NARRATIVES: 1. The separatism on the left of the Dniester was caused by the anti-Russia sentiments and the nationalism of the Chisinau elites 2. The Russian soldiers are playing a beneficial role in ensuring peace and security in the region.
CONTEXT/LOCAL ETHOS: On September 2, 1990, a separatist enclave was created in the eastern region of the Republic of Moldova (then the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic), later called the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. The pretext invoked by the Transnistrians was that the elites in Chisinau were nationalists.
In 1992, the political conflict turned into an armed one, resulting in hundreds of deaths, which ended with the signing of a cease-fire agreement between the then presidents of the Republic of Moldova and Russia, Boris Yeltsin and Mircea Snegur, respectively. The agreement also provided for the creation of a Peacekeeping Mission on the Dniester, which also included Russian soldiers.
The left bank of the Dniester is also home to a warehouse from the USSR period, where approximately 20,000 tons of ammunition are kept, guarded by a Russian military contingent. Moscow has made official commitments on several occasions, including at the 1999 OSCE summit in Istanbul, to withdraw its munitions and armed forces, a promise it has failed to keep.
During the more than three decades that have passed, Chisinau and Tiraspol (the capital of the separatist region) have not reached a consensus. Transnistria was not recognized as an independent state except by a few other ex-Soviet enclaves, but it has always been supported directly or indirectly by Moscow, including by supplying it with free gas, the cumulative value of which has so far exceeded 7 billion dollars.
PURPOSE: To present the elites in Chisinau as anti-Russian and nationalist, and Russia as a guarantor of security and peace in the region.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The separatism on the left bank of the Dniester was actually fueled by the local Russian-speaking elites, supported by Moscow, who wanted to keep the union republics in the Kremlin's sphere of influence, just as it happened in the Caucasus area and in Ukraine, when there were attempts to step away from Russia.
In fact, by signing the 1992 peace agreement, the Russian Federation practically acknowledged its involvement in the armed conflict.
The Russian military presence in the region is regarded by Chisinau as the main threat to the security of the Republic of Moldova, and since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, it’s been seen as a destabilizing factor for the entire region.