The Transnistria separatist project is close to completion ... the Russian Federation has no chance of "saving" it !

22.02.23 20:00

The "Transnistrian" separatism on the territory of the Republic of Moldova and the separatist so-called "Transnistrian Moldovan Republic" (TMR) were organised within the same wave of separatism that began in 1988 in Azerbaijan's Karabakh with the demand for "miatsum" - the annexation of this territory to Armenia. Then in 1989, to a large extent due to the efforts of the same Armenian lobby, a separatist movement was fomented in Georgia's Abkhazia, Samachablo and Moldovan Transdniestria.

While the Artsakh, Abkhaz and Ossetian separatists demanded the "independence" of their entities within the framework of existing Soviet autonomies, the Transnistrian separatists created their project without reference to the administrative-territorial division of the USSR. They simply started fuelling the conflict on the basis of the alleged desire of part of the population of the Moldovan SSR living on the left bank of the Nistru and the city of Bandera on the right bank of the same river to "be with Russia". "to prevent Romanisation", "to respect the rights of the Russian-speaking population", etc.

Nevertheless, the Transdniestrian separatist project enjoyed enormous support from Armenian nationalists. After all, such a precedent provided an opportunity to divide Georgia and Azerbaijan, irrespective of the Soviet administrative boundaries. Transnistria also set a precedent for Armenian separatists in Georgian Samtskhe-Javakheti, who demanded the separation of "Javakhk" from Georgia, despite the fact that there were no such administrative-territorial units within the Georgian SSR.

All four separatist projects - Artsakh, Transnistria, Abkhazia and Ossetia - were closely linked and coordinated from one centre. It is no coincidence that during the bloody armed conflict in Transdniestria in the spring and summer of 1992, during which the separatists separated from Moldova with the help of the Russian army, mercenary fighters and Russian military personnel were "transferred" from Karabakh to Transdniestria and back at critical moments.
Likewise, it is no accident that less than a month after the "Agreement on the Principles of the Settlement of the Armed Conflict in the Transnistrian Region of the Republic of Moldova" was signed in Moscow on July 21, 1992, which ended the hot phase of the separatist war, a separatist war was ignited in the Georgian Abkhazia, where fighters from Transnistria were promptly thrown in. And the fake "independence" of the so-called DMR was recognised by the Khankendi, Sukhumi and Tskhinvali separatists.

But judging by the latest developments, the separatist project in Transnistria has only months, if not weeks, left to exist. With the beginning of the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine, the breakthrough of a "land corridor" to Transnistria was the main goal of the aggressors. However, the tank convoy that was rushing towards Transnistria in early March 2022 was stopped and defeated near the Ukrainian town of Voznesensk, only 100 or so kilometres short of its goal.

And then the Russian aggressors lost the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, the cruiser Moskva, and were forced to abandon the island of Zmeiniy, captured in the early days of the war, making it impossible to land a naval landing in the Odessa region in order to "break through to Transdniestria" from the sea. With the loss of Kherson and the bridgehead on the right bank of the Dnieper by the Russian invaders in November 2022, it became clear that the Transnistrian separatist enclave was doomed.

And it is no coincidence that during his speech at the summit of the international Crimean Platform in Zagreb in November 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski suggested that similar international mechanisms for the de-occupation of Transnistria in Moldova and Abkhazia in Georgia should be created by analogy with the Crimean Platform. In particular, Zelenskyy said that the format of the Crimean platform can become a basis for other humanitarian and diplomatic platforms "which will contribute to the de-occupation of other territories that were once occupied - from Transnistria and Abkhazia to the Northern Territories (the Japanese territories in the Kuril Islands occupied by Russia)".

At the same time, the Russian aggressors themselves, having started the stage of "war of attrition" against Ukraine with a huge expenditure of ammunition contributed to the Ukrainian side's interest in Transnistria. And not only because the Russian occupation (and formally "peacekeeping") contingent located here with the threat of "hitting the rear" forces to divert troops from the frontline.

