Institute for Development andMOLDOVA’S FOREIGN POLICY STATEWATCH Social Initiatives “Viitorul” Issue 16, January 2011THE POST-ELECTORAL BIDOF GEOPOLITICAL VISITSIN THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVAIon TăbârţăMoldova’s Foreign Policy Statewatch represents a series of brief NEXT TOPICSanalyses, written by local and foreign experts, dedicated to the TO BE COVERED:most topical subjects related to the foreign policy of Moldova,major developments in the Black Sea Region, cooperation with Liberalizationinternational organizations and peace building activities in the region. of the aviationIt aims to create a common platform for discussion and to bringtogether experts, commentators, officials and diplomats who are marketconcerned with the perspectives of European Integration of Moldova. of MoldovaIt is also pertaining to offer to Moldova’s diplomats and analysts avaluable tribune for debating the most interesting and controversialpoints of view that could help Moldova to find its path to EU.A t the parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova from 28 November 2010, no one from the electoral competitors has gained the parliamentary majority necessary to form the govern- ment. The post-electoral negotiations have highlighted two pos- sible governmental alliances – of center-left (Communist Party- Democratic Party) and center-right (Democratic Party-Liberal Democratic Party-Liberal Party) – the balance to one of them was to be inclined by the Democratic Party. Each of this two governing alliances, alongside purely internal political aspects,have also strong geopolitical connotations: the center-left being a pro-Russian one and the center-right a pro-western one. In turn, the involvedgeopolitical actors, each of them having its interests in Moldova, throughtheir visits in Chisinau have attempted to determine Moldovan parliamen-tary parties to form a governing alliance in the Republic of Moldova that isconvenient for them.
2 Moldova’s Foreign Policy StatewatchBetween East and West The geopolitical earthquake at the end of Cold War has led at reconfiguration of the twomain geopolitical areas existing in the post-war period – euro-Atlantic and euro-Asiatic. Afterthe Cold War, the delimitation line between these two geopolitical spaces has been moved fromCentral Europe to the east of the continent, getting at the frontiers of Republic of Moldova. The determinant concept of a multi-vectorial foreign policy of a Republic of Moldova is thatof permanent neutrality. The geopolitical balance established in Chisinau has constituted in thenineties of the last century the line of the external behavior of the Republic of Moldova – beingeasy pro-CIS during the agrarian governing, or being with pro-European nuances, in time ofSturza’s government. Republic of Moldova has been situated and is situated in what we can call “geopoliticaltrap”. In the nineties, Russian Federation, besides Transnistrian conflict, did not have the necessaryleverage to impose itself geopolitically in Moldova. In his turn, the West manifested disinteresttowards eastern part of the European continent. Things have been changed at the beginningof the XXI century. Enlargement of NATO and EU has brought Republic of Moldova in the zoneof proximity of these two western actors of main importance. The neighbourhood of Moldovawith EU and NATO has provoked increasing interest from European countries towards Chisinau.Simultaneously, Russian Federation, after Putin’s arrival in power, has been strengthened as acountry that has led at the diversification of its influencing levers upon neighbouring countries. Ifinitially “geopolitical trap” in which have been caught Moldova has consisted in incapacity (Russia)and disinterest (Occident), then, later, it has been transformed in capacity (Moscow) and interest(Brussels and Washington). The Moldovan communists, in the first stage after coming to power, wanted to breakMoldova’s geopolitical balancing, trying to bring Chisinau closer to euro-Asiatic space. TheKremlin reacted at the pro-Russian policy of Moldovan communists through the elaboration ofKozak Memorandum, which would have tied Chisinau with Moscow through “transnistrisition” ofMoldova. In 2003, in the context of western geopolitical expansion to the east (including through“color revolutions” in Georgia and Ukraine), the return of the Republic of Moldova in the geopoliticaleuro-Asiatic area was difficult to be realized. Moldova’s foreign policy vector change – from eastto west, namely from Russia-Belarus Union to European Union – meant that Moldova came backto its policy of regional balancing, which characterized Chisinau until 2001. The Alliance for European Integration (AEI), unlike the Communists party that mimickedthe European course of Chisinau, surprising for many people made Moldova to have a remarkablebehavior in the dialog with Brussels. Moldova – “the success story” of the Eastern Partnershipbecame more visible on the background of a European recession of Ukraine. Through its actions,government of AEI has created all conditions to remove again Republic of Moldova out of regionalgeopolitical balance, for this time move being to the west.Disputes of geopolitical visits Republic of Moldova has come to be located at the confluence of two important geopoliticalareas – between a stronger Russia and a West in expansion. In these conditions, the geopoliticalbid in the November 28 elections has increased enormously. The tone of Russian-Western geopolitical dispute was given by Russia through anunannounced visit to Chisinau, on December 4-5, of the Chief of the presidential Administration fromMoscow, Sergei Naryshkin. Right from the airport the Russian official has operated with such notions(problematic for Republic of Moldova in opinion of Naryshkin) like statehood, sovereignty, geopoliticalStr. Iacob Hîncu 10/1, Chişinău MD-2005 Republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax firstname.lastname@example.org www.viitorul.org
Moldova’s Foreign Policy Statewatch 3orientation. Further, he declared that only a functional government of the Republic of Moldova mayaddress these issues in the context of a strategic partnership between Russia and Moldova. Thefunctional government composition desired by Moscow in Moldova has been shown by Naryshkinwhen at the residence of the Russian Embassy from Chisinau, he met with leaders of CommunistParty and Democratic Party, blatantly ignoring the Liberal Democrats, and the meeting with the leaderof Liberal Party – the interim president Mihai Ghimpu – has been more for formal reasons. Shortly after the geopolitical “movement” of Russia, through working visit to Chisinau onDecember 8, of Foreign Ministers of Poland, Radoslaw Sikorski and Sweden, Carl Bildt, followedthe Western response. The two European officials, the initiators of the Eastern Partnership,declared that they came here not only on behaf of Poland and Sweden, but on behaf of the entireEuropean Union. Their message was very encouraging for Republic of Moldova, which is urged topersevere in the Eastern Partnership and on its European course. Mentioning that the EuropeanUnion wants to see a rapid formation of a government which would allow the continuation ofreforms, they actually suggested that Brussels wants reiteration of AEI. Eloquent is the durationof Sikorski and Bildt meetings with component parties of the potential alliance of center-left - only15 minutes with representatives of Communists Party (with symbolic picture at the monument ofLenin) and nearly an hour with the Democratic leaders. Visit of Sikorski and Bildt to Chisinau was continued by those of Jerzy Buzek, Presidentof European Parliament, and Werner Hoyer, Minister of State at the Federal Ministry of ForeignAffairs of Germany. The message of Buzek was clear as possible for the Moldovan political class:“Republic of Moldova must remain on the European road which was choosed, this fact being ofimminent importance for the EU and for citizens of Republic of Moldova.” Visit of Hoyer in Chisinauis a proof of the seriousness of Germany’s intentions on Republic of Moldova in talks with Russiaon European security reconfiguration.The importance of Moldova After the geopolitical disaster from the ’90s of the last century, Russia investes seriousefforts to regain lost positions. CIS is the first target in Russia’s geopolitical return. The “Colorrevolutions” in Georgia and Ukraine were interpreted by Russia as a geopolitical invasion of theWest in its vital space of protection. Once in 2003-2005 was defeated by the West in the “colorrevolutions” in Georgia and Ukraine, Russia (not being able to institutionalize CIS space) hasresponded harsly, by extensively using the economic and energetic “weapons” against “rebel”countries of the CIS. After its actions, Moscow has succeeded to annihilate GUAM and to returngeopolitically in Ukraine, but failed (despite military successes) sharply in Georgia. For Moscow, its presence in Moldova means remaining of Russia as a real geopoliticalsubject in the south-eastern Europe. Kremlin’s approach towards Moldova is percived from twogeopolitical scenarios: 1) if the Russian Federation wishes to remain present geopolitically inSouth-East of Europe, then it must do everything possible not to leave Moldova, 2) if Russia isleaving Moldova, then its place will be taken by the major Western geopolitical actors, mainly theEU