luni, 9 octombrie 2017

MOLDOVA IN THE CONTEXT OF EU’S EASTERN NEIGHBORHOOD: THE PROBLEM OF THE REGIONAL SECURITY ARCHITECTURE

        Abstract: In the new conditions of security environment in Eastern European region, it is necessary to give suitable answers to all threats. It is appropriate to integrate the security approaches from the three countries of Eastern Partnership program of the European Union Neighborhood Policy (Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia), into the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). This step requires deep reforms into the security sectors of the named countries. It would be welcome to elaborate a common Security Strategy for those three countries, which are on the path of the European integration. From this regard, for the Moldovan state it is appropriate to sign an Agreement on Security, as there are signed agreements of political (Association Agreement) and economic (Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement) cooperation between Moldova and the  EU.   
           It is necessary to establish a regional security architecture – for Eastern Europe (the space of Eastern Partnership Program countries) – as a part of the European continent's security architecture. 
        The role of the Republic of Moldova into the regional security is small (Moldova is still a consumer, not a provider of security), but yet its participation in this process would be useful both for its national security, as well as for the European continent regional security – for the important players.


       Keywords: Regional Security Architecture; Eastern Neighborhood; Eastern Europe; European Union; Republic of Moldova


            Introduction
Moldova is one of the neighboring countries of the EU which still, after 25 years of independence (from 1991 until now), faces difficult problems linked with assurance of its security, in a context of a regional instability. The European Union is interested in stable neighboring countries, both in the Mediterranean and in the East-European border regions. The goal of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), including the Eastern Partnership Program, is to contribute to the stabilization – namely: securitization – of the neighboring countries. The Republic of Moldova is a country of the EU’s Eastern neighborhood, a member of the Eastern Partnership Program. The purpose of the EU’s assistance to its neighbors is to contribute to the modernization of the partner countries: for economic growth, social stability, strengthen of the national security and others.     
Among the causes of a bad state, at this time, of the national security of the Republic of Moldova can be mentioned:    
1. Several vulnerabilities, mainly such as corruption, embezzlement on a large scale in the state administration at all levels and in other different state institutions, captured state institutions (because of this: inefficient) and other;       
2. The lack of strategic vision, which does not permit to elaborate a state mission, a policy of a state building, a strategy of the state development, a tactics and a plan of actions regarding all domains, including the sphere of security (one of the main security issue is the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict; the Moldovan authorities do not have yet a settlement plan);
3. A bad connection of Moldovan politicians in power (security policymakers) with scientific researchers in Security Studies – who can provide contemporary approaches and durable solutions for the main security issues. Recently the governing Pro-European Alliance of Republic of the Moldova elaborated and presented to the public a new Security Strategy, which waits to be voted by the Parliament. The contribution of the specialists from civil society in the process of elaborating the document could be much greater if the Moldovan authorities would be interested in collaboration; 
4. The geopolitical dispute and confrontation between Russia and West (USA, EU) on the region of the Eastern Europe – the post Soviet space. Russia wants to keep its sphere of influence, the so-called Near Abroad (Ближнее зарубежье) – as an area of its strategic interests;
5. The unsolved frozen Transnistrian conflict, maintained by the support of Kremlin given to the separatist regime from Tiraspol
6. The proximity of the conflict from Eastern Ukraine (unrecognized Lugansk and Donetsk “people’s republics”): the danger of implementation of the so-called Novorossia project – of junction between Transnistria and Donetsk areas;
7. EU’s sanctions against Russia (imposed from 2014) and Russia’s counter sanctions imposed to EU goods (after signing the Association Agreement, Moldova also received restrictions for the export of its goods on Russian market);
8. The international and regional economic crisis (within the EU and outside). 
Any state has to prove its capability to self-governance (Kissinger, 2015, p. 339, quoted the expression of US President Wilson) – which means its capability to be a state. The contemporary period of globalization is a time of a strong competition between countries; the governance of any recognized international actor has to demonstrate its capacity to maintain, to develop, to build a state. In the current time still there are countries which are qualified as: failed state[1], captive state (by internal oligarchy group/s), state adrift[2], ballast state[3], pseudo-state[4], vagabond state[5], bandit-state[6] and others. Being the poorest country on the European continent (because of the corruption; of the embezzlement on a large scale in the state administration at all levels and in other different state institutions; of the captured – because of this: inefficient – state institutions), the Republic of Moldova still has to prove its capability to be a viable, genuine, respected state. From this regard, Kissinger wrote: “And at the end of the Cold War, in various regions of the world we have seen the phenomenon of «failed states», the «ungoverned spaces» or states that do not deserve this name, because they do not have a central authority and no monopoly on the use of force”[7]. The countries with territorial conflict, with central authorities which do not control some parts of the state territory, also face this problem.  
There is no doubt that all – and especially small – countries depend on the confusion from world order[8], in the new – after the post Cold War period of time. Today we can see attempts in order to reconfigure the geopolitical spaces. The Republic of Moldova is not a subject, but an object of these processes.   
Although the Chisinau authorities have disappointed the European partners (the EU authorities from Brussels and the chancelleries of the capitals of main EU countries, first of all – Berlin) in terms of the image of Moldova as a “success story”, the state of the country depends not only on internal situation, but on external factors too. The atmosphere of geopolitical instability, caused by the Russian annexation of Ukrainian Crimea peninsula and by the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine (in Lugansk and Donetsk regions, where the separatist forces are supported by Kremlin), influences the situation in the Republic of Moldova, where since 1992 there is a frozen conflict in its Eastern region – on both banks of the Dniester River.
In this context, trying to reform the Moldovan state and to adapt it to the European values and standards, the authorities from Chisinau should take all the necessary measures in order to contribute to the negotiation and establishment of the regional security architecture – an agreement between the important geopolitical actors, with respect to the interests of Moldova and of all countries from the Eastern Partnership Program area. The guarantors in 5+2 format of negotiations on Transnistrian conflict settlement – OSCE, Russia, USA and the EU – should be involved into such a process. Although it is not a part of the 5+2 format, the UN also has to be part of the future agreement, which should be approved by the Security Council and by the General Assembly.      
       
