The British Helsinki Human Rights Group monitors human rights and democracy in the 57 OSCE member states from the United States to Central Asia.
* Monitoring the conduct of elections in OSCE member states.
* Examining issues relating to press freedom and freedom of speech
* Reporting on conditions in prisons and psychiatric institutions

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Moldova – the failed state as pro-Western model
HITS: 12725 | 19-02-2008, 15:14 | Commentaire(s): (0) |
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The economic and social implosion of Moldova since 1991 is routinely blamed on Transnistria but according to all the Western reform models promoting “shock therapy” the loss of the heavily industrial part of the country should have been pure gain for the rest of Moldova. According to the post-Communist market dogmatists industry was a handicap to prosperity and the sooner smokestacks ceased to pollute the higher the standard of living would be.
Under successive governments since 1991 Moldova to the west of the Dniestr has followed the nostrums of “shock therapy” to the letter and its population has endured a catastrophic fall in its standard of living, mass emigration and the humiliation of seeking economic salvation in prostitution or the sale of body parts. It is an index of Moldova’s industrial and social collapse that it no longer buys electricity from the Transnistrian power plant which used to supply it.
Despite its favourable reputation among Western “experts” as a model of economic reform and democracy, Moldova’s political system has been repeatedly criticised at home. In the run up to the re-election of Voronin’s Communists in 2004, opposition group’s made wide-ranging charges of electoral malpractice which were dropped after Voronin made publicly supportive statements about US policy and anti-Russian jibes.
Moldova depends on remittances from its expatriate workers who have fled economic collapse at home for most of its “exports”! Ukraine’s Russophone south-west is also descending into a growing economic crisis by contrast with the relative success of the eastern Ukrainian Russophone regions – though, of course, it has some way to go before it hits the rock bottom of the Western Ukraine, which like Moldova has become a Western Union wasteland.[1]
Moldova’s one significant export, wine, has been badly hit by a row with Russia over the use of pesticides and other chemicals which may have corrupted the production sent to Russia. Russia has stopped the import of Moldovan (and Georgian) wines and the economic impact worsens as the geo-political crisis around the unrecognised states intensifies. The Russian authorities claim that traces of illegal pesticides like DDT have been found in bottles of Moldovan wine. Whatever the motive behind the Russian ban it puts pressure on one of the few sectors of the Molodovan economy struggling back to life after fifteen years of economic implosion.[2]
The EU’s high representative for security and foreign policy, Javier Solana let slip in an interview in the Chisinau daily Moldova Suverana, on the eve of a scheduled visit to Moldova in the spring, that: "I am convinced that the Transnistria conflict is a conflict of economic nature, involving the economic elites. It cannot last forever, there is no place for such conflicts in the 21st century." [3]
Solana drew attention to Moldova’s endemic corruption and the politicisation of the current regime’s claims to combat it. The EU’s High Representative said, “Moldova should do much more… in the struggle against corruption – it is not enough to tackle corruption in the ranks of the opposition”![4] There are persistent charges that the media in particular is under government pressure in Moldova.[5]
It is an irony that although Transnistria is frequently portrayed as a Stalinist theme-park, Moldova is actually governed by an unrepentant Communist Party whose leader, Vladimir Voronin, is president, but what seems to matter to the West is that Moldova’s Communists do what NATO wants while Transnistria’s politicians appear to pay attention to their own citizens’ needs first.[6]
On 17th May, the US ambassador in Chisinau, Heather Hodges, paid a farewell visit to President Vladimir Voronin, and told him according to agency reports “The ice has broken on the Transdniestrian problem, she said. Thanks to the new customs mode, Moldova has resumed control over the border,and the operations of the EU mission helped to make the process more effective, she said.”[7] Maybe in US diplomatic speak a blockade equals a thaw but in common English parlance it seems clearer to say that the West was trying to isolate and strangle a statelet whose elected leaders failed to kowtow to the shibboleths of the New World Order, i.e. though they had instituted a market economy Tiraspol’s leaders did not send mercenaries to foreign wars nor promote Russophobia.
On 19th April, the U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns was in Moscow and according to Radio Free Europe said that “the United States will press for the so-called frozen conflicts of the former Soviet Union -- Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transdniester -- to be included on the agenda of the summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations in St. Petersburg in July.”[8] He emphasised that “these ... conflicts [are] very close to Russia's borders"[9]
Mr Burns has made a career out of voicing America’s concern for regions remote from it and then justifying military interventions to solve their problems. He was President Clinton’s State Department spokesman on all the most sensitive issues in the Balkans in the 1990s. (Readers of this Group’s reports will recall his role as attack-dog over Bosnia, Albania in 1996 and then Kosovo in 1999.) Where Mr Burns has sought to resolve conflict, the grass has rarely grown again.[10]
A reverse Monroe Doctrine seems in place: the closer to Moscow the more Washington is entitled to intervene. The key ideologist of the new “soft war” against Russia is Bruce Jackson. In the run up to the St. Petersburg summit, Jackson called for a “soft war” with Russia for predominance in the Black Sea region.[11] This former Lockheed executive, now the President of the Project on Transitional Democracies – a kind of post-Communist parody of the Cominformist model of “cooperation on the road to socialism” - has played a central role in coordinating the anti-Russian and pro-American forces in the post-Soviet states and statelets from the Baltic to the Black Sea. In effect the author of the “Letter of Ten”[12] post-Communist states to President Bush in February, 2003, which swore fealty to his democratic war project in Iraq in much the same way that the leaders of the same states (sometimes of the same – n ow post - Communist parties) had written to Brezhnev endorsing his interventions on behalf of “people’s democracy.” Jackson even parodies the “two camps theory” propagated by Stalin and Zhdanov sixty years ago: “It goes without saying (or should) that states with interests in the Black Sea region can be divided into two camps”, though according to Jackson only Russia sits in one camp, and everybody else is “the proponent of regional revisionism.” This regional revisionism would seem to require more than “soft power” since Jackson argues “it is certainly true that revisionist strategies are unlikely to accomplish by persuasion, cooperation and partnership the overthrow of an entrenched, well-armed, and sometimes violent status-quo Russia.”[13] America should undertake “the aggressive championing” of non-Russian states around the Black Sea like Moldova as well as Georgia and Ukraine (although only a Ukraine whose elected government did what Washington wanted would presumably deserve “aggressive” backing).
As the strategist of NATO enlargement waxed lyrical on the potential for Western “aggression” in the region even geographical limitations melted before his vision of democracy unleashed: landlocked Transnistria was on his hit list: “We should want NATO exercises off the coast of Transdnistria”![14] [ibid., 12] Jackson even refuses to contemplate compromise with Putin’s Russia even “when one’s own soft power collides with that of another.” In short NATO’s leading American voice for the expansion of the Western military alliance across the ex-Soviet Union romantically recalling the great Game” and the Charge of the Light Brigade as “historical precedents” for Western interest in the region today.[15]

