Report by Acting Foreign Minister of the PMR V.V. Ignatiev at the Pridnestrovian–Serbian Conference on 26 November 2015


​The Foreign Ministry of Pridnestrovie was working on the idea to hold the representative Serbian-Pridnestrovian Forum some time ago. Pridnestrovie has proceeded from existence of mutual interest in establishing economic cooperation with the Republic of Srpska, as well as cultural and civilized dialogue.

The people of Pridnestrovie have never remained indifferent to the development of processes on the territory of the former Yugoslavia since the common historical destiny, cultural and linguistic proximity of the peoples of our countries seems undeniable. Pridnestrovie, as well as Serbia and the city of Bendery, as well as Belgrade have faced in recent history the armed aggression, supported or carried out by Western countries. Today, the hybrid war is being conducted against our countries, the aim of which is, if not the physical destruction of the populations of Serbia and Pridnestrovie, then at least breaking and deformation of their cultural and civilizational code, elimination of very close relations developed historically with the Russian state.

In this sense, Pridnestrovie considers the declared theme of today's conference as highly relevant, because recommendations and practical solutions aimed at countering artificial threats in security, economic well-being across all of south-eastern Europe may be drawn up through the expert dialogue. Multi-level communication between the two countries, especially with the support of the Russian Federation, may contribute to the creation of a chain of stability and prosperity in our regional area.

Today we see a geopolitical and geo-economic expansion of the Western community of nations into the spaces of Eastern and Southern Europe. The purpose of this expansion is to maintain the financial and military power of the EU and NATO states through creating poor, emasculated and therefore easily controlled territories at their borders, which should serve as a political satellite of the collective West (through the USA and EU), as suppliers of cheap labour and markets for products manufactured in these countries. Special hothouse conditions are created today for the transatlantic free trade area actively lobbied by the USA, for which the territories of states such as Pridnestrovie, Moldova, Ukraine, Serbia are chosen at best as object of influence, and at worst - as a shooting range for geopolitical battle with the Russia Federation.

A major impediment to the observed western expansion is the existence of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, strategically focused on the maximum rapprochement with Russia and the inclusion in the Eurasian integration processes, as well as the functioning of the unique peacekeeping mechanism, which has ensured peace and has helped to maintain the military-political balance for more than two decades. That is why the massive political and economic pressure from Moldova and with the participation of Ukraine is put upon Pridnestrovie, and in the security sector the peacekeeping operation conducted under the auspices of Russia on the Dniester bears the brunt.

The attempts to cut Pridnestrovie off from access to the EU market from 1 January 2016, as well as measures to totally block the expert-import operations by taking a joint Ukrainian-Moldovan control over the border with Pridnestrovie on the side of Ukraine are the integral components of the undeclared hybrid war against our country in trade-economic sphere. The Moldovan side regularly inspires problems with the shipment of goods imported by Pridnestrovian economic entities, to the railway station “Slobodka-export”.

In the field of transport and transit the possibility of delivery of goods by Pridnestrovian trucking companies has been blocked since 2004, and the ban on the movement of Pridnestrovian vehicles across the Moldovan-Ukrainian border introduced in August this year, even after the moratorium on its implementation is a “sword of Damocles” for Pridnestrovie.

The areas of freedom and personal safety of people are targeted. Since last year, the Moldovan side has stepped up the application of the mechanism of politically motivated prosecution to the ordinary citizens and the authorities of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, separately initiated criminal cases against the target group of the 50 heads of enterprises and other economic entities of Pridnestrovie. The total number of people prosecuted in Moldova is more than 200.

Thus, even this non-exhaustive list of components of power pressure indicates that Pridnestrovie, as well as Serbia suffered and continues to suffer from all the negative impacts of all kinds of blockades and restrictions, different levels of measures of pressure and blackmail, which take many different forms, ranging from direct armed aggression, and ending with hybrid instruments of influence.

This situation is an objective driver for the development of cooperation, as awareness of peoples of our countries with regard to their inalienable rights, freedoms and interests gives rise to understanding the need to join efforts.

The trade turnover between Pridnestrovie and Serbia is developing, several cultural projects have been realized on sending Pridnestrovian children on vacation in Serbia.

However, these relationships have a significant potential for development, as Pridnestrovie and Serbia have a unique experience of maintaining special cooperative relationship with Russia, while neighbouring countries are constantly exerting often extremely aggressive, outreach, political, economic and psychological pressure intended to dismantle the main vector of strategic development of our countries, aimed at integration with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union.

In some respects it can be argued that Pridnestrovie and Serbia, historically bound by fraternal civilized relations with Russia, experience over the years Western countries’ attempts to punish them for pro-Russian orientation vindictively and methodically.

Both Pridnestrovie, and Serbia are forced to balance literally on thin ice in the circumstances when living space is imposed from outside and is artificially constrained in order to protect at all costs the interests of the peoples of our countries, even in such discriminatory conditions. At the same time some of the leading world powers with a fair amount of cynicism intend to present Pridnestrovie and Serbia as guilty parties.

From an analytical point of view, experience for conflict regulation of processes associated with the collapse of the former Yugoslavia is extremely interesting for Pridnestrovie. The experience of the Republic of Srpska is also very pertinent in terms of the creation of preferential regimes of trade with a wide range of integration structures. Today, the Republic of Srpska trades on the preferential basis with the European Union in the framework of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) and separately – with the three countries of the Customs Union: Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

A separate unique field for cooperation between Pridnestrovie and the Republic of Srpska may be joint work on modeling tools to protect their own identity, values ​​and interests under the continuing international pressure. Today Pridnestrovie feels the pressure on various areas: economic, diplomatic, informational, social. This pressure is, after all, aimed to destroy the unique polyethnic pro-Russian Pridnestrovian identity, which is one of the most important pillars of our statehood.

Over the years the Republic of Srpska is a target for military intervention and attempts to provoke territorial disintegration, to rewrite the unique cultural and civilizational code of the Orthodox Serbian people.

The task of this conference is to share experiences and formula for protection of their identity while there is a need for permanent countering the artificially created and imposed non-complementary reality, establish and ensure the maintenance of working academic and cultural contacts. I hope that the conference will have a powerful synergistic effect, which will demonstrate that, despite all the difficulties and external pressure, brotherly Slavic nations can present a united front.

As you know, in 2014-2015 in the framework of the Serbian-Swiss Chairmanship in the OSCE representatives of the Foreign Ministry of Serbia took an active part in the settlement process. Unfortunately, for these two years the situation in the Pridnestrovian settlement is rapidly degraded, since the substantial experience that Serbia has itself in a comparable conflict in fact had never been drawn on. In fact, Serbia distanced itself in this process from full involvement, entrusting its work to coordinators of the OSCE and the European structures.

Actually, this once again demonstrates the true purpose of the Western actors that Serbia and Pridnestrovie abandon the independent position and gradually step by step entrust some European structures their sovereignty.

But our common task is to prevent such a scenario of development of the situation, to ensure the public interest and implement the will of our people.

Thank you for your attention!