovans: their desire for protection, fear of the unknown, of instability. In our country, people used to wait for necessary things from others. This is unfortunately normal to a certain extent after so many years of Russian occupation and communism, where the only party manipulated by Moscow decided everything.
Though it's not a direct neighbor, Russia is close to Moldova and it can expand its protection cloak at a sign of the Big Leader. Europe and the US are far. Russia is close to Moldova and it provides "cheap" gas and it "buys" wine, fruit and vegetables, provides jobs in Moscow (reducing the number of the population and bringing suffering and split families) and especially the pride to be part of a great empire, a great culture. We are proud with Great Moldovan creators like Doga or Druta living in Russia where they are appreciated and loved.
It's so sad that over 40% of Moldovans do not see that we are at the gate of Europe by proximity with Romania and they want that Moldova joins a union that does not exist - the Customs Union. What many people do not know or do not want to see is that Europe and the US have been helping us since 1991. Unfortunately, due to political instability and corruption in our country, the investments from the west decreased in the last years, even stopped. The 2008 unsolved economic crisis and current problems faced by refugees from Middle East turned away the interests of western states in our country. In current circumstances, our country's situation is a serious one and could easily swing towards Russia. In these hard times (Moldova got to know many difficulties over its history), many people believe that Russia can save us. Vladimir Putin is the leader who can help us during winter as Russia supplies gas to Moldova. I fear that this man (of short stature, but powerful as in the legend!) can save us this winter but he can bring us to the eternal and hopeless winter of the political and economic Siberia where democracy and free press are just memories.