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Vlad Spânu: Citizens of Moldova must judge the Presidential candidates by their actions

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In his most recent interview for Radio Free Europe, the President of Moldova Foundation and Moldova.ORG founder, Vlad Spânu, calls the Moldovan citizens to judge the Presidential candidates by their past actions, besides usual promises.

According to Spânu, polls show that the people want a fair, intelligent and patriot President. That’s why the next President should be independent of mafia clans, independent of external influence and should not be participant of the previous governments that were involved in the banking frauds, the concession of the Chișinău Airport and the repression of 2009 protests. Still, the former diplomat thinks the President does not have the executive power to balance the powers in the state, but he or she could also be a factor to fight corruption, a tribune for the people and a unifying personality: “The citizens must be realist, in order to understand what are the competences of the President of the Republic of Moldova, so that the expectations are not too high”.

Spânu recognizes that the current promises to install meritocracy in the state institutions are highly appreciated by the citizen, who is “thirsty for normality”, but, at the same time, recognizes that too many promises and too many candidates confuse the voter.

When asked about the geopolitical preferences of the candidates, the founder of Moldova.ORG answered that the candidates preferring Moscow are likely to be agents of influence of Russia in Moldova:
“It is a geopolitical interest of the Russian Federation to politically, economically and territorially, like in Transnistria’s case, control Moldova. Or, as in case of Găgăuzia, to start the inter-ethnic conflict, in a sense to not allow the Republic of Moldova to develop and adhere to the European family within the European Union”.

Spânu thinks a pro-Russian President of Moldova would deceive the West, that invested hope and political and financial capital, and would make the country stagnate in between like Armenia, Georgia and Belarus, compared to the pro-reform, pro-European predisposition in the Baltic countries.

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

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Opinion

Transnistrian Minister of Foreign Affairs: There were many delusions that the conflict between Moldova and Transnistria is very easy to resolve

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The head of the Transnistrian diplomatic mission told about what is slowing down the negotiation process.

The First Transnistrian TV channel took an interview from the Transnistrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vitaly Ignatiev, who claims that the Transnistrian side is trying to focus on concrete matters, on a specific agenda within the conflict negotiation process.

Ignatiev drew attention to the fact that the position of President Vadim Krasnoselsky, who previously declared that it makes no sense to meet with Moldovan counterparts without a specific agenda, is connected with this.

According to him, over the years of the negotiation formats on the Moldovan-Transnistrian settlement, various visions, plans or approaches that took place, there were many delusions that the conflict was very easy to resolve.

However, the Transnistrian diplomat refuses to recognize Transnistria as part of Moldova.

“We have absolutely legitimate international legal, historical grounds for recognizing the independence of Transnistria. We have a generation of Transnistrians who have not lived a single day in the Soviet Moldova. Any settlement should be based on the will of the people. We rely on the will of the population, which has already determined its fate within referendums,” the minister added.

He stated that Transnistria lives in accordance with its Constitution, and Moldova, in turn, lives within its legislative space.

“There is not a single signal about the eagerness of the Moldovan authorities to deal with these issues seriously, although there are a lot of statements about the issue. Sometimes these statements create an unnecessary background and interfere with the dialogue,” the diplomat concluded.

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Opinion

How critical is the upcoming European Parliament resolution on Moldova?

For the first time, the name “Plahotniuc” will be mentioned in an official act of the European Parliament. Possibly, soon enough that will close his door as a politician.

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According to cprmd, the upcoming European Parliament resolution on Moldova, on November 13-14, 2018, should be more critical.

After a draft report on the implementation of the European Union association agreement with Moldova was submitted on July 19, 2018, by MEP Petras Auštrevičius to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament, amendments were tabled by diverse MEPs in the Committee on September 11, 2018. Moreover, the Committee has further approved its report on the basis of the Rapporteur’s draft report and of the amendments.

Nevertheless, some of the measures proposed initially oppose us as an attempt to hide the real problems Moldova is dealing with and tone down the justified evaluation of the recent democratic downslide of our country under the present government.

According to cprmd, the content of some draft amendments may designate that their authors have deviated from their declared objective of supporting Moldova and are devoting their efforts to helping the present regime withstand. Under the pretext of “keeping Moldova in the EU’s orbit”, corruption, crimes, injustice, and state capture are permitted.

There is no explanation for the increasing attack on the Moldovan democracy and the constant violation of human rights by the current government. The Moldovan authorities declared themselves pro-European though ceased almost irreversible to authoritarian reflexes: cancellation of the results of the mayoral elections, limitation of the freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, obstruction of the right to access to information, suspicious arrests of opposition activists. This way of governing is kicking our country further from the EU.

On the other hand, the Moldovan people are grateful to the European Parliament for not dismissing the harsh reality of Moldova and address openly about the 27-year-old country’s problems.

The European Union has invested over a billion euros in the last ten years alone in order to develop the Moldovan democracy and reforms, yet it always risks to be compromised.

