Transnistria and Moldova in the Context of Euro

Transnistria and Moldova in the Context of Euro-Atlantic Integration

Boris ASAROV, Pro Europe Movement, Tiraspol: The unstable existence of the Republic of Moldova, which is the result of the USSR collapse, and the functioning in the conditions of international non-recognition of Transnistria give little chances for even a re-integrated state to develop in a stable way.

Taking into account the most optimistic prognoses, lying apart, it would take 30 years to get into the EU. In this situation it seems to be more adequate to head for a parallel bringing of Bessarabian and Transnistrian standards up to European ones and the subsequent integration into the EU through a synchronous integration with Romania after its acceptance there in 2007. The situation becomes even more complex because Transnistria does not have mechanisms and political will to implement European standards. 

The New Architecture. The System of Foreign Policy Coordinates


The purpose of this work is to determine the priorities in drawing foreign policy for guaranteeing a military and political security of the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria, and also to analyze and select some optimal forms of cooperation between Bessarabia and Transnistria and the neighboring countries in the context of Euroatlantic integration.

INTRODUCTION

Upon examination of geopolitical situation of Southeastern and Eastern Europe in the light of the formed system of coordinates, one's attention is drawn by the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria, the situation of which is quite ambiguous both because of its surroundings and its difficult internal and foreign political situation. The situation is not simple at all because of the "Transnistrian problem" not being solved, this providing reasons to consider the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria a potential instability zone. Taking into consideration the great importance of this part of Southeastern Europe, both from geopolitical and the military strategic point of view, it seems opportune to define a system of foreign political coordinates for the region, which will give it a possibility to stop being a potential danger to stability on the one hand, and to start its full participation in the process of Euroatlantic integration on the other. As a result of the conflict in 1992, caused by Moscow, the former Russian province, which was illegally created in the year of 1940 after occupation of Bessarabia by the Soviet army, and earlier of the territory of Zadnestsrovie (after the incorporation of Ukraine), found itself separated into two parts, by the way the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic is not a subject of international law. A strong Russian influence, which is still seen on the territory of Transnistria and is also shown by the presence of military units and a military base, promotes conservation of public opinion, which finds its reflection in some rudimentary views on contemporary integration processes in Europe and in the world. Moreover, if the vector of geopolitical identity of the Republic of Moldova gradually started to acquire a more or less pronounced Euroatlantic direction and this position is shared by the majority of Bessarabian political establishment and Euroatlantic prospect will sooner or later become dominant here, then the problem of achieving a political compromise on this problem in Transnistria seems indefinite and harbors considerable danger.

HISTORICAL PARALLELS

Starting from 1812, when Moldova was subjected to this tragic separation, the Russian Empire, then the USSR, and now the Russian Federation have been playing and still continue to play a negative role in the history of this land and of the people living on it. The annexation of Bessarabia to Russia was purely accidental, if we can use this word. " At that time, on the 28th of May 1812, -"Guardian" writes- Russia obtained Bessarabia due to an almost accidental deal with the great powers, who carelessly allowed this ancient country to be abandoned". Becoming a part of the territory of Russia lead to impossibility for Bessarabia to participate in the creation of a unified Romanian state in 1859. Those, who alleging to economic development of the region try to prove that Bessarabia's entry into the Russian Empire was an exceptional benefit for its people, are greatly mistaken. Impossibility to participate in the creation of a unified Romanian state, the two torn peoples, change of the demographic situation resulted in a tragedy for many citizens of different nationalities, which continues until today. The change of the demographic had an especially strong effect. If in 1817 there were 78,2% Moldovan people, then in 1859 they were 54,9% and in 1897- 47,6%.

On October'12 1824 a Moldavian Autonomous SSR was proclaimed on the territory of contemporary Transnistria and several regions of Ukraine. Naming this autonomous republic "Moldavian" was nonsense from the scientific point of view, because neither the territory of contemporary Transnistria, nor the lands lying to its East (including Balta town), never had any relation to the area, which was, called Moldova. An artificial name for the republic was needed for realization of the plan of tearing Bessarabia away. Naming the republic Moldavian, the precedent for further inclusion of Bessarabia in it was created. At the same another precedent was created, for Romania's claims on the territory of MASSR. The Prime-Minister of Romania Ion Bratianu declared regarding this issue: "We, Romanian people should be not worried but glad for the fact that our neighboring country (USSR) admits that we have not gone as far as we should have with our claims." For the sake of fairness we should mention that for a long time a Romanian-speaking population has been living in the area between Nistru and Bug Rivers. And what is characteristic, its majority speaks a Transilvanian dialect. So, by calling this autonomous republic "Moldavian", its "father-creators" made a double mistake: not only the territory had no relation to Moldova, but the people also had somewhat different descent.

