In an interview for TRIBUNA portal, the First Vice President of PDM, Vlad Plahotniuc, spoke about the elections, about the accusations made by Veaceslav Platon the arrest of the judges and other topical issues.
T: PDM started a very active, visible pre-campaign. It is vital for you to win the Presidential elections?
V.P.: PDM is one of the most important parties in Moldova, the most representative party in the field, so it is normal that we mobilize our forces in the elections campaign and want to achieve the best result.
At the same time, we cannot say that it is vital for PDM to win the office of the President of the Republic of Moldova, this approach is wrong. Regardless of the election results, the Party will stay strong and will continue to be the ruling party. But it is vital that none of those who have no political project for Moldovans, who only want to bring chaos and instability into the country, who in fact represent some criminals or promoters of occult interests from outside of the country, wins the elections.
During the campaign we will introduce the project and the vision of Marian Lupu for Moldova, we will prove that we are the only ones who can solve the problems faced by Moldovans. We are starting the campaign in order to give the country a good President, but also to inform the citizens about our political vision.
T: What chances does Marian Lupu have to proceed to the second round?
V.P.: The chances are very good, if we consider the last two opinion polls we have made. The trends are very good, and we all work hard so that Marian Lupu not only passes to the second round, but does it with a high score and wins.
T: What exactly do your opinion polls look like and why you are not publishing them?
V.P.: The polls show more clearly that people no longer want to believe in false heroes and parties created over night or over summer, that people are tired of accusations and wars. These opinion polls also show other important things we will take into account. PDM conducts regular surveys, not only on the eve of elections, but these are working surveys, we do not publish them because we do not want to influence people in any way. The fact is that sociological data mobilizes us and makes us confident in our victory.
T: Will Marian Lupu have the active support of the Prime-Minister Filip in the campaign, will he have the support of his colleagues in the Government?
V.P.: Our Party has the most united and liable political team. But I think that the best support our Party colleagues in the Government can provide to our candidate is not to be involved institutionally in the campaign, but to work actively at the Government, to work there, to work for the people and to obtain results. This is already enough for the people to see that PDM team is professional and efficient, and this will indirectly bring positive results to Marian Lupu in the electoral campaign. The election campaign is not a priority for the Government, the highest priority is now to sign the agreement with IMF and to perform the general cleaning campaign in the banking sector, along with other institutions.
T: Are the recent law enforcement actions helping the PDM candidate? I mean the arrest of judges, other resonant cases…
V.P.: Someone told me recently that what had been happening lately is reminding of the 2001-2002, when the system was cleaned by arresting those thieves in law who were terrorizing Moldova. However, in my opinion, the situation is different now because we do not have any thieves in law, but sophisticated criminal groups, receiving huge amounts of money, including from abroad, but there are also some similarities with that period.
As a matter of fact, any cleaning in the judiciary, or in other sectors, is helping the country, regardless of who is doing this cleaning. The important thing is to ensure it is done, to have these actions managed professionally and objectively, not to be limited to an area, but to tackle the whole phenomenon of corruption on a large scale.
T: Some say that the arrest of the judges was not possible without your approval. Did you approve it?
V.P.: I approve in advance any further actions of this kind, without even knowing what it is about. If good things like this depend on my approval, then I give my approval to make order in the country.
If there is anyone here waiting for my approval, I hope they read this interview and get to work right away, whether it is about cleaning in the customs sector, in the health or any other sectors.
But leaving any speculations behind, I am telling you definitely that, any influence I may have in my position will be used in the active support of reforms, including in the justice sector, where my or PDM’s political support is needed.
I’ve been involved so far too, starting with the installing of the new Government, when together with our coalition partners we actively supported any initiative from the Government and the IMF’s negotiation team. We have achieved a number of positive results and we will not stop here. Other complicated reforms targeting social welfare will also be launched.
T: What will happen to all these plans if PDM’s candidate does not win the elections?
