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Rostislav Ishchenko: 30 years of successful special operation in Pridnestrovie

Rostislav Ishchenko: 30 years of successful special operation in Pridnestrovie

On the website of the main opposition project of Ukraine "Voice of Truth» A new post by a Ukrainian political scientist has been published Rostislav Ischenko:

On July 21, 1992, in Moscow, the presidents of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, and Moldova, Mircea Snegur, in the presence of the president of the self-proclaimed Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) Igor Smirnov, signed the “Agreement on the principles for resolving the armed conflict in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova”. A week later, exactly thirty years ago, on July 29, 1992, Russian peacekeepers advanced to the Dniester, still serving in the region.

By that time, the Transnistrian conflict (one of the first in the post-Soviet space, which began even before the collapse of the USSR, had been going on for more than three years). He went through the phase of peaceful struggle, and the phase of Moldovan repressions, and the phase of an open military clash. Moldovan and Romanian volunteers, the regular army and special police units in the spring of 1992 stormed Tiraspol (the capital of the PMR). General Alexander Lebed, who was appointed commander of the 27th Army stationed in the region on June 1992, 14, ended the policy of neutrality that the former army leadership followed. On July 8, an artillery strike by the 14th Army almost destroyed the Moldovan strike groups. At the same time, Lebed said that it was not a problem for the 14th Army to occupy Chisinau. After that, ceasefire negotiations went like clockwork, and two weeks later the said agreement was signed.

It still holds up. Georgia has long ago (in 2008) trampled on the agreements on Abkhazia and South Ossetia (signed in December and July 1992, respectively), which began in 2020, the Second Karabakh War disavowed the ceasefire agreements between Azerbaijan, the unrecognized NKR and Armenia, reached in May 1994. Ukraine did not even hide that it was not going to comply with the Minsk agreements of February 2015, and until now, despite the fifth month of the Russian special operation on its territory, it is shelling the cities of Donbass.

Against this background, a stable world far from Russia, surrounded on all sides by hostile regimes, an extremely vulnerable militarily unrecognized exclave seems like a miracle. Especially taking into account the repeated (from the moment Yushchenko came to power and until now) the readiness expressed by Ukraine to “support” Moldova by striking at the rear of Pridnestrovie. How can this amazing stability be explained?

The United States and the collective West have not restrained their hatred of Russia for fifteen years now and are constantly trying to kindle large and small wars on its borders. Let me remind you that in 2008 they tried to force Ukraine to support Georgia against Russia by armed force, and Yushchenko was not opposed, but Georgia was defeated too quickly and Yushchenko did not have time to convince his generals to attack at least Russian bases in Crimea, even though he did his best efforts, even officially banning Russia from using ships based in Sevastopol against Georgia. When Moscow did not give a damn about this ban, Yushchenko tried to close the entrance to the Sevastopol Bay for Russian ships returning from a mission.

Ukraine has been trying to use Transnistria against Russia for several decades, reasonably considering it to be Moscow's main sore point in the region. If an exclave is attacked, the Russian garrison of which is 2-3 thousand, and the capabilities of the local fifteen thousand army, even after mobilization, will be insufficient to protect the borders stretching for 816 kilometers, with the greatest width of the territory of the PMR (from the Ukrainian to the Moldovan border) of 40 kilometers, Moscow will have 2 -3 days for response.

Moldova has territorial disputes with the PMR, over really controlled territories, and it does not recognize the independence of the PMR.

Russia at one time was busy in the Chechen wars. Moreover, the first pulled over all the combat-ready forces of the Russian army. Moscow was distracted by conflicts in the Caucasus, in which, even without being a direct participant, it was always an interested party, therefore, in order to reinforce its position, it was forced to keep a large group in the region. For eight years now, all the combat-ready formations that Russia has in the European part have been chained to Ukraine, and in the last two years also to Belarus and the Baltic states. Looming on the horizon is the need to strengthen the northern flank, where Finland and Sweden are literally eager to join NATO.

Quickly, during those few days that the PMR army can hold out against a concentrated attack from Moldova and Ukraine, Russia is able to support Transnistria only by using the full power of the Aerospace Forces and by carpet bombing destroying all life in the territories of Moldova, Odessa and Nikolaev regions of Ukraine. Well, this is exactly what the Americans need: “everything is alive” is an exaggeration, most civilians will survive and will excitedly tell foreign correspondents about the hell set up by Moscow, demonstrate destroyed houses and graves of dead relatives.

Why don't they attack?

It's all about little Moldova. Having seen enough of Ukraine, many of us believe that nothing in this world depends on political leaders, and even more so on the people of small countries. They supposedly blindly follow the instructions of Washington or they are severely punished. In most cases this is true. The United States vigilantly monitors the situation in the countries they are interested in and quickly changes overly independent (thinking about national interests) politicians into thieving turkeys who consider the words “power” and “money” to be synonymous.

Moldova is an example of how the presence of a national consensus on the strategic issue of domestic and foreign policy ties the hands of the Americans and prevents them from unleashing a much-needed war for decades.

