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Chișinău to propose a “Vision” on the future “autonomous” status of Transnistria within Moldova



The Government of Moldova apparently has a plan for political reintegration of the breakaway Transnistria. At least, this what Vladimir Soloviev writes at Kommersant.

According to Soloviev, four sources communicated him that Chișinău elaborated a clear white paper, a so-called “Vision”, on the future status of the separatist entity within the Republic. The 8 and a half pages plan contain stipulations regarding the Russian military presence in the region, the military peacekeeping mission, the autonomous status of Transnistria and its official languages.

The white paper was reportedly written by the head of the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS “Viitorul”) and ex-Ambassador to the US, Igor Munteanu, and the Romanian political scientist Iulian Chifu, who has worked as national security adviser to Romania ex-President Băsescu. At the same time, the text of the paper was edited by the Vice-Premier for Reintegration, George Balan, and Foreign Ministry’s representative in special cases, Ion Stavila. The paper was ready at the end of summer 2017 and might even be presented before the next Ministerial Council of the OSCE, taking place during December 7-8 in Vienna.

The document reportedly begins with the acknowledgment of the necessity to withdraw the Russian military troops (probably the Operative Group of Russian Troops) from the territory of Moldova. The withdrawal is seen as natural by Chișinău because Russia committed to finalizing it before 2003 at the 1999 OSCE Istambul Summit.

In addition, the paper underlines the importance of transforming the current trilateral (Moldova-Russia-Transnistria) peacekeeping mission into a multi-national civil one.

A completely new approach to reintegrating Transnistria regards the provisions on the official languages to be established in Transnistria. Besides the Russian and Ukrainian official languages, Chișinău would like to replace the “Moldovan language” (Cyrillic script) with the Romanian language. This aspect might raise questions not only in Transnistria but also on the right bank. The Socialist and Communist MPs in Chișinpu are currently blocking a ruling of Constitutional Court to make Romanian an official language- as it is in Moldova’s declaration of independence.

More important, the “Vision” paper offers an autonomous status to Transnistria, a status similar to that of Gagauzia established in 1994 by an organic law. Specifically, Transnistria would keep its constitution, leader of the region, parliament, and government, but would not be able to pass laws, just normative acts.

The interlocutors of the Kommersant reporter, however, believe Chișinău will not offer everything in the first place, but would rather start from “timid positions”.

This “Vision” is said to be the first real written plan of the constitutional authorities of Moldova on Transnistria’s future status. In 2003, a Russia-backed plan often called Kozak Memorandum was rejected in the last moments by the Moldovan then-President Vladimir Voronin, who encountered the large opposition of the majority of the population to a plan federalizing the Republic and giving equal rights to Transnistria in foreign policymaking.

President Igor Dodon was first to react to the reports about the “Vision”, claiming it does not correspond to the approaches to solving the Transnistrian political conflict:

“We elaborated our vision, whose basis was: the preservation, consolidation and international recognition of the permanent status of neutrality of Moldova, the right to self-determination in case of Moldova losing its statehood”, declared Dodon for RIA Novosti. President’s plan might emerge from that of his Socialists’ Party, who wanted a federalized Moldova to include Gagauzia and Transnistria on an equal basis.

The recent 5+2 talks in Vienna apparently did not include negotiations on the political status of the Transnistrian region within the Republic of Moldova.

The recent IRI poll results indicate that the majority, 70%, of Moldovans see Transnistria as an ordinary part of Moldova without having any autonomous status:

Currently studying International Relations at the University of Pécs, Hungary. Study focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Moldovan statehood, Moldovan democracy.


26 years since the start of the Transnistrian war



2 March 2018- The Republic of Moldova commemorates the start of the armed conflict in the Eastern region, so-called Transnistria. It is an occasion to commemorate those who fought and died in the armed conflict for defending the integrity and the independence of Moldova against the Russia-backed separatist forces.

On March 2, 1992, the first Moldovan President Mircea Snegur authorized the attack on the separatist groups from Transnistria who were backed by the former 14th Soviet Army, taken under the control of Russia at that moment. On the same date, Moldova was admitted in the United Nations.


As Moldova didn’t have armed forces at that time, the legal authorities used the police and volunteers to fight the Transnistrian Guard and cossacks residing in Dubăsari, Bender and Tiraspol.

Around 29000 people participated in the armed conflict and some estimate that 287 died. The war ended on 21 July 1992, when Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Moldovan President Mircea Snegur signed the ceasefire, the so-called agreement on the peaceful settlement of the Transnistrian conflict.

The Transnistrian war is now often referred to as the war for defending the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova.

A political solution to the Transnistrian conflict was never achieved since 1992. The so-called Pridnestrovian Moldovan Republic still relies heavily on Russian financial aid, Russian market and natural gas from an economic point of view, and on Russian peace-keepers and the illegally stationed Operative Troops of Russia from the military point of view.

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Tiraspol intends to build a “customs terminal” next to the Gura Bîcului-Bîcioc bridge



22 February 2018- The separatist administration from Tiraspol again disagreed to discuss the issue of concentration of armed forces and border infrastructure next to the Gura Bîcului-Bîcioc bridge.

According to a press-release of the Moldovan delegation, the Transnistrian delegation rejected the proposal of the Russian representatives to the Joint Control Commission (JCC) on abstaining from unilateral actions of modifying infrastructure and the nominal quantity of force structures in the area adjacent to the Gura Bîcului-Bîcioc bridge.

