The decision of the Democratic Party of Moldova to appoint Marian Lupu as a presidential candidate was a surprise to many political analysts. Even if Lupu is de jure president of the organization, it was expected that Vladimir Plahotniuc, who is first vice president of the DPM, would be the party’s candidate. It is no secret that Lupu, who had several times compromised himself, is not popular with the mass.
The fact is that Lupu is eager to become president and this obsession made him change his political views several times in the last seven years, this time he poses as a passionate pro-European.
The path from communism to democracy and obsession for presidency
Born 50 years ago into a family of intellectuals, where he received a good education, Marian Lupu seemed to be concerned about his political career since he was young.
In 1988, when Gorbachev had started the perestroika and the national liberation movement spread throughout the USSR, Marian Lupu, aged 22, became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Having graduated from the State University of Moldova, he followed a three-year-course of post-graduate studies at the prestigious Plekhanov Academy of Economics in Moscow, and in 1991 he defended his PhD in economics, immediately after the proclamation of Independence of the Republic of Moldova. Shortly after that, Lupu managed to engage as a specialist at the Department of Foreign Economic Relations under the Ministry of Economy, headed by him seven years later.
When the Communist Party of Moldova came to power, Lupu managed to establish contacts with some important people in the party leadership. On 24 May 2001, Marian Lupu was appointed Deputy Minister of Economy and on 5 August 2003, Vladimir Voronin advanced him to the position of a minister.
Lupu and Voronin, source: publika.md
Subsequently, Lupu continued his political rise. On 6 March 2005, he was elected MP on behalf of the Communist Party and on 24 March, he was elected President of the Parliament, although he was not officially a member of the Communist Party. At the same time, he became a member of the Communist Party. Lupu boasted then that at least 90 percent of his personal values coincided with those of the party’s. However, the values coincided only until May 2009, when the Communist leader did not appoint him candidate for presidency. Frustrated, Lupu left the party and joined the Democratic Party, taking over Dumitru Diacov’s position of president of the party. Diacov accepted Lupu most likely to save the party, which in the elections of April 2009, could not overcome the electoral threshold, and to obtain a new deputy mandate.
In the electoral campaign of July 2009, Marian Lupu, with his slogan "the political war must be stopped", became the mascot of the DPM. The party managed to get into the parliament, and after some tough negotiations to form the Alliance for European Integration. Marian Lupu was proposed to the position of President of the Republic of Moldova. However, Lupu did not fulfill his dream, because his candidacy failed to acquire the required number of votes.
After the early parliamentary elections of 2010, Marian Lupu blackmailed all the parties that passed the electoral threshold, holding in suspense both politicians and the whole society, threatening the formation of a new alliance. The DPM oscillated between the Communist Party and the two rightist parties, the LDP and LP. "We are open for dialogue and negotiations with all the political parties. It's natural, as in a political struggle we must keep our competitors in a state of suspense," Lupu said at the public broadcaster Moldova 1.
During that period, several high-ranking officials from Moscow, including Sergei Naryshkin, visited Moldova, having several meetings with members of the DPM. Finally, under external pressure, the DPM decided to enter into an alliance with the LDP and the LP, forming the Alliance -2. This time, negotiations of the political positions were even tougher. The position of the President of the Parliament and that of the interim president of Moldova fell to the Democratic Party, i.e., to Marian Lupu. Lupu’s dream was partially fulfilled, as in March 2012, the required number of votes for Nicolae Timofti was accumulated.
Recall that Marian Lupu is the only political leader in Moldova, holding a managerial position within the Socialist International. He is Vice President of this global organization of social-democratic leftist movements. Recall that the Democratic Party is an associate member of the Party of European Socialists since 2015.
Marian Lupu and the Romanian language issue
The issue of the language spoken in Moldova is another obsession of Marian Lupu’s. During his career, Lupu identified himself as a "Moldovan" and fought for the preservation of the "Moldovan language" syntagma in the supreme law of the country. This obsession, prompted Lupu to make controversial statements, sometimes hilarious, which caused outrage of the population. In 2010, during a TV program Lupu said, "Scientifically, I speak Romanian, but politically, I speak the Moldovan language". The late Constantin Tanase, paraphrased him later in the Timpul editorial, "Scientifically, I am an ass".
Two years later, Lupu renounced this statement, "I changed my mind. Scientifically, it is not the Romanian language, as I said earlier, but the Moldovan language. Those theses are supported by scientists and everything coming from social sciences has strong subjective elements. We know that history is not physical and is written by the victors. And if the theses are subjective, it means they promote certain political interests. Science has nothing to do with the right to ethnic self-identification".
