Igor Smirnov: ”Increasing the field of our friends and allies, building positive image of the country abroad is one of strategic components of strengthening the Pridnestrovien statehood”


On September 1, 2011, Tiraspol saw a solemn assembly dedicated to the 21st anniversary of the formation of the Pridnestrovien Moldavian Republic. Participating in the event were PMR's President Igor Smirnov, Chairperson of the Supreme Soviet of the PMR Anatoly Kaminsky, Vice-President of the PMR Alexander Korolev, Bishop of Tiraspol and Dubossary Savva, members of the Cabinet of Ministers, deputies of the PMR's Supreme Soviet, heads of state administrations of cities and rayons, official delegations from the Republic of South Ossetia, the Republic of Abkhazia, guests from Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova.

In the report on the results of the state's development in the past year, Igor Smirnov revealed basic directions of PMR's foreign policy, gave characteristics to international situation of the Republic at the present stage, and gave account of interaction of Pridnestrovie with other countries.

Settlement of relations with Moldova still remains Republic's main foreign policy goal. The Head of the state reminded that negotiation process between Kishinev and Tiraspol was disrupted by the leadership of the Republic of Moldova as far back as 2001, and in 2006 representatives of official Kishinev torpedoed the work of the Permanent Conference on Political Issues, known as the 5+2 format. The President told that in the course of the past years guarantor countries and mediators show more activity for resuming the work of the Permanent Conference. Thanks to their efforts, the previous year saw several rounds of informal consultations in the 5+2 format in Vienna, Astana, Kiev, and Moscow. “The Pridnestrovien side has clearly defined its position at these meetings: we are ready for a dialogue with Moldova on equal basis,” Igor Smirnov stated. He noted that guarantor countries back this position as well. The Joint Statement of the Presidents of Russia, Moldova and Pridnestrovie from March 18, 2009, as well as the Joint Statement of Dmitry Medvedev and Viktor Yanukovich from May 17, 2010, reads the need for equal conditions when resuming negotiation process. “We don't lay down any preconditions; we speak about necessary conditions for conducting a normal dialogue between two equitable sides to the conflict. And if any decisions regarding this or that negotiation formats are taken by the leadership of the Pridnestrovien Moldavian Republic, these decisions will be motivated and clear to the people of Pridnestrovie,” stressed the President. He also reported that in coming days PMR's official delegation headed by the Head of the Cabinet of Ministers will take part in international conference in Germany dedicated to the problems of socio-economic cooperation between Moldova and  Pridnestrovie in a broad regional context. “We are waiting for meaningful talks on the most topical problems of cross-border character involving our major international partners,” the President told.

However, Igor Smirnov cautioned mediators against excessive expectations. “Political crisis has been lasting in Moldova for already two years; there is no legitimate president; the country is in constant electoral cycle. Virtually, we have no one to conduct negotiations at the highest level,” the President pointed out. He also focused attention of the audience on those actions of the ruling Alliance for European Integration in the neighboring state that fail to promote atmosphere of trust between Tiraspol and Kishinev. “Representatives of the Alliance try to use interest of its western partners towards the Pridnestrovien problem in order to eliminate Russian influence in this region of Europe and to increase pressure on Pridnestrovie. On the eve of the recent Russian-German meeting in Hanover, the Moldovan representatives in fact called upon Germany to exert pressure on Russia so that Moscow, in its turn, would achieve a “more constructive approach” on the part of Tiraspol. It is clear for us what this “constructive approach” lies in. It is clearly defined in the 2005 Law of Moldova, and in discriminating documents restricting Pridnestrovie's foreign economic activity,” the President told. In this connection, Igor Smirnov particularly stressed that the Pridnestrovien Moldavian Republic is not someone's “political project”, whether of the European Union, or Russia, or Ukraine, or the USA, but a state which was created according to the will of people to protect human rights. “Over 21 years of its existence, the Republic has proved its viability. At the referendum of 2006 our people reaffirmed their choice to live in independent country and develop together with Russia. Hence, no plans of “reintegration” or the 2005 Law of Moldova can be in principle the basis or a subject of negotiations. Attempts of some politicians, countries or international organizations to unite what cannot be united are counter-productive,” stated the Head of the state. He explained that Pridnestrovie and Moldova are not just two different economic systems, different budgets and tax policies, financial systems and currency, educational standards and social protection. Insuperable boundary between Moldova and Pridnestrovie is a cultural and civilizational line. Moldova strives to enter Euro-Atlantic space, while Pridnestrovie remaining an integral part of Greater Europe sees its future in the Russian World and to the utmost close cooperation with Russia.

 In his report, Igor Smirnov touched upon those modern tendencies in international law that deal with emergence of new states. According to him, cases of recognition of independence of the states in Eurasian space and in the world vividly show that referendum mechanism turns into real foundation for conflict settlement. “This year a new state recognized by international community has emerged which is the Republic of Southern Sudan. We note with satisfaction that legal foundation for its recognition were the results of citizens' will expression,” the Head of the state said. At the same time, he noted that it took 50 years for international community to realize that existence of one state with communities so different in ethno-cultural and civilizational respect is impossible. “We are sure that principles of settlement should be common for all conflict regions and shouldn't depend on either geographic position, or presence of energy resources, or interests of one country or groups of countries. We have carried out seven nation-wide referendums. We are ready to carry out one more under international monitoring provided that its results will become legal platform for recognition of independence of our state,” stated Igor Smirnov.

