Expert: New Government of Moldova May Damage Relations with Ukraine and Romania

Home / Analytics / Expert: New Government of Moldova May Damage Relations with Ukraine and Romania
Dorin Mocanu, RTA:  With a new ‘socialist’ government in Moldova one of the main tasks of the official Chisinau should be to establish relations with neighboring countries. Kyiv and Bucharest have a reason to think: for the first time in 10 years of pro-European forces governing in Chisinau there is a Cabinet formed solely by the pro-Russian political party of socialists. The geographical position of the state even in the 21st century remains a determining factor in the development of the country and has a great impact on its place in international relations. The Republic of Moldova is almost the only state on the European continent, which is sandwiched between two neighbors and has no alternative opportunities for communication with the outside world. In this regard, good relations with Ukraine and Romania are fundamentally important for Moldova, and a common language with the authorities of neighboring countries has to be found in any era. Meanwhile, after the overthrow of Maia Sandu’s government, official Bucharest has already outlined its position. Romanian President Iohanis made it clear that in the new circumstances, support from Romania, including financial support, will pursue the interests of the citizens of Moldova, and the implementation of bilateral projects will directly depend on the continuation of democratic European reforms. For Romania, the new Cabinet is a painful deja vu from the distant Voronin times, when relations between the two countries experienced the visa regime, the expulsion of the Romanian Ambassador, and the exclusion of the “History of Romanians” from the school curriculum. Such a past is hard to forget, so we should not expect positive changes in the dialogue between Chisinau and Bucharest. Ukraine, unlike Romania, has taken a wait-and-see attitude towards political events in Moldova, although the new Moldovan reality seems to be a great challenge for Ukraine. Apparently, Kyiv is analyzing the risks painstakingly and is preparing, if anything, to reconsider relations with socialist Chisinau – what else can explain the silence of the Ukrainian side? Kyiv clearly understands that the current Moldovan Cabinet and the entire vertical of power in Moldova will soon be penetrated by agents of Moscow’s influence, and it will have to react pragmatically and harshly. Igor Dodon and his current Defense Minister may recall statements on Crimea and delight about the morale of the rebels in the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic. Kyiv can act quite concretely, including reconsidering interaction with security agencies of Moldova on border and on the Transdniestrian track. Chisinau itself must understand risk of quarrelling with Kyiv: Moldovan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs V. Kulminski on the eve of his dismissal had an urgent visit to Kyiv. Experts suggest that Kulminski tried to convince his Ukrainian colleagues not to burn bridges and explain what the new Moldovan government is. Igor Dodon’s tactical allies from the Democratic Party, although they have their positions in Kyiv and Bucharest, nevertheless, are unlikely to help the ‘Dodon government’ to establish cooperation with its closest neighbors. The main goal of the PDM is to become gravediggers of the ‘red socialist plague’ and personally of Igor Dodon. Oddly enough, on this wave the PDM will try to strengthen its electoral position before off-year parliamentary elections, unlike the ACUM bloc, which is now exposed as a weak political project that even the socialists managed to destroy. Most likely the current government of I. Chicu is a doomed project that will become a victim of internal political confrontation in the run-up to the elections. Already today there are some components of a vote of no confidence in this Cabinet which Democrats will call right before presidential elections to weaken Igor Dodon’s chances for re-election. In this regard, the intrigue about the future of Moldova’s relations with Ukraine and Romania becomes even more interesting. It is unclear how Kyiv and Bucharest will react to the current government, but even more important is how the neighboring countries will try to influence the shape of the future government in Moldova and what they will ask from the PDM in return if they decide to secretly support the change of power of the socialists in favor of a possible government of democrats and pro-Europeans in the near future.