Classical conservatism is an ideology based on the immediate experience of the past, and namely on the immediate experience of the French Revolution, that is, of a past that broke dramatically right before people’s very eyes.

Modern conservatism (from the French Revolution onwards) has no longer any reference to the Revolution, there are only references to references to references. Modern conservatism has no past to refer to. To this end, both liberals and conservatives are permanently building the social reality. The only difference is that the liberals are inventing the future, while the conservatives are reinventing the past. Freeden and Mannheim emphasize the dynamic side of modern conservatism, which neither aims at preserving the status quo nor intends to come back to the past. Thus, conservatism has nothing to do with the simple traditionalism of preserving certain traditional values ​​or a traditional way of life.

Perhaps the most eloquent example where modern conservatives are reinventing the past is the case of the religious right, which constantly refers to the past when traditional values, such as the natural family, were undisputed truths, whereas divorce, adultery, homosexuality did not exist at all.

 Buss and Herman’s coverage of the second edition of WCF describes how the past is being reinvented by the religious right. They argue that WCF has built a new orthodox doctrine to fill in the family significance gaps, which brought about conflicting understanding between the Western participants, who perceive the family strictly in terms of a nuclear family, versus the participants from Africa and Central Asia, who perceived the family more in terms of an extended family. For example, Jehan Sadat spoke explicitly about the distinction between Western and non-Western definitions of family. „When a Westerner speaks about family, he/she speaks about the mother, the father and the children. When an Egyptian speaks about the family, he/she speaks about the mother, the father, the children, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and dozens of cousins. There are no foreigners in Egipt… we believe that we belong to a large family. „George Haley, another participant in the WCF held in Genova stated „when one is talking about the family he/she is talking about the love for humanity”.

The new theology of the family built by WCF is a mixed construction between „the original sources” and the contemporary conservative ones. It is interesting that the position of the religious right of defending the natural family includes very few biblical arguments. The idea of the natural family being the fundamental cell of society is a fact that is difficult to be found in the Bible. In fact, Jesus’ words can be used to prove an absolutely opposite position towards the form of the traditional family: “While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, „Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, „Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, „Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50). The New Testament is actually antifamily, the community of Jesus is built as an alternative to the biological family. Even if the biblical justification of the „natural family” is not coherent, the religious right continues to refer to the natural family as having been given by God.

The new religious right: from criticizing the reproductive rights to criticizing the system of liberal values

In the Gender as Symbolic Glue: The Position and Role of Conservative and Far Right Parties in The Anti-Gender Mobilizations in Europe study, Peto and Andrea argue that while the conservative right is selectively borrowing from the feminist and the liberal left discourse it is building a new universalism, an anti-liberal one, which replaces the individual rights by the family rights. The new conservative right uses this new discourse as well as new forms of organization to expand their sphere of influence and create alliances beyond their immediate circles.

We refer to a new conservative right because of the change of the discourse from the anti-feminist conservatism which focused almost exclusively on women’s reproductive and sexual rights to a broader ideological construction that criticizes the liberal system of values ​​such as individualism, human rights and gender equality, as well as the global neoliberalism. We find Igor Dodon’s statement made in February last year to be very suggestive: „We, the Moldovans, are an Orthodox people. Our grandparents and great-grandparents preserved and promoted this faith for centuries. Nowadays, attempts are being made to lure us by false gospels, such as liberalism, tolerance, gender equality. Attempts are being made to make us believe that our Orthodox faith, our family values ​​are outdated and obsolete.”

Susanna Mancini and Kristina Stoeckl argue that the religious right has shifted from criticizing the sexual and reproductive rights to generally criticizing the liberal system of values. To do this, they analyze the history of discursive transformations of anti-abortion arguments in the US.

