Transnistria and Russian Tensions: Moldova 12-month Forecast

As one of Europe’s poorest countries, Moldova has faced a turbulent year. Its geographical position and reliance on Russian gas have made Moldova particularly susceptible to the ramifications of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Chișinău’s pro-European government has strong aspirations of joining the European Union (source). The international community has not recognised Transnistria, a pro-Russia breakaway state in Moldova, as independent. This territory on the border with Ukraine is one of the “unsolved disputes” of the post-Cold War era (source). The population of Transnistria held a referendum in 2006 to cut ties with Chișinău and become a part of Russia. However, Moldova and the international community did not recognise the results of the referendum. Transnistria is potentially the next major battlefield in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Key Judgement 1: There is a realistic probability that Ukrainian forces will seize control over the separatist region of Transnistria in the next 12 months. The military action would reduce the power of pro-Russian groups and thus serve as a benefit to Moldova’s current government.

Key Judgement 2: Tensions between Moldova and Russia are likely to worsen over the next 12 months as Moldova increases relations with the West. This will worsen Moldova’s relations with Serbia, Belarus and Montenegro.

Key Judgement 3: The economic situation in Moldova will likely worsen over the next 12 months. This will generate instability and discontent amongst the local population.

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