Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 112

One of the first Soviet republics to free itself from Moscow’s control, Moldova, sustained its independent course during the ensuing years despite Russian military intervention in Transdniester and an increasingly precarious economic situation. Recent signals from Chisinau seem, however, to suggest that the leadership’s resolve to stay free of Russian influence and to pursue the stated goal of “integration with Europe” may be flagging. At an on-the-record presentation at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington on June 7 Moldovan Parliament Chairman Dumitru Diacov added to recent symptoms of irresolution and ambiguity in Chisinau’s policy. An ally of President Petru Lucinschi, Diacov combines the speaker’s post with that of leader of the pro-presidential Movement for a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova (MMDP), the main party in the current coalition government.

The presentation–which was attended by a Monitor analyst–raised some serious questions through both commission and omission. Concerning the current conflict in the Balkans, Diacov staked out the middle ground between NATO’s and Russia’s respective positions. Such equidistance, unrelated to any internal political considerations–because no pan-Slavic or pro-Serbian groups are active in Moldova–seems designed to accommodate Moscow at the expense of principle, and by the same token inconsistent with Moldova’s stated goal of “integration with Europe.” While dwelling at some length on the problem of Kosovo, where Moldova has no interests and Russia no troops as yet, Diacov omitted from his presentation the problem of Moldova’s region of Transdniester, where Moldova does have critical interests–including an internationally recognized title to sovereignty–and Russia does have troops.

When asked by the audience to address that problem, Diacov focused on the difficulties his country is having with the Russian Duma. He cited the Duma’s failure to recognize Moldova’s territorial integrity, its support for Transdniester’s secession and for Russian recognition of that secession, and similar actions by hardline elements in Russia. But he neglected to point out that the Duma has no powers in foreign policy, that its resolutions are mere rhetorical exercises and that Moldova’s real problems in Transdniester are not with the Duma but with the executive branch of government and the Russian military.