Moscow poised to counter renewed Moldovan interest in reunification with Romania

Foto: INQUAM/George Călin

Moldovan President Maia Sandu recently claimed that many Moldovans want to reunite with Romania and join the European Union.

But she  also warned that many in the former Soviet republic are opposed and union with neighboring Romania could only occur only if there is “overwhelming” support in the nation of 3 million.


She made her  remarks in late December. At the same time, she stressed Moldova did not want to join NATO. This is significant as Russia opposes NATO’s eastward expansion and particularly the prospect that Ukraine might join the alliance.

The pro-Western president’s comments however have triggered alarm in Moscow, according to an analysis published in Eurasia review on Sunday.

There are discussions about how Russia’s government can act to discourage support for reunification.

Kremlin tactics

The analysis by Paul Goble, a specialist on Eurasia affairs lists the tactics the Kremlin is mulling.

Moscow can push pro-Russian separatists in the breakaway republic of Trans-Dniester into a new round of talks with Chisinau. The aim would be to persuade Moldovans it is in their interest to remain an independent country.

By joining Romania, they would lose Trans-Dniester which almost certainly oppose such a move.

The article says this is the Russian government’s favored tactic, and one it deployed again within hours of Ms Sandu’s speech.


Moscow could also encourage a referendum in Gagauzia, a pro-Russian enclave that would threaten the territorial integrity of Moldova. That would make union more difficult.

Related to this, Moscow can play the Gagauz card and stir up fears in Bucharest that any union with Moldova would involve the introduction into the Romanian political system of a state autonomy, something that could lead other minorities there to demand equal treatment and threat to undermine centralism of that country.


This last tactic analysts at Vzglyad online Russian publication say  would make Bucharest leery about continuing to lobby for Moldovan entrance into the EU and NATO either directly or via union with Romania.

Romanian nationals told to leave Ukraine now




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