            The geopolitical regional and international crisis 
The security environment in the region of the Eastern Europe is characterized by a geopolitical crisis. The Eastern neighborhood of the EU, especially the territories of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine is a ground of a confrontation between two international polls of power: Moscow and Washington (Brussels – as the headquarters of NATO). According to Simileanu, regardless the adopted definition (there are many), a geopolitical crisis includes and is expressed by:
1. Break with a certain status quo and deteriorating state of balance [balance of powers];
2. Perception of the crisis by the actors as a set of simultaneously or successively threats, dangers and risks;
3. The relative and never absolute character of the crisis;
4. Addressing strategic, respectively geopolitical management;
5. Need of important decisions to stop its development and extending consequences;
6. Frequent possibilities of military confrontations [hostilities][9].  
In terms of security problems and challenges, the new regional context of the Eastern Europe and the new international context relive two main threats for the Republic of Moldova, which both come from non-state actors: 
1. The hostilities in the Eastern Ukraine (2014 – now) show that the project Novorossia – which, according to Feodorov[10], means the junction between the separatist regions of Lugansk and Donetsk (so-called Donbas) from Ukraine, with the Transnistrian separatist region from Moldova – still can be implemented, with the Russia’s military support for separatist regimes.
2. The second threat comes from the Middle East, where “the Islamic State” (ISIS) generates a lot of instability. Moldova was included into “the Islamic State”, on the map published by the terrorist organization, because in the past, in medieval period, Moldova was under the Ottoman Empire’s domination. The Islamic terrorist organization is a danger for the national security of the Republic of Moldova, as the jihadists want to “re-conquer” the Moldovan territory.  
The confrontations in two theaters of military operations – Ukraine and Syria – are not only between local warring parties, but also between two important geopolitical opponents – Russia and the USA. The situation in Syria can influence the evolution of the crisis in Ukraine and vice versa. The Russian Federation is present in both conflicts – in Ukraine and in Syria – because Kremlin seeks to achieve several objectives. The behavior of the Russian Federation on international and regional – Eastern Europe and extended Middle East regions – shows that:     
1. Despite the fact that Russia was involved into the Syrian crisis, it did not give up to support the separatist Lugansk and Donetsk „people’s republics”, following freezing the conflict in Eastern Ukraine according to the Transnistrian scenario, which means that the Kremlin uses in Eastern Ukraine the “Transnistrian” strategy. 
2. By the involvement of Russia in the war in Syria, Russia has shown that it can involve any time in the conflicts from Near Abroad (Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Nagorno-Karabakh), in order to defend its zone of interests – its sphere of influence – the post Soviet space.   
3. The instability from Eastern Ukraine negatively affects the situation in the Republic of Moldova (the paramilitary regimes of separatist regions of Ukraine – Lugansk and Donetsk – are a threat for the national security of the Moldovan state, as well as the regime from the Transnistrian separatist region is a threat for the national security of Ukraine, with respect to the Odessa region). 
There are experts who state that between key geopolitical players there is now a hybrid war. In the Feodorov’s view, hybrid war is "A complex of measures, which blends in itself military actions in their traditional understanding with non-military methods of destabilization, destruction and liquidation of the enemy, including the exercise of economic pressure, incitement to political and social conflicts, implementing of subversive activities and of propaganda mass campaigns, known as «psychological warfare» or «informational war»"[11]. According to Joseph S. Nye, Jr. hybrid wars are “an amalgam of conventional weapons, irregular tactics, terrorism and criminal behavior in the area of ongoing conflict”[12]. Countries as Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine are victims of a hybrid war waged by Russia. In comparison with the war in Moldova (1992) and in Georgia (2008), where the Russian Federation used its regular army, in the conflict in Donbas – Ukraine (2014 - present) Kremlin does not recognize its military implication within hostilities in the theater of the military actions (delivering of military personnel, techniques and munitions).     
The recent (in September 30, 2015) involvement of the aerospace forces of the Russian Federation into Syria crisis shows a few elements: 
1. Kremlin tries to enlarge its sphere of influence over the Near Abroad (first time after the collapse of the Soviet Union), namely in extended Middle East;
2. Kremlin has modern military means to intervene anywhere in case of any destabilization, first of all in the Near Abroad region, especially in three countries which are on the path of European integration: Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, by supporting the pro-Russian radical opposition.
3. In the last period of time president Vladimir Putin does a lot in order to be perceived as a great leader by the leaders of the Western countries, in the context of a great support by the public opinion within Russia

