Moldova Fears Russian Takeover Of Territory, Wants European Protection

Moldova was once part of the Soviet Union before declaring independence in 1991, and most Moldovans don’t want to repeat that experience.

In the light of the recent events in its neighbor, Ukraine, the President of Moldova called on Europe to accelerate its full integration into the European Union.

Moldova is already closely connected to Europe through its membership of a number of European based organizations, including the Council of Europe. With a population of only 3.5 million, many of whom are ethnic Russians or Russian speaking, Moldova is feeling nervous after seeing how easily Russia took over the Crimea.

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It is also worried about the weak response from the Western nations to the Russian action, and feels vulnerable – especially since some officials in the Russian-speaking area of Transdniestr already contacted Moscow, asking to be integrated into Russia.

The Moldovan region of Transdniestr, which borders Ukraine, is economically dependent on Russia, and seceded from Moldova a year before the declaration of independence.

This was followed by a civil war between independent Moldova and Transdniestr, which ended in 1992.

The region has never been recognized as an independent state by any United Nations member, but – in a parallel situation to Crimea – voted overwhelmingly in a referendum in 2006 to become part of Russia. Although that has not happened fully, thousands of Russian troops are based there.

President Nicolae Timofti said, “I hope that we will have the support of the European Union to sign the association agreement as soon as possible,” after speaking with his Romanian counterpart Traian Basescu ahead of Thursday’s EU summit in Brussels.

He added,”My country is asking the European Union to offer clear membership prospects.”

Which will extend beyond simply being allowed to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest……

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In November 2013, Moldova initialed an agreement on closer trade and political ties with the EU despite Russian pressure. Officials in the capital, Chisinau, say they hope to conclude the deal later this year.

It was the decision by then Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych to reject a similar deal for Ukraine in favor of a multi-billion dollar offer from President Putin that set off the months of street protests which led to him fleeing the country.

Timofti said he hoped Russia would “take into account criticism by the EU and Romania’s and Moldova’s position.”

Romania’s president said after meeting Timofti that Moldova must be integrated into European Union and that EU guarantees were the “only solution” to a potential conflict over Transdniestr.

Unfortunately, history does not favor Moldova’s aspirations. Russia’s success in taking two regions of Georgia in 2008, and now Crimea, can not lead to any justified optimism in Moldova as to the outcome with Transdniestr,