Pridnestrovie in Context of Ukraine

March 29, 2014

Transdniestria flag

Prologue

Transnistrian claim for independence is being met with a certain degree of sympathy and understanding by some of the western experts. As an example, a Finnish political analyst and blogger Ari Rusila can be named; he usually presents the Transnistrian de facto statehood in quite a positive light, admitting, in particular, that “Transnistria called my attention first because of its quite ready statehood elements without outside recognition, second because of changed circumstances in respect for international law after Kosovo unilateral declaration of independence and thirdly because I predicted that Trandnistria could be the next tinderbox of separatism between Georgian conflict and coming troubles in Ukraine”. He believes that Transnistria, if compared with Kosovo, has had in fact much more reasons to be recognised internationally.


The quote above is from a paper Transnistrian Conflict: State of Affairs and Prospects of Settlement  prepared for the International conference “Frozen Conflicts” in Europe (1st September 2012, Bled, Slovenia) by Natalia Belitser and the sitation is based on my articles published in 2008.
Transdniestria
Pridnestrovie as next Crimea?


As the crisis in Ukraine continues to simmer, tensions in the country’s western neighbor Moldova are beginning to rise. Seeking to capitalize on President Putin’s eagerness to use the protection of Russian speaking populations in the region as a pretext to expand his territorial claims, members of two separate enclaves in Moldova are looking toward Moscow for protection.


Now after uprising and coup in Ukraine and annexing Crimea into Russia, tensions have grown to encompass Ukraine’s neighbor Moldova, which like Ukraine has been making efforts to integrate further with the West. Moldova has signed the EU association and free trade agreements at the November 2013 Vilnius summit, during which former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich rejected the deals. The Moldovan government has also supported the Western-backed uprising in Ukraine. Western experts worry that the next “Crimea” could be the breakaway region of Pridnestrovie. Many locals there don’t share that fear, and if the last referendum holds, a large majority would welcome a Russian annexation.


Pridnestrovie aka Transdniestria – also known as Transnistria aka  Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica (PMR/TMR) – is a new and emerging country in South Eastern Europe, sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine. The official language of Transdniestria is Russian, not Moldovan, while the vast Majority of schools teach the Cyrillic alphabet instead of the Roman alphabet used in the rest of the country. Recently  Pridnestrovie adopted Russian legislation, a clear signal of the region’s preference for joining Moscow’s customs union.

Most recently, Russian military exercises held March 25 in Moldova’s breakaway territory of Pridnestrovie have stoked these tensions. From its side the parliament (called Supreme Soviet) of Pridnestrovie has sent a proposal to the State Duma asking for in Russian legislation to join the breakaway Republic in Russia. The document originated in the DG as feedback on refering new draft law in Russia on the simplified order of joining the Russian federation new actors on the basis of a referendum, no international treaty, if in a foreign country has no effective legitimate authority “. (Source: Forum Pridnestrovie )


Now Moldova’s Pridnestrovie region is seeking to follow Crimea and join Russia and this is not causing concern only in Moldova but in neighbouring Romania, Ukraine as well in EU and Nato too.
Transdniestria – and Gagauzia – are joining to the same club with Abkhazia and South Ossetia as de facto states, namely political entities that have achieved enduring ‘internal sovereignty’ – but lack ‘external sovereignty’ in the international system. As Crimea is annexed to Russia and these other “states” can follow to join Russia or continue as de facto state, this development is creating a Northern Black Sea corridor, frontline or buffer zone.

North Black Sea buffer zone

Photo credit: The Telegraph

Good Moldavia-Pridnestrovie cooperation since 2009 and 2011 elections


New prospects for conflict settlement have appeared after parliamentary elections of 2009 in the Republic of Moldova. The new pro-Western team – the Alliance for European Integration (AEI) – that substituted the Communist Party ruling the country from 2001, proved much more pragmatic and willing to deal with its breakaway region than their predecessors pursuing rather an isolationist policy. In 2011 presidential elections President Igor Smirnov, who had been in power since Pridnestrovie declared independence in 1990, failed to be re-elected, and was replaced by opposition MP, younger leader of the ‘Revival’ movement and former speaker of the Supreme Council Yevgeny Shevchuk. These political changes engendered hopes for the settlement process to acquire a positive momentum.


The power changes in Pridnestrovie give positive boost to peace process: the official negotiation process re-started after six years interruption in November 2011 in Vilnius, Lithuania, to be followed by a meeting on February 2012 in Dublin, Ireland and on April 2012. Finally the Document of principles and procedures and agenda of negotiations were agreed in Vienna, whereas on July 2012 this Document was signed. It included such issues as freedom of movement of passengers and cargo, traffic of trains, education issues,etc. Also a new approach (joint initiative of Russia and Germany, Meseburg, 2010) by the EU and Russia to resolve the conflict was the setting up of a joint Political and Security Committee (EU-R-PSC) at minister level. Related to security issues it was stated that the EU and Russia will cooperate in particular towards a resolution of the Transdniestria conflict with a view to achieve tangible progress within the established 5 + 2 format (Russia, Ukraine, Moldova,Pridnestrovie , OSCE, EU, US). This cooperation could include a joint EU-Russia engagement, which would guarantee a smooth transition of the present situation to a final stage.


The main approach of the resumed negotiations and to the settlement process in general focuses on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs). This means that political aspects of the settlement, for example a mutually accepted status of Pridnestrovie, are not yet touched. Instead status there has been attempts to make concrete steps of issues that both sides of the conflict are interested in. These kind of initiatives have already been following:

  • Engaging the sides into direct dialogue;
  • Establishing joint Working/Expert Groups on confidence building measures;
  • Conducting meetings at a higher level (for example, between Prime-minister of the RM Vlad Filat and leader of Pridnestrovie Yevgeny Shevchuk, also between the heads of foreign ministries Eugen Carpov and Nina Stanski);
  • Elaborating and implementing national and international social and economic development projects etc.

