Sunday, August 22, 2021

Chisinau’s Policies Turning Gagauzia into ‘Hot Spot’ in Southern Moldova, Russian Analyst Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 19 – New Moldovan President Maia Sandu has acted in highly offensive ways that risk turning the pro-Russian Gagauz movement against her and even creating a new “hot spot” in the southern part of Moldova, one that would put at risk her pro-Western policies, Vladimir Bukarsky says.

            Today, the Russian security analyst reminds, is the 31st anniversary of the declaration of the Gagauz Republic, an action that preceded by two weeks the declaration of the Transdniestrian Moldovan Republic in Tiraspol (

            Unlike Transdniestria which often figures in the news, Gagauzia, based on “a unique Orthodox Turkic-language people,” does not even though it too looks to Russia and Turkey rather than to the West. Indeed, it is “one of the most pro-Russian regions both in Moldova and in Ukraine” other than the Donbass, Buakrsky says.

            Clear evidence of this was provided in December 2020 when more than 95  percent of voters there called for Moldova to join the tariff union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and in the 2020 presidential elections when 95 percent voted for the pro-Russian candidate Igor Dodon and only 5.4 percent voted for pro-Western Sandu.

            Since that time, Sandu has responded in kind to the Gagauz. She didn’t invite the head of the autonomy to her inauguration or include her in the country’s security council. Instead, she met with lower-level Gagauz officials, something the bashkan found out about only from the media.

            Sanu has also sought to oust the Moldovan prosecutor general, Aleksandr Stoyaoglu, in large measure because he is an ethnic Gagauz, and she has excluded the procurator of the Gagauz autonomy from Moldova’s Higher Council of Procurators even though he is legally entitled to be a member.

            The Moldovan president’s actions with regard to the Gagauz have passed below the radar screen of most people, but they have angered the Gagauz. And Bukarsky argues that if they continue, the Gagauz autonomy may again become “a hot spot” in Moldova and serve as an ally to Russia in forcing Chisinau to change course.

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