(EurActiv) — Moldovan media reports that the country could take advantage of Transnistria’s uncertain future and bring the disputed territory back under its control. But Chișinău insists that it would rather remain neutral.
The Transnistrian economy is in free-fall and has been in decline for the last three years. An expert group, cited by Report.md, says the region’s finances are nowhere near sufficient enough to cover even 50% of costs and that Moldova could stand to benefit.
The economic forecast for the self-proclaimed republic is so bad that projected revenues for February are predicted to be two times lower than expenditures, with cash reserves almost depleted. New Prime Minister Alexandr Martynov has been forced to call a meeting to discuss basic needs.
Transnistria’s finance ministry predicts that revenues will hit 114 million rubles (approximately $10 million) but that expenditures will top 243 million rubles, of which 218 million will have been spent on pensions and salaries. Reserves are down to just 10 million rubles.
The breakaway state’s economy began to noticeably deteriorate at the end of 2014. The main factor that contributed to the slide was the economic situation in Russia and Ukraine, which had been hurt by the occupation of Crimea and the Donbas war.
Russia suspended much of the direct aid it provides to the government in Tiraspol, partly because of Moscow’s own economic woes and alleged cases of fraud in the Transnistrian administration.
The separatist government was only able to pay 70% of pensions and public sector wages in 2015 and poverty has escalated as a result.
Transnistria has been able to stay afloat this long because of its export trade with Moldova and the EU on the one hand, while on the other, Moscow provides aid and free energy.
The region is considered to be a part of Moldova by the United Nations and only a handful of non-UN states recognise its sovereignty. Talks have been held since 2005 in a 5+2 format, where the OSCE, Russia, Ukraine, the EU and the US act as mediators.