Hearings held by Russia’s Duma on December 9 have resulted in a set of recommendations to the Russian president and government. The recommendations call for Russia: to renounce the existing, unratified interstate political treaty with Moldova; to negotiate a new treaty that would incorporate an agreement on "state-legal relations between Moldova and Transdniester" — i.e. Transdniester’s de facto secession; to maintain the Russian troops there; and to provide Transdniester with economic assistance.
The hearings were co-sponsored by the Duma’s CIS Affairs Committee, the Geopolitics Committee, and the ad-hoc committee on Transdniester. The three committees are controlled, respectively, by the red-brown Narodovlastie group of deputies, the Zhirinovsky party, and the Communist Party. Their composition and recommendations reflect the views of the Duma’s majority.
The recommendations may be at least in part a blessing in disguise for Moldova. The Russian Foreign and Defense Ministries’ representatives argued at the hearings in favor of ratifying the existing political treaty in a package with a supplementary protocol that would require Moldova to consent to military consultations with Russia and joint measures to counter any "aggression" in the region. The Duma’s hard-liners have spared Moldova the dilemma of dealing with that supplementary protocol. (Flux, Basapress, December 9-10) ____________________________________________________________________________________________
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