Carrot on a rope

Carrot on a rope

Elena Popova

Moldova can get the status of an EU candidate. By the end of the week, the final decision will be announced at the summit. Experts are sure that it will be positive. Transn-istria, where a third of the population is Russian, demands independence.
Tiraspol files for divorce
After Sandu signed an application for EU membership, the authorities of the unrecognized republic raised the issue of an urgent “divorce” with Moldova.
“We call on the Moldovan side to start a dialogue with Pridnestrovie with the aim of a final civilized settlement of relations on the basis of the peaceful, good-neighborly existence of two independent states,” the Pridnestrovian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Last week, the PMR celebrated its 30th anniversary. June 19 is the Day of Remembrance and Sorrow for those who died in the city of Bendery. The Mo-ldavian army then launched an assault on the border to-wn, which brought hundr-eds of casualties on both si-des. After the failed attempt by the Moldovan authorities to solve the problem by force, the region became beyond their control.
Over the past decades, the contradictions between Chisinau and Tiraspol have not disappeared anywhere. Moldova is firmly heading towards Europe, Transn-istria – towards integration with Russia. In mid-May, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko stated: “The negotiation process has reached an impasse.”
In general, the Russian Foreign Ministry has been advocating for the territorial integrity of Moldova within the borders of 1991 for the past 30 years, recalls Natalia Kharitonova, Do-ctor of Political Sciences, Professor at the RANEPA. In her opinion, the situation will become tense if Chisinau implements a plan to unite with Romania.
“Then there will really be reasons for Pridnestrovie to achieve independence. The difference between the European Union and Romania is colossal,” the expert notes.
Right to self-determination
The PMR authorities are ready to substantiate their demands legally. “They rely on the OSCE report of 1993. It fixed two basic provisions. First: Moldova and Pridnestrovie are building relations in the format of a common state. Second, if Chisinau joins another state entity, then Tiraspol has the right to independently determine its future political course up to before independence,” Natalya Kharitonova explains.
In addition, the PMR appealed to the UN, the OSCE and “the international community as a whole” with a request to recognize “the reality that has existed for more than thirty years in the form of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, to ensure the observance of the right of the Pridnestrovian people to self-determination and to establish diplomatic relations with Pridnestrovie.”
They also recalled the results of the 2006 referendum, in which 97 percent of the population voted for independence from Moldova with subsequent accession to Russia.
According to Vladimir Zharikhin, deputy director of the Institute of CIS Countries, in order to join the European Union, Moldova will have to give up Transnistria. But the authorities will not take this step, fearing the discontent of the population.
Carrot on a rope
“In fact, Moldova’s accession to the EU is purely theoretical. This is another carrot for those who want to join Europe. At fir-st, a carrot hung in the form of an Association Agree-ment with the European Union. During this time, it dried up, became unattractive, we need a fresh one – called “candidate,” says Zharikhin.
“Turkey has been a candidate for several decades. Some Balkan countries have also been waiting for more than five years in the waiting room of the European Union to be invited to take a steam bath. Moldova will even be given some special status that will actually mean nothing,” says Igor, a political scientist from Chisinau Tulyantsev.
According to him, the country is on the verge of bankruptcy, citizens are not keeping up with the rapid growth in the cost of products, and the price tags at Moldovan gas stations change upwards every three days.
“I hardly believe that today Moldova can get the status of a full-fledged candidate, and even more so become a member of the EU,” the expert believes. “This is just a PR campaign of the current government. their places.”
Political scientists agree that the path to Europe for Moldova will be long. The country needs to reform the judiciary, strengthen the protection of human rights, improve the quality of services and the role of civil society in decision-making at all levels. The implementation of these requirements will be monitored by the European Commission.
It’s a question of time
However, as the political scientist notes, even if Moldova carries out all the necessary reforms, deals with corruption, wages, pensions and the standard of living in general rise in the country, this will not convince Tiraspol to abandon its claims to independence.
“The political and economic elite has grown there,” Zharikhin points out. “There is a mighty and great Sheriff (the holding company of businessman Viktor Gushan. — Ed.), which owns the region’s economy. They don’t just give it up.”
President Maia Sandu hopes that the inhabitants of Transnistria will eventually reconsider their views and even want to return to Moldova.
But Moldovan political scientists doubt that the status of an EU candidate will bring the solution of this issue closer. Moreover, despite the optimistic statements of the West, the implacable position of the PMR may become one of the reasons for delaying the process of European integration.
According to Natalya Kharitonova, European politicians are being cunning when they say they do not take into account the situation in the region.
“In order to start the mechanical process (Mold -ova’s accession to the EU. – Ed.), it would be unfair to say that it will be blocked due to the situation (in Transnistria. – Ed.), but we must find a solution together.. However, this is not a precondition for entry,” said French leader Macron during his visit to Chisinau.
“Russian influence in Transnistria concerns not only the fact that the republic considers itself a part of the Russian world, but also humanitarian, economic and military-political aspects. Most likely, the EU wants to check the reaction of Moscow, which is still extremely restrained,” Kharitonova explains.
Experts are sure that obtaining the status of a candidate will not affect the fate of the region in any way. And Moldova’s accession to the EU is too far away to make predictions. At the same time, Nikolai, a resident of Tiraspol, admitted to RIA Novosti that it would be “cool to have a European passport.” And he added:
“But it’s a shame that they don’t take us into account again. No one asked if we want to join the European Union?
For a start, it wouldn’t hurt them to learn how to talk to us.”

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