Ex-Transnistria speaker says Russia’s interests imply keeping Moldova under its sphere of influence
Russia’s interests imply keeping the Republic of Moldova, as well as Transnistria, under its sphere of influence, Grigori Maracutsa, former speaker of the breakaway region’s Supreme Soviet and incumbent special envoy for inter-parliamentary relations, stated in an interview with the Russian newspaper “Novaya Gazeta”, cited by Info-Prim Neo. Maracutsa considers Russia needs a larger area for wielding geopolitical influence in this European region in order to stop NATO’s advancement towards its borders and to prevent a chain of enemy states stretching from the Baltic region to the Black Sea from emerging. At the same time, Grigori Maracutsa told Transnistrian news agency “Noviy Region-2” that Russia, as a mediator and guarantor of the conflict settlement, has never favored any party in the conflict. “Russia has been always resolutely neutral and impartial, especially with Lavrov coming to the Russian Foreign Ministry”, the Transnistrian politician noted. While meeting with Ukraine’s special representative for the Transnistrian settlement Andrei Veselovski on March 12, on the eve of the Russian Duma’s hearings on unrecognized republics, Transnistrian vice president Aleksandr Korolev stated that Transnistria was ready for negotiations with Moldova under the previously established terms. The website of the self-proclaimed Transnistrian republic’s foreign ministry announces that, ahead of their visit to Moscow, the leaders of the breakaway republics in Moldova and Georgia – Igor Smirnov, Sergey Bagapsh and Eduard Kokoity – highlighted that “the proclamation of our independence is a crucial step that will put an end to the destruction of the former USSR and will lay the foundation for a fair conflict resolution”. Reporting on the Duma’s hearings of March 14, the Russian press wrote that the Government of Russia was advised to consider the opportunity of opening special missions on the territories of the unrecognized states. Another proposal was to allow South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria to perform duty-free exports to Russia. The participants in the hearings also proposed the Russian authorities to adopt laws that would guarantee the respect for Russian citizens’ rights on the territory of the separatist republics.