Moscow Using Russian Regions To Promote Separatism On Moldova – OpEd


Moscow has a long history of using border regions to expand Russian influence in neighboring countries, but in the case of Moldova, a country with which the Russian Federation does not share a border, it is expanding this policy and using Russian regions to promote separatism in Transnistria and Gagauzia.

Bryansk, Irkutsk and Kaliningrad oblasts have been working with the breakaway region of Transnistria for almost a decade; and now Krasnodar Kray and Pskov and Penza oblasts have committed themselves to doing the same with restive Christian Turkic Gagauzia (

Russian analysts are skeptical that this policy will be effective given the lack of a common border, but Moscow likely favors it because using Russian regions in this way allows the Kremlin to work under the radar screen of many governments and to encourage the targeted regions in other countries to view Russian federalism as real.

To the extent that is the case, Moscow is likely to expand this policy innovation toward regions in Moldova to places in other former Soviet republics regardless of whether or not there is a common border between the Russian Federation and the countries of which they are now a part.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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