Ukraine-Moldova relations: Russian threat as a cure for jealousy

Author : Eugene Magda

Moldova's economy is in the state when even Ukraine, which is experiencing hard times, can afford some steps forward

17:19, 18 April 2017

Read the original text at eurointegration.com.ua.

president.gov.ua

Relations between Ukraine and Moldova faced minor troubles.

On the one hand, official Kyiv jealousy treated success of Chisinau in its European integration, although there was a subjective factor: smaller size of the country and the need for the EU to demonstrate the success of "Eastern Partnership" played our south-western neighbors on hand. However, this is the case of the previous years.

On the other, Moldovan authorities sometimes resorted to discrimination against Ukrainian goods, including food products, and it did not contribute to mutual understanding. Recall that much of the industrial potential of Moldova are within the self-proclaimed Transnistria and sale of own agricultural production has strategic importance for Chisinau.

Related: Ukrainian DTEK to supply electricity to Moldova

Related: Moldovan President intends to establish new partnership with Russia

This list of problematic issues does not end there. Ukraine’s desire to use Dniester water resources for electricity production is irritant for Moldova.

However, during the visit of the government delegation led by Prime Minister Paul Philip to Kyiv, the parties signed a roadmap of relations in 2017, they agreed on issues involving the creation of Dniester hydroelectric representatives of the European Commission. It seems that no arbitrator can do.

Moldovan government delegation in Kyiv has been hosted in the most friendly way, Paul Philip has met Poroshenko. They demonstrated interest in the demarcation of the Ukrainian-Moldovan border, joint control of border crossings (and control over the border with Transnistria), the development of mutually beneficial relations between our countries.

Related: Moldova cancels limits on importing meat and dairy products from Ukraine

And most importantly, an agreement confirming the commitment to European integration, what should stay separate.

Autumn 2016, Igor Dodon was elected president of Moldova. Ukraine called leader of the Moldovan Socialists persona non grata for his "Crimean" overtures, but after taking office, a ban on entry to Ukraine was removed.

Related: Moldovan court arrested judge Chaus for 15 days

However, Ukrainian diplomats privately say they are ready to take Dodon after his public apology. But he is in no hurry to apologize, he actively demonstrates interest in developing relations with Russia, conducting negotiations on the territory of Transnistria with its new leader Vadym Krasnoselsky, supporting federalization of Moldova, promoted by Russia since 2003 (the so-called "Kozak memorandum").

In late September, Dodon initiated referendum in which citizens of Moldova should say word on dissolution of parliament and reduce the number of MPs from 101 to 71. Victory at last year's elections have Dodon a hope for positive results, it will also increase pressure on the ruling pro-European coalition.

Here we can see an interesting picture. On the one hand, Ukraine is one of the guarantors of a peaceful settlement in Transnistria, on the other, the region is of concern of our security services and the military.

Russian authorities have virtually no secret that advocates the federalization of Moldova with further plans to extend this model to Ukraine. Accordingly, the Russian initiative on reintegration of Moldova for official Kyiv is just unacceptable.

Related: Notorious judge Chaus detained in Moldova, — Prosecutor General’s Office

Meanwhile, Moldovan politicians continues to suffer from the effects of the banking scandal, after the disappearance of 1 billion euros of the leading banks for a small country is a serious test. Convictions under former Prime Minister Vlad Filat did not resolve the situation, Moldova's pro-European policy suffered a powerful blow, and Dodon’s victory was actually specified in advance. In any case, they say that gray cardinal of Moldova Vlad Plahotniuc did not oppose the election of the leader of the Socialists.

Just last week ago, Ukrainian and Moldovan police have exposed a group of attackers that attempted assassination of Plakhotnyuk. Traces of intruders, according to representatives of Moldovan prosecutors, are leading to Moscow.

Related: Ukraine, Moldova sign Action Plan for 2017

Such protests make plausible the implementation of "Dodon’s plan," proposed referendum on the redistribution of power in the country.

Ukraine could well share the experience of confronting the hybrid aggression, which has accumulated in recent years in exchange for a dialogue with unrecognized territories.

Themis factor plays an important role in the Ukrainian-Moldovan relations. For example, in the territory of a neighboring country several people were sentenced for fighting on the side of the Donbas separatists. Moldovan Themis continues to hold Kyiv judge wanted by NABU, Mykola Chaus, who was detained in Moldova. Last year, Moldova extradited Ukraine businessman Vyacheslav Platon, who is accused of large-scale deals.

Related: Moldova-Ukraine highway planned to open in 2017

This means that sensitive issues our countries find a common language. The foundations for the development of relations may become GUAM (Organization for Democracy and Economic Development) Free Trade Zone.

Moldova's economy is in the state when even Ukraine, which is experiencing hard times, can afford some steps forward, and it should be assessed properly.

The key to the development of bilateral relations between Kyiv and Chisinau is the rejection of unfounded jealousy, understanding the common enemy, and finding common economic interests.

Related: Negotiations behind Ukraine: agreement between Moldova and Russia?