Turkic But Pro-Russian Gagauz Autonomy In Moldova: A Model For …

Turkic But Pro-Russian Gagauz Autonomy In Moldova: A Model For Separatist Conflict Resolution?

Ivan Katchanovski

I. Research questions

The Russian annexation of pro-Russian separatist Crimean autonomy and the civil war and covert Russian military interventions in Crimea and Donbas that followed the violent overthrow of the relatively pro-Russian government in Ukraine in 2014 brought new attention to the separatist conflicts in two pro-Russian regions of Moldova.[1] The Transdniestria region in Moldova de facto seceded from Moldova since 1991. This political conflict turned into a civil war after the Transdniestrian secessionists, supported by the presence of Soviet and then Russian army, declared their own republic in the Soviet Union and became de facto independent from Moldova after Moldova became independent in 1991. Another conflict emerged between the Gagauz- populated districts in the South and the central government of Moldova. Gagauzia declared its own republic in 1990. However, this conflict was solved peacefully, and the Gagauz region gained substantial autonomy in the mid-1990s.[2]

While Moldovans are Romanian-speaking, the Gagauz, concentrated in the South of Moldova, are Turkic-speaking people, but they are Orthodox Christians like the majority of the Moldovan population. The Gagauz had fled religious persecution in the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century and were resettled in the Moldovan part of the Russian Empire. Gagauz, like Turkish, Azeri, and Turkmen, belongs to a southwest group of Turkic languages.[3] Other regionally concentrated Turkic ethnic groups are predominantly Muslim. Since the Gagauz are unique in this aspect and expressed pro-Russian orientation, the study of the Gagauz autonomy is especially interesting.

The research question is as follows: What are political and fiscal relations between the Gagauz autonomy and Moldova? A related research question is whether these relations offer a successful model of conflict resolution. This study examines these issues. It builds to a certain extent on previous studies of this conflict by the author and significantly updates and expands them.[4]

There is a lack of academic studies of fiscal relations between the Gagauz autonomy and Moldova. The number of previous academic studies of political between Gagauzia (Gagauz Yeri) and Moldova is very small. They generally were published before the Russian-backed secession and annexation of Crimea, the separatist war in Donbas, and covert Russian military interventions in these two regions.[5]

A comparative study of political cultures or values in the Gagauz region and other regions of Ukraine and Moldova and comparative analysis of the political values of the Gagauz and Crimean Tatars linked their distinctive political culture and pro-Russian orientation to historical legacies. Different historical experiences of Crimean Tatars and the Gagauz were linked to Islam and Orthodox Christianity respectively, which helped to transmit their political culture from one generation to another before the advent of the era of mass literacy. The critical juncture in the evolution of the political culture of the Gagauz, a unique group that combines Turkic ethnic roots with the Orthodox Christian religion, was their experience in the nineteenth century. At that time, the Russian government helped the Gagauz escape persecution as Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire and settle in the South of Moldova. This experience, along with the legacy of Soviet rule, fostered pro-Russian and pro-Communist orientation in the Gagauzia region.[6]

The historical experience of the Gagauz provided a key to understanding their seemingly anomalous political behavior and attitudes in post-Communist Moldova, namely pro- Russian and pro-Communist orientation of this Turkic people. These studies explained this anomaly as a cultural legacy of the institutions and policies of the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, and the Soviet Union. Because they were Orthodox Christians, under the Ottoman Empire which discriminated against and persecuted Orthodox Christians. the Gagauz were forced to flee to Moldova and Southern Ukraine with assistance from the government of the Russian Empire. Moldova is the principal place where the Gagauz live. The population of the Gagauz autonomy is 156 thousand or 4.6% of the total population of Moldova. The second largest Gagauz population is the neighboring Odesa region of Ukraine.[7]

The role of religion was closely interlinked with historical legacy in the emergence and evolution of political culture among the Gagauz. Compared with other regions of Moldova, the Gagauz region had a distinct history. Before their arrival, at the end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth century, in Southern Moldova and the neighboring area in the Odesa region of Ukraine, the Gagauz had populated the Dobrudja area, which is now part of Romania and Bulgaria.[8] The reason for their resettlement in the region was due to their adherence to Orthodox Christianity. Because of their religion, the Gagauz in the Ottoman Empire suffered discrimination and persecution, especially at the time of the Russian-Turkish wars. The Russian Tsars proclaimed themselves defenders of the Orthodox people in the Balkans; they were involved, including militarily, in Balkan politics and provided lands to the Gagauz in Bessarabia.[9] This favored treatment led to the Gagauz’s pro-Russian views, which lasted through Soviet times.[10] The newly formed after the Moldova’s independence in 1991 Bessarabian Metropolitan Church became strongest in the Bessarabian region of Moldova, while Transdniestria and Gagauzia remained strongholds of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Experience of the Gagauz in the Soviet Union differed from the experience of Crimean Tatars. The Gagauz were one of the least educated and most impoverished groups in Moldova during Romanian rule during the periods of 1918 to 1940 and 1941 to 1944. After Moldova came under Soviet rule as a result of World War II, a significant number of the Gagauz benefited from the Soviet policy of mass education and economic development in the region.