V.P.: The plans will be implemented anyway, as they do not depend on who the President is. They depend on the political will of the Parliament and the support the Government has. But I think everyone understands politically and mathematically, but also at the attitude level, that Marian Lupu is the only candidate who can ensure stability, peace and an efficient collaboration between state institutions - President, Government and Parliament after the elections.
T: But what if early elections are triggered, as some candidates are announcing
V.P.: Those candidates who are saying they will trigger early elections should read the Constitution first, because they are entering the race without knowing the fundamental law and they risk making a fool of themselves. The story of early elections is nothing else but a cheap demagogy to trick the people, as they did with the protests. Their only goal when they brought the people to the protests was to create a Party, making abuse of the people and their emotions, and now they want to become Presidents by using a new trick for Moldovans.
T: Did the protests scare you?
V.P.: The protests gave two important signals. The most important one is related to some problems in the society, in particular the social issues, that the government took over.
Some of them, as you know, have been solved, others are still to be solved in the near future and they will be solved, including by some reforms we are going to launch, some of them in the immediate future, because these are issues that cannot wait until after the elections, such as the banking sector and its full stabilization.
On the other hand, the protests revealed some interconnected gangs that were acting with very obvious methods of organized criminality, consisting of shady people, politicians, officials and representatives of some foreign interests.
All these people have been gradually disclosed. For instance, before one of these groups took over the DA Platform, people had not known about the links between its members and leaders, there had been little information about their methods of action and the provenience of the illegal funds they were using.
Thanks to the protests organized by them we had the opportunity to find out a lot about those who stood behind them, they disclosed themselves, thus allowing us to avoid a stronger escalation of the situation and of the political crisis of the country. Moreover, this will allow us to be better prepared and more firm in our efforts to fight the attempts to destabilize the situation in the country.
T: Who is the person behind these groups?
V.P.: It is not necessary only one person, it is a much more complicated entity. Those groups are led by the dirty interests of their top members - the Topa clan, the Platon group, the tiny group of Renato Usatai, who are controlling some parties, journalists, and state employees, and introduced their people in the civil society in order to have a more credible access, inclusively to the diplomatic sector.
But all these things are now visible and I think that in the period to come they will become even more undisputed. What I think is truly dangerous is that they have lately proven that they can damage Moldova’s image abroad even more, by poisoning the international media with false information, which is extremely dangerous for the country.
T: Why have you never spoken about these groups and their ties?
V.P.: Let us not pretend we are naive, I am not telling you anything you did not know. What I am telling you at this moment has been seen very clearly for a long time. I am not the first one to refer to these ugly events.
T: How do you know all this, from the notebook we heard was found when Platon was arrested?
V.P.: No, I know it from the media. More precisely, mainly from the media.
T: What do you mean, from the media?
V.P.: When you want to understand better who is linked to whom and what they are planning, you just need to read the news on various websites, to make an effort and read between the lines and you already know the hidden agenda of the group I was talking about.
T: Why don’t you give the names of the journalists or the media outlets that are doing this?
V.P.: I do not want to ruin their work, they do their job well and their products are useful in a way. If they did not write, we would not know so much.
T: Then I will give you a name – Veaceslav Platon. He says that you arrested him. How do you comment his accusation?
V.P.: All those who were arrested are saying the same story. Whenever someone is arrested, they are referring to me. This is also a message and a signal, which, if analyzed beyond their victimization campaign, will help you discover useful information.
The situation with Platon is complicated and the concern for his case is truly significant among those who have participated in all his illegalities, both in Moldova and abroad, but also those who were behind him. Because it is already obvious that Platon did not manage his own money only, he simply did not have such money, he was the guy with the money laundering schemes, the one who was placing the money and funding various illegal actions.
He and his whole group are attacking me, hoping that they will intimidate me and I will do everything to help him and they will no longer accuse me. I will not give up under their psychological pressure; they can accuse me of anything they can came up with. The justice must do its work, and do it objectively and fairly, and the damage brought to the state must be recovered, the thieves and the corrupted ones should stay in prison.