The direct dialogue at a higher level has been clear contrast to previous lack of any kind of dialogue lasting for years. There has been a dozen WGs e.g. on economy, agriculture and environment, transport, railways, civil status acts, social and humanitarian aid, health, education, combating organised crimes and emergencies, telecommunications, and customs, whereas the WG on demilitarisation and security is not yet operating.
Growing dispute between parties started by unilateral actions by both parties during Spring 2013. First Moldova established migration control of citizens in six checkpoints, second  Pridnestroviestarted to mark border in in the sc Security Zone or line of demarcation after the Transdniestrian war (1992).
More about negotiation history in my article Transnistrian number game and in conference paper Transnistrian Conflict: State of Affairs and Prospects of Settlement  by Natalya Belitser )

Tools against Pridnestrovie by Chisinau and Kiev

Arsenal of tools, on that, with the support of Western “ideological-political sponsors” can count in Chisinau and the Kiev could be as following:

  • further tightening of border crossing for the residents of Pridnestrovieh, the introduction of a total ban on border crossings by social groups and citizens (It is noteworthy in this regard that, that the admission of foreign citizens on the territory of Moldova is liberalized; Ukrainian officials should examine stats for financial gains and losses of the Moldovan side of Ukrainian companies, eg, air carriers);
  • blocking of export-import operations of the Pridnestrovie side, transit of Pridnestrovie goods, that is well within the common “European” subjects as a way to European integration, with a demand for the full functioning of the Pridnestrovie Moldovan business rules;
  • ban on border crossings by vehicles with Pridnestrovie number;
  • refusal to issue permits for the Pridnestrovie passenger transport;
  • Moldovan law on the placement of the Ukrainian checkpoints with full access to all databases and law carry out administrative functions, etc..

Russia ready if needed

Nato warns that a pro-Russian enclave of Moldova could be Moscow’s next target after Crimea. Nato’s top military Commander Europe Philip Breedlove said on 23rd March 2014 that Russia has a large force on Ukraine’s eastern border and is worried it could pose a threat to Moldova’s separatist Pridnestrovie region.Russia launched a new military exercise, involving 8,500 artillery men, near Ukraine’s border 10 days ago. Breedlove said the Russian tactic should lead the 28-nation Western military alliance to rethink the positioning and readiness of its forces in eastern Europe so that they were ready to counter Moscow’s moves.(The Telegraph)


How the Russian forces would get there. Pridnestrovie is landlocked and to go there by land would require Russian troops to travel through much of western Ukraine. However, Russian forces based in the Eastern side of the Black Sea and Crimea could conceivably stage an airlift. Since it fought a brief separatist war to breakaway from Moldova in 1991, Pridnestrovie has been home to “peacekeeping” garrison of around 1,000 Russian troops. One option is also that Russia includes Odessa in a “security belt” that would presumably stretch from Crimea to Transdniestria.


The speaker of Pridnestrovie’s separatist parliament urged Russia middle of March 2014 to incorporate the region and the republic’s parliament, called the Supreme Soviet, sent an official request to Moscow asking if Transdniestria could be allowed to join the Russian Federation. The talks within the 5+2 format (Russia, Moldova, Pridnestrovie, Ukraine, the OSCE and observers from the EU and the US) are scheduled for 10-11 April 2014.


In Moldova the appetite for European integration among Moldova’s 3.5 million people had weakened even before the crisis in Ukraine and a parliamentary election later this year may bring a return of the pro-Russian Communist Party That was forced from power in 2009. Moldova falls under the EU’s Neighborhood Policy, which contains no explicit similar promise of membership like the countries of the Western Balkans .

Gagauzia had referendum too

Gagauzia Moldova map

Transnistria (orange) and Gagauzia (red) are pro-Russian regions in Moldova (photo courtesy of Stratfor)

Following a 1991 declaration of independence, Comrat (Gagauzia’s capital) agreed to remain a part of Moldova, after Chisinau agreed to grant the region the legal status of a “special autonomous zone“. Chisinau’s control was challenged in February 2014 when Gagauzia held a referendum to join the Russia-led Eurasian Customs Union. The referendum followed Chisinau’s decision to enter a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union in November 2013–the same agreement former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich snubbed when he opted for the customs union with Moscow. Gagauzia has a population of about 155,000 people, mostly ethnically Gagauz, Turkic-speaking Orthodox Christians. Many locals fear that Chisinau’s EU-integration agenda masks an intention to unite Moldova with neighboring Romania.


An overwhelming majority of voters in a referendum – with turnout more than 70 % – held in the autonomous Moldovan region of Gagauzia have voted for integration with a Russia-led customs union: 98.4 percent of voters chose closer relations with the CIS Customs Union. In a separate question, 97.2 percent were against closer EU integration. In addition, 98.9 percent of voters supported Gagauzia’s right to declare independence should Moldova lose or surrender its own independence. Moldova’s government claims that referendum in Gagauzia is unconstitutional and had no legal legitimacy.


Although the security situation in Gagauzia remains calm, on 26 March, the executive committee in Comrat announced its decision to establish independent police stations in Comrat, as well as in its northern and southern cities of Briceni and Cahul. Moscow has demonstrated support for Gagauzia following the referendum. The regions governor, Mihail Formuzal visited Moscow in March 2014 and got impression that Russia was prepared to expand partnerships with Gagauzia and “provide the necessary support”. Despite an embargo against wine produced in Moldova, Russia began importing it from Gagauzia, likely as an attempt to encourage additional good will toward its benefactor.

Bottom line


It easy to say that incorporating Transdniestria – as well Gagauzia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Crimea – into Russia (and Nagorno-Karabakh into Armenia) is against international law (whatever it is) or some international agreements. Although Russia moving into eastern Ukraine could be–as the West says–invasion-occupation-annexation. However in my opinion these actions are more legitimate or justified than U.S.expansionism, secret wars and interventions around the globe.