Mancini and Stoeckl distinguish three discursive stages of anti-abortion arguments in the US:

1970-1980: arguments related to fetal protection

During this time, the anti-abortion discourse focused on representing the fetus as a person. This discourse was using religious and moral arguments about the sin of killing the fetus. Over that period, the US religious right became more radical, reaching to the anti-abortion terrorism that culminated in the murder of David Gunn (a doctor who performed abortions). The extremism and the pro-life violence have made the movement be a marginal one, alienating particularly the women who felt that their rights and needs were neglected in the name of absolute protection of the fetus.

1980-1990: arguments related to women protection

Trying to become more popular, the pro-life movement resorts to the second discursive stage and changes its argument from fetal protection to women protection. Instead of focusing on fetus, the discourse focused on the rights and health of women. Thus, the religious right has borrowed the feminist language and the human rights rhetoric as well as the scientific and medical discourse to talk about how much women suffer from abortion. Essential for the success of the new anti-abortion strategy were the arguments which made a cause-effect link between the abortion and the breast cancer and the post-abortion syndrome. This discursive transformation turned the women from killers into victims and built a new political and legal platform for implementing anti-abortion strategies.

2000-onwards: arguments related to society protection

In 1981, Vincent Rue (the American inventor of the post-abortion syndrome) testified before the Congress, stating that post-abortion women are going through a post-traumatic stress, called the post-abortion syndrome. „Besides depression, the effects of the syndrome, is anger, difficulty in social interaction, low parental skills, low self-confidence, eating disorder, substance abuse, inability to communicate, suicidal tendencies. If untreated, the syndrome can be transmitted to other generations. ” Thus, „unlike other more invasive medical interventions, the abortion is treated as being dangerous for women’s mental health generating consequences throughout life, affecting the emotional sphere of women, parental abilities, and thus, compromising the role of domestic and social status of women . „

In this equation, the governments have the role to protect women by criminalizing abortion and thus by removing the possibility for women to make decisions on their reproductive life and this is in order to protect the traditional role of a wife and a mother.

The fight against the reproductive rights in the name of preserving the gender roles shifted from the fight against abortion to the fight against contraceptives in general. For example, an article published in 2015 by Linacre Quarterly (the Catholic Medical Association platform), explores „the social, spiritual and psychological effects of oral contraceptives” and concludes that „the use of oral contraceptives are associated with depression, decreased libido, passing sex, postponing marriage and pregnancy”.

These examples prove that the anti-abortion discourse is described as a protector of the society values, such as preserving the patriarchal structures and the traditional gender roles. By using such arguments as those related to society protection, the conservative movements strengthen a political agenda that goes beyond the area of reproductive rights. This agenda focuses on protecting the natural family as the foundation of the society.

The three discursive strategies do not necessarily strive to come one after another but rather to enhance and expand the anti-abortion discourse in general.

The main purpose of the conservative right is to protect the universal conservative values from the degradation caused by the liberal values ​​such as human rights, emancipation and individualism.

While on the one hand they oppose the democratic values, on the other hand they make use of the democratic instruments such as social mobilization, referenda or citizens’ initiatives. The agenda of protecting the traditional family by any means used by the conservative right takes the shape of a transnational political mobilization and facilitates the creation of an alternative illiberal civil society based on an alliance between the religious fundamentalists and illiberal populists. This alliance is based on the excessive use of the natural family (or traditional family). The activists supporting the natural family mobilize the religious community groups as well as political ones organized at the local and national level and create international networks through the anti-choice coalitions, as the World Congress of Families (WCF). It should be reminded that the latest edition of WCF was held in Chisinau on 14-16 September 2018, under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon.

What connects these groups and the religious and political organizations, which are in fact very diverse (the diversity of religious denominations: Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, the diversity of cultural, social and political backgrounds)?

Kováts and Põim believe that fighting against gender has become the „symbolic glue” that connects the agendas and the discourses of the far right and of the conservative parties. The fight against gender and gender equality is rather a political than a religious movement, but which conceals its true face by calling to dignity, theology and moral values. For example, in 2016, in Colombia, the anti-gender rhetoric was used to oppose the peace agreement only because the agreement mentioned gender equality and sexual rights and the inclusion of women in the peace agreement negotiating groups.