            Transnistrian scenario used by Russia in Eastern Europe. Ukraine crisis 
Some experts and some Media spoke about the Transnistrian scenario, applied by Russia in Ukraine, during the consultations in Minsk (2015) between the representatives of Ukrainian authorities and separatists. The so-called ”Transnistrisation” of a conflict, namely in Lugansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine, which now are beyond the control of the Kiev central authorities, means its freezing, as the conflict in Transnistrian region was frozen in 1992, after five months of hostilities (March 2 – July 21) between Moldovan Police (later: Moldovan new created National Army) and separatist paramilitary from Nistrian region (from both banks of the Dniester River). The Russian Federation supported logistically and military the NMR, preserving illegally the former 14 Soviet Army in Transnistria. The “Transnistrian” scenario was applied for the first time in Eastern Moldova in 1990-1992, by the creation of an unrecognized so-called “Nistrian Moldovan Republic” (NMR). Now Russia supports financial, military, logistically and so on the consolidation of the unrecognized so-called “people’s republic” of Lugansk and Donetsk from Ukraine.      
The Transnistrian conflict started with the occupation, by paramilitary, of the Moldovan state institutions in the Transnistrian zone and by creating institutions of so-called NMR (proclaimed on September 2, 1990), outside the control of central Moldovan authorities. The aim of using that scenario in 1990-1992 has been to keep Moldova in “Sovereign States Union” (the new name of the USSR) – Corneliu Filip quoted president Snegur – into the Russian Federation’s sphere of influence[13]. At that time the Moldovan political leaders express clearly against the remaining into USSR and against the accession of Moldova into the Community of Independent States (CIS).Today, as it was in 1991, the aim of Russia is to keep all the former Soviet republics within its sphere of influence, do not allow them to integrate into other geopolitical spaces. On December 21, 1991, still Moldovan president Mircea Snegur, in order to avoid the conflict in Transnistria, signed the Alma-Ata Protocol, which made public purposes and principles of CIS. But this has not helped to avoid the conflict. Still, by the scenario applied in Transnistria, Moldova was held in Russia's sphere of influence.
A set of elements show that the “Transnistrian scenario” from 1992 was implemented in the Eastern Ukraine conflict (from 2014 – till now):   
1. Capture of state institutions;
2. Using of paramilitary troops;
3. A great financial, human (by volunteers, retired military or active military “on vacation”), logistic, military support from Russia
 The Russia's stake, keeping conflicts in Eastern Ukraine and in Eastern Moldova, is:
1. To keep its sphere of influence – the geopolitical space dominated by Kremlin: the Near Abroad – the former Soviet Union republics;
2. To block the European integration – the accession into the European Union and, regarding Georgia and Ukraine, the accession into NATO (countries with unresolved territorial conflicts can not accede into those two organizations);
3. Donbas and Transnistria are, for Russia, bridgeheads to the NATO countries from Southern Europe: Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey and to Western Balkan’s countries such as Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.   
There are a few common features of the Russian involvement into the conflicts in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, by hard power (by forcing them) and by soft power (by influencing them without military force): 
1. Both conflicts were held in the Eastern parts of Moldova and Ukraine. In Alex Berca’s opinion, this was caused by the industrial strategic importance of those regions[14]. The strategic importance of those areas is given by the existing industrial complexes there, and proximity to sources of energy and raw materials from Russia.
2. Both conflict regions were populated with Russian workers in Soviet time, under the pretext that Moldova and Ukraine didn’t have enough skilled workers. Subsequently, natives’ families in those industrial areas were Russified, because of a lack of kindergartens and schools with teaching in national language (Moldovan, Ukrainian).
3. The influence of Russia manifested itself in both states (Moldova and Ukraine), the difference is that within the war in Transnistria (Moldova) the troops of the Russian army were involved openly (in Moldova still there are officially Russian troops as: peacekeepers [500] and a Task Force [1000]), while in Donbas (Ukraine) there is no acknowledgment, from Russia, of its military participation, in the war against the Ukrainian army. However, it is known that Russian citizens (volunteers, retired military or active military “on vacation”) fight in Lugansk and Donetsk regions for the self-proclaimed “people’s” republics.
4. Russia has managed to halt Moldova on its European path in 1992, by the scenario applied at the banks of Dniester River. The Transnistrian conflict, even frozen, is an obstacle to the European integration of Moldova until today. Now Russia is acting in order to prevent Ukraine’s advance on the European path, using “Transnistrian” strategy.
5. Russia uses propaganda against the Chisinau and Kiev authorities. The informational war is a component of the hybrid war between Russia and some states from its Near Abroad.  