On the 28th of June after the occupation of Bessarabia by the Soviet Army a Moldavian SSR was proclaimed. Entering of the Soviet military forces on the territory of Romania became possible due to a secret protocol to the non-aggression pact signed between Germany and USSR. It established that Bessarabia is one of Moskow's areas of influence. Later, the territorial transformations that were made based on tyranny of the secret diplomacy became a ground to declare the entry of Bessarabia into USSR illegal. After occupation of Bessarabia and Bucovina the government of USSR torn these territories apart, by placing Bucovina and Southern Bessarabia under the jurisdiction of Ukraine and forming the Moldavian SSR on the territory of Bessarabia. Creation of "Moldavia" was only a preceding phase of annexation from Romania of the western part of Moldova and its inclusion into Moldavian SSR. During the arbitration in Vienna, after which Romania ceded Northern Transilvania to Hungary, USSR had been exerting a strong pressure on Romania in order for it to pass on to Soviet protectorate. This proposal from Moscow was put into words by the Romanian ambassador in USSR Gafencu. All this was being done in the time when the decision on Transilvania was being made. The creation of Moldavian SSR, which would include Bessarabia and the Western part of Moldova, fits perfectly with the supposed territorial transformations. Subsequently, giving Eastern Moldova and Bessarabia the name of "Moldavia", and later the Republic of Moldova is a relic of an unrealized imperial plan.

After the so-called "unification of Moldavian people with the great Soviet motherland" several arbitrary modifications of borders were made on the territories of both Bessarabia and MASSR (Transnistria). On the 2nd of August 1940 the Moldavian SSR was formed, which included Bessarabia without its Southern part and a part of the territory of MASSR without a large area in the North-East of the republic. The other parts of MASSR, including the town Balta, entered the territory of Ukraine. From a juridical point of view these amendments were promoted with an unexampled tyranny. They were examined and ratified neither by the Supreme Soviet of MASSR, nor by the one of Ukrainian SSR. The proposal regarding it was introduced by the Central Committee of the Communist party and approved by the Supreme Soviet of SSR.

At that, territories given to Ukraine initially included Edinet, Briceni, Lipcani, and Ocnita district, which entered Chernovitskaia region. The Vulcanesti district entered Akkermanskaia region' also from Ukraine. The frontier was changed only on the 4th of November 1940 by the decree of the SS of USSR. Such a transfer of lands in favor of Ukraine can be explained both by the presence of a significant part of Ukrainian population and by the fact that in the nearest future the territory of the newly formed MSSR was supposed to be suddenly enlarged on the account of annexation of Western Moldova to it.

The question is that the creation of MSSR was only a phase preceding the annexation from Romania of the Western part of Moldova. As it was already mentioned above, at the time of the arbitration in Vienna, at the moment of making the decision to cede the Northern Transilvania to Hungary, the USSR exerted strong pressure on Romania with the purpose of annexation of Western Moldova for its inclusion into the newly created MSSR, and later with the purpose of a full passing on of Romania under the Soviet protectorate. Unwillingness to find itself in a situation similar to the one of the Baltic countries, where the "protectorate" ended up with the incorporation into USSR, made Romania choose a definitely pro German orientation. We should mention that Romania as an ally was exceptionally advantageous and essential for Germany. Moscow was perfectly aware of this and adopted a concept of a military attack on Romania for the purpose of blocking the access of Germany to the oil-bearing areas in Ploiesti.

There are some affirmations of several historians on the problems of Transnistria and Bessarabia, which are of interest: "The formation of Moldavia is not justified neither geographically, nor economically or historically. There are no treasures of the soil on its territory, only light and processing industries are developed, and the only purpose of the country is wine and tobacco production". "From a geopolitical point of view, Moldavia outlived its mission. Moldavian ASSR, and later MSSR have been formed as an opposition to Romania", - V. Kollart. "Transnistria is an object of the claims of Romania in Ukraine. The new Soviet Moldavia included a part of the territory of Ukraine on the left bank of the Nistru River."- Dmitry Dvoitenko-Marchkov.

