Head of the PMR\'s MFA Gives Interview to Web Portal Revizor.ua

Head of the PMR\'s MFA Gives Interview to Web Portal Revizor.ua

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PMR Nina Shtanski answered the questions by Alexander Chalenko, executive editor of the web portal Revizor.ua. Here is the text of the interview.

Alexander Chalenko: Pridnestrovie is unrecognized state which has no representatives in international organizations; it does not enter into any international political, military, or economic unions. What does republic's foreign policy represent in this case?

Nina Shtanski: First, the ways the foreign policy of recognized and unrecognized states is realized basically do not differ much. Priorities and goals are similar. Different are approaches and functions of the institutions but the tasks are the same regardless whether a state is recognized or not, since the most important for a country's viability is its internal sovereignty which does not depend on the will of external actors but is rather ensured from the inside, primarily, through the trust of the citizens in the government they have elected.

- Can you as an official representative go to Bucharest, Kiev or Washington?

- You have mentioned Kiev. I can arrive in the Ukrainian capital with an official visit since I am a participant of the negotiations in the 5+2 format in which Ukraine is a guarantor country. At least, Ukraine recognizes my participation in the negotiations and sees me as an official representative of Pridnestrovie.

Notwithstanding it unrecognized status, Pridnestrovie has been developing as a state for already 20 years. In any case, some recognized states with their flags waving at the lawn near United Nations may envy it. The Republic has proved its viability, there is a well-established system of state bodies, there is a state ensuring protection of citizens' rights in difficult circumstances. 

The main goal of our foreign policy is to gain recognition of Pridnestrovie's independence. We develop broad ties in this direction, conduct negotiations with Moldova, try to stabilize the situation connected with the peacekeeping mission carried out under auspices of Russia on the Dniester.

-  Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008. What are your relations with these states? Do they recognize your independence? What were your feelings in 2008 when they were recognized by Russia but Pridnestrovie wasn't? Didn't republic's authorities have a desire to trigger Moldova to some conflict so that Moscow would also recognize Pridnestrovie after a small but victorious war?

 - No, there was no desire to provoke anyone. We ourselves have been suffering from these very provocations for many years. We don't need tanks – we need peace and development of a new form of collaboration evolving in other direction. Concerning South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Nagornyi Karabakh – these are brotherly nations and it is not empty words. These are nations who share our will, as well as problems and difficulties. Today South Ossetia and Abkhazia maintain diplomatic relations with us; there are agreements signed.

- Are there embassies?

 - Official representation offices function in Pridnestrovie. There are representation offices in line of the Pridnestrovian MFA in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It is important for us. We expect strengthening of ties and will do everything needed for this.

 As for the discourse regarding unrecognized states. I was the participant of hearings in Moscow in the capacity of advisor to Yevgeny Shevchuk who headed the parliament of the PMR at that time. He spoke at the hearings and asked to recognize republic's independence. Russia's position was not clear to me, though certain arguments were put forward.

- What are the arguments?

- On the readiness of Moldova not to enter NATO and to declare neutrality, on the readiness of Kishinev to leave GUAM and to strengthen relations with Russia. Agreement capacity of Moldova and unexhausted negotiation potential are the main arguments. But we see, how everything ended. We see, how solid these arguments were. It happened, what it happened. Russia does not have common borders with Pridnestrovie. But, at the same time, it must be understood, that officially more than 160 thousand Russian citizens live here…

- How many people live there in Pridnestrovie?

-  According to the latest population census held in 2004, there are 550 thousand people who can be relatively divided on three large national communities – Russian, Ukrainian and Moldovan. Not all ethnic Russians have Russian citizenship.

- Do you have it?

- I am Russian, the citizen of Russia.

- I read your biography. It says, that you were born in Tiraspol.

- Yes. I was born in Tiraspol. Russian is my native language; I am Russian citizen.

- Naturally you have also the passport of the PMR.

- Of course.

- Do you have Ukrainian one?

- No. I am not sure, that Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement on dual citizenship. You should know better.

- No. Dual citizenship is forbidden in Ukraine.

- It means, that I have no reasons to receive Ukrainian citizenship. Besides, I do not live here (in Ukraine – note).

- Pro-Western politicians came to power in Moldova; and negotiation potential seems to be exhausted. Does it mean, that the PMR has more chances to be recognized by Russia?

