Moldova and Russian Post-War Security Model

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The Russian-Chinese alliance inspires its members to largely project power on regions with a heightened concentration of their own national interests. Perhaps this explains the clearly increased Moscow’s attention to Moldovan affairs, which has already begun to outline the post-conflict structure of its “life area”
The past weeks had many international events. Though many people consider them far from our everyday reality, they will very soon directly affect the future picture of the world and regional layouts in Europe. Undoubtedly, the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Russia became the main episode of recent days. It has already been dubbed as strengthening the strategic alliance between Beijing and Moscow against the West. Without exaggerating the results of the three-day tour of the Chinese leader in the Russian Federation, however, we can say quite explicitly that two opposing coalitions are gradually taking shape in the world. As a result of their collision (non-mandatory direct and military), in fact, a new geopolitical status quo will develop in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific and other global macro regions. The search for the architecture of the world is obviously in full swing. This architecture will at least temporarily provide a balance of interests of global players. It is important to understand that all foreign trips currently have great strategic weight against this background. This is no longer just a banal “time check”, but planning actions for a distant event horizon, as well as responding to changing circumstances. Therefore, all diplomatic contacts require maximum concentration, analysis and preparation. The fate of specific states, their place in future configurations and membership in emerging political and economic groupings depends on how clearly and understandably the position is formulated. At the same time, the Euro-Atlantic bloc and countries that gravitate towards it should already proceed from the Sino-Russian anti-Western alliance has emerged, despite all the measures taken to prevent their dangerous rapprochement. It can be expected that Russian resources and Chinese technology will largely project their power at various geographical points, especially areas with highly concentrated national interests of Beijing and Moscow. Now that powerful China stands behind Russia, the Kremlin, filled with a sense of geopolitical inspiration, may begin to act even more decisively, especially in its “life area”. Without spreading over the entire post-Soviet space, I will take a glance at our Moldova, visited last week by a delegation of the Russian Foreign Ministry. And taking into account all that I said above, it becomes clear that this visit cannot be presented as an ordinary or routine event. Russian diplomats, according to their own statements, arrived in Moldova on an “inspection” trip to review the situation in the Transnistrian settlement and analyze the efficiency of the OSCE field mission from the point of view of both banks of the Dniester. This, in turn, will supposedly help to understand whether it is worth extending its mandate in June. As it turned out, at the end of last year, the OSCE management structures decided on extending the mission’s activities, and at that time Moscow expressed “some concerns” about its work. Therefore, the mandate was extended only for six months. We also heard ritual words of support for the “frozen” 5+2 Format, which, according to Russian emissaries, cannot be replaced by direct communication between Chisinau and Tiraspol. The same thought was echoed on the left bank, where it was recalled that during a recent trip to the region, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office proposed organizing consultations in a broad international format. In addition, it is noticeable how the Tiraspol authorities are shifting the emphasis in the recent terrorist history towards a peacekeeping operation in order to emphasize the need to preserve or even strengthen it in the light of new threats to the regional security. Our authorities, through the Vice-Premier for reintegration, accuse the Transnistrian administration of excessive politicization of most issues, and also argue that Tiraspol must agree to negotiate the unification of the country, solving the economic and social problems of its citizens and restoring the rule of law on the left bank. At the same time, Moscow should not limit the mandate of the OSCE Mission and is obliged to continue supporting the formula for a peaceful and final settlement of the Transnistrian conflict, while respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova. Intriguingly, a few weeks earlier, the US Permanent Representative to the OSCE visited Chisinau and Tiraspol. It cannot be ruled out that the American representative arrived in the region on a pre-emptive visit, expecting the upcoming development of the game that the Kremlin is playing around Moldova. Realizing that the prospects for a direct military-political impact on our country are not so high, Moscow may have adjusted its tactics and has already prepared its place for both banks of the Dniester in future post-war scenarios. Maybe that is why there is a smooth preparation for the curtailment of the OSCE Mission and other actions to minimize the US influence. Of course, we tried to “compensate” the visit of the Russian delegation by meeting with the Ukrainian ambassador, but we immediately received ambiguous claims from Kyiv with interesting spoilers. It turns out that there is already a certain document on the national reintegration, which proposes to stretch this process for seven years. It means that they want to synchronize it with European integration with the deadline set for 2030. Such a long-term plan, apparently, does not suit the Ukrainian authorities, who expect rapid steps from Moldova on reunification, realizing where global processes are moving, taking into account Russian diplomatic activity. For most experts and analysts, it is already completely clear that Moscow is closely engaged in the reconfiguration of the post-Soviet regional security (including deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus) and outlines post-war models, including the security developments in the North Black Sea region. Of course, the Kremlin unlikely has already a ready-made vision that Russian diplomats could share during a trip to Moldova, but the very fact of such an “inspection survey” requires the authorities to be ready for counteractions. However, until now we hear from our officials that Moldova stands for unconditional observance of frontier inviolability enshrined in the Helsinki Accords, since there can be no other legitimate solutions to conflicts in Europe today. Alas, such a view of the current reality and the fate of Moldova, with all its visual perfection, is getting further and further away from the new reality that is covering us every day. Grabbing the institutions, mechanisms and principles of a rapidly passing era, you can end up out of the game.