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Oleg Serebrian to Tiraspol: If we are both in the same boat, let’s not unbalance it

Tiraspol is not ready to engage in a substantial dialogue with Chisinau, neither in matters related to the energy crisis, nor on other subjects, says Oleg Serebrian. The Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration reminds the de facto authorities on the left bank that “we are both in the same a boat”, and dialogue must be sought as soon as possible before “even more complex situations” could occur.

With gas supplies cut by Gazprom starting in November, Chisinau has proposed to Tiraspol a proportionate decrease in consumption, so that the right bank and the left bank share the burden of the gas shortage equally. But the proposal was not accepted, which makes Moldovan authorities feel uneasy about how Tiraspol might act if even bigger challenges arise. “Our fear is that we will be faced with even more complex situations”, said Oleg Serebrian during an IPN debate on this topic.

Even if “insufficient” for the population on both banks, according to the deputy prime minister, the solution proposed by Chisinau for rationalizing gas would have left possibilities for finding other solutions together in the future. “We are both in the same boat”, is a phrase that, according to Oleg Serebrian, is used more and more often, including by Tiraspol representatives. “And if we are in the same boat, let’s try not to upset its balance,” urged the deputy prime minister.

“Because we fear that – and we said this to people in Tiraspol – this is not the last problem to be addressed. Unfortunately, taking into account the war and the situation in the region, (…) the pipelines may be vulnerable. Nobody guarantees in this period the security of these pipelines”, said Oleg Serebrian, adding:

“What do we do if gas stops coming altogether? (…) It has already been said on several occasions that the Republic of Moldova will not be left without gas under any circumstances; it will only be a matter of costs, as in the case of electricity. But what do we do in this case with our citizens on the left side of the Nistru?”. Or, the official hypothyses, if something happens on the Nistru, for example, the Dubasari dam fails? “With a war in the neighborhood, we cannot rule out any of the worst scenarios and we must be prepared. We cannot be prepared only for the right bank”.

In this context, Oleg Serebrian noted that over 90 percent of the Transnistrian residents are Moldovan citizens, and the calls of some people to “punish” them by cutting them off from energy resources are not applicable either from a moral or legal point of view.

According to the official, those who talk about the need for tougher measures in relation to Tiraspol do not see the whole picture and do not take into account the retaliatory capacities of the local regime. For example, in order for the electricity supplied by Romania to reach Chisinau, it passes through the Kuchurgan node on the left bank. “What if something malfunctions? There are a lot of technical failures everywhere lately”, the deputy prime minister quipped. “We must know that for any tough measure, there are countermeasures”.

According to Oleg Serebrian, it is wrong to think that the population on the right side of the Nistru expects tough measures against the Transnistrian region. “Much to the contrary, they fear escalation. No one wants a conflict at the moment”, declared the deputy prime minister for reintegration.

The debate was the 266th installment of the “Political Culture” Series, run by IPN with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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