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NATO and Moldova

Author: Ionut Ovejanu – University of Bucharest

NATO membership is the only present-day efficient option for ensuring the national security of
the Republic of Moldova. The cooperation with the Allies and the NATO Partner States in a wide range of
other sectors within the Partnership for Peace (PfP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC)
represents an important step in this direction. However, the ethnonational structure of a state should not
affect its development in a negative manner. On the contrary, it must be used in the interest of the
respective state.

Keywords: NATO, Moldova, IPAP, EAPC, Pfp

The North Atlantic Treaty, signed in Washington in April 1949, led to the creation of an alliance of
common defense in the spirit of the Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The treaty, which has an
indeterminate duration, was adhered to by 14 European states together with the United States and Canada.
This is how NATO was born. Since then, the
organization has developed rapidly becoming
attractive for other countries as well and, according to
Article 10 of the Treaty, it stays open for all European
states which might adhere to it in the future in order to
contribute to the safety of the North Atlantic region.
In this respect NATO has set up the Euro-Atlantic
Council, conceived as a consultancy and cooperation
forum with the Partner States in the Euro-Atlantic
area. In all the time that has passed since its
foundation the Alliance made progresses in
completing the policy and decisional institutions, thus
showing a visible transformation. This transformation
can be noticed in the security environment, in the
strategic concept of the Alliance, in the role played by
the Allied Military Forces, as well as in the building
of the European security.
(Source: Wikipedia - )
The Alliance is looking into the future and remains open for new members as part of the evolution
process consisting in the development of security policies all over Europe.
NATO membership is the only present-day efficient option for ensuring the national security of
the Republic of Moldova. The likelihood of its integration into the Alliance will represent an intermediate
stage of development, which, through the approach to the western states, will considerably facilitate the
European integration of Moldova.
The results of a survey undertaken by the Sociological Investigation Center CBS – AXA together
with the Soros Foundation, shows that 38.4% of the respondents think that a beneficial solution for
ensuring the security of the Republic of Moldova would be the keeping of its neutrality, 26.2% deem the
neutrality statute should be modified such as the country were able to adhere to NATO, while 38.4% of
those interviewed didn’t know what to say. Those people
considering the adherence to NATO is a good option fall within the
following age brackets: 29.5% are between 18 and 29, 27%
between 30 and 44, 25.4% between 45 and 59 and 20.8% are more
than 60 years old. Of those who voted for NATO adherence 27.9%
declared themselves to be Moldovans, 56.4% Romanians, 16.1%
Russians, 10.3% Ukrainians, 7.3% Gagauzians and 11.6%
Bulgarians. If a referendum for the adherence of the Republic of
Moldova to NATO were organized tomorrow 29% of the people
would vote yea, 27% would vote nay, 26.7% would be irresolute,
and 7.4% would not participate in the voting. The rest of 10% did not give an answer. The survey was
applied to 1,100 people having voting rights, the error margin being of 3%. (Source:
The cooperation sectors, the reform plans and the political dialogue processes are detailed within
the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) of the Republic of Moldova, a document approved by
common agreement with NATO for a two years period. The main sectors of cooperation include the
strengthening of democratic control over the military forces, the planning of the defense budget, the
issuing of a new training program for the military forces and the development of the 22nd Peace-Keeping
Battalion’s capacity to work together with forces from other NATO states in crises management, as well
as in peace-keeping operations.
The Republic of Moldova cooperates with the Allies and the NATO Partner States in a wide range
of other sectors, within the Partnership for Peace (PfP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
Cooperation in the field of security
By participating regularly to the training exercises within the PfP, Moldova has taken important
steps for bringing closer its forces to interoperability with the Allies. Thus, Moldova contributes with
several units of the 22nd Peace-Keeping Battalion, a transport aircraft and two transport helicopters to the
PfP activities, under a “case by case” procedure. At the same time, Moldova has offered an airfield and
some training facilities for the PfP activities and also hosted a series of exercises carried out under the PfP
In the fight against terrorism the Republic of Moldova brings its contribution by participating to
the Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism (PAP – T). This implies intelligence and analyses sharing
with NATO, cooperation with the Allies in the improvement of anti-terrorism national training capacities,
as well as the bettering of security and transboundary infrastructures. More than that, Moldova has
created an Anti-Terrorism Center within its own Intelligence and Security Center.
NATO does not have a direct involvement in the process of resolving the conflict in the
Transnistrean region. However, the Alliance considers that Russia must necessarily comply with the
pledges it made in Istanbul, including the withdrawal of weapons and ammunition deposits from the
Transnistrean region.