Today the situation of the relations between Ukraine and Romania is at another level. The specifics of it consist in the fact that both for the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria and Ukraine, with which it is as closely interrelated, as with Romania, European integration and Euroatlantic orientation are those concepts, which along with such "whales" of our epoch as liberalization and political decentralization, are simply doomed to become peculiar imperatives. These are the basic principles of politics, which Romania is guided by, and it is Romania, which could provide an invaluable assistance to both the Bessarabian and Transnistrian region and Ukraine.

PECULIARITIES OF GEOPOLITICAL ENVIRONMENT

"STRATEGIC BRAKE"

Specific to the region is that it is situated in the area of influence of a range of states, the interests of which are very far from the interests of its security. Two of the players - Russia and Ukraine - have quite efficient instruments of pressure upon the region and are able to use them actively. Moreover, today the interests of these two players coincide in many respects, taking into consideration the pro-Russian orientation of the official Kiev, and proceeding from the similarity of the geopolitical formulas, on which the foreign political conduct of Russia and Ukraine is based, the achievement of a traditional and already formal compromise on the problem of delimitation of areas of influence in the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria becomes more than a technical question. In such a geopolitical environment the only outlet into the Euroatlantic bloc for a state in the process of re-integration is Romania, a close alliance with which provides a fragile but a vitally important balance of powers in the region and prevents its geopolitical isolation. In general, the geopolitical situation in this part of the Balkans is for the most a reflection of the situation, the instability which is characteristic at the moment for the entire post-soviet area.

To a certain extent the origins of this instability should be characterized by the words of H. Kissinger who said that "collapsing empires create two types of tension: one is caused by the attempts of the neighbors to take advantage of the weakness of the imperial center, and the other by the efforts of the collapsing empire to restore its power on the periphery". Groupings in favor of the restoration of the Soviet Union were always strong in Russian political establishment. It was obvious even during the period of the so-called "honey-moon" in the relationship between Russia and the West. The beginning of the process of a sudden increase of these tendencies within Russian political establishment falls on the second term of B. Eltsin's presidency and it is obvious that all the actual attributes of today's Russian foreign political formula speak for the fact that the above-mentioned tendencies begin to take on a priority position among the Russian political elite. In this sense, we should draw a conclusion that Russia with Putin is not a more logical form of Russia with Eltsin. On the other hand, we shouldn't characterize these changes of Russian political conceptions as something unconceivable or unjustified. Realistically evaluating the situation and relying on specifics and history of Russian state system it is important to underline that a strong expansionism often offered in a messianic form is not only one of the traditions of foreign policy, arisen as far back as the period of the Russian Empire, but has historically been the vital power, which at the absence of an economic well-being allowed the multi civilized Russian state to survive. More than half a century ago, George Kennan in his article "The Origins of Soviet Behavior" put forward an idea, which later became a key postulate in the conception of "containment", based on the idea that if the Soviet Union does not succeed in its expansion, it will fall apart from inside and collapse. In this sense the revisionist moods of the present Russian political elite in foreign policy are absolutely reasonable. First of all, it shows that the attempts to preserve the integrity of Russia by means of economic reforms as well as further economic prosperity of the Russian society turn into a less priority-driven alternative. The priority of the expansionist alternative in the foreign policy formula of contemporary Russia is the important conclusion that should be taken into consideration by all the still independent post soviet areas, and also by Euroatlantic security structures, which haven't yet determined their policies with regard to this area, particularly NATO. The most obvious applied factor proving the consistency of such estimation is the war in Chechnya, in which it is not difficult to notice an apparent geopolitical perspective. Hence, we can suppose a situation unfolding similar to the one mentioned above. In particular, the matter may concern a factual delimitation of areas of interest in the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria between Russia and Ukraine, where the interests of both Russian (to a greater extent) and Ukrainian party (to a lesser extent and if the governing elite remains Kremlin oriented) may be satisfied by one of the ways of absorption of the young state.

Certainly, if such a situation emerges, it will not be a question of formal absorption of the Republic of Moldova by Russia, but undoubtedly we will be talking about the factual loss of independence. As far as the form of this fatal cooperation is concerned, here we can find sufficient alternatives, starting from a quite new form of existence within the neo-soviet state system already and including a gradual drawing of the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria into the area of influence of Kremlin if the state signs different agreements with a prospect of losing the economic and military and political independence.

