The troops stationed in the eastern districts of the Republic of Moldova who identify as “peacekeepers” actually do not have an internationally recognized mandate and mission, while their purpose is not to bring peace and leave, but to keep Moldova part of the defunct Soviet Union which Russia is now trying to reanimate, stated Alexandru Flenchea, former deputy prime minister for reintegration, during an IPN debate on the subject.
“The situation might seem quite complex, but it’s actually simple and trivial”, Flenchea said. When sitting across the negotiating table, he went on, is an internationally recognized sovereign nation that has commitments and obligations, you can expect responsible behavior. “But it’s different when you have negotiators in front of you who only represent themselves. True, they have certain instructions, a certain leeway - in our case, set by Moscow - but otherwise... A former chief negotiator from Tiraspol, when caught lying, even said: What kind of expectations of responsibility do you want from us, an unrecognized state?”
Tiraspol is not constrained either by international commitments or Tiraspol common sense, thinks the expert. “It has a 464 km long privatized border, which at the moment is (partially) closed (on Ukraine’s side). The people there continue to get gas for free, with the bill being sent to Chisinau. They have electricity, which they produce at no cost, but which they sell at a commercial price”.
“In such conditions, with material resources, but without being constrained by national or international commitments, you can do much more than the Republic of Moldova, a sovereign, recognized and responsible state”, pointed out the former official.
On possible solutions for the Transnistrian conflict settlement, Alexandru Flenchea said that there is the Moldovan Constitution and the 2005 Law on Transnistria’s Special Status. He also admitted that there is a national consensus regarding the districts on the left bank, which, however, is silent. “There has always been a lack of genuine debate on this subject”, said the expert.
Commenting on the “small steps” and “confidence building” policy, which is widely acclaimed by specialists, Flenchea said that it does not represent a concession. “Our citizens live there and Chisinau’s behavior is very natural. There are also companies that belong to the Republic of Moldova. In relation to these people and entities, the Republic of Moldova has certain commitments. Obviously, all this being adapted to the conditions of an unresolved conflict”, said the former deputy prime minister.
The debate titled “Moldova’s independence with a Transnistrian birthmark” was the 260th installment of the Political Culture Series, run by IPN with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.