Marian Lupu, along with his fellow former communists, was outraged by the decision of the Constitutional Court, which ruled that the state language is Romanian, according to the Declaration of Independence, which takes precedence over the Constitution.
Lupu even suggested conducting a referendum in 2015 to let citizens decide on the name of the state language.
Until recently, Marian Lupu opted for sustainable relations with the Russian Federation. "It’s an honor for Moldova that its soldiers marched in Red Square," Lupu said in 2010.
The mystery of "two meters of bubbles"
Although Lupu was one of Vladimir Voronin’s trusted men, he repeatedly opposed Lupu's candidacy for presidency. On 22 October 2009 during the working session of the Parliament, Eugenia Ostapciuc, deputy of the Communist faction and former speaker of the Parliament, asked the leader of the DPM Marian Lupu to withdraw his candidacy for president. "I have the moral right to require this. Marian Lupu knows why," said Ostapciuc. Marian Lupu refused to comment on Ostapciuc’s statements, explaining it by the fact that he was suffering from tonsillitis and had fever and could not speak.
Meanwhile, the rumors that Lupu suffered from epilepsy, but was able to control the disease had spread in the lobbies of the legislative body. In March 2009, the politician allegedly had a fit of epilepsy in the office of President Vladimir Voronin in the presence of Russian officials.
Subsequently, Voronin labeled Marian Lupu "two meters of bubbles."
For the first time, Voronin publicly stated that Lupu suffered from epilepsy in the election campaign of November 2010, suggesting thereby that the Democrats’ candidate would be incompatible with the position of the head of the state.
A year later in a press conference, Vladimir Voronin provided more details, "He collapsed, because he had a fit of that disease, how do you call it? Oh my God! He fell in my presence. Only a person who was there was able to lift him from under the table. I couldn’t do it; I couldn’t even move his arm".
Even if this is the main reason why the Communist leader refused to accept Marian Lupu as a presidential candidate, Voronin attacked his disciple whenever he had the chance.
Marian Lupu denied Voronin’s allegations. When the presidential majority designated him candidate for presidency, he presented a medical certificate as a proof of his healthy condition.
Marian Lupu and the events of April 2009
Marian Lupu has repeatedly said that he watched the acts of vandalism that took place on 7 April from his office in the Parliament. Although it was his duty, the then Speaker did not intervene to stop the disaster. Later, Lupu confessed that he had received a message from someone in the street, demanding him to come in front of the Parliament building and kneel as a sign of apology.
Initially, Lupu told journalists that he did not know exactly what had happened on 7 April 2009, as Voronin started to neglect him and put him out of the information flow. In March 2011, being heard by the prosecutors in the "7 April" case, Marian Lupu said it was a coup and criticized the judges and the police officers, noting that illegalities were committed by security forces, following some political orders.
Marian Lupu’s relatives and party interests
Being an important political player, Marian Lupu is not indifferent to his relatives and especially, to the people that are faithful to the party.
The most eloquent example is Ala Popescu, wedding godmother of the Lupus couple. During the communist rule, she was president of the Court of Auditors, then president of the Parliament Secretariat.
In the summer of 2016, Ala Popescu was appointed member of the Court of Auditors, however, for unknown reasons, she refused this position and returned to the one she held in the Parliament. There were many changes in the legislative body during the time when Ala Popescu was its general secretary, many positions were occupied by people loyal to the DPM.
While serving as interim President of Moldova, Marian Lupu pardoned Leonid Balan, leader of the Democratic Party in Rezina, who had been condemned in 2007 for having committed several violations of the law, by alienating the property of the former agricultural cooperative "Hlinaia".
Leonid Balan. Source: Mediasurse.md
Additionally, Marian Lupu paid special attention to certain employees of the Parliament. In 2009, the year when he was Speaker of the Parliament, Marian Lupu
signed a provision that stipulated that five persons, employed within the Parliament and mainly, Stela Jantuan and Mariana Zolotco, Marian Lupu’s counselors, Elena Gancu, head of parliament chancellery, Rodica Prisacari and Angela Crasovschi, chief accountant of the parliament, had been offered free apartments, paid from the parliament budget, although they already had housing. Mariana Zolotco and Stela Jantuan were subsequently included in the electoral list of the DPM under nr. 12 and 15.
