Gipsy Bessarabia as an alternative


By: Roman Konoplev, chief of Analytical bureau “Consulting Mobile”.

Strategy of Defeat

The results of Parliamentary elections, presidential elections failure in Moldova predetermined partly the future of this region and drew a line under the past. The eurointegration course anounced by all the political powers on the eve of elections is today externalized in reality. Lupu’s failure brought presidential trophy on loan to one of the leaders of neo-Romanian radicals.

The underlying consequences of the 2009 for Moldova will become clear later. Today, only some shapes of change can be seen - the communists forced to the background of political stage and the leaders of AEI – Vlad Filat and Mikhai Ghimpu - who come forward. They are the most “open” politicians – ex-“Moscow hand” Serafim Urekian disappears against them, and so does Marian Lupu, who appeared to be far from being a “wolf” (“lupu” means “wolf” in Latin).

Marian Lupu played a role of “a gift horse”, a compromise hobby, Moscow fell for once again, hoping to retain its influence in the region. Yet another stake didn’t prove true: Lupu was nobody and stays nobody – without weighty levers, nibbled by the communists for his “betrayal” and treated with arrogance by his new friends in the Alliance.

Even if Lupu gets president post as the result of some reforms – he won’t have any influence at the local stage. In theory, Lupu’s person – “a widget” – was prepared for one purpose: to blandish Moscow, to preserve Kremlin’s goodwill at the time when Moldova especially needs means, so as when the main processes begin and when disagreements with Russia become unconscionably crucial to obtain maximum stability. In the meantime – it is necessary to deflect Russia’s attention from deep processes carrying Moldova to its Eastern European future. It is easy to deflect it through those who allowed themselves to be seduced by Lupu.

In the Lupu’s case Romanians fooled Moscow badly – as long as ballyhoo over Lupu continues, Moldova has not the political and economic front from ex-“elder brother” but slobber and heart talks deluge about various touching topics like “history frauds”, “common religion” and so on. Today, communists and Lupu compete for “the-most-pro-Moscow” title. Meanwhile, Moldova, thanks to controls used by National-Liberals, moves right-about from Moscow.

The actual situation is sometimes demonstrated by blurt-outs made by Mikhai Ghimpu – deputy president of Moldova, by the interviews of the key Bessarabian politicians for Romanian Media, as well as implementation of the idea of “Eastern European” course which differs from “European” course by more furious attitude to Russia and continuous state of exploration of conflict points. According to Ghimpu, CIS is a creaker, and Moldova will stay in this organization as long as it is at its profit. Such an eely Russia’s ally!

Moldova is active in moving towards anti-Russian Eastern European block, because its internal inferiority complexes and peeves have much to do with such Russia’s “partners” as Poland, Georgia and The Baltic States.

For some strange reason Moscow grins and bears it, looks the other way and confines itself to standard lines concerning Russian language and history frauds.

Moldova cleared the air touching both the language and history long ago. The finishing stroke is put off till Russia supports Moldova with another financial help, liberates customs rules for the citizens of Moldova and opens four more terminals for import of Moldovan wine claytons to the territory of Russian Federation. In this situation Russia as usually appears as simpleton walked over once again. Who is to blame? Diplomats’ mistakes and laziness, Foreign Intelligence Service’s passivism, unwillingness of Russian structures to scan the sociology in the neighbour countries – one can discuss these things endlessly.

Common people do not know how to buy drugs. Drug addict – schmecker – will always find a dose with his eyes closed in any part of the planet. On the same principle, people of one and the same type enter easily the orbit of Russian structures in any country – they are cheats who want to take some money “to cinch pro-Russian vector” and propose to provide loyalty of these or that politicians and political groups in the country through shady commercial operations. As the result, the civil society is seized by absolutely different forces. Clearly, smashup comes afterwards, which is described by a harsh term in diplomatic practice – “soiled themselves”.

As the result, “Russian idea” cheats fork out with a not-bad financial bonus away from the “shorn lamb”, and erstwhile “authoritative” and entirely “pro-Russian” political forces end up in the bin.

