Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration of the Republic of Moldova Cristina Lesnic publicly said that Moldova had been at war with Russia and for this reason signed the 1992 Agreement with Russia, which ended the conflict on the Dniester. The official told about it on December 26, but for two weeks, no media has paid attention to this very important statement. RTA expert Dorin MOKANU sees this as a bad signal for Russia and Tiraspol.
On December 26, the Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration Cristina Lesnic held a summary press conference. The official told about the success in the negotiation process and plans for the future.
At the end of the press conference, Lesnic became indignant at the fact that the Transnistrian conflict is sometimes called the Moldovan-Transnistrian conflict. The vice-premier called it speculation: it should be remembered who had signed the 1992 Agreement, she said. It is commonly known that the Agreement on the Principles of Peaceful Settlement of the Transnistrian Conflict was signed by the presidents of Russia and Moldova, Boris Yeltsin and Mircea Snegur. However, no one was concerned about Lesnic’s words – and this is perhaps the most dangerous thing.
The fact is that the 1992 Agreement is a delicate topic, which is usually bypassed by both Moscow and Chisinau. This document is still the only and so far reliable guarantee of the peaceful settlement of the Transnistrian conflict. In fact, this paper is a cease-fire agreement, but back in 1992 it could not be signed by the Transnistrian side, since no one particularly recognized its existence. Contemporary leader of the PMR Igor Smirnov visited the signing ceremony, but that was all. Therefore, the agreement is formally a Moldovan-Russian treaty, although officially the Russian Federation and the Republic of Moldova did not fight in 1992. This conflict is prudently not remembered, but Cristina Lesnic violated this unwritten custom.
Bluntly, according to Lesnic, Transnistria is anything but a party to the conflict, although Chisinau has been negotiating with Tiraspol for almost 20 years. Thus, it was a claim addressed to Moscow: Lesnic hinted that Russia is fully responsible for everything that happens, and Chisinau never forgets about it.
What’s the Matter?
From an expert point of view, the vision of Moldovan politicians is not fresh. However, it is difficult to recall that a high-ranking Moldovan official who is directly responsible for resolving the conflict, made such harsh statements. It is appropriate here to recall the intensification in the last two years of Chisinau’s attempts to bring the issue of the withdrawal of Russian troops, including peacekeepers, to the international level.
The problem is that, despite their capability, neither Kremlin nor President Dodon’s administration reacted to the attack of the government. The PSRM leader generally went hand-in-hand with the government: three days later, the President expressed his gratitude to the heroes who participated in the war on the Dniester in the early 90s and "defended the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova". Being traditionally conciliatory to Tiraspol, Dodon suddenly raised the issue of territorial integrity and heroes, which obviously cannot but irritate Tiraspol.
In fact, there are no miracles. Before elections, Moldovan politicians use any reason that somehow could attract more votes. It is already obvious that the Moldovan society is waiting for the traditional geopolitical "massacre", regardless emphasis on the pro-Moldovan discourse. It is clear that at least two prominent political forces – the PDM and ACUM – will fight for the favour of the European Union, which may become the main factor of success in these elections. Calling Russia an aggressor and an enemy is a sure chance to win sympathy of Brussels, which is still not ripe for a reboot of contacts with Moscow.
And yet the meaning of Lesnic’s statements has no pre-election context. In fact, this dig at Russia can mark the beginning of a campaign to revise both the international 5+2 negotiation format and the positions of specific participants, primarily Russia and Transnistria.
Let me remind you that the current Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration is not just a government official, but takes 19th place on the list of the Democratic Party. It turns out that Plahotniuc’s party “probes” the ground in order to revise the meaning of the 1992 Agreement and the whole status quo in the Transnistrian conflict. This is the most dangerous plot for both Moscow and Tiraspol – Chisinau will clearly try in 2019 to aggravate the topic of the Dniester conflict and the responsibility of some countries for its “frozen” status. This year, when a new power system will be formed in Moldova, Russia will have its hands tied – Moscow will continue to avoid sharp movements on the Moldovan and Transnistrian tracks.
Moreover. Let me remind you that the United States and the European Union are also participants to the negotiation process, for the time being as observers. The key words here are “for the time being”. It is highly likely that sharp narrative of Chisinau is aimed not only at undermining Russia's status as a guarantor and mediator, but also at increasing the “share” of Washington and Brussels. Moldova will “push” them to a higher level under the support by the OSCE and Ukraine.
The question about opposing parties in 1992 is a sad legacy of the challenging past. Revising the outcome of wars seems to be very dangerous, which is unlikely to benefit the Moldovans. Unfortunately, responsibility is not something that Moldovan politicians can boast about, especially during the period of fierce struggle for power.