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Between State's Interest and Rescuing Mission: On the History of Moldovan-Russian Relations

In March 2010 the Centro Studi sulla Storia dell'Europa Orientale (CSSEO) published the Working Paper 150 on "Between State's Interest and Rescuing Mission: On the History of Moldovan-Russian Relations", written by Davide Zaffi.
 
Memories of the 2009 celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall are still very much alive. Many recalled those captivating moments which marked the end of the communist regimes and the division of Europe in two blocs. Yet the political legacy of the communist era still has not been totally overcome on our continent. A situation that reproduces in miniature the Cold War, a so-called “frozen” conflict, is found in Moldova, on the two banks of the Dniester/Prut River: on one side the real Moldova, since elections in 2009 trying even harder to integrate or at least have a closer relationship with the West, and on the other side Transnistria, a de jure entity, not recognized by any country, with a pro-Russian orientation. Here the contrast is both political and cultural.  
 
The work published by CSSEO, Moldovan-Russian Relations. Historical Excerpts, invites the reader to reflect on the historical premises of this particular situation. This was in large part determined by the relationships that developed over the decades between Moldova and Russia and especially between Moldavans and Russians. Since the beginning of the 19th century, when the Moldovan territory found itself divided between the Czarist Empire and the Ottoman Empire, was then contested by Romania and Russia, and subsequently became a theater of Soviet political-institutional engineering, the populations of this area attempted to dominate events with origins and motivations far from their habitat. Thus around a nucleus of geopolitical constants (such as Russian aspirations to reach the Danube and in future, the Aegean Sea) national interests and preferences of a rather ambivalent and hard-to-define nature have accumulated: these interests reveal themselves on the surface in the form of reactions to decisions taken without regard to the affected populations, but surprisingly at times, they end up guiding the outcome of events. Superimposed upon this is Moscow’s new assertive policy to not honor the formal commitment it made in 1999 at the OECD summit in Istanbul to withdraw its troops.
 
Davide Zaffi, expert in minorities, specializes in the study of the history of relations between central-east European peoples in the last two centuries. His works have been publishes in Italy and abroad.
 
Read the CSSEO Working Paper 150.

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