The Duran: Is Moldova the next Ukraine?

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the crisis in Moldova, where President Igor Dodon has now overturned a decree dissolving parliament, which was instituted by the pro-EU Democratic Party. Following the elections in February, Moldova’s parliament failed to establish a ruling coalition government, and on Saturday avoided the dissolution of Parliament after the Party of Socialists, supporting Moldovan President Igor Dodon, agreed to govern together with the other pro-EU bloc ACUM, in order to oppose the pro-EU Democratic Party led by the oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, which controlled the former parliament and the cabinet.

The leader of the Party of Socialists Zinaida Greceanii was elected the parliament’s speaker, and the government was formed with Maia Sandu, who heads the Party of Action and Solidarity, a part of the ACUM bloc, as prime minister. The Democratic Party initially refused to recognize the new government, but in the end they had to cave in. Alexander Mercouris raises the alarm on the increasingly polarized situation in Moldova and Alex Christoforou asks what the EU has to gain from another problem state. The militarized, separatist republic of Transnistria is also mentioned.

My Comment: I have to bring in a little historical background before giving my 2 cents on contemporary events. The Principalities of Moldova and Wallachia united between 1856 and 1862. The key moment of unification was in 1859 when Alexandru Ioan Cuza became ruler. This covered the historical regions of Oltenia, Muntenia, western Moldova, and southern Bessarabia. The political union between the two Principalities was the first step towards the creation of the Kingdom of Romania. The country joined the Russo-Turkish war [1877-1878], and at the end of that conflict, Romania alongside Montenegro and Serbia gained their independence from the Ottoman Empire. Later on, Romania entered World War 1 on the side of the Entente, with the goal of forming Greater Romania, which happened in 1918, when Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Transylvania joined the Romanian Kingdom.

In 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which divided Eastern Europe into the German and Soviet spheres of influence. Bessarabia was among those regions assigned to the Soviets. Article 3 of this secret protocol stated, “With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares its complete political disinterest in these areas.”

In the month of March 1940, Molotov declared, “We [the USSR] do not have a pact of non-aggression with Romania. This is due to the presence of an unsolved issue, the issue of Bessarabia, the seizure of which the Soviet Union never recognized although it never raised the issue of returning it by military means.” The Romanian state viewed such statements as a threat and rightly so – for on June 26 that same year, the same Molotov, as Soviet People’s Commissar, gave an ultimatum to the Romanian plenipotentiary minister to Moscow, in which the Soviet Union demanded the evacuation of the Romanian military and civil administration from Bessarabia and from the northern part of Bukovina. The state had no choice but to do as ordered. Romania not only lost those regions to the Soviets, but Hitler’s arbitration of the claims held by Hungary over Romanian territory made matters worse. Under the Vienna Dictate of August 30th 1940, Northern Transylvania was ceded to the Hungarians [who were not pleased and wanted more].

Fast forward to today’s events, unionist sentiments remain pretty strong among both countries, more so in Romania, however, the political class in both states is wholly unconcerned with such aspirations. From my understanding, Maia Sandu is only pro-EU and not a unionist. I agree with Mr. Mercouris that the Constitutional Court’s decision was a political coup. It seems this Vladimir Plahotniuc of the Democratic Party is firmly in control of Moldova’s police and justice systems. The popular uproar was triggered when the Constitutional Court basically annulled the elections’ result, suspended Igor Dodon as President, and named Pavel Filip as the interim President. This new coalition of opposites between [pro-Russian] Dodon and [pro-EU] Sandu put an end to Plahotniuc’s gambit, at least for now.

I do believe Moldova and Romania can unite to re-form Greater Romania [leaving the separatists of Transnistria to their own fate], but only if unionist forces manage to convince Washington and Moscow to agree to a settlement. One major point necessary for Russia to give its blessing is for Moldova’s territory to remain unintegrated with NATO’s military forces and infrastructure. I don’t think Russia would have a problem with Moldova becoming part of the EU, so long as the EU normalizes financial and economic relations with Moscow and NATO tones down its provocative statements and military exercises. I fear that such an outcome is just implausible, at least with the current US administration.

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