However, Moldova manages to finagle Russia happily not only in large-scale-geopolitical respect but even in applicable sense. It is well enough to turn attention to the procedures and normative legal documents that regulate the legal conditions of Moldova citizens’ staying in Russia and the other way round – Russians staying in Moldova.

According to the intergovernmental agreement signed by both sides, Moldova has set the requirements for Russian citizens: maximum period of staying in RM – 90 days during half a year. If a Russia’s citizen enters country at the Pridnestrovian part of the border he must get a registration during 72 hours in the Moldovan Police. Those citizens of RF who enter Moldova via North or the airport don’t need registration, but these are some men in a thousand. The majority of Russians come through the Pridnestrovian border. To get Moldovan registration they need to overpass about 50 km. Of course, nobody goes to Moldova to register – so these Russians who stay in Pridnestrovie violate Moldova’s law.

For the last couple of years Chisinau authorities try to plant their idea in the minds of European Police Mission EUBAM which controlls Pridnestrovian border at the territory of the Ukraine. The idea is not to let non-citizens of Moldova pass Pridnestrovian-Ukrainian border without registration documents or without Moldovan residence permit. “Law breakers” will have to be sent to Moldova’s structures for deportations and various amercements instead.

These are the methods Moldovan authorities try to solve “Pridnestrovian problem” with. At the moment EUBAM doesn’t enterfere in the cases with civil documents, but nobody knows, what Pridnestrovie’s citizens should wait for in the future.

The Central Office of EUBAM Mission is located in Chisinau. This fact speakes volumes. Major General Dr. Ferenc Banfi leads the mission. Catching smugglers with cigarettes and chicken legs is a worthy work, of course. Surely, it is not the main thing for which EUBAM creates a circle around Pridnestrovie. Chicken legs and cigarettes are not the problems of the level of Police Structure beyond EU borders which costs much money. EUBAM is creating a trap for Russian peacekeeping mission – so as, if a new conflict begins, 600 Russian gunners and defenseless citizens of Pridnestrovie won’t even think of any help from outside. Moreover, in case of Moldova’s one-sided rapture of agreements of 1992 about peacekeeping forces, Russian soldiers staying between Moldova and Pridnestrovie can be declared unlawful. Peacekeeping contingent rotation becomes impossible and Russian millitarymen become foreigners staying illegally at the territory of Moldova. In this case the theme of document flow that has been lobbied by Moldova for many years will come into EUBAM’s play.

The peacekeeping operation out of the mouths of new Moldovan leaders is again declared to be “occupation” in defiance of agreements achieved by Vladimir Voronin and Igor Smirnov. Juridically, Moldova doesn’t take part in the peacekeeping operation and all the actions of Moldova’s officials in this direction during the last couple of months are the preparations to absolute Moldova’s breakout from the peacekeeping operation. Moldova is deliberately destructing the peacekeeping operation and this is much more serious than the problems of “history frauds”. There is a smell of a new round of the millitary conflict. Let’s return, however, to the migration problem.

The Moldovan authorities’ requirements to Russians about staying in the country for only 90 days out of half a year, which are mooched from the EU legislation, do not correspond to Russia’s practice – there isn’t such a restriction for the citizens of Moldova in Russia. These norm – “90 days out of 6 months” – is directed against Russians and Ukrainians. If anyone doesn’t understand – this is nothing else but “elimination” of Pridnestrovie. “240 000 of illegal immigrants – that is your Pridnestrovian Republic”, - this is the official position of Moldova’s authorities.

Russia looks on citizens of Moldova as “compatriots”, Moldova sees citizens of Russian Federation as unbidden guests. They are sure in Moldova that they have a right to interpret the intergovernmental agreement this way – “We give 90 days out of 6 months for Russians, and Russians can do what they want – they need gastarbeiters”.

In fact, the citizens of Moldova in Russia are guest workers. They have a legal right to live and work all year round. They just need to go to the Ukrainian border once in three months and return with a new migration card – and no problem. As for the Russian citizens – they can stay in Moldova as it’s been described above – 3 months out of 6. This is the key norm which makes 150 000 Russian citizens, who are domiciled in Pridnestrovie, “law breakers”, subject to arrest and deportation in case Moldova’s special services control passports. It will be enough if EUBAM “shows understanding” to Moldova’s position, and makes Ukrainian customs officers “catch the separatists” who don’t have Moldovan residence permit.

