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Главная Наши публикации Georg Byanov TRANSDNIESTRIAN SETTLEMENT
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14 | 11 | 2018
Written by Georg Byanov    Hits: 5412
Monday, 14 December 2009 14:29






Georg Byanov








The article considers promising opportunities and necessary prerequisites needed to form a favourable political context in the sphere of Transdniestrian settlement.

The author concludes that along with the political, socio-economic, legal and cultural components of this process, the foreign policy factor is fundamental to overcoming the negative consequences of the problem. Its multidirectional vectors have often led to stagnation and, in some cases, indirectly facilitated the formation of regressive tendencies in the dialogue between Chisinau and Tiraspol.

In the current conditions the negotiation domain of the Transdniestrian settlement is overloaded by unbalanced political stances of both the immediate participants and the leading global actors. In this context, the task of searching for and establishment of optimal dialogue models and new forms of interaction between them becomes relevant.

Reaching an all-encompassing political compromise between the "West" and the "East" is a necessary condition of progress in the sphere of Transdniestrian settlement. It could result in a consolidated position of the European Union and the Russian Federation expressed, with the involvement of all stakeholders, through common political and socio-economic initiatives. In the framework of this approach, the article brings forward a number of directions for compromise and proposals, the implementation of which could facilitate the solution of major problems of the negotiation process in the sphere of the Transdniestrian settlement.

The points put forward in the article are based on a diverse base of sources including results of a sociological survey conducted in June 2008 on the territory of Transdniestria under the supervision of V. Korobov. The key points of this article were tested as part of the international conferences and expert meetings of Project "IMPACT".


Modern discussion platforms of the transdniestrian settlement are filled with various - in terms of form and contents - often quite asymmetric peace proposals. experts of chisinau and tiraspol are in active creative search for possible models and mechanisms of resolving the transdniestrian dilemma. Quite often this tense sociopolitical dialogue places "out of range" the idea of achieving some comprehensive political compromise.

Difficult political, ideological and expert battles of the parties, as a rule, boil down to attempts to avoid any possible concessions, not to give up even a fraction of one's own position. today this rather destructive communication model gained a firm footing in the minds of elites. it weighs upon public consciousness and is rather common among the expert community. on the basis of that model a self-sufficient ideological stereotype has formed, which today to a large extent subjectively determines insufficient aspiration for progress in the negotiation process.

This situation is also fostered by the fact that the transdniestrian Moldovan republic - until now a state not recognized by the world community - today lives in difficult political and economic conditions. tragic legacy of the armed conflict, radicalism in politicians' approaches, weak agreeability of the parties, endless manipulations with the normative legal basis persistently keep opposing parties in a state of on-going economic, informational and humanitarian confrontation. This struggle often goes on in defiance of the interests of the population living on both banks of the Dniester / Nistru river, who are dreaming today about a possibility to reach some real compromise in the short-term political outlook as a counterbalance to the imposed "ideology of struggle".

Deprived of a strong sociopolitical foundation, quite often carelessly assembled constructions of "confrontation" and "rejection" are unreliable conductors of positive political will. today they are hopelessly obsolete and have to be dismounted and removed from the negotiation area of the transdniestrian settlement. activation of political discussions, consistent information-focused efforts in the context of the problem of "Moldovan-transdniestrian compromise" could become a constructive link on the way of building vectors of consensus in the relations between chisinau and tiraspol. in this context today one can strongly feel a lack of analytics, theoretical exploration of the problem, a deficit of objective expert materials.

elaboration, proposal and discussion of possible options for achievement of a compromise which takes into account the geopolitical interests of all involved participants of the process, can become a relevant and important path for expert work in the field of the transdniestrian settlement. "Western" and "eastern" vectors of compromise have to join their efforts for the creation of a comfortable political environment for the resolution of this issue.

"Not ... all is Quiet on the western Front" in 2007, after accession to the eU of romania and Bulgaria, the borders of the european Union came in actual contact with the greater Black sea region and transdniestria as one of its sub-regions.

