3 – Moldova. Is there a chance for changing?
BSSB.BE jurnal.md 14.09.2016
Transnistrian conflict: no progress, no perspectives
In the last quarter of a century, Moldova failed to achieve any real progress in solving the frozen conflict in Transnistria. On the contrary, Transnistria de facto strengthened its unrecognised statehood by, among others, becoming a fully-fledged party of multilateral talks. Over the years, every actor involved in the negotiation process undertook (in most cases only declaratively) measures aimed at regulating the Transnistrian issue.
However, these efforts were usually deprived of political will necessary for their effectiveness. What is more, those efforts were often aimed at the realisation of wider interests of the political actors and not the solution of the conflict. Paradoxically, a relatively gentle – bloodless – character of this frozen conflict is not conducive to the settlement of the Transnistrian issue.
The political impotence of the West, combined with the divergent interests of Moscow and Chisinau and the strengthening corruption schemes involving political elites on both banks of the Dniester, renders the settlement of the Transnistrian issue as distant as it was in 1990.
Meanwhile, the protracted Transnistrian problem poses a number of risks to the Moldovan statehood and negatively affects the ongoing (and far from completion) state-building process. The existence of Transnistria in its present form means that Chisinau is not able to control more than 30 per cent of its borders (approx. 450 km). This means that Moldovan authorities are unable to control migration of the population, as it is possible to both enter and leave the area controlled by Chisinau without any verification. This in turn poses a great threat to the safety of the country.
- Worse so, the existence of an unregulated administrative entity within the constitutional borders of Moldova benefits the corrupt state apparatus as well as the political and business elite, whose representatives eagerly use the opportunities offered by Transnistria.
- Finally, the lack of control over a large part of the border (and more than 10 per cent of the constitutional territory) seriously hampers the sense of commitment and loyalty to the state among its inhabitants.
- The Transnistrian problem and the consequent uncertainty of borders in the region also affect the perception of Moldova by its neighbours and favours revisionist discussions (often fueled by various political forces). This in turn leads to increased tensions in the region and builds the impression of precariousness of Moldovan statehood.
It the foreseeable future the Transnistrian issue is doomed to remain unresolved. The negotiations will most likely continue but they will undoubtedly remain largely a tool of foreign policies of Russia, the West, and Moldova and will not bring any tangible results.
Apart from political reasons, the possible reunification will remain hampered by socio-economic issues. Mired in a crisis of self-identification, Moldova is currently not able to offer the people of Transnistria any encouraging, inclusive model of identity, or development that could compete with the dominant Russian-Soviet Transnistrian identity. It is therefore unable to convince the people on the left bank of Dniester river to join to the Republic of Moldova.
Blurry hopes, but still hopes…
After 25 years of independence, the Republic of Moldova remains unconsolidated and in a specific way seasonal. The ongoing socio-political and economic crisis is not only contributing to the ever deeper disappointment of Moldovans in their own country, but it also makes them lose faith in change.
This sense of hopelessness provides a fertile ground for revisionist views. In March 2016, 59 per cent of Moldova’s population declared that the collapse of the USSR was a negative event (compared to 29 per cent who believe the opposite).
This means that nostalgia for the Soviet Union in Moldova is greater than in Russia (in February 2016 such a sentiment was declared by 56 per cent of Russians). At the same time, the growing disillusionment of Moldovan society with the political class, economic situation, as well as the lack of reliable development prospects, lead to the popularity of the idea of unification with Romania (and thus de facto liquidation of Moldovan statehood), which is seen as a way to solve the problems besetting the country.
- Despite such pessimistic prospects for the development (or rather stagnation) of the situation, maintaining the formal independence of Moldova in the foreseeable future seems unthreatened.
- The main international actors in the region (including Russia) are interested in preserving Moldovan statehood.
- From Moscow’s perspective, the permanently collapsing and persistently transforming Moldova is a fully acceptable option. In addition, despite political declarations stemming from part of Romanian elite, Bucharest is not really interested in the incorporation of Moldova into Romania.
Given the extremely serious crisis of pro-European views and the sharp division of society into the supporters of integration with the West and the supporters of rapprochement with Russia, Moldova threatens to become a permanent border-state mired in social, political and economic apathy.
In this shape, Moldova can last for years, even decades. During this time, the demographic situation will continue to worsen. The political scene (regardless of the configuration) will remain dominated by the elite deprived of an idea for the development of the country and concentrated solely on the protection of own interests.
The situation can be changed only by a steady and firm pressure of citizens on the authorities and subsequent legal seizure of power in the country by grassroots socio-political movements unrelated to the current political class.
Of course, this would be only the beginning of a painful way toward better future. But without active and consistent participation of citizens in the political life of Moldova, without the willingness to act in its interest and without a minimum will to make sacrifices, a real change in the country will never be possible.
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*Youtube – Classical sociological theory – Marx, Weber, Durkheim. In this lecture, Dr. Tom Rudel overviews three classical sociological theorists – Marx, Weber and Durkheim. He notes that all three are structuralists, but that each identifies a different force that structures economic activity and outcomes. He describes Marx’s focus on the factory as the site of consumption and production, and he notes the contemporary theories of the treadmill of production and world systems as deriving from Marx’s theories
*Youtube – The Great Artists – The English Masters
*Youtube – This Is Modern Art / 1 of 6 / I Am a Genius / 1999 . This Is Modern Art was a six-part TV series written and presented by the English art critic Matthew Collings. It was broadcast in 1999 on Channel 4. Ep 1 Focuses on the current state of modern art, and looks back at Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol to see how they changed the definition of art.
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