God, it’ll be good to see the back of Vladimir Voronin. There were post-Communist leaders who were far more corrupt (Djukanovic), far more evil (Milosevic), sleazier (Iliescu), slimier (Aliyev pere), crazier (Niyazov), creepier (Nazarbayev), more authoritarian (Lukashenko), and more incompetent (Gamsakhurdia). But for all-around total tool-ness, nobody really beat Voronin. He was the decathlete of political crappiness.
Voronin was a stupid, corrupt, mean-spirited, small-minded, old-fashioned provincial Communist whose world-view was permanently frozen sometime around 1982. He hated the west, the US, the EU, Romania, the Ukraine, Turks and Gypsies. He hadn’t the slightest idea of how to run a modern economy, and he didn’t want to learn. Under his leadership, Moldova slumped from being a modestly prosperous backwater province of the Soviet Union to being in a dead heat with Kosovo for “poorest country in Europe”. It’s the most miserable country in Europe by almost any measurement. The PPP adjusted GDP is roughly that of India, and lower than the Philippines or Mongolia; one out of every five adult Moldovans works abroad.
But it’s not so much that he was corrupt and incompetent — hell, pretty much all the post-Soviet leaders were one or the other, or both. What made Voronin so unbearable was that he was a whiny bitch. Nothing was ever Moldova’s fault. It was always some outside force — the West, Romania, Ukraine, Russia (rarely, but it happened), Romania, the ungrateful ethnic minorities, the weather, “color revolutionaries”, capitalists, the CIA, organized crime, foreign agitators, and Romania.
There were things to like or at least respect about almost every post-Communist leader, no matter how crappy. Milosevic was an evil, relentlessly selfish scumbag who ruined his country, but he was a cunning political tactician and he never gave up. Iliescu was an unctuous smirking sleazeball, but he got his country through an incredibly difficult period without disaster; Romania could have done worse. Even Gamsakhurdia had a certain forlorn, cracked dignity. But Voronin? He… wasn’t an anti-Semite. Continue reading