A New Strategy for the Republic Of Moldova – The Geopolitics
A New Strategy for the Republic Of Moldova The Geopolitics
The Strategic Opportunity of Moldova: A Model for a Prosperous Postwar-Ukraine
In the months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, theories on how the future would play out were in no short supply. A popular one included the Republic of Moldova succumbing to a spillover of events occurring in its Ukrainian neighbor, or itself being directly targeted next. This fear resulted in an eagerness to accelerate the pace of Moldova’s inclusion into the European Union, but not much beyond that across the West. This is a mistake. We’re treating Moldova as a side note just as much as Russia presently is. Naturally, we’re all preoccupied. Regardless, now more than ever, EU membership should not be our only goal for Moldova. We are neglecting the opportunity Moldova actually represents.
Moldova as a Blueprint
We must reframe our understanding of Moldova; away from the notion of it potentially being a repeat of Ukraine and realize it as Russia’s previous blueprint of what they ultimately pursued in Ukraine. Indeed, Moldova will not be the sequel to Ukraine. On the contrary: Ukraine-2022 was Moldova-1991. And Moldova in its current state is what Ukrainians are fighting to avoid: a divided nation, one of the poorest in Europe, with borders held by ceasefire. Through committed decisive actions, we should today be making Moldova the West’s model for a prosperous postwar-Ukraine as much as Russia used it as an example first.
Moldova’s Size and History
Moldova not being overshadowed by Ukraine would be difficult under the best of circumstances. Alongside each other, they’re populations consist of approximately 2.5 million and 37 million inhabitants, respectively. In terms of area, Moldova is about 1/18th that of Ukraine. While no one would be blamed for not knowing much about Moldova based on its size alone, it’s all the more reason to treat Moldova as a model to be scaled up for a future Ukraine.
A Historical Perspective
Now, “Putin’s War in Ukraine” has become a catchy hook across Western media in the past year, but we have to remember that Russian meddling in Eastern Europe is nothing new. If anything, it’s tradition. Let’s rewind a bit for those unfamiliar: modern-day Moldovans and Romanians share historical ties that date back centuries. These ties run so deep that there currently exists a viable opinion (almost but less than half, according to most recent polls) that Moldova should become a part of Romania. In truth, Moldova was originally one of three major states (Moldavia, Wallachia and Transylvania) that joined over time to found what we think of Romania today.
A Focal Point of Conflict
The land of this general area on the western side of the Black Sea has been a focal point of conflict and imperial exchange since the days of the Roman Empire. Dominant powers have funneled in from all directions throughout history. Moldavia became a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. Then in 1812, the Russian Empire gained control of a portion of Moldavia via the Treaty of Bucharest and named it Bessarabia. Decades later in 1859, the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia united to form the United Principalities. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War, the United Principalities became the Kingdom of Romania.
The Soviet Era and Independence
Then, taking advantage of the turmoil caused by the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917, Bessarabia (a part of Moldavia a century before) declared independence in 1918 and joined the Kingdom of Romania. Transylvania joined soon after with the defeat of Austria-Hungary in World War I. This unification lasted two decades and ended with World War II and the 1939 Molotov-Rubbentrop pact when Nazi-Germany and Soviet-Russia divvied up Eastern Europe for their own short-lived gains.
And so, in 1940, Romania was forced to cede some of its territory to the Soviet Union. As a result, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR) was established and would exist until the dissolution of the USSR. It was also in the first half of the 20th century that the Moldavian language began to take on its own identity. In reality, the spoken language was dialectally Romanian like it always was, but its written form suddenly turned to the Cyrillic alphabet used by Russians.
By the end of the Cold War, when the MSSR claimed independence from the USSR as the Republic of Moldova, it had already enacted two laws not long prior. One established Moldovan as the sole state language, in lieu of Russian, the de facto official language of the Soviet Union. The second law stipulated the return to the Latin Romanian alphabet. Moldova was now considering closer ties to Romania yet again. Romania: a Western-leaning democracy that is today a member of NATO and the EU. Is this sounding a little familiar (i.e. 21st century Ukraine)? But Russia and Russian-speakers in Transnistria (a sliver of land in Moldova along its border with Ukraine) would have none of it. Again, is this sounding familiar (i.e. the Donbas of Ukraine)?
The Transnistria Conflict
With Moldova looking at a whole new world beyond Russia, Transnistria suddenly sought its own independence to retain their historical connections to Russia. The Transnistria War was on. With the help of Russian forces over two years, Transnistria ultimately resisted Moldova’s attempts to reestablish control over the region. Russia and Moldova negotiated a ceasefire to end active hostilities, thus creating a frozen conflict that has lasted over thirty years to our present setting.
At least 1,500 Russia troops remain stationed in Transnistria (officially the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic). The international community still considers Transnistria a part of Moldova, but inside the country exist clear divisions with border checkpoints along the Prut River, separate currencies and separate governing bodies. Of note, if there is ever any inclination to believe Russia’s go-to excuse that it is always merely aiming to defend Russia-speakers elsewhere; remember that even Russia has avoided annexing or recognizing Transnistria as an independent nation state despite the efforts of local officials to make it happen for decades. Why? Because it is through Transnistria as a breakaway region that Russia exerts considerable influence in Moldova. At its will, it uses pro-Russian parties, control over the media, destabilizing cyberattacks
SDGs, Targets, and Indicators Analysis
1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?
- SDG 1: No Poverty
- SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
- SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
- SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
- SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
- SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
The article discusses the economic challenges faced by Moldova, its potential for development, and the need for stability and peace. These issues are connected to the SDGs mentioned above.
2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?
- SDG 1.1: By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere.
- SDG 7.2: By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
- SDG 8.1: Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 percent gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries.
- SDG 9.1: Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.
- SDG 11.3: By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries.
- SDG 16.1: Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere.
These targets are relevant to the issues discussed in the article, such as eradicating poverty, promoting renewable energy, achieving economic growth, improving infrastructure, ensuring sustainable urbanization, and maintaining peace and stability.
3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?
- Indicator 1.1.1: Proportion of the population living below the international poverty line, by sex, age, employment status and geographical location.
- Indicator 7.2.1: Renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption.
- Indicator 8.1.1: Annual growth rate of real GDP per capita.
- Indicator 9.1.1: Proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road.
- Indicator 11.3.1: Ratio of land consumption rate to population growth rate.
- Indicator 16.1.1: Number of victims of intentional homicide per 100,000 population, by sex and age.
These indicators can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets, providing data on poverty levels, renewable energy consumption, economic growth, infrastructure development, urbanization rates, and violence rates.
Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
|SDG 1: No Poverty||1.1: By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere.||Indicator 1.1.1: Proportion of the population living below the international poverty line, by sex, age, employment status and geographical location.|
|SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy||7.2: By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.||Indicator 7.2.1: Renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption.|
|SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth||8.1: Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 percent gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries.||Indicator 8.1.1: Annual growth rate of real GDP per capita.|
|SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure||9.1: Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.||Indicator 9.1.1: Proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road.|
|SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities||11.3: By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries.||Indicator 11.3.1: Ratio of land consumption rate to population growth rate.|
|SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions||16.1: Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere.||Indicator 16.1.1: Number of victims of intentional homicide per 100,000 population, by sex and age.|
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