Igor Botan: Proclamation of Moldova’s permanent neutrality started from a desire to convince Russia to withdraw its military presence

The decision to proclaim Moldova’s permanent neutrality started from the desire to convince the Russian Federation to withdraw its military presence from the country’s Transnistrian region, Igor Boțan, the permanent expert of IPN’s project, stated in a public debate titled “Moldova’s neutrality between advantages, risks and dangers”. Asked whether the neutrality status has fulfilled its function throughout history, the expert noted that the neutrality status didn’t help Moldova to achieve its objectives, giving as example the Party of Communists’ initiative of June 1, 2004, when the idea of the Stability Pact for Moldova was launched and President Vladimir Voronin invited the Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union and Romania to become guarantors for the security of the Republic of Moldova.

Igor Boțan said that initiative came after the head of state tried by all methods to find a solution in agreement with the Russian Federation, first of all. President Vladimir Voronin had 36 one-on-one meetings with President Vladimir Putin to find a solution to the Transnistrian problem and when he understood that he could not identify this solution, the Stability Pact for the Republic of Moldova was born. The year 2005 followed, when the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Moldova Andrei Stratan declared from the UN rostrum that, in fact, the Transnistrian region is a territory occupied by the Russian Federation. Those who governed the country understood that Moldova’s neutrality status is not functional, does not ensure state security and does not ensure the reintegration of the state.

In July 2006, Moldova’s Cabinet led by Vasile Tarlev decided that Moldova should strengthen its relations with NATO. The Republic of Moldova adhered to the Individual Partnership Action Plan with NATO, and in October 2007, President Vladimir Voronin published two articles on what the National Army of the Republic of Moldova should look like. Those articles developed ideas that are now implemented: active cooperation at international level; participation of the National Army of the Republic of Moldova, which must be trained by foreign experts and equipped with the help of foreign countries, and in return the Republic of Moldova should be a security provider at international level, participating in all kinds of peacekeeping missions. The Party of Communists reconsidered the entire vision of how the Republic of Moldova, which independently declared its status of neutrality, interacted with the international community, sought to defend its interests, and all these things are currently reappearing in a modified manner.


The citizens put their hopes in political parties, politicians because they expect these to be preoccupied with political and social problems in Moldova in a professional manner and the usefulness of such discussions, debates is that the citizens can listen and make their own ideas and decide who is right. The Constitutional Court’s judgement of 2017 confirmed that the neutrality status was introduced in the Constitution because there is a Russian military presence on the territory of the Republic of Moldova.

“The Moldovan authorities, the government of 1994, also hoped that by introducing this clause and by expressly mentioning that the Republic of Moldova does not admit foreign military presence on its territory, will have a lever to use permanently in relation to the Russian Federation. Now we are at a point when, because regional security has been undermined, we return to all these problems and try to reconsider them, starting from the new circumstances,” concluded the expert.

The public debate entitled “Moldova’s neutrality between advantages, risks and dangers” was the 299th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”, which is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.

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