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FM AMEMBASSY

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INFO MOSCOW POLITICAL

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91

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SECSTATE WASHDC

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EUR/EEY

E.O.

12356:

DECL:OADR

 

TAGS:

PGOV,

PNAT,

PHUM,

PARM,

RO,

UR

SUBJECT:

VIOLENCE IN TRANS-DNIESTER: COMPLICATIONS

FOR MOLDOVAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONSHIP

REFS:

A)

MOSCOW 36059;

B)

1. CONFIDENTIAL

-

ENTIRE

MOSCOW 35829

TEXT.

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE

SUMMARY

02

MOSCOW

2. TENSIONS ARE

DUBOSSARY

HIGH

FOLLOWING THE

CONFIDENTIAL

36091

01

OF

03

171635Z

IN

THE

TRANS-DNIESTER CITY

OF

DECEMBER 13

FlREFIGHT BETWEEN

MOLDOVAN

AND

TRANS-DNIESTER FORCES

IN WHICH

SEVEN

PERSONS

WERE

KILLED

AND A DOZEN WOUNDED.

FOLLOWING

TALKS

TRANS-DNIESTER "PRESIDENT"

COMMISSION

ARMED GROUPS.

THAT

BETWEEN MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT

HAS NEGOTIATED

ONLY

SNEGUR HAS

SNEGUR AND

A JOINT

SMIRNOV,

CAN

A PULLBACK OF

REPEATED

OPPOSING

EARLIER STATEMENTS

PEACEFUL NEGOTIATIONS

SOLVE

THE

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE REVIEW AUTHORITY: ROBERT 0 HOMME DATE/CASE ID: 17 SEP 2009 200802198 UNCLASSIFIED

TRANS-DNIESTER DISPUTE. MOLDOVAN OFFICIALS CLAIM THE FIGHTING WAS AN INTENTIONAL PROVOCATION BY THE TRANS-DNIESTER LEADERSHIP DESIGNED TO SABOTAGE IMPENDING RUSSIAN RECOGNITION OF MOLDOVAN INDEPENDENCE. RUSSIAN MEDIA COVERAGE HAS FAVORED THE TRANS-DNIESTER AND RESULTED IN SMALL DEMONSTRATIONS IN MOSCOW. WHILE THE FIGHTING WAS LIKELY THE RESULT OF INCREASINGLY ASSERTIVE POLICIES ON BOTH SIDES, IT ILLUSTRATES THE POTENTIAL FOR DIRECT RUSSIAN-MOLDOVAN CONFLICT. END SUMMARY.

CONTROVERSY SPILLS

OVER

INTO RUSSIA

UNCLASSIFIED

3 . THE DECEMBER 13 FlREFIGHT BETWEEN MOLDOVAN AND TRANS-DNIESTER ~D UNITS IN THE TRANS-DNIESTER CITY OF DUBOSSARY (REF B - PARA 14) HAS RAISED TENSIONS SIGNIFICANTLY IN MOLDOVA AND THE BREAKAWAY TRANS-DNIESTER "REPUBLIC" AND HAS HAD SOME SPILLOVER, FOR THE FIRST TIMm, IN RUSSIA ITSELF. WHILE THERE ARE CONFLICTING ACCOUNTS OF WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 MOSCOW 36091 01 OF 03 171635Z

AND WHO STARTED THE FIRING, THE RESULT HAS BEEN

INCREASED

POLICE/MILITARY

PRESENCE

IN

BOTH MOLDOVAN

AND TRANS-DNIESTER-CONTROLLED AREAS IN THE DUBOSSARY

REGION AND CALLS FROM SOME IN THE RUSSIAN REPUBLIC FOR SUPPORT OF "THEIR RUSSIAN BROTHERS."

MOLDOVAN

Q

4.

THE

OMON

FORCES

TO BLAME?

FIGHTING

ITSELF NOW APPEARS

TO

HAVE

CLAIMED

SEVEN LIVES (FOUR MOLDOVAN POLICE AND THREE TRANS-DNIESTER POLICE/MILITIA), NOT THE THIRTEEN EARLIER REPORTED, WHILE THERE ARE OVER A DOZEN WOUNDED, INCLUDING CIVILIANS. ACCORDING TO THE TRANS-DNIESTER VERSION OF EVENTS, WHICH HAS RECEIVED WIDE PLAY ON MOSCOW TELEVISION NEWS, THE EVENTS BEGAN WHEN A DETACHMENT OF MOLDOVAN OMON FORCES ATTEMPTED TO FORCE THEIR WAY ACROSS THE DNIESTER BRIDGE ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF DUBOSSARY IN ORDER TO TAKE CONTROL OF SEVERAL TRANS-DNIESTER MILITIA CHECKPOINTS. THE TRANS-DNIESTER AUTHORITIES CLAIM THIS WAS A PRELUDE TO AN ATTEMPT TO OCCUPY THE ENTIRE DUBOSSARY AREA AND THEREBY SPLIT THE TRANS-DNIESTER "REPUBLIC" IN TWO.

