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Yanukovych lets Russia reassert control over nation, Moldova


Importanţa referendumului din Moldova merge dincolo de politica internă a acestei ţări mici , ea este reprezentata de  importanţa Republicii Moldova în calitate de  câmp de luptă între Occident şi Rusia.

Infrângerea coalitiei prooccidentale la referendum, prin neprezentarea majoritatii alegatorilor,demonstrează creşterea influenţei Moscovei în ţară şi este direct legata de consolidarea Rusiei intr-o altă ţară fosta  sovietica din imediata vecinatate: Ucraina .

În timp ce Ucraina este vitala  pentru supravieţuirea Rusiei , Moldova reprezintă ultima bucată de teritoriu ( istoric cunoscut sub numele de Basarabia ),de care Rusia are nevoie pentru a se asigura de la sud-vest.

The U.S.-based STRATFOR global intelligence firm published an analytical piece on its website asserting that Russia has consolidated control over Ukraine since President Viktor Yanukovych took power.

 The Kyiv Post is a local partner of the firm, run by George Friedman, which operates a website at http://www.stratfor.com. Source: Stratfor

Yanukovych lets Russia reassert control over nation, Moldova

A referendum to hold direct presidential elections in Moldova failed to attract the necessary voter turnout to be binding.The referendum’s defeat is a victory for the opposition Communists, who called for a boycott of the vote. It also illustrates how Russia’s influence in Moldova is growing. Russia’s progress in consolidating its influence in Moldova was made possible by the speed with which Moscow was able to bring Ukraine back into its fold.A referendum to hold direct presidential elections in Moldova failed to attract the necessary voter turnout to be binding.The referendum’s defeat is a victory for the opposition Communists, who called for a boycott of the vote. It also illustrates how Russia’s influence in Moldova is growing. Russia’s progress in consolidating its influence in Moldova was made possible by the speed with which Moscow was able to bring Ukraine back into its fold.Analysis

A constitutional referendum in Moldova on Sept. 5 that called for the direct election of the president failed to garner the necessary 33 percent voter turnout to be binding (turnout was less than 30 percent). This is a defeat for the ruling pro-European coalition that initiated the referendum and a victory for the opposition Communists, who called for a boycott of the referendum. It also puts Moldova back into the deadlock that has dominated the political scene in Chisinau for 18 months. According to the Moldovan Constitution, parliament must now be dissolved. The ruling coalition proposed Sept. 8 to hold snap parliamentary elections Nov. 21.

The importance of the Moldova referendum goes beyond the tiny country’s internal politics; it is representative of Moldova’s importance as a battleground country between the West and Russia. The referendum’s defeat shows Moscow’s growing influence in the country and is directly tied to Russia’s consolidation of another nearby former Soviet country: Ukraine.

Russia reshapes Ukraine

Russia has made a priority of securing its southwestern flank in Europe ever since the pro-Western Orange Revolution swept Ukraine in 2004

Of all the former Soviet countries, Ukraine is the most strategic to Russia: Its industrial and agricultural sectors are virtually integrated into Russia’s own economic heartland, and 80 percent of the energy supplies Russia sends to Europe transit through Ukraine. The Orange Revolution and the pro-Western movement’s consideration of membership in Western blocs like NATO were a threat to Russia’s very survival. Pro-Western forces’ takeover in Kiev marked a turning point for Russia that would lead Moscow to focus all its efforts on expunging Western influence in its periphery and re-establishing its own.

A little more than five years later, Russia has both turned Ukraine back toward Moscow and solidified its presence in the country relatively quickly.

Under the Orange Coalition, Ukraine had a dysfunctional government perennially stuck between the competing interests and ambitions of then-President Viktor Yushchenko and then-Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko. However, under current pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych (who lost the election in the 2004 Orange Revolution), this deadlock has been all but broken.
Yanukovych appointed a loyalist and fellow pro-Russian, Mykola Azarov, as prime minister and created a majority in parliament for his Party of Regions through some crafty constitutional maneuvers. With an ally who has no grand political ambitions of his own as prime minister and a non-contentious parliament, Yanukovych has been able to consolidate much of the rest of Ukraine’s political apparatus, ranging from regional heads to Cabinet ministries.