The fact is that in the zone of Russian occupation in Transdniestria, there are still Soviet military warehouses in Kolbasna, where at least 500 cars of explosives, 2,600 cars of ammunition, 20,000 tons of various weapons, shells for "Grad" installations and others are stored. According to some Russian military experts, the Armed Forces, if given access to these ammunition stocks, could fight on them for at least another year without needing supplies of similar ammunition from Western countries. Moldova could transfer this ammunition to Ukraine, but understandably, as long as Transnistria is occupied, the Russian occupiers will prevent this.

Moldova recently underwent a change of government and the new Prime Minister of Moldova, Dorin Recean, in one of his first introductions officially stated that Russian troops must withdraw from the territory of the de facto Russian occupied Transnistria. According to him, the left bank of the Nistru should be demilitarised "through the evacuation of Russian troops and the demilitarisation of the indigenous population", after which these citizens should be socially and economically integrated.

In essence, Dorin Rechan repeated the plans of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev with regard to the Armenian population of Karabakh, which is also, for the time being, in the zone of responsibility of Russian 'peacekeepers'. That is to say, there is no talk of any notorious "genocide". Moldova considers the inhabitants of Transnistria as its full-fledged citizens, as Azerbaijan does the Armenians of Karabakh. All the more so because many residents of Transnistria have already tried to obtain passports of the Republic of Moldova themselves, because Russian passports, which the occupiers here have illegally distributed to everyone, do not provide opportunities to travel to EU countries.

"We have to achieve a fundamental thing - demilitarization. After that comes everything else, and the economic and social integration of our citizens who are there is very important, but at the top of the table is demilitarisation. It depends on several things, but it will be decided one day," the Moldovan prime minister said regarding the future of Transnistria.

He also recalled that the country maintains its neutrality, but the Russian army is still present in the Transnistrian region.

The Russian leadership found nothing better than to resort to trivial blackmail in response to this statement of the Moldovan prime minister. Russian President Vladimir Putin cancelled his own decree of 2012, which referred to "finding a solution to the Transnistrian problem based on respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and the neutral status of the Republic of Moldova". I.e. it was perceived by many experts as a direct and unambiguous threat of aggression against Moldova and an attempt to annex Transnistria. All the more so because such plans seem to exist in the Kremlin.

In particular, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reported, based on Ukrainian intelligence data, that the Russian Federation had long planned to replace Moldova's leadership by force. And since Moldova and the Russian Federation do not share a common border, it was planned to airlift the Russian military, including through the airport in Chisinau, having previously seized it. Just as in February 2022, Russian paratroopers seized the Ukrainian airport in Gostomel. That the information provided by Vladimir Zelinsky corresponds to the real plans of the Russian Federation was also confirmed by Dorin Recean.
However, to all appearances, the Kremlin has no real power to carry out aggression against Moldova and "unblock" the Transnistrian separatists. The elite airborne units were largely "knocked out" in the same Gostomel, and there are no forces for a "march to Transnistria in conditions when the Russian army has been storming small Bakhmut for half a year already.

And the Kremlin's threats to resolve the Transnistrian issue in its favour by force will lead to the fact that the issue of de-occupation of Transnistria in the near future will be put clearly and firmly by the Moldovan authorities. After all, the Russian military are there as "peacekeepers" only with the consent of Moldova. If Moldova demands their withdrawal, Russia will be forced either to open a new front (which it clearly has no forces for) or evacuate its occupation "peacekeeping" contingent.

Elimination of the Transnistrian separatist project will make the position of the separatists in Sukhumi and Tskhinvali even more precarious and will bring the inevitable de-occupation of the Georgian Abkhazia and Samachablo one step closer.



Alexandre Zakhariadze

Read: 676

Write comment

(In their comments, readers should avoid expressing religious, racial and national discrimination, not use offensive and derogatory expressions, as well as appeals that are contrary to the law)

You can enter 512 characters

News feed