In the Moldovan and foreign media recently publications on the preparation of a new war in Transdniestria have flashed. It is reported that at the Bulboaca training ground, American instructors help the Moldovan military develop an offensive operation, to which Ukraine can connect. The news is actively discussed by experts and politicians, estimating the military potential of the parties, scenarios of interference in the conflict of global players are described. To clarify the situation, our correspondent asked the president and the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Moldova Igor Dodon.
How do you assess all this hype of Moldova-Transnistria?
– As a provocation. After the appearance of these reports, I specially inspected the polygon in Bulboac, other parts of the Moldovan army, checked the weapons warehouses, the locations of the deployment of military equipment. And he did not find any preparations for war. I have already said many times and will repeat once again: our country can only be united by peaceful means. As President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I will never give an order to use military force against Transnistria. According to the Constitution, this can not be done without the president’s signature.
Who are these rumours profitable for?
– I am convinced that there are no real prerequisites for a war in Transnistria. But in the escalation of tension in our country influential politicians are interested both in our country and abroad. I will never give an order to use military force against Transnistria. According to the Constitution, this can not be done without the president’s signature.
Who, for example?
Those who are afraid of losing power in the upcoming elections next year. According to polls, after eight years of a failed coalition of pro-European parties, they have little chance of getting into parliament. Now the leaders of the ruling Democratic Party are trying to enlist the support of the United States, where there are influential political circles interested in intensifying confrontation with Moscow. We see how they are increasing the pressure on President Trump to prevent a constructive dialogue with the Kremlin.
To please their patrons in the West, the Democrats are opposed to my policy of restoring a strategic partnership with Russia. To do this, regularly arrange demarches against Moscow – from the ban on Russian media, the expulsion of journalists, political scientists before the announcement of person non-grata Russian diplomats, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.
Coalition-controlled media have recently been full of reports “about the militaristic plans of Imperial Russia,” which, having unleashed a war on the Dniester, allegedly wants to occupy the south of Ukraine, overthrow the pro-European regimes in Chisinau and Kiev. They are actively assisted by colleagues from Romania who are not interested in solving the Transnistrian problem and unifying our country, as this will put an end to their plans for the annexation of Moldova.
It is worth recalling that officials from the Moldovan government, accusing Rogozin of insulting them, like water in their mouths, when their Romanian counterparts talk about plans for the liquidation of Moldova and its unification with the neighbouring country. On the part of the Russian leadership, for example, I have never heard such appeals. Politicians who are not interested in restoring Moldova’s cooperation with Russia, in solving the Transnistrian problem, are in Moscow and Tiraspol.
With respect to both Moldova and Ukraine, which can not be avoided on the way to Tiraspol?
“This will allow us to further quarrel with Moscow and Brussels, which, as we see, is being strenuously pursued by anti-Russian politicians in the United States. If the Kremlin does not intervene, there will be a good reason to expose the Russian leadership to the weak, who failed to protect their peacekeepers and fellow citizens.
“But the conflict can be ignited even without your knowledge.” As you know, the powers of the head of state in Moldova are limited. And the ministers, including the siloviki, are controlled by the Democratic Party, whose leaders, as you noted, seek Washington’s favour.
“To prevent this from happening, I demanded from the commanders of the military units to inform me thoroughly and in detail about all the exercises, the movements of the units.” As for the leaders of the Democrats, I think that the fate of Mikhail Saakashvili, who also flaunted US support, can serve as a good example for them in this situation. I demanded that the commanders of the military units carefully and thoroughly inform me of all the exercises, the movements of units.
But now the former president of Georgia swears that in August 2008 he did not give orders to fight and became a victim of provocation!
“You can say anything.” Everyone knows that the American army was trained by the American instructors for several years, with the help of powerful infusions from the West it was perfectly armed and equipped. We have the same situation. Even if one assumes that one of the politicians in Chisinau harbours militaristic plans, the Moldovan army, which has been reduced for many years, financed by a residual principle, is currently unable to implement them. This conclusion I made after a detailed acquaintance with the situation in military units. For understandable reasons, I do not want to cite data on how little money we have to maintain the military, their training, armament, technical equipment. It’s sad that even these miserable resources our politicians manage to steal.
Yes their names are heard – during the last eight years, during the division of portfolios between the participants of the ruling pro-European coalition, the Ministry of Defense was assigned to the Liberal Party, which advocates the unification of our country with Romania.
The paradox. It turns out that the care for the security of the state was laid on those who want to liquidate it?
In the people on this occasion they say: let the goat in the garden. Now representatives of this party, including the Mayor of Chisinau, the Minister of Transport, other high-ranking officials, have appeared in the dock on charges of corruption and other abuses.
Have you asked the leadership of Russia, which has many levers of influence, not to apply retaliatory sanctions against the actions of the Moldovan government?
– Such sanctions would have the opposite effect since ordinary people would suffer from it, which would play into the hands of opponents of rapprochement of our countries. I want to note that Moscow is well informed about our internal political situation. I hope that the Russian leadership will not do what our enemies are waiting for – both in our country and abroad.
How will the scandal with Dmitry Rogozin, who is a representative of the Russian president for Transdniestria, be reflected in the negotiations on the conflict settlement that have been stalling for several years now?
During a recent meeting with him in Tehran, we agreed to organize in the near future negotiations with the leader of the Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublika Vadim Krasnoselsky. We will discuss first of all the problems, the solution of which will make it easier for ordinary people on both sides of the Dniester.
What are these problems?
We transferred to Tiraspol our proposals on solving problems with telephone communication, recognizing the Transnistrian diplomas and car plates, the work of Moldovan schools on the left bank of the Dniester, and other issues. Progress in their settlement will allow the resumption of the five-plus-five negotiation process (Moldova, Transnistria, OSCE, Russia, Ukraine and the US and EU observers.