“Pridnestrovian Gambit” – Nina Shtanski Answers AiF Newspaper Questions

“Pridnestrovian Gambit” – Nina Shtanski Answers AiF Newspaper Questions

Tiraspol is waiting for substantive steps forward from the official Kishinev. Resuming Moldo-Pridnestrovian negotiation process has reinforced public interest making residents from both banks of the Dniester renew their hopes for the solution of this long-standing conflict. However, it is clear that the situation is getting protracted: for Russia it is advantageous to preserve status-quo; EU together with the USA doesn't want to give up their geopolitical stance. Consequently, Moldova will keep clinging to Pridnestrovie. In this scenario, only unrecognized republic comes off a loser, with its citizens facing numerous serious problems on a day-to-day basis.

Head of foreign office of the PMR Nina SHTANSKI gave her assessment to what is happening in an exclusive interview to AiF in Moldova Newspaper.

  Own Stance

- Is current “young administration” of Pridnestrovie ready to make a compromise in the matter of conflict settlement?

- Lt's recall that the first step made by the new team to meet Moldova was cancellation of a 100% customs duty. This decision was achieved not at the table of negotiations in the 5+2 format. It was a unilateral step.

Farther - more: simplification of border-crossing procedure during holidays, decision to remove radioactive waste and many other things. We don't need to prove our readiness to make a compromise - we have already started to make them.

However, compromise is not always a mutual process. Now it may seem that Pridnestrovie is too insistently expecting reciprocal steps from Moldova. Certainly, it is necessary to maintain momentum of the negotiation process which was very hard to achieve. We understand that after a 6-year hiatus much has been done during the last nine months. But people's expectations were much higher.

- Does PMR see itself as a separate state, a part of Moldova with special status or as part of Russia?

- The question shouldn't be put this way. Yes, we have no status recognized by international community but this wasn't a hindrance for a whole generation of people to grow who were born in Pridnestrovie and who consider it as a separate independent state. Apart from that, results of the 2006 Referendum speak for themselves. More than 90% of the Pridnestrovian people voted for independence and possible subsequent affiliation with the Russian Federation.

- The status of Moldova's federative component is not even considered by you, is it?

- Today we don't discuss issue of status. How many plans have we had? Confederation, federation in all possible variants…All models existed only on paper. What was the end of all this – we know.

Presently we proceed from the fact that negotiation space was filled with other issues – of practical character. We examine each other, we think whether we can trust documents that we have elaborated. For example, we have prepared document on resumption of freight railway communication. It had been working for six months. After this period was over, we could see if the sides fulfill their obligations or not. It became apparent that the given agreement should be prolonged.

Oppositely directed vetors

- In June Yevgeny Shevchuk declared Eurasian integration a national idea. In what way is Pridnestrovian MFA going to implement this?

- Eurasian integration is first of all integration into space which is shaping before our eyes. Let's refer to the initiative voiced by Vladimir Putin last year. He spoke about integration into Eurasian space of not only states but also territories. We are part of the Russian world and historically we are almost integrated in the Eurasian space.

- Isn't it too ambitious assuming that Pridnestrovie borders with Ukraine and Moldova persistently seeking European integration?

- History will put everything in its place. We see that rather complicated processes are taking place in the European Union today. It is still unclear whether place for Moldova and Ukraine has been found there. Meantime, not so long ago Vladimir Filat signed free trade area agreement with the CIS. Today negotiations are conducted with the European Union. Of course, we would like Moldova to decide on its geostrategic course. As for Pridnestrovie, it has its own course.

- Do you agree with the statement that Moldova's joining of the Customs Union would hasten the appearance of solution for the Pridnestrovian issue?

- I would not like to connect these processes. The distinct contour appeared today in relations between Moldova and the PMR. We must cope with accumulated difficulties in order that people could move freely from one bank to another, trade with each other, build, at last, those good-neighborly relations needed to live peacefully and to prosper.

- How does Pridnestrovian leadership treat pro-Romanian rhetoric and unionist processions in our republic?

- To my mind, it is alarming signal. We will appreciate the concord between the members of Moldovan society. It seems to me that these problems are to a large extent brought to Moldova from the outside. We would like your citizens to decide on their identity and to come to the position of struggle with economical crisis from the position of struggle for the right to be Moldovan but not Romanian nation. It is important to struggle with poverty, but not to struggle with each other.

Instead of boasting

- Could You concretize positive results of the tactics of “small steps”?

- I will allow myself to consider this issue in a different way. I would like to tell not about the scope of successes but about the scope of failures. Today we should talk about the problems where we do not need to elaborate complicated technological schemes or to make big amount of expert work – it has been done before us. This, of course, concerns practical sides. For example: the problem with the trains still exists – the summer is over but nothing got off the ground. Nothing is decided with Russian passports. Many citizens again have to reveal the wonders of logistics in order to go abroad.

- When it is planned to open Russian consulate and, maybe, the representative office of Rossotrudnichestvo in Pridnestrovie?

- It is rather complicated to voice definite terms but for us it is very important that the representatives of Russian bodies of state power are firm in their intentions and understand the extent of necessity of these institutions. Of course in this context we hope that Russia-Moldova dialogue will be productive one. Those statements that are voiced in Moldova are rather contradictive. Moldovan politicians forget about the fact that more than 15, 000 of Russian citizens live in the PMR and that they all must enjoy the freedom of movement. There are such situations when there is no possibility for medical treatment of a sick child in Russia, because he has not got any passport.

We hope that common sense will triumph. I do not think that the authority of Moldovan power suffers if people living in Pridnestrovie will enjoy respect.

Do not impede at least!

- The PMR\'s budgeted deficit is around 70%, its\' discharge is to a large extent made due to the RF. Does Moldovasupport you?

- No. Pridnestrovie does not depend on Moldova aside from those limitations which we have to overcome. If the RM did not introduce a whole complex of sanctions and limitations in respect of Pridnestrovian companies, I am sure that budgeted deficit would be much smaller. Our enterprises do not operate at full capacity.

- The inflow of foreign capital to Moldovan economy reduced almost by one third. What about the situation in Pridnestrovie facing even worse circumstances?

- Unfortunately, the amount of foreign investments in the PMR's economy is not as big as we wish. Foreign investors consider the risks. It is unknown whether the RM will impose restrictions in respect of Pridnestrovian economical agents or what kinds of restrictions will be imposed. How can we guarantee something to our investors if even existing agreements are not implemented? But we make big efforts in order to improve investment climate in Pridnestrovie. Anyway, political unsettlement blocks the inflow of foreign capital to our market. But success will depend on the process of normalization of Moldova-Pridnestrovie relations.

Originally published by: http://aif.md/2012/10/03/pridnestrovskij-gambit/