What to Expect from the New Meeting of Dodon and Krasnoselsky

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Sergei Isaenko Moldovan President Igor Dodon and Transdniestria’s leader Vadim Krasnoselsky met four times and planned to talk again by the end of the year, according to Dodon himself. In an interview with RIA Novosti, the Moldovan President said that Krasnoselsky proposed to meet in Transdniestria when they met in Condrita last time. RTA experts are confident that such a dialogue will take place. According to them, Igor Dodon has high hopes for communication with the Transdniestrian leader before the elections.

Dodon’s Transdniestrian dossier

Igor Dodon occupied a special place in the Moldovan policy and administrative system. On the one hand, the people chose him in the course of direct elections, and this is a plus to the legitimacy of the president as an authority figure. On the other hand, in two years the leader of the Socialists has not become a source of breakthrough legislative initiatives. Having no room for manoeuvre, Igor Dodon acts where it turns out well: in the capital of Russia and in the media. Dodon regularly meets with Vladimir Putin in Moscow, and he focuses on family values, the fight against pro-European forces and the Transdniestrian issue in an interview. At the same time, the path of the Transdniestrian’s main friend remains for Dodon both the most tempting and the most difficult. It seems that the Moldovan President can talk about the inevitable rapprochement of the Dniester banks forever. In fact, his statements are closely monitored in Tiraspol. The president of Moldova has good reasons to be friends with Transdniestria. At least once he has already tried on the image of “the first Moldovan president in 8 years who met with the leader of Transdniestria,” and it will be difficult to change this role. Moreover, Transdniestria is supported by Moscow, so the success on the Transdniestrian track is expected to improve Dodon’s reputation in the eyes of Russian partners. Even if the four meetings with Krasnoselsky did not bring any concrete results, the very fact of dialogue can be recorded as success. The main problem is that Krasnoselsky and Dodon are lacking topics for discussion. Having started well from the January Bendery meeting, Igor Dodon did not dominate in the negotiation process at the end of 2017. The landmark opening of the Gura-Bicului-Bychok bridge across the Dniester was attended by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova Pavel Filip together with Krasnoselsky. As a rule, the leaders of Moldova and Transdniestria discussed the topics of security and importance of the Russian peacekeeping mission on the Dniester. So it was at the last two meetings and will most certainly be at the last meeting of 2018. However, judging by the public statements of the Moldovan leader, he is interested in much more important things.

Who needs this meeting

Opinion polls say that the PSRM surely passes to parliament, but this does not guarantee the Socialists almost anything without a ‘controlling stake’ in the form of a parliamentary majority. The power in Moldova will depend on the format of the ruling coalition and the place that PSRM will take. Some experts doubt that the parties will succeed in forming a governing union and predict early elections in the spring and summer of 2019. In addition, it is difficult to predict the scale of manipulation and fraud, which the Democrats will dare to do for the sake of preserving power. All political forces in Moldova are in limbo. Too many variables define the outcome of the February elections, and the struggle promises to be unprecedentedly fierce. In this ‘deadly fight’ defeat threatens with the collapse of the entire political career, therefore all participants of the electoral race stock up with guarantees in case of an unfavorable outcome. Socialists are no exception. It is obvious that the Transdniestrian issue is one of the politically important factors for the PSRM. The President of the Republic of Moldova would like to be the only one who can hold a constant dialogue with the unrecognized republic at the highest level. This is a bid for the subsequent exclusive role of Dodon in the process of settling the conflict with external participation. In this status he can count on the support not only of Moscow, but also of Brussels, Washington and other capitals participating in the negotiation process, thus obtaining some kind of international credibility. Interestingly, the Socialists could not seriously interest Tiraspol yet. Recently, the media reported that the PSRM faction left the parliament before the vote on the mobile communications bill proposed for implementation of the protocol decision that Chisinau and Tiraspol concluded more than a year ago. Apparently, the Moldovan leader intends to quickly meet and ‘settle’ the misunderstanding, as well as ‘synchronize watches’ for the future. At the meeting the Transdniestrian side is most likely to raise the issue of more concrete and tangible actions by the President of the Republic of Moldova and the Socialist Party to solve problems in bilateral relations. Interestingly, Dodon risks again in this case, since it is impossible to refuse in the current conditions, and the risk of not fulfilling the promise is still very high. The Moldovan leader on the threshold of the new political season will have to be both convincing and compromise, and not only in communication with the head of Transdniestria. In the end, it turns out that Igor Dodon needs a meeting and this meeting will be helpful for Vadim Krasnoselsky, which means that the chances of holding it until the end of the year are high. At least, the parties certainly have something to discuss.