One can evaluate the reality of perspectives of such an alternative relying on a popular idea among the Russian political establishment of creation of a unified state between Russia and Belarus, the political and formal status of which already found its confirmation on bilateral level. The idea of a unified state, as it is conceived by the majority of Russian political establishment is not at all limited only to Belarus. Situation in the region is not stable, also because it was chosen by a number of Russian elite circles for their expansion. Of course, in its richness the region cannot be compared to Chechnya and you cannot make much money here, but the location of the region, plus a number of other things are quite attractive for Russian elite circles, and they are happily ready to put their hands on it. Figuratively speaking, we can remember that, as it is known from biology, a bear's ration consists of both big animals, from which he risks to get a resistance when hunting, as well as of smaller ones, and especially he likes to rob the bee hives, where he gets no resistance, but free honey.

Russia, officially called in Chisinau the "strategic partner", is in fact a "strategic brake" in European integration, because Putin's declarations about some path to contiguity, are nothing but demagogy. Moscow will constantly impede any real Euro-integration processes of both the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria and of Ukraine in every possible way by "putting spokes in the wheels" and disorienting both governments in Chisinau and Tiraspol and the official Kiev. If some political circles in the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria and in Ukraine have a wish to live in a poverty-stricken and robbed country, they can certainly "work" in this direction, but undoubtedly the majority will choose a way for the country to develop and become richer. They must know as well what will happen to the economy of their countries if they head for Moscow and CIS and continue to move in this direction- there is no doubt, that Russia will clean its "strategic girl-partners" out. At least today this is what the "strategic partnership" represents. Neither elite circles of Bessarabia and Transnistria, nor Ukrainian ones or any other social strata need this. . The negative role which Russia has been playing in the course of history both in the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria (including the war in 1992) and in Ukraine (starting from the annihilation of Zaporojskaia Sechi and ending with the assassination by famine in the 30's and the attempts to destroy the Ukrainian language as such in 70's and 80's), evidently illustrates the fact that Moscow has no right to decide on the destinies of peoples who live on these territories. We should also mention that the foreign policy of Russia as the nucleus of CIS is on the edge of bankruptcy, because Russia is constantly losing its international authority.

ROMANIAN-UKRAINIAN ARCH AND THE PROBLEM OF BESSARABIA AND TRANSNISTRIA

In order the above-mentioned aspect of productive cooperation to start fully working, we have to observe one condition- to solve the Transnistrian problem. Undoubtedly, it is a very knotted problem and it needs to be untangled in such a way so that not to break the thin thread. The "Transnistrian problem" is closely connected to the "Bessarabian problem" and both of them are influenced by Romanian and Ukrainian factors. In general, taking into account the interrelation of Bessarabia and Transnistria it would be more precise to speak about the "problem of Bessarabia and Transnistria".

Intending to solve the problem of Bessarabia and Transnistria it is necessary to take both historical and modern aspects into account. Thus, in order for the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria to integrate fully into Europe, two conditions must be observed: to get free from Russian influence and to solve the "Transnistrian problem" itself. Observance of these two conditions will also allow solving the whole "problem of Bessarabia and Transnistria".

The Bessarabian part of the region has an advantage in this respect, because the European integration has been declared one of the basic priorities of foreign policy of the Republic of Moldova. Today already more than 300 000 Moldovan citizens are at the same time Romanian citizens, and in 2008 this number will be equal to approximately 1 000 000. Among some of the Bessarabian elite circles one can see a consolidated position regarding the issue of Euro-integration. The intention to get a double citizenship is also conditioned by strong traditions, connecting Bessarabia with Romania. Transnistria has a far more conservative position in this regard and until today its population has not yet got rid of the illusions of USSR restoration. But the territory of Transnistria had been under Russia for less than 200 years - since the second half of the 14th century the territory of Transnistria belonged to the Grand Lithuanian Duchy, since 1569 - to Rech Pospolita and only in 1793, during the second division of Poland this area was occupied by the Russian Empire.

Moreover, evaluating the perspectives of development of the Transnistrian part of the region, we should bear in mind that as it often happens on the territories governed by autocratic regimes, the situation here may unexpectedly change:

- first of all, as a result of acknowledging of economic advantages of Euro-integration policy - Romanian example should play its role here;

- secondly, as a result of an increasing influence of Ukraine, which if starts on the path of Euro-integration will be able to acquire a real self-consciousness and occupy in Transnistria the position occupied now by Russia.