Graff and Korolczuk state that the anti-colonial framework is the one that provides ideological coherence to a global coalition, otherwise dispersed.  This is confirmed by Igor Dodon’s statement, for example: Since 2009, after the „Alliance for European Integration” came to power, a new stage of chauvinism began in Moldova. The new government has taken the path towards depriving Moldova of its sovereignty and changing it into a colony of the West, with no rights. Also, the former Communist MP, Grigore Petrenko called for the anti-colonial framework „We have come here to protest against the European Union policy. We are protesting against treating Moldova like a colony whose views are not taken into account.”

The anti-colonial framework and the struggle against gender are not mutually exclusive explanations, they more likely complement each other. This is confirmed by the message that appears on a billboard displayed in Warsaw in 2015, within a campaign against sexual education in schools. The message read: „Gender + Convention on the so-called violence against women and domestic violence is Brussels’s Ebola for Poland”.

Why the family?

To answer the question why the family lays the basis for the right conservative rhetoric, we should consider the motivations of the two main actors in the proliferation of the pro-family discourse: the political parties and leaders on the one hand and the church and the religious actors on the other.

  1. The family – the institution of last resort with two masters: controlled both by the state and the church.

In the context of secularization, the church seeks strings to maintain the power in the state. In this sense, the family is the only institution that is under the control of both the state and the church.

  1. The family and the eternal obsession of churches with sex.

The radical transformations which the families have lately gone through – the sexual revolution, the women’s emancipation, the explosion of families other than the heterosexual ones etc.

  1. The family – a pseudo-agenda and a scapegoat.

The way the pro-family discourse is used by politicians, it aims at filling in the political agenda with fake problems such as sexual minorities and the women’s reproductive and sexual rights to distract the attention from the real issues: the economic and social inequality etc. In addition, in the countries like Moldova, where relevant political decisions are not within the political field but are controlled by external and internal actors – oligarchs, the World Bank, IMF – the polemics about values ​​are, on the one hand, convenient discourses seeking the scapegoat but, on the other hand, … the only areas where the local politicians „can” do something.

The 2014 election program of the Socialist Party, point 9 of the Crisis in Moldova chapter, pools together the social inequality and the spiritual crisis in the same paragraph. The paragraph tells us that the oligarchic regime is to blame for both the enhancement of the economic inequalities and spiritual crisis. Even though a million of citizens live below the poverty line, anyway the most dangerous phenomenon is spiritual crisis. „In line with the official data, over a million Moldovan citizens have an income below the established poverty line. Meanwhile, 10% of Moldovans have an income, 67 times exceeding the revenue of the other citizens. The 15% of the citizens who became rich after the so-called „prihvatisation” [abusive privatization] in the ’90s, hold 85% of the total existing money accumulation. And yet, the most dangerous phenomenon generated by the political-oligarchic regime in power is the threatening enhancement of the spiritual crisis.”

  1. Family – the mobilization resource of last resort.

In the context of an almost full social apathy over the last decades, both the church and the political parties use the pro-family discourse, as the family is one of the few available mobilization resources. The family, sexual and reproductive policies form the basis of the conservative right policies not only at the level of rhetoric but also at the level of social organization and mobilization, at the level of legislative battles and at the level of creating local and global alliances and partnerships.

The family, the definition of the family and „protecting” the natural or traditional family is the main battlefront of the conservative right. We call it battlefront because the pro-family discourse is full of all sorts of enemies that attack the traditional family and who want to destroy it at any cost. In the book entitled Globalizing Family Values ​​- the Christian right in international politics, Doris Buss and Didi Herman analyze the conservative right discourse, and based on this analysis create a typology of the traditional family enemies:

– the socialists and globalists.

– the secularists.

– the feminists and sexual minorities.