Pridnestrovie continues to work actively on development of bilateral cooperation with the Russian Federation. Russia is the main strategical ally, the guarantor of economic stability and security of Pridnestrovie. President marked, that Tiraspol welcomes the fact, that the states, realizing the advantages of integration of post-Soviet territory, unite their efforts around Russia. The formation of Customs Union and creation of foundation for integrated economic territory for Russia, Byelorussia, Kazakhstan became one of unquestionable achievements of Russia. “There is no doubt, that other republics can join the Union of three countries. Pridnestrovie has every right to participate in integration processes on the territory of post-Soviet territory. That is why we harmonize our legislation with Russian and in many other spheres we “synchronize clocks” with Moscow,” Igor Smirnov said. Head of state also noted with gratitude Russian participation in peacebuilding operation on the Dniester, which has been ensuring peace and security in this region of Europe for 19 years already. “Success and uniqueness of peacebuilding operation in Pridnestrovie is the example for all European and Western institutes, whose servicemen participate in similar missions in different regions of the world,” President pointed. According to him, Tiraspol is perplexed and concerned with cynicism and push of Moldavian and Western officials and politicians, who connect the success in the settlement of Moldova-Pridnestrovie relations with withdrawal of Russian troops and peacekeepers. “Hypocrisy of such position does not stand up to scrutiny. If international community is interested in creation of system of pan-European security, then there are not Russian peacekeepers, but absolutely different challenges, that threaten it. Among these challenges are the expansion of NATO, deployment of American military bases and elements of system of missile defense in different European countries, international terrorism, military interference in domestic affairs of other sovereign states,” Igor Smirnov said. He marked, that events in the Middle East show, that discrepancy of domestic policy of the state and the interests of some NATO countries may become the reason for infringement of the sovereignty and beginning of hostilities. “The world did not become more secure. Liquidation of Russian military presence in Pridnestrovie would become fatal mistake, able to result in creation of alienation zone around Russia. Therefore, both Pridnestrovie and Russian are interested in the preservation of Russian peacekeeping forces and task forces of Russian troops in Pridnestrovie,” President emphasized.  “We will welcome Russian decision on increasing of its military contingent and the number of peacekeepers, if it follows. Russia has all legal reasons for such step,” he said.

According to Head of state, stability and prospects of the development of Pridnestrovie from the standpoint of strategy will depend to a large extent on strengthening of Russia – Ukraine partnership. President noted with satisfaction positive dynamics in building of pragmatic mutually beneficial relations between Kiev and Moscow. “Both of guarantor states corroborate adherence to signed documents, necessity of peaceful political settlement by means of negotiation on equitable basis,” Igor Smirnov said. After building of new configuration of power by new President of Ukraine, after definition and confirmation of priorities of foreign policy, Ukraine noticeably activated its activity on Pridnestrovien direction. According to him, this was to a considerable degree promoted by consistent professional activity of Ukrainian Embassy in Moldova and personally of Sergey Pirozhkov. President pointed, that today Kiev's efforts are concentrated on traditional directions in cultural and humanitarian sphere, as well as on solving of number of economic, transport, trans-boundary problems, existing in Ukraine-Pridnestrovie relations. “This year I twice met with Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Konstantin Grishenko. The results of our negotiation induce to hope, that the actions of Kiev, which satisfy Ukrainians national interests, will promote economic stability, observation of rights of Ukrainian compatriots, living in Pridnestrovie,” President said. At the same time, he reported that, he repeatedly drew the attention of Ukrainian and other international partners to the fact, that Tiraspol is ready to respect their interest to the same extent as they are ready to respect interests of the Pridnestroviens. “Any limitations of rights of our citizens will receive the same answer from our side,” Igor Smirnov said.

President noted that this year Tiraspol celebrated remarkable date – the 5th Anniversary of Union for Democracy and Peoples' Rights.  According to Head of state, in the framework of this institution, Pridnestrovie, the Republic of South Ossetia and the Republic of Abkhazia preserve high dynamics of inter-governmental cooperation. Official representative offices of the Pridnestrovien Moldavian Republic in the Republic of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and representative offices of these states in Pridnestrovie are working at present moment. Igor Smirnov reported, that during five years the three states signed tens of treaties of social, economic, inter-bank, informational and political cooperation. Joint cultural, educational, sporting and other humanitarian projects are being successfully implemented. President pointed, that some days ago official delegation of the Pridnestrovien Moldavian Republic participated in monitoring of early presidential election in the Republic of Abkhazia; now Pridnestrovien representatives take part in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. “I am convinced, that our cooperation will expand henceforth,” Igor Smirnov declared.

In conclusion of part of report, dedicated to the situation in foreign policy, Head of state said, that the PMR will continue to develop interactions on inter-governmental, inter-regional and local levels with Russian, Ukrainian, European, Abkhazian, South Ossetian, Nagorno-Karabakh friends and partners, with sister cities. “Everybody: Ministers, deputies, journalists, businessmen, representatives of arts, sports, scientific society, non-governmental organizations and political parties should be involved in these processes,” Igor Smirnov said. “Increasing of the number of our friends and allies, formation of positive image of the country abroad – are strategic constituent parts of strengthening of Pridnestrovien statehood,” he concluded.

In his report President also touched upon economic, healthcare, social, educational, scientific and cultural issues, forthcoming presidential elections and other problems of social and governmental life.