and possible NATO, something that Kremlin is not willing to do. The ambiguity of Russianpolicy towards Moldova has been amplified by the suspicion of Moscow that Chisinau “plays”permanently on two fronts. In its relationship with Moldova, Russia does not want verbal guaranties as it was, ingeneral, until now. In the future, Moscow wants to conclude a large written strategic partnershipin geopolitical terms (political, economic, social and cultural). In its turn, Russian Federationpromises the Republic of Moldova significant economic benefits (reduced price for gas imports,free way for wine and agricultural exports). The geopolitical transformation in the early ‘90s of the last century has caused eastwardmovement of both Western geopolitical subspaces – euro-Atlantic and euro-Continental. At Str. Iacob Hîncu 10/1, Chişinău MD-2005 Republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax email@example.com www.viitorul.org
4 Moldova’s Foreign Policy Statewatchthe edge of centuries, NATO (euro-Atlantic expression) and EU (euro-Continental expression)became neighbors of the CIS, which in geopolitical terms percived by Moscow means that theWest became the geopolitical neighbour of Russia. At the moment, it seems like NATO decided to stop at the CIS borders. EU tries to actinnstitutionally in the CIS, by launching a series of policies aiming to bring to Europe morestability and security on the eastern borders. The European Neighbourhood Policy, launched byBrussels at the time of enlargement in 2004, covered a wider geographical area, referring to allEU neighbors, not only to those from Europe. Later, in 2009, aiming to give a new dimension toEuropean Neighbourhood Policy, the EU launched the Eastern Partnership, which refers directlyto the six European countries from CIS. Both European institutional policies – European Neighbourhood Policy and EasternPartnership - were not implemented until the end. Initially, the best behavior in the EasternPartnership has had Ukraine. After the election of Yanukovych as the head of state, the countryhas made “a step backwards” on its European way. On the other hand, in 2010, Chisinau hasmade significant progress in the dialogue with Brussels. The European achivements of Moldovahave shown that the Eastern Partnership is viable. Becasue of this reason, Moldova became“cool” in Brussel, EU invested a lot in Moldova, including in the image chapter. To continue itsEuropean way, EU offeres Moldova hundreds of million of euros and promises to remove visasimmediately after the meting of criteria required by Brussels. In the European context, during 2010 we have assisted at an unprecedented dialoguebetween EU (through Germany) and Russia. Brussels is ready to conclude a strategic partnership(of modernization) with Russia which would also directly affect the states from the intermediary space(Eastern Partnership states) between EU and Russia. However, the EU and Russia have differentviews upon countries located geographically between them. In comparison with Russia which dealswith European countries of CIS as a whole of its geopolitical area, Brussels perceive the six countriesof the Eastern Partnership more as a security intermediary area between Russia and EU.Conclusions The post-election situation after 28 November in the Republic of Moldova is a conclusiveproof that political polarization got strong geopolitical connotations. Visits by foreign officials inChisinau in the post-election period suggest a few conclusions. The first is that Moldova matterson the regional level. Major actors in Moldova are ready to provide certain privileges to achievetheir geopolitical goals in Moldova. The second (external conjuncture) refers to the substance ofRussian-German dialogue in 2010. By Naryskin’s visit to Chisinau, Russia gave a clear signalto EU that Moldova can not move forward within Eastern Partnership without the permission ofKremlin. A third (internal) is that the visit of foreign officials, although they created some confusionamong local political class, the decision to create the government alliance in Moldova was takenin Chisinau and not decided out of Moldova.This publication was produced by IDIS “Viitorul” with the financial support of Soros FoundationMoldova and the National Endowment for Democracy. The opinions expressed in this publicati-on reflect the author’s/authors’ position and don’t necessary represent the views of the donors.Str. Iacob Hîncu 10/1, Chişinău MD-2005 Republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax firstname.lastname@example.org www.viitorul.orgStr. Iacob Hîncu 10/1, Chişinău MD-2005 Republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax email@example.com www.viitorul.org