Moldova wants to cut its ties with Russia to better get closer to the West

Moldova cuts the last historical ties that linked it to Russia

Moldova wants to cut its ties with Russia to better get closer to the West

Moldova cuts the last historical ties that linked it to Russia. The Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament, Igor Grosu, announced on Monday, May 15, the intention of the former Soviet republic to withdraw from the agreement on the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Landlocked between Romania and Ukraine, located at the limits of the Russian zone of influence and at the eastern borders of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Moldova intends to get closer to the West.

During the dislocation of the Soviet empire, the centrifugal forces at work in the USSR did not spare the former Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR): the Russian-speaking and pro-Soviet minority of Transnistria seceded from Moldova and s is self-proclaimed independent, without international recognition.

The RSSM declared its independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991, but decided to maintain a link with the former tutelary power. In December 1991, it became a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (the CIS), an intergovernmental organization made up of nine of the fifteen former Soviet republics, whose aim is to allow a "civilized divorce" rather than an abrupt break during the dislocation. of the USSR.

In fact, it quickly appeared as an empty shell which is in no way an integrated political entity, as the European Union can be, but which above all aims to preserve Russia's influence over its former satellites. After more than thirty years of belonging to this organization, Moldova has decided to throw in the towel. Before her, Georgia and Ukraine had already broken with the former Soviet big brother: in 2009, after the war in South Ossetia, for the first, in 2018 for the second.

In a long statement, the Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament makes a scathing indictment of the CIS: "It has become quite clear that the presence of the Republic of Moldova in the structures of the CIS has not helped us in resolving the conflict Transdniestrian, nor for the withdrawal of the Russian army from the territory". Moldova only controls 88% of its territory, while the breakaway region of Transnistria, backed by Russia, controls 12%.

Igor Grosu further recalls the energy blackmail of Russia, which halved its gas deliveries to the country after the start of the invasion of Ukraine: "Being in the CIS did not protect us from energy blackmail in the middle of winter, threats and official declarations hostile to the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova. »

Above all, it is Moscow's bellicose attitude that is called into question: "After one of its founding states, the Russian Federation, barbarically attacked another founding state, Ukraine, having occupied territories and killed its citizens, this organization can no longer be called a community,” Mr. Grosu adds. “Ukraine has left this organization, which separates us geographically from the member states of the CIS. The Republic of Moldova is an independent country (…). We have the determination and the responsibility to distance ourselves from the source of evil, from this source of poverty, from this source of war and destruction. We can no longer sit at the same table as the aggressor state to discuss with it,” concludes the Speaker of Parliament.

Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in 2022, Moldova has been working hard to get closer to the European Union and is wondering about the advisability of joining NATO. Moldova's neutrality is enshrined in Article 11 of its Constitution, but the country joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, which became the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. It contributes to the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo, and Maia Sandu, the Moldovan president, questioned in January in Davos the country's ability to defend itself or whether it should be part of a wider alliance.

In March 2022, it applied for EU membership and was granted candidate country status in June of the same year. In March, Ms Sandu set the timetable, during a plenary session of Parliament in Chisinau: "In 2030, Moldova must be a member of the EU, seize this chance to be part of the European family with the same rights . "How long is it going to take us?" It's all up to us,” she added.

As the government struggles to implement needed reforms after years of Russian rule, the president said, "Moldova is just coming out of captivity," before lashing out at "traitors, thieves and oligarchs ".

In an interview with Agence France-Presse, Anatolie Nosatîi, the Moldovan Defense Minister, explained on March 13 that “there is currently no imminent military danger against Moldova, (…) but there are other types of risks that affect safety”. He referred in particular to "disinformation, tensions in society generated by Russia", "a set of provocations" intended to sow chaos and "change the political order".

The Minister nevertheless renewed the calls to demilitarize Transnistria. "We have consistently called for the unconditional evacuation of Russian forces that are illegally stationed on Moldovan territory"; Russia has some 1,500 soldiers there and a large stockpile of ammunition. With an army of 6,500 soldiers, with dilapidated equipment dating from the Soviet era, Moldova must "overhaul the entire defense system", which requires "time and funding", underlined Mr. Nosatiii.

Pressure is also mounting on the territory of Gagauzia, bordered to the southeast by Ukraine and to the west by Romania. In this Turkish-speaking region, which enjoys autonomous status, the pro-Russians are showing up more and more: the region voted on April 30 and May 14 to decide between eight contenders for the post of baskan (governor) of the region, all hostile to the central government in Chisinau. Evgenia Gutul, the candidate of the pro-Russian Shor party, won the election.

Ilan Shor, the Moldovan oligarch who heads this training, was sentenced in his absence, on April 14, to fifteen years in prison for a bank fraud constituting a loss of one billion dollars. Suspected of having found refuge in Israel, his native country, he was sanctioned in October 2022 by Washington for corruption and interference for the benefit of Russia. He has mobilized his troops in recent months against the pro-European government. For President Maia Sandu, "the Shor party has been given a clear mission by the Kremlin and the Russian security services: to drag Moldova into war".

The US State Department accuses Moscow of "seeking to weaken the government of Moldova", with the aim of installing a government committed to its cause. In Moscow, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounces assertions "absolutely unfounded and without proof".