It is obvious that after the events of 1992, not all Pridnestrovians will take into their heads to go on hands and knees to the Moldavian police department with a request to get a document of non-citizen. The more especially as this humiliating procedure presupposes many peculiarities connected with analyses, health certificates and with endorsing by the officer of Moldovan special services. The residence permit, as you know, vests “rights” in Pridnestrovian citizen with the exception of civil and political ones. Moldovans sit at the EU’s feet – any disloyalty can become a cause for deportation. The population is competently classified by “citizens” and “guests” – not a bad method to solve the conflict, is it?

The only argument why the Ukraine has not allowed EUBAM “hunting separatists” immediately is the fact that about 80-100 thousands Ukrainian citizens live in Pridnestrovie. Of course, Moldova considers them to be criminals just like Russian citizens in Pridnestrovie.

The EUBAM mission is creating a ring around Pridnestrovians. As soon as they finally lean on the Ukrainian authorities the ring will be locked. Pridnestrovie’s business experienced something like that not long ago – they made Pridnestrovian businessmen register in Moldova. They might try to register Pridnestrovie’s citizens in the same way – through the residence permit. Of course, Moldova never stops to remind democratically that “they will forgive everybody except activists-separatists and MGB (In Pridnestrovie - Ministry of State Security)”.

Today Moldova is active in lobbying the recall of the registration for Moldovans in Russia. Moldavian Media announce that in a little while the prime ministers of two countries – Filat and Putin – will sign the corresponding agreement. Moldova is putting its best foot forward, but they are not going to recall the same measure in relation to Russians-Pridnestrovians. The juridical necessity of this registration for most of the Russian citizens in Moldova is obligatory, because most of them live in the conflict zone – in Pridnestrovie and the requirement about the registration concerns these very people. I’d notice that this elective measure to “crush separatism down” touches about 140-150 thousand people. Several dozens of thousands of them live at the territory of Pridnestrovie without residence registration. They are Pridnestrovians – citizens of Russian federation, who have their residence registration in Russia to get pension there – as a rule their relatives send this pension from Russia to Pridnestrovie. There are also those who need adequate documents to go to EU for any business or on a trip. People who have a slightest hint of Moldova or Pridnestrovie in their passport will never get a visa to EU. Such visas can be bought in Chisinau, of course, thanks to corrupt schemes and such a visa will cost about 5 thousand euros for a Moldovan citizen.

As the result, according to Moldovan legislation, at the juridical territory of Moldova – in the unrecognized Pridnestrovie – about 240 000 “illegal immigrants” live and they must be deported. Most of them - about 150 thousand people – are citizens of Russian Federation. The laws to make Russians and Ukrainians “illegal immigrants” were invented and enacted in Moldova starting with the year 1993, step by step. Russia and its structures has always let it pass without any remarks. Time was passing by, but nobody arrested people in practice because there was no need to “tickle Russia” as Moldova was throughout dependent on Russia. Those times passed. Everything that was “forbidden” yesterday is “possible” today, as we see.

The cases, when Russian citizens from Pridnestrovie were kicked out in the Chisinau airport without any reasons despite their tickets, have become very often recently. When Russian citizens from Pridnestrovie fly to Chisinau from Moscow, Moldovans set their seal to the foreign passport – the seal which is a warning that this person is breaking migration regime as he/she has residence registration in Pridnestrovie and doesn’t have a residence permit in Moldova. These incidents are followed by threats that next time these people will be deported from Moldova because they are “illegal immigrants”. The same sort of threats are addressed to Pridnestrovians who need to go to Chisinau for personal purposes. The policemen of Moldova have their illegal post between Pridnestrovie and Moldova 300 meters from Russian peacekeepers where they check documents and threaten Pridnestrovians with the same warning of deportation.

