The Ivanov formula would theoretically ensure Moldova’s sovereignty over the breakaway province of Transdniester, a largely Russian-speaking region controlled by an inept, corrupt, but ethnically Russian regime. That regime depends on Russia’s Fourteenth Army, which occupies Transdniester in violation of a 1992 agreement to withdraw by January 1, 1994. Moldova’s President Petru Lucinschi says Russia sees Transdniester, which is west of Ukraine and has no border with Russia, as “an outpost in the Balkans.” A resolution of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe requires Russia to present this month a timetable for withdrawal of its forces and their weapons. But the OSCE is even less capable than flat-broke Moldova of moving the Fourteenth Army from its relatively comfy billet. After talks with Lucinschi in Moscow, the Russian response was a proposal that Moldova sign a military agreement to legalize the Russian presence–and so accept Transdniester’s de facto secession. Perhaps Ivanov’s language, like Humpty Dumpty’s, means what he wants it to mean, no more and no less.