The other possible scenarios than annex into Russia for Pridnestrovie are e.g:

  •  Status quo maintained aka “frozen conflict” continues;
  • Re-integration of the Republic of Moldova with condition of establishing a confederation including Moldova, Transdniestria as Gaugazia entities, this could be pragmatic option for Ukraine too;
  • Transnistria gained its independence and state sovereignty recognized internationally
  • Joining Ukraine, which option after coup in Kiev seems most unlikely option to me.

In my opinion even without international recognizion Pridnestrovie meets the requirements for sovereign statehood under international law, as it has a defined territory, a population, effective elected authority, and the capability to enter into international relations. It is currently seeking international recognition of its de facto independence and statehood. As long as Pridnestrovie’s status is unresolved, it will be a serious political obstacle to Moldova’s joining the EU, which does not want another “divided state” like Cyprus on it hands.

Transdniestria and Moldavia map
My previous article about Pridnestrovie:

 

Note: An Italian version of this article published too

Il futuro della Transnistria nel contesto della crisi Ucraina

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Election in Moldova – NATO perspective blocked

April 8, 2009

Last week-end Moldova had parliamentary elections. The ruling Party of Communists won so no big change in politics is expected. Elections in EU’s border have however some significance as the new leadership will be the counterpart during period after EP elections influencing e.g. enlargement, partnership and security questions. Before Moldova (FYRO) Macedonia already had their voting and many ways very important elections in Ukraine are coming later.


Moldova is one of the frontlines of “battlefield” of interest spheres between EU and Russia, between U.S. and Russia and between future energy political deals. It is also a test for international law, conflict management and territorial sovereignty.

Elections

As many as 50 per cent of Moldovan eligible voters cast their ballots for the Party of Communists (PCRM). Thus, the ruling party won a landslide victory leaving the other three political parties that made it to parliament far behind. Three other parties managed to pass the 6 per cent threshold required to enter the legislature – the Liberal Democrat Party with 13.9 per cent, the Liberal Party with 13.9 per cent and Our Moldova Alliance with 10 per cent. Liberals have demanded Moldova’s reunification with Romania. All three are in favour of closer ties with the European Union, free-market policies and pursuing NATO membership. The Communists (PCRM) are pro-EU, anti-NATO and less market-friendly.

The other formations failed to clear the six-per-cent threshold. The Social Democratic Party – which proposed (Infotag 20 March 2009) to pass the Transnistrian region to the Russian Federation into a concession for 30 years – grabbed 3.71 per cent of the votes, the Christian Democratic Popular Party 3.02 per cent, the Democratic Party 2.97; the Moldovan Centrist Union 2.76 per cent and the European Action Movement 1 per cent. The other parties and independent candidates mustered less than one per cent.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has reported voter turnout was 59.52%, i.e. 1,543,966 persons, of whom 14,838 people voted at polling stations opened in foreign countries.

The April 5 parliamentary elections in Moldova met many international standards and commitments, but further improvements are required to ensure an electoral process free from undue administrative interference and to increase public confidence, the International Election Observation Mission said in a statement, on Monday, April 6, at a news conference.

Transdnistrian question

Moldovans share a linguistic and historical heritage with Romania, but its Transdniestria – aka Pridnestrovie aka Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica (PMR) – region broke away in Soviet times because it feared Moldova would unite with Romania. Most of Moldova was once part of its western neighbour. Transdnistria has practically been independent – if not recognized – state already over 17 years. Short historical representation one may find from here

On March 18 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hosted Moldovan President Voronin and Transnistria’s President Smirnov at the Barvikha residence near Moscow. The three signed a Russian-drafted joint declaration. Apparently panicking in the run-up to the April 5 elections, Voronin has hoisted the white flag of surrender on Transnistria in return for a pre-election endorsement from the Kremlin. However March 25th he refused to go to Tiraspol for a meeting with Smirnov. A day earlier Transnistrian republic announced slapping a travel ban on a whole number of Western (EU and U.S.) officials. Smirnov stated that this was Tiraspol’s reply to the European Union Council of Ministers’ decision to extend for another 12 months, until February 2010, the travel ban on top Transnistria officials.  (Infotag 25.3.2009)

Within the meeting the participants were to evaluate the functioning of the eight work groups created to elaborate the confidence-building measures between Chisinau and Tiraspol in the social-economic and humanitarian domains and to single out new tasks related to this.

Post-election protest

Violent protests have broken out in Moldova after the ruling Communist Party was elected on Sunday. About 10,000 – some sources claim over 30,000 – demonstrators gathered on a central square in Moldova’s capital Chisinau to protest against the newly elected government. Some had waved European, Romanian and Moldovan flags from the roof of the president’s offices.

Some of the protesters are demanding Moldova’s reunification with Romania, while others are chanting “Down with the Communists!” Some protesters stormed the Moldovan parliament and presidential office and set fire to furniture. Traffic along the city’s thoroughfare has ground to a halt, but police say they have the situation under control. One woman died and about a hundred people were hurt after protesters.

Some possible consequences

Moldova’s parliament will select a new President as Mr Voronin is not eligible according law to be reselected anymore. However he probably will get new influential post – maybe PM or Speaker of Parliament – so his policy will continue. This means no to NATO, no to reunification with Romania, some but not full cooperation with EU, continuing decline of GUUAM (cooperation body supported by US energy giants and military-industrial-complex) and frozen situation with separatist regions.

Talks about solution for Transdnistria/PMR will probably continue in 2+1 format (Moldova and PMR as parties, Russia mediator), possible result will be delivered to official “western backed” 5 (Moldova/PMR, Russia, Ukraine, OSCE)+2 (U.S. and EU) process.

If the talks are leading to unlikely scenario to pursue the federalization of the Republic of Moldova then also it is expected that the demands of transforming Gagauzia region from autonomy to republic will increase.