UNCLASSIFIED

MOLDOVANS

SAY A TRANS-DNIESTER PROVOCATION

WERE

ATTEMPTING TO REACH A SERIES OF POLICE POSTS, MANNED

BY MOLDOVAN POLICE, WHO WERE UNDER PRESSURE FROM TRANS-DNIESTER FORCES TO ABANDON THEIR POSTS TO TRANS-DNIESTER "POLICE." (DUBOSSARY ITSELF IS CONFIDENTIAL

5. ACCOEDING TO

THE MOLDOVANS,

MOLDOVAN POLICE

CONFIDENTIAL

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 MOSCOW 36091 01 OF 03 171635Z LARGELY ETHNIC RUSSIAN, WHILE THE OUTLYING VILLAGES ARE LARGELY ETHNIC-MOLDOVAN. THEREFORE SOME POLICE POSTS ARE MANNED BY MOLDOVAN POLICE AND OTHERS BY TRANS-DNIESTER POLICE.) MOLDOVAN AUTHORITIES CHARGE THE FIREFIGHT WAS A PLANNED PROVOCATION OF THE TRANS-DNIESTER LEADERSHIP, WITH THE GOAL OF SABOTAGING MOLDOVAN ATTEMPTS TO SECURE RUSSIAN RECOGNITION OF MOLDOVA.

 

TO

STOP RUSSIAN

RECOGNITION

OF MOLDOVA

6.

AT

THE

TIME

OF THE

FIGHTING,

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT

MIRCEA SNEGUR WAS IN THE MIDST OF A WHIRLWIND

THREE-REPUBLIC TRIP (RUSSIA, BELARUS', AND UKRAINE -- THE FIGHTING FORCED HIM TO RETURN TO MOLDOVA WITHOUT VISITING KIEV) TO DISCUSS POSSIBLE MOLDOVAN MEMBERSHIP

IN THE

NEW COMMONWEALTH OF

INDEPENDENT

STATES. MOST IMPORTANTLY FOR THE MOLDOVANS, PRESIDENT YEL'TSIN REPORTEDLY ASSURED SNEGUR THAT RUSSIA WOULD SOON RECOGNIZE MOLDOVA AS AN INDEPENDENT STATE, ONE OF MOLDOVA'S PRIMARY POLITICAL GOALS. MOLDOVAN OFFICIALS TOLD POLOFF YEL'TSIN PROMISED TO PUSH FOR RUSSIAN PARLIAMENTARY RATIFICATION OF A TREATY OF MUTUAL RECOGNITION WHICH HAS BEEN

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TAGS: PGOV, PNAT, PHUM, PARM, RO, UR SUBJECT: VIOLENCE IN TRANS-DNIESTER: COMPLICATIONS

FOR MOLDOVAN-RUSSIAN

RELATIONSHIP

LANGUISHING

MINSK,

OFFICIALS

INDEPENDENCE AND MOLDOVAN MEMBERSHIP CONFIDENTIAL

TO

IN COMMITTEE

FOR SEVERAL MONTHS.

IN

ACCORDING

THE MOLDOVANS,

VERY

SUPPORTIVE

BELORUSSIAN

OF MOLDOVAN

NEW

THE

IN

WERE ALSO

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 MOSCOW 36091 02 OF 03 171637Z COMMONWEALTH. (THE MOLDOVANS HAD EXPECTED THE KIEV VISIT TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT, DUE TO UKRAINIAN SENSITIVITY ABOUT CALLS FROM NATIONALIST GROUPS IN MOLDOVA AND ROMANIA FOR THE RETURN TO MOLDOVA OF SOUTHERN BESSARABIA AND NORTHERN BUKOVINA.)

7.

MOLDOVAN

OFFICIALS ARE

CONVINCED

THAT

THE

ETHNIC-RUSSIAN TRANS-DNIESTER LEADERSHIP HAS

TIES

CLOSE

IN MOSCOW

TO

ELEMENTS

IN

THE

RUSSIAN

LEADERSHIP

UNCLASSIFIED

AND THEREFORE KNEW OF YEL'TSIN'S PROMISE TO WORK FOR RATIFICATION OF THE MtJTUAL RECOGNITION TREATY. THEY CONTEND THAT THE FIREFIGHT WAS AN ATTEMPT TO CREATE A DRAMATIC ETHNIC CONFRONTATION BETWEEN RUSSIANS AND MOLDOVANS, THEREBY INFLAMING RUSSIAN PUBLIC OPINION AND FORCING YEL'TSIN TO ABANDON, OR AT LEAST DELAY, PLANS TO RECOGNIZE MOLDOVA.

