The Russian Federation is an aggressor state and is the only country that constantly violates the status of neutral country of the Republic of Moldova. It also controls 12% of Moldova’s territory that the Constitutional Court on May 2, 2017 declared occupied territory, expert Igor Boțan stated in a public debate hosted by IPN. According to him, Moldova’s neutrality imposes a particular conduct that is yet not recognized by Russia.
The permanent expert of IPN’s project said that on June 1, 2004, Vladimir Voronin and the then ruling party PCRM launched the initiative “stability pact for the Republic of Moldova”, inviting Russia, the U.S., the EU and Romania to ensure stability in the Republic of Moldova and to reorganize the country’s neutrality. Russia was the first country that refused to do this. Neutrality means non-involvement in military terms, but no one can ban Moldova from having sympathies and from helping the people of Ukraine in all the ways the authorities consider appropriate.
Through its pressure exerted on Moldova, Russia demands that neutrality should be extended beyond military limits. Russia pretends that neutrality should cover the expression of attitude, eventual humanitarian and logistic support for Ukraine.
Igor Boțan noted that according to the Russians, Russia’s victory is the goal in this war. This means conquering of eastern Ukraine along the Dnieper, passing of the Dnieper towards Transnistria and, in the best case, Moldova’s transformation into a puppet state. If this is the objective, Moldova should take particular measures.
The expert said that Russia breaks everything that can be broken - bilateral protection, cooperation agreements signed with Ukraine, the guarantees offered when it signed the Memorandum of Budapest in exchange for which Ukraine agreed to disarm. These were also ignored. Also, the propaganda daily disseminates the message that the Ukrainians are lost Russians and they should either abandon their language and admit that they are Russians or the Ukrainians will be destroyed, as their state will be.
In another development, Igor Boțan said the Moldovan political class tries to adjust to citizens’ expectations. Society in Moldova is polarized, split and statistics from opinion polls show that approximately one third of the Moldovan citizens are a priori for the Russian course and can justify everything Russia does.
According to the expert, particular parties try to meet these expectations. The pro-European parties adopted an attitude to this war and consider that Ukraine should be supported. The other parties keep silent and don’t speak about this. They only criticize the ruling party for the bad situation in the economy and others, but do not want to admit that the war is the biggest evil and is the motive why the socioeconomic situation worsened. This way, the current ruling party says that all evils are due to the war, while the so-called pro-Russian opposition says that all evils are due to the ruling party. This situation can be useful from the angle of the European integration as statistics show that only one third of the Moldovans are pro-Russians, while two thirds, including the diaspora, are promoters of the European course. These parameters should be taken into account in the future, when policies are being drafted.
The public debate entitled “Moldova between Ukraine and Russia” was the 290th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.