Country Focus: Moldova Caught Between East and West

Recently Russia’s deputy prime minister had these ominous words for a country considering increasing ties to Europe:

“Moldova’s train en route to Europe would lose its wagons in Transnistria,” Rogozin said during a press conference in the capital, Chişinău. Then he reminded his audience about how Moldova is completely dependent on Russia for its energy. “Energy is important,” Rogozin said. “The cold season is near. Winter is on its way. We hope that you will not freeze this winter.”

Ambassador Munteanu will speak at the Kennedy Center on 10/19 on this and other challenges facing his country–issues that are also relevant for Belarus, Georgia, and Ukraine–and will shape the future of the region.

Numerous concerns exist, and the Ambassador commented in an interview about his greatest long-term issue:

 I am personally worried about the growing insecurities of the modern world, including terrorism, large income inequalities around the world, and other societal dangers. I am equally concerned by the chronic inability of some international organizations to respond adequately to emerging threats posted by non-state actors. An example of this would be the case of the separatist regime in Transnistria, which is heavily sponsored by Russia, who pays the bills of its illegal administration. They have generously equipped Transnistria’s military with serious war craft, used to blackmail constitutional authorities of Moldova and influence its foreign policy trajectory. I share the ideal of a war-free world, where small states like Moldova can work together to achieve mutual peace, long-term economic prosperity, and moral ends. I believe Moldova can achieve this cooperation with a stronger and more explicit framework of engagement with Western organizations and states, where our national heritage can be freely expressed and protected.

via Rahim Kanani: An Interview With Igor Munteanu, Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the USA and Canada.

Another candidate for the EU AA agreement, Ukraine, has a difficult path forward, as well. The NYT reports that “Under the agreement, Yulia V. Tymoshenko would be pardoned by her rival, President Viktor F. Yanukovich, in exchange for a commitment from her to leave the country.”


4 thoughts on “Country Focus: Moldova Caught Between East and West”

  1. Countries that are extremely dependent on other countries with larger economies, like Moldova is with Russia, have a hard time changing their international policies and alliances because of the tremendous internal effects that doing so would cause. It isn’t worth it for Moldova to jeopardize receiving energy from Russia if there isn’t a back up system that the European Union is offering them instead. This decision will have to be very strategic in order for Moldova to not end up losing their support from Russia and also not being able to create a strong alliance with the European Union that turns out being beneficial to the country. Another thing to consider is the leverage that Russia will have if Moldova does step back and choose to not engage with the west and maintain strong relations with Russia. The Russians will have a stronger say in Moldova’s internal politics because they will know that Moldova depends solely on them.

  2. Russia is long past its geopolitical prime, and the simple fact of the matter is that they are desperately trying to recreate their former sphere of influence. Unfortunately, in order to do this, Russia essentially has to be an Eastern European bully. Nobody likes to say that, but given what has happened in Georgia and the Ukraine, and what is now happening in Moldova, the fact is unavoidable.

    No country should ever threaten another country the way Russia is right now, simply because that country wishes to Westernize or join the greater European community. The Soviet Union is gone, and these former Soviet states have the right to determine their own political path. By continuing to follow this course of action, Russia is only creating animosity toward themselves, loosing trading partners, and destroying any future they have as a member of the European community.

    I strongly support Moldova’s efforts to join the EU, and I hope that the rest of Europe has the courage to stand up to Russia in this circumstance.

  3. Listening to the Ambassador from Moldova the other day was very interesting. He makes it sound like joining the EU is a foregone conclusion. If that’s the way they have decided to go, it will be interesting to see the consequences. Specifically with the Russians controlling all of their natural gas resources, there could be some big issues.

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