The year 2008 was marked by the military-political confrontation in south ossetia, which sent into turmoil the already unstable peace of the larger Black sea region and sublimated the energy of conflicts to create a new geopolitical reality in the caucasus. The old lines of soviet borders have changed again.

Modern europe came into a new phase of drastic geopolitical transformations. Nato's progressive advance to the east and the expansion of the european political and civilizational orbit brought the issues of developing, rethinking and implementation of new eU policy in that region to the new qualitative level.

The realization of these trends has gradually turned the Black sea into one of the most important epicenters of the modern european policy. The Black sea military political challenge to europe reflected by the tragic legacy of the conflict in south ossetia and the unresolved status of the transdniestrian issue, conditions the need of a new conceptualization of approaches taking into consideration regional interests in the sphere of security. These problems have to take one of the leading places in the system of european determinants of Black sea policy. at one point some researchers referred to the region as the "Fulda gap", through which glo-

bal terrorism directly threatened the euro-atlantic civilization. Whether this threat turned out to be imaginary or not time will tell, but the conflict in south ossetia vividly demonstrated that countries of the greater Black sea region do not have reliable and well-tested mechanisms for confronting modern challenges, those challenges which bring disruptive and sometimes destructive force against international and european stability.

in this context, the rather complex and contradictory process of normalization of relations between chisinau and tiraspol known in political circles as the "transdniestrian settlement" deserves the most careful attention from the eU. today the situation in the region still has quite high conflict potential. Prospects of conservation of these tendencies for an indefinite period of time create favorable conditions for the formation and subsequent development of a group of socioeconomic and political risks that represent a serious problem for the security architecture of the whole region.

The current level of european presence in the transdniestrian settlement poses a number of serious tasks for the eU. at present, europe does not openly declare its intentions to convert from the role of an "observer" to the status of a "mediator". However, it is obvious that the eU can become a driving force and carrier of a special historical mission aimed at turning the region into political space of stability, security, economic prosperity and sustainable democracy.

The way to resolving this problem is through a political compromise, which might occur in the nearest future, if the "West" and the "east" act in the framework of the common consolidated position.

Meanwhile, today the parties keep jealously watching the activities of each other, and in Brussels the Minister of Foreign affairs of the republic of Moldova, andrei stratan, has to make additional soothing statements about his country's commitment to the "5+2" format. any separate activation of russian-Moldovan contacts in the sphere of the transdniestrian settlement in the 1+1 format (Moscow - chisinau) triggers a wary response from the West. Here the "5+2" negotiation format is often perceived only as the visible tip of the iceberg, as the official façade of the negotiation process. The thesis that the political stage of transdniestrian settlement is not open for all and that its main actors prefer to act in the "1+1" format, leaving only supporting roles to the others, significantly undermines the effectiveness of negotiations. That serves as a basis for conclusions that russia wants to become the "only broker of the transdniestrian settlement transaction" - recently stated by the Us-based Wall street Journal. Unilateral russian foreign policy action so far does not fit into the Western vision of prospects for transdniestrian settlement. The "Western" and "eastern" vectors are still pointing in different directions; they stimulate increasing trends of confrontation, which fact makes the work of peace institutions more difficult. a significant political factor that could contribute to the strengthening of confidence measures

and to the harmonisation of the positions of the parties could be the elaboration of joint political projects by the mediators. almost all unilaterally proposed initiatives for resolving existing problems failed to pass the test of politics. in the field of the transdniestrian settlement shadow "Kozak plans" have to be replaced with the "political recommendations of (say) sarkozy - Medvedev - Yushchenko" - which would be open to discussion and refinement. taking into consideration all the complexity of the situation, in which the greater Black sea region has ended up after the events in south ossetia, an activation of eU policy in this area could reduce significantly the political risks associated with implementing political projects on normalizing relations between chisinau and tiraspol. at the same time the form and contents of these projects have to show unambiguously that

the final goal of settlement is not "to transform rebellious transdniestrians by means of a revolution into faithful Moldovans", but rather to contribute to socioeconomic and political recognition of the region, to an improvement in living standards, to an efficient functioning of the region in the modern system of international relations. With the european community this topic can get a new constructive tone in a multilateral dialogue on transdniestrian settlement.