               The importance of an agreement on the security domain within the EU – RM relations
            After signing, on June 27, 2014, the Association Agreement (AA) between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova, a new era in bilateral relations began. In the new conditions, the Moldovan state preceded to reforms in the Justice System, in the system of public administration, police, in economic field etc. Within the AA, the regulations on security domain are just  a few (on air space, illegal migration, illegal traffic at border and others). The ultimate aim of the ENP, including of the AA with Moldova, is to create a free trade area and economic integration of the partner’s countries with the EU ("a stake in the EU market"), but without the perspective of political integration (joining the EU is still not taken into account; to be associated to Europe ≠ to join the European Union). 
In these conditions, after the implementation of the association agenda by the partner countries – Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia – it would be welcome to return to security issues. From this regard, it would be useful to elaborate a common Security Strategy for the three Eastern partners of EU. More specifically, for each of these states it would be appropriate to negotiate and to sign an Agreement on Security field, as now there are signed agreements of cooperation in the Political field – Association Agreement, and in Economic filed – Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, which is a part of the Association Agreement.   
This would help in the process of establishing the regional security architecture – for the Eastern Europe region (the space of Eastern Partnership Program countries) – as a part of the European continent's security. 
The role of the Republic of Moldova into the establishment of the regional security agenda is small (Moldova is still a consumer, not a provider of security, inter alia because of the Transnistrian conflict, which requires the presence of an OSCE mission), but still its participation in this process would be useful for the common goals of establishing a regional security architecture and would be helpful in reaching a viable successful formula. It is important for a country like Moldova to express its interests in such a process and to be helped to solve its security problems. The Moldovan solved security problems (first of all, the settled Transnistrian conflict, within an international format and with guarantees of the big geopolitical actors) will contribute to the European continent regional security architecture.
By associating to the EU, countries like the Republic of Moldova should receive more support from Brussels in all domains, inclusive in the security sphere. The new associated countries can not implement the economic integration (about the political integration yet we can not speak) without the assurance of security, without of a greater involvement of the EU into their security problems.  