The level of political control that Yanukovych has gained has translated into consolidations in other areas — particularly the military and security services. Russia has been the primary beneficiary of this change.

Months after his inauguration, Yanukovych signed a landmark deal that extended Russia’s lease for its Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula by 25 years in exchange for lower gas prices from Russia. This was a significant reversal from the approach taken by Yushchenko, who not only did not support an extension of the lease on the fleet’s base in Sevastopol but also periodically called for its removal. For the population in Crimea, which has historical and cultural ties to Russia and sees the Black Sea Fleet as a symbol of Moscow’s protection of the region from Kyiv, Yanukovych’s approach is much more favorable and realistic than Yushchenko’s.

In terms of the security services, Yanukovych has dismissed many of the pro-Western Yushchenko appointees and, according to STRATFOR sources in Kyiv, has enacted a full reconciliation between Ukraine’s intelligence service, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), and Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

In a meeting between SBU head Valery Khoroshkovsky and FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov in May, an agreement was reached that will allow FSB officers to work in Sevastopol to protect the Black Sea Fleet from Western operations. Under the agreement, the SBU’s top counterespionage department has made the United States, rather than Russia, its principal target (along with the United Kingdom’s MI6). Essentially, Ukraine has realigned its military and security apparatus so that it is similar to what it was during the Soviet era.

Attention on Moldova

Because Russia consolidated Ukraine relatively quickly, it has been able to move on to the next state on its southwestern flank: Moldova. While Ukraine is critical for Russia’s survival, Moldova — situated just between the Carpathian Mountains and the Black Sea — represents the last piece of territory (historically known as the Bessarabian Gap) that Russia needs to control in order to secure itself from the southwest. Russia already has de facto control over Transdniestria, the breakaway sliver of territory in eastern Moldova, but this does not offer the protection from encroaching Southeastern European powers that Moldova proper does.

Threats from Southeastern Europe historically were embodied by such foes as the Ottoman Empire; today, the main threat is from Romania, which has strong cultural and historic links to Moldova.

Although Romania certainly cannot rival Russia’s military or economic power, its membership in the Western blocs like the European Union and NATO — particularly its alliance with the United States — poses the true threat to Russia through the Moldovan corridor. Romania has actively supported Moldova’s pro-European parties and the country’s NATO membership bid, and acting Moldovan President Mihai Ghimpu has called for Russia to remove all its troops from Transdniestria. Ghimpu also passed a controversial decree establishing June 28 as “Soviet Occupation Day,” though this has since been overturned.

Russia has created its own pressure on the Western elements in Chisinau by banning Moldova’s wine exports and backing the opposition Communists. Russia has also enlisted Ukraine’s help in tackling the Transdniestria issue; the two countries formed a strategic partnership to find a solution, and Ukraine has used its own ethnic ties in Moldova to support Russia’s overtures. This shows that Ukraine is back in Russia’s camp and that Moscow has enlisted Kiev to help reach the Kremlin’s foreign policy goals.

The failed constitutional referendum, which had been put forth by pro-European elements in Chisinau to entrench their rule, is a clear signal that Russia’s approach is working thus far. Moldova has by no means definitively shifted back toward Russia as a result of the referendum, but Russia has proven that it has enough influence to block the pro-Europeans and their backers. And if Ukraine is a telling example, Russia could have the blueprint to pull another strategic former Soviet country on its southwestern flank away from the West and toward Moscow.

STRATFOR is a global intelligence company with its headquarters in Austin, Texas.

Read more: kyivpost.com/news

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11/09/2010 - Posted by | POLITICA, PRESA INTERNATIONALA | , , , , , , , ,

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