Therefore, an important aspect of the formation of a new political and socioeconomic space in the region is the need to overcome negative consequences of the "frozen conflict" and to elaborate constructive sociopolitical measures supported by the authority and guarantees of the mediating parties in the transdniestrian settlement.

The european community has to focus its stabilization efforts on the achievement of sociopolitical consensus and interethnic understanding in this region with an unclear international legal status. More active involvement of the european Union into international mediation efforts for transdniestrian settlement could contribute to finding optimal decisions that are able to extinguish local hotbeds of tension in the region.

a european solution of the problem of an unclear international status of the region will allow it to overcome sociopolitical and economic marginality, to become a relevant bridge in the dialogue between roman and slavic cultures, to demonstrate a striving towards leadership in the field of sub-regional transport communications and other spheres.

For the purpose of forming necessary socioeconomic prerequisites for an improvement of the political climate, perhaps it is necessary to concentrate additional financial resources to enhance the quality of customs and border infrastructure, for the creation of optimal conditions for faster and more comfortable passing of goods through borders taking into consideration european experience.

From December 2005 an eU mission functions at the transdniestrian section of the Ukrainian-Moldovan border. in March 2006, the republic of Moldova with the support of Ukraine introduced a new procedure for customs documentation of foreign-trade economic activities of transdniestria. today, many people in Ukraine, Moldova, Moldova, and transdniestria speak about the positive results of these measures. in particular, it was mentioned that a significant part of local businesses "came out of the shadow". it is also noted that the strengthening of control on the border with the help of european institutions has for all intents and purposes "buried" the myth about the transdniestrian region as a "black hole" of sorts in the heart of europe, through which presumably flowed rivers of contraband, caravans with weapons and drugs. all destructive political storylines that negatively affected the nature of relations between the parties have been removed from the agenda. The true value of that weighty contribution of the eU to the resolution of one of the most tense political issues in the relations between the parties has not been recognised until now. a lot of analytical and information efforts are still ahead, which need to be aimed at overcoming the "political spasms" of the negotiation process that infuse mutual mistrust. taking into account everything said above, today one can state that in the customs aspect of transdniestrian settlement, a new situation was formed due to the active position of the eU. such an active position is a serious foundation for the successful resolution of the whole system of problematic issues. an active role of european institutions can become a primary factor that can positively af-

fect further development of bilateral political dialogue; it can be done in the framework of the following directions:

1. Refining of joint efforts towards gradual legalization of the process of movement of goods and services, reduction of the shadow component of trade and economic relations in the Transdniestrian border territory.

in this respect, for the purpose of minimizing political risks of possible stagnation of the negotiation process on the transdniestrian settlement, it seems sensible to involve in negotiations and consultations on the whole spectrum of problems also the transdniestrian side, in order to contribute to the elaboration of possible compromise options.

2. Refining and introduction of measures for strengthening of customs regime in the Transdniestrian border territory by means of implementing innovations for a more efficient control over flows of goods (including upgrading of existing systems of electronic control over transit cargoes).

3. activation of work of the expert community towards supporting an efficient expert dialogue.

at the same time, when carrying out such types of events one has to take into consideration extreme politicization of this problem. resolution of issues has to be of a comprehensive nature, it has to take into consideration opinions and positions of participants of the negotiation process.

such an approach would allow significant minimization of possible negative political risks.

The final and main goal of such cooperation has to be the transformation of the transdniestrian border territories into a zone of stability that operates according to european standards. today the situation that exists in the european political, socioeconomic, cultural, and infor-

mation space is really unique. The third millennium granted to europe continental peace, where there is neither direct confrontation, nor military-political blocks that are hostile to each other. european countries are united by common democratic values and are driven by common political goals. The european Union became a strong independent "pole" and the main driving force in the formation of the new multipolar system of international relations. existing historical-political prerequisites show that the role of europe in resolving issues of the Black sea regional security will keep increasing. europe is qualified to become a generator of an all-emcompasing strategic stability, initiator of new unorthodox political decisions and political initiatives in the sphere of the transdniestrian settlement. Perhaps europe has to be the first to take the crucial political step towards the "east", the step towards achievement of a comprehensive political compromise.

