Was it another U.S.-inspired coloured revolution, such as the ones in Georgia and Ukraine? But why would the West decide to topple Vladimir Voronin, Moldova's pro-European leader who irritated Moscow so much that it imposed economic sanctions on Chisinau in 2002? If it was a clever ploy of someone inside the country trying to seize power, why were the protesters so ill-prepared for their initial success? And why, instead of taking their occupation further, did they just smash the furniture and put up Romanian flags?
Russian state television interpreted the events in Moldova as a failed coloured revolution, showing a photo of one of the protesters wearing an "I love Obama" T-shirt and interviewing numerous conspiracy theorists, who explained the "technology" of managing the mob, allegedly invented in the West by some evil manipulators. Using lots of old footage, these reports went as far back as the 1968 general strike in France, which was given the dubious honour of being called the first coloured revolution.
"I was not impressed by these reports and comments," said Valery Khomyakov, the general director of the Council on National Strategy. "They smacked of a desire to please the country's leaders, some of whom continue to be concerned about a possibility of a rerun of the 2004 Ukrainian events in Russia. But there was no real conflict inside the ruling elite. ... Obviously, there was no money involved, since the protesters did not have tents or food to keep them through the night. The real reason for the riots was the critical state of the Moldovan economy."
"Instead of NATO encroaching or a change of strategic balance with the United States, Russia should fear a sudden destabilisation in the countries on its fringes," said Khomyakov.
The riots also achieved the opposite of what the other coloured revolutions aimed for. Moldova now seems further away from democracy than just a few weeks ago.
Vladimir Voronin and his Communist Party appear to have been strengthened by the riots, while the leadership of the breakaway region of Transdnestr is now less willing to compromise than ever.
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