Conflict Resolution in Moldova

Sine 2003, I have been involved in various conflict management and settlement efforts in Moldova. Between 2003 and 2009 I regularly visited the southern autonomous region of Gagauzia as part of a project run by the European Centre for Minority Issues on clarifying the competences accorded to Gagauzia in the 1994/5 settlement. In August 2008, I was part of a mission with the EU Special Representative to Komrat to help the local political parties overcome a deadlock after parliamentary elections in Gagauzia earlier that year.

In 2003, and again since 2007, I have been involved in various projects concerning the settlement of the conflict over Transnistria, primarily as a consultant for the OSCE Mission to Moldova, the EU Delegation to Moldova, and the British Embassy in Chisinau. This has included regular visits to both Chisinau and Tiraspol.

This section of the website contains:

Recent Notes on Moldova

The prospects for a settlement on Transnistria under a Sandu presidency

Within days of Maia Sandu’s victory, the protracted conflict over Transnistria has moved to the centre stage again.

A New Dynamic for Post-Soviet Conflict Settlement?

The protracted conflicts across the post-Soviet space have returned to the center of regional and international politics over the past several months.

What next for Moldova?

Will Maia Sandu’s victory matter for one of Europe’s poorest country, which has been torn between Russia and the West for the better part of the past three decades?

Remember the Cold War? Putin has brought it back.

Many remember Russia’s Cold War strategy of invading, destabilizing and intervening in other countries’ governance. Putin has apparently once again made this his policy.

Moldova’s future in the balance

Even in the best-possible scenario, Moldova has a long way to go before it sheds its reputation as one of the most corrupt and poorest countries in Europe. It will be up to the country’s political elites, as well as their respective external patrons, to decide whether these elections are the first step in this direction.

Post-Soviet Confidence Games

Confidence-building measures can help to stabilize a conflict, but the stability they generate is often fragile and temporary. In an environment like that in Ukraine, there is a risk that such measures will sustain, not end, the conflict.

Are Moldova and Transnistria next on Moscow’s to-do-list?

The West should send a much clearer message to Moscow and back it up with credible policy. The question, however, is whether policy makers from Berlin to Brussels, London and Washington think that Moldova is worth such a tougher line.

Can the US and Russia talk their way out of crisis in Ukraine?

More constructive dialogue between Russia and the West would possibly enable a face-saving way out of the current deadlock. This would serve both sides in the new great game over influence in Eastern Europe, but Russia would be the clear winner, and Ukraine the first victim of this new geopolitics.

Putin calling all the shots in Ukraine: what next for relations between Russia and the West?

Neither Russia nor the West can really afford to let bilateral relations deteriorate to such an extent over the crisis in Ukraine that international diplomacy and crisis management become completely impossible for a prolonged period of time.

The Transnistrian Issue: Moving Beyond the Status-Quo

The EU has a clear opportunity to contribute to the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict and prove itself an effective conflict manager and actor for stability and security in its own neighbourhood. This is a task that is not without challenges, but these challenges are of such a nature that the EU can, and must, confront them.