"The East. Things are... moving and standing still"

one of the leading factors that to a great extent determines the prospects of transdniestrian settlement is the position of Moscow. a typical aspect of the modern foreign political activity of the russian Federation is the next "wave" of revitalization of the Moldovan-russian dialogue. russia is interested in resolving the transdniestrian issue in the framework of keeping the territorial integrity of the rM. Modern trends of development of russian-Moldovan foreign economic relations demonstrate that the parties create special conditions for a regime of maximal promotion of activation of economic links. one of the key aspects of the russian policy in this direction is the creation of conditions for transdniestrian enterprises to enter the economic and legal field of Moldova. This factor is viewed as a necessary condition for a convergence of positions of chisinau and tiraspol with the goal of achieving a political compromise by the parties to the conflict.

in effect, russia supports the Moldovan policy of economic integration of transdniestrian enterprises into the economy of the rM. The government of the russian Federation has removed almost all prohibitions and restrictions on import of Moldovan products. in effect, it has offered to transdniestrian enterprises to export products to the russian Federation observing the requirements of Moldovan legislation concerning customs clearance of cargoes.

at the current stage Moscow hopes to accelerate the process of signing a new Plan in the field of the transdniestrian settlement by the parties, which should provide for russian geopolitical interests in the region. in this context russia tries to demonstrate to the international community a constructive role of the "transdniestrian point-person" neutralizing negative consequences of the military-political conflict in the caucasus.

Much like five years ago during the autumn burst of activity by Dmitry Kozak, russian diplomacy is trying to accelerate the negotiation process or, at least, to demonstrate its existence by trying to sit the parties down at the negotiating table. Like in year 2003, it is planned to hold joint trilateral meetings, various proposals are being discussed in the lead up, positions are being harmonised, mass media actively broadcast different political scenarios charging the public atmosphere with pending prospects of resolving the problem.

The lengthy overall stagnation of the negotiation process in the field of transdniestrian settlement, against the background of events in south ossetia, negatively affects the peacekeeping image of the russian Federation, which to a major extent explains such activity. at the same time, the realization of the efforts of the russian Federation, the planning of the new transdniestrian mediation blitzkrieg is associated with a lot of difficulties. tiraspol, which earlier was repeatedly burdened by measures of political and economic pressure, refuses to believe in the possibility of achieving any holistic political compromise.

The leadership of transdniestria can agree with a real federative arrangement of the future state, but categorically rejects autonomy proposed to it in accordance with the law adopted by Moldova in 2005. The formal steps of the parties towards each other, the rare meetings of the leaders of the elites accompanied by counter-productive rhetoric and unacceptable documents - all vividly demonstrate the nature of this dialogue as forced and imposed from the outside. This approach of forcing the parties towards consent and peace in the sphere of transdniestrian settlement has for a long time struggled unsuccessfully in attempts to find the needed compromise.

The settlement option proposed by russia involves the implementation of the longstanding scenario that in political circles has received the tendentious name of "Kozak Plan #2". in this connection chisinau seriously counts on support from the russian Federation. Moldova may lay claim to a showcase peacemaking process conducted in the civilized spirit of "democratic norms" - a process that may become a bright alternative to the caucasus events, one removing all the questions raised in europe concerning the specifics of russian methods of conflict resolution. another additional factor in favor of such developments is the fact that russia does not have sufficient geopolitical resources to recognize transdniestria and to keep it in the orbit of its influence. The russian Federation does not have any common border with transdniestria and that is why the political option of resolving the problem similarly to the cases of south ossetia and abkhazia is out of the question. The contents of the russian political initiatives propose that the issue of transdniestria would be resolved through asymmetric federalization of the republic of Moldova. The russian Federation is actively working at present on the public information aspects of the process of forming positive developments in relations between the parties. The minimal program planned for a demonstration of an effective political dialogue between chisinau and tiraspol, which had to take place before the December summit of Nato.

