Publication: Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 83

Chinese delegate Cai Wu, deputy chief of the Communist Party Central Committee’s international relations department, in his address recycled the Chinese comrades’ familiar thesis about “Leninism as the theory of socialist construction in backward countries.” Moldova’s Communists, for their part, seem more interested in capitalizing on Soviet nostalgia for forging closer links to Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The congress was timed to Vladimir Ilich Lenin’s April 22 birthday anniversary. Local and foreign communists held a rally that day at the Lenin monument, which used to be located on Chisinau’s central square, but was moved in 1991 to the grounds of the MoldExpo “free economic zone.” At the rally, elderly communists and young recruits to the Komsomol joined under red flags of the Soviet Union and placards inscribed in Russian with such slogans as: “Lenin is alive–the leader of the world’s proletariat;” “We shall carry out the orders of Ilich.” Voronin and foreign delegates in their speeches expressed the hope that the example of Moldova’s Communists will be followed by fraternal parties in the post-Soviet states.

For the last ten years, breakaway Transdniester has been described as the starting point of the restoration of Soviet socialism by its proponents. That title now seems to devolve to Chisinau’s central authorities in the eyes of those same diehard proponents.

Foreign and local participants felt that Moldova’s Communists have become a “font of advanced experience” for other parties to follow in exploiting the social costs of failed economic reforms in their respective countries. A score of communist parties will keep close watch on this latest “Moldovan experiment.” If the Kremlin decides to help Moldova’s Communists, it will proceed with debt relief, energy deliveries on more favorable terms, import preferences for Moldovan agricultural produce, and investments to be presented as “rescuing” Moldovan enterprises.

While Russia can hardly afford a return to subsidizing the economy of former Soviet republics in general, Moldova’s small size and agricultural profile might favor such experimentation if political and strategic considerations prevail in the Kremlin. And that could in turn create a paradigm of Communist restoration leading to partial restoration of a trading system centered on Russia. Such a development might foster the appearances of a Russian-assisted economic recovery; but it would–if it takes hold–stop the transition to the market economy, lead to the formation of an economic bloc around Russia, isolate the newly independent countries from the international economic and political system, and seriously erode their independence (Flux, Basapress, Infotag, Itar-Tass, April 20-21, 24, 27-28; see the Monitor, March 5, 7, 9, 13, 21, 27, April 5, 9, 16, 20, 26).

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