If the planned advancement of Ukraine on the path of Euroatlantic integration will actually happen, it will be able to acquire an original self-consciousness and, after it to take its place in the structure of Euroatlantic security, play a role in Transnistria, which is now played by Russia. The last factor will also have a positive effect on the attempts of RM to get free from the Russian influence. We should also mention the inevitable process of increase of the role of Ukraine as an active mediator in the regulation of the "Transnistrian problem", which is also determined by a large peacemaking potential of the country in the region, because the majority of Transnistrian inhabitants are ethnic Ukrainians and will have a favorable attitude towards such a turn of events. Ukraine, on the one hand, and Romania, on the other, are related to each other by many things, especially by the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria, and sometimes these connections appear so tangled that having a superficial knowledge of the problem it is very hard to gain an understanding of this combination of interests. Bessarabia, attracted by Romania, also preserved its connections with Ukraine, and in Transnistria, accordingly attracted by Ukraine, some contacts with Romania were nevertheless preserved. Ukraine is an especially important partner for Transnistria - both for their common historical background and their today's economic connections. The following examples can be quite revealing: during the first half of 2001 the trade turnover between Ukraine and Transnistria was more than 30 million dollars, with a great advantage for Ukraine - more than 80% of imported goods being from Ukraine. More than 30 Transnistrian and 50 Ukrainian enterprises have economic contacts. An industrial giant- Moldova Steelworks purchases raw materials in Ukraine for more than 25 million dollars every year. Moldova Steelworks also ships the output products through Ukrainian ports. More than 10 thousand tons of cotton come through Odessa and Illichevsk to the Joint-Stock Company "Tirotex". Furthermore, transit of cargoes from Transnistria into CIS countries through the territory of Ukraine makes up more than 80 million dollars (excluding transit of energy).

Taking into account all the above-mentioned factors we can easily consider Transnistria a zone of strategic interest of Ukraine. At the same time, as it is widely known, Bessarabia is an area of substantial Romanian influence. Linking of Bessarabia and Transnistria will have an influence on the progress not only of the relations between Romania and Transnistria and between Bessarabia and Ukraine but also, which is especially important, in the relations between Kiev and Bucharest. At the moment, as it was already mentioned, Romania has certain territorial claims from Ukraine, and these were declared at quite high political levels. Along with the fact that there are about 1 million Moldavians (Romanians) in Ukraine, in Bukovina and Odessa region there are legal organizations such as "Romania shi Bukovine" and "Transnistria". In Chernovits and the Southern Bessarabia we can constantly see Romanian flags on the roofs of some village halls. And although the mere fact of integration of Romania into NATO puts an end to any attempts to review the borders, at least because such precedents are in contradiction to the statute of this organization, there is a need for a productive cooperation between Ukraine and Romania, which will essentially help the formation of the necessary stability zone in this exceptionally important part of Europe. Romania must play a role of a stabilizing state in Southeastern Europe. It is this country that must become a basis for the project of a social and cultural reconstruction of the region, because out of these three countries only Romania has all necessary conditions for the soonest integration into Euroatlantic structures.

It is necessary to mention that the strategy of a "bridge" to Europe in the context of European integration is exceptionally productive for Romania in respect of both the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria and Ukraine. Ukraine and Romania are important for each other also for the fact that both countries have an exceptionally important strategic position from a militarily and strategic point of view. And again a key role here is played by the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria. The question is that the railway, connecting Ukraine with Romania goes through Tiraspol and Bender. Those who control Tiraspol and Bender are factually in charge of the Focshan passageway, which is a 200 km zone in Romania between the mountains and Danube River. Those who control the Focsani passageway are factually in charge of the Balkans. Also, those who control the Focsani passageway, may control the creek of Danube and Galicia. To go further, those who control the Focsani passageway and the creek of Danube have prevalent opportunities to control both Crimea and the Black Sea, and Bosporus and Dardanelles with the prospect of controlling the region around the Mediterranean Sea. Also, those who control Galicia have exceptional possibilities to control Pannonia with an exit through the Ljubljana passageway to Lombardy with a further exit to Paris through the so-called "cornice", which is a thin belt between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea in the Southern France. Also those who control Pannonia has access through Austria to Saxon territory and then to Berlin. It is on the territory of Pannonia that the most severe battles between German and Soviet troops took place in 1944-1945. Namely when getting Bessarabia from Romania, the USSR gathered the most powerful Army No.9 for a preventive attack in order to cut the access of Germany to the oil-bearing areas in Ploiesti, to get to the Balkans and to overtake the strategic initiative in the war that was to come. Summarizing the presented facts, we can say without exaggeration that it is the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria which is a specific "key" to Europe, or, taking into consideration the existence of the Republic of Moldova today as an independent state, as o called- "key state"- a "lunch pin state". And taking into account spontaneity of tectonic processes and , as a consequence, their little predictability, and also the uncertain situation which is created in the "black gap", as Zbigniew Brzezinski's calls the Russian Federation, it isn't hard to imagine, that the main "headache" for the forming architecture of Euroatlantic security is the lack of stability in the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria, which becomes clearer as the borders of Northern Atlantic Alliance move towards the East of Europe.

