Monday, November 16, 2009

The emporer has no clothes

My 'favourite' news agency, Omega, is running a story this morning under the heading "Moldova's premier accuses Russia of supporting the Transnistrian regime".  Most Omega stories (a) take half a fact about the 'extremist, pro-Romanian, anti-popular AIE', (b) contort it until it screams with wrenching pain, then (c) head it up with a tagline designed to scandalise and outrage Omega's pro-communist readership.

My guess is that the intention was the same with this story, which you can find in Romanian here.  Here's a rough translation of some of it:

"Prime Minister Vladimir Filat, said in an interview for the Romanian newspaper "Truth" that he will ask Russia to stop "direct and indirect support to the regime in Tiraspol.

Filat stressed that Moldovan-Russian relations should be based on "dignity". The Prime Minister said in the interview that dignity "means respect for our sovereign rights, withdrawal of the Russian army and ammunition from Transnistria, cessation of direct and indirect support of the Tiraspol regime, and a respectful relationship with the Republic of Moldova."

I think Omega has messed up here.  There's nothing remotely scandalous in what Filat said.  What is noteable is that Moldovan leaders are speaking the truth about the Transnistrian dispute.  Except for a couple of years following the Kozak debacle, Voronin and Stratan preferred to tiptoe around the issue, attempting not to put Russian noses out of joint (and failing miserably...)

Like the little boy in the fairytale, the liberals and liberal democrats are pointing out that, actually, the emporer isn't wearing any clothes.  Filat and Ghimpu are not going to play Moscow's game and pretend that the Russian forces in Tiraspol are peacekeepers or that the Russian diplomats are mediators, positions made unsustainable internationally by last year's Russo-Georgian war.

In my view, the recognition of Russia's true role in Transnistria, the recognition of her interests (both real and perceived) and her presence at the table as a party to the conflict are the first steps to be taken in bringing about a durable resolution.


  1. which solution? Democratic? Like people of Transnistria wants?Russians are peacekeepers, it is truth, and U know. If they leave, could be war or not_ could Moldavian army be tempted to take PMR? I think could. Better bad peace, then nice war..
    Why U need PMR? They dont want, really. This land was part of any Moldavian or Romanian stayes just from 1940 until 1990. Just 50 years.Are u supporter of Molotov-Ribentrop pact or u would like to support democratic referendum?

  2. Irina,

    Thanks for your comment. Instinctively I like the idea of democratic referendums, however I would make the following points:

    (1) if regions are allowed to (even democratically) secede from the state recognised under international law, then all hell will break loose worldwide - the Asians of Birmingham will want to secede from the United Kingdom, Corsica will want to secede from France, Quebec from Canada, Ingushetia from Russia etc etc.

    (2) I would propose that the Russians are replaced with a neutral peacekeeping force such that the likelihood of war is lowered. From a Moldovan viewpoint, the Russian presence increases the likelihood of war...

    (3) Transnistria, Bucovina and Bugeac are all areas which from have been part of different states in the past. That's why I believe that all interested parties - Romania, Moldova, Ukraine & Russia need to put their cards on the table and declare their interests.

    (4) It could be that the best solution is one which recognises the ethnic makeup of populations on the ground - slav majority areas forming part of Ukraine while latin majority areas go to Moldova.

  3. There will always be losers in a situation like this, as some people will want to join Moldova, some Russia.
    Moldova is the only country that will really gain out of the secession of Transdniestria. It's hard to see what the Kremlin still gains out of occupation, apart from perhaps preventing Moldova from joining the EU.

    Good blog, I'll keep checking up.