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International experts on the security of Republic of Moldova. Today: Professor Stefan Troebst

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Moldova as a NATO Member

The Russian military intervention of August 2008 in Georgia and even more so Moscows justification-”- securing the human rights of citizens of the Russian Federation residing in South Ossetia and Abkhazia"-”has demonstrated that the concept of a -˜Near Abroad is not just idle talk but can become a harsh reality. This casts another light also on the conflict over the Dniester valley in Moldova where Russia is present in many ways: in the form of the remnants of the former 14th Soviet Guard Army, as so-called Peacekeeping Forces in the Security Zone along the river, and by many of her own nationals in the administration, military, economy, and population of the self-proclaimed -˜Dniester Moldovan Republic (-˜DMR). In diplomatic terms turning the -˜DMR into another Abkhazia or even a second Kaliningrad Oblast would be a rather easy task for the Putin-Medvedev administration in Moscow, and in military terms the Army of Moldova would be no match for Russias armed forces.

Although for the time being this worst-case scenario is not an imminent one the integration into a military alliance system is a vital security interest of Moldova. Next to a bilateral alliance with neighboring Ukraine-”which also is worried by Moscows machinations in and around Tiraspol, not to mention the Crimea and the Donbass--NATO membership is the most promising option. This for at least three reasons: First, Moldova has a long common border with the NATO member Romania; secondly, the hotspot in the Dniester Valley with its Russian involvement is of primary interest to NATO, not the least due to its geographic proximity to NATO territory; and thirdly, Moldova is not bordering Russia as do, e.g., Georgia and the Ukraine.
NATO membership for Moldova is, however, no free lunch. For the ruling Communist Party of Moldova it is not sufficient to pay lip service to the principles of democray, market economy and the rule of law. Instead, a policy of economic liberalization, a determined fight against corruption, and a self-critical look back into the Soviet past are musts.

Professor Stefan Troebst
University of Leipzig
Global and European Studies Institute
1994-1995 German Member of the CSCE/OSCE Mission to Moldova



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