Dumitru Mânzărari: Moldova’s security will be affected by Russia-West relationship

Moldova’s security and defense will be powerfully affected by the strategic interaction between the Russian Fedeation and the West in the Ukrainian issue. “The elimination of any Western presence from the ex-Soviet space became the main goal of the Russian foreign policy. Therefore, Ukraine became a serious challenge for Russia, serving as the main “protection wall” against the Russian attempts to politically and militarily control the former members of the USSR,” Dumitru Mânzărari, associate researcher of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) - German Institute for International and Security Affairs - stated in a  publication of the Institute for Development and Social Initiative “Viitorul”, IPN reports.

The result of the confrontation between Russia and the United States, with its NATO allies, will determine the intensity of the coercive Russian actions on the European continent, with direct effects on national defense and security in Moldova. “After the West rejected Russia’s proposal to exchange Ukraine for superficial conditions described by Russia as “security of the West-European countries”, the risk of a Russian conventional invasion of Ukraine is reduced. This is a positive aspect for the Republic of Moldova as a military invasion of Ukraine will be most probably followed by a military operation against the Republic of Moldova, but without the territorial isolation offered now by an anti-Russia Ukraine,” explained the expert.

For Moldova, the biggest risks related to defense and security in 2022 include the military and political escalations by the action of intermediaries of Russian interests. There can be paramilitary forces of the “proxy” type. Forces from outside can cause socioeconomic tensions – guided protests against the authorities for replacing the country’s administration for a “pro-Russian” one.
The decision to allocate budget funds for the security and defense sector is an essential indicator of the level of protection of a country from direct or indirect or intermediated external aggression attempts. The quality of the budget allocations for weakening or discouraging these threats is another indicator.

“The Republic of Moldova’s performance is minimal in both regards. Under the pretext of announced neutrality, the political decision makers considered it necessary to systematically ignore the country’s defense and security needs, but preferred to allocate exaggeratedly large funds for maintaining considerable forces of the internal affairs bodies (police/carabineers), which they used rather as a coercive instrument at domestic level and for facilitating the extraction of rents. This toxic inheritance remained unchanged under the current administration. The funding for the police and the excessively high number of police officers per capita makes the Republic of Moldova comparable to states with authoritarian regimes, “police states” that use these forces to repress the political opposition or democratic protests internally,” said Dumitru Mânzărari.

As long as Ukraine is not politically controlled by Russia, Moldova will be able to ensure national defense and security, increasing considerably the financing for these dimensions and ensuring more intense cooperation with NATO. If Ukraine loses the confrontation with Russia and becomes a Russian satellite state, the obtaining of the status of NATO member state will be the only protection method for Moldova, concluded the expert.

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