Chromatic scale of Moldovan-Russian and Moldovan-Romanian relations. IPN debate

The bilateral relations between the Republic of Moldova and Romania and between the Republic of Moldova and Russia have witnessed important developments by which the quality of these relations can be judged. Experts invited to IPN’s public debate “Chromatic scale of Moldovan-Russian and Moldovan-Romanian relations: affinities, dissimilarities, motives, processes, solutions” tried to make a comparative analysis of Moldova’s relations with the two states from a general perspective.

Igor Boțan, the standing expert of IPN’s project, said the “pragmatic relations” between the states are those that are free from all kinds of ideological, historical factors. These are relations where one or several states aim to gain mutual benefits. “As regards the “strategic partnership”, we can note here the basic Treaty signed by Moldova and the Russian Federation in November 2001, which provides that the relations between the two states are based on a strategic partnership. This type of partnership means that the two states, when it is the case, act in a coordinated way to ensure a kind of synergy. The “special relations” require the existence of special factors, such as ethnicity, community, language and others. Among the special relations can be named those between the Republic of Moldova and Romania or those between Azerbaijan and Turkey for which the Organization of Turkish Statea was created,” stated the expert.

According to Igor Boțan, the “tense relations” are those when different conflicts appear between states. “Moldova had tense relations with Russia in 2005, when commercial and economic bans were imposed on it. These tensions appeared after the Republic of Moldova tried, through the agency of EUBAM, to impose customs control on the Transnistrian segment of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border.  The “relations of vassalage” are typical of Middle Agrees relations, but in the modern vocabulary these mean only a state’s relations of political and economic dependence on another state,” noted the expert.

He also said that Moldova’s relations with Russia and Romania are very important as Moldova’s territory, Bessarabia, was disputed by USSR after the great union of March 1918. “After the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact was signed, the USSR claimed this territory again. The citizens of the Republic of Moldova speak Romanian, are Romanian ethnics and the difference between the two states resides in the comparable, but yet different political systems applied and the tendency to describe the relations with Romania as special comes from here,” said Igor Boțan.

Mark Mazureanu, specialist in compared policies ad international relations, said the states in reality do not act separately at national level or at international level. A state has a multitude of levels, players, interests. “When we speak about interests and interaction between states, we must consider the levels of interests and it will not be the Moldova-Romania or Moldova-Russia interaction then, but interaction between Moldovas, Russias, Romanias, the plural form,” he stated.

“This is so because we have economic, ethnic-cultural, historical and other kinds of interests. Here are different classes and groups that see the reality in a rather antagonistic way and a common interest of Moldova, Romania or Russia does not necessarily appear.”

Victor Juc, director of the Institute of Legal, Political and Sociological Research, said the subjective factor in Moldova, which is the political affiliation and political preferences, played a decisive role as Moldova’s foreign policy often centered on East-West, on a conflict with the a zero sum. “The improvement of the relations in one direction led to the worsening of the relations in another direction and this can be proven by the evolution of the foreign policy of the Republic of Moldova in the post-independence period. On the one hand, the latest developments marked the relations between the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation as the natural gas issue turned not into a governmental policy element, but into a state policy element. On the other hand, the multiple assistance provided by Romania, especially after the government in Moldova was replaced, is a factor that contributed to the improvement of the relations between the two sides. With Romania, Moldova has special relations. Moldova considers the Russian Federation a “strategic partner”, while Russia considers Moldova “a partner”. Moldova considers the relations with Russia should be pragmatic, while Russia identifies also other forms of expression and realization of its relations with Moldova,” he stated.

Victor Juc also said that in theory, there are also “clientele-based relations” and “sovereignty-suzerainty relations”. “Moldova is for Russia rather a segment of its geopolitical interests. Russia is no longer ready to yield to each EU or NATO state. On the contrary, it considers it should extend its spheres of geopolitical influence using also the commercial policies given that Gazprom is de iure a joint stock company, while de facto it is an instrument for implementing the foreign policy of Russia on the Asian segment and on the European one. Moldova is in an unfavorable political situation as it has to oscillate before dangers, while the political elites do not realize the role they need to play in ensuring the satisfaction of national interests,” stated Victor Juc.

The public debate “Chromatic scale of Moldovan-Russian and Moldovan-Romanian relations: affinities, dissimilarities, motives, processes, solutions” is the 215th installment of the series of debates “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”. The project is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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