Association and Disintegration

BERLIN/CHISINAU | | moldawien

BERLIN/CHISINAU (Own report) - Western diplomats are not ruling out the possibility that the Republic of Moldova will be divided up between Russia and Romania now that the EU Association Agreement has been ratified. Along the lines of various scenarios, this breakup even seems "probable," according to the latest issue of the leading German foreign policy magazine, "Internationale Politik." The EU Association Agreement will, in fact, exacerbate the already existing social discord in Moldova. There is open resistance to the country joining the German-European sphere of hegemony. Whereas, on the one hand, Bucharest has granted Romanian citizenship to around 400,000 Moldovan citizens and considers the absorption of Moldova into Romania to be a realistic option, Western observers are accusing Russia of having created Moldovan NGOs to gain political influence in that country. This is a precise description of that the West considers a completely normal political method, when it is used by the West, but criticizes even a suspicion of its rivals doing the same.

Serious Dissention

Similar to the Ukrainian situation, the population of Moldova is very divided on the EU Association Agreement issue. Already in the early 1990s, Transnistria, the region of Moldova on the east bank of the Dnieper River, virtually seceded from the rest of the country. In September 2006, a referendum was held, which, according to official accounts, resulted in 97 percent in favor of a permanent secession from Moldova and integration into the Russian Federation. No formal membership application has officially been submitted, simply because Moscow has indicated that the application would be denied. Gagauzia is a second region - in southern Moldova - which is predominated by pro-Russian forces. Recently this area's population voted against EU association and in favor of joining the customs union comprised of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. This region's secession can also not be ruled out. Some are even debating whether to unify with the Gagauz minority in Ukraine. It is reported that pro-Russian forces are particularly strong in northern Moldova. At the same time, a considerable portion of the population is oriented toward the EU. Up to ten percent of the population is considered to be in favor of joining Romania, an EU member.

Off Balance

In light of these considerable points of dissention, Moldova has always had to struggle to establish an East/West balance. A few years ago, there was growing evidence that Berlin and Moscow might attempt to reach a compatible settlement for the country. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[1]) This could have paved Moldova's way toward a more prosperous future. However, what remains unknown is whether Germany meant these initiatives seriously, or merely wanted to falsely reassure Moscow. Simultaneously, Berlin and the EU were already embarking on their first initiatives to pave the way for association within the framework of the EU's "Eastern Partnership" program, which had been launched during the first German Chairmanship of the EU Council in 2007.[2] The objective can be gleaned from the Association Agreement, signed June 27 and ratified by the Moldovan parliament a few days later. The Association Agreement goes beyond free trade and comprehensive linking of Moldova's economy to the EU. As in the cases of Ukraine and Georgia, it is also aimed at synchronizing Moldova's foreign and military policies to those in Brussels. It is evident that Moldova will be completely inside the hegemonic reign of the German-EU political block, which also includes participation in military interventions. (Of course, there is no question of Moldova becoming a full member of the EU, because this would call for this poverty-stricken country to receive certain financial aid, something the main EU powers - particularly Germany - consider too expensive.)

Donbass Scenarios

Because it would mean the further dislocation of the European balance of forces (already unsettled by the Ukraine crisis) to the advantage of Berlin and Brussels, Moldova's de facto acceptance into the EU's hegemonic sphere is not only compelling Moscow to react. Those domestic forces of Moldova, refusing the incorporation of their country into the German-EU hegemonic sphere, also see themselves called upon to clearly oppose this measure. The recently held referendum in the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia, which, under certain circumstances, includes an option for the region's secession, is one of the first reactions to this development. Rumors of "Donbass scenarios" and of militias being formed have begun circulating. Elections are scheduled for the end of the year. A victory of the Communist Party, which traditionally tends to favor closer ties to Moscow, is not ruled out. It remains unclear, whether the party will "grit its teeth" and continue to abide by the EU Association Agreement, or - as some speculate - halt its implementation. An uncontrolled escalation in this divided country is not to be excluded.

Provocations

The EU Association, an open provocation to some sectors of the pro-Russian population, is contributing to this escalation. The British "Economist," for example, recently admitted that the Gagauz leaders had no seat at the negotiating table when decisions related to the EU were made, even though the treaty has a strong impact on them. The "EU-inspired tax reforms" will force Gagauzia "to send half of its VAT revenue to the state budget."[3] The country is currently ruled by a government with a small pro-EU majority. The alien imposed tax redistribution hits Gagauzia hard in this extremely impoverished country.

Citizenships

As in Ukraine, Berlin seeks to keep Moldova unified, so that it can pull the entire country over into the German-EU hegemonic sphere. Recently the SPD-affiliated Friedrich Ebert Foundation joined with the South Europe Association to organize a conference in Berlin, in which representatives of the Moldova government, the Communist Party of Moldova and not more explicitly named "guests" from Transnistria met, according to a report [4] - a measure that may possibly facilitate talks. Taking such an initiative is anything but a matter of course for Berlin. In the cases of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, the Federal Republic of Germany did not promote cohesion but rather these nations' disintegration. The Moldova case lends an interesting character to Germany's complaint that Russia's granting citizenship to Ukrainian or Transnistrian Russian-speaking citizens, co-opts them. By 2012, EU member, Romania had granted Romanian citizenship to around 400,000 Moldovans - nearly one-ninth of the population. Had someone asked, a few years ago, how this is possible, one would have received the response that Romania is simply following Germany's example. Germany has granted German citizenship to citizens of Poland and the Czech Republic. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[5]) On various occasions, Bucharest has announced that it remains open to an annexation of Moldova.

Subversion

In the periodical "Internationale Politik," it was reported that Western diplomats are allowing themselves be quoted with "scenarios" resulting in "Moldova probably being divided up between Russia and Romania."[6] "Internationale Politik" is published by the influential German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). Strikingly enough, the journal complains that in Moldova "allegedly ... Russia has created numerous NGOs," to insure its influence. The West has made the founding of NGOs in east and southeast Europe its "bread-and-butter" business since the upheavals of 1989/90. A US think tank has lamented that NATO's mutual aid stipulations do not protect East European countries against "subversion" - "activities of intelligence services," the "buying up of banks and other strategic targets" or "indirect control of the media, to undermine public opinion." This list, aimed at warning of real and alleged Russian activities, is a rather precise description of Western practices in numerous countries around the world. Berlin, for example, had even promoted a man, who was openly being groomed by a government-financed German organization (the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation), to become opposition leader and then even presidential candidate in Ukraine. Russia tries to take over countries from within, the think tank alleges.[7] This describes the foreign policy of the West - including Germany's.

[1] See A Test Run for Eurasia and Ein Testlauf für Eurasien (II).
[2] See Die Verantwortung Berlins.
[3] Moldova and the EU. www.economist.com 09.07.2014.
[4] Moskau beschränkt Fleischimporte aus Moldau. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 05.07.2014.
[5] See Das deutsche Blutsmodell (II).
[6] Ulrich Speck: Moldaus langer Weg nach Westen. Internationale Politik Juli/August 2014.
[7] Robert D. Kaplan: Why Moldova Urgently Matters. Stratfor 09.07.2014.