Marian Lupu's bifurcātus: Moldova to have visa-free travel with the EU, Russia and CIS in the same time
By Vlad Spânu / Washington, DC / Moldova.ORG/ -- Moldovan politicians are competing in calls for the automatic extension of the Russian Federation-Republic of Moldova treaty that is a legal framework for strategic partnership between the two countries and an active bilateral cooperation in various spheres.
The 10-year Russia-Moldova treaty, concluded in 2001, expires this year.
The main voice on the 'strategic cooperation' and 'automatic extension' issues is the acting President and Speaker of the parliament Marian Lupu. Among others, he indicated that Moldova's European integration, which was a priority for the country's foreign policy promoted by the previous government (2009-2010), did not contradict its cooperation with Russia, or Moldova's membership in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), or Moldova's neutrality (read: not aspiring for NATO's membership).
In particular, Lupu says that the Republic of Moldova wants to have visa-free travel with the EU and sign an agreement on free trade with the EU. At the same time, Marian Lupu stressed that his country must maintain existing visa-free travel and free trade with Russia and other CIS countries.
Does he really think that the EU will sign a visa-free agreement with a small and poor Moldova that has visa-free arrangements with Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia ex-Soviet republics and all other countries that form the CIS? If Lupu indeed thinks so, he is a naive. If he does not, he is probably not telling the whole truth to his countrymen and to Moldova's foreign partners.
The acting Moldovan president favors an automatic extension of the Russia-Moldova treaty for another 10 years. What Lupu does not say is that there are provisions in this treaty that are detrimental to Moldova's national security and to the regional security, for that matter. For example, Russia can intervene with its military force in Moldova should there be an internal conflict, such as is the so called Transnistrian conflict, the “frozen” 1992 Russia-Moldova brief war that took place in the Eastern part of the Republic of Moldova. Since then, the Moldovan central government cannot control this territory that is supported militarily, financially and politically by the Russian Federation. Russia, according to the treaty, is the "guarantor" of peace in Moldova. In other words, Russia, from a party of the conflict turned herself into a "mediator" and "guarantor", with the acceptance of Moldovan political leaders (the 2001 treaty has been ratified by the Communists of ex-President Vladimir Voronin and the Braghis Alliance, headed by Dumitru Braghis, an ex-leader of the Soviet Moldavia Communist Union of Youth).
Since 1991, the head (self-described president of the internationally non-recognized entity) of this Eastern rebel region of Moldova is Igor Smirnov, a Russian citizen and reportedly an officer of Russia's intelligence agencies. Most of Smirnov's colleagues have the same background as his. It is a cloned scenario also used by Russia in Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where self-proclaimed leaders of the secessionists regions are Russian citizens and agents.
Today, the situation is different than in 2001. Moldova was able to convince other international players to be part of the conflict resolution - OSCE, Ukraine, European Union and the United States.
Why Marian Lupu or any Moldovan politician should push for an automatic extension and not ask for renegotiation of some "bad" articles of the Russia-Moldova treaty?
I recall a statement made recently by Ilie Ilaşcu, a Moldovan-born Romanian politician and an ex-political prisoner sentenced to death by the separatist Transnistrian puppet regime, in an interview to Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty (in Romanian) on Dec. 17, 2010. Ilaşcu said: “… in all so-called democratic parties [in Moldova] there are “people of the [old] system”… I have analyzed all parties’ electoral lists [2010 parliamentary elections] and among first 10-15 candidates, there are 5-6-7 people of the system. They act as 'Chinese drops' [on a stone gradually creating a hollow]. This is why Russians have implanted there these people long time ago. Some are there for 20 years, others for 10 years, others for 5, new are coming, changing the older…”
I hope Marian Lupu is not among those "people of the system" referred to by Ilie Ilaşcu...
Vlad Spânu is the president of the Moldova Foundation in Washington. He served as a senior Moldovan diplomat between 1992 and 2001 and co-authored, with Andrei Brezianu, "The Historical Dictionary of Moldova" in 2007 and its 2010 edition "The A to Z of Moldova".