Publication: Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 83

The Communist takeover of power in Moldova has suddenly turned that European poorhouse into a beacon for international Communism’s remnants. High-level delegations of Communist parties from some twenty countries converged on Chisinau on April 20-22 to attend the celebratory congress of Moldova’s Party of Communists.

The ideological postulates, rhetoric and symbols, resuscitated during this event, faithfully reproduced the congresses of the “world communist movement” that used to be held in Moscow before 1985. Familiar mannerisms, too, were there again, with foreign and local speakers giving the clenched-fist salute on stage against the backdrop of a giant Lenin portrait. Almost all the speeches at the congress and during associated events were made in Russian.

The Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani delegations were headed by those parties’ respective first secretaries: Gennady Zyuganov, Petro Symonenko, Panteleimon Giorgadze, Vladimir Darbinian and Ramiz Ahmedov. Also attending were Communist delegations from China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Serbia, Greece, Spain, Portugal and other countries, some 400 foreign delegates in all.

The Azerbaijani Communist leader launched a formula which other delegates to the congress and Moldovan Communist President Vladimir Voronin adopted instantly: “Moldova has become a second Cuba, the Cuba of Europe.” Just as Cuba–speaker after speaker asserted at this congress–has been “resisting American imperialism,” so will Moldova henceforth “set an example of resisting capitalist encirclement in Europe;” and will likewise “hold out with the help of world progressive forces.”

Zyuganov was treated as the most senior figure among the fraternal parties’ leaders. He in turn made a point of walking about arm in arm with Symonenko and Voronin and consulting with them repeatedly during the congress, thereby elevating those two above the others in the international communist pecking order. In a keynote speech, Zyuganov attacked the “unipolar world order” and linked the efforts to thwart “unipolarity” with the efforts to “reintegrate the former Soviet republics.” He hoped aloud that the Communists’ “victory in Moldova marks a starting point toward bringing the Soviet republics together again.”

The special deference to Symonenko reflected expectations–which were fulfilled within days–that his party would supply the critical mass needed to topple the Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko. In his address to the congress, Symonenko termed Yushchenko and the Ukrainian national-democrats “American creatures and interlopers.” Symonenko made it a “point of honor for the Ukrainian Communists” to follow the Moldovan comrades’ example in using parliamentary mechanisms to ascend to power. “What has happened in Moldova–he concluded–“will ineluctably happen also in Ukraine irrespective of the wishes of world imperialist forces.”