What I can do is, together with the colleagues from the coalition, to support the Government and other responsible institutions to approve laws for strengthening the banking system and the measures for cleaning it, so that any other Platon who may emerge later, is not able to do the same dirty thing that these ones did. I assure you we will solve this problem in the nearest future.
T: But why hasn’t it been done in advance, we would have avoided so many serious situations?
V.P.: Because the parties were busy with the political battles, fights of arrogance, fights with imaginary enemies and outbreak of various kinds of crises. It is easy to manipulate the public opinion and to turn it against an unreal enemy, just to disguise your thefts. This is what some people have been doing lately and look at the stressed and difficult situations we got into.
However, the time doesn’t forgive, sooner or later, the people realize they have been cheated and then you suffer twice, you lose their support completely, they don’t believe you anymore, and then you also pay for the thefts you disguised behind these staged fights.
On the short term this approach may have brought someone benefits, new parties were created on the background of the confrontations, new heroes and heroines and new political stars, emerged, but on the long term the effect is disastrous for them. When the people find out they have been cheated, these heroes will end up where they belong, just like the parties built on the basis of confrontation and scandal.
I am fully aware of the mistakes made by us: by PDM, me personally, by the way we handled these virulent attacks against us, suffering damage to our image, political losses, but what is truly important is that we learn from our mistakes and now we have another approach, which gives positive results.
T: But how can you explain that the coalitions did not work until recently, but now they do?
V.P.: A number of disruptive factors no longer exist, such as the desperate fights for offices, the arrogance, the destructive competition between parties inside the coalition. The government works silently, minds its own work and doesn’t interfere with the politics unless when political support of the Parliament is sought.
T: Speaking of offices, are you going to be nominated as the Prime Minister after the elections, as I have read somewhere?
V.P.: It seems that you have read the web-sites I was referring to earlier, right? Now try to see the intentions of those behind such news and you will have all the answers you need.
I do not intend to hold any position. My priority now is to support the government in the implementation of reforms agreed with the IMF and other emergencies, to streamline the institutions. Another goal of mine is about reforming PDM and preparing for the elections in 2018. As announced earlier, PDM is going to be subject to an extensive process of modernization, after which it will be even closer to the people. These objectives are important and demanding enough to leave no room for other occupations and positions.
One thing I realized from the past six years’ experience is that it is time for parties to look and behave in line with the will of the people, not of the politicians. Classical parties in all real democracies must understand and reform in this respect, because otherwise we leave room for extremists, for people who have no capacity to rule and opportunists to make tests on citizens for their anarchic experiments.
T: What is your relationship with Igor Dodon? There are rumors that he is your candidate.
V.P.: He is not the only one in this regard. I have also seen news alleging that Maia Sandu is my candidate. All of them are mine and I support them all. I think the rating of some of them now halved after this statement.
Leaving the jokes aside, what the malevolent people did not realize yet is that the battle with the Plahotniuc myth is no longer what it was, more and more people will soon understand what this fight was really about. This is what those who built their imagre and created parties based on this war with my name are most afraid of. Because it was a war against my name, not against me.
For them these elections are the last chance, because if they lose the elections now, they will go into anonymity, people will forget them. These people understand that every achievement of the Government and every external appreciation of the government destroy the myth created around PDM and me. These people know what potential I have, they know what potential the team of PDM has and understand that if we stay in power for a sufficient period of time, we will have the ability to do good things for people and gain confidence, but this means the end of these cardboard heroes, the end of the political clowns and parties created by myths. The "I am not afraid" slogan actually hides a terrible fear that the current government might succeed to bring welfare and order for Moldovans. This is the key to interpretation of someone's desperation, and all sorts of gossip and speculation.
T: Who are the real people behind Gofman?
V.P.: Platon and the people Platon is subordinated to. He was the key man in all the money launderings made in Moldova. He fled to USA and tried to play the dissident in order to victimize himself and hide his implication in the laundering of the 20 billion US dollars, but I think everyone understood whose part he plays.
