EDITORIAL: The Political Treaty With Russia: What’s the Use of It?
Moscow perceives the Chișinău-Moscow relations, which have been on the agenda of the Action and Solidarity Party since the beginning of the mandate, differently from Chișinău. Full of controversy and dissonance, these relations are more unpredictable than with any other state in the world, regardless of the continent. For 30 years, Moldova’s foreign relations with Russia have always been tense and a serious threat to the security of the country. The Ceasefire Agreement, signed on July 21, 1992, in Moscow and the Basic Political Treaty “of friendship and cooperation between the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation”, also signed in Moscow on November 19, 2001, remained inactive. Over the years, the friendship between Moscow and Chișinău has not strengthened; the agreements have not expanded the scope of cooperation between the countries and have not created greater stability, peace, and harmony in bilateral relations, and, more recently, at the regional level. The opinion that Russia cannot be friends with small countries still persists. It is evident that Moscow does not treat Moldova from the standpoint of true friendship. We are friends, but according to the rules of friendship set by Moscow, with the 14th army on the Nistru River, and suffocating us with the breakaway Transnistrian region…
It’s true, there is no more shooting on the Nistru River and the breakaway Transnistrian region is not today’s Donbas of Ukraine. However, the war is not over yet and peace remains under threat. Russia recognized in the Treaty (Art. 1) “sovereign equality, non-use of force or threat of force, inviolability of borders, territorial integrity, the right to self-determination, respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms …,” while, in fact, she respects none of these. Moreover, Russia continues to abuse Moldova politically and militarily; Art. 5 of the same Treaty says “the parties condemn separatism in all its forms of manifestation and undertake not to support separatist movements.” Nevertheless, it is Russia that is the umbrella of Transnistrian separatism. In 1999, Moscow committed itself at the OSCE Istanbul Summit to complete the evacuation of the military and military equipment from Moldova by 2002. Yet, Russian troops are still on the Nistru River to defend the separatist regime in Tiraspol and the ammunition of the 14th Army is still deposited in Cobasna. The same goes for the Russian peacekeeping troops, the arbitrary border on the Nistru River, the restriction of free movement between the two banks of the Nistru River, and other fundamental rights in the breakaway Transnistrian region. Russia finances and politically control the region, although the Kremlin does not want to take any responsibility.
On his first (reconnaissance) visit to Chișinău following the early parliamentary elections on July 11, Dmitrii Kozak, Putin’s emissary for Moldova, declared that Russia has nothing to do with the “Transnistrian problem”, that it is an “internal problem of Moldova”, that Chișinău needs “to get along” with Tiraspol. The regime in Tiraspol is the fruit of Russia and it is the Russian army that protects it, Russia holds administrative and political control over the region, yet the problem is not hers.
Immediately after the early elections, when we still did not have a parliament and the government had not yet been voted, when no one had yet made any statement on the new government’s relations with the world, including Russia, Moscow threatened us with the Transnistrian issue. Russia “will strengthen the Transnistrian factor” if the new power moves away from Russia …” The meaning of the statement is simple and Leonid Kalashnikov, Chairman of the CIS Committee in State Duma admitted what Kozak refused to admit. Kalashnikov acknowledges that the Transnistrian regime is Moscow’s bat against Moldova’s freedom. It has been like that for 30 years now because that’s how Putin’s Russia is, none the best than Stalin’s USSR. Truly, Russia is a big country and we have to make friends with Russia. However, we should not live at the whim of Russia nor should we kneel to her.
After a successful exchange of visits with Bucharest, Kyiv, Brussels, and Washington as well as after the revival of good neighborly relations and cooperation with Romania, Ukraine, the European Union, and the USA (which Igor Dodon had boycotted), the Action and Solidarity Party seeks to restore order in relations with Russia, which, because of Dodon’s servility, reached a critical point. With a servile president, a servile parliament and government, and a servile diplomatic mission in Russia, it is difficult to stand upright in front of Putin.
Between October 7 and 8, two government delegations left for Moscow and St. Petersburg. Vlad Kulminski, Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration headed one of the delegations, and Andrei Spînu, the Minister of Infrastructure, headed the other. In St. Petersburg, Spânu was to negotiate a new gas supply contract for Moldova, including prices, and in Moscow, they were to discuss “the whole spectrum of issues on the Moldovan-Russian bilateral agenda.” The visit to St. Petersburg failed; Russia will give us less gas at supposedly higher prices. “We’ll have a hard winter,” Spânu declared on his return. As for the visit to Moscow, given that the main negotiator from Russia was the same Kozak from the presidential administration and that all relations with Moldova are passed through Russia’s interests to strengthen the Transnistrian factor, it is unlikely that any agreement was reached, be it Moldovan exports or Russian gas.
The army, Russian ammunition, and peacekeeping troops believe that Moscow did not even include them on the agenda of the meeting, although the government statement announced in advance that the negotiations will take place “in the spirit of the principles set out in the Basic Political Treaty.”
On November 19 there will be 20 years since the Basic Political Treaty with Russia was signed, a treaty that Moscow has never taken into account in its relations with Chișinău. Then what’s the use of it?