Oazu NANTOI 1. Introduction
4. Decision Occasions
The specific of the described crisis consists in the fact that the leadership of the Republic of Moldova initiated the policy of settlement of the Transnistrian conflict based on a “package deal” with Russia, based on a totally wrong approach and without informing the other participants to the negotiation process - OSCE, EU, Ukraine and the US. In this context, the modest the capacities of the civil society to react were totally annihilated.
At the same time, the series of the events, related to this crisis unfolded on several plans. From one side, several meetings took place at different level within the bilateral dialogue with Russia. At the same time the Russian Federation made official declarations that were contradictory to the expectations of the Chiºinãu officials. More than that, the Russian Federation during the period of the crisis performed a series of actions that defieded the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova and contributed to strengthening the positions of the anti- constitutional regime from Tiraspol.
Moreover, during the analysed period, Russia made a series of actions that proved, defying its own previous international commitments, as a regional power that would fully control the CIS area and at the same time wish, first of all, to eliminate the US and NATO influence in this zone.
The bilateral dialogue took place at several levels. At the same time it is obvious that in the Russian Federation take place the process of concentration of power in the hands of a small group headed by Vladimir Putin. From these considerations, Vladimir Voronin made a maximum effort to dialogue directly with Vladimir Putin. After the meeting between the presidents of the Republic of Moldova and Russia, on June 22, 2007 at Novo-Ogarevo (Putin’s residence) that lasted over 3 hours, no one could state that the President of Russia is misinformed by his entourage, corrupted by the Tiraspol regime, for instance, about the essence of the Chiºinãu’s position.
As a result, the lack of a clear reaction from the Kremlin on the “package agreement” represented a very clear signal for the leadership of the Republic of Moldova that Russia does not intend to accept Chiºinãu’s
proposal. The lack of a reaction from Moscow meant that Russia want at least to annihilate the European and the Euro-Atlantic vector of the Republic of Moldova. At the same time, the game played by Russia at the highest level (Putin, Medvedev), in terms of an “interested dialogue”, proved that Russia intended to realize its own scenario, related to the Transnistrian issue, that has nothing in common with the expectations of Chiºinãu. This warning signal (the lack of reaction) was ignored by the leadership of the Republic of Moldova, a fact that contributed to the aggravation of the crisis.
A separate place in the chronology of the crisis is the position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. So, by the comment of the Russia’s MFA from May 4, 2007, on the occasion of 10th anniversary from the signing in Moscow (May 8, 1997) of the Memorandum on the normalization of the relations of the Republic of Moldova and Transnistria, Russia reconfirmed its position that the “settlement” of the Transnistrian conflict would be realized by the creation of a confederation (joint state) between the Republic of Moldova(the region under the control of the legitimate authorities) and Transnistria.
On July 19, 2007, less than a month after the historical “meeting” in Novo- Ogorevo the same MFA of Russia released a declaration on the occasion of the occasion of 15th anniversary of the signature of the Agreement on the stopping of the armed conflict in the eastern rayons of the Republic of Moldova by the presidents of the Republic of Moldova and Russia, on July 21, 1992. Despite the fact that the “package deal” proposed the replacement of the military peacekeepers with civilian observers, the MFA of Russia declared that there are no premises for changing the format of the peacekeeping operation, imposed by Russia in 1992.
During the crisis, the Russian Federation organized a series of actions that obviously challenged the sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova. It is obvious that, for instance, the “referendum” of September 17, 2006, organized in Transnistria, was inspired from Moscow. On the background of aggressive hysteria, unleashed in Transnistria, the Tiraspol regime declared that 97% out of those who participated in the “referendum” voted in favour of the independence of Transnistria from the Republic of Moldova with the
consecutive integration in Russia. Even thought that this “referendum” as well as the announced results represents a flagrant false, on September 19, 2006, the MFA of Russia issued a commentary, through which this anti- constitutional act was qualified as a “direct democratic act”.
The Russian Federation challenged the International law, the norms and the sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova, organizing in Transnistria the elections for the State Duma of Russia (December 2, 2007) and the presidential elections (March 2, 2008) like on the territory of the Russian Federation. In both cases, according to the decision of the Central Election Committee of Russia, on the territory of the eastern rayons of the Republic of Moldova (Transnistria) were opened voting sections like if it was the territory of Russia. If in the case of the elections for the State Duma, the MFAEI of the Republic of Moldova had a negative reaction, then regarding the organisation of the presidential elections from Russia in Transnistria, the Chiºinãu officials preferred to keep the silence.
The chronology of the conflict proves that both in Moscow as well in the centers of other conflict zones several “summits” of the leaders of the separatist regimes took place. These meetings, during several years were synchronized with the GUAM meetings. Through them, Russia proved that it is capable, manipulating the separatist regimes that it controlled, to create obstacles for the efficient functioning of the GUAM. A totally special signification had the letter of the Russian MFA of March 6, 2008, through which the CIS member states were informed that Russia withdraws from the decision of January 19, 1996 mentioning that the CIS member states commit not to have relations with the Abkhazian separatist regime.
These actions of Kremlin proved that the separatist regimes from Georgia and the Republic of Moldova are perceived as efficient instruments of reaching the geopolitical interests, that are incompatible with the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, and that the so-called CIS in a dead organization, that has the goal to cover the neo imperial ambitions of Kremlin.
A separate place in the conflict chronology plays Russia’s actions from which results that it perceives the international engagements taken during
Boris Yeltsin’s presidency as univocal yielding, humiliating for Russia. The aggressive anti American and anti occidental speech of Vladimir Putin during the conference on security matters in Munich on February 10, 2007 was followed by Putin’s Decree of July 14, 2007, through which Russia declares moratorium over respecting the provisions of the CFE Treaty provisions.
Despite the efforts of the Occident to save this treaty as a key element of the security on the continent, Russia consequently followed the path of its destruction. If we remember Russia’s commitment regarding this Treaty, it referred exclusively to the evacuation of the military potential from the territory of the Republic of Moldova (Transnistria), and then it is clear the Russia’s policy of “overthrowing of the monopole world” categorically contravenes the expectations of the leadership of the Republic of Moldova for the reintegration of his country, based on a “package deal” with Russia.
This series of events abundantly offered arguments for a change of the attitude of the Chiºinãu officials vis a vis the idea of a solution based on the
“package deal”. The lack of competences of the government, as well the lack of dialogue in the society, led to the fact that all the occasions of taking the decision for changing the strategy of reintegration of the country were missed by the leadership of the Republic of Moldova, under the circumstances when the voice of the civil society was annihilated.