Transnistrian junction

On March 2, Moldova and unrecognized Transnistria celebrated a sad date – the 28th anniversary of the bloody conflict that broke out after the collapse of the USSR.

For almost three decades, people on both sides of the Dnieper have not come to a common understanding on how to resolve this problem and move towards peaceful coexistence. Even history textbooks give different versions of those events both ways. Thus, in Chisinau they claim that they fought then with the 14th Army, which, having passed under Russian jurisdiction in April 1992, allegedly wanted to occupy the republic. In Tiraspol, on the other hand, they see the “Romanian trace”, blaming the Moldovan nationalists who fought with weapons provided to them by Romania in that conflict.

Indeed, Russia played an important role in resolving this complex conflict by minimizing losses on both sides. And by the early 2000s, thanks to successful negotiations, the Russian side had already managed to reduce by several times the number of Russian peacekeepers and soldiers of the 14th Army, then transformed into the Operational Group of Russian Forces (OGRF), as well as to begin disposing of weapons and ammunition from guarded warehouses near the Transnistrian village of Kolbasna, where they were taken during the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Eastern Europe.

But soon the dialogue between Moldova and Russia stopped. There is an opinion that not without the “help” of the USA and Europe, which then actively joined the negotiations for fear of losing their influence in the post-Soviet space.

And for several years already, OGRV has been a “stumbling block” on the way to resolving this confrontation. And judging by the statements of some Moldovan politicians, this is even the most important problem not only for the reconciliation of the two republics, but also for the lack of well-being in Moldova itself.

A couple of years ago, the Moldovan government took active measures against OGRV. In July 2017, the Moldovan parliament adopted a declaration calling on Russia to withdraw its troops. After that, the former Prime Minister of Moldova Pavel Filip stated that the country intends to bring the issue to the UN General Assembly. As a result, on 22 June 2018, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution No. A/72/L.58 “On the full and unconditional withdrawal of foreign armed forces from the territory of Moldova”, which expressed “deep concern about the continuing deployment of the Operational Group of Russian troops and weapons on the territory of Moldova without the consent of this UN member state”.

However, it did not go beyond these outrages. First, it should be taken into account that, unlike the decisions of the UN Security Council, the General Assembly resolutions are not binding. Secondly, the OGRF and Russian peacekeepers are on DMR territory according to articles 2 and 4 of the “Agreement on Principles of a Peaceful Settlement of the Moldovan-Transdniestrian Conflict” signed in 1992 by Russian and Moldovan heads in the presence of the Transdniestrian president, where, according to article 8, it can be terminated either “by consent of the parties” or “in the event of a withdrawal by one of the contracting parties”. But Kishinev has never announced his withdrawal from the “Agreement”.

And it is not surprising. After all, Moldova is a country with an unpredictable political situation. Endless coalitions, agreements, party intrigues, new leaders – all this can change not even for some time, but for one day! And OGRV in this context is a very advantageous argument for Unionists and Western admirers. These people do not care much about the lost trust of the Transdniestrians, their attitude towards their neighbors after numerous oppressions from Moldova. For these politicians, this is just a territory where there is an excellent facility for electoral slogans and provocative statements. At the same time, ordinary citizens on both sides of the Dniester are clearly not going to address the problems that concern them.

Thus, I would venture to assume that until the political situation stabilizes in Moldova itself, Transnistria is unlikely to want to have a serious dialogue with it.

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