I interviewed a parliamentary deputy of the Socialist Party yesterday, it was a relief because I was starting to think it would never happen. Persistence works I guess. I’m meeting the Communist Party spokesperson today. I’ve put a lot of effort into reading about these elections and have already started writing an article, I really hope someone runs with it.
As part of this I bought a Moldovan SIM card on pre-paid plan. It turns out you can’t actually call people on a roaming tariff here, not on giffgaff anyway.
The Socialist Party worries me. Yesterday I said this country looks a lot like Italy, well that’s also true for the politics. The Italian ‘road to socialism’ was paved with reforms, strategic concessions, alliances of different social groups. They won power in elections, and lost it in elections too.
In Moldova 8 years of communist government hasn’t made any visible impact on the country. They ensured adequate funding for basic welfare (education, health, housing), kept the retirement age at 62, and even had a little privatisation programme. Nothing revolutionary, and for all the talk of democracy they were forcibly ejected from power in 2009 by a right-wing street movement. However, they have preserved and cultivated a general sympathy among the population.
The socialists come in as a party which takes advantage of that positive attitude, while mixing in a large dose of nationalism and ‘traditional values’. Maybe that’s appropriate here, but it still bothers me.
Since I had some time before the interview I visited the national art museum. It’s a bit of a mess, I got in through a side door and was shown through two galleries before being told that the rest of the museum is just down the road.
The 19th century paintings were nothing new, portraits of aristocrats sitting bolt upright with eyes glazed over. Slightly chubby ladies holding babies, eating fruit, and wearing impractically small amounts of clothing. The 20th century paintings also had the standard social realist fare: woman teaching another woman to read, workers on the collective farm. There was one painting of two priests smoking, I don’t see why it would be controversial, there’s nothing in the bible saying priests can’t smoke. Lastly there was the soviet modernist stuff: photos pasted into paintings, simplified figures, exaggerated colours, repetition of patterns. Not a waste of time, but nothing inspirational either.
I slept badly, someone in the bed next to mine in the hostel left for a flight at 4am and made loads of noise. Same problem last night, heat and noise kept me awake.