Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 154

The Moldovan parliament has begun debating the draft law on the autonomy of Transdniester. The draft defines Transdniester as an "autonomous republic" which is an integral part of an indivisible Moldova. Transdniester is to have its own basic law, legislative assembly, and regional executive government, which will exercise the powers devolved to them under this law. Those powers cover practically all aspects of government except foreign policy, defense, security, border control, citizenship, and currency, all of which remain within the sphere of central authority. Transdniester residents will have the right to perform military service in the region. The republic will have its own symbols, to be flown or displayed alongside those of the Republic of Moldova. Transdniester will have three official languages — Moldovan, Ukrainian, and Russian (Moldova’s heartland on the right bank of the Dniester has one state language, Moldovan/Romanian). Transdniester will organize elections and referendums on its territory, and will enjoy the right of secession from Moldova if Moldova "changes its status as an independent state" (code phrase for a highly improbable unification with Romania). (15)

Worked out successively by a parliamentary and an expert commission, the draft has the support of the Agrarian-dominated government and the parliamentary majority. President Mircea Snegur approved the development of the draft in its successive phases and publicly endorsed the upgrading of the offer from "autonomous region" to "republic" last spring. The pro- Romanian opposition rejects the plan but is too small to block it. The offer is likely in the short term to be rejected by Transdniester leaders who officially propose a confederation of two coequal independent states. They also insist on retaining their own army and security services and on Moldova’s full accession to the CIS as preconditions for such a confederation. But the Transdniester leaders openly state their preference for association with the Russian Federation, and have scheduled a referendum later this month to call for Transdniester’s admission to the CIS. The presence of Russian troops in Transdniester encourages its leaders’ intransigence. The conflict can not be resolved without a more active international intercession.

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