All these enemies are dangerous because they are fighting against gender through a colonial framework. The feminist agendas, the social minorities’ agendas, the socialist agendas are seen by the conservative right as promoting globalization, and thus colonization. Globalization is perceived as a „cut” that imposes a single form on the social relations. The way it is addressed, globalization is defined exclusively in terms of the universalization of social policy, and the economic dimension of globalization is completely ignored. Austin Ruse, the president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute stated that the economic globalization is not a concern for the religious right. „The left has problems with economic globalization … we believe that globalization is the attempt to impose a single approach to all the issues related to reproductive rights”.

The family-related discourse in Moldova.

The agenda of the conservative right related to the family, sexual and reproductive policies is not an output of the Moldovan political class, but rather an imported cultural output.

It was imported through two channels:

– the American conservative channel: through such alliances as WCF

– the Russian conservative channel: from where we imported the decadent Western discourse vs traditional values.

In the Republic of Moldova, the debate on the family, sexual and reproductive policies were peripheral issues for the public interest until 2012-2013.

Two important events have prompted public reactions and radicalized the religious right.

  1. The Law on Ensuring Equality passed in 2012.
  2. The ratification of the European Union Association Agreement

On June 23, 2014 (i.e. in an election year) and just before signing the Agreement (on June 27), the Socialist Party organized the International Scientific-Practical Conference „The Orthodox Civilization and the modern world”, within which the socialists and the church clerks talked specifically about the ​​influence and propaganda of the European values on the Orthodox world and the destruction of the traditional morality. In his speech, Igor Dodon criticizes toughly the association with the EU, in particular, because of the adoption of the law on equal opportunities “A special activism has been displayed by the current government in the process of legalizing the sin of Sodom, which has become for the Moldovan authorities, a kind of test of loyalty to the Western countries. These activities culminated in the adoption of the so-called law „on equal opportunities”, which provides for the right of sexual minorities to get employed, including in education and medical institutions. The adoption of the law was a condition set by the EU in preparation for signing the Association Agreement with the EU. The law was adopted despite many protests of the Orthodox society and the warning of the Orthodox Church of excommunication of the authors of the draft. Maybe it was the case for actually excommunicating them? „

To analyze how the discourse of the conservative right has infiltrated into the discourse of the ruling political parties, we have read the election programs of the parliamentary parties from 1994 to 2014 and specifically followed three aspects:

  • references to family policies,
  • references to the traditional values,
  • references to the church and religion.

Some observations about the dynamics of the family-related rhetoric

The family-related discourse in the programs of the parties from 1994 to 2014 didn’t incur major differences. Perhaps, the only difference is the intensity in the usage of the pro-family discourse encountered in the programs of the opposition parties, which make reference to the family in order to criticize the ruling parties and to woo the voters. For example, in 1994 BeAFPCD writes in its election program that „the sharp decline in birth rate is not a result of unwillingness to have children, but the result of economic, social and environmental distress caused by the anti-popular policy of the current government of the country.” Within the July 2009 elections, PLDM writes that „the real support for families and motherhood is just a statement, encountered only in the official propaganda. Even if the current government is proclaiming itself as leftist, the initiated reforms can only be considered as an indexation of old forms of protection.” Within 2000-2009 elections, i.e. as long as the Communist Party was in power, the pro-family discourse was almost missing from the election programs. Instead, at the 2010 elections, i.e. immediately after becoming an opposition party, PCRM uses the same political trick „resumption of social guarantees canceled by the anti-popular government in 2009-2010 (for youths, families with children, veterans, retirees, state employees, military and other population categories etc.). „