The second political pseudo-accelerator of the process of transdniestrian settlement is yet another Moldovan election campaign, the format of which would inevitably demand topical political storylines related to the negotiation process. it is certain that the leadership of Moldova would use the transdniestrian topic to improve its own election indicators, which does not on the whole rule out attempts to hold a "transdniestrian settlement blitzkrieg" in the nearest future. This political background will foster interactions between chisinau and Moscow in the foreseeable future.

on the other hand, it is possible that the topic of "Kozak #2" could be restricted to a purely public relations scenario needed only for external visibility of the negotiation format and for the demonstration of the good will of the parties to establishing dialogue and cooperation. This approach shows the principle of a "postponed decision", which the parties have in fact used at the negotiation table since 2003. a symmetric answer to the demonstration of russian foreign policy activity was the negative response from some participants and mediators of the negotiation process who have tried to the extent possible to resist russian peacemaking plans. The european Union, Usa and transdniestria have become paradoxical political allies in this ambiguous diplomatic duel.

The West, first of all the Usa, because of political considerations was absolutely not interested in having russia appear in the european community "in the toga of transdniestrian peacemaker" by the time of the Nato December 2008 summit. That has stimulated the political activity of the Usa in the diplomatic field towards containment of russian peacemaking initiatives. The latter would be interpreted as "secret diplomacy" unacceptable for democratic countries, a disregard for international norms. in an extreme case, one could expect "deja vu - Kozak 1 (2003)": political pressure on the rM and a "storm of popular indignation" in the central square of chisinau.

The "compulsorily-voluntary" measures of Moscow to activate the parties to a dialogue cause passive resistance from tiraspol, which at present, in the said political context, carries out a real "italian strike". in particular, the transdniestrian side takes comprehensive efforts in order to disorganize the high level negotiations between chisinau and tiraspol. one must admit that they succeed in that. as a result of their efforts they have managed to provoke several counterproductive public relations storylines, which have put in question the further effectiveness of the dialogue.

The issue of preserving military presence of the russian Federation in transdniestria is an "apple of discord" of sorts, in relations between russia and the West. a characteristic aspect of the said situation was Moldova's permanent drawing of the international community's attention to the responsibility of the russian Federation for failing to fulfill the conditions of the istanbul agreements on the withdrawal of russian troops from the territory of the region. on the other hand, the russian side is worried by the permanent striving of Moldova to internationalize the peacekeeping process, to replace military observers with civil ones. in recent times, the rM is feeling more and more burdened by the russian military presence in the region. today this issue is still a kind of "pressure point" of transdniestrian settlement. it absolutely must be resolved by means of a compromise.

at the same time, it has to be noted that the nature of Moscow's diplomatic efforts in the sphere of transdniestrian settlement, perhaps, may still attest to the fact that russia has not made a stable decision on its conflict resolution formula . The russian Federation's policy will be determined depending on the results of efforts on the issue of international recognition of the independence of south ossetia and abkhazia. The activation of the policy of the russian Federation in the sphere of transdniestrian settlement perhaps only attests to the current political task - to play a dominating role in the 5+2 format. in addition, it has to be acknowledged that the strategic goal of Moscow is probably not the settlement of the transdniestrian conflict, but rather the ensuring of the military-political neutrality of the rM. in this connection, the future united Moldova is viewed as a security issue, taking into consideration russia's geopolitical interests.

Therefore, it becomes obvious that format 1+1 can no longer be an effective mechanism for resolving the problem. today it encounters opposition from forces that are at polar opposite political positions. Unlike the situation in the caucasus, the political risks of an escalation of the sociopolitical situation in transdniestria are very improbable. taking into account the current situation, russia would not open a "second front of recognition" on the Dniester / Nistru. in this context opportunities appear for an expanded political dialogue with the participation of all interested parties for the elaboration of a mutually acceptable formula of transdniestrian settlement.

