A quick glance over the border at MoldovaJune 27, 2014
Today a very quick glance over the border at Moldova – and why not?
With tomorrow almost certainly seeing Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova signing EU Association Agreements and Deep and Comprehensive Trade Agreements, despite Ukraine currently taking by far the most grief of the three nations from The Kremlin, it goes without saying that these other two nations are not going to be spared some form of retribution either.
It therefore raised an eyebrow when the following tweet left the bowels of the Russian Foreign Ministry yesterday:
Russia calls for postponing 5+2 talks on Transdniestria until September http://t.co/uyEz0Kt18a
— MFA Russia (@mfa_russia) June 25, 2014
The reasons for the proposed delay according to Sergei Gubarev , Russian Ambassador at large – “Russia does not see any need for holding talks for the sake of talks. We returned to the initial stage when the parties lay claims.
The key task is to make our meetings effective: if the July round does not yield any result, this will discredit the negotiations.”
That may seem fair enough prima facie when considering The Kremlin’s “realist” perception of the world and how it should work.
If there is nothing to say, why say anything? – Or even bother sitting down?
However, September is only 8 weeks away. How will matters have moved on from a “return to the initial stage when parties lay claims” between July and September without any dialogue? Surely such a problem existing in July will remain an existing problem in September?
Perhaps this is nothing more than the first of many obstructionist acts by The Kremlin regarding Moldova and nothing more?
Perhaps, however, it is also necessary to look to events in either Russia or Moldova in September, that may possibly suit The Kremlin for one reason or another – over and above simple obstructionism.
I may have touched upon one in yesterday’s entry regarding the Russian military, although that may have no connection considering what would undoubtedly follow by way of western reaction. Would military intervention in Moldova be worth it for The Kremlin? No – particularly so when 15-20% of Moldavian citizens also hold Romanian passports and are thus EU and NATO citizens by extension. A very dim Romanian view of any such act would follow.
So what else could be gained for The Kremlin by moving such negotiations back to September?
The answer may very well be found in the forthcoming Moldavian parliamentary elections that occur in November – elections that are likely to give a far more Kremlin accommodating Communist Party a very reasonable chance of gaining electoral victory and the parliamentary majority.
September therefore would provide for the negotiations taking place at the beginning of the electoral campaign cycle – and throwing a spanner into the works of the existing pro-European majority at this time via the 5+2 negotiations – as well as gas, economic and social shenanigans undoubtedly – may just be enough to tip the scales away from another pro-European parliamentary term.
Moldova will sign the agreements with the EU tomorrow. If the current pro-European parliament has any sense it will ratify the agreements with the uppermost speed too (as will Ukraine no doubt). However, whilst any new Communist majority would probably not undo any such agreements, it can be expected to slow implementation of these agreements down to a snails pace.
For The Kremlin, to throw spanners into the 5+2 negotiations in July, either directly – unlikely – or via instruction to Transnistria to do so, and inferring (pro-European) Chisinau inability/fault for the results (or lack of) – would seem premature considering the far greater impact that can be had by doing so at the start of parliamentary election campaigning in September.
Something to keep a watchful eye on perhaps?
Tomorrow, back to Ukraine and a signed AA/DCFTA with the EU and a simultaneously expiring ceasefire in the east.