Recent events have set Moldova's NATO Information Center, also known as CID NATO, in the spotlight as it fell victim to a suspected deliberate arson attack. This incident escalates the already strained relations between Moldova and its Transnistria region, a largely Russian-speaking area that declared independence back in 1991.
Background on Transnistria and Moldova Relations
The Transnistrian region was granted significant autonomy following intervention by the Russian army. Despite this autonomy, relations between Moldova and Transnistria remain tense, with an ever-present risk of renewed conflict. Adding fuel to this tension, Transnistria's President Vadim Krasnosselski has recently urged his region to be prepared for both security and defense.
Moldova’s Ties with the European Union and NATO
In contrast to its significant pro-Russian population, Moldova has been making strides towards the European Union and NATO. A notable development was when Moldova became a part of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in the 1990s, followed by joining the Partnership for Peace.
The CID NATO, located in Moldova's capital Chisinau, plays an integral role. This center is responsible for promoting Euro-Atlantic values and fostering the cooperation between Moldova and NATO.
The Incident at the CID NATO
In an alarming event on February 8, the CID NATO in Chisinau was set ablaze in what is believed to be a criminal act. The U.S. Embassy in Moldova swiftly condemned this act of violence against the CID NATO. Currently, the Moldovan police are conducting investigations into the intentional nature of the fire.
Moldova’s Separate Cooperation with NATO
It's worth noting that the CID NATO is distinct from the NATO liaison office, which was established in Chisinau in 2017. This liaison office aims to bolster cooperation with NATO and promote government reforms in Moldova. Its inception, however, did not pass without criticism. Former Moldovan President Igor Dodon had expressed his reservations about the office, underscoring the neutrality and security of Moldovan citizens.