[1] Chisinau has 49 Western Union branches. See while Transnistria has only 19 branches Lviv has 40 Western Union agents. See travel/messages/5638.html.Odessa has 46, channelHtml/
[2] For the Russian health claims, see
[3] See & article.html?article_id=2370844.
[4] See Infotag, “Javier Solana: "Conflictul transnistrean este unul economic si nu poate dura la infinit" (2nd March, 2006):
[5] For a number of apparently arbitrary government acts which affected the viability of a variety of Moldovan media outlets, closing some, and harassment of journalists in Moldova, see
[6] See or
[7] See
[8] See RFE/RL: CIS: New Stimulus For Resolution Of 'Frozen Conflicts'? (21st April, 2006)
[9] See “U.S. Wants Belarus on G8 Agenda” in The Moscow Times (20th April, 2006)
[10] Certainly, Mr Burns n ever leaves ill alone. Having justified the Dayton Settlement in 1995, Mr Burns now insists that Bosnia jettisons the constitution imposed on it by the administration for whom he spoke as definitevly then: “We think that Bosnia has to become a normal democratic society." See “Burns calls on Bosnians to reform system” AP (21st April, 2006)
[11] See Bruce P. Jackson, “The ‘Soft War’ for Europe’s East” in Policy Review (Hoover Institution: June & July, 2006), 3-14.
[12] See “The New Europe’s Old Colours” (BHHRG: 12th March, 2003) @ CountryReport.asp?CountryID=58&ReportID=193&ChapterID=596&next=next&keyword=Jackson
[13] See Jackson, “The ‘Soft War’ for Europe’s East”, 8.
[14] See Jackson, “The ‘Soft War’ for Europe’s East”, 12.
[15] See Bruce P. Jackson, “The ‘Soft War’ for Europe’s East” in Policy Review (Hoover Institutin: June & July, 2006), 6.
[16] See Focus News, “US Undersecretary of State: Aim of Kosovo Talks Is The Region’s Independence” (11th April, 2006)



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