- I would like to say “yes”. But I have no possibility to give such answer, though I am an optimist. The arguments of the year 2008 concerning possible use of negotiation potential did not prove to be correct. Besides, we lead negotiation process with Moldova, we demonstrate all kinds of intention to reach compromise within the framework of negotiation process, to solve those problems that can be solved regardless of status, for example, the problem of poverty. But in this case the urge of Moldova towards Europe and the growth of Romanian influence is evident.

- Do you know Romanian language?

- That is quite overstated. I am learning this language. I understand it rather well and I can speak, but I am not quite sure in literacy and prefer not to speak this language. I use it when I work with literary sources; less frequently I use it when I analyze documents.

- If the PMR does not have allies, may be in the EU there are states that sympathize it?

- But you told, that we are not recognized state.

- Russia did not recognize, but it helps you.

- I think, that Moldova also feels calmer thanks to Russia. Nobody is shooting…

- You have been holding the post of the Minister already for three month.

- A little bit less.

- Have you already met with the Head of Ukrainian MFA Konstantin Grishchenko May be you have had a phone conversation?

- There was no meeting, but in January I had the possibility to get acquainted with him in Odessa on the meeting of the President of the PMR Shevchuk and the Prime-Minister of Moldova Filat.

- What impression did he make upon you?

- He is a professional diplomat.

- Was the period of the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko (2005-2010) complicated for the PMR?

- This complicated period is not over yet. The blockade of the year 2006 continues to bring deplorable results. The size of our population, the number of working places, of able-bodied people is decreasing. We have big problems with border business which disappeared on the border with Ukraine. The fact that Ukrainian border is closed brings troubles to large amount of economical agents and to population in whole.

- And why where there no attempts to meet with Victor Yanukovych and to solve this problem for these year and a half of his presidency?

- Considerable efforts are being made. Not only on diplomatic level. I am not ready to comment on the results but I count on intensifying our relations.

- Are you ready to assist Ukrainian journalists to visit Pridnestrovie?

- I agree with such initiatives and we will support them. Some days ago I got a request on my e-mail from one Ukrainian organization which was ready to organize a press-tour. I hope everything will be fine. We try to be open.

- Is there a department for Ukraine in the PMR's MFA?

- There is a Department for CIS Countries which includes specialists working with Ukraine.

- Could PMR become part of Ukraine?

- In 2006 Pridnestrovian people voted for independence with possibility of joining Russia in future.

- And have the Ukrainian politicians never proposed to think about joining our State?

- I never heard about such initiatives.

- Many Ukrainian politicians are being born in Moldova: Anatoliy Kinakh, Sergei Tigipko, Petro Poroshenko. These people are not indifferent to the fate of this territory. Have you tried to contact them?

- I can only repeat that the contacts are developing on the highest level. There were no personal contacts with the politicians you mentioned. I met with Igor Kharchenko for several times. He represents Ukraine in the negotiation process. If there will be possibility of extending contacts I would be happy.

- Why did Mister Shevchuk appoint you to the post of Head of the MFA? What were his motives?

- I hope this question is asked to give point to this interview. I worked as his advisor for 10 years. He knows me as his worker and companion. I have appropriate education; I was engaged in research work. And I learned much from him for these years.

- What is the theme of your research?

- It is the Settlement of Pridnestrovian conflict.

- What is your working day in the MFA?

- It starts at 8 a.m. and lasts until 8 p.m. Usually it is even later.

- Do you have hobbies?

- I like to ride a horse, I like tennis and fitness. But I have less and less time for this.

- What books do you read?

- Books on theory of political science, conflictology. I have no time for classics. But I like works of Pushkin, Lermontov, Chekhov…

- Do you like cooking?

- I do, but I am busy on my work. And my hands are more busy with keyboard than with cooking.

- Do you live in your own house?

- No, I live in flat with my family.

- How did your neighbors regard your appointment?

- I didn't notice any changes.

- And the last question. When will PMR be internationally recognized? Is there danger of PMR's occupation?

- As I am conversing with you as a Minister of Foreign Affairs and not an astrologist I will allow myself not to answer the first question. Meanwhile, I left message on the margins on the issue of security and the possibility of resumption of bloodshed. We have people who are still afraid of it. The only guarantee of peace is the lasting peacekeeping operation. It is the guarantor of peace and order for us. If I would answer “no, this can't happen again” I would be cunning because the conflict is not settled yet and the conflict potential is growing. It should be regulated and we need a system of guarantees. And I mean really a system, not some sporadic measures. Today the peacekeeping operation is the only mechanism of this kind.