Moldova Foundation

The U.S. Helsinki Commission’s briefing “Prospects for Unfreezing Moldova’s Frozen Conflict in Transnistria” (June 14, 2011)

The U.S. Helsinki Commission’s briefing “Prospects for Unfreezing Moldova’s Frozen Conflict in Transnistria” (June 14, 2011)

October 08
14:56 2014

The United States Helsinki Commission’s briefing

“Prospects for Unfreezing Moldova’s Frozen Conflict in Transnistria”

June 14, 2011

2203 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC


Witnesses

Igor Munteau, Moldovan Ambassador to the U.S.

Mr. Vladimir Socor, Political Analyst, Jamestown Foundation.

Mr. Lyndon K. Allin, II, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Mr. Vlad Spanu, President of the Moldova Foundation in Washington, DC

# # #

Since the Russia-Moldova ceasefire in 1992, which ended the Moldovan civil war, Russia has maintained troops and armaments in the region, perpetuating an eighteen-year frozen conflict, while propping up a proxy regime that does Moscow’s bidding.  Russian interference in negotiations toward a final settlement of the conflict has hindered progress in resolving the conflict.

The presence of Russian forces on Moldovan territory, without the consent of the national government has bred instability, insecurity, and human rights violations in Transnistria.  The human rights situation in Transnistria is deplorable, with arbitrary arrests for “spying and treason”; and activists and citizens who differ in opinion from the Transnistrian authorities, frequently arrested and held in detention for extended periods without trial.  The courts which issue these judgments have no legal standing and are politically-motivated.  Farmers living on the other side of the Nistru River face difficulties in farming their lands on the eastern (Transnistrian) side.  Transnistrian authorities have expropriated the properties of thousands of citizens.

Moldovans who travel to Transnistria face harassment from the authorities.  Elections are routinely rigged.  Romanian language schools in Transnistria are regularly harassed by Transnistrian “authorities” and Moldovan citizens of Romanian heritage face serious obstacles in receiving education in their national language.

Outside the authority of the weak government in Chisinau, an illegal smuggling industry thrives in Transnistria, benefitting the ruling cadre, their Russian partners, and Ukrainians.  While improved since the European Union instituted customs monitors at a section of the Ukrainian and Transnistria boundary, customs fraud remains rampant.  The absence of control between Transnistria and Moldova is reported to facilitate illegal arms smuggling with Russia and other illicit transport.

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