Chisinau-Tiraspol, the thorny path of political dialogue: Current status of the problem

The negotiation process on normalizing relations between chisinau and tiraspol was launched long before the escalation of the military phase of the conflict and is not its direct consequence. The parties went through a long path of political dialogue, but their positions are still very far from mutual understanding. The largest number of gaps and pauses in the negotiation process has appeared during the last seven years. During the same period, unlike in the "quiet" 1990's, the most ambitious political projects for resolution of the transdniestrian issue have been discussed. in 2002, the osce Plan was presented for the consideration of the parties, in 2003 - the "Kozak Plan", in 2005 - the "Yushchenko Plan" and the Moldovan initiative in the form of the Law on the status of the settlements on the Left bank of the Nistru / Dniester. almost since 2006 and until this day people in the region are anxiously awaiting the appearance of a "Kozak #2".

Waves of political initiatives for transdniestrian settlement are rolling over transdniestria; however, it is necessary to acknowledge that as a whole they are failing to bring about the desired results. Prospects for resolving the conflict look rather uncertain, and the "cart of transdniestrian settlement" aggravated by the conflict's legacy is almost in the same place, where it was left many years ago. today, counter-productive aspects of bilateral relations, which are actively disseminated in

the sociopolitical space, are hindering the achievement of a political compromise. it has to be acknowledged that as a rule society is most effectively consolidated around nega-

tive ideas (in particular, such as "anti-contraband", "anti-terrorism", "anti-corruption"). in this connection, political elites, including those related to the transdniestrian settlement, direct the development of Pr methods primarily towards the so-called "black, or negative Pr". The priorities of informational vectors are aimed at negative ideas, the formation of a negative image of this or that personality, group of persons or a certain problem, etc. with a subsequent extension of this to the state as a whole. This practice is a serious obstacle for the development of normal relations, leads to discord in the bilateral dialogue and to making poor political decisions. today the transdniestrian settlement process badly needs to politically throw overboard the negative political and public relations ballast accumulated during all the past years. one of the leading places in amongst such unflattering subjects belongs to the "non-recog-

nition" syndrome. The term "non-recognized state", which we come upon in press, in respected expert publications, is a kind of business card, or to be more specific, a preamble to naming the transdniestrian Moldovan republic. This term contains in itself a rather strong destructive ideological charge. it has to be admitted that its operation negatively affects the image of the republic both in domestic and in the foreign political sphere. The term "non-recognized state" is very actively used by opponents of transdniestria in order to strengthen various destructive ideological messages. The factor of "non-recognition", which opponents of transdniestria skillfully manipulate with, has long turned into a so-called "psychological beating stick", which painfully hurts the public consciousness, serves as an excuse for the creation of unequal conditions for dialogue, including in the negotiations process. on the other hand, active use of this notion leads to the permanent backsliding of tiraspol towards the ideology of a "besieged fortress", to the formation of entrenched enemy images. active discussions aimed at overcoming negative political connotations and terms should become an urgent task of the expert community. in particular, such notions as: "de facto" state, or a state formation with alternate sovereignty can serve as an alternative to the term "non-recognized state".

at the same time, it has to be noted that the issue of "recognition" is a common problem both for Moldova, and for transdniestria. as of today, neither Moldova nor transdniestria enjoy comprehensive "recognition" in the broad sense of this notion. Moldova "de jure" recognized by the international community, "de facto" is a state with limited internal sovereignty. This internal sovereignty "is not recognized", is not applicable to a significant part of its territory. in transdniestria we observe a converse picture. The region enjoys completeness of recognized internal sovereignty; however, it does not have sufficient possibilities to realize external sovereignty. The "syndrome of non-recognition" affects also the state of the external borders of the republic. Until now the Western border of the republic of Moldova has not been supported by any appropriate legal basis, and a significant part of the eastern section has not been fully taken care of either. in this connection, overcoming the "syndrome of non-recognition", introducing the afore-

mentioned terms into the political vocabulary of political dialogue and the negotiation process, with support from the Western community, could significantly reduce the conflictual space of bilateral political relations. it also has to be noted that as of today, the perception of the transdniestrian topic is burdened with a large number of mythological subjects. The "transdniestrian issue" holds one of the leading places in the range of trendy conflict-related subjects; however, its often distorted presentation creates a negative informational and political background inconsistent with the real state of affairs.

