Experts and diplomats discuss the situation in Transnistria

Experts and diplomats discuss the situation in Transnistria

16 October 2020

On October 15, the MGIMO Institute for International Studies held the second round of the Dialogue on Urgent Issues academic debates under the topic «Trends of the Situation in and around Transnistria».

The meeting was attended by more than 50 Russian and foreign experts, politicians, diplomats: over 20 of them took part in the debates on sight at MGIMO, with more than 30 participants from 10 countries having connected via Zoom.

The organizers ensured a proportional and balanced participation of politicians and experts from the Moldovan and Transnistrian sides. The debates, moderated by the Director of the IIS Center for Euro-Atlantic Security Prof. Alexander Nikitin, started with keynote speeches by Vitaly Ignatiev, Transnistrian Political Representative in the Permanent Conference on Political Issues in the Framework of the Negotiation Process on the Transnistrian Settlement in the 5+2 format, Nina Shevchuk, former Representative of Transnistria in the Negotiation Process on the Transnistrian Settlement in the 5+2 format, Nikolay Tsvyatkov, Senior Researcher of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Moldova, Vladislav Kulminksi, President of the Institute for Strategic Initiatives (IPIS), Former Prime Minister’s Adviser on foreign policy and strategic planning, Igor Shornikov, Director of the Institute for Social and Political Studies and Regional Development (Tiraspol), Dr. Sergey Markedonov, Leading Research Fellow at the IIS Center for Euro-Atlantic Security.

The speakers noted that amid upcoming presidential elections in Moldova planned for November 1, the Republic of Moldova sustains different models of interaction with Transnistria on a possible settlement model, however the mediators lack a consolidated approach. Russia, the EU and the United States who mediate the settlement in both the 5+2 format and other forms have discrepant interests and positions regarding the ultimate goals of the process.

It was noted that in the current conditions it is reasonable for the parties to the conflict to move forward using «small steps tactics» in order to strengthen mutual trust: promote particular issues of trade conditions, transport communications, financial transfers, and social payments. The speakers also touched upon factors that lead to migration from Transnistria to Russia and EU-states, hurdles that complicate international business of Transnistrian companies, increased activity of the EU, conditions and prospects of Russian military presence in the region. Sometimes the debate became more straightforward and heated, but on the whole, the discussion remained mutually respectful and constructive.

According to Dr. Andrey Baykov, Vice-Rector for Research and Global Engagement, «MGIMO is pleased to host a dialogue between all parties concerned who want to make a better sense of the most burning issues, as well as seek to influence the decision-making process of their governments in order to overcome challenges and work out joint solutions. This very intellectual unity is the main aim of these meetings and they will help us to achieve our common goals».

Diplomats from the embassies of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia and Japan, including the ambassadors of some of the mentioned countries, took part in the meeting in person or in an online format. The meeting was attended by officials from the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Emergency Situations. In order to ensure greater freedom of expression and open discussion of alternative opinions, the discussion was held under Chatham House rules.

Researchers form Columbia University, the University of California, the University of Oxford, the University of Tartu, as well as representatives of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, the Free University of Berlin, The German Institute for Global and Area Studies, the Queens College, the International Institute for Peace (IIP), as well as experts from Great Britain, Finland and Japan took part in the meeting via Zoom.

The debate was preceded by a closed discussion with Nina Shevchuk on the most burning issues of the Transnistrian settlement. It was attended by IIS Director Dr. Andrey Sushentsov, Prof. Alexander Nikitin, Prof. Stanislav Chernyavskiy, Dr. Dmitry Danilov, Prof. Vladimir Baranovskiy, Dr. Sergey Markedonov, Dr. Sergey Arteev, Dr. Yulia Nikitina, IIS Senior Research Fellow Andrey Baklitskiy, Dr. Olga Shishkina, Analyst Adlan Margoev and Expert Alexander Davydov, as well as students of the MGIMO European Studies Institute and the MGIMO School of Governance and Politics.

The debates are initiated and coordinated by Dr. Yulia Nikitina, Leading Research Fellow at the IIS Center for Post-Soviet Studies. The organizational support was provided by trainees of the the Russian Political Science Association, researchers of the IIS, students of the MGIMO Faculty of International Relations and the MGIMO School of Governance and Politics.

The Dialogue on Urgent Issues is conducted as part of the IIS international cooperation development program and is aimed at promoting trustworthy exchange of opinions among leading experts, researchers, and diplomats on the most pressing issues on the international agenda. On September 30, The inaugural meeting was held under the topic «Time to Rethink American Russia Policy. Discussing the Open Letter by 103 American Politicians and Experts». Next debates will be devoted to the events and trends in Nagorno-Karabakh, Eastern Ukraine and Belarus.

The upcoming meeting will be held in November and devoted to the political situation and developments in Central Asia, with special attention paid to the events in Kyrgyzstan.

Institute for International Studies