Moldova’s conflict over the Russian-backed breakaway region of Transnistria, which seeks to join Russia, has been frozen since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Meanwhile, the country’s momentum for greater integration with the EU has been undermined by continuing corruption and the election of pro-Russia president Igor Dodon. Crisis Group monitors developments related to the Transnistrian conflict, Russia’s increasing involvement in Moldovan politics and the fallout of conflict in eastern Ukraine. As we engage Moldovan officials and policymakers in Brussels, we produce analysis and recommendations to contain the risk of escalation and further the resolution of Moldova’s separatist conflict.
New coalition govt formed, unblocking three months of deadlock since no party or coalition won absolute majority in Feb legislative elections. Pro-European integration Party of Action and Solidarity (ACUM) and pro-Russian Socialist Party 8 June formed coalition, enabling it to form govt during extraordinary parliamentary session and nominated ACUM leader Maia Sandu to prime minister. Former ruling Democratic Party same day appealed against move to constitutional court, which declared new govt invalid, arguing that deadline to form govt had passed 7 June, 90 days after certification of elections. Court 9 June temporarily suspended President Igor Dodon, Socialist Party leader, reportedly to allow then interim PM Filip to dissolve parliament and issue decree calling for snap election; Dodon and ACUM leader Maia Sandu, however ignored verdict. PM Filip resigned 14 June; VP of his Democratic Party, Vladimir Cebotari, said decision was made to “avoid an escalation that could lead to violence”. Constitutional court next day overturned its earlier decision and recognised new govt led by PM Sandu; all six judges of constitutional court resigned 26 June.
With Romania’s expected entry into the European Union in 2007, the EU will share a border with Moldova, a weak state divided by conflict and plagued by corruption and organised crime. Moldova’s leadership has declared its desire to join the EU, but its commitment to European values is suspect, and efforts to resolve its dispute with the breakaway region of Transdniestria have failed to end a damaging stalemate that has persisted for fifteen years.
Resolving the Trandniestrian secessionist dispute in Moldova is vital to remove a potential source of chaos on the periphery of the expanding European Union, to implement an important part of the post-Cold War settlement, and to make Moldova itself a more viable state.
The conflict in the Transdniestrian region of the Republic of Moldova is not as charged with ethnic hatred and ancient grievances as others in the area of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and it is more conducive to a sustainable settlement.
Unresolved conflicts and breakaway territories divide five out of six of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership countries, most of them directly backed by the Russian Federation. But a policy of isolating the people living in these conflict regions narrows the road to peace.
Originally published in IWPR
Originally published in Politico