Notwithstanding the outcome of Moldova/PMR talks the separatist region will continue its life as state – Transdnistria has all statehood elements, its economy is relatively good with export to over 100 countries and it can manage without UN seat. If EU recognize the reality it could remove the visa ban and start pragmatic cooperation.

A Follow-Up 8.4.2009

According BalkanInsight.com – online publication of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – Moldova’s president Vladimir Voronin today accused Romania of involvement in the violent protests which have swept Chisinau. Moldova has also decided to expel the Romanian ambassador and to introduce visa requirements for its Western neighbour.

Moldova was part of Romania from 1918 to 1940 until it was annexed by the Soviet Union. Moldova became independent in 1991 and the two countries share the same ethnic and linguistic background. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated under Vladimir Voronin’s Presidency. In 2007 Moldova stopped Romania from opening two consulates in the country, claiming Bucharest was trying to lure Moldovan citizens.

More about topic one may find from my earlier articles:


Election in Moldova – NATO perspective blocked

April 8, 2009

Last week-end Moldova had parliamentary elections. The ruling Party of Communists won so no big change in politics is expected. Elections in EU’s border have however some significance as the new leadership will be the counterpart during period after EP elections influencing e.g. enlargement, partnership and security questions. Before Moldova (FYRO) Macedonia already had their voting and many ways very important elections in Ukraine are coming later.


Moldova is one of the frontlines of “battlefield” of interest spheres between EU and Russia, between U.S. and Russia and between future energy political deals. It is also a test for international law, conflict management and territorial sovereignty.

Elections

As many as 50 per cent of Moldovan eligible voters cast their ballots for the Party of Communists (PCRM). Thus, the ruling party won a landslide victory leaving the other three political parties that made it to parliament far behind. Three other parties managed to pass the 6 per cent threshold required to enter the legislature – the Liberal Democrat Party with 13.9 per cent, the Liberal Party with 13.9 per cent and Our Moldova Alliance with 10 per cent. Liberals have demanded Moldova’s reunification with Romania. All three are in favour of closer ties with the European Union, free-market policies and pursuing NATO membership. The Communists (PCRM) are pro-EU, anti-NATO and less market-friendly.

The other formations failed to clear the six-per-cent threshold. The Social Democratic Party – which proposed (Infotag 20 March 2009) to pass the Transnistrian region to the Russian Federation into a concession for 30 years – grabbed 3.71 per cent of the votes, the Christian Democratic Popular Party 3.02 per cent, the Democratic Party 2.97; the Moldovan Centrist Union 2.76 per cent and the European Action Movement 1 per cent. The other parties and independent candidates mustered less than one per cent.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has reported voter turnout was 59.52%, i.e. 1,543,966 persons, of whom 14,838 people voted at polling stations opened in foreign countries.

The April 5 parliamentary elections in Moldova met many international standards and commitments, but further improvements are required to ensure an electoral process free from undue administrative interference and to increase public confidence, the International Election Observation Mission said in a statement, on Monday, April 6, at a news conference.

Transdnistrian question

Moldovans share a linguistic and historical heritage with Romania, but its Transdniestria – aka Pridnestrovie aka Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica (PMR) – region broke away in Soviet times because it feared Moldova would unite with Romania. Most of Moldova was once part of its western neighbour. Transdnistria has practically been independent – if not recognized – state already over 17 years. Short historical representation one may find from here

On March 18 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hosted Moldovan President Voronin and Transnistria’s President Smirnov at the Barvikha residence near Moscow. The three signed a Russian-drafted joint declaration. Apparently panicking in the run-up to the April 5 elections, Voronin has hoisted the white flag of surrender on Transnistria in return for a pre-election endorsement from the Kremlin. However March 25th he refused to go to Tiraspol for a meeting with Smirnov. A day earlier Transnistrian republic announced slapping a travel ban on a whole number of Western (EU and U.S.) officials. Smirnov stated that this was Tiraspol’s reply to the European Union Council of Ministers’ decision to extend for another 12 months, until February 2010, the travel ban on top Transnistria officials.  (Infotag 25.3.2009)

Within the meeting the participants were to evaluate the functioning of the eight work groups created to elaborate the confidence-building measures between Chisinau and Tiraspol in the social-economic and humanitarian domains and to single out new tasks related to this.

Post-election protest

Violent protests have broken out in Moldova after the ruling Communist Party was elected on Sunday. About 10,000 – some sources claim over 30,000 – demonstrators gathered on a central square in Moldova’s capital Chisinau to protest against the newly elected government. Some had waved European, Romanian and Moldovan flags from the roof of the president’s offices.

Some of the protesters are demanding Moldova’s reunification with Romania, while others are chanting “Down with the Communists!” Some protesters stormed the Moldovan parliament and presidential office and set fire to furniture. Traffic along the city’s thoroughfare has ground to a halt, but police say they have the situation under control. One woman died and about a hundred people were hurt after protesters.

Some possible consequences

Moldova’s parliament will select a new President as Mr Voronin is not eligible according law to be reselected anymore. However he probably will get new influential post – maybe PM or Speaker of Parliament – so his policy will continue. This means no to NATO, no to reunification with Romania, some but not full cooperation with EU, continuing decline of GUUAM (cooperation body supported by US energy giants and military-industrial-complex) and frozen situation with separatist regions.

Talks about solution for Transdnistria/PMR will probably continue in 2+1 format (Moldova and PMR as parties, Russia mediator), possible result will be delivered to official “western backed” 5 (Moldova/PMR, Russia, Ukraine, OSCE)+2 (U.S. and EU) process.

If the talks are leading to unlikely scenario to pursue the federalization of the Republic of Moldova then also it is expected that the demands of transforming Gagauzia region from autonomy to republic will increase.

Notwithstanding the outcome of Moldova/PMR talks the separatist region will continue its life as state – Transdnistria has all statehood elements, its economy is relatively good with export to over 100 countries and it can manage without UN seat. If EU recognize the reality it could remove the visa ban and start pragmatic cooperation.

