Translator’s note: Alexander Roshko is a revolutionary socialist and former political prisoner in Moldova. Representing the party Our Home is Moldova (Red Bloc), he is standing for mayor of the capital, Chisinau, in the elections scheduled for May 20, 2018. In this recent interview, Roshko explains his reasons for running and his party’s program to aid the working class of the city.
Interview with Alexander Roshko: ‘There must be uncompromising people at the head of the capital’
May 15: From the IPN interview series with all candidates for the mayor of Chisinau: Alexander Roshko, candidate of the political party “Our Home is Moldova.”
|Alexander Roshko (second from left) with supporters at
Victory Day celebration in Chisinau, May 9, 2018.
Photo: Artyom Skvortsov
Alexander Roshko: First of all, it was determined by the fact that in our country power is being usurped by an organized criminal group, headed by Plahotniuc, and which is called the Democratic Party. This led me to be more active in politics, in opposition to the current regime.
For this active civic and political position, for organizing protests against the oligarch, we were persecuted, called extremists, presented as criminals in the media affiliated with the regime. For this activism and harsh criticism of the system, we spent six months in prison and to this day we are limited in our citizens’ rights. For example, to this day, along with other colleagues in the so-called “Petrenko Group,” I have no right to participate in protest actions.
At the same time, they led me to make this decision, along with my party comrades, who advanced me to represent “Our House is Moldova” in this election. Elections for us are an instrument to bring our message to people. We believe that we need to use every tribune to inform citizens about the real causes of the disaster and degradation, in which not only the capital, but also the whole country, has been embroiled.
IPN: Why do you think voters should support you in the May 20 elections?
AR: We are absolutely convinced that uncompromising people, uninterested in different dubious schemes of corruption, that is, people outside the system, those who do not play according to Plahotniuc’s rules, must come to the head of the capital. In this sense, I believe that, together with our team, we meet these conditions. We call for dismantling the criminal system. And this is possible. With small steps, we go to drive Plahotniuc & Co from power. Each drop that fills the protester pot can be ultimate and decisive.
IPN: What are the three most important issues in Chisinau and how long can they be solved?
AR: I would name four of the most important problems: Our Chisinau is not free, it is not social, it is neither green nor at all modern! To change the situation substantially we need time, to change the criminal system of government and united effort, working enormously with the whole community.
IPN: What solutions do you propose for these issues?
AR: I don’t think it would be fair to list all the points in our electoral program. There are many. For each chapter of the program the main tasks are as follows:
To have a social Chisinau:
– We will not allow the closure of educational and medical institutions in the capital, but also prevent the privatization of the assets of these institutions;
– We will force construction companies to transfer 10% of the new housing stock to the municipality for social housing;
– We will move to free public transport in the capital;
– We will introduce a new local tax for real estate and luxury goods;
– We will implement a monthly allowance system from the municipal budget for people with disabilities and retired people living below the poverty line.
To have a green Chisinau, we propose:
– Stopping grubbing up of construction parks;
– Gradual phasing out of minibuses and switching to public electric transport;
– Implementing an additional environmental tax for polluting companies;
– Compulsory recycling for all residents and economic operators of the capital;
– Ensure a major repair of the city’s wastewater treatment plants;
– Limiting the access of heavy trucks through the city, as well as vehicles in the historical center of Chisinau;
– Establishment of a culture park on the site of the former Republican Stadium;
– End the practice of killing stray animals, allocating additional financial resources for the sterilization of animals and maintenance of placement centers for stray animals.
To have a free Chisinau, we advocate:
– Creating a civil control system at all stages of decision-making by municipal authorities;
– Implementing electronic documentation, ensuring transparency and citizens’ access to any decision, document, or draft decision online;
– Reduction of the bureaucracy of City Hall by 50% for one year;
– Permanent monitoring by the municipality of respect for citizens’ rights and freedoms in medical, educational, business, and penitentiary institutions;
– Free use of municipal property for educational and cultural events, children’s circles and other civil initiatives of public interest.
To have a modern Chisinau, we need:
– Adoption of the Chisinau Development Plan with the involvement of foreign specialists in the field of urban development;
– Diminishing the territory of the municipality, leaving it in its composition, excluding urban localities;
– Demolition of illegal and self-constructed buildings will be carried out from the municipal budget;
– Preservation of the historical center, encouraging investors to restore it locally;
– Creating urban public spaces for the use of residents, their recreation and the practice of physical education;
– Free Wi-Fi throughout Chisinau.
IPN: How do you view the paid parking project?
AR: We can find the answer to this question in the experience of other major capitals and cities. We need underground and multi-level parking lots. The sidewalks are intended for pedestrians, not for cars. The sidewalks should not be used for parking spaces. It is absolutely wrong! In particular, in the historic center of the capital, cars must be an exception to the rule and not as it is currently, a common practice.
IPN: What solution do you propose for waste disposal in the city?
AR: We do not have to invent anything new in this case, just make use of the experience of other developed and big cities. The solution consists of separating waste in each household, block, and institution. The main task must not be to store waste but to process it separately.
IPN: What is at stake in this election?
AR: Plahotniuc is trying to test the new electoral system in Chisinau, Balti and several other cities. For this, they have appointed so-called independent candidates such as Silvia Radu. For this, he also tests the electoral potential of the so-called Socialists, who are currently the oligarch’s pocket opposition, and have nothing in common with the true values of the left.
IPN: Is City Hall a springboard to advance to other positions? Do you see yourself in national politics?
AR: In our country we cannot talk about true politics for as long as the state is captured by gangsters headed by an oligarch with the ambitions of a medieval sultan.
IPN: Will you also run in the 2019 local elections?
AR: I do not stand as an independent. I’m a candidate of the party I belong to. The decision is collegial. We’ll live and we’ll see.
Alexander Roshko will be number 3 on the ballot.