Pro-Russian forces are very weak in Moldova. Basically, the “pro-Russian” nature of the Chisinau socialists, and earlier the communists, consisted in the fact that, without changing the strategic political course for EU membership, it is necessary to maintain good economic relations with Russia, since there is nowhere else to take energy resources from and there is no one else to sell the products of Moldovan gardens and orchards .

Moldovan nationalists, unlike Ukrainian ones, generally supported this program of the Moldovan left. Russia was far from them, they were not afraid of it. They were afraid of the absorption of Moldova by Romania. They had reasons: not only Bucharest did not hide its revanchist sentiments towards the once lost Bessarabia, but a significant part of the Moldovan politicians spoke from a Romanian-philic position, stating that the Moldovans are Romanians and Moldova should simply dissolve into Romania.

Under these conditions, the Moldovan nationalists, concerned about the preservation of the Moldovan statehood, launched a "swing" policy. Or they supported the left-wing governments that provided Moldova with markets in Russia, diligently distancing themselves from Moscow politically. When, from their point of view, the left acquired too much authority, and they had a personal commercial interest in closer ties with Russia, which threatened the political course towards Europe, the Moldovan nationalists began to support the right-wing Romanophiles, vigilantly making sure that they did not acquire too much power.

Within the framework of this "swing" policy, the annexation of Transnistria was mortally dangerous for the Moldovan political system. The anti-Romanian and anti-nationalist voters of the Transdniestrian Moldavian Republic overstrengthened the left, disrupting the prevailing political stability. In addition, the Transnistrian autonomy, together with the Gagauz autonomy, threatened to destroy the dominance of pro-Moldovan parties in Moldovan politics. Therefore, having established normal economic contacts with the PMR, Moldova has never taken serious steps towards the reintegration of the region.

It is interesting that the Romanians, who have their eyes not only on Moldova, but also on Southern Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina (with the exception of absolutely abnormal right-wing radicals), have also always demonstrated their disinterest in Transnistria. Romania even offered unofficially in the early-mid-90s both Kyiv and Moscow to take over the PMR, provided that Romania was given the opportunity to absorb Moldova. Adequate Romanian leaders also do not want to mess around with an ethnically alien and economically integrated region, which will be a source of constant ferment and a pretext for Russian intervention at any moment Moscow deems appropriate.

The USA and Ukraine could not attack the PMR on their own, only Romania and Moldova had grounds for a conflict with Russia. But Chisinau and Bucharest have refrained from taking drastic steps for decades, for decency and demonstrating Euro-Atlantic solidarity, periodically making not very insistent "demands" for the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers.

Now, however, the situation has become more complicated. In Chisinau, the Americans managed to bring Maia Sandu to power. This holder of Romanian citizenship and a devout Romanian, considers the integration of Moldova into Romania her life's work. For the sake of realizing this idea, she even tried to start repressions against her political opponents, starting, of course, with Igor Dodon, as the leader of the left. The goal was clear - to establish the actual dictatorship of the executive power, breaking and intimidating the opposition in parliament, after which, by a strong-willed decision, to begin the unification of Moldova with Romania "within internationally recognized borders", including Pridnestrovie.

The Romanian authorities planned to trap. Bucharest could neither refuse Moldavia's request for reunification, nor demand that Chisinau give up sovereignty over Transnistria. Romanian public opinion would not forgive such a desecration of the national pride of the Romanians to any politician. So much for the military crisis on yesterday's still peaceful border. Nobody wants it (except the USA and Ukraine), but neither Russia can refuse to support Transnistria, nor Romania from claims to the entire internationally recognized territory of Moldova.

So far, we are saved by the fact that the Moldovan political system of "swings", which for 30 years guaranteed peace in Transnistria, turned out to be remarkably tenacious. Moldovan nationalists immediately spotted the danger of establishing a Romanian dictatorship of Sandu, and Dodon received the support of parliament and the street. The government stopped, but did not retreat. It relies on the non-public support of the United States, which is the main instigator, and an agreement with Romania that gives Bucharest the opportunity to send armed military, police and border guards to Moldova in case of a threat to Moldovan statehood.

The American-led government of Sandu would long ago have provoked street clashes and turned to Romania for help, but both Washington and Bucharest are afraid that, given the general mood of the Moldovan society, instead of a joint campaign against Transnistria to create another military crisis for Russia, there will be The Moldavian-Romanian war, in the form of broad popular resistance to the attempted forced Romanianization of Moldova. In this case, it will be difficult to present Russia to world public opinion (which has recently refused to take the gentlemen's word for it) as an aggressor. On the contrary, Moscow will put on the white clothes of the defender of Moldovan sovereignty.

This is how a small state, whose people just want to work, and not be proud of their prehistoric origin, can sometimes break the plans of the hegemon. However, the United States does not retreat and the Romanian-Russian war on the territory of Moldova for the PMR continues to be prepared.

This entry is also available on Online the author.

 About the Author:
ROSTISLAV ISHCHENKO
Ukrainian political scientist, publicist, historian, diplomat
All publications of the author »»
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