Quarantine imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic is used by the separatist authorities in Tiraspol as a new opportunity to speculate, promoting so-called “statehood” and separatism. Tiraspol has taken a number of unilateral actions that violate both previous agreements, including the 1992 armistice and basic human rights. Thus, 23 new checkpoints were illegally installed around the Cocieri plateau. Quarantine has hit small farmers, who have been prevented from working their agricultural land, in the medical personnel who live on the left of the Dniester River but work in the Security Zone, in the citizens of Moldova on the left of the Dniester River who cannot benefit from compulsory medical policies to receive medical services, compensated medicines, in pensioners who receive pensions on cards issued by Moldovan banks due to free restricted movement.
1 – Chisinau would have asked Ukraine to close all border crossings on the Transnistrian segment and block the import of medicines and computers into the Transnistrian region.
It is a false fact that the authorities of the Republic of Moldova have requested the Ukrainian side to close the border crossing at Cuciurgan – Pervomaisk. In connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, Ukraine closed borders entirely, including on the central segment of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border on 13 March extending the decision to 27 March. This can be easily verified from information published by the Ukrainian or international press:
Each state is entitled to take all necessary measures to protect its own citizens, even if it is a matter of closing borders on the grounds of the pandemic. It is an action that other countries have turned to.
In fact, Chisinau introduced a simplified procedure for the authorization of medicines for the Transnistrian region, with the reduction of the authorization period from 30 to three days. There are several conditions that importers must comply with, arising from the legal obligation of the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (AMED) to ensure the effectiveness and harmlessness of medicinal products placed on the market. Since the constitutional authorities do not have access to the left of the Dniester, the only way to exercise this obligation relates to the authorization of the import of medicinal products. Imports of consignments of medicinal products have been authorized within three days of the submission of all the requested documents.
The argument regarding the use of the pandemic to attract economic agents from the Transnistrian region to the legal field of the Republic of Moldova is also one of a political and speculative nature. The Republic of Moldova is de jure a unitary state, whose legislation applies throughout its territory. That is, any economic activity, including import-export, may be carried out only under the law. Moreover, the economic agents on the left of the Dniester, registered with the Public Services Agency, do not have additional tax obligations to the budget of the Republic of Moldova, so they are not created an additional burden.
2 – Chisinau continues the banking blockade
This accusation by the Transnistrian authorities contains two elements and both are false.
- Regarding the blocking of payment possibility with Mastercard and VISA cards, the request came from the two international payment systems. Payment terminals were opened by the Uralsib bank of the Russian Federation, and according to the license, this bank has the right to operate the payment terminals only in the territory of the Russian Federation.
- Economic agents on the left of the Dniester that have accounts in commercial banks licensed by the National Bank of Moldova are not discriminated against in relation to other economic agents registered in the Republic of Moldova. Banks are required by anti-money laundering and terrorist financing legislation, in accordance with international commitments, to require proof of the origin of the money. If there is any doubt as to the origin of the financial means, banks are obliged to refuse the transaction and refer the matter to the Anti-Money Laundering and Prevention Service.
3 – Refuses to convene expert groups on banking
The Transnistrian side addresses the situation with half measures, or the banking topic has been discussed multiple times including at international conferences, such as the Bavarian Conference. The problem is that the separatist regime does not like the rules of Chisinau because these aspects are also related to basket 3 of the negotiating agenda, with elements of the legal status of the banking region. The banking subject is about banking security. All those who live in the Transnistrian region and hold cards issued in international payment systems can withdraw cash from ATMs, or impediments to moving over the administrative line are imposed by the Transnistrian side. Is Tiraspol ready to accept the movement of the lion in the region?!
4 – The leadership of the Republic of Moldova takes a final approach, according to which the procedures for importing medicines to the Transnistrian region must be viewed through the prism of the reintegration process
In reality, Chisinau has always been open to cooperation and has met the Transnistrian side in order to facilitate dialogue and the process of reintegration of the country. It is the principle by which the Government is governed, according to the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, and all activities are part of this logic.
Chisinau provided various facilities to economic agents, including permission for economic agents on the left of the Dniester who have no links to the budget of the Republic of Moldova, to carry out export-import operations, without paying customs duties and other taxes to the national budget. The only condition was registered with the Public Services Agency.
Chisinau introduced on its own initiative a simplified procedure for the import of food, fertilizer and plant protection products for the Transnistrian region, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was taken to ensure the region with food and inputs for spring agricultural work.
Thus, economic agents from the Transnistrian region registered with the Public Services Agency (ASP) can be registered in the register of plant health operators maintained by the National Food Safety Agency (ANSA) and in the TRACES system (for food importers) within three days, the usual deadline is 20 days. In order to cross the State border, economic agents to the left of the Dniester need the following permissive acts: the veterinary health certificate issued by the competent authority of the exporting State, the quality certificate, a document attesting to the innocuousness of the products issued by the manufacturer and the prior notification 24 hours before the intention to import the border inspection post.
5 – Deputy Prime Minister Cristina Lesnic spoke out against the opening of a COVID-19 laboratory in Tiraspol and the quality of Russian tests
Chisinau has consistently offered its support for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, from the unconditional processing of tests in the ANSP laboratory to the training of medical personnel in the Transnistrian region. However, Tiraspol came up with new criticisms of Chisinau, accusing that the test results would come late, looking for pretexts to open their own laboratory. In the context of the general politicization of the discourse of the separatist authorities, Chisinau’s concern in their ability to manage the epidemiological situation efficiently and transparently.
However, even after the opening of the laboratory, tests taken in the eastern districts are also brought to Chisinau. The laboratory has a small processing capacity of up to 60 tests per day, and the accuracy of rapid tests is quite low.
After the WHO visit to Tiraspol, representatives of the so-called foreign and interior ministries made the doctors. They talked about epidemiological records, how people should be treated in terms of medical protocols, clinical guidance, etc. Are there no doctors left in the region? Or did so-called ministers go to medical school?