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Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Romania at the end of 2018: More Challenges for the United States

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This opinion piece was written by Dr. Nicholas Dima. Dr. Dima was formerly a Professor of Geography and Geopolitics at Djibouti University, St. Mary’s University College and James Madison University. From 1975 to 1985 and from 1989 to 2001, Dr. Dima was a Writer and Field Reporter at Voice of America. The opinion does not necessarily represent the opinion of the editorial staff of Moldova.org.

***

Two important events are occurring currently in Eastern Europe and they could shape the future of the region and challenge U.S. national security interests. First, a quasi-religious war is shaking the Orthodox Church that may have consequences similar to the great schism which split Christendom in 1044. Second, Romania feels threatened by Russia and is strengthening its alliance with America. Moscow is wary of both evolutions.

After the Russo-Ukrainian war of 2014 and the Russian annexation of Crimea, the conflict between the two countries has been largely frozen. Yet, it has continued to simmer inside Ukraine and is now about to explode in the open. And this time the conflict is spiritual and involves the Orthodox Church.

Most Orthodox Churches are autocephalous (self-governing) and are led by national patriarchs. In turn, they are under the Universal Patriarch of Constantinople, who is considered primus inter pares. Ukraine, however, the second largest Orthodox Church, has never received autocephaly from Constantinople. Historically, Russia, which is the largest Orthodox Church, exercised leadership over all the orthodox people in the east, including Ukrainians and Belarusians. As long as Russia controlled the land, it also assumed spiritual control of the people through the Russian church headquartered in Moscow.

Currently, the Universal Orthodox Patriarchate led by Bartholomew I is about to grant autocephaly to Ukraine. This is dangerous for Moscow because it means an end to its spiritual control over the country and would also encroach greatly on Russia’s political role over the east. As Paul Goble, a researcher of the field, put it… autocephaly for Ukraine is a major defeat for both political and religious reasons… It represents the end of President Vladimir Putin’s dream of a ‘Russian World…’ (Eurasia Daily Monitor, October 16, 2018). In fact, Putin and Moscow were aiming at controlling the entire Orthodox world which extends from the Baltic to the Mediterranean seas. Ukrainian autocephaly would put a firm end to this goal. Besides losing Ukraine, Moscow also risks losing leverage over Belarus and over the ethnic Russian minorities in Moldova and other former Soviet republics.

The Russian Orthodox Church, which has always been an obedient arm of the government, reacted immediately. It broke relations with Constantinople and threatened to anathemize (excommunicate) the Universal Patriarchate. The answer of the Patriarchate was in kind and this marked the beginning of a new stage of a religious conflict. The canonical conflict would split deeply the Orthodox Church and would spill over into politics. Russia is already nervous, is threatening, and is becoming increasingly more aggressive.

The individual Eastern Orthodox Churches are divided on the issue. Canonically, they may align themselves with the Patriarch in Constantinople but politically is a different matter. The Armenians in the Caucasus and the Serbians and Bulgarians in south-east Europe will probably back Russia. That will isolate Romania, which is predominantly Orthodox but is overwhelmingly pro-Western. As for the Western reaction, Washington has already signaled that it will help Ukraine achieve autocephaly. The imminent canonical independence of the Kyiv church may lead to ethnic Russian riots in Ukraine and potentially to another military intervention. And a new conflict will be more widely spread than the previous one and may affect Romania directly.

Romania has canonical and territorial claims over Bessarabia and over other lands held now by Ukraine and Moldova. In the Republic of Moldova, like in Ukraine, the orthodox churches are split. Some belong to the Romanian Patriarchate in Bucharest and the others belong to Moscow. What will happen to the pro-Russian Moldovan churches if Ukraine acquires autocephaly?

On December 1 this year Romania marks one hundred years of modern independence, but instead of celebrating, it is worried about Russia. In the current confusion in the European Union, Bucharest is turning increasingly toward Washington for political, military, and geopolitical support. In fact, Romania is now one of the main pivots of U.S. policy in Eastern Europe. This is reflected in several bilateral treaties and accords. One such accord states:

Romania shares the U.S. commitment to transatlantic security, and fully supports endeavors to improve the effectiveness of NATO and strengthen its capabilities to address the current challenges… Thus, we are particularly appreciative to our U.S. ally for its strong political support and substantial contribution to projects such as the multinational brigade hosted by Romania, the enhanced maritime presence in the Black Sea or the Combined Joint Enhanced Training Program…’

The official statements stress that this year, besides celebrating the Romanian centennial, Bucharest also marks the 21st anniversary of the U.S.-Romanian Strategic Partnership. This treaty, signed in Washington in 1994, is considered a key factor in shaping Romania’s strategy as an American ally. Accordingly, Romanian and U.S. troops participated together on military missions in various operation areas such as the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Since its first deployment, the Romanian military contributed with more than 46,000 uniformed personnel and of these 34 were killed in action and 226 were wounded.

In addition, the United States built an important anti-missile base in southern Romania which is already operational and which has made Russia fume. A new conflict in Ukraine will also involve the current Republic of Moldova and will bring to the fore the old and unresolved question of Bessarabia…

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