In a declaration to the JCC, the Moldovan delegation is describing the deployed infrastructure and armed forces of Tiraspol to the newly opened bridge:

“…in the night preceding 17 November 2017, at the entrance of the bridge from Bîcioc, the force structure of Transnistria unilaterally installed a new control checkpoint with the respective infrastructure: three wagons for the personnel, two modules with the inscription “Migration Service”, barriers as gates. From that day on, around 5 workers of the “border forces”, 2 “customs officers” and 2 representatives of the “migration service” are working there”, reads the statement, which accuses the Transnistrians of provoking the situation in the Security Area.

The Moldovan delegation, led by Ivan Solonenko, believes that the real intention of the Tiraspol regime is installing a fully-fledged “border customs terminal” without informing the JCC and by violating the inviolability of the Security Area. In conclusion, representatives of Chișinău are calling on the guarantors and mediators of the peacekeeping process on Nistru river to apply pressure on the Transnistrians to refrain from unilateral and not agreed upon actions with unpredictable consequences.

The call of the Moldovans was reportedly supported by the co-chairman of the JCC, Ilya Uvarov, that repeatedly called to identify solutions for fully reopening the bridge over Nistru.

In the Transnistrian press, Tiraspol’s representative declared that the dialogue within the JCC is “constructive” and that the situation in the Security Area “stays stable and manageable”.

The next meeting of the JCC is delayed for 1 March 2018.

Reopened only in November 2017, Gura Bîcului-Bîcioc bridge over Nistru river was blown up by the Transnistrian separatist forces in 1992, then reconstructed in 2000 with the European financial support (30 million lei), but could not be inaugurated due to political misunderstandings between Chișinău and Tiraspol.

The bridge is currently in the competence of the Joint Control Commission, who controls the peacekeeping troops in the neighbouring area.

In the opening protocol, Chișinău and Tiraspol committed to not use Gura Bîcului-Bîcioc bridge for military goals and offered the Joint Control Commission the authority to open the bridge. However, it appears that the separatist authorities ignore the principle of free movement of people and goods between the two banks. The Transnistrian authorities apparently already activated a customs control checkpoint in Bîcioc which most probably obstructs the free movement. Krasnoselsky himself with his prime-minister Alexandr Martynov visited the checkpoint after the inauguration of the bridge.

Note: The Joint Control Commission ( Russian: Объединенная контрольная комиссия – ОКК, Romanian- Comisia Unificată de Control) is a trilateral peacekeeping force and joint military command structure from Moldova, Transnistria, and Russia, which operates in a buffer zone on the border between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

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Chișinău and Tiraspol review progress on agreements, sign protocol decision on veterinary, quarantine and plant protection measures



The Moldovan and Transdniestrian Chief Negotiators, Cristina Lesnic (l) and Vitaly Ignatiev (r), sign a Protocol Decision on veterinary, quarantine and plant protection measures, at the OSCE Mission to Moldova, Chisinau, 15 February 2018. Source: OSCE/Iurie Foca

15 February 2018- The first meeting in the 1+1 format the Moldovan and Transdniestrian Chief Negotiators, Cristina Lesnic and Vitaly Ignatiev, respectively, took place in Chișinău at the OSCE Mission building.

According to the press-release of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, Lesnic and Ignatiev reviewed the progress achieved in the implementation of 4 out of 5 agreements signed in November 2017:

In the first two months of 2018, the Sides have locked in an agreement on the increased capacity of the Gura Bicului-Bychok bridge to make it accessible to vehicles of up to 10 tonnes, ensured the functioning of the Moldova-administered Latin-script schools, agreed on the apostilization of educational documents issued in Transdniestria, and restored Moldovan farmers’ access to their land in the Dubasari district.

At the same time, Lesnic urged the Transnistrian negotiator to unblock the access of farmers from Dubăsari district to their lands in order to start the spring agricultural works.

The parties promised to achieve agreement in the next few months on a mechanism to allow vehicles from the Transnistrian region to participate in international road traffic. A meeting of the working group on the transportation issues was scheduled for 21 February.

Aside from the talks, Lesnic and Ignatiev signed a protocol decision on veterinary, quarantine and plant protection measures, which would facilitate the harmonization of standards to the European level.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Transnistria’s “foreign minister” Ignatiev stated that he insisted on stopping the “politically-motivated cases” and ensuring the full functioning of the railway transportation in the region. Moreover, Ignatiev announced that Chișinău and Tiraspol agreed to restart the working groups on banking and human rights issues.

Note: On 25 November 2017, accompanied by 5+2 mediators and observers, Moldova’s Reintegration Minister George Balan and the so-called “foreign minister” of Transnistria Vitaly Ignatiev signed 4 protocols elaborated at the expert groups level. The protocols focus on 4 key issues:

  • Recognition of diplomas issued by education institutions in the Transnistrian region– the parties agreed to Chișinău accepting (“apostilization”) a neutral diploma issued in Transnistria;
  • Elimination of barriers in the telecommunication domain- establishing a direct connection of fixed and the mobile telephone network, as well as internet, after the negotiations between operators on both banks of Nistru river;
  • Elimination of barriers to the functioning of Romanian language (Latin script) schools in Transnistria- setting minimal rent and utility prices for the buildings rented out to these schools, setting 10 years as the minimal rent period for the buildings, providing the adjacent lands in use to the schools, providing conditions for free movement of teachers and pupils of these schools, but also the needed materials for their functioning;
  • Allowing farmers to use their lands across Tiraspol-Camenca road in Dubăsari district- applying the “2006 Mechanism” of distributing the lands to those persons owning them initially, stopping the use of lands by Transnistrian firms or persons (2014 distribution), stopping the penal cases against the latter by Chișinău.
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