Non-governmental organizations of stakeholders to the conflict actively participate in the transdniestrian settlement. today, the role of civil society institutions is a real factor that is able to contribute effectively to the resolution of the conflict. so far, non-governmental organizations of Moldova-transdniestria, of the european Union, russia, Ukraine and romania have accumulated a significant stock of projects, initiatives and promising proposals. some of them, such as the well known strategy of 3 "D"s proposed by a non-governmental organization, the Moldovan institute of Public Policy, was for a long time one of the flagships of the policy of the Moldovan government in the framework of transdniestrian settlement. The "trilateral plan for transdniestria conflict settlement" deserves attention; it was developed in 2006 by the Moldovan-Ukrainian-romanian expert group, which included the euro atlantic cooperation institute (Ukraine); institute of Public Policy, association for Participatory Democracy (rM); conflict Prevention and early Warning center (romania). The Dzharylgach initiative adopted in 2006 in the course of joint work of representatives of civil society of Ukraine (centre for south-Ukrainian Border studies; research center for civil society issues) and of Moldova (caPtes research center), as well as some other projects also significantly influenced the course of development of events.

at the same time, a number of serious drawbacks are noted in activities of the third sector of Moldova and Ukraine, among which in the first place is political and ideological bias of authors to one or another worldview orientation. it is also important to note the excessive enthusiasm of the third sector toward building up large scale abstract constructions, various settlement plans, and its aspiration to duplicate the activity of state governing bodies, when it would be much more preferable to focus attention on more specific issues related to daily problems of the inhabitants of the region. as a whole, the following were typical aspects of the situation which have negatively affected

the development of the negotiation process in the sphere of transdniestrian settlement:

ƒ Disagreements in positions of chisinau and tiraspol concerning the status of transdniestria, attempts by the parties to influence mediators and guarantors of the transdniestrian settlement thus by-passing the negotiation process in order to obtain certain political dividends, against the logic of political compromise;

ƒ chisinau's on-going appeal to centers of geopolitical power and to international official bodies in order to get support in the process of establishing relations with tiraspol while exercising various pressure tactics, diplomatic demarches, public relations actions in the context of ideological stereotypes of "non-recognition", "black hole", etc;

ƒ tiraspol's emphasis on the issue of guarantees of foreign-economic activities, and parity in dialogue as one of the main conditions and necessary political prerequisites for the unblocking and renewal of negotiations;

ƒ counter-productive rhetoric of the elites of the conflict parties that exposes their weak ability to reach consensus;

ƒ Lack of inter-parliamentary exchanges, real mechanisms of interaction between supreme legislative, municipal bodies of the conflict parties;

ƒ repeated attempts by some participants of the transdniestrian settlement process to convert to the closed scheme of interaction in the sphere of settlement (1+1+0; or the dialogue of the Moscow-chisinau-tiraspol "troika");

ƒ ideological and sociopolitical differences between public associations of chisinau and tiraspol;

ƒ Lack of effective dialogue and interaction between the armed structures* of chisinau and tiraspol.

* * *

taking into consideration all that has been set forth above, today's situation in the sphere of transdniestrian settlement dictates the need to conduct a more pro-active step-by-step policy in ensuring the satisfaction of the main sociopolitical interests of the population in the region. Measures aimed at reviving the bilateral dialogue and at overcoming the current negative phenomena should include the creation of a holistic program of actions taking into consideration the aforementioned specifics of the positions of all stakeholders.

The vector of the transdniestrian settlement process needs to be aimed towards the achievement of a comprehensive political compromise between the main subjects of the negotiation process, supported by the consolidated position of the "West" and "east".