Marian Lupu appeared, at least twice, on the
blacklist of candidates for deputy, drawn up by the Civic Initiative for a Clean Parliament. He was included in the report of the Court of Auditors in 2002, which showed that while serving in the Ministry of Economy and Reforms, Lupu admitted "breach of the legislation in force, lack of analysis of projects implementation, financed by international organizations, unsatisfactory implementation and monitoring of technical assistance projects, insufficient organization and coordination of Moldovan trade representations abroad".
Additionally, holding the position of Deputy Minister of Economy, Marian Lupu tried to promote the interests of the Ribnita Metallurgical Plant, controlled by the separatist regime in Tiraspol. The case was discussed at the Coordination Council to Fight Corruption, convened by President Vladimir Voronin. In 2007, during the local election campaign, Marian Lupu was warned by the Central Election Commission not to use the position he held for promoting candidates of the Communist Party, while in the election campaign of 2009, Marian Lupu used his service car, escort and security teams in the interest of the party, contrary to the electoral legislation.
At Marian Lupu’s request, the Parliament removed from its agenda the report of the Court of Auditors for 2007-2009 on the privatization of the Codru Hotel by Vladimir Plahotniuc, which prejudiced the State by 161 thousand lei. According to the Court of Auditors, the building was sold to Plahotniuc at the price of 3.988 lei per square meter, while the real price amounted to at least 16. 821 lei. Thus, the Court concluded that the sale of the property, owned by Codru SE, had to bring to the State at least 212 million lei.
Lupu and Plahotniuc, source: independent.md
On Marian Lupu’s modesty
Judging by his property statements, Marian Lupu seems to be one of the most humble politicians from the country’s leadership. The income of Lupu’s family includes the salary he receives from the Parliament, amounting to 162 thousand lei per year and that of his wife, who is an associate professor, she earns 23400 lei per year.
At the same time, Lupu says he owns an apartment of 136 square meters, situated in 31 August St. in Chisinau with the cadastral value of 1.2 million lei, purchased in 2002. Lupu also declares a garage of 18 square meters, located at the same address.
Income and property statements show that Lupu’s family own no other buildings, cars or shares in businesses.
On the other hand, it became known that Marian Lupu has a common business in Romania with the tycoon Sorin Ovidiu Vantu. It is Solidaritate Limited, an offshore Moldo-Romanian Alliance, founded in 2006 on the British Virgin Islands, which is a tax evasion haven. Solidaridate Limited, with an annual turnover of $ 300 million, controls several wine producers in Moldova and some Eastern European real estate companies.
The Romanian media wrote in 2010 that Sorin Ovidiu Vantu jointly with Marian Lupu held the Russian site yaza.md, recorded on Moldnet, promoting pro-Communist content.
It is known that namely Sorin Ovidiu Vantu opened in Chisinau Publika TV channel, and when he faced financial problems, the television was taken over by Vlad Plahotniuc.
Investigative journalists from the other bank of the River Prut also wrote that Marian Lupu holds shares in Mirela Real Estate LLC, based in Bulgaria, in Sandanski spa resort, 4Vassil Kunchev St., at the foot of the Pirin Mountains. The Moldovan politician allegedly owns 12 hectares of land worth at least € 6 million.
Marian Lupu has never commented on this information. Instead, the DP leader boasted that he wears affordable suits, produced by the local factory Ionel, thus supporting the local producer. Constanta Balaban, a fashion designer in Chisinau, claimed in an interview to the press that the most expensive costumes were worn by …. Marian Lupu.
Marian Lupu’s revenge and obscene gestures
Lupu is not embarrassed to make obscene gestures and swear, he does not hesitate to do it in public, sometimes even in the Parliament.
A few days later, Marian Lupu offered an explanation: "What seemed an obscene gesture to you was just an imitation of how you spur a horse or ski."
Marian Lupu could not restrain himself from obscene gestures at a meeting he had with voters in 2010 at a factory in Balti.
Moreover, Lupu was overheard uttering uncensored words such as "f…..k" in a Parliament session.
However, the politician is not tolerant with those who attack him with obscene gestures. In 2013, the activist Anatol Matasaru, who in a sign of protest, installed outside the Prosecutor General’s Office a layout of a two- meter- phallus with Lupu’s portrait on it top, was sentenced to three years of probation for hooliganism by the Justice controlled by the DPM.
Neither did Marian Lupu forgive his former party colleague, Grigore Petrenco. He punched him during the plenary session of the Parliament on the eve of Christmas of 2013.Marian Lupu did not like the insolent retort that the communist dropped.