Military exercises in Ukraine as "apple of discord" for Moldovan authorities

16:40, 10 September 2017
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Opinion

The National Army of Moldova, despite a ban by President Igor Dodon, arrived in Ukraine to take part in military exercises Rapid Trident-2017 after the Moldovan government allowed the troops to participate in the drills. By the way, this is not the first time the Moldovan government acts in discord with the president. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Moldova expelled a group of Russian diplomats, also despite the president’s position. Dodon was clearly offended but nobody listened to him anyway...

However, the president is always the commander-in-chief. And when the armed forces take part in military exercises in the territory of another country without his consent, it is a kind of a nonsense. Apparently, things like that don’t tend to happen anywhere in the world.

Moldova at the moment is in fact a failed state, where Russian sabotage led to the collapse of the whole system of power. This is a parliamentary-presidential state. But the latest row emerged as a result of Chisinau’s U-turn from its course of European integration. Actually, Moldova was granted free trade preferences with the European Union way before Ukraine, as well as a visa-free travel for its citizens across Europe. But this led to some really negative consequences for the country because pro-European citizens set off to Europe to find better jobs; accordingly, it was mostly the pensioners who were left to vote so they eventually elected a pro-Russian president. At the same time, Moldovan elite still remains pro-European by its very nature.

Moldova at the moment is a failed state, where Russian sabotage led to the collapse of the whole system of power.

So now there is a conflict along the line of attitudes of those who remained in Moldova - they are opposed to Europe. And so there is an ongoing sabotage that seriously threatens the whole country. After all, dissatisfaction with Dodon is increasing, especially among the country’s security forces and the army. Therefore, at the end of the day, this can lead to the removal of the president or even to an attempt to a coup.

An odious leader he is, Dodon stood against the participation of his military in exercises. After all, when he ran for president, he stated that Crimea should be recognized as Russian territory. However, he later watered down his statements on the issue. That is, today he has no support in the country, support from the elite and security forces. His only salvation is Russia and the preferences that Moscow provides (gas and periodic money transfers). If Russia ceases its support, Dodon will simply be tackled down from his post. Hence, his relentless rooting for the Kremlin.

This situation shows Russia that its plans for the usurpation of power through a controlled president are so far failing. That’s unlike Belarus, where the country’s generals and officers are mostly pro-Russian, in spite of the "cleansing" carried out by President Lukashenko. This is not the case in Moldova, because it is a smaller country with a very small army. Given the country’s size, the vast majority of their officers has already trained with NATO at various drills and studied at Western (European and American) academies. All small armies have similar experience.

Of course, the current situation in Moldova sends worrisome signals to Russia. That’s because it shows the extremely unstable position of President Dodon, on the one hand and on the other - it shows that the army has an absolutely anti-Russian attitude. And this is a clear signal to the separatists in Transnistria that, in case of some kind of a stir, the army will not stand aside, but will focus on the position of Ukraine.

For Ukraine, the latest developments are rather promising because now the Moldovan elite is beginning to orient on Ukraine, which has already become a regional leader.

For Ukraine, the latest developments are rather promising because now the Moldovan elite is beginning to orient on Ukraine, which has already become a regional leader. And, it is clear that such small countries as Moldova are greatly interested in Ukraine as their advocate in the West. The same is true for Belarus.

Taras Berezovets is a political technologist, director at Berta Communications, co-founder of Ukrainian Institute for the Future

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