The same family measures and policies are encountered with both right and left wing parties, parties that use religious rhetoric as well as those that make no reference to religion in their election programs. For the most part, all the programs provide the same family support measures: the single allowance at childbirth, the monthly allowance for children, including mortgage support for building / purchasing a housing, and other variables such as the deinstitutionalization of children, offsetting the cost of utilities etc. Even though family protection is encountered in all election programs, guaranteeing equal rights hardly ever appear all the programs. In 1994, PDAM mentions the „protection of women’s rights” and BTI talks about „additional protection for women”. In 2005, BMD used for the first time the phrase „equality of opportunities”: „guaranteeing equal opportunities for employment, pay raise and promotion of women to leadership positions.” At the elections of April 2009, PL mentions the „equal representation in the decision-making and the promotion of women to leadership position and eradication of all forms of gender violence and gender stereotypes „. At the 2014 elections, PDM states on the one hand that it will „promote equal representation of women and men in public positions” and on the other hand mentions that it will „support the mothers in raising and educating their children.” Stating the support for mothers in raising and educating their children means recognizing, accepting and propagating the traditional division of roles in line with which the woman is a priori responsible for raising and educating children and thus denying any possibility for an equal representation of women and men in leadership positions.

The family-related discourse is not always a conservative religious one. The first election program which included both religious rhetoric and family-related discourse is the election program of BeAFPCD. Even though BeAFPCD resorts to religious rhetoric, it does not use moral-religious type arguments to explain the sharp decline in the birthrate. On the contrary, the reason of the low birthrate is seen in connection with the economic, environmental and social distress.

The definition of family:

Family is defined as the „main institution”, „the foundation of the society and the state” (BeAFPCD, 1994), „the cell of the society” (PCRM, 2014).

The relationship between the state and the family:

The relationship between the state and the family, is seen as follows: the state should ensure the financial stability and protect the families, and the family shall provide the moral health of the society.

The state shall provide a special attention and protection to the family (BeAFPCD, 1994)

The moral health of the society and the ability of a nation to cohabitate in the modern world depend on the solidity of the family (BMD, 2005)

Ensuring the welfare of the families:

All the statements on the living standards of the families are limited to providing the minimum subsistence:

Ensuring the minimum subsistence (BePSMU, 1994). The social aid shall meet the minimum consumption basket (BTI, 1994). We shall pay a „family wage” to one of the spouses, whose occupation is raising and educating three or more children, amounting to at least what would equal the minimum living standard (PSRM 2014). The only indication that transcends the minimum subsistence level, is encountered in the PCRM program of 2005, related to the provision of such income to the families, that each of them is able to make savings: The revenues of each Moldovan family should ensure a decent quality of life and the opportunity to make savings.

Family composition:

Lonely mothers (BePSMUE, 1994), families with many children, young families (BeAFPCD, 1994), orphans and poor families (PDF, 1998) large families, single mothers (BepMDP, 1998), protecting the family, mother and child (PCRM, 2001), low-income families (PPCD, 2001), families with adopted children (PDM, 2014)

Although the composition of the traditional family consists of a mother, a father and children, all the family policies as of 1994-1998 have one thing in common: they target only women and children. The fathers are missing from the equation. The most straightforward statement about the traditional roles assigned to men and women within the distribution of child raising and education tasks is encountered in the PDM 2014 program: „we shall support the mothers in raising and educating their children.”

The demographic crisis.

Any reference made to the demographic crisis or similar, was almost missing until 2009. The BeAFPCD’s election program of 1994 refers only to the decline in the birthrates: „The sharp decline in the birthrate is not a result of the unwillingness to have children, but the result of the economic, social and environmental disaster. The alliance focuses its efforts on solving the economic and social problems that would promote an increase in the birthrate”.

In July 2009, PLDM mentions for the first time the „demographic crisis” phrase: „RM is in a full demographic crisis. Over the last 8 years, the Moldovan population decreased by 2.1%. The population decline is due to several reasons, such as low birthrates, emigration and increased mortality rates. „

In 2014, PSRM refers to the fact that „the complicated financial situation and the lack of confidence in the future forces the youths to opt for late marriages, to postpone childbirth or to have only one child. The demographic situation is disastrous.” In 2014, PCRM also talks about the need for some „concrete measures to prevent a national demographic catastrophe.”

