Chisinau changes approaches in relations with Tiraspol
Yesterday, another conference on confidence-building measures between Moldova and Transdniestria ended in Bavaria. This is an informal platform provided by the Federal Foreign Office and the OSCE, where experts of the parties are looking for a solution to the pressing problems for the Moldovan-Transdniestrian dialogue. For example, the functioning of schools with the Romanian language of instruction on the left bank or the access for Transdniestrian drivers to the European Union.
The Bavarian event had to answer the main question: will the parties be able to quickly get out of the impasse, which they reached during the Bratislava 5+2 meeting. Then, for the first time in the last few years, Chisinau and Tiraspol could not agree on the final Protocol of the meeting and put the negotiations on pause.
Certain hopes for positive changes in the dialogue of the Dniester banks were raised by the influence of Moldovan President Igor Dodon. According to many experts, international partners asked the head of Moldova to handle the situation and get the negotiations back on track. This view was partly confirmed by Dodon’s hastily organized and unexpectedly warm meeting with the leader of the Transdniestrian administration Vadim Krasnoselsky. After talking for almost four hours with the representative of Tiraspol Igor Dodon promised to solve several acute problems: criminal cases against officials of the left bank, telephone communication and even difficulties with the accounts of Transdniestrian enterprises in Moldovan banks.
The fact that Dodon is seriously determined to restore order in the negotiation process was demonstrated by the next day meeting on the banking topic. This could be regarded as a curtsey to Tiraspol, because earlier the Moldovan negotiators denied the existence of this problem at all.
Moreover, on the weekend there was an almost unprecedented event for the Moldovan-Transdniestrian relations in our days: Igor Dodon together with his family visited the Transdniestrian town of Bendery on a “private visit”. Interestingly, there he was accompanied by Vadim Krasnoselsky, with whom Dodon also held an informal meeting.
So, in this context everyone was waiting for news from Bavaria, but until recently the discussions were shrouded in mystery. Only now and, tellingly, the left bank began to share the first news about the outcome of the conference. Judging by the statements of representatives of Tiraspol, Igor Dodon kept his promise. At least, it became known about the closure of 11 criminal cases against Transdniestrian officials, as well as about some “interim solution” to the banking problem.
Moldovan experts have yet to assess what happened, but now we can say that the closure of criminal cases is a major concession of Chisinau to the left bank. For years, Moldovan officials have referred to the independence and inviolability of justice while explaining their inability to dismiss criminal cases against residents of the left bank. But in Bavaria, the issue suddenly got off the ground.
Apparently, Igor Dodon, intervening in time in the stalling process of the Transdniestrian settlement, decided to take a leading position in it. Otherwise such an unprecedented concession to Tiraspol cannot be explained: apparently, the Moldovan President has not abandoned the desire to reign in the Transdniestrian settlement and wants to look for Transdniestria as the most desirable partner in the Moldovan authorities.
Igor Dodon’s position suggests a clear desire to oust the pro-European Sandu’s government from the Transdniestrian negotiations. This idea fits perfectly into the general logic of the complex confrontation between the socialists and the ACUM bloc within the ruling coalition.
The leader of Moldova may also seek to maintain his nice public image in front of his partners in Moscow, who take care of the unrecognized republic on the left bank of the Dniester. Igor Dodon seeks to show that he is ready to work in the most active way on the peaceful track of “social and humanitarian” issues and to upset the apple cart in regional geopolitics, where the main issue for the near future is the Donbas settlement.
After all, Moldova is already entering the period of a new presidential election campaign. Probably, the leader of the PSRM intends to obtain achievements in the Transdniestrian direction, which can be safely shown to the voter. It can be assumed that this goal will determine the influence of Igor Dodon on the dialogue with Tiraspol in the near future. In this case, closing criminal cases against left-bank officials is only the first step of the big game. Moreover, there are plenty of problems in the relations between Chisinau and Tiraspol, which can be nicely solved for the joy of people.
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