A Follow-Up 8.4.2009

According BalkanInsight.com – online publication of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – Moldova’s president Vladimir Voronin today accused Romania of involvement in the violent protests which have swept Chisinau. Moldova has also decided to expel the Romanian ambassador and to introduce visa requirements for its Western neighbour.

Moldova was part of Romania from 1918 to 1940 until it was annexed by the Soviet Union. Moldova became independent in 1991 and the two countries share the same ethnic and linguistic background. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated under Vladimir Voronin’s Presidency. In 2007 Moldova stopped Romania from opening two consulates in the country, claiming Bucharest was trying to lure Moldovan citizens.

More about topic one may find from my earlier articles:


Election in Moldova – NATO perspective blocked

April 8, 2009

Last week-end Moldova had parliamentary elections. The ruling Party of Communists won so no big change in politics is expected. Elections in EU’s border have however some significance as the new leadership will be the counterpart during period after EP elections influencing e.g. enlargement, partnership and security questions. Before Moldova (FYRO) Macedonia already had their voting and many ways very important elections in Ukraine are coming later.


Moldova is one of the frontlines of “battlefield” of interest spheres between EU and Russia, between U.S. and Russia and between future energy political deals. It is also a test for international law, conflict management and territorial sovereignty.

Elections

As many as 50 per cent of Moldovan eligible voters cast their ballots for the Party of Communists (PCRM). Thus, the ruling party won a landslide victory leaving the other three political parties that made it to parliament far behind. Three other parties managed to pass the 6 per cent threshold required to enter the legislature – the Liberal Democrat Party with 13.9 per cent, the Liberal Party with 13.9 per cent and Our Moldova Alliance with 10 per cent. Liberals have demanded Moldova’s reunification with Romania. All three are in favour of closer ties with the European Union, free-market policies and pursuing NATO membership. The Communists (PCRM) are pro-EU, anti-NATO and less market-friendly.

The other formations failed to clear the six-per-cent threshold. The Social Democratic Party – which proposed (Infotag 20 March 2009) to pass the Transnistrian region to the Russian Federation into a concession for 30 years – grabbed 3.71 per cent of the votes, the Christian Democratic Popular Party 3.02 per cent, the Democratic Party 2.97; the Moldovan Centrist Union 2.76 per cent and the European Action Movement 1 per cent. The other parties and independent candidates mustered less than one per cent.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has reported voter turnout was 59.52%, i.e. 1,543,966 persons, of whom 14,838 people voted at polling stations opened in foreign countries.

The April 5 parliamentary elections in Moldova met many international standards and commitments, but further improvements are required to ensure an electoral process free from undue administrative interference and to increase public confidence, the International Election Observation Mission said in a statement, on Monday, April 6, at a news conference.

Transdnistrian question

Moldovans share a linguistic and historical heritage with Romania, but its Transdniestria – aka Pridnestrovie aka Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica (PMR) – region broke away in Soviet times because it feared Moldova would unite with Romania. Most of Moldova was once part of its western neighbour. Transdnistria has practically been independent – if not recognized – state already over 17 years. Short historical representation one may find from here

On March 18 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hosted Moldovan President Voronin and Transnistria’s President Smirnov at the Barvikha residence near Moscow. The three signed a Russian-drafted joint declaration. Apparently panicking in the run-up to the April 5 elections, Voronin has hoisted the white flag of surrender on Transnistria in return for a pre-election endorsement from the Kremlin. However March 25th he refused to go to Tiraspol for a meeting with Smirnov. A day earlier Transnistrian republic announced slapping a travel ban on a whole number of Western (EU and U.S.) officials. Smirnov stated that this was Tiraspol’s reply to the European Union Council of Ministers’ decision to extend for another 12 months, until February 2010, the travel ban on top Transnistria officials.  (Infotag 25.3.2009)

Within the meeting the participants were to evaluate the functioning of the eight work groups created to elaborate the confidence-building measures between Chisinau and Tiraspol in the social-economic and humanitarian domains and to single out new tasks related to this.

Post-election protest

Violent protests have broken out in Moldova after the ruling Communist Party was elected on Sunday. About 10,000 – some sources claim over 30,000 – demonstrators gathered on a central square in Moldova’s capital Chisinau to protest against the newly elected government. Some had waved European, Romanian and Moldovan flags from the roof of the president’s offices.

Some of the protesters are demanding Moldova’s reunification with Romania, while others are chanting “Down with the Communists!” Some protesters stormed the Moldovan parliament and presidential office and set fire to furniture. Traffic along the city’s thoroughfare has ground to a halt, but police say they have the situation under control. One woman died and about a hundred people were hurt after protesters.

Some possible consequences

Moldova’s parliament will select a new President as Mr Voronin is not eligible according law to be reselected anymore. However he probably will get new influential post – maybe PM or Speaker of Parliament – so his policy will continue. This means no to NATO, no to reunification with Romania, some but not full cooperation with EU, continuing decline of GUUAM (cooperation body supported by US energy giants and military-industrial-complex) and frozen situation with separatist regions.

Talks about solution for Transdnistria/PMR will probably continue in 2+1 format (Moldova and PMR as parties, Russia mediator), possible result will be delivered to official “western backed” 5 (Moldova/PMR, Russia, Ukraine, OSCE)+2 (U.S. and EU) process.

If the talks are leading to unlikely scenario to pursue the federalization of the Republic of Moldova then also it is expected that the demands of transforming Gagauzia region from autonomy to republic will increase.

Notwithstanding the outcome of Moldova/PMR talks the separatist region will continue its life as state – Transdnistria has all statehood elements, its economy is relatively good with export to over 100 countries and it can manage without UN seat. If EU recognize the reality it could remove the visa ban and start pragmatic cooperation.

A Follow-Up 8.4.2009

According BalkanInsight.com – online publication of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – Moldova’s president Vladimir Voronin today accused Romania of involvement in the violent protests which have swept Chisinau. Moldova has also decided to expel the Romanian ambassador and to introduce visa requirements for its Western neighbour.