References to the church and religion

In 1994, both BePSMUE and BeAFPCD advocate the independence of the Orthodox Church „we are pleading for the independence of the Moldovan Orthodox Church and for maintaining its current canonical status” and „The Orthodox Church, built on the principle of the unity of the nation, does not allow a new Autocephalous Orthodox Church to be established in the ethnical area of the same nation. However, both parties advocate the separation of church from the state: the principle of the separation of the church from the state and of the non-interference of the state in the church affairs, while AFPCD states that it respects all religious denominations and considers that it is not up to the political parties to intervene in the inter-denominational relationships.

In 1998, a transformation is noticed in the religion-related discourse. There is no longer an emphasis on the culture and national identity claim by declaring the independence of the Moldovan Orthodox Church, but there is a migration towards a human rights discourse. Both PCRM and PFD stand for the respect for all the religious denominations: respect for human rights, including the freedom of conscience, stemming from the respect for Orthodoxy and other religions, while PFD states that all the religious cults should receive equal treatment without any discrimination from the state. At the same time, in 1998, the introduction of religion classes in school is advocated for the first time, which, in fact, conflicts with the self-declared equality of the religions, since teaching religion means teaching exclusively the Orthodox one.

In 2001, the proposal to introduce religion classes in schools is still there. Concurrently, in 2001, the intention of the cooperation between the state and the church is proliferated more straightforwardly, while the tolerance discourse on religious plurality becomes more nuanced. BeAB states that “we do not accept extremist religious sects, which humiliate human dignity and we shall plead for banning them”.

In the PPCD election program of 2005, PPCD advocates the enhancement of the role of the Church and of its initiatives to provide financial and moral support to the family. At the elections in April 2009, AMN suggests autonomy be guaranteed to the Orthodox Church and to the other religious denominations. The only elections devoid of any references to the church or religion were those of July 2009. The 2010 elections were also free of religious rhetoric. The only reference to the church, appears on a very neutral note in the PL program that promises to restore the national heritage (including the churches and monasteries of national importance). In 2014, PCRM (which made reference to religion only in the election program of 2000) as well as PSRM radicalize their discourse on religion. PCRM claims it will repeal the shameful law on equal opportunities and will not allow the moral decline of the nation, undermining the centuries-old Christian traditions and the attacks on the Orthodox Church, while PSRM writes that the EU Association Agreement and the complementary laws adopted by Euro-unionists contribute to the destruction of our centuries-old traditions, favoring homosexuality and other „values,” which are alien to our people. Our traditional Orthodox values are being trampled. Sexual perversions and the debauchery propaganda have been enacted.

References to values ​​and traditional values.

In 1994, references to values ​​appear as: our values, collective values, cultural values ​​and they refer to freedom, solidarity, justice, understanding, peace, equity and equality.

In 1998, for the first time the European values phrase is used ​​(BepMDP) with respect to responsibility, solidarity, human rights and tolerance. Also in 1998, for the first time reference is made to faith in God and the solidity of the family as values established for centuries. In 2001 and 2005 only PPCD makes reference to values. As much bizarre as it sounds, the PPCD program touches upon the importance of promoting the national values ​​needed for Romanian and European integration. At the elections of 2009, the same reference to values appear: cultural values, European values. In 2014, the traditional values phrase is used for the first time. From the PSRM program: The Agreement with the EU contributes to the destruction of our centuries-old traditions, favoring homosexuality and other „values,” which are alien to our people. Our traditional Orthodox values are being trampled

From campaign promises to family-related policies: How have family-related policies been implemented over the years?

To assess the gap between the campaign promises and the actual family policies the Moldovan citizens benefit from, we selected several election promises of the past 10 years, i.e. of 2009, which contain quantified promises and thus measurable and comparable. It should be reiterated that all the election programs that have been analyzed in the tables of this article are the election programs of the parliamentary parties, i.e. parties that won the parliamentary elections and had levers to fulfill their campaign promises.