T: He has shown some documents proving that he informed the high officials about the situation at BEM.
V.P.: Anyone can draw such documents; they do not have any relevance. The important part is what actions he took and it is seen and known.
T: Is Shor your man? Do you protect him, do you use him?
V.P.: Shor, like all others involved, must be held accountable for what he has done. My name in this case is referred to by those who have done business with him, used him, and now they are upset that he testified against them, in order to label him as my person so as to discredit him and evade responsibility.
For my part, they can finger each other every day and night, say what they want, what is important is that the truth comes out and everyone is held accountable for their deeds and, of course, all money that has been stolen to be returned. Nobody should benefit of clemency or protection.
T: What do you think did Andrei Nastase say in the U.S. concerning the BEM investigation and for which institutions? He does not want to give any details, you must know it.
V.P.: What kind of details? That he flew to the U.S. and testified at McDonald’s? Let us be serious: this guy has not yet overcome the stage of a clown: you see him wandering as an insane from country to country and nobody wants to meet with him. I cannot give you a more serious answer to this question. Let him wander on about fast food restaurants in the U.S. and Europe.
T: What is your opinion about Maia Sandu? How will the government cooperate with her if she becomes the President? She has been attacking you and PDM quite often.
V.P.: I do not have any opinion, I only know she was part of two governments together with us. She did not have any objections against becoming a minister with PDM votes and even with my vote, neither in the first or the second government. All her public criticism against us emerged only after PLDM did not nominate her as a Minister. Only then she left the government and made her own party.
She must have needed attacks against me in order to create and develop her party, and I do not see any problem here; as I told you, there are some parties that were built like this. They do not have any political project, do not have any vision, they are just fighting against imaginary enemies and their leaders pretend to be saints or martyrs. But we have seen this kind of saints and martyrs before…
I do not think we should analyze the prospects of her collaboration with the government too much, because I think that “Topa” clan will take care to withdraw her from the elections or to bring her at a score as low as possible.
T: Will we have fair elections? There are already accusations from opposition that the elections could be rigged.
V.P.: The signals and speculation you speak about come from some people who have recently seen a survey where Marian Lupu and PDM have recorded a significant increase, a trend confirmed by our sociological data. The idea is that some candidates have realized that Marian Lupu will pass to the second round and use these allegations of fraud to prepare a justification of their fail. Just because we know these positive trends related to our candidate, we are the most interested in the elections to be fair and transparent.
So we understand their strategy and we will do everything for the elections to be maximum transparent and will insist on a high number of foreign observers, like never before, even if it means high costs, but it is important that elections in Moldova are strictly monitored by foreign partners.
Their victimization strategy will not succeed, nor the challenges we know they are preparing for the elections day. As you see, this is the only thing they can do, they are not capable of a political project for the presidential candidate, their only electoral weapon is whining on TV, because they have nothing to suggest, nothing depends on them, they know they cannot give people anything but words. But I think the candidates' words in this campaign will count least.
T: Why don’t you appear in the public more often, you said you would communicate with the people more often?
V.P.: No one but me can deliver my message to the people, so I communicate with them directly, through my actions and direct interactions. Sometimes I do it through the media. However, I am not in a hurry, I do not need daily appearances in the press; I do not intend to improve my image like that. I know time will solve everything, including my image; this process has already begun, so I do not have any reasons to force these things. However, I like talking to people through my projects and the actions I take, I allow myself to follow this path, because I am not dependent of any position, I do not need to lie to the people to get their votes, I do not candidate to anything, and from this point of view I have a freedom that I cherish very much.
T: It’s been a long interview and there are many questions left, I think we should continue this interview in the nearest period.
V.P.: I do not promise that it will be very soon, I think an interview in a month is enough. I answer with pleasure when there are more topics, but I do not want to give any interview just to be present in the media.
T: Thank you for your answers.
V.P.: Thank you.