Moldova was part of Romania from 1918 to 1940 until it was annexed by the Soviet Union. Moldova became independent in 1991 and the two countries share the same ethnic and linguistic background. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated under Vladimir Voronin’s Presidency. In 2007 Moldova stopped Romania from opening two consulates in the country, claiming Bucharest was trying to lure Moldovan citizens.

More about topic one may find from my earlier articles:


Election in Moldova – NATO perspective blocked

April 8, 2009

Last week-end Moldova had parliamentary elections. The ruling Party of Communists won so no big change in politics is expected. Elections in EU’s border have however some significance as the new leadership will be the counterpart during period after EP elections influencing e.g. enlargement, partnership and security questions. Before Moldova (FYRO) Macedonia already had their voting and many ways very important elections in Ukraine are coming later.


Moldova is one of the frontlines of “battlefield” of interest spheres between EU and Russia, between U.S. and Russia and between future energy political deals. It is also a test for international law, conflict management and territorial sovereignty.

Elections

As many as 50 per cent of Moldovan eligible voters cast their ballots for the Party of Communists (PCRM). Thus, the ruling party won a landslide victory leaving the other three political parties that made it to parliament far behind. Three other parties managed to pass the 6 per cent threshold required to enter the legislature – the Liberal Democrat Party with 13.9 per cent, the Liberal Party with 13.9 per cent and Our Moldova Alliance with 10 per cent. Liberals have demanded Moldova’s reunification with Romania. All three are in favour of closer ties with the European Union, free-market policies and pursuing NATO membership. The Communists (PCRM) are pro-EU, anti-NATO and less market-friendly.

The other formations failed to clear the six-per-cent threshold. The Social Democratic Party – which proposed (Infotag 20 March 2009) to pass the Transnistrian region to the Russian Federation into a concession for 30 years – grabbed 3.71 per cent of the votes, the Christian Democratic Popular Party 3.02 per cent, the Democratic Party 2.97; the Moldovan Centrist Union 2.76 per cent and the European Action Movement 1 per cent. The other parties and independent candidates mustered less than one per cent.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has reported voter turnout was 59.52%, i.e. 1,543,966 persons, of whom 14,838 people voted at polling stations opened in foreign countries.

The April 5 parliamentary elections in Moldova met many international standards and commitments, but further improvements are required to ensure an electoral process free from undue administrative interference and to increase public confidence, the International Election Observation Mission said in a statement, on Monday, April 6, at a news conference.

Transdnistrian question

Moldovans share a linguistic and historical heritage with Romania, but its Transdniestria – aka Pridnestrovie aka Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica (PMR) – region broke away in Soviet times because it feared Moldova would unite with Romania. Most of Moldova was once part of its western neighbour. Transdnistria has practically been independent – if not recognized – state already over 17 years. Short historical representation one may find from here

On March 18 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hosted Moldovan President Voronin and Transnistria’s President Smirnov at the Barvikha residence near Moscow. The three signed a Russian-drafted joint declaration. Apparently panicking in the run-up to the April 5 elections, Voronin has hoisted the white flag of surrender on Transnistria in return for a pre-election endorsement from the Kremlin. However March 25th he refused to go to Tiraspol for a meeting with Smirnov. A day earlier Transnistrian republic announced slapping a travel ban on a whole number of Western (EU and U.S.) officials. Smirnov stated that this was Tiraspol’s reply to the European Union Council of Ministers’ decision to extend for another 12 months, until February 2010, the travel ban on top Transnistria officials.  (Infotag 25.3.2009)

Within the meeting the participants were to evaluate the functioning of the eight work groups created to elaborate the confidence-building measures between Chisinau and Tiraspol in the social-economic and humanitarian domains and to single out new tasks related to this.

Post-election protest

Violent protests have broken out in Moldova after the ruling Communist Party was elected on Sunday. About 10,000 – some sources claim over 30,000 – demonstrators gathered on a central square in Moldova’s capital Chisinau to protest against the newly elected government. Some had waved European, Romanian and Moldovan flags from the roof of the president’s offices.

Some of the protesters are demanding Moldova’s reunification with Romania, while others are chanting “Down with the Communists!” Some protesters stormed the Moldovan parliament and presidential office and set fire to furniture. Traffic along the city’s thoroughfare has ground to a halt, but police say they have the situation under control. One woman died and about a hundred people were hurt after protesters.

Some possible consequences

Moldova’s parliament will select a new President as Mr Voronin is not eligible according law to be reselected anymore. However he probably will get new influential post – maybe PM or Speaker of Parliament – so his policy will continue. This means no to NATO, no to reunification with Romania, some but not full cooperation with EU, continuing decline of GUUAM (cooperation body supported by US energy giants and military-industrial-complex) and frozen situation with separatist regions.

Talks about solution for Transdnistria/PMR will probably continue in 2+1 format (Moldova and PMR as parties, Russia mediator), possible result will be delivered to official “western backed” 5 (Moldova/PMR, Russia, Ukraine, OSCE)+2 (U.S. and EU) process.

If the talks are leading to unlikely scenario to pursue the federalization of the Republic of Moldova then also it is expected that the demands of transforming Gagauzia region from autonomy to republic will increase.

Notwithstanding the outcome of Moldova/PMR talks the separatist region will continue its life as state – Transdnistria has all statehood elements, its economy is relatively good with export to over 100 countries and it can manage without UN seat. If EU recognize the reality it could remove the visa ban and start pragmatic cooperation.

A Follow-Up 8.4.2009

According BalkanInsight.com – online publication of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – Moldova’s president Vladimir Voronin today accused Romania of involvement in the violent protests which have swept Chisinau. Moldova has also decided to expel the Romanian ambassador and to introduce visa requirements for its Western neighbour.

