The Russian Federation does not have too many instruments for influencing the Republic of Moldova, but invests a lot in maintaining control over the mass media, opinion leaders and the elites that are tied to the Transnistrian region through businesses. In 2017, Russia can destabilize Moldova through political hacking powers. The revival of the “Kozak Plan” is another threat. A federalization plan (by the Kozak model) can thwart the political agenda, analysts say in a publication about the risks of 2017 that was presented by the Institute for Development and Social Initiative “Viitorul”.

According to the analysts, the succession of a pro-Kremlin President opens up new horizons for increasing the Russian influence in the Republic of Moldova, including by foreign policy options, creating the perception of a two-headed power to which different “soft-power” platforms loyal to Russia will be aimed: access to the Russian market, status of migrants, extended role of the Russian Church, hybrid power, etc. A major danger in 2017 can be posed by the “Transnistrization” project by mechanically implementing the Berlin Protocol signed in the summer 2016, which gains thus consistency by the appearance of a president predisposed to ‘transactional’ settlements at Moldova’s expense.

The analysts consider Russia’s narrative about the exceptional role of its peacekeeping troops will be updated in 2017 through Dodon. Though they can no longer finance the separatist regime as several years ago, the Russian officials would like to solve the problem of viability of this militarized enclave by attracting political forces from the Republic of Moldova to the federalist project, forcing thus Moldova to accept the price of reunification with the separatist region by renouncing the EU, ending the agreements signed in 2014 and ensuring a status with the veto right for the separatist regime.

As regards the “Kozak Plan”, the analysts said over 65% of the respondents of polls reject this plan that is perceived as an instrument for undermining Moldova’s sovereignty under Russian military guarantees and foreign military presence, which can lead to political destabilization. The Moldovan state looks an easy prey for the militarized Transnistrian regime that has no restrictions, obligations and other moral obstacles and thus has nothing to lose. It’s true that Moscow could camouflage its intention by planting transitory laws that would recognize the sovereignty elements of the separatist regime.

The risks were anticipated with the involvement of communities of policy thinkers that were asked to simulate the biggest challenges that could be faced by Moldova in 2017.

Source: IPN