Officially, Russia doesn’t have any causes to react at the international level. However, does Russia have any reasons to treat citizens of Moldova like “compatriots”, to ignore the problem “90 days out of 6 months” which conflicts Russian practice, to credit Moldovan economic with 500 million dollars, to open new terminals for Moldovan wine in Russia, to introduce registration remissions for the citizens of Moldova? Should Russia close eyes at the same situation for its 150 000 citizens living in the juridical borders of Moldova?.. Where is the good of this mysterious kindness and generosity in relation to the country that makes citizens of Russia, living in the conflict zone, criminals?

As a matter of fact, Russian official structures have an answer to this question – Russia is trying to resist in such a manner “history frauds” and reduction of use of the Russian language in Moldova. It looks at least comical. Russian structures look like a timid suppliant proffering a begging bow, kneeling to great and pitiless Moldova: “We beg you not to falsify history, not to offend Russian-speaking community – and we will pay full well, we’ll buy off – we’ll give you gold, priceless sables, polar foxes...” Holy mackerel!

Project “Bessarabia – Gipsy land”

One can see the results of Russia’s persuasion to Moldova when deplaning in Chisinau.

The first thing that hits the eye near the Chisinau airport is a huge billboard with Moldova’s, EU’s flags and a superscription “9 MAI” on it. It is December today. But, Moldavian authorities tip all the people coming to Chisinau that on 9 May 2010 Moldova is going to celebrate “The Day of Europe”. On 25 of December 2009 Moldova will officially celebrate Christmas. The Orthodox christians rebel against it, but noone hears them. As the phraze goes, “eurointegration is on the move”.

Speaking about history textbooks which declare that locals are the descendants of Dacia-Romans and other anecdotic points, all of this has been made during decades and the given direction is obvious. Moldova is severing relations with Russia firmly and determinely, setting forth funny “very pro-Russian” clowns, because at the moment Moldova still needs something from Russia.

Well, Russians can’t “head a trick”. Moldova is a sovereign state. As its prime-ministers and other officials declared, Moldova has a right to decide – to be in NATO and in other structures or wait for some time.

At the moment Russia is not against “to be milked” for some time in exchange for funny slogans in Russian that drown in the sea of antithetic declarations in Romanian. Russian Federation has really modest targets – nonadmission of history frauds and observance of human rights of Russian-speaking people as a cover to unite Moldova. However, neither the first thing nor the second can be realized taking into account current approaches. It is possible to “feed” leaders of the Russian communities in Moldova. Some of them sometimes appear to be Moldovan special services’ officers or swindlers-politologists who “work” both with Russia and others who are not less generous. However, these things can’t decide anything in a long-term perspective. Russia is being pressed out from Moldova like toothpaste from a tube – gradually and with persistence, defiantly and mockingly.

What can Russia set forward in return?

Really, Romanians have their own view of history, which many people don’t like. During Great Patriotic War they occupied Odessa and later they “liberated” the city from themselves. Romania was tacking between Germany and anti-Hitler coalition, but Romanian soldiers’ “acts of bravery” are well-known – ethnic cleansing of Slavs, Jews and Gipsies. There are a lot of documents to confirm these facts. Romania didn’t take much responsibility for its participation in war against Soviet Union, discounting the return of Bessarabia under Moscow’s control. However, if Bessarabia is not coming to Moscow, then why in the world this disputable and circulating territory should come into Romania’s hands? Why shouldn’t it come to another nation that became a victim of genocide during World War II? The nation, whose rights are today infringed in all the European states, and even in the very Romania?

Who is meant here are Gipsies (the Romany).Distressful history of this people gives it right for its own Motherland, the center of attraction. Bessarabia can become such a place.

Along the history of Bessarabia, during its transit from Russian authorities to the Romanian ones, the Romany have never been taken into account. They have always been alien to the empires, the empires’ special services and all the possible “sociologists”. Romanians have always annihilated Gipsies. Gipsies communities that can be found today in Bessarabia fall under discrimination. It is no mere chance that after World War II when Bessarabia came under Soviet’s control several tens of thousands or even hundreds thousands Gipsies left this territory. They left for Russia from the land were they had lived for centures and were they had been killed and persecuted.