Thus, at the elections of April 2009, the Liberal Party promises a single allowance for the birth of the first, second, third and for the following children amounting to MDL 5,000, MDL 10,000, MDL 15,000. At the same elections, PLDM promises to increase by 2012 the single allowance at childbirth up to MDL 10,000 and the monthly allowance up to MDL 1,300.

During the early elections of July 2009, PLDM promises to increase the single allowance at childbirth by at least 10 times and to raise it gradually to achieve the average amount of EUR 800.

Whereas in 2010, the Democratic Party promised to increase the single allowance at childbirth by up to MDL 7500.

And in 2014, the Socialists promised to implement a program to support young families – the „maternal capital”. As much as MDL 15 000- upon the birth of the first child, MDL 30 000 – of the second and MDL 50 000 – of the third and subsequent ones, shall be transferred on a depository account.

How have these promises been translated into reality?

From 2010 to 2013, the amount of the monthly allowance for childcare for the insured as well as uninsured individuals was MDL 300. In 2019, the amount of the monthly allowance is only MDL 640, or half of the amount of MDL 1300 promised by PLDM back in 2009.

The amount of the allowance for uninsured individuals was of MDL 1,700 in 2010, MDL 2,000 in 2011, MDL 2,300 in 2012, and MDL 2,600 in 2013.

During the period of the theft of the billion, i.e. in 2014-2016, both the amount of the single allowance at childbirth and the monthly allowance remained unchanged. Thus, the single allowance at the birth of the first child was MDL 3100, and for the second and each subsequent child it amounted to MDL 3,400.

During 2005-2008, the allowance for each the first child increased every year with each year by MDL 200.

In 2009-2013 the single allowance both at birth for the first childbirth and at for each subsequent child increased strictly every year by MDL 300. In addition, the allowance for every second child was each time MDL 300 higher than the allowance for the first child.

In 2014 the allowance increased by MDL 400 as compared to the amount of the allowance in 2013. And remained unchanged in the following 2 years (in 2015 and 2016).

Based on this very regular increase by MDL 200, and MDL300 and then MDL 400, it would seem that the single allowance at childbirth in 2017, which soared by 2,200 as compared to the amount in 2014,  had the highest pick ever.

However, if we were to extrapolate the regular annual growth rate by MDL 200, and MDL 300 and then MDL 400 and add per MDL 400 in 2015 and in 2016, the gap is not of MDL 2,200 but of MDL1,400.

Moreover, the difference between the amount for each subsequent, which lasted until 2014, that was each time MDL 300 higher than the allowance for the first child, was done away with. Since 2014, the amount of the allowance for the first child has been equal to the amount of the allowance for each subsequent child. That is, in 2015, 2016 and 2017 as much as MDL 1,200 was saved (MDL 400/ per year) due to equaling the allowance for each subsequent child to the amount of the allowance provided at the birth of the first child.

Summing up, the MDL 800 saved in 2015, 2016 from the single allowance at birth of the first child and MDL 1200 saved in 2015-2017 from the allowance for each second child, we get the amount of MDL 2,000 saved. If, at first it seemed that in 2014-2017 the amount of the allowance increased by MDL 2,200, it becomes clear that it increased by only MDL 200.

In 2019, the amount of the single allowance at childbirth is MDL 6,303, an amount which is clearly lower than EUR 800 promised by PLDM in 2009, or MDL 7,500 promised by PD in 2010, let alone the amount of MDL 15, 000 for the birth of the first child, MDL 30, 000 for the second child and MDL 50, 000 for the third child promised by PSRM in 2014.

In a study carried out in 2015 on the reform of the childcare leave, the author, Constanta Popescu, identifies several problematic aspects of the Moldovan legislation in this field. Some of the issues outlined in the study are presented further down:

The amount of the allowance is insufficient: the allowance is only 30% of the average monthly salary of the parent, compared to 85% of the salary, provided in the first year in Romania or 100% in Lithuania.

