February 1, 2001

Gagauzia: The Moldovan Confederation Conundrum

The decade-long debate about the creation of a "common state" in Moldova has had great significance for both Gaguzia and Transdniestria in the eastern part of Moldova The decade-long debate about the creation of a "common state" in Moldova has had great significance for both Gaguzia, the poor region in the southern part of the Moldovan Republic, and the so-called Dniester Moldovan Republic or Transdniestria in the eastern part of Moldova. Questions about the status of both entities have been couched in terms of politics, history, sociology, economics, linguistics, and even international relations.

Of most immediate concern is the concept of collective rights and the impact that their recognition may have on prospects for resolving the ancient ethnic conflicts whose violent reappearance has marred the region's post-communist transformation. While the Transdniester conflict is not directly associated with this issue, the Gagauz situation represents a textbook example of how autonomy based on ethnicity can have a positive impact on ethnic conflict.

Phrased in academic terms, the question is this: will the interests of the people of Moldova, Gagauzia, and Transdniestria be best served by a confederation or by a federal union? For the former USSR, with its mixture of ethnic confrontations, the answer to this dilemma is of special relevance. Given those circumstances, it is likely that the eventual answer will come within the context of political dictates rather than scholarly speculation.

 

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Source: JMU

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