As part of his official visit to Moscow, the Moldovan president Igor Dodon met with Vladimir Putin and came to MGIMO University to deliver a lecture to the students. “Rethinking Russia” talked to international relations expert, lecturer at the Department of Political Theory of MGIMO University, Ivan Loshkarev, about the results of the visit.
The official agenda of Igor Dodon’s visit to Moscow is focused at dealing with two serious problems. First, it is about boosting economic relations of Moldova and Russia. The sales volume has already reached the level of 2008, but the states should not rest on their laurels, especially, under current harsh conditions. Russia and Moldova are related to each other not only by the interstate trade, but also by the financial transfers of Moldovan migrants, which make up almost a quarter of country’s GDP. Igor Dodon sees the issues of migration and economic cooperation as closely connected: even before his election the Moldovan leader had been involved in a dialogue on decreasing the number of denials of entry into Russia and easing the conditions for the entry into the country. In this regard, during the talks with Vladimir Putin the thesis that the Moldovan migrants did not pose any threat to Russia was stated clearly. Second, during his electoral campaign Igor Dodon repeatedly emphasized the need for a fresh perspective on the Transdniester issue and reaching compromise with Tiraspol. Consultations with Transdniestria and Russian military have been launched and this may lead to some progress.
However, apart from the official side there is also a political agenda of the visit. It will be possible to ensure economic cooperation and end the stalemate of the Transdniester issue only if the Moldovan authorities coordinate their actions. Igor Dodon lacks leverage in his country, so he should look for support in the parliament, where his faction numbers 23 deputies (while at least 51 are needed). In theory, this support can be found in the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova or in a group of figures from the Communist Party. However, the parliament is under control of a prominent businessman Vladimir Plahotniuc and the Democratic Party of Moldova. So, the goal of Dodon’s visit is “to send out a feeler”. At the same time, the way Igor Dodon speaks lets us talk about a thaw in relations of Chisinau and Moscow.
Photo: Konstantin Zavrazhin/RG