The duration of the leave: the insured parents benefit from a 3-year leave, while the uninsured ones, representing 64.5% of the total, benefit from a just 2-year leave.

 – the amount of the allowance and the duration of leave depend on the parents’ status (insured/uninsured).

– about 2/3 of children under the age of 3 in Moldova have uninsured parents who receive financial support only for the first two years. Annually in Moldova, about 37,000 children (or 64.5%) of the total number of children aged 2-3, are not covered by any state funding.

The parents who are full-time students are treated as uninsured and have no access to early childcare to enable them to resume their studies.

What does a real family in Moldova look like?

According to the 2014 census, the resident population of the Republic of Moldova amounted to 2.8048 million people. According to NBS, in early 2018 the current population amounted to 3.33 million people.         

A Moldovan family photo, in figures and statistical data:

the marital status – in 2017, as many as 20, 924 marriages and 9,312 divorces were registered. motherhood – in 2017, a total of 34, 060 children were born.

24, 844 children were born to women married for the first time, i.e. 9,216 thousand of children were not born in the first marriage.   

7,315 children were born out of wedlock, including 5,254 in the rural areas.

606 children were born to minor mothers aged 14 to17.

childcare leave – In 2017, as many as 45, 300 people received a partially-paid leave up to the age of 3 of the child, of who over 40, 6 thousand are mothers, 4,3 thousand are fathers.

juvenile crime – The offenses most often committed by minors are thefts, accounting for 69.8% of all the offenses, robberies – 6.8%, cases of hooliganism – 3.5%, intentional injury – 2.0% and drug-related offenses – 1.9%.  

The total number of minors who committed offences in 2017 amounted to 1, 384 minors, including 1,295 minors aged 14 to 17 (93.6%), the rest being up to 14 years old.

the violence against children – In 2017, as many as 1,400 offenses were committed against children, 61.6% more as compared to 2013.

about gender equality – Women earn on average by 14.5% less than men (85.5% of the average salary of men). In 2018, the employed women lost on average an additional annual income of MDL 12, 133, that is, women worked 50 days for free.

The participation rate of women in the decision making at parliamentary level is of 20.8% (out of 101 members only 21 are women). 

about poverty – According to the opinion of the households with children, about 86 percent of them believe that in 2017 no major changes occurred in their welfare as compared to the previous year; 6.5% said they live better, and 7.4% believe that the situation has worsened.

the minimum subsistence in 2017 totaled for children – MDL 1,768.6, including MDL 699.5 for children up to 1 year old, MDL 1,518.3 for children aged 1 to 6 and MDL 2,002.5 for those aged 7 to 17.

in 2017 about 64 percent of households with children have a bath or shower.

Instead of conclusions. Topical.

Since the independence onwards, the family has always been on the politicians’ tongues, however nothing ever reached the mouth of the children. Since the ruling parties have been bragging about increasing the amount of the single allowance at childbirth and the monthly allowance for children, it is worth explicitly pointing out the following:

In the last nine years (from 2010 to 2019), the monthly allowance for raising children up to two years old or up to three years old for insured individuals increased by only MDL 340.

The monthly child-raising allowance from 1.5 years old (3 years old) up to 16 years old that was applicable in 2001-2009, was canceled in 2010. More recently, in the 2019 election campaign, the Democratic Party, that is, the party which contributed to the cancellation of this instrument, has flooded the country with election billboards that promise a monthly allowance of MDL 200 for each child up to the age of 18.

The single allowance at childbirth was increased from cancelling or decreasing other three family funds:

– cancellation of monthly child-raising allowance up to 16 years old

– microscopic increase of monthly child-raising allowance up to 2 years old, or 3 years old

– equaling the amount of the single allowance at childbirth for the first child with the single allowance at childbirth for each subsequent child.