This experience helped to foster pro-Communist and pro-Russian political values among the Gagauz.[11]

Separatist leaders in Gagauzia, Transdniestria, and Eastern Ukraine had similar pro- Russian political orientations, but significant violent conflicts did not occur in Gagauzia and until 2014 in Eastern Ukraine. The comparative study concluded that leadership factors played the main role in the non-violent resolution of the conflicts in Gagauzia and Ukraine and that the possibility of violent regional conflicts in Gagauzia and Ukraine and the likelihood of a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Transdniestria region of Moldova depended to a significant extent on the behaviors and interests of national and regional political leaders in these countries and in key foreign countries.[12]

II. Political and fiscal relations between the Gagauz autonomy and Moldova 

Several districts in the South of Moldova (Moldavia), which were populated by the Gagauz, declared the creation of the Gagauz Soviet Socialist Republic in August 1990. In the December 1991 referendum in the Gagauz region, about 95% of the voters voted in favor of the independence of Gagauzia. The participation rate was 85%. (Moldavia’s Minorities, 1991). In the March 1991 All-Union referendum on the future of the Soviet Union, the overwhelming majority (about 82%) of those who took part in the Gagauz region referendum voted for the preservation of the Soviet Union. The regional authorities boycotted the 1991 presidential elections in Moldova. In elections that were separately held in the Gagauz region, Stefan Topal, a leader of a Gagauz secessionist movement, won over 90% of the vote and became president of the unrecognized Gagauz Republic in1991.

Gagauz separatists received support from the Transdniestrian authorities in their conflict with the Moldovan nationalists.[13] The Gagauz authorities maintained political ties with the Transdniestrian government in spite of its conflict with Chishinau. In contrast, links between the Gagauz autonomy and Turkey were mostly confined to cultural, educational, and economic areas. However, Gagauz separatist leaders lacked the military support that the Soviet and then Russian Fourteenth Army provided to Transdniestrian separatist leaders.

The Central government of Moldova initially opposed the creation of the Gagauz Republic, and declared martial law in the region. Gagauz and Transdniestrian separatist leaders, including Topal, were arrested by the central authorities in Moldova for expressing support for the Soviet coup attempt, which was undertaken in August 1991 by hardline Soviet government leaders opposed to Gorbachev’s reforms.

However, an agreement on autonomy of the Gagauz region, which was approved by the Moldovan parliament in 1994, reduced tensions. The Gagauz autonomy, also called Gagauzia or Gagauz Yeri, consists of the districts and villages that voted to be included in the autonomous region.[14] The Gagauz autonomy has the right to decide its own status if Moldova reunites with Romania.[15]

The administrative-territorial system adopted in Moldova in 1999 divided the country into nine counties, one municipality (Chishinau), and two autonomous regions (Gagauzia (Gagauz Yeri) and Transdniestria (Transnistria)). Special status was granted to Gagauzia and Transdniestria and, in recognition of significant divisions between these regions and the rest of Moldova. However, in contrast to the Gagauz regions, Transdniestria, whose population is primarily ethnically Russian and Ukrainian, did not accept such autonomous status and remained de facto independent but not recognized by any country.

A plan proposed by Dmitrii Kozak, the deputy head of Putin’s administration, was more supportive of the Transdniestrian leadership stance on the settlement of the conflict. The plan envisioned significant autonomy, including a de factor power of veto, for the Transdniestria Region and Gagauz Yeri in federal Moldova. But the Communist government in Moldova, which came within hours of signing the Kozak plan, reversed its approval of the Russian proposal, in part because of strong opposition by the US government and pro-Romanian and pro- Western parties and politicians and parties to federalization of the country.[16] Furthermore, the popular opposition and fear of the “Orange style revolution” forced theVoronin administration to shift its political orientation from Russia and the CIS to a more pro-Western orientation.[17]

The Gagauzia autonomy secured the rights to leave all personal income, value added, corporate profit, and other major taxes that are collected on its territory. In 2005, 98% of all estimated tax and other fiscal revenues collected there were left in this autonomous region, compared to 67% in other regions of Moldova. But the Gagauzia autonomy is less economically developed than most other regions of Moldova, and its tax base was much smaller.[18] For instance, all estimated fiscal revenues, including taxes, which were collected in Gagauzia in 2005 were equal per capita to 52% of per capita fiscal revenues in Moldova as a whole.[19]

Its own revenues collected in the region in the first nine months of 2018 equaled about half (48.3%) of total revenues in the Gagauzia budget, compared to 66.9% in 2000 and 76.8% in 2005. Grants constituted 3.5% budget revenues in the first three quarters of 2018, compared to 10.5% in 200 and 0.1% in 2005. (Table 1). Gagauzia received financial assistance from Turkey and the European Union.

