Saturday, February 14, 2009


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American Chronicle - -

Sunday, February 15, 2009 -

Resolving the Former Moldavian SSR Dispute

By Michael Averko

My last American Chronicle article ("Update on the Former Moldavian SSR Dispute," Dec. 31) on the meeting between the leaders of Moldova and Prodnestrovie (also referred to as Transnistria, Transdniestria, Transdnestr and Trans-Dniester) relates to the issue of how to successfully resolve the dispute between the two parties. A major stumbling block is Pridnestrovie's government refusing to accept the Moldovan government's position that Moldova's territory includes all land which comprised the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR).

Theoretically, there is a way to honor Pridnestrovie's stance, in a settlement that would unite the two parties. Rather than advocate Pridnestrovie acknowledging itself as part of Moldova, a constitutionally loose union state of two republics can be proposed. Its name could be along the lines of the Union of Moldova and Pridnestrovie (UMP).

The problem with this option is the likely rejection by Moldova, which might also include some opposition in Pridnestrovie. In the early 1990s, then Moldovan President Mircea Snegur opposed Moldova becoming a federal state of three republics (Moldova, Pridnestrovie and Gagauzia - the latter is an autonomous territory within Moldova). Apprehension over the UMP concept shows no successful alternative for settling a dispute that is approaching the twenty year mark.

Pridnestrovie and Moldova each face conflicting realities. Moldovan opposition to becoming part of the Soviet Union in 1940 is not complete without acknowledging how Pridnestrovie was arbitrarily put into the Stalin-era created Moldavian SSR. Post-Soviet Moldova has been unable to implement its will in Pridnestrovie. Like it or not, Pridnestrovie's desire for independence is not recognized by any nation. These thoughts lead to further elaboration on the UMP suggestion.

In the UMP scenario, the flags of Moldova and Pridnestrovie can be maintained at the defined republic level of a union state. At international gatherings like the United Nations and Olympics, the UMP flag would be utilized to represent both republics as one. South Africa's post-apartheid flag can be used as a reference. This flag has the colors of the flags of the major political groups in South Africa. The UMP flag might be a stylish conglomeration of the flags of Moldova and Pridnestrovie. Another option could consider a flag expressing a relation to the flags of Moldova, Russia, Ukraine and Gagauzia. These flags relate to the four main ethnic groups comprising the former Moldavian SSR land mass.

If implemented, the described UMP state will no doubt lead some in Gagauzia to seek a republic status. At present, the Gagauz leadership acknowledges Gagauzia as an autonomous/non-republic part of Moldova. Following this past summer's war in the Caucasus, the Gagauz parliament voted to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This move suggests that Gagauzia has a good degree of separatist sympathy. On the other hand, Gagauzia's parliament does not recognize the independence of Pridnestrovie. Not recognizing Pridnestrovie's independence keeps Gagauzia on better terms with the Moldovan government. In addition, the Gagauz parliament's independence recognition policy (on South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Pridnestrovie) matches Russia's. If Moldova and Pridnestrovie were to buy into the UMP idea, it stands to reason that Gagauzia would do the same, if it were to achieve a republic status. In such an instance, the Union of Sovereign Republics (USR) is a smoother alternative to the Union of Moldova, Pridnestrovie and Gagauzia.

The circumstances regarding the disputed former Communist bloc territories are not completely uniform. Therefore, the suggestions in this essay are not intended to be across the board considerations for the other disputes.

Of late, there is talk of Russia and the United States seeking ways to improve their relationship. In the former Moldavian SSR dispute, Moscow and Washington have expressed support of a state based on the boundaries of the former Soviet republic in question. Russia is concerned about former Moldavian SSR territory becoming part of NATO. A firmly written UMP or USR constitutional clause could negate NATO membership and support the possibility of entering into the European Union.

Concerning Moldova's upcoming April parliamentary election, its current president, the Pridnestrovie born Vladimir Voronin, looks more favorably at the Soviet past, unlike a good number of others in Moldova. When compared to Moldova, Pridnestrovie has had a lengthier history of affiliation with Russia and Ukraine. As of now, Voronin's Communist Party appears positioned to top the upcoming vote.

Nevertheless, the more Westward leaning of Moldovan political parties show signs of increasing influence. The geopolitical direction of Moldova has been a cause of concern for some in Russia and the West.

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