            Conclusions
In the current geopolitical context it is necessary to design a regional security architecture for the Eastern Europe. A good formula would be a system of collective security. As one of the countries of the region, the Republic of Moldova must play its role in this process. First of all, Chisinau must solve its internal problems, must reduce all vulnerabilities (such as corruption, embezzlement on a large scale in the state administration at all levels, captured state institutions and other). Then, being a strong democracy, respecting human rights and having a functional free market economy, the Moldovan state should become a provider, not only a consumer of security. 
Without a regional security system, adopted by the main international geopolitical players, with the participation of the small countries like Moldova, the Eastern Europe region will remain an unstable space. The format of the regional security system will be determined within the negotiations between important geopolitical actors: Washington, Brussels and Moscow. Still, it is important that the vision of small countries like the Republic of Moldova to be taken into account. The stake of a formula of assurance of regional security of the Eastern Europe, by the support of the USA and the EU, is to avoid the capture of the East European countries, by Russian Federation, into its sphere of influence.
At the moment, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia have common threats for the national security of each of them. That is why it would be appropriate for them to provide common answers to common threats. One approach would be the elaboration of a common security strategy for those three countries of Eastern Europe – a region which is a ground of a geopolitical confrontation between big geopolitical actors: Russia and West (Washington and Brussels). Situated at the border of two civilizations – Western and Eurasian – Moldova and Ukraine can play a special role in terms of designing the architecture of the regional security. The mission of the two countries will determine a common vision on security architecture, a common strategy and common actions in this regard. 
In the new security environment in the Eastern European region, it is necessary to give suitable answers to all threats and to eliminate all the risks. As the three countries (Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia) from Eastern Partnership Program of European Neighborhood Policy face similar security problems, it would be appropriate to integrate the security approaches from the named three countries, associated to EU, into the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) of EU. This step requires deep reforms into the security sectors of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia.
Thus, as in the new international and regional conditions the security threats are almost the same for Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, it could be appropriate:
1.      To elaborate a common Security Strategy;
2.      To integrate the security approaches from the named three countries into ESDP.
3.      To sign an Agreement on Security, as there are signed agreements in political and economic fields.   
It is necessary to establish regional security architecture – for the Eastern Europe (the space of Eastern Partnership Program countries) – as a part of the European continent's security, which should be designed into ESDP. The Italian initiative, expressed at the Bratislava informal EU summit (September 16, 2016), on defense cooperation, of creating a coalition of member countries willing to establish a joint permanent military force, shows that the importance of the EU as a regional actor and the importance of ESDP as its instrument will grow. The decision is not taken yet. The European elites will debate over how far EU countries should assure more effectively its security. But the Republic of Moldova must be ready to take advantage from these evolutions.   
Being situated in the same Eastern European region, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine have common goals and common challenges to their national security. The efforts of the two neighboring friendly states are directed towards the exit from the space of Near Abroad – the Russia's sphere of influence – and towards the integration within the space of the European civilization (European Union). In order to achieve this strategic goal, Chisinau and Kiev could use common approaches and take common actions, respecting national interests of each sovereign country.    

