Moscow ready to counter Moldovan renewed interest in union with Romania – OpEd – Eurasia Review
Moldovan President Maia Sandu said that many Moldovans want to unite with Romania and thus integrate into the European Union and NATO. But she warns that many are against it and says such a union could only happen if there was “overwhelming” support among Moldovans.
His remarks – available at vz.ru/news/2021/12/28/1136389.html – have already sparked concerns in Moscow and discussions there about how the Russian government can act to prevent support for Moldova to union with Romania to grow (vz.ru/politics/2021/12/28/1105215.html).
The list of tactics suggested by Moscow analysts is not new, but due to Sandu’s remarks, it is worth listing them again:
First, Moscow can push Transnistria into a new round of talks with Chisinau and thus convince the Moldovans that they have more to gain by remaining an independent country than by joining Romania, an action that would certainly cost them Transnistria which would almost certainly oppose such a move.
This is the favorite tactic of the Russian government and the one it deployed again hours after Sandu’s speech (kommersant.ru/doc/5153367).
Secondly, it may stop any effort to prevent Turkey from promoting a referendum in Gagauzia and instead allow this initiative to go ahead, which would threaten the territorial integrity of Moldova and could be presented as a problem that would disappear if the Moldovans voted to stay inside. the East and not seek to join the West.
And thirdly, and related to this, Moscow can play the Gagauz card in a new way: it can fuel fears in Bucharest that any union with Moldova would imply the introduction into the Romanian political system of an autonomy of the state, which could lead other minorities there to demand equal treatment and threaten the centralism of this country.
That alone should be enough, analysts Vzgliad polls say, to give Bucharest a break on further lobbying for Moldova’s entry into the EU and NATO, either directly or through union with Romania.