“Moldova is a poor country in comparison with Azerbaijan”
Interview by Daria Melikhova. Exclusively to Vestnik Kavkaza
Moldova experiences a governmental collapse. The question is how these events will influence participation of Chisinau in GUAM and relations between Moldova and the South Caucasus states. Vasily Kashirin, Senior Research Fellow of the Department of European Countries of the CIS and Baltic Countries of the RISS, told Vestnik Kavkaza about his view on the situation.
- In the light of today's events, what about Moldova's participation in GUAM?
- GUAM, in my opinion, is probably dead, it is likely to be more dead than alive. Maybe you disagree with me, but I do not know what its latest initiatives and actions are and whether we can talk about the actual active membership in the association of Moldova. Certainly, Russia's attitude to it is not compassionate, and this is just very significant that a nominally pro-Russian government, the administration of President Voronin, was actively involved in this organization, in GUAM. But now, in my opinion, this is not an actual problem for the region, the more so since Moldova now faces much more serious, pressing issues in the country, in addition to its activity in the resuscitation of the anti-Russian bloc.
- What about the supply of illegal weapons from Moldova to Armenia?
- I do not know the details of the scandalous stories, there was a lot of noise at one time. I can say that this story once again showed everyone that the armed forces in Moldova are in a deplorable state. They literally fall apart. The Ministry of Defence at different times has already sold everything possible and impossible to a variety of partners. The transactions were, as I understand it, not quite clear, not quite perfect in terms of corruption, etc. And the episode with the supply of weapons from Moldova to Armenia fits this string of events quite well. Of course, in the end, I think there are not such large, modern supplies of arms and military equipment in Moldova, which represented value in terms of possible changes in the balance of power in the South Caucasus. We know that both Azerbaijan and Armenia are spending quite a lot of money, in proportion, of course, on the purchase of arms and military equipment, they even purchase and receive free samples today. Therefore, the party that could come from Moldova - I do not think it is such a large party, which, again, could change the balance of power.
- What can you say about the relationship between Moldova and Azerbaijan?
- They were members of the block of GUAM, which had, of course, a veiled anti-Russian tone. This unit, in fact, ceased to exist, in many ways - just after the anti-Russian Georgian President Saakashvili's adventure, because, after all, with all possible misunderstandings, conflicts between Moldova and Russia, Azerbaijan and Russia, however, the leadership of these countries did not leave a reasonable, rational tone in relations with Russia. Yes, there was controversy, as I said, but there was nothing to do with the demoniac and bloody adventure of Mikhail Saakashvili in 2008. Actually, he finally compromised the bloc and Georgia. In Georgia, now everything has changed, too. Azerbaijan is the largest regional energy power, and Moldova is in a very difficult situation because of the fact that it has no funds for energy consumption. It has a very complicated and difficult relationship with Gazprom, there is no existing contract, that is, the old contract on gas supplies from Russia has been extended. I do not know whether there is even a theoretically possible scenario for energy supplies from Azerbaijan to Moldova. I do not know if this is at all feasible from an economic point of view, in terms of logistics. I do not presume to judge. As experience shows, in fact, not so much brings Azerbaijan and Moldova together. Unhappy Moldova is a poor country, especially in comparison with Azerbaijan, which is still developing rapidly. I do not know what Moldova can offer to Azerbaijan.