Frozen conflicts: genesis, dangers, settlement. IPN debate

Frozen conflicts can have common aspects, but also many dissimilarities. It is important to shed light on the historical situations and contexts that led to the freezing of a conflict. Such opinions were expressed by participants in IPN’s public debate “Frozen conflicts: genesis, dangers, settlement.

The permanent expert of IPN’s project Igor Botan said the political conflicts that went through the hot military phase and weren’t resolved politically, but overcame the stage of direct armed confrontation are called frozen conflicts. “Some of the frozen conflicts start smoldering and then they are settled. It happened so in the case of Nagorno-Karabakh, which was resolved by military ways. If we refer to the Transnistrian conflict, it is a social and political conflict that arose in the Soviet period, inspired by Soviet elites to thwart the National Revival Movement of the native population of the former Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic,” stated Igor Botan.

Associate professor at the Military Academy Natalia Albu, the founder of the Platform for Security and Defense Initiatives, said that in the field of conflict studies there is no clarity about what frozen conflict means. However, when talking about the Republic of Moldova, about the situation of the existing unresolved conflict, the term “frozen conflict” is often used.

“It is a situation created after a military dispute, violent military actions that stopped for various reasons, but no solution was found to resolve it. Conflicts are more often divided and analyzed according to their causes. There can be ethnic conflicts or conflicts of an international character, depending on how many parties are involved in the conflict. For example, the Transnistrian conflict is considered an international conflict because a third party, which is the Russian Federation, is involved. There is a difference between conflicts in the post-Soviet space or the conflict, for example, in Kosovo, between Albanians and Serbs, which is also considered a frozen conflict. The Cypriot case often appears as an example,” she said, noting that these “frozen conflicts” can have common aspects and aspects that make them different.

Octavian Ticu, PhD in history, professor at the Moldova State University, said the Transnistrian separatism is a project of the falling Soviet Empire, when two separatist units were created on the territory of the MSSR: the Gagauz autonomous unit and the Transnistrian autonomous unit. “The fact that particular elites played the role that the imperial center wanted is another matter. The fact that they covered themselves with the idea of fighting for language and got scared of the so-called union with Romania is, again, a propaganda decoration. That’s why we should not get lost in notions,” he stated.

The public debate entitled “Frozen conflicts: genesis, dangers, settlement” was the 26th installment of IPN’s project “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” which is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.

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