By Paul Goble
There is already much discussion about how the Kremlin plans to redraw the borders of Ukraine, but there are already some in the Russian Federation who are thinking beyond that to the redrawing of borders to the West and creating a Greater Transnistria at the expense of Moldova and Ukraine.
One of them comes from Yevgeny Nikolayev, an ethnographer and historian who is a member of the Moldovan community in the Russian Federation. He says that the Russian “special operation” in Ukraine will make possible, if Russia has the political will, the creation of a Greater Transnistria (svpressa.ru/politic/article/333012/).
That country would include all of Transnistria today plus parts of Odesa and Vinnitsa oblasts up to the lower Bug, “where it would have a border with Novorossiya.” According to Nikolayev, “the people of Transnistria “deserve to have access to the sea.” But there is more reason than that for creating a new country in this region.
The two areas would complement each other: Odesa is a trading center but lacks basic industries, most of which closed after the end of Soviet times. Transnistria on the other hand has maintained its industrial base undiminished but because of the existing borders lacks the ability to engage in international trade by sea.
Moreover, Nikolayev says, the two populations have long worked togther and are both pro-Russian. Expanding Transnistria to include Odesa and adjoining areas will be greeted in Transnistria with a loud hurrah. When “the special operation” began, Tiraspol began thinking about a corridor to Russian areas; now, it is likely thinking far more broadly.