“Solution trap” as a hybrid threat to the Republic of Moldova

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Author: Ion Tabarta, expert IDIS ”Viitorul”

PSRM is a party that has geopolitical messages based on its activity. This party has nothing in common with socialist doctrine, the formation trying to capitalize on the pro-Russian preferences of the electorate and the nostalgia of some voters after the USSR. The panels during the election campaign for the November 30, 2014 parliamentary elections, in which Igor Dodon and Zinaida Greceanii (PSRM leaders) appear alongside Vladimir Putin, are eloquent evidence in this regard. In November 2016, PSRM President Igor Dodon became head of state with the help of a pro-Russian geopolitical speech, against the Association Agreement and against the backdrop of the population’s disappointment with the results of the pro-European party governance in the Republic of Moldova.

PSRM is a Russian political project in the Republic of Moldova. Following the failure of the visit of Sergei Narinkin, the head of the Russian presidential administration, in Chisinau in December 2010, whose purpose was to create a governing coalition between the PCRM and the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM), Russia has stepped in creating and promoting new projects policies in the Republic of Moldova. At the first stage, around the November 2014 parliamentary elections in Chisinau, there were two new pro-Russian political projects with real chances of accessing the Moldovan legislature (PSRM and the controversial Renato Usatîi). As a result, following the electoral ballot, the Moldovan socialists became the largest parliamentary faction. In the second stage, the leader of the PSRM came in front of a leading institution from Chisinau – that of the presidency. In line with the strategies developed in Moscow, at the next stage, the pro-Russian PSRM was to come to government in the Republic of Moldova after the parliamentary elections of February 24, 2019, which the Kremlin partially succeeded.

The main purpose of the PSRM in government is to stop the long-term European course of the Republic of Moldova. Moscow, through the PSRM (or another pro-Russian party), will make full use of the lever of Transnistrian separatism. In perspective, the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova, with its Russian profile, may be the guarantor of Moscow that Chisinau will not approach Brussels. Precisely for these reasons, Igor Dodon, from the very beginning when he came to the front of the Socialists, but especially after he became the head of state, constantly insisted on resolving the Transnistrian conflict by federalizing the Republic of Moldova. After becoming president, Dodon tried to propose to the different European chancellors a plan for resolving the conflict, hidden from public opinion, which is not clear who was drawn up – by the Moldovan presidency or by the emissaries from Moscow.

More recently, in Dodon’s speech, the concept of federalization was camouflaged with that of “very strong autonomy.” This new conflict resolution project, elaborated by his administration, according to the head of state, is intensely promoted by President Dodon to Western development partners, especially Berlin, taking advantage, according to him, of the current “favorable international consensus” on the Republic Moldova. The most important part of the actions of the president of the Republic of Moldova, ignoring his constitutional prerogatives, is that this plan is presented to the external partners in the secretomania, without him being known by the Moldovan society.

At the moment, Transnistrian conflict can be resolved with the help of the Russian Federation, in terms favorable to its geopolitical interests. The Kremlin’s vision of how to resolve the Transnistrian dispute is set out in the provisions of the Kozak memorandum, proposed by Russia in November 2003. In essence, that draft documents assumed that through the Transnistrian region, Moscow would have political control over the entire territory of the Republic of Moldova. “A very strong autonomy”, in the terms of Dodon and the Russian Federation, means granting a status to the Transnistrian region that would allow Tiraspol to influence the foreign and internal policy of the Republic of Moldova.

    Outside, the ruling coalition between the pro-Russian PSRM and the pro-Western formations of the Blocul ACUM risks creating the impression of the legitimacy of Dodon’s actions in solving the Transnistrian conflict and that the President of the Republic of Moldova is the carrier of the national consensus on the Transnistrian issue. However, the position of the government in the settlement of the Transnistrian dispute differs significantly from that of the presidency. Another very important aspect is that the “favorable international consensus” that Dodon talks about must be for the benefit of the national interests of the Republic of Moldova and not of the external partners.

The main problem of Chisinau in solving the Transnistrian conflict is that it does not have an integrated vision of how this issue should be addressed, and there are several interpretations of how to solve it. Using the favorable situation, both internal and external, Moscow is trying to maximize the internal divergences and hesitations of Chisinau, proposing abroad, through the Moldovan president, a plan to solve the Transnistrian conflict that would increase the geopolitical influence of Russia in the Republic of Moldova. If such a plan for the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict is possible, then the Republic of Moldova can forget about its European course or move to the EU without some territories (“wagons” in the expression of September 2013 of the former Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitri Rogozin ).

In order not to fall into the “solution trap”, the Moldovan president’s secretomania must be put to an end on this subject. The Transnistrian conflict is not a personal attribute of Dodon, which brings political and geopolitical dividends, but is a major problem for the entire Moldovan society. Plans for the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict, regardless of who they were drafted – the presidency or the government – are initially to be presented to the company, then afterwards, if approved by the citizens, to be proposed to external partners. Otherwise, the solution of the Transnistrian problem will become more and more contoured as a hybrid threat for the Republic of Moldova.

1 Socialiștii propun federalizarea Republicii Moldova. / http://socialistii.md/federalizare/

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