         Bibliography:   

1.      Berca, Alex, Ucraina. Un punct de vedere geopolitic [Ukraine. A geopolitical point of view], Editura Top Form, București, 2014. 
2.      Feodorov, Yury, Hybrid war a là Russe – Гибридная война по-русски. Biznespoligraf, Kiev, 2016.  
3.      Filip, Corneliu, Dosarul transnistrean. Istoria unui «conflict înghețat» [Transnistrian folder. History of a "frozen conflict»], Editura Institutului de Științe Politice și Relații Internaționale, București, 2011.
4.      Ghica, Luciana Alexandra; Zulean, Marian, Politica de securitate națională. Concepte, instituții, procese [National Security Policy. Concepts, institutions and processes], Editura Polirom, Iași, 2010.
5.      Kissinger, Henry, Ordinea mondială [World Order], Editura Rao, București, 2015.
6.      Nye, Jr. Joseph S., Viitorul puterii [The Future of Power], Editura Polirom, Iași,     2012.
7.      Simileanu, Vasile, Conflicte asimetrice [Asymmetric Conflicts], Editura Top Form, București, 2011.
8.      Snegur, Mircea, Labirintul destinului, Memorii, Volumul 2 [Labyrinth of destiny, Memories, Volume 2], Chișinău, 2008.
9.      Snegur, Mircea; Volkov, Eduard, Otkrovennyye dialogi [Sincere dialogues], Chișinău, 2008.
10.  Străuțiu, Eugen; Tabără, Vasile, A comparative analysis of the development of the two banks of the Dniester. Implemented policies, desirable policies, Techno Media, Sibiu, 2015.
 


           Article published in Studia Securitatis, nr. 1/2017, P. 32-43, Sibiu, Romania.  






[1] Henry Kissinger, Ordinea mondială, Editura Rao, București, 2015, p. 296; Vasile Simileanu, Conflicte asimetrice, Editura Top Form, București, 2011, p. 78.  
[2] Vasile Simileanu, Conflicte asimetrice, Editura Top Form, București, 2011, 79.
[3] Ibidem, p. 109.
[4] Ibidem.
[5] Ibidem, p. 78.
[6] Luciana Alexandra Ghica, Marian Zulean, Politica de securitate națională. Concepte, instituții,  Editura Polirom, Iași, 2010, p. 150.
[7] Henry Kissinger, Op. cit., p. 296.
[8] Ibidem, pp. 299-301.
[9] Vasile Simileanu, Op. cit., 2011, p. 211.  
[10] Yury Feodorov, Hybrid war a là Russe – Гибридная война по-русски, Biznespoligraf, Kiev, 2016, pp. 46-48.
[11] Ibidem, p. 8. 
[12] Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Viitorul puterii, Editura Polirom, Iași, 2012, p. 51.
[13] Corneliu Filip, Dosarul transnistrean. Istoria unui «conflict înghețat», Editura Institutului de Științe Politice și Relații Internaționale, București, 2011, p. 155.

[14] Alex Berca, Ucraina. Un punct de vedere geopolitic, Editura Top Form, București, 2014, p. 72.    

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