In Moldova, which borders the EU, Russian separatists are calling on Putin for help

The pro-Russian authorities of the Moldovan separatist region of Transnistria called on Russia today to "protect" them, numerous experts warned about this, does Putin want to stage a reason to attack Moldova?

by Sededin Dedovic
In Moldova, which borders the EU, Russian separatists are calling on Putin for help
© Carl Court / Getty Images

The pro-Russian authorities of Moldova's separatist region of Transnistria issued their appeal to Russia today, seeking "protection" from what they describe as growing pressure coming from Moldova. The news caused a wave of concern in the former Soviet republic of Moldova, fueling speculation about possible escalation of tensions and Russian military intervention in the region.

The parliament of that internationally unrecognized region, located on the border with Ukraine, adopted a resolution today that states the intention to send a request to the Russian Federation Council and Duma to "implement measures to protect Transnistria from the ever-increasing pressure of Moldova." The move is the latest development in a long-running dispute between the Moldovan government and Russian-backed separatist forces.

Nato warned of the possibility of triggering a crisis in Moldova when Putin feels strong enough, and it seems that time has come. Moldova itself gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and currently has about 3.4 million inhabitants.

Of these, approximately half a million live in Transnistria, a region located in the east of the country along the Dniester River, which accounts for about 17% of Moldova's total territory. The region became the epicenter of conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Moldovan authorities after it declared independence in the 1990s.

This de facto state is unrecognized throughout the world, and lives only with the financial and material help of Russia. The language and ethnic composition of the population additionally contribute to the complexity of the situation.

The majority of Moldovans are ethnic Romanians who speak the Romanian language, and Moldova shares a border with Romania to the west. On the other hand, about 15% of the population in Moldova speak Russian as their mother tongue, and Transnistria is influenced by Russian culture and politics, which further increases the tension between the region and the central Moldovan government.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the authorities in this occupied Moldovan territory have been increasingly vocal about their desire to merge with Russia, however, there is still Ukrainian territory between them and Russia.

Considering the trajectory of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, it can be concluded that Putin's goal could be Moldova in order to have a compact Russian entity that is connected.

A bust of Lenin in front of the House of Soviets building on July 30, 2022 in Tiraspol, Moldova.

Transnistria is strongly associ© Anton Polyakov / Getty Images

The stationing of Russian soldiers in Transnistria has been complicating the situation for decades. This move by Russia was perceived as support for separatist efforts and as a factor that maintains the status quo in the region.

So, in the internationally recognized part of Moldova, there is an official army of Russia, it is a smaller number of soldiers, but they serve as a symbol of protection and deterrence from possible future actions of the Moldovan central authorities.

Therefore, the appeal of the pro-Russian authorities of Transnistria to Russia is not surprising, but it causes fears in Moldova and in the international community. It is not clear what exactly they expect from Russia, but it is clear that this appeal has the potential to further worsen the already tense situation in the region.

The Moldovan government has previously expressed its determination to preserve the territorial integrity of the country, including Transnistria, but at the same time is open to dialogue and a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

But it must be admitted that there is a certain amount of fear among the population of Moldova as well as among politicians to clearly state their position on the return of this renegade province to the state. Russia is very close, and Moldova has seen the lack of help from the USA and the EU towards Ukraine, which is going through difficult times these days.

The international community is carefully following the development of events in Moldova and Transnistria, aware of the potential consequences that the escalation of this conflict could have on regional stability. Diplomatic efforts are key to preventing escalation and finding a sustainable solution that takes into account the interests and aspirations of all parties involved.

Neither the separatists nor their interests should be excluded if we want to achieve lasting peace. However, regardless of the goodwill of the Moldovan authorities and population, it seems that Russia's goal is the occupation of all countries where the majority of Russians live.

We remind you that Hitler also embarked on a campaign to conquer all German lands, and we know how that ended. History teaches us many such and similar feats of proud and arrogant leaders and rulers. Despite the challenges it faces, Moldova remains committed to its European perspective and strengthening ties with the European Union.

The country became a candidate for EU membership, which surprisingly did not cause excessive reactions from Russia and the Kremlin. There is simply no stability in Moldova today, there is a strong Russian influence that tries to turn the country away from the West, even though Moldova borders Romania, which is in the EU, and Moldovans and Romanians are practically the same people with the same language, culture and customs.