“In Russia there is an opinion that the Transnistria conflict is frozen, the situation has not changed, there’s no hurry. In fact, the situation is rapidly regressing, Moldova and Ukraine actively drifting in the West, at the same time causing Transnistria blow by blow” – said the newspaper LOOK the head of the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Pridnestrovie Vitaly Ignatiev. In his opinion, such actions fit into the logic of “hybrid wars”.
In Transnistria, on the background of acute political crisis, which on the eve of the newspaper VIEW, is to commence soon and the crisis of foreign policy. “Russia loses its influence in Transnistria,” – with such heading appeared, for example, on Thursday, “Nezavisimaya Gazeta”. Some experts talked about the fact that in the Transnistrian society, which since the early ‘ 90s cast was focused on Moscow, the mood changed.
“Thanks to the recent actions of Ukraine’s socio-economic situation in the separatist region of” significantly deteriorated”
As you know, in the last 10 years, the external trade of Transnistria was reoriented from the CIS to the European Union, economically the Republic increasingly attracts Brussels. Experts also remind, that in itself is of Russian origin politicians does not guarantee loyalty to Moscow, and cite the example of Ukraine. However, while in Transnistria are Russian troops and talk about rapid change of orientation is not necessary.
About still Transnistria consider themselves part of the “Russian world”, in an interview with the newspaper look told the acting Minister of foreign Affairs of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR Vitaliy Ignatiev, who arrived this week with a visit to Moscow.
OPINION: Vitaly Viktorovich, in Moldova in late March, the supporters of unification with Romania made a proposal to “give” Transnistria to Ukraine in exchange for the southern Bessarabia and part of Bukovina, which are part of the Odessa and Chernivtsi regions. It is still a marginal idea, in your opinion, or it may infect the ruling circles?
Vitaly Ignatiev: General ideas of the unionists is quite popular in Moldova. They vote, they are represented in Parliament, we see the unionist marches. This call is not new. This kind of ultra-nationalist ideas within the concept of geopolitical expansion in Romania, which actually led to the armed aggression of Moldova against Pridnestrovie in 1992. Then the Moldovan elite declared themselves Romanian, and all who live in Transnistria, considered second-class people, including, incidentally, the ethnic Moldovans, who constitute the third of the population of Transnistria.
Vitaly Ignatiev (photo: mid.gospmr.org)
We have them conceptually different understanding of identity. The Transnistrians are the people who live within a multicultural society who gravitate to the “Russian world”, developed in the Russian educational space and their future integration in the Eastern direction. For the Pridnestrovian people vector of Eurasian integration is one of the most important and desired.
As for unionism, there sound different, including extremist ideas. It’s destructive elements, obviously. I think the people of Moldova have to do to determine the course of the country. For example, in Transnistria there were seven referendums, including the question of the choice of strategic course of the state. In Moldova on the external course of the country.
Our neighbors seems to be completely independent and able to deal with the so-called Unirea and other plans. But here the main thing not to forget one thing – nobody has the right to decide for the people of Transnistria, as the state in which to live. Such ventures always end badly, is an objective reality. Any plan for the unification of Transnistria with Moldova against the will of the people of the PMR is obviously a failure and may lead to unpredictable consequences.
OPINION: Kiev in March announced the deployment of s-300PS from the center of the country near Odessa. According to the official version, to protect from the threat in the South”. Military experts do not rule out that in fact the flak it took in order to cook a full blockade of Transnistria and land, and air. Do you find this version plausible?
V. I.: This information must be supported by facts, and this is the sphere of the military. But, indeed, Kyiv sharply increased negative rhetoric towards the region in the last year and a half, which at times was of a very warlike character. Senior Ukrainian officials, including the defense Department, declared a “military threat from Transnistria, although, in my opinion, is nonsense. By the way, in Transnistria a third of the population are ethnic Ukrainians, about 100 thousand of them have Ukrainian citizenship.
Unfortunately, the Ukrainian security forces continue to reinforce the military infrastructure on the border, including through the installation of new positions. With clear purpose dug a “ditch”, however, according to our data, until the entire length 450-kilometer border. Expanded the number of national guard – up to several thousand military now deployed close to our border. About a year ago there was a provocation, border guards fired on defeat in Transdnestr, our citizen was seriously wounded. Fortunately, such incidents did not recur.
I hope common sense will prevail. Transnistria did not threaten anyone, but the security of the state, we will be able to provide. Here, too, there should be no illusions.
OPINION: a year ago to begin a full blockade of Transnistria has urged the Governor of Odessa Mikhail Saakashvili. With its filing, the activists of nationalist organizations even declared a blockade on the road to Tiraspol – on the model of the siege of Crimea…
V. I.: Indeed, there was all sorts of demonstrations, and attempts by activists to block the border, they all lasted several hours. As for Saakashvili’s statement, we do not hear in them nothing new, but what was in the statements of the official Kiev. For us there is no difference, what is the last name of the Governor of Odessa. Transnistria has always been open to reasonable constructive interactions. Yet from the Odessa leadership, positive steps are not visible. Call only not to worsen the situation.
From these measures affected including citizens of Ukraine, ethnic Ukrainians living in Transdniestria, many of them are state employees receive salary, allowances, social benefits and so on. By the way, living standards in Transnistria were always higher than in Moldova and Ukraine, and even now. The pension is much higher – at 30-40 percent. Obviously, this also strengthens the irritation of Chisinau.
LOOK: You this week in Moscow was attended by Deputy foreign Minister Grigory Karasin. Can you feel any change in tone in the dialogue with our diplomats? How was the discussion of “unilateral steps” of Moldova?