RUSSIAN

COVERAGE

~DIA

8.

THE FIREFIGHT AS BEING MOLDOVA'S FAULT. THE DECEMBER

A

BACKGROUND EXPLANATION OF ETHNIC-RUSSIAN FEARS OF MOLDOVAN UNIFICATION WITH ROMANIA AND RESULTING DENIALS OF ETHNIC-RUSSIAN LANGUAGE AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (TO SOME EXTENT AN UNDERSTANDABLE FEAR, GIVEN THE RATHER RASH COMlxlEN,TS OF SOME OF THE MORE NATIONALIST MEMBERS OF THE MOLDOVAN GOVERNMENT, MOST NOW OUT OF OFFICE). ALSO SHOWN WAS AN INTERVIEW WITH THE CHAIRMAN OF THE TRANS-DNIESTER SUPREME SOVIET, GEORGIY MARACUTA, IN WHICH HE SET CONFIDENTIAL

FOR

THE MOST

PART

THE

RUSSIAN MEDIA HAS

VESTI,

PORTRAYED

FEATURED

13

RUSSIAN EVENING TELEVISION NEWS,

CONFIDENTIAL

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 MOSCOW 36091 02 OF 03 171637Z FORTH THE TRANS-DNIESTER VERSION OF EVENTS. ALTHOUGH LATER REPORTS WERE MORE BALANCED, TASS ALSO INITIALLY TENDED TO PROVIDE THE TRANS-DNIESTER VERSION OF EVENTS, INCLUDING REFERENCES TO WEAPONS OF

"ROMANIAN-ORIGIN"

POLICE.

ALLEGEDLY

9. DURING THE WEEKEND

THERE

RALLIES

OUTSIDE

THE

OFFICES

USED

BY THE

MOLDOVAN

WERE

OF

THE

ANTI-MOLDOVAN

MOLDOVAN

REPUBLIC'S

PERMANENT

REPRESENTATIVE

IN MOSCOW.

WHILE

NUMBERING

ONLY ONE

OR TWO HUNDRED,

THE

PARTICIPANTS

RECEIVED

SYMPATHETIC

TELEVISION

COVERAGE,

WITH

 

CLOSE-UPS

OF

OLD

WOMEN

HOLDING

SIGNS

SAYING

"HANDS

OFF

OUR RUSSIAN

BROTHERS,"

AND

OTHERS

WAVING

LARGE

RED

BANNERS.

THE

COVERAGE

DID

NOT

INCLUDE

STATEMENTS

BY MOLDOVAN REPRESENTATIVES

OR EXPLANATIONS

OF

THE

MOLDOVAN

VERSION

OF

EVENTS.

MOLDOVAN

FEARS

10. MOLDOVAN

"GOVERNMENT"

OFFICIALS

IS

SEEKING,

CLAIM THE

TRANS-DNIESTER

AND

OBTAINING,

VOLUNTEERS

UNCLASSIFIED

FROM RUSSIA TO JOIN THEIR MILITIA IN RESPONSE TO

RUSSIAN ~DIA COVERAGE OF THE DUBOSSARY

DESCRIBED IN REF B, MOLDOVAN OFFICIALS ARE VERY WORRIED ABOUT ASSISTANCE ALLEGEDLY BEING PROVIDED TO

THE TRANS-DNIESTER MILITIA BY REGULAR SOVIET FORCES

STATIONED IN THE REGION,

THE NEW TRANS-DNIESTER "MINISTER OF DEFENSE," GENERAL G.I. YAKOVLEV, CONTINUES TO HOLD HIS POSITION AS COMMANDER OF THE SOVIET FOURTEENTH ARMY, CONFIDENTIAL

AS

FIGHTING.

AS WELL AS

BY

THE

FACT

THAT

PAGE

HEADQUARTERED

04

CONFIDENTIAL

MOSCOW

36091

IN

TlRASPOL,

THE

02

OF

03

"CAPITAL"

171637Z

THE

OF

UNCLASSIFIED

TRANS-DNIESTER

"REPUBLIC."

HOWEVER,

FOR

THE

ODESSA SOVIET MILITARY DISTRICT

A SPOKESMAN HEADQUARTERS,

TO

WHICH

THE

FOURTEENTH ARMY

IS

SUBORDINATE,

DENIED

DECEMBER

16

THAT

SOVIET

FORCES

HAVE

GIVEN ANY SUPPORT

TO

THE

TRANS-DNIESTER.