The importance of Ukraine also increases because of the attempts of Ukrainian governing circles to drag the country in a close coalition with Russia, after which Kiev will practically be placed under the authority of Moskow and the independence of Ukraine will become only a fig leaf, which hides the true and very poor state of things. The economic interests of Moscow towards Ukraine and the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria are in fact a cover, which can hide a more pronounced expansion, if the internal political situation in Russia and the balance of powers in the region change. At least, from a geo-strategic point of view this position is completely justified. And the constant interest of Russia in the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria for the long time proves, on one hand an imperial syndrome which is impossible to destroy and, on the other, a constant intention to control the region. There are many examples of it, and Russia was never ashamed to use whatever methods in order to achieve its goals, like, for example, in 1878, when the Southern Bessarabia was separated from Romania and annexed to the territory of Russian Empire according to Article 45 of the Decision of the Congress from Berlin. At that time Russia blackmailed the Romanian government, asking it to give up Bessarabia, in exchange for its political recognition. Or, for example, in 1924, when during the rebellion in Tatarbunari, which was organized by Moscow, two divisions were cleared for action at Danube River and also a military group was formed to attack Constanta, and only diplomatic interference of the Great Powers prevented the invasion. In order to avoid the repetition of events, political circles of both the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria and Ukraine should understand the necessity of a closer cooperation with Euroatlantic structures in general and with Romania in particular. But in order to make it possible, a new political elite should come to power, especially in Ukraine. Romania as a leader both in promotion of reforms and modernization of society, and in the integration into Euroatlantic structures is destined to be a sort of "partisan" not only for the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria but also, which is particularly important, for Ukraine. Accordingly, if Romania will be accepted into NATO in 2004, and in the European Union in 2007, then Ukraine will follow it around 2005-2010, particularly when the progress in carrying out internal reforms will be seen and when it will more clearly define itself as a country of the Central Europe, and it should be ready for a serious and objective dialog both with the European Union and NATO. And the reintegrated state of Bessarabia and Transnistria during the adoption of the new Constitution should exclude from it such a non-productive archaism as neutrality status, which is an another "strategic brake", this time at a local legislative level.

The main impediment on the way to European integration for the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine is the still existing Russian influence, which is manifested both in a practically full dependence on the deliveries of Russian energy and in Russian continued military presence in Transnistria and in Crimea. At the same time, elite circles of Bessarabia and Transnistria should understand that there is no alternative of Euroatlantic integration for the state, unless, it wants to be independent and sovereign in its decision-making. In general, the situation imposes the necessity for the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria and for Ukraine to promote a synchronized policy of integration into Euroatlantic structures. Increase of the role of Ukraine will have a positive effect on the position of those political circles who intend to guide Ukraine on the path of Euroatlantic integration and not allow its sticking in the so-called "Alliance of the Four", which also includes Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. However, Russia will have a lot of trouble make such an intention come true, because the participation of Ukraine in this project is basically due to the insinuations of the existing governing elite of this country, which is ready to make concessions to Russia on the eve of the elections. At the same time, we should take into consideration that a part of Ukrainian society is not free of Russian orientation. . This can be easily noticed in the social and political systems in Ukraine, where pro Russian tendencies are still strong. As main forces promoting this opinion, the circles around the current president L. Kuchma together with the Communist party of Ukraine still enjoy the support of a certain part of the community.

