The worsening of the relations with Russia cannot be avoided after the victory of the pro-European party PAS in the July 11 snap parliamentary elections, but the new parliamentary majority has resources and ways for minimizing the effects of this deterioration, Dionis Cenușa, a political scientist, researcher at the Institute of Political Science at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, stated in a debate at IPN.
Asked how the new government should acts in relation to Russia, Dionis Cenușa said there are several immediate objectives. For example, the Friendship Treaty with the Russian Federation, which took effect in 2002 during the time of Voronin and which was extended in 2011 for a period of ten years, expires in November. Now the Communists from Parliament will insists on the immediate prolongation of this “very important agreement” with Russia.
There is also the gas issue. “We must realize things and be realistic. The Republic of Moldova needs the Russian Federation more than the Russian Federation needs us. There are several aspects that we should take into account here. First of all, the energy security. The Republic of Moldova continues to depend on Russian gas. Europe depends on Russia gas. As you know, the gas agreements are usually politicized,” stated Dionis Cenușa, adding they will try to impose a kind of conditionality of rhetoric, not of actions, but primarily of the narrative of the parliamentary majority in Chisinau concerning the Russian Federation.
The Transnistrian dispute is another sensitive issue. According to the researcher, during the pandemic Tiraspol was benevolent and thanked Chisinau for the supplied vaccines, but also unilaterally imposed travel restrictions. Now President Maia Sandu and the parliamentary majority should maximally use the international platforms so as to communicate with Russia on sensitive subjects. “The Republic of Moldova should no way remain alone in the dialogue with the Russian Federation on the Transnistrian dispute and on other issues, such as the energy one,” started Cenușa.
He noted the Republic of Moldova should seek support from Western players and international organizations and should use the multilateralism in the international relations so as to avoid or minimize conflicts and misunderstandings with Russia. Moscow prefers a kind of bilateral dialogue, as during the time of Igor Dodon, when the relations with Russia were personalized, being transformed into a personal dialogue between Igor Dodon and the President of Russia, which implied geopolitical costs that are felt in time.
According to Dionis Cenușa., the new majority should also decide what to do with the status of observer to the Eurasian Union. An important signal came from Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, who said that the Russian Federation expects the communication on the CIS platform will be continued. The integration processes to which the Republic of Moldova is a party through CIS should be continued as this will be treated by Russia as confirmation of Chisinau’s good intentions towards the Russian Federation.
As to the relations with the West, the researcher said the new government will try to first of all deliver its electoral promises related to the social security agreements with the European states so as to bring benefits to the Moldovans from the diaspora who would like to return home after retiring. The new government will also have to work to facilitate voting abroad and the Moldovan authorities should better disseminate the benefits and support offered by the development partners.
The public debate “Snap elections 2021: What happened, what can happen at foreign level?” is the 198th installment of the project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is implemented by IPN with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.