Riding on the apathy of the masses, crony Communists rig the elections in a small, corrupt post-Soviet backwater to retain their iron grip on power. But their dastardly plans to crush democracy and draw benighted Moldova back into the Eurasian darkness are foiled by the heroic students of Chisinau.
Inspired by their boudiccan (and photogenic) figurehead Natalia Morari, heroine of past struggles against corrupt authoritarianism, they flutter out into the city center and Tweet their nation back into the light of Western iCivilization, toppling the old guard under a colorful cascade of fruits and flowers.
This is the kitschy Western narrative of color revolutions, in which electronic networking technologies marry the springtime national aspirations of peoples suppressed by corrupt satraps from Muscovy to produce a verdant and fertile liberal democracy – Atlantean outpost and bulwark against Eastern tyranny.
Yet one would have to wear rose-tinted spectacles (or read fantastic literature to excess) to subscribe to this interpretation. The Rose Revolution in Georgia withered away and died under the chill of Saakashvili’s quasi-authoritarian rule and the heat of aggressive war against Russia in summer 2008. Meanwhile, the Orange Revolution putrefied into mush, succumbing to the sickly moist of endemic chaos, corruption and economic decline that characterized Ukraine after 2005.
A dispassionate analysis of the “Grape Revolution” in Moldova reveals that its fruit was rotten from the beginning.
The Centrality of Romanian Nationalism in the Moldovan Opposition
Although it is true that many of the protesters were genuinely disaffected university students and migrants, it is also clear that certain elements were Romanian nationalists, liberast provocateurs and common hooligans.
The three parties which won 35% of the vote have a “distinct nationalistic flavor”, according to Natalia Sineaeva-Pankowska writing in Moldova: Torn between the Communists and the far right1. The nationalists criticize the Communist plans to revise ethnic Romanian-centered history textbooks to better reflect Moldova’s multi-ethnic identity and extend the Holocaust interpretations taught in schools to include the role of Romanian collaboration, from its current limitation to the “German extermination of Jews and Roma”. They favor closer ties to and reunification with Romania.