“While waiting for good times, it seems that the PAS government for now attracts dark clouds over the Republic of Moldova…”
Out of frying pan into fire
After the snap parliamentary elections of July 11, 2021, the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) started its mandate very awkwardly. During only a month in power, the representatives of PAS made a number of regrettable mistakes – incorrect filling out of property and interest statements, scandalous statements about vaccination against COVID-19; waging of a war against the prosecutor’s office, with uncertain ending at the Constitutional Court; nontransparent actions in the field of foreign policy, etc. The series of awkward actions of the PAS government does not stop here. The most recent one of this chain refers to the confusion about the problem of access to Ukraine of motor vehicles with Transnistrian registration numbers.
The mistakes made by PAS will slowly erode the party’s image if its leaders do not make effort to bring them to an end. The point is PAS had enough time to perceive the essence of the problems faced by the Republic of Moldova. The party has been present in Parliament for over two years, being financed with public budget funds, including for working out policies and solutions to the problems of society. Moreover, in 2019, for a particular period of time, the representatives of PAS had been in power and had the possibility if not of solving, at least of familiarizing themselves with the pressing problems of the country. In this connection, President Maia Sandu’s recent assertion that the current government does not yet have a solution to the Transnistrian conflict is discouraging.
In fact, most of the previous governments made serious mistakes while looking for solutions to the Transnistrian dispute, but provided also good solutions. Therefore, for now it is enough for PAS to simply fulfill its electoral promises to:
- achieve national consensus on the settlement of the conflict;
- closer cooperate with the neighboring countries, including Ukraine, so as to ensure joint border management;
- fight smuggling and corruption as an important desideratum in the peaceful, political and diplomatic resolution of the dispute, etc.
If they want, the representatives of PAS can find out that a national consensus on the settlement of the Transnistrian dispute has existed since 2005, when Law No. 173 on the basic provisions of the special legal status of the settlements from the left side of the Nistru (Transnistria) was adopted. The given law contains all the elements and stages of the Transnistrian settlement. It was drafted by the current opposition and adopted in Parliament by a unanimous vote, which means that this law is the guarantee of a national consensus on the settlement of the Transnistrian dispute. Moreover, the attempt to deviate from the principles of the mentioned law made by one of the current leaders of the opposition, ex-President Igor Dodon, through the agency of federalist approaches, by the so-called comprehensive package or by games behind the curtain with Plahotniuc and Kozak ended in failure. So, there is no need to jump again from the frying pan into the fire, looking for national consensus there where it has existed for over 15 years.
International cooperation in Transnistrian settlement process
As awkward is the PAS government‘s attitude to international cooperation, including with Ukraine, for ensuring joint border management. Back in 2005, the European Union (EU) and Ukraine, as parties to the Transnistrian settlement process in the “5+2 format”, substantially contributed to placing Transnistria’s foreign trade under the control of the constitutional authorities of the Republic of Moldova, including through the agency of EUBAM, etc. The given mechanisms haven’t used up their potential, especially after the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU. That’s why it is important for the Moldovan authorities at least not to undermine the process of bringing Transnistria’s trade under control. Doesn’t such control contribute to fighting smuggling? Especially because Ukraine is interested, particularly after the annexation of Crimea and the inspiration of the war in Doabs, for the Republic of Moldova to no longer make mistakes that would be later used as precedents against Ukraine. As it indisputable that the Moldovan authorities adopted a series of very dubious decisions in the so-called Transnistrian settlement process:
- transformation of the Russian Federation from instigator and direct participant in separatist conflicts onto peacemaker in the Moldovan-Transnistrian “civil war”, as it happened together with the signing, on July 21, 1992 of the Convention on the principles of the peaceful settlement of the armed conflict in the Nistrean region of the Republic of Moldova. Namely this thing is currently followed by Russia by the so-called Minsk agreement that enables to qualify the war in Donbas as a civil war, not as aggression as Ukraine asserts;
- synchronization of the withdrawal of the Russian military presence from Transnistria with the approval of the legal status of Transnistria in the agreement between the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation on the legal status, the methods and time limits for withdrawing the military troops of the Russian Federation, which stay on the territory of the Republic of Moldova on a temporary basis. This way, a perfect trap was set – Russia does not withdraw its military presence from Transnistria because the legal status is not worked out, while Transnistria refuses to work out the legal status because it does not want the Russian military presence to be withdrawn from the region. However, things evolve. After the annexation of Crimea, Ukraine does not allow Russian aviation’s access to the airport in Tiraspol, as the aforementioned agreement provides. That’s why the introduction of equipment and the rotation of the Russian military in Transnistria are verifiable;
- the launch of all kinds of federalization and other projects that are aimed at annihilating the common decision-making center of the state in favor of a multitude of centers of eventual federative subjects most of which would be controlled by Russia, etc.
In such circumstances, given the proven inclination of the Moldovan authorities to do harm to oneself, Ukraine appears right to take absolutely legal decisions, in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Moldova, with protocol decisions signed by the Moldovan authorities with separatist leaders so as to defend also the own interests. Ukraine’s approach can be understood. This does not need the example of the survival of the Transnistrian enclave to become an example to be followed by the separatists from Donbas. Moreover, currently Ukraine has reasons to protect itself from an eventual invasion from all the terrestrial directions – Russia, Transnistria and Belarus, which already became a Russian protectorate, and also from the Black Sea. It is not a joke when President Vladimir Putin states his intention to withdraw the Russian people’s presents offered to the former Soviet republics. In this connection, Ukraine’s position concerning the crossing of its territory by motor vehicles from Transnistria can be understood and should be supported. Regrettably, the current Moldovan authorities act exactly as the previous ones mentioned above did.
While waiting for good times, it seems that the PAS government for now attracts dark clouds over the Republic of Moldova.