When I sometimes in my blogs wrote about Transdnistria (officially Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic – PMR) the most common feedback has been following:
Transnistria is a refuge for the criminal organizations being engaged in the illegal sale of weapons, in the contraband and in the money laundering, its also a rogue state.
One could conclude that for western public has quite a bad if any image of Transdnistria. Having criticised earlier western mainstream media picture about Balkan events I wanted to check if the tradition is repeating itself same way in case Transdnistria.
Nato Parliamentary Assembly’s sub-committee on east-west economic co-operation and convergence published 7th October 2007 its report over Moldova and stated:
Transnistria remains a haven for organised criminal groups, which are engaged in illegal arms sales, smuggling, and money laundering. It hosts the largest post-Soviet army depot in Kolbasna, the Russian (formerly Soviet) 14th Army and several Soviet era armament factories.
Reading this kind of statements makes me really wonder the level of intelligence and analysis of Nato. The least I could hope would be, that the decisions are based to more comprehensive material.
The views of UNDP, EUBAM and OSCE are different
The 2006 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report (SALW Survey of Moldova, SEESAC/UNDP 2006-07-01, note: SALW = Small Arms and Light Weapons) states that there is currently a degree of transparency and good levels of co-operation with Pridnestrovie in the field of weapons control. It also says that the
Evidence for the illicit production and trafficking of weapons into and from Transdniestria has in the past been exaggerated. While trafficking of SALW from the territory controlled by the Transdniestrian authorities is likely to have occurred prior to 2001, there is no reliable evidence that this still occurs. The same holds true for the production of SALW, which is likely to have been carried out in the 1990s primarily to equip the Transdniestrian security forces.
The OSCE and European Union officials state that there is no evidence that Transnistria has ever, at any time in the past, trafficked arms or nuclear material. The OSCE mission spokesman Claus Neukirch spoke about this situation: “There is often talk about sale of armaments from Transnistria, but there is no convincing evidence.”
Since EUBAM began its work in 2005, it has been unable to document any of Moldova’s charges against Pridnestrovie over alleged arms trafficking. Before the arrival of European Union monitors on Pridnestrovie’s border, Moldovan government officials routinely claimed that Pridnestrovie (or Transnistria, as the state is referred to in Moldova) was “a black hole” in which numerous criminal acts took place. The work of the EUBAM mission since 2005 has been able to disprove these claims as mere anti-Pridnestrovie propaganda.
From EUBAM PressPack following quote:
The Mission is aware that there have been rumours related to arms-trafficking from the Transdniestrian region of Moldova. Obviously we are not in a position to speak about the period of time before the opening of the Mission but we have made clear on several occasions that the EUBAM is not aware of any significant arms find since the operation of the Mission.
The bottom line
It seems that earlier maybe fabricated image still holds when opposite evidence meets the silence in western media. If one likes conspiracy theories s one could be, that the motive of disinformation is to cover other operations. Few years ago USA made pressure to Moldovan authorities to accept use of Moldova’s air space for arms trafficking from Bosnia to Iraq with V.Butt’s company (an arm dealer in trial now in Thailand). Moldova has also served as logistical base for many arm trafficking operations to Africa to different sides which maybe have not been noted while the view has been focused to Transdnistria.
More my views over Caucasus one may find form my Archives:Blog