Is Russia planning an invasion of Moldova?Medusa turns to political scientist Dionis Senusa for insight

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The Transnistrian Department of Homeland Security was attacked by the Grenade Launcher on April 25.

April 22, Russian Ministry of Defense publication The main task of the military in the second phase of the “special military operation” in Ukraine was “to establish complete control of Donbus and southern Ukraine”, and “repression of the Russian-speaking population was also observed. . ”Three days later, Transnistoria strike By a series of explosions.On the same day, the Ukrainian Army Staff publication Russian troops stationed on Transnistrian territory were on full combat alert. To get a clearer picture of what is happening in Transnistoria, Medusa spoke with Dionis Senusa, a visiting scholar at the Center for Eastern European Studies in Lithuania.

April 22, Russian Ministry of Defense publication The goal of the next stage of the war is to gain control of southern Ukraine as well as Donbus, which will provide a clear path to Transnistoria.Three days after the announcement, a series of explosions Occurred In Transnistoria. what happened? Who is responsible for the explosion, and why is Russia so interested in Transnistoria?

The explosion was an attempt to destabilize the area, but it is unknown who caused them.Ukraine and Russia Passing Responsibility before and after.

What was happening in Transnistoria in the days before the explosion and the Russian Defense Ministry statement? Are you nervous? Has Russia mobilized troops there?

There is no clear data on the mobilization efforts being made there.Ukrainian authorities, however, say Otherwise.. Moldova and Ukrainian intelligence do not appear to be working together at this time, so it is important to initiate direct communication. When one side makes a public statement, it usually contradicts the other side.

What are the different possible scenarios?

It’s hard to predict what will happen, but how things evolve depends on several factors. The first is Russia’s advancement of its territory towards Odesa and how well Ukraine can resist. The second is whether it is Kisinau and Tiraspol. [the capital of the unrecognized state of Transnistria] At least a slightly functional dialogue can be established to prevent escalation. Lack of communication and misunderstandings are recipes for mistakes in the decision-making process. And third is whether international players can keep track of the area around Moldova and Transnistoria.

If Russian troops invade Transnistoria, is it officially considered an attack on Moldova?

Moldova sees Russian troops already deployed [in Transnistria] As an “occupying army” since the 1990s. Therefore, if a new army emerges on Moldova’s territory, including Transnistoria, Moldova will undoubtedly see it as another example of an attack and therefore as a new occupation attempt.

The conflict in Transnistoria began in the late 1980s. As the sentiment of nationalists and pro-Romania increased in the Moldavian SSR, the Pridnestrovia Moldavian SSR was declared in parts of its territory, with Tiraspol as the capital (initially unrecognized in both Kisinau and Moscow). ). Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unrecognized nation continued to exist as the Republic of Moldavian (more commonly known as Transnistoria).

In 1992, the conflict became fierce. The armed conflict lasted for several months, killing more than 1,000 people. The truce was eventually mediated by Russia, after which Russian peacekeepers were brought into the region. Since then, the conflict has remained “frozen.” Attempts by either party to resolve it made no sense. Transnistoria is effectively an independent country, but not a single UN member state recognizes it.

What role do Russian troops play in Transnistrian territory, and why did the United Nations and Moldova demand their removal? Does the Doniestor army itself have military power?

The Russian Army is part of both the Russian Army Operations Group (or OGRF, responsible for guarding the military warehouse and maintaining the combat capabilities of the Transnist Army) and the Joint Management Committee, which includes the Moldovan Army and the Transnist Army. It has been. ..Moldova side I was demanded to The withdrawal of Russian troops ultimately depends on Moscow’s political leadership. Russia does not want to lose its influence in Moldova, so it refused to remove its troops until a final solution was found to strengthen Russia’s position at the expense of Moldova’s territorial integrity.

Can Russia seriously rely on reinforcements at the ammunition depot and airfield in the village of Corbasna near Tiraspol?

Cobasna’s military stockpile is volatile due to its age, and the airfield is not in sufficient condition for Russia to rely on it for full-scale operation. That does not mean that it cannot be used for small military operations as needed.

What is the outlook for Transnistoria if Russia invades? Is it true that most Transnistrians support Russia? Where does support come from?

The population of this region is devoted to pro-Russians and may fight with Russia. Disinformation and Soviet and Russian propaganda have been applied for 30 years and left a deep impression on people’s collective consciousness.

How are sanctions on Russia affecting Transnistoria?

Sanctions are affecting Russian businesses and citizens who are economically active in the region or who work there because they are within the scope of the sanctions. Moldova has not participated in sanctions, but its banks and regulatory agencies continue to monitor them to avoid “secondary sanctions.”

People sometimes compare the unrecognized “People’s Republic” of eastern Ukraine with Transnistoria. How are they similar and how are they different?

The Transnistrian region has managed to look like a nation, but it has not gained international recognition and can survive without various subsidies and shade arrangements from Russia. can not. In the last few years it has even been able to integrate parts of its economy into the European market, but only by acting as part of Moldova. This area has some autonomy from Moscow and cannot say about LNR or DNR. So, in contrast to LNR and DNR, which have been directly dominated by the Moscow side since 2014, the region shows some neutrality with respect to Ukraine.

Inside Moldova

What has been the relationship between Russia and Moldova over the last few years? How has the relationship between Moldova and Transnistoria changed since Igor Dodon, the pro-Russian president of Moldova, replaced Maia Sandu, who favors Europe?

Relations between Moldova and Russia are complicated by their fundamentally different strategic interests and different geopolitical directions.Moldova’s ruling party [Action and Solidarity] Although President Sandu is not necessarily anti-Russian, Russia’s foreign policy towards Moldova can be seen as an effort to use Moldova and create a political space in favor of pro-Russian troops, rather than solving existing problems. can. Moldovan society is polarized and its fragmentation is closely related to geopolitical factors. Russia knows this and is using it for the country’s own strategic interests, contrary to the pro-European agenda of the ruling party and other like-minded parties.

interview To Larisa Karik

Translated by Sam Breeze Ale Is Russia planning an invasion of Moldova?Medusa turns to political scientist Dionis Senusa for insight

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