Defense and security sector reform

The defense and security sector are essential fields of cooperation in which NATO and individual
allies hold a considerable expertise that could be employed by Moldova in the region. A key priority is the
cooperation in the establishing of a democratic control over military forces. At the same time, the Alliance
is supporting the larger and larger process of democratic, institutional and juridical reform, which is now
in progress in Moldova. By consulting the NATO, the Republic of Moldova has issued strategic
documents with a view to the reform in the defense and security sector, which will offer the necessary
guidelines for the developing of the Defense Strategic Analysis. The consultations on the necessary steps
that have to be taken in order to set up a defense plan and a budget system, elements that will be key
instruments in the coordination and implementation of the Strategic Defense, are in full swing.
The Alliance continues to assist Moldova in the process of building up some modern, mobile and
highly trained forces, well equipped and cost-effective, which could be interoperational with the Allied
forces. Among the key reform projects one could mention the improvement of command and control
structures, military logistic and personnel management, as well as the training and strengthening of
Moldova’s transboundary patrolling capacities, from the perspective of its intention to join the
Operational Capacity Concept.

Civil emergency planning

The civil emergency planning is a priority field of cooperation between Moldova and the Allies.
By participating in the activities organized by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center
(EADRCC) the Republic of Moldova will be able do develop its national capacities for managing the
civil emergencies and disasters. In addition, Moldova is working both on the improvement of its
legislative framework, in order to be able to cope with such emergency situations, and on the setting up of
an informational system that should allow the coordination of the activities in the event of the occurrence
of an emergency situation. (Appendix 1)
Russian Operational Task Force in Moldova.
(Source: Federation of American Scientists (FAS) - )
Science and environment
Within the Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Program, the Republic of Moldova has been
receiving logistic support for cooperation projects, which include studies for reducing seismic risk and
equipment for river monitoring activities. Beside, Moldova is willing to intensify the scientific
cooperation. The key development fields might be the research in the anti-terrorism province, the
problems of hazardous chemicals and the reducing of the risk and impact of radiological contamination of
the environment. Moldova and the Alliance aim at improving public information and the free access to
information regarding the NATO and the benefits of cooperation between the NATO and Moldova.
(Appendix 1)