 

UNEASY

CALM

IN DUBOSSARY

11. MEANWHILE,

IN DUBOSSARY AN UNEASY

CALM PREVAILS,

DESPITE THE KILLING OF ONE MOLDOVAN POLICEMAN DECEMBER 14 BY AN UNIDENTIFIED GUNMAN. ON DECEMBER 15. PRESIDENT SNEGUR MET IN KISHINEV WITH TRANS-DNIESTER "PRESIDENT" IGOR' SMIRNOV, AND THE TWO SIDES AGREED TO PULL THEIR FORCES BACK FROM POSITIONS

WHERE

COMMISSION WAS SET UP TO ORGANIZE THE PULLBACK AND TO

FIND WAYS TO LOWER TENSIONS. SNEGUR REPEATED EARLIER STATEMENTS THAT ANY SOLUTION TO THE DISPUTE BETWEEN THE TWO REGIONS MUST BE ACHIEVED PEACEFULLY, THROUGH NEGOTIATIONS. ON DECEMBER 16 THE OPPOSING FORCES PULLED BACK FROM THEIR POSITIONS; THE COMMISSION IS CONTINUING TO MEET TO DISCUSS "OTHER ISSUES. It THE

THE

DANGER OF

CONFRONTATION WAS

HIGH.

A JOINT

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TAGS: PGOV, PNAT, PHUM, PARM, RO, UR SUBJECT: VIOLENCE IN TRANS-DNIESTER: COMPLICATIONS

. FOR MOLDOVAN-RUSSIAN

RELATIONSHIP

COMMISSION

HAS

INVITED

OBSERVERS

FROM RUSSIA,

 

BELARUS' ,

AND

SOME

OF

THE

CENTRAL ASIAN

REPUBLICS

TO

THE AREA TO

HELP MONITOR THE

SITUATION.

 
 

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COMMENT

 

12.

THE

FlREFIGHT

IN

DUBOSSARY

IS

THE

LATEST

IN

A

SERIES OF CONFRONTATIONS

IN THAT CITY.

THE

DUBOSSARY

AREA HAS

CONSISTENTLY

BEEN A FLASHPOINT

IN

THE

TRANS-DNIESTER BECAUSE

EQUALLY

THE

ITS

POPULATION

IS ALMOST

ETHNIC-RUSSIAN AND ETHNIC-MOLDOVAN,

OF

CONFRONTATION

HIGHER THAN

MAKING

CHANCES

IN AREAS

UNCLASSIFIED

I

,

PREDOMIN~TLY RUSSIAN. IN ADDITION TO THE POPULATION MIX, DUB~SSARY IS LOCATED GEOGRAPHICALLY IN THE

MIDDLE OF THE SECESSIONIST TRANS-DNIESTER "REPUBLIC";

IT

HAS

TEEREFORE

TAKEN

ON A STRATEGIC

SIGNIFICANCE

UNCLASSIFIED

FOR BOTH SIDES. SEVERAL RUSSIAN NEWS ACCOUNTS HAVE NOTED TaAT MOLDOVAN CONTROL OF DUBOSSARY WOULD SPLIT

THE TRANS-DNIESTER REGION IN TWO.

13.

THE

DECEMBER 13

FIGHTING,

COMING ALMOST

IMMEDIATELY AFTER ELECTIONS IN BOTH THE

TRANS-DN IESTER AND MOLDOVA, MAY ALSO

RESULT OF A NEW ASSERTIVENESS ON THE PART OF THE LEADERSHIPS OF BOTH AREAS, ANXIOUS TO EXERCISE THEIR NEW MANDATES. ACCORDNG TO PRESS REPORTS AND MOLDOVAN OFFICIALS, THE TRANS-DNIESTER POLICE/MILITIA HAVE BEEN INCREASINGLY AGGRESSIVE SINCE THE TRANS-DNIESTER ELECTION AND INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM DECEMBER 1, ATTEMPTING TO FORCE POLICE LOYAL TO THE MOLDOVAN GOVERNMENT TO EITHER RENOUNCE THAT LOYALTY OR ABANDON THEIR POSTS TO TRANS-DNIESTER FORCES. AT THE SAME TIME, SINCE THE DECEMBER 8 MOLDOVAN ELECTION, MOLDOVAN AUTHORITIES HAVE BEEN MORE ASSERTIVE IN THEIR SUPPORT OF MOLDOVANS IN TRANS-DNIESTER AND OF CONFIDENTIAL

HAVE

BEEN

THE

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 MOSCOW

THE BESIEGED MOLDOVAN POLICE UNITS IN THE DUBOSSARY AREA. ALTHOUGH IT CANNOT BE RULED OUT THAT TRANS-DNIESTER LEADERS INDEED PLANNED THE FIGHT TO SABOTAGE RUSSIAN RECOGNITION, IT MAY ALSO BE THAT IT WAS SIMPLY A CASE OF TWO INCREASINGLY ASSERTIVE FORCES FINALLY COLLIDING, WITH BOTH SIDES EQUALLY AT

FAULT. END COMMENT. STRAUSS

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UNCLASSIFIED

"

,

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UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED