met earlier this month in Ukraine with the presidents of Moldova and Transdniester and then Prime Minister Chernomyrdin of Russia. The meeting reached agreement on the deployment of Ukrainian military observers in a security zone along the Dniester, to separate the Transdniester and Moldovan forces. It is unclear what observers can do to reduce tensions or advance a settlement.

In Romania, parliamentarians from governing and opposition parties spoke of Moldova as a temporary phenomenon, a stage between independence from the Soviet Union and eventual incorporation into Romania. Most of what is now Moldova, along with additional territory now in Ukraine, were part of Romania between the wars. Public-opinion polls in Moldova over the past several years have never shown more than single-digit support for union with Romania.

Moldova’s economy, meanwhile, is in disarray. The central government is out of money and out of credit. Unable to pay the Russian natural-gas monopoly Gazprom for deliveries, the government signed half of its gas industry over to the Russian firm. Parliamentary elections March 22 (boycotted in Transdniester) produced a divided legislature. The government in Chisinau, Moldova’s capital, seems poorly equipped for the challenges ahead.


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