Taking these factors into account makes the question of sustainability of the existent foreign policy of Ukraine more pressing. There is no doubt, that a pro Kremlin orientation of the current foreign policy of Ukraine is a consequence of political position of the governing elite circles with L. Kuchma at the top. However, the dynamics of processes happening in Ukraine cannot guarantee that such a direction of foreign policy will remain unchanged even after the change of the political power in Ukraine, rather vice versa. Moreover, it becomes inevitable, if we assume that a politician with a strong political will and a corresponding reputation in the world comes to take L. Kuchma's place, and in this case the foreign political direction may suddenly change. The ex-Prime-Minister of Ukraine Victor Iushenko, is this kind of a politician, who enjoys a constantly increasing authority and influence in the country. However, we also shouldn't ignore the possibility that the pro-Kremlin creature can win elections, for everybody knows the possibilities of public opinion manipulation and the dirty technologies of electoral campaigns, applied in Russian Federation during all kinds of elections "with an enviable constancy".

EUROATLANTIC PROSPECTS

The collaboration of France, Germany, and Poland with the EU and NATO, which, undoubtedly, will be considerably expanded, especially as far as defense is concerned, is the core of wide European security measures, which, finally, will apply to Ukraine and the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria. According to Zbigniew Brzezinski's work "The Great Chess-Board", taking into account the special geopolitical interest of Germany and Poland in the independence of Ukraine, it is quite possible to imagine such a situation when Ukraine is gradually involved in special relations between France, Germany, and Poland. Apparently, it is possible that by 2010 the collaboration of France, Germany, Poland, and Ukraine, which will involve about 230 million people, will have turned into a partnership that determines a tighter geostrategic cooperation in Europe.

It seems to be necessary to mention the very important fact of the existence of the independent Ukraine. As Zbigniew Brzezinski continues, "The loss of Ukraine was the most disturbing moment (for Russia - an author's remark). The creation of the independent Ukraine not only made all the Russians rethink the nature of their own political and ethnical belonging, but also marked a big geopolitical failure of Russia. Renouncing to the more-than-300-year-old Russian imperial history, meant the loss of the rich industrial and agricultural economy and 52 million people, who were closely tied with Russian people from ethnical and religious point of view and who were able to turn Russia into a really great and self-confident imperial power. The independence of Ukraine also deprived Russia of its dominating position on the Black Sea, where Odessa served as a vitally important port for the trade with the Mediterranean countries and the entire world. Russia's loss of its dominating position on the Baltic Sea repeated on the Black Sea not just because of the independence of Ukraine, but also because the new independent Caucasian countries (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan) made it more possible for Turkey to restore its influence in that region, which had been lost once. Up till 1991 the Black Sea was Russian starting point in the projection of its naval power on the Mediterranean region. However, by the middle of the 90ties Russia was left with a small coastline of the Black Sea and an unsolved problem with Ukraine about the rights to base the remains of the soviet Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, at that, watching with irritation carrying-out of joint naval and sea landing maneuvers by Ukraine and NATO, as well as the increase of the role of Turkey in the Black Sea region." Of course, the irritation of the Kremlin is quite explicable, but Moscow should learn to take a sober look at things and not to try to oppose inevitable things. It is the same when you try to wear winter clothes in a mild spring just because before it was cold during this season.

In the course of building a new Euroatlantic security building in that part of Europe, Romania will play the role of an important strategic partner for the USA with adequate dividends. Such an outcome would suit Turkey very much, where, by the way, in Izmir there is the Allied command of NATO "South-East", which is responsible also for the Black and Azov Seas water areas. Turkey plays today the role of a strategic partner for the USA, but in the future it could enter the bloc GUUAM coalition, composed of Georgia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova. But, as it was already mentioned in the previous part, so that it was possible, the amorphous coalition should gradually transform into a valuable military-political organization with an efficient structure, which would make it possible to implement economic projects in the most effective way. Such a transformation of GUUAM will be possible only when Romania and Bulgaria join it, and this fact is already justified today. Both Bulgaria and Romania are the most attractive example for Ukraine and the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria, when a country with a dominating orthodox model of society, being in addition a Slavic one, smoothly and effectively integrates into Europe, adapting modern democratic and liberal values to every public institution. The conferment on Romania and Bulgaria with the status of observers in the bloc means a lot, because it supposes forthcoming closer contacts in many directions with very clear prospects.

