Expert: The West’s Aid to Moldova in the Current Crisis Should Be Much Greater

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Since Moldova is being pushed to break traditional energy ties with Russia, it should get compensation for all related losses, says RTA expert Semyon ALBU
Semyon ALBU Well, it’s finally happened. The European Union has extended a helping hand to Moldova suffering from a gas disaster, having generously granted 60 million euros. The news, so pleasant to our authorities, was reported to Natalia Gavrilita, currently visiting Brussels, by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Thus, the European official matched her own promises, made a couple of days ago during a call with Maia Sandu, with an action. We can thank the Union for the fact that it’s not another uncountable loan, but a grant – that is, there will be no need to return the money. At least, this is how the situation was presented in the presidency. The amount also seems rather big. Although if we have to continue buying gas for a thousand dollars or more, even these European millions will suffice for less than half a month. In fact, Chisinau was promised a whole package of “financial and technical assistance”, so in the future, they may drop something off. It seems we should be happy that the West does not leave us in trouble, and after many words of support, now for the first time this very support is real. But, interestingly, in fact, the help began even earlier. And the news from Brussels makes it even more possible to put the events taking place over the past two months into a coherent and very logical order, where the architect, his assistants, and performers can be seen. And there is even less doubt that the current crisis is simulated, and the shot callers are from a very particular side of Moldova. Yes, first of all, I mean Brussels and, especially, Washington, which seems to be out of business at all and has not even sent its ambassador yet. Nevertheless, it is apparently these capitals, that shape Chisinau’s absolutely unshakable position, on which it has kept its stranglehold in negotiations with Gazprom. So, personally, I am not surprised at all by the proliferating rumors about the failure of yesterday’s Deputy Prime Minister Spinu’s meeting, this time with the head of the gas company Alexey Miller. Again, the assistance to Moldova has already begun, and, of course, not for humanitarian reasons, but purely utilitarian. Our government is playing with fire, trying to put pressure on Moscow and risking being left without gas just at the time when it is needed most. Therefore, in order to prevent our officials from “getting weak in their knees” and from getting rattled at the most crucial moment, Washington assigned an “ambulance team” to us represented in its main European allies – Romania and Poland, as well as their satellite partner – Ukraine. None of these countries is a gas exporter – their own production is not enough even for domestic consumption. However, each has its own clear functions in being our “gas fail-safe” during the crisis. Bucharest, obviously, has engaged in active promotion of the Moldovan disaster in the EU. At the level of the foreign ministers, and then the leaders of European countries, Bogdan Aurescu and Klaus Iohannis respectively put this topic at the top of the agenda, offering large-scale financial assistance. As we can see, they succeeded. Plus, Romania, together with Ukraine, lends some gas to ensure the right pressure in our gas transmission network. Poland is ordered to pump small volumes of blue fuel to the republic, compensating for the Gazprom’s “shortage”. Well, at least now the meaning of Spinu’s trip to Warsaw for gas has become somewhat tangible. And it is no longer surprising that two of the three tenders announced by Energocom were won by a Polish company. However, the main lifeline will be tossed to us by Ukraine, which is ready to borrow gas and sell it in even larger volumes. It’s not that profitable for our neighbor, but they won’t defy the respected development partners’ commands. And it is unprofitable because Ukrainian gas seemingly abundant in storage facilities mostly belongs to private owners, not the state. Kiev already wants to get their hands on this gas, figuring out how to embezzle it without major losses in case of force majeure, which, according to estimates, will come this winter almost inevitably. So Moldova, for the supply of which the Ukrainian authorities are already being strongly criticized, would not fit in here at all if it were not for the abovementioned “nuance”. It is increasingly obvious that the West, represented by the United States and the EU, is pushing Moldova to tighten its positions and break off traditional energy ties with Russia as one of the most important instruments of its influence in the region. So, it appears that the buyer does not always pay the price as for our country seems to be “exploited” to the fullest in the gas crisis, and so far mainly at our own expense. The West, of course, began dosing the information of this whole story presenting Moscow as a malicious blackmailer and oppressor of poor Moldova. The renowned Financial Times has already written that Russia demands the rejection of the third EU energy package implementation, the “adjustment” of European integration and practically joining the Eurasian Union for its gas. The Kremlin, of course, has swiftly dispelled this outright fake, and nobody from our side confirmed it, but still. And it raises a logical question. It’s understandable why neighboring Ukraine went for a gas split with Russia. Yes, it hurt their economy and budget, but at least it fit into a new ideological paradigm, with Russia being an unambiguous aggressor country that seized Crimea and set fire to Donbass. Plus, Kiev has some prospect of achieving gas autonomy, gradually increasing production within the country. Already, our neighbor is self-sufficient with gas by two-thirds. But why does Moldova meddle into all this? Being disposable in the geopolitical confrontation is a depressing prospect, you know. Although not a surprising one – this is what my colleagues and I constantly talked about both before and after the elections. But if we are being used in another tricky game against Moscow, then at least let it be well rewarded. Mercenaries have always been paid more than ordinary soldiers, and since we are not officially part of the “EU and NATO division”, but only being “chartered” to provide services, then let it be paid accordingly. In the meantime, our government is apparently ready to fight with its historical partner almost for free and to the last Moldovan, regardless of losses. And all for the benefit of blind faith in a bright European future and their own political interests. Until what?