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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Moldova’s path is the path to European Union membership

Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov in an interview with the main media resources of the Kremlin (the Russian Novosti news agency and the Rossiya-24 TV channel) said that the Republic of Moldova is become one of those countries which, like Ukraine, the West wants to turn into another “anti-Russia”.

“Now Moldova is considering this role. Firstly because they were able to put a president at the head of the country by very specific methods, far from being freely democratic, which simply tore themselves apart in NATO. She has Romanian citizenship, she is ready to unite with Romania and, in general, she is ready for almost anything,” the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

In the same conversation with Russian journalists, Sergey Lavrov reproached the countries of Western Europe and North America that, inspired by the so-called “pro-NATO thrust” of the President and the parliament of Moldova, they do not want resume efforts to normalize relations. between Chisinau and Tiraspol. And he is accustomed to accusing Washington and Brussels of aggravating the situation which, in his own words, “needs no negotiation format. You just need to maintain power (in the Republic of Moldova – AP).

In the evening of the same day, the head of the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Moldova, Daniel Voda, replied on his Facebook page: “We categorically reject the statement of the head of Russian diplomacy, which does not correspond to the truth and is part of the already well-known threatening rhetoric of Russian diplomacy… The path that the Republic of Moldova is following is the path to European Union membership”.

And, as the correspondent of the Russian media service found out, this point of view is shared by the majority of experts from the Republic of Moldova. And they, in turn, emphasize that this is the opinion of the citizens of this country.

Aleksey Tulbure: “Every people, every nation has the right to self-determination”

The former representative of Moldova to the Council of Europe and the UN, director of the Institute of Oral History of Moldova, Alexei Tulbure, testifies that the declarations on a “new anti-Russia” are discussed very actively in Moldova.

“The first impression of all Moldovans who are involved in politics and expert analysis is that Sergei Lavrov ‘carries’. Because such behavior by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia is simply inappropriate. We ( Moldova and Russia) still have to build relations, no matter what, and here he is, just like the second Medvedev, repeating the same clichés. In general, we believe that such statements should not be made at all,” said stressed the expert in an interview with a correspondent of the Russian service media.

He also noted that the statement of the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, hostile to Moldova, appeared on the eve of the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine: dividing the regions into zones of influence. And the world responded that this was unacceptable, because every people, every nation – large or small – has the right to self-determination. And that came into conflict with what Russia is promoting – there are nations that determine the present and the future of the world, and there are others that must obey their will.

Moldova does not accept such an approach, as indicated by the response of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic. “And we all share the position that Moldova has chosen: membership of the European Union, European modernization. And we call on everyone, including the Russian Federation, to respect the choice of the independent and sovereign people of Moldova. And what Lavrov and the entire leadership of Russia do when they make such statements is a manifestation of extreme disrespect towards us. It has always not been very good, but today, at the beginning of the 21st century, it is completely unacceptable. This is a continuation of the war that the Russian Federation is waging not only against Ukraine – there is a hot phase, there are fights. But Russia is also waging a war against almost the entire free world and against its principles – the right of peoples to self-determination, mutual respect, consideration of opinions, cooperation, interaction. Russia has flouted these principles. And qualifying Moldova as the “second anti-Russian” is both a provocation and a threat”, is convinced the interlocutor of media.

As for hints by Sergei Lavrov and a number of other Russian politicians that “unionist sentiments” for unification with Romania prevailed in Chisinau, Alexei Tulbure says: “I deal with issues of national identity and everything related to it for many years. And all these scarecrows about “unianism” have always been designed only to mobilize certain groups of people. There are no such moods in Moldova at all, especially after we received the status of a candidate country for EU membership. And the question of unification with Romania naturally ceased to be relevant and fell. We naturally situate ourselves in the European democratic space, but already as a state in its own right. Anyway, we have no problem with Romania, and after joining the EU, we will be in the same European family, so to scare with “unianism” is to hit a target that does not exist more, and talk about a reality that no longer exists. it does not exist.

Cornel Ciurea: ‘Chisinau…does not behave belligerently’

The Moldovan political observer Cornel Ciuria does not believe that this statement by the Russian Foreign Minister is linked to Moldova obtaining the status of candidate member of the European Union. “The Russian side throughout 2022 after February 24, and especially since the summer, expressed dissatisfaction with Moldova’s behavior. This was due to some reluctance to remain a neutral country, although Moldova, unlike EU countries, did not fully support the sanctions against Russia. This was also expressed in the desire to modernize and strengthen the army, there were other actions, “explains the ‘expert.