As far as the issue of the course towards European integration is concerned, which is by itself justified and is a priority for a part of the elite of GUUAM countries, an additional immediate support from the USA and the EU in all the aspects of the course will be welcomed with enthusiasm by the elite, because it will help to strengthen its position. Taking into account the fact that both Black and Azov Seas are situated in the zone of the direct NATO responsibility, the formation of a stability zone around the Black Sea water area seems to be exclusively justified. And here it seems to be perfect to create a strong Alliance between Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Georgia, where the region of Bessarabia and- Transnistria would find an adequate place. The advantage of the collaboration of Ukraine with Romania and Bulgaria was pointed above, joining of Georgia and Azerbaijan would make it possible to fulfill effectively fuel and energy projects, Turkey could tightly unite this very promising Alliance. To a certain extent it would become an analogy of the collaboration of France, Germany, Poland, and Ukraine, which, as it was mentioned above, is doomed to become the core of wide European security measures. Thus, Ukraine, referring to the realization of these vitally important programs, will become the most important geopolitical center, where the architecture of Euroatlantic security will be concentrated, and the key to it is the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria. So, it is impossible to control the Eastern Europe without controlling this key segment. And, as it is known, the most important geopolitical law, formulated by Halford Mackinder, says: "Who controls the Eastern Europe, dominates the heartland (the territory between Ural and Pamirs, Volga and Iantzi, - an author's remark); who dominates the heartland, dominates the World Island (Eurasia - an author's remark); who dominates the World Island, dominates the world"…

Conclusions.

Undoubtedly, a re-integrated state will meet more problems than it is mentioned during the discussions about this process.

Because of its geographical position, being in a way a connecting link between Romania and Ukraine, the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria is doomed to play an important role in modern Euroatlantic processes. The unstable existence of the Republic of Moldova, which is the result of the USSR collapse, and the functioning in the conditions of international non-recognition of Transnistria give little chances for even a re-integrated state to develop in a stable way. Taking into account the most optimistic prognoses, lying apart, it would take 30 years to get into the EU. In this situation it seems to be more adequate to head for a parallel bringing of Bessarabian and Transnistrian standards up to European ones and the subsequent integration into the EU through a synchronous integration with Romania after its acceptance there in 2007. The situation becomes even more complex because Transnistria does not have mechanisms and political will to implement European standards. The introduction of the Transnistrian High Commissioner of UN seems to be the only way-out from the present situation. The UN High Commissioner must have the entire power in the region and the right to interpret his authorities by himself, up to dismissing any officials, including elected ones. The forced reforms in Transnistria, which have been implemented under the aegis of UN, must be supported by the presence of peacemaking forces of the EU and NATO. It is possible that if they start to fulfill such a plan in 2004, by 2007-2008 there will be a favorable situation for the simultaneous entering of Bessarabia and Transnistria into the EU through a synchronous integration with Romania.

By the highest standards, it is the only way out from the situation, which will suit both the international community, which wants to see the Southeastern Europe to be a stable and secure center, and the population of the region of Bessarabia and Transnistria, which will obtain, as a result, a guarantee that their rights and freedoms will be respected and their welfare will increase. In the modern conditions, taking into account the acuteness of problems of a period of transition, which the civil society and state structures of the region face today, it would be unreasonable to think that Bessarabia and Transnistria were able to deal with the existent problems by themselves. And it is clear enough that in order to solve the problems the Bessarabian-Transnistrian part will be doomed to collaborate closely both with the neighboring countries and the Euroatlantic structures, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 


And although the Republic of Moldova has managed to achieve certain results in this direction, the existent political and legal status of the two-sided relations seems to be insufficient for security, especially taking into consideration the increasing aggressiveness of the semi-fascist regime of the Kremlin. In this sense, it is necessary to work out an efficient and, what is the most important, realistic strategy aimed at achieving a new qualitative status of relations, both with Romania and the North Atlantic Alliance. And the most important task is a strategic calculation, which avoids irrational illusions and is based on the exact identifying the status alternative, which is important at the moment, and on which alternative they should rely in a long-term plan. Namely such a realistic approach in working-out strategic aims predetermines the success in realizing the status itself and, correspondingly, the success of civil society, when by "success" we mean creating a system that guarantees the observance of parameters and standards of a liberal and democratic modern society. 



Boris ASAROV, Strategic Research Department, Transnistrian Non-governmental Organization "Pro Europe. Mutual Understanding and Collaboration"