Why Do Moldovan Authorities "Humble Themselves" before International Community?

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Sergiu CEBAN Bringing the negotiation process with Tiraspol administration to the boiling point Chisinau urgently requested international support The situation with coronavirus in Moldova is getting worse: the number of cases is approaching the two thousandth mark. This threatens with irreparable socio-economic consequences for the country. Earlier, the Moldovan leadership predicted the peak of the epidemic by the third decade of April. But if the number of cases exceeds 3-4 thousand the healthcare system will not be able to cope with such a stream of patients. Moreover, according to WHO experts, at the current rate of infection during the pandemic in the territory of Moldova about 28 thousand people get infected with coronavirus. It would seem that the forecasts are completely disappointing and the Moldovan authorities need to consolidate all their forces in order to prevent the spread of epidemic. Despite this, the tension between Chisinau and Tiraspol however is getting stronger and stronger. Many experts associated certain hopes with the return of Democrats to the Transdniestrian direction for at least some kind of equalization of negotiations. Meanwhile, it seems that the contradictions of the parties at a deep level have reached their critical limit and the confrontation has become the property of the public. The reason for open accusations exchanges was the refusal of the Tiraspol administration to coordinate its actions with the central authorities of Moldova to combat the coronavirus. It is obvious that Chisinau does not like the methods that the left bank used to counter the pandemic. Tiraspol suddenly began to show a fair degree of independence, restricting movement and establishing dozens of posts without any coordination. It got to the point that the citizens of the Moldova’s right-bank actually became foreigners on the left bank and they were simply forbidden to enter the region. Many observers had the feeling that Tiraspol had finally ceased to reckon with the opinion of Chisinau and began to openly demonstrate that the Moldovan authorities were not involved in the administration of the epidemiological situation on the left bank of the Dniester. Tiraspol’s leadership statements about arranging their own laboratory facilities also got Chisinau irritated. This, can in fact lead to the loss of the only existing connection element since right now the Chisinau laboratory is analyzing all the biomaterial coming from Transdniestria. Just recently, Cristina Lesnic said that there could be no talk of such a laboratory and all international humanitarian aid would be sent to the left bank only after the decision of central authorities. Nevertheless, the Tiraspol administration has already reported on the first batch of 5 thousand laboratory tests received in the region. Apparently, a fair amount of activity of Transdniestrian authorities while there are no more mechanisms for influencing them (which would not have the opposite effect as with medical preparations) forced Chisinau to come up with the proposal to hold an emergency meeting in the “5 + 2” format. In fact, this is a request to the international community to restore sovereignty and influence on the left-bank region with a view to subordinate it to the authorities in Chisinau. Unfortunately, outwardly it looks like a gesture of despair and another ill-conceived step, since the probability of such a meeting under quarantine is approaching zero. According to experts who are familiar with diplomatic practice, if consultations at the 5 + 2 level do not take place, then this can be regarded as tacit approval of Tiraspol’s actions and another blow to Chisinau’s positions. One gets the feeling that in difficult epidemiological conditions, each side saw unique opportunity for itself. If Chisinau, with Cristina Lesnic’s words perceives through the closure of the Transdniestrian section of the border with Ukraine a model of regional reintegration, then Tiraspol probably saw a chance to strengthen its territorial contours and the chance for an active region “sovereignization”. The situation in Chisinau’s relations with Tiraspol is simply terrifying and the main problem, apparently lies in the absence of a clear strategic line from the central authorities which should play the main role in the negotiation process. However, as a result of an ill-conceived policy at the current stage the Moldovan leadership practically does not have any effective tools in dialogue with the left bank and is forced to humiliatingly appeal to international partners. In a few months, the epidemiological situation, one way or another is to stabilize. Chisinau will have to restore its precarious position in the dialogue with Tiraspol but results can be expected only if the Moldovan leadership draws necessary lessons and restructures the tactical line in the Transdniestrian settlement process.