Transnistria Assembly Fuels Speculation Separatist State Aims To Join Russia

blueapples's Photo
by blueapples
Thursday, Feb 22, 2024 - 19:49

blueapples on X

The faltering bid of congressional warhawks to continue to provide Ukraine with a blank check isn't the only sign of Russia's geopolitical strength in eastern Europe. As the future of the war in Ukraine hinges on that crucial aid package, another region has emerged as evidence of Russia's growing sphere of influence. Pridnestrovie, a region bordering Ukraine known better under the western exonym Transnistria, is scheduled to address Russian President Vladimir Putin at its next congressional assembly on February 28th. The forthcoming address appears to the latest step in a trajectory trending toward the breakaway state seeking complete separation from Romania and assimilation into the Russian Federation.

Although Transnistria has diverse ethnic demographics almost equally apportioned between Russians, Moldovans, Romanians, and Ukrainians, the Russian demographic slightly ekes out its counterparts with a majority of 29% of Transnistrians belonging to the group. The pro-Russian cultural sentiment of the region is exemplified by its flag, which has remained the same as it was when Transnistria was a part of the Soviet Union. That representative Russian demographic, coupled with broader dissatisfaction of the Moldovan government has fostered support for assimilation into the Russian Federation for quite from time. In 2006, a Transnistrian double referendum was held gauging popular support for the separatist state's appetite to either renounce its independence and join the Republic Of Moldova or to maintain it and seek to join the Russian Federation. The referendum to become part of Moldova was rejected by 96% of voters while 98% approved of becoming part of Russia.

The support for assimilation into the Russian Federation demonstrated by that referendum has not since waned. If anything, the 2014 Crimean referendum integrate itself with Russia and the subsequent western interventionism culminating in the onset of Russia-Ukraine War has only emboldened Transnistria's aim. Vadim Krasnoselskii, President Of Transnistria, evidenced his people's dissatisfaction with Moldova's rule over the breakaway region by announcing the congressional assembly to deliberate over the future of the breakaway region on February 28th.

Although Krasnoselskii tempered the premise that the assembly was entirely designed as a bid to immediately seek Transnistrian ascension into the Russian Federation, Transnistrian MP Vadim Kravchuk told Tiraspol TV that the congress seeks to pursue that very goal. Kravchuk stated "Holding another referendum makes no sense, but it would be quite reasonable to confirm a previous decision…Transnistria expressed its desire to unite with Russia and the Eurasian Union back in 2006. The congress of the MPs of all levels will most likely confirm our intentions."

However, Alexander Korshunov, head of the Transnistrian Parliament has rejected the idea that the congressional assembly solely seeks to advance the breakaway state's assimilation into Russia's sphere of influence. He stated "The situation is complicated, and we must turn to all the structures, including the European ones," in a statement alluding to a broader geopolitical aim that leaves the door open for further integration with Moldova and thus the western, NATO-backed axis of power. Moldova, like Ukraine, has made its aspiration to join NATO clear, furthering alienating Transistrians who look to the future with an eye toward improved diplomatic relations between Moldova and Russia if the breakaway region is to remain under Moldova's control. Despite Article 11 of the Constitution Of Moldova expressly proclaiming the nation's permanent neutrality, Moldovan politicians have advanced joint defense partnerships with NATO and have even contemplated foregoing their sovereignty in place of a union with Romania, a current NATO member-state, as a means of joining the alliance.

However, Transnistria's breakaway status adds a layer of complexity to potential Moldovan integration into NATO via Romania given that Moldova does not control the whole of the territories within its own borders. That, coupled with Transistria's pro-Russian alignment creates a precarious position in which any potential annexation into Russia led by separatists could potentially trigger Article 5 of the NATO Charter and lead to a widespread, direct conflict between Russia and NATO member-states. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov highlighted the tension that potential NATO expansion enveloping Moldova presented when he spoke to Russian state media outlet TASS in February 2023 cautioning Moldovan President Maia Sandu against being "eager to join NATO." Lavrov surmised that NATO expansion would turn Moldova into the "next Ukraine."

While the intent of the forthcoming Transnistrian congressional assembly has yet to be made clear, Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to make a speech before the Federal Assembly of Russia the following day on February 29th. Opposition politician Gennadiy Chorba aired his dissatisfaction with the timing of the call for a congressional assembly, adding credence to the idea that its aim was to expedite a request for integration into Russia by formally addressing Putin. Chorba described how he sees the scenario playing out, stating that the congressional assembly "will make a request about integrating Transnistria into the territory of the Russian Federation on behalf of the citizens residing on the left bank of the Danube River, and on 29 February, Putin will announce it in his address, and the Federal Council on an expedited basis. will adopt a decision to grant this request". The opposition politician's prediction draws stunning parallels to how the annexation of Crimea played out following the peninsular region's referendum to join Russia in 2014. If Chorba's prediction proves to be prescient, then Transnistria's forthcoming congressional assembly could be the latest catalyst foreshadowing more geopolitical chaos in the region for years to come.

Contributor posts published on Zero Hedge do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Zero Hedge, and are not selected, edited or screened by Zero Hedge editors.