Meseberg 2018. Putin Goes to Discuss the Transdniestrian Settlement

Home / Analytics / Meseberg 2018. Putin Goes to Discuss the Transdniestrian Settlement
Yesterday, the press service of the German government announced the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Germany to hold a working meeting with the German Chancellor. As reported by the German side, negotiations between the leaders will be held in aMesebergresidence. The talks will focus on topical issues of foreign policy, in particular, the Syrian conflict, the situation in the east of Ukraine and energy issues. Putin and Merkel meet often enough, and in common opinion find a common language – literally and figuratively. So the visit at another time would not surprise anyone. If not for one thing, in spite of all the mediocrity, or even the ‘ordinary’ nature of the upcoming meeting, the trip of the Russian leader to Germany, especially announced by the host party, seems rather unexpected and hasty in the ‘dead’ August season. It is not for nothing that international experts try to understand its causes and speculate about the subject of the discussion. The President of Russia and the German Chancellor always have something to discuss, for sure, the range of issues for the exchange of views is very extensive, although it can be done on the phone, in this case even without an interpreter. Apparently, this time it is necessary to meet face to face to agree on certain aspects or joint decisions. The general context of the upcoming August 18 visit pushes to draw parallels with the famous meeting of Russian President D. Medvedev and German Federal Chancellor A. Merkel on June 4-5, 2010 in the same Meseberg. That time it resulted in the Meseberg Memorandum, which implied creation of the Russia-EU Committee on Foreign Policy and Security.Such a forum was planned to contribute to closer cooperation and coordination in the current areas of the foreign policy agenda, to develop recommendations on specific crisis issues, including establishing bilateral cooperation to achieve the final settlement of the Transdniestrian conflict. Those are right who call Russia’s relations with Germany and indeed with the European Union at the time completely different than today. This is an inescapable fact: indeed, in 2010 there was neither Syria, nor the East of Ukraine, nor Crimea, nor sanctions, etc. The conflicts in Europe and the European region are excessive, and a thawin relations between the EU and Russia has been long overdue. In this sense, the agenda of the meeting announced by the German side is not a formal excuse for journalists, but it is absolutely true that Putin and Merkel will necessarily discuss the conflicts.However, I tend to think that Berlin and Moscow are actively working out ways to resolve other conflicts in the post-Soviet space as well, coordinating general principles and approachesat this stage. This is very reasonable, considering that the so-called Meseberg initiative, concerning the Transdniestrian settlement among other things, has remained an unfinished homework. As you know, there have not been any serious negotiations on the formula for a political settlement of the conflict between Moldova and Transdniestria in recent yearsat all. However, starting from 2017, there has been noticeable progress in the relations between Chisinau and Tiraspol, a whole package of agreements on social, humanitarian, road transport and other issues was signed and is under implementation. There is a certain consensus of international participants supporting the parties in their work on resolving long-standing problems. It is likely that the Meseberg meeting will not become a formality meeting, and its results will allow to make more specific predictions about the prospects for settling conflicts in Europe, primarily in the East of Ukraine and in Moldova as German diplomacy, as a rule, closely follows the Transdniestrian settlement and seek to play there a special privileged role in comparison with other EU countries. It is obvious that Mrs. Merkel will not bypass the situation on the Dniester, as soon as the dialogue is dedicated to the conflicts. We believe that in the very near future we can expect curious Russian-German initiatives around the Transdniestrian settlement aimed at a qualitatively higher dynamics of search for an optimal solution to the problem with almost thirty-year history.