The primary task in that context is the neutralization of the aforementioned negative consequences of uncompromising political campaigns, which have for a long time dominated in relations between the parties. a consistent policy of "small" and "large" steps could help to resolve the main problems of the negotiation process focused on the normalization of relations between chisinau and tiraspol. The following compromise positions could become their components expressed in the framework of a consolidated approach:

ƒ the final formula of the transdniestrian settlement has to be in harmony with previous political initiatives developed by the participants of the negotiation process in the 5+2 format; the idea of federalization, autonomization of transdniestria remains the most optimal solution for the transdniestrian issue; the need for a partial revision of the starting positions of chisinau and tiraspol on the issue of determining the status of transdniestria is obvious, a rejection of radicalism in mutual actions, which lead only to the strengthening of confrontation in various spheres;

ƒ it seems reasonable to activate efforts in terms of improvement of the normative-legal basis, which regulates and determines military and political aspects of relations between chisinau and tiraspol and requires certain modernization - in this context, the parties have to conclude a new agreement on guarantees of peace, security and stability in the region;

ƒ the issue of demilitarization of transdniestria has to be synchronized with completion of the process of the transdniestrian settlement, with the determination of the optimal formula of state structuring of the region;

ƒ with participation and guarantees of the mediating parties the subjects of the negotiation process need to sign an agreement - a memorandum on confidence measures - provisions of which could prevent radicalization of relations;

ƒ it appears reasonable to carry out a revision of the existing normative-legal basis of transdniestrian settlement for the purpose of optimizing the basis of development of negotiations between chisinau and tiraspol;

ƒ it is necessary to activate efforts to create an effective dialogue and interaction between the armed structures of chisinau and tiraspol;

ƒ it is necessary to activate efforts to improve the transport infrastructure of the region in terms of creation of "preferential" corridors of movement of cargoes, optimizing railroad


* editor's note: this is a translation of the russian term "silovye struktury", which is commonly used to refer to all armed arms of government, including the military, all forms of police, security services, border guards and special forces of all kinds.

cargo and passenger transport; restoration of rail communications: "simferopol - chisinau"; "odessa - chisinau"; "chisinau - adler" etc.

ƒ international support is necessary to involve transdniestria in the programs of largescale economic cooperation, in the framework of joint projects using the industrial and agricultural potential of the region, by means of shareholding and participation in the continuing process of privatization of transdniestrian assets; another productive step could be recognition by the Moldovan side of ownership rights for enterprises on the territory of transdniestria.

implementation of the measures described above would enable a significant reduction in the level of negativism in the conflict parties' situation assessment, and would also contribute to the formation of a tolerant sociopolitical, economic and information space, thus strengthening the positive trends in the sphere of transdniestrian settlement.

Bibliography and sources

1. Сергей Кара-Мурза. Потерянный разум. М. 2006. [sergey Kara-Murza. Lost minds.]

2. Коробов В.К., Бянов Г.Н. Обновление Приднестровья: изменить или обладить? Размышления и заметки по итогам выборов в Верховный Совет Приднестровья. Херсон: "Надднипряночка", 2006. [Korobov V.K., Byanov g.N., renovation of transdniestria: to change or to tune?]

3. Мошняга В.Г. Молдова в поисках идентичности // Moldova intre est si vest: identitatea nationala si orientarea eurupeana.- chisinau: "captes", - 2001- c. 148-162. [Mosneaga V.g., Moldova in search of identity]

4. Боцан И. Политическое развитие Молдовы за 10 лет независимости.// Moldoscopie (probleme de analiza politica). Partea XVii / UsM.-chisinau, 2001, p. 21-39 [Botan, i., Political development of Moldova during 10 years of independence]

5. Трехсторонний План решения приднестровского вопроса // Бухарест-Кишинев-Киев,- 2006.

[trilateral plan for transdniestria conflict settlement]

6. Нантой О. Приднестровский конфликт и перспектива существования молдавского государства

// Республика Молдова в европейском контексте и в аспекте политики безопасности - Київ: "Заповіт", 2001. [Nantoi, o., The transdniestrian conflict and prospects for the existence of the Moldovan state]

7. Царану А. Интеграционные процессы и проблема региональных конфликтов // Moldova, romania, Ucraina: integrarea in structurile europene - chisinau, 2000. [taranu, a., integration processes and the issue of regional conflicts]



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