Moldova was part of Romania from 1918 to 1940 until it was annexed by the Soviet Union. Moldova became independent in 1991 and the two countries share the same ethnic and linguistic background. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated under Vladimir Voronin’s Presidency. In 2007 Moldova stopped Romania from opening two consulates in the country, claiming Bucharest was trying to lure Moldovan citizens.

More about topic one may find from my earlier articles:


Election in Moldova – NATO perspective blocked

April 8, 2009

Last week-end Moldova had parliamentary elections. The ruling Party of Communists won so no big change in politics is expected. Elections in EU’s border have however some significance as the new leadership will be the counterpart during period after EP elections influencing e.g. enlargement, partnership and security questions. Before Moldova (FYRO) Macedonia already had their voting and many ways very important elections in Ukraine are coming later.


Moldova is one of the frontlines of “battlefield” of interest spheres between EU and Russia, between U.S. and Russia and between future energy political deals. It is also a test for international law, conflict management and territorial sovereignty.

Elections

As many as 50 per cent of Moldovan eligible voters cast their ballots for the Party of Communists (PCRM). Thus, the ruling party won a landslide victory leaving the other three political parties that made it to parliament far behind. Three other parties managed to pass the 6 per cent threshold required to enter the legislature – the Liberal Democrat Party with 13.9 per cent, the Liberal Party with 13.9 per cent and Our Moldova Alliance with 10 per cent. Liberals have demanded Moldova’s reunification with Romania. All three are in favour of closer ties with the European Union, free-market policies and pursuing NATO membership. The Communists (PCRM) are pro-EU, anti-NATO and less market-friendly.

The other formations failed to clear the six-per-cent threshold. The Social Democratic Party – which proposed (Infotag 20 March 2009) to pass the Transnistrian region to the Russian Federation into a concession for 30 years – grabbed 3.71 per cent of the votes, the Christian Democratic Popular Party 3.02 per cent, the Democratic Party 2.97; the Moldovan Centrist Union 2.76 per cent and the European Action Movement 1 per cent. The other parties and independent candidates mustered less than one per cent.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has reported voter turnout was 59.52%, i.e. 1,543,966 persons, of whom 14,838 people voted at polling stations opened in foreign countries.

The April 5 parliamentary elections in Moldova met many international standards and commitments, but further improvements are required to ensure an electoral process free from undue administrative interference and to increase public confidence, the International Election Observation Mission said in a statement, on Monday, April 6, at a news conference.

Transdnistrian question

Moldovans share a linguistic and historical heritage with Romania, but its Transdniestria – aka Pridnestrovie aka Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica (PMR) – region broke away in Soviet times because it feared Moldova would unite with Romania. Most of Moldova was once part of its western neighbour. Transdnistria has practically been independent – if not recognized – state already over 17 years. Short historical representation one may find from here

On March 18 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hosted Moldovan President Voronin and Transnistria’s President Smirnov at the Barvikha residence near Moscow. The three signed a Russian-drafted joint declaration. Apparently panicking in the run-up to the April 5 elections, Voronin has hoisted the white flag of surrender on Transnistria in return for a pre-election endorsement from the Kremlin. However March 25th he refused to go to Tiraspol for a meeting with Smirnov. A day earlier Transnistrian republic announced slapping a travel ban on a whole number of Western (EU and U.S.) officials. Smirnov stated that this was Tiraspol’s reply to the European Union Council of Ministers’ decision to extend for another 12 months, until February 2010, the travel ban on top Transnistria officials.  (Infotag 25.3.2009)

Within the meeting the participants were to evaluate the functioning of the eight work groups created to elaborate the confidence-building measures between Chisinau and Tiraspol in the social-economic and humanitarian domains and to single out new tasks related to this.

Post-election protest

Violent protests have broken out in Moldova after the ruling Communist Party was elected on Sunday. About 10,000 – some sources claim over 30,000 – demonstrators gathered on a central square in Moldova’s capital Chisinau to protest against the newly elected government. Some had waved European, Romanian and Moldovan flags from the roof of the president’s offices.

Some of the protesters are demanding Moldova’s reunification with Romania, while others are chanting “Down with the Communists!” Some protesters stormed the Moldovan parliament and presidential office and set fire to furniture. Traffic along the city’s thoroughfare has ground to a halt, but police say they have the situation under control. One woman died and about a hundred people were hurt after protesters.

Some possible consequences

Moldova’s parliament will select a new President as Mr Voronin is not eligible according law to be reselected anymore. However he probably will get new influential post – maybe PM or Speaker of Parliament – so his policy will continue. This means no to NATO, no to reunification with Romania, some but not full cooperation with EU, continuing decline of GUUAM (cooperation body supported by US energy giants and military-industrial-complex) and frozen situation with separatist regions.

Talks about solution for Transdnistria/PMR will probably continue in 2+1 format (Moldova and PMR as parties, Russia mediator), possible result will be delivered to official “western backed” 5 (Moldova/PMR, Russia, Ukraine, OSCE)+2 (U.S. and EU) process.

If the talks are leading to unlikely scenario to pursue the federalization of the Republic of Moldova then also it is expected that the demands of transforming Gagauzia region from autonomy to republic will increase.

Notwithstanding the outcome of Moldova/PMR talks the separatist region will continue its life as state – Transdnistria has all statehood elements, its economy is relatively good with export to over 100 countries and it can manage without UN seat. If EU recognize the reality it could remove the visa ban and start pragmatic cooperation.

A Follow-Up 8.4.2009

According BalkanInsight.com – online publication of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – Moldova’s president Vladimir Voronin today accused Romania of involvement in the violent protests which have swept Chisinau. Moldova has also decided to expel the Romanian ambassador and to introduce visa requirements for its Western neighbour.

Moldova was part of Romania from 1918 to 1940 until it was annexed by the Soviet Union. Moldova became independent in 1991 and the two countries share the same ethnic and linguistic background. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated under Vladimir Voronin’s Presidency. In 2007 Moldova stopped Romania from opening two consulates in the country, claiming Bucharest was trying to lure Moldovan citizens.

