Alegerile parlamentare din 2021 în Republica Moldova -

Upgrading of GUUAM. Tendencies and perspectives

|print version||
Iurie Gotisan / April 25, 2005
ADEPT logo
The reason to create the GUUAM is as actual and motivated as possible The project on creation of an efficient union of states, regarded especially as an economic and, eventually, defence-military alliance, within the non-functional Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), was libelled as counterproductive since its creation in 1997, being permanently criticized and obstructed. Paradoxically, however, but these permanent attempts to undermine the strengthening of this group unveil indeed the special importance and efficiency of this alliance in case of a successful functioning.

The very solid bases of this organisation guarantee the efficiency of such an association, extraordinary development potential of GUUAM.

However, many signals had fueled the fears regarding a normal development of this organisation. Delays, postponements, hesitations and oscillations regarding the fate and normal functioning of this organisation may be finally understood, if taking into account the difficulties faced by former Soviet states in all the sectors. Continuation of these uncertainties and late process of consolidation of organisation would forecast negative developments for the economic strategic future of region.


Development of organisation throughout commercial and energy transportation itineraries Europe-Caucasus-Asia will have very important consequences for countries in region. The existence of GUUAM as an interstate organisation will be an unquestionably important force in the context of placement at intersections of so many zones of interests, when it will be strengthened as a functional whole, with joint institutions, convergent foreign policy, well-coordinated defence strategy.

Thus, the organisation is developing on basis of a confluence area between Euro-Atlantic space, Russia, the Arab states, and the Asian continent. A regional construction like CEFTA (Central European Free Trade Agreement) or Vishegrad Group would clearly attract western-European investors and others who would be much more motivated to finance projects jointly implemented by the GUUAM states and would not take into account the different interests that could appear in case of division and disappearance of organisation.

The East-European countries which created the Vishegrad Group demonstrated an extraordinary spirit of team, being heard as a much more stronger common voice in negotiations on entry in the European Union (E.U.) and NATO. Creation of CEFTA around the same group of East-European countries (regarded as an anteroom of E.U.) followed the same purpose: to create a free exchange zone aimed to ease the transition to economic integrity with the West and to reduce the effects of E.U. exigencies for candidate countries.

Invitation of Moldova to join a number of European and Euro-Atlantic organisations (Partnership for Peace, Stability Pact in South-East Europe, Black Sea Economic Cooperation, World Trade Organisation, etc.), as well as encouragement of GUUAM to turn into a free exchange zone (it is known the readiness of the U.S. administration to finance projects on institutional consolidation of GUUAM) are also indicators in favour of the need of a regional cooperation, coordination of efforts of states sharing the same interests for integration and elimination of economic difficulties.

If there are no other short-term opportunities to get rid of the economic impasse, development of planned transportation itineraries are the only way to energy independence and the very necessary economic development for the GUUAM states. This is an occasion that must be fructified at all costs.

Russia. Fears of “elder brother”

Russia’s opposition, its fears over intentions of the five states are the key modulation point on sinusoid of existence of GUUAM. An union of post-Soviet states, created basically on economic criteria — outside of Russia must not be regarded as a defiance or even a threat of its interests. The wish of these states to plan an own future without participation of the “elder brother”, the way it happened in the former Soviet Union, a situation typical to the CIS (that’s why difficult), is normal and welcome. This happens when Russia, as main actor on the CIS scene, is incapable to provide material assistance to “satellites” first of all, since it faces very pressing internal problems.

Also, Russia had encouraged the creation of the Euro-Asian Economic Community within the same quasi-inefficient CIS, signing of the Minsk agreements regarding the strengthening of the Collective Security Agreement, demonstrating one more time that the pro-Russian core within the CIS is strengthened when the interests demand this. Even more, upgrading of ASC after the model of the former Warsaw Treaty, with placement of armed forces of signatory states of the treaty under a single command, becomes very significant (these are three regional groups: western Russia-Belarus, Caucasian Russia-Armenia, and Central-Asian Russia-Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan, whose armed forces return under Russia’s command in case of aggression).

Also, it is worth to take into account that the CIS economies face a structural crisis on background of a social political instability, which can be hidden nor by the recent economic growth due to favourable exogenous factors. Although CIS adepts say that the former Soviet republics are interested in a single external economic vector, which would ease the access to extra-community markets, they do not follow the same geo-economic priorities in reality.

The case of Russia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan is an example in this regard, as their interests run counter each other concerning the problem of Caspian hydrocarbons. Armenia’s industry, which is entirely dependent on importation of energy resources and jeopardized by Azerbaijan’s blockade, is another example is this regard. The economic cooperation between Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan is undermined by the latent conflict in the Fergana region. The main problem in Belarus is to keep the state-owned property in economy, while Kazakhstan, by contrary, sells the most of enterprises to foreign companies. This state of things and namely an evident lack of progresses was identified by many analysts and political observers who admitted that there is almost no evolution regarding the creation of the single economic space, because every member state works in line with own rigours.

Perhaps CEEA was aimed to reduce the possible share of GUUAM, which Moscow regards as an anti-Russian arrangement dominated by Ukraine. An eventual adhesion of Ukraine to CEEA, which also holds a status of observer as Moldova does, would mean the death of GUUAM as regional economic structure uncontrolled by Moscow. Nor the fact that Russia wants to keep at least the control on exports on the eastern and northern sides of the Caspian Sea at all costs, after it lost the influence in Azerbaijan and Georgia, which are interested in the southern thoroughfare Baku-Tbilisi-Cheykhan.

The Russia-Moldova relationship must be based on equal ties, so that to eliminate any traces of vassalage relations which existed in the former Soviet Union. Russia’s attraction in GUUAM would be very dangerous because of the impending danger to block up the functioning of mechanisms of the group: the five smaller states would experience again the disproportion between members, and there would be a natural tendency to an evolution of organisation for interest of the strongest one, and this fact would provoke unwanted frustrations and adverse reactions. The Russian fears regarding the future of GUUAM are in contradiction with the real interests of the five states.

Separatism — a common enemy

The hottest tension points in the former Soviet area are in territories of the GUUAM-member states. The Transnistrian separatism, Abkhazian-Ossetian separatism, the Crimea problem (along with the Black Sea navy issue), and the latest separatist “outbreaks” in the eastern region of Ukraine, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh are also obstacles on way of peace in region. They represent the big provocation for Europe besides the Chechen problem and conflict in the former Yugoslavian area at the beginning of century.

The Tiraspol mafia clique is the main threat for stability and economic development of Moldova, and even for its existence as state. Withdrawal of at least “moral” support of the troops on the left bank of the Dniester river for the Tiraspol separatist regime gets a special importance. Pressures on Tiraspol (the first effects became real through start of the process of release of political prisoners) must be corroborated with pressures aimed at withdrawal of Russian troops from region.

The same fact is effective for Caucasus. Pullout of Russian troops from the so-called separatist “republics” would represent the beginning of normalization of situation in region. Coordination of efforts of diplomats of GUUAM states which face separatism-related problems, adoption of a common defence strategy in spirit of the Partnership for Peace principles would enhance a lot the effects on participating decision making factors.

The new Chisinau government carries decisions of a capital importance for future of the country. That’s why Moldova, which had permanently affirmed its wish to strengthen the democratic and economic institutions in European spirit, must continue its way to Europe. Its guides on this way must follow one interest: to see the own people among large families of European democracies.

The GUUAM summit Ukrainian plan