They were settling on Bryansk lands and other places in Russia where they could find goodwill of local authorities. Judging from the fact that they didn’t return to Bessarabia, they find it easier to live on a new place than in the land where their ancestry lived. In Russia, many of the representatives of this people became integrated into the environment. However, many of the Romany still live in misery, have to break laws and only few of them have what they dreamt about leaving Bessarabia.

Hitlerits and their helpers were annihilating the Romany in Europe. Gipsies fought bravely against the nazi. They were not only in the Soviet army. They defended Serbia, they were in guerrilla forces. Gipsies fought together with their orthodox Serbian brothers during tragic events at the territory of Yugoslavia not long ago. They really deserve their own state, they suffered no less than the Jews did. They want to have their own center of attraction no less than other peoples. Bessarabia can become this center – future Gipsy state, the land of the Romany.

Romanians will probably be against it, something like Gipsies do not have their own history... The history, however, can be written. The very Romania was created by France in XIX century in order to stop Russian influence coming to the Balcans. Romanians invented a fairy tale that their nation is the descendant of “Dacia-Romans”, although thereof have never existed before.

There are many countries in the world with fictional history. The Romany don’t have to invent anything – too many of them died at the hand of Hitlerits and Hitlerits’ allies and Romania was among those allies. The Romany have right for their own country. Europeans might want to go at the expense of project “Bessarabia – Gipsy land”. Many gipsies flew from persecution in Romania to North Europe and wander about European countries without having any rights ot hopes for the future. It is a serious problem for the Europeans.

The Romany are discriminated in all the countries of Eastern Europe. All of them might support the idea of their own state with a dominating Gipsy ethnos. Many of the Gipsy families who live in Russia might want to return to their own country, to have rights there, to have homes there, because many of them live in misery.

Russia could appear as one of the initiators of this project of newest state as it supported the idea of Israel at the necessary time. It is better to be a donor for friends rather than Greek to someone. Russia’s interest is rather simple – the Romany remember what is nazism very well and they, like Israel, will never have “legionary parades”, “SS marches”, textbooks about “Russian occupation” and so on. The Romany remember their history very well and they know who took care about them. They don’t hate Russia, they are Orthodox and they cherish sacred traditions. The project “Bessarabia – Gipsy land” will make history frauds impossible and it will guarantee the legitimacy to Pridnestrovie.

Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic will become the center of attraction for Moldovans – today it is the only country, although a not recognized one, where the existence of such a nation as “Moldovans” is recognized. Most of the Moldavians – about a million of people – moved to Russia. They are unlikely to return to the Romanian province – Moldova. They have job in Russia, their children go to school in Russia. If they would like to live in their culture, they will have a chance to move to Pridnestrovie and they will be sure that they will have here their Cyrillic alphabet, pelenitsa (Moldavian music), and their Orthodox brothers – Russians and the Ukrainians – will be their neighbours. Multinational Pridnestrovie will get international recognition and will have an opportunity to defend originality of every ethnos, living on the left bank of the Dniester.

I don’t think that Russians and the Ukrainians who live in Bessarabia today will have any problems. The experience of the Slavs and Gipsies living together at Balcans speaks about great potential and opportunities of such a state.

Beginning with the times of Tsarist Russia, Chisinau had never been the city where mostly Romans lived – it was a Jew place. It can be so in the future and town Soroki where mostly gipsies live will become the capital of Bessarabia. Romanians who live in Bessarabia today have their “center of attraction” – it is Bucharest. About 3 million Romanians left their country after Romania became member of the EU. So, Romania will need its Bessarabian brothers-Romanians. At the same time, many of the gipsies living in Romania will be happy to move to their own state – Bessarabia.

Russia should be ready for unexpected decesions and ambitious projects. Such an initiative is worthy of a great country, because only great countries are allowed to settle among themselves plans to create new countries. Decision-makers of the Old Europe might be thinking for some time, but sooner or later they will talk to their citizens and they will understand that this idea is profitable.

As the result, everybody will benefit – Russia, EU, Romania, Pridnestrovie and the Romany. Long-standing regional problem – Moldova – will vanish into thin air.

Дата публикации: Чт 24 Дек 2009

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