More about topic one may find from my earlier articles:


Election in Moldova – NATO perspective blocked

April 8, 2009

Last week-end Moldova had parliamentary elections. The ruling Party of Communists won so no big change in politics is expected. Elections in EU’s border have however some significance as the new leadership will be the counterpart during period after EP elections influencing e.g. enlargement, partnership and security questions. Before Moldova (FYRO) Macedonia already had their voting and many ways very important elections in Ukraine are coming later.


Moldova is one of the frontlines of “battlefield” of interest spheres between EU and Russia, between U.S. and Russia and between future energy political deals. It is also a test for international law, conflict management and territorial sovereignty.

Elections

As many as 50 per cent of Moldovan eligible voters cast their ballots for the Party of Communists (PCRM). Thus, the ruling party won a landslide victory leaving the other three political parties that made it to parliament far behind. Three other parties managed to pass the 6 per cent threshold required to enter the legislature – the Liberal Democrat Party with 13.9 per cent, the Liberal Party with 13.9 per cent and Our Moldova Alliance with 10 per cent. Liberals have demanded Moldova’s reunification with Romania. All three are in favour of closer ties with the European Union, free-market policies and pursuing NATO membership. The Communists (PCRM) are pro-EU, anti-NATO and less market-friendly.

The other formations failed to clear the six-per-cent threshold. The Social Democratic Party – which proposed (Infotag 20 March 2009) to pass the Transnistrian region to the Russian Federation into a concession for 30 years – grabbed 3.71 per cent of the votes, the Christian Democratic Popular Party 3.02 per cent, the Democratic Party 2.97; the Moldovan Centrist Union 2.76 per cent and the European Action Movement 1 per cent. The other parties and independent candidates mustered less than one per cent.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has reported voter turnout was 59.52%, i.e. 1,543,966 persons, of whom 14,838 people voted at polling stations opened in foreign countries.

The April 5 parliamentary elections in Moldova met many international standards and commitments, but further improvements are required to ensure an electoral process free from undue administrative interference and to increase public confidence, the International Election Observation Mission said in a statement, on Monday, April 6, at a news conference.

Transdnistrian question

Moldovans share a linguistic and historical heritage with Romania, but its Transdniestria – aka Pridnestrovie aka Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica (PMR) – region broke away in Soviet times because it feared Moldova would unite with Romania. Most of Moldova was once part of its western neighbour. Transdnistria has practically been independent – if not recognized – state already over 17 years. Short historical representation one may find from here

On March 18 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hosted Moldovan President Voronin and Transnistria’s President Smirnov at the Barvikha residence near Moscow. The three signed a Russian-drafted joint declaration. Apparently panicking in the run-up to the April 5 elections, Voronin has hoisted the white flag of surrender on Transnistria in return for a pre-election endorsement from the Kremlin. However March 25th he refused to go to Tiraspol for a meeting with Smirnov. A day earlier Transnistrian republic announced slapping a travel ban on a whole number of Western (EU and U.S.) officials. Smirnov stated that this was Tiraspol’s reply to the European Union Council of Ministers’ decision to extend for another 12 months, until February 2010, the travel ban on top Transnistria officials.  (Infotag 25.3.2009)

Within the meeting the participants were to evaluate the functioning of the eight work groups created to elaborate the confidence-building measures between Chisinau and Tiraspol in the social-economic and humanitarian domains and to single out new tasks related to this.

Post-election protest

Violent protests have broken out in Moldova after the ruling Communist Party was elected on Sunday. About 10,000 – some sources claim over 30,000 – demonstrators gathered on a central square in Moldova’s capital Chisinau to protest against the newly elected government. Some had waved European, Romanian and Moldovan flags from the roof of the president’s offices.

Some of the protesters are demanding Moldova’s reunification with Romania, while others are chanting “Down with the Communists!” Some protesters stormed the Moldovan parliament and presidential office and set fire to furniture. Traffic along the city’s thoroughfare has ground to a halt, but police say they have the situation under control. One woman died and about a hundred people were hurt after protesters.

Some possible consequences

Moldova’s parliament will select a new President as Mr Voronin is not eligible according law to be reselected anymore. However he probably will get new influential post – maybe PM or Speaker of Parliament – so his policy will continue. This means no to NATO, no to reunification with Romania, some but not full cooperation with EU, continuing decline of GUUAM (cooperation body supported by US energy giants and military-industrial-complex) and frozen situation with separatist regions.

Talks about solution for Transdnistria/PMR will probably continue in 2+1 format (Moldova and PMR as parties, Russia mediator), possible result will be delivered to official “western backed” 5 (Moldova/PMR, Russia, Ukraine, OSCE)+2 (U.S. and EU) process.

If the talks are leading to unlikely scenario to pursue the federalization of the Republic of Moldova then also it is expected that the demands of transforming Gagauzia region from autonomy to republic will increase.

Notwithstanding the outcome of Moldova/PMR talks the separatist region will continue its life as state – Transdnistria has all statehood elements, its economy is relatively good with export to over 100 countries and it can manage without UN seat. If EU recognize the reality it could remove the visa ban and start pragmatic cooperation.

A Follow-Up 8.4.2009

According BalkanInsight.com – online publication of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – Moldova’s president Vladimir Voronin today accused Romania of involvement in the violent protests which have swept Chisinau. Moldova has also decided to expel the Romanian ambassador and to introduce visa requirements for its Western neighbour.

Moldova was part of Romania from 1918 to 1940 until it was annexed by the Soviet Union. Moldova became independent in 1991 and the two countries share the same ethnic and linguistic background. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated under Vladimir Voronin’s Presidency. In 2007 Moldova stopped Romania from opening two consulates in the country, claiming Bucharest was trying to lure Moldovan citizens.

More about topic one may find from my earlier articles:


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