V. I.: In the last two years the situation is very much degraded. Moldova has got an ally in the person of Ukraine, ready to support the policy of destruction of the statehood of Transnistria. This moment was a turning point. Chisinau has chosen the paradigm of unilateral pressure in relations with Transnistria is the systematic strangulation of the economy, the social sphere institution, a total of about 200 criminal cases against representatives of the authorities of the Republic, limiting the transport capacity, demolition of the format of freight rail transportation and many other aspects.
According to their results, this strategy is no different from armed conflict, but allows the city before international partners to simulate the appearance of a dialogue with Transnistria, to talk about his alleged constructive position.
What language prefer to use in everyday communication the inhabitants of the several countries of the former Stradano Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has clearly stated that the intention to set on our border joint Moldovan-Ukrainian controls contrary to the agreements of the negotiation process. In addition, such steps Kiev actually negates its status of mediator and guarantor in the negotiation format. Thus, it should be noted that this unilateral decision taken outside the framework of international negotiation design, can derail the negotiation process and lead to unpredictable consequences.
OPINION: AT the end of March Karasin was in Chisinau and taking it, Deputy Prime Minister of Moldova Gheorghe Balan said that his government had decided to normalize relations with Moscow. You felt it already? The threat of blockade from Moldova decreased?
V. I.: I Think between the Declaration of Chisinau “normalize” relations with Moscow and its real embodiment in concrete results lies the abyss.
It is noteworthy, incidentally, that Mr. Balan then in an interview, openly declared that the recent actions of Ukraine’s socio-economic situation in the separatist region has deteriorated significantly. That is, the person who posts is a participant in the negotiation process and is responsible as the political representative of Chisinau, publicly acknowledges that the Republic of Moldova with Ukraine are against us “hybrid warfare”. It’s bad manners. Have not seen such a cynical statements.
It seems that in Russian expert community there is a widespread belief that the Moldovan-Transnistrian frozen conflict, the situation has not changed and seems to be in no hurry. Actually, the regional situation is rapidly regressing, Moldova and Ukraine actively drifting in the West, at the same time causing Transnistria blow after blow. All this is intended to limit our economic opportunities, to provoke a humanitarian catastrophe, to displease people. The only state that can help us, is Russia. So we are looking for intelligent optimization mechanisms for economic cooperation with Russia.
If Ukraine enters on the border of the dual control, as it has promised, it could jeopardize our security, because our border appear the Moldovan security forces, which has never happened before. How, then Kiev will be able to stay in the negotiation process in the role of mediator, if he, in fact, took the side of Chisinau? This is nonsense.
According to our calculations, if our economic agents and citizens will have to fill in a supplementary customs Declaration only for this one operation, they will additionally pay up to $ 2 million per year. Turns out triple control – customs and border protection and migration. And our Moldovan and Ukrainian. We then can die the whole sphere of individual entrepreneurship. That is, such control will become this “eye of the needle” through which our business will be impossible.
OPINION: Why the economic situation of the PMR deteriorated? Because of the crisis in Russia, where many Transnistrians, or due to the underlying attempts of strangulation from the side of Chisinau and Kiev? What is the exit strategy of the Republic out of the crisis?
V. I.: I can’t agree with the first thesis. It Moldova mainly living on remittances of migrant workers from Russia. Transnistria is a completely different state. We have an open export-oriented economy. Until 2006 more than half of the exports go to Russia and all CIS countries. Then, a unilateral EU arms of Moldova and Ukraine affected the change of the mechanism of customs clearance, Ukraine has stopped flowing goods without Moldovan registration. After this baseline profile of our economy has changed. Actually ten years ago our economy forcibly reoriented gradually trying to impose rules and standards of the European Union.
So the situation deteriorated gradually, not abruptly. We are systematically driven into a corner. The only positive result was the fact that at the end of last year, after many years of difficult negotiations we have managed to negotiate with Brussels a special mechanism of trade with Europe, which is decidedly different from Romanian. We didn’t take any Moldovan commitments under the DCFTA. This is largely a unique solution, which allowed to avoid a strong fall of GDP and overall humanitarian catastrophe in Transnistria.
The task for us at least – to get back to the markets of the Russian Federation, to equalize the imbalance and return the value of exports to Russia to deblocarea level (until 3 March 2006). We believe that economic sovereignty in a situation of rapidly changing geopolitical situation today is a priority. Taking into account the strategic course of the PMR on integration with Russia and the Eurasian associations, our task is to integrate the economies of the region in economic complex of Russia.
OPINION: Vice-speaker of the Parliament Galina antyufeeva accused President Shevchuk of corruption and embezzlement. She cited examples, called the particular firm. These accusations, of course, are not included in the scope of activities of the Ministry of foreign Affairs, but agree that they spoil the reputation of the Republic abroad.
V. I.: You are right, the image of the Republic is affected negatively. Any arguments must be supported by facts. Meeting of the Parliament is not a judicial process. As in any state, we have the investigation Committee, the procuracy, the audit chamber, which you must use to really understand the situation. Such orders by the President have been given. Check is conducted.
To understand the meaning of the promise and essence of the proposals from such “critics”, including foreign policy, is often difficult due to the lack of their specific content. It is obvious that artificial attempts of some political forces in the election logic to question the modern foreign political course of Pridnestrovie are a serious threat to the sustainability of the country’s position in the international arena. Earn political weight to such declarations are unlikely to succeed, but to harm the interests of the PMR – easy.