Iulian CHIFU // Republic of Moldova: test case of the West`s cooperation with Putin`s Russia
Two major events have marked the past week, between New Year and Christmas in the Gregorian calendar: hyper-activism, assertiveness, voluntarism and desire to be in the forefront of the new president Igor Dodon and the message sent to Fox News by the newly elected president of the Democratic Party, Vladimir Plahotniuc, addressed to the new US president Donald Trump, before taking the office. A paid message. These two elements come to mark the most important topic of how, in fact, can cooperate Russia with the West in a post-Soviet state, with Moldova as a test case.
However, let's take them one by one. Firstly, Igor Dodon, in a drunkenness of excess communication, makes mistake after mistake, marking the position of a pro-Russian president, supported by Moscow, but wittingly undermining his own state and national policies. After a highly dubious statement of contesting the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Moldova, his reactions in relation to the breakaway region and challenging the existing laws and documents, strategy and approach of the breakaway region creates major difficulties of consistency for Moldova. He announces debates but not winnings. All of this for the benefit of Moscow, although he stubbornly affirms he is a "pro-Moldovan" president, not a pro-Russian one.
Perhaps the worst option is addressing the need to ensure neutrality. The idea of guarantees for neutrality at the UN Security Council level or other ad hoc formulas by major powers is another abberation nthrough which Moscow has tried more than once (see Voronin's similar attempt) to gain advantages. However, the international neutrality recognized and guaranteed involves resources and costs or pre-existing international interests that Moldova doesn't have and cannot attract. Especially, from the geographical position on the edge of Europe, on the fault line, between the border of NATO and EU on Prut and Ukraine, which aspires the West path and is at war with Russia in Crimea and Donbas. A utopia, ignorance of the realities, just open opportunities for Moscow, for Putin's Russia, asked by Chisinau to take steps in this regard, even if they have no perspective. However, it makes no sense to tell us how things will flow, will Dodon hit the ceiling when his emissaries will return with all the negative responses. Not to mention it's not his job, but the Government's, which was not even consulted. It's not the President's initiative, who only represents the state and does not make the policy, but the majority, the Government and Parliament who were not even informed. Malicious ones would say it's a classic case of launching impeachment proceedings in Parliament. It's just too early.
The second initiative is the least interesting, aspirational, an act of foreign policy and public diplomacy in the eyes and under the nose of the new American president-elect, but all at the ideal and naive level. Saying that you want in the West without arguing with Russia is, indeed, a welcoming natural position. What do you do when Moscow says, with Rogozin's voice taken over by Dodon that for good relations with Putin's Russia Moldova must give up the Association Agreement? Not only to not have relations with NATO, and to respect Russia's interests but to give up any Western aspiration and embrace limited sovereignty in the trail of Russia. Furthermore, it reintegrates you territorially, under the control of Russian troops from Transnistria, if you are well behaved and return to Moscow's new imperial structure.
Another point of discussion is one in which, you actually refuse to choose between East and West, because you affirm that you refuse to make new enemies. However, the approach overlooks the principle of feeding from two cows, of a good and gentle calf, that Moldova has practiced repeatedly. In addition, this principle betrays, in fact the ambiguity, avoiding the choice and the firm option in order to live on the earnings, which are coming from both sides. However, this means betraying the two competitors equally: Russia and the West. I am not talking here about the special and more complex relationship with Romania. Lack of coolness and desire to decide and choose is what will lead Moldova to its collapse, between the West's Romania and the pro-Western Ukraine.
Finally, perhaps one less visible thing, the current situation in Moldova is a test case test case of the West's cooperation with Putin's Russia in the post-Soviet space. This comes after Moscow's aggressive manifestations in Georgia and Ukraine, and after the opening announced by US President Donald Trump to restore relations with Russia of Vladimir Putin. Chisinau is behind Ukraine, geographically, if we consider Donbas front of confrontation, so any cooperation denounce shades and clear limits to not change the reality and force of Kiev to defend itself and to defend the West against Russian aggression. We must not forget that Dodon's election as president in a parliamentary republic takes place in the context of a government majority said to be pro-European. However, if the terms of cooperation proposed by Russia are those of action and statements of Dodon, left to win this trial test, such a counter-argument will fundamentally affect any kind of cooperation between Trump's America and Putin's Russia over the area. This is because the way of expression marks exceptionalism, individualism and the desire to immediately take full power by Moscow: earlier elections, informational warfare, domination of the media, and not the cooperation with the West, without mentioning even a more complex relationship with Romania. This behavior of an actor to whom you give an inch, he will take a mile, to whom you give a mile, and he will take everything, it is unacceptable.