According to him, Moscow is wary of Moldova’s gradual exit from the policy of neutrality. “It most likely caused Lavrov’s displeasure when he said that Moldova could become a second Ukraine. Because, from the point of view of the Russians, events are gradually pushing us towards NATO, and our politicians are starting to talk about this subject,” explains Ciuria.

At the same time, despite Moscow’s irritation with Moldova’s desire to pursue an independent foreign policy, Gazprom continues to provide energy to the republic. “Chisinau has its own levers of pressure, which were used against Moscow for the supply of Transnistria. Otherwise, we could block Transnistria. In this case, we parted with Moscow relatively “amicably”: everyone got approximately what they wanted. We agreed to continue supplying gas and getting relatively cheap electricity from Tiraspol, and Russia understood that Transnistria was not blocked by Chisinau and Ukraine,” the analyst explains.

“In part,” he points out, “I agree that Moscow would like us to have more difficulties, but still, purely politically, there was a final treaty and agreement. And in this case, it also proves that Chisinau is rather inclined to negotiate with Moscow on certain points and does not behave as belligerently as Mr. Lavrov imagines.

Vitaly Andrievsky: “Russia … planned to seize Transnistria together with Gagauzia”

Vitaly Andrievsky, director of the Institute for Effective Politics, believes that the Russian authorities have realized that Moldova is moving away from their influence. “There was a time when they had their own president, their own government and even their own speaker of parliament here. And the pro-Kremlin political parties had quite serious positions. They created a powerful media holding here, which was financed by Moscow and which achieved good results in the parliamentary elections, ”explains the expert.

Then, according to Andrievsky, “there was a collapse”: Igor Dodon lost the presidency of Moldova, and the Socialist Party lost the legislative elections. And in the new situation, Moscow did not have many countries under its control. “And then the Russian authorities got angry at Maia Sandu’s statement that they would study in Moldova how beneficial neutrality is for her? She didn’t directly say that we were going to join NATO, or that we would end the policy of neutrality, but well-informed people understand that the president doesn’t happen to say things like “we’re going to study.” And despite the fact that Russia verbally actively supports our neutrality, it itself violates it, because the Russian army is on the territory of Moldova. And our Constitution says that with a neutral status, the armies of a foreign state have no right to be on the territory of Moldova,” explains Andrievsky.

He recalls that in recent months the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, has made many harsh statements regarding Moldova.

“It would seem that Moldova is a small country, but if something happens here, comments from the Russian Foreign Ministry appear immediately. I firmly believe that Russia was counting on a successful operation in Ukraine and planning to seize Transnistria together with Gagauzia, because we know that Russian emissaries were negotiating in Gagauzia, and under their influence the Gagauzians were supposed to hold a Forum deputies of all levels from Gagauzia on October 1 last year”. And it was assumed that at this forum the creation of the “Gagauz People’s Republic” will be announced, which aims to unite with Russia. But the fact is that the plans were made when the Russian army was advancing, ”explains the director of the Institute for Effective Policy.

“But as a result, nothing happened either with the Gagauz forum or with the annexation of Transnistria. Moreover, Pridnestrovie found itself in a very difficult situation, because on the one hand – Ukraine, on the other hand – Moldova, and all this encourages the Kremlin to keep Moldova in the field of vision, to constantly mention it and to intimidate it a little,” notes the political scientist.

In response, the Moldovan authorities clearly pursue a policy of rejection of Russian aggression against Ukraine.

The media interlocutor also notes that the Kremlin’s energetic blackmail has failed. “In the fall, Russia intimidated Europe, including Moldova, with terrible frosts, after which it will inevitably freeze. But the Lord played on the other side, and the frosts came just to Russia, ”says Andrievsky.

The expert underlines: “Of course, the Kremlin is annoyed that small Moldova has become a geopolitical player with which Russia must reckon so that there is no blockade of Transnistria. Because if this happens, Putin’s image will be damaged – it will turn out that he “left” Transnistria, where 200,000 Russian citizens live. Hence Lavrov’s bellicose statements.

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