The evolution of the ethnic factor, both as an element of social unrest and as an element of
national security has a major impact on the development of the Republic of Moldova, as well as on its
adherence to the Alliance.
In the past, the aboriginal population was living on this territory together with Ukrainians, Greeks,
Armenians, Gypsies and Jews. In comparison with the natives (Moldovans/Romanians), until the 19 th
century alogenic population accounted for less than 10% of the total. Between the 16th and 17th centuries
this ratio kept relatively stable. Until the 19th century, the demographic and ethnic structure of the
Republic of Moldova suffered slow and minor changes, but since then the situation has changed
significantly with respect to the number of inhabitants, including the number of people belonging to the
various ethnic groups. The alteration of the social-economic and political situation of the Republic of
Moldova following its inclusion into the Russian Empire in 1812 and the politics performed by the czarist
administration led to the modification of the ethnic structure of the population. The exact ethnic
composition of Moldova’s population up to the 19th century is hard to estimate, inasmuch as precise and
concrete statistical data are missing. As a matter of fact, the first official statistics about the national
structure of the country came out only in 1897.
Data regarding the population on this territory are found around the year 1812 in an account that
goes by the name of “Vedomosti”, which appeared under the signature of admiral Ciceagov, in which it
was said that the population of the Republic of Moldova of those times counted 41,000 families or more
than 240,000 people. In another document, issued by Skalkovski in 1813, the population of the Republic
of Moldova was said to be more than 55,000 families or more than 340,000 people. Z. Arbure claims that
in 1812, when Moldova was annexed to Russia, more than 320,000 – 350,000 Romanians of both sexes
lived in the country, whereas the total figure of the foreign element was less than 20,000 – 25,000 people.
Although the data are different they manage to create a general picture of those times, showing that the
territory was poorly inhabited. In 1817, General Bahmentiev, governor of the Republic of Moldova,
conducted the first census ordered by Russia, which emphasized that 96,526 families or 491,679 people
inhabited the annexed province.
In the 19th century Moldova experienced pretty great changes in its ethnical structure. Thus, if at
the beginning of the century the Moldovans accounted for 78.2% of the whole population by the end of
the same century the percentage dropped by 26.1%, reaching the value of 52.1%. By contrast, the
percentage of people of other nationalities grew as follows: Ukrainians by 4.6%, Russians by 4.4%, Jews
by 10.6% (the highest increase), Germans by 1.5%, Bulgarians and Gagauzians by 4.3%. The number of
Armenians and Gypsies recorded a slight decrease, Armenians by 0.3% and Gypsies by 0.1%. As far as
the Transnistrean territory is concerned, during the 19th century the number of Moldovans dropped from
7.3% in 1851 to 5.4% in 1897. Ukrainians, too, were in decline, while the Russians and the Jews recorded
an important increase, by 19% and 6.7%, respectively. Also an increase, but to a lesser extent, was
apparent in the case of Germans, Bulgarians, Serbs and Polish.
In order to get a clear picture of this phenomenon it is useful to turn to the Romanian census of
1930, which was reflected in the Ethnographic Charter of Romania by Vintilă Mihăilescu, and also to the
census of 2004 of the Republic of Moldova. Both sources highlight the ethnic evolution of the Moldovan
territory and provide potential solutions for the interethnic tensions that have accumulated in this country.
To illustrate the situation it is good to have a look at the number of people belonging to different
ethnic groups that were living in several settlements of Moldova at the census of 1930: Lipcani (Jews –
5,000; Germans – 2,000), Soroca (Jews – 1,000; Germans – 500), Nicoresti (Jews – 3,000; Russians
1,500), Balti (Jews – 14,000; Russians – 5,000; Germans – 300; Polish – 1,000; Ukrainians – 200),
Telenesti (Jews – 2,800), Ungheni (Jews – 1,450), Orhei (Jews – 600; Russians – 100), Chisinau (Jews –
20,000; Russians – 10,200; Germans – 1,000; Gagauzians – 100), Hartop Hasan (Gagauzian – 100),
Cismila (Jews – 950), Tighina (Russians – 15,000; Jews – 8,000; Ukrainians – 1,350; Gagauzians – 50),
Causeni (Jews – 1,850; Russians – 350). Needless to say that Romanians represented the rest of the
population of each settlement. The census of 2004 shows a significant diminution of some ethnic groups
and an increase of some others, as one can see in Appendix 2.
During the period of the Soviet Union important ethnographic changes took place as a result of
forced and voluntary migrations of the population of the former socialist republics. In 1959, Romanians
had a share of 64.6% of Moldova’s total population, value that stayed about the same in 1989, too.
Theoretically, the percentage of Moldovans/Romanians should have been higher in 1989 in comparison
with 1959, because they occupied one of the top positions in USSR according to the natality rate.
Therefore, one can conclude that migrations from other republics did not succeed in radically changing
the ethnic structure of the population, which continued to keep about the same percentage as in 1959. N.
Dima appreciates that during a decade (1960 – 1970) about 83,000 Russians, 48,000 Ukrainians and
8,000 Jews came to settle down on the Moldovan territory.
According to the data of 1993, Tiraspol was inhabited by approximately 203,000 people, of which
83,800 were Russians (41.3%), 65,300 Ukrainians (32.2%) and 35,900 Moldovans (17.7%), while 17,900
(that is 8.8%) belonged to other nationalities. Tiraspol national structure differed significantly from the
composition of Transnistrean cities and counties by the fact that Moldovans were fewer and Russians
outnumbered them by far. In Transnistria, Moldovans represented 31.1%, Russians 30.1%, Ukrainians
28.0% and other nationalities only 7.8% of the whole population.
The ethnonational structure of a state should not exert a negative effect on its development. On the
contrary, it must be used to the interest of the respective state.
A brief chronology of the events that have to do with NATO and the Republic of Moldova:

Moldova joins the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, renamed the Euro-Atlantic
Partnership Council in 1997.
1994 Moldova joins the Partnership for Peace (PfP).
1997 Moldova joins the PfP Planning and Review Process.
A Moldovan platoon participates in a civil emergency relief exercise in Russia with
Allies and Partner countries.
2005 Moldova hosts a PfP Civil Protection Committee plenary meeting in September.
President Voronin visits NATO Headquarters in June
2006 Moldova agrees its first Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with NATO.
Moldova hosts the PfP training exercises ”Cooperative Longbow” and ”Cooperative
President Voronin visits NATO Headquarters in June
2007 IPAP assessment identifies areas of progress and issues to be addressed.
President Voronin visits NATO Headquarters in December.

The NATO support for maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova is still a
main topic on the discussion list. NATO is and remains the only efficient security solution for the
Republic of Moldova and adhering to this organization would mean direct foreign investment
opportunities of about 2 billion dollars per year. There is a strong connection between the country’s
security and the volume of direct foreign investments, which means the integration in the Alliance could
generate more than 20,000 jobs every year. More than that, it is well known that no country of the Eastern
space has been able to join the European Union without first integrating into NATO.

1. Planul de acţiuni UE-RM, Chişinău 2006
2. Avram I., UE şi aderarea României, Bucureşti 2001
3. Ipp, Noile frontiere în Europa de sud-est RM, Ucraina, România, Ştiinţa 2002
4. Constituţia Republicii Moldova. Chişinău, 1994
5. NATO Handbook, Brussel, Blegium, 1998
6. NATO's Secret Armies - Operation Gladio and Terrorism în Western Europe , 2005
7. Vintila Mihaielescu - Atlasul Etnic al Romaniei - 1930

Web Sources: / / / /
Appendix 1

(Source: GRID-Arendal - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) - )

Appendix 2

(Source: Center for Minorities Problems (CPM) - )