Roman Mihaes: Transnistrian conflict could be solved if the region is granted autonomy and clear powers. Info-Prim Neo survey

Info-Prim Neo News Agency is carrying out an opinion poll on the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict among leaders of political parties, representatives of the civil society, and opinion shapers from both banks of the Nistru. The survey is aimed at finding out viewpoints that could contribute to the improvement of the present situation. All the participants were asked the same two questions. This time, the answers are given by Roman Mihaes, Master of Politology. [ - How can the dispute be solved in the opinion of the party you represent? In what way, through what mechanisms and during what terms is a settlement possible?] - On behalf of the United European Moldova Association, I launched in 2003 a project on the settlement of the Transnistrian dispute by regionalization, method that is broadly applied in the EU, especially in Italy, Spain, the UK. In the conflict between the idea of federalization/confederalization and that of a unitary state, we came up with the idea of offering Transnistria the status of autonomous region and clearly delimiting the powers between the center and the region. In the specialty literature, such a system is described as model of complex unitary state. This model was applied to the Gagauz autonomous unit and can be adjusted and used in the case of the Transnistrian region. Later, in 2005, the Parliament of Moldova adopted a set of laws, including the law on the basic provisions for the status of the Transnistrian region, which includes practically the entire regionalization model that we proposed two years earlier. [ - How do you think, how efficient and relevant to the created situation are the steps taken by the administration of Moldova at present? When do you think the effort made by the authorities will begin to produce results and what results can we expect?] - President Vladimir Voronin met with Igor Smirnov. The parliamentary speakers of Moldova and Transnistria had a meeting in Brussels. Joint working groups are making effort to overcome the blockades in the economic and social spheres. The process of settling the Transnistrian conflict is a thawing process. The new Russian President Dmitri Medvedev adopted a more liberal approach than his predecessor and looks determined to solve the problem with the West that he inherited. Analysts say that Medvedev was promoted by the team of businessmen headed by Roman Abramovici that has worked under Vladimir Putin, to the detriment of the militarist Serghei Ivanov, the Russian companies being interested in normalizing the relations with the West, where they do business. One of Russia’s problems with the West is the frozen conflicts, especially those from Moldova and Georgia. It is evident that Chisinau, Moscow, the EU and the US have a coordinated plan of action and it seems that Tiraspol does not know all the moves that will be made, judging by the delayed and nervous reactions of Smirnov and other Transnistrian officials. We must say that the conditions imposed for signing a new basic agreement between Russia and the EU, by which the EU was involved in the frozen conflicts in Moldova and Georgia, produced results. Moscow could help solve the conflict, but in this case Moldova could become Transnistrianized. This means that Chisinau will renounce the idea of joining NATO and will reduce the rate and renounce to become part of the EU later, as well as attacks on the victories of the National-Democratic liberation movement of 1988-1991 as for instance the tricolor, the Latin script, the state language, etc. If Russia insists, the Tiraspol leaders could yield and accept to organize parliamentary elections in Transnistria in 2009, in order to choose 10 or 15 MPs that will work in the Moldovan Parliament. In the present circumstances, this means that Moscow would gain real control in the Moldovan Parliament and could impose its geopolitical interests. If such a scenario does not come true, the future parliamentary elections in Moldova could be won by the pro-European and pro-Romania opposition and the problem would have new dimensions. The Georgian scenario is the most probable. Chisinau and Moscow will clash over the Transnistrian conflict. In such a case, Moldova could sue Russia to the ECHR and UN for keeping its military presence illegally on Moldova’s territory and ask pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages for occupying the Transnistrian territory.

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