Transnistria stated that it only wants to discuss its independence with Chisinau. In Gagauzia, they expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the Moldovan president does not want to communicate with Moscow. And the opposition called on citizens to take up pitchforks and axes. All this happened in Moldova in one day and formed into a general picture of the crisis, which will only grow. The pro-European leadership of the country, apparently, will have to confront opponents, returning geopolitics to internal affairs, the rejection of which recently made the current government power.
Even in a small country, just one day can accommodate events that which ideally, like puzzle pieces, add up to a voluminous and complex overall picture. September 2 was such a day in Moldova. On this day, the 32nd anniversary of the formation of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) was celebrated in Tiraspol.
The leader of the PMR, Vadim Krasnoselsky, took advantage of this occasion to categorically state: Tiraspol does not want reintegration into Moldova. “Some politicians talk about some kind of special status. I don’t understand the wording of the special status. This is all nonsense and profanity, an attempt to come here and take away land and enterprises. And the people themselves will not be of interest to anyone, ”said Mr. Krasnoselsky, speaking at a solemn meeting dedicated to the Day of the Republic. Therefore, he added, Pridnestrovie will seek exclusively independence and international recognition.
Vadim Krasnoselsky did not say anything about the intention to become part of Russia, namely, for this in Pridnestrovie in the 2006 referendum, Vadim Krasnoselsky did not say anything became. This topic has now become too sensitive: the unrecognized republic, where Russian peacekeepers and a contingent of the task force of Russian troops are stationed, borders on the warring Ukraine.
Relations between Chisinau and Tiraspol are now going through a period, worse than which it is difficult to remember. Not in the sense that they are in violent conflict, but in the fact that the parties have not been negotiating with each other for quite a long time. and Tiraspol are parties to the conflict, the OSCE, Russia, Ukraine are mediators, the EU and the US are observers) has been blocked since 2019.
There is also no direct dialogue between the President of Moldova and the Transnistrian leader. President Maia Sandu refused to continue the practice of meetings with Vadim Krasnoselsky, which existed during the presidency of her predecessor, Igor Dodon. This, coupled with the inherent pro-Russian nature of Transnistria and the situation in Ukraine (Chisinau openly supports Kyiv and condemns Moscow), contributes to the fact that the situation on the Dniester looks stably tense. Chisinau is not getting along. There are also problems in the center’s relations with the Gagauz autonomy located in the south of the republic. While another anniversary of the creation of the PMR was celebrated in Tiraspol, Maia Sandu, for the first time in almost two years of her presidency, came to Comrat, the capital of Gagauzia, to meet with local authorities. In addition, she spoke to students at Comrat University, paying quite a lot of attention to Ukraine.
“I will start this difficult, but very necessary conversation with the war in Ukraine. It is obvious that today both the region and the country are going through difficult times. The world in which we lived thirty years after gaining independence and which we well understood has changed beyond recognition. Even now, many refuse to believe in these changes, to realize what they mean for us, ”the president said. She described the changes as follows: “This is no longer a world of cooperation and good neighborly relations. The world we knew was replaced by war and destruction. I will be extremely frank with you: this war, which Russia is waging against Ukraine, is reflected in the most direct way on us. We all – with horror – see that this is a war in which children, women, civilians who lived a peaceful, calm life are dying.
The students applauded Ms. Sandu’s speech. But from the university, she came to the building where the head of the region, the local parliament and the government work – the Bashkan, the People’s Assembly and the executive committee. And there the audience was less grateful.
Firstly, it is noticeable that the relationship between the president and the head of the region, Irina Vlah, is clearly strained. For example, they have never met in a bilateral format. There was no face-to-face meeting this time either.
Secondly, in Gagauzia, where pro-Russian sentiments are no less strong than in Transnistria, they openly express dissatisfaction with the fact that Mrs. Sandu supports in the war Ukraine, and criticizes Russia. Until February, Chisinau did not actively interact with Moscow, and now all contacts are reduced to the level of interaction between embassies.
helped to drown out loud screams and resounding knocks on the table during the discussion. One of those whose voice confidently made its way through the massive door was Grigory Dyulger, a deputy of the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia. He could not calm down even after the meeting. “No one wants to solve Moldova’s problems! In every answer I hear “the situation in Ukraine,” the parliamentarian was indignant. “The president goes to a neighboring country and says that we are in solidarity with the country where a fratricidal war is going on. But at the same time, he does not think about solidarity with his inhabitants, his people! Why do we need such a president?”
They were also outraged by the rise in prices, the high cost of Russian gas, and the increase in the budget of the Ministry of Defense of Moldova. About the last president, according to the interlocutor of Kommersant, they asked: “Who are we going to fight with?” “The deputies were very indignant that the authorities constantly talk about Ukraine and do not talk about our people, about the priorities of their people,” said the interlocutor of Kommersant.
Maia Sandu, however, after the meeting looked like this as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. To Kommersant’s question about why it was so loud behind closed doors, she answered with a smile: “If it was loud, then you heard everything.” But then she listed the issues discussed. “We talked about issues of the country, questions of autonomy, about gas, about price, about inflation, we talked about democracy, about the fight against corruption. Many questions, it’s good that we talked. We need to keep talking and solving problems. I am sure that we all want peace. This is what we all need. If there is peace, we will resolve all issues,” the president said and went to Chisinau.
By the time Ms. Sandu reached the capital, the opposition rally had already ended there. The Shor party took its supporters – one and a half or two thousand people – to the street. Its leader, Ilan Shor, is in favor of a dialogue with Moscow and has previously expressed readiness to go to Moscow and negotiate with Gazprom on lowering gas prices.
The protesters demanded the resignation of the president and the government, threatened axes”. Regina Apostolova, an MP from the Shor Party, promised that Friday’s protest would not be the last. “Today, 60% of the population demand early elections, a change of government and parliament,” she said.
With the approach of winter, with the current cost of Russian gas, which is reflected in tariffs and prices, there will be more reasons and people who want to protest.
Not so long ago – in 2020 – the refusal to play on the contradictions between East and West and the promise to focus on internal problems like corruption, poverty and the inefficiency of state institutions allowed Maia Sandu to confidently defeat Igor Dodon, who was building his campaign on anti-Western and pro-Russian rhetoric. This was an unexpected and successful move, since Moldovan politicians have always taken advantage of the fact that the voter in the country has long been divided into supporters of rapprochement with the West and those who look towards Moscow.
In 2021, success in the parliamentary elections Ms. Sandu, using the same tactics, was repeated by the Action and Solidarity party she created, which formed the government. Although the party promised to engage in European integration, it intended to build pragmatic, mutually beneficial relations with Russia. The latter did not happen and is unlikely to happen, which means that this point of the program can be ignored. Chisinau is already explaining the deterioration of the socio-economic situation by what is happening in Ukraine and is blaming Russia for everything. The next step, if the protests continue to grow, could be to defend the gains of European integration from the encroachments of the pro-Russian opposition. Previously, this helped to mobilize the pro-Western part of society in a broad sense, which is the most passionate.