The budget of Gagauzia, like local budgets of other regions of Moldova with the exception of the de facto independent Transdniestrian Republic, relies to a significant extent on transfers from the state budget of Moldova.[20] Transfers from the state budget of Moldova to the Gagauzia budget in the first nine months of 2018 were almost equal to own revenues in the Gagauzia budget. These transfers increased from 22.6% of the total budget revenues in 2000 and 23% in 2005. (See Table 1). Transfers from the state budget of Moldova to the Gagauzia budget mostly went to the education sector.[21]

Table 1. Revenue sources of the Gagauzia budget, %.[22]

While the agreement on the autonomous status of the Gagauz region helped to prevent a violent conflict and secession of Gagauzia, the were significant tensions between the Gagauz autonomy and the central government of Moldova concerning the autonomy status and its fiscal relations with Moldova. Gagauz leaders wanted to elevate the region’s constitutional status in the federal system arrangement that was discussed between authorities of Moldova and the Transdniestrian Republic after the victory of the Moldovan Communist Party in the 2001 elections. Some of Gagauz leaders in the regional administration and in parliament expressed dissatisfaction with the Central government’s treatment of the autonomous region in political and economic areas.

Tensions over Gagauzia status also flared up after pro-Western and pro-Romanian parties and leaders came to power in Moldova in 2009 and after Russia intervened militarily in support of pro-Russian separatists in Crimea and Donbas in Ukraine and after emergence and violent suppression of pro-Russian separatist movement in the neighboring Odesa Region in Southern Ukraine. These tensions and actions indicated the persistence of the political divisions between Gagauzia and Moldova.

In a regional referendum, which was held in Gagauzia in February 2014 after Moldova signed an association agreement with the European Union, 99% and 98% of the voters expressed, respectively, support for independence of their autonomous region if Moldova were to lose its sovereignty and for joining the Russia-led Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. The Moldova government recognized this referendum as illegal.

After the establishment of the Gagauz autonomy, there were disputes between Gagauzia and the central government of Moldova over meaning of the article of the law on its autonomy that stated that the budget of Gagauzia was formed from all fiscal payments established by laws of Moldova and Gagauzia. However, the parliament of Moldova approved the amendments to the Constitution of Moldova that confirmed such fiscal autonomy of Gagauzia.[23]

The Gagauz authorities strongly criticized amendments to a public finance law that were approved in the first two readings in the Moldovan parliament in 2013. These amendments, if passed in the third reading, would have reduced the %age of personal income taxes left in the Gagauzia budget from 100% to 25% and corporate income, value added taxes, and excise taxes to 50%. While transfers from the state budget of Moldova were supposed to compensate for such reduction of own revenues, the Gagauz authorities regarded such proposals as significantly increasing their dependence on Moldova. The Gagauz autonomy in subsequent years retained 100% of these taxes collected on its territory.

The Gagauz, in contrast to many other Turkic minorities in countries of the former Soviet Union, demonstrated pro-Communist and pro-Russian political orientation since first relatively representative elections and public opinion poll was conducted in the Soviet Union during late perestroika. In a poll conducted in December 1989-February 1990, support for the Popular Front, a nationalist Moldovan movement, was much stronger in the capital (42%) and other districts of Western Moldova (32%) than in Bendery (Tighina), a city that would become part of the Transdniestrian Republic (19%), and in Gagauzia (21%). Support for the pro-Soviet, anti-independence movement in Moldova and a Gagauz separatist movement followed the reverse pattern. (Table 2).

Table 2. Positive evaluation of political movements in different regions of Moldova in December 1989-February 1990,(%).[24]

The 1990 survey conducted by the Department of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova and the Institute of Social and Political Studies showed that support for the preservation of Moldova’s membership in the Soviet Union was much higher in the Transdniestria region (82%) and the Gagauz region (75%) than in the rest of Moldova (52% in the capital city, and 57% in other districts and towns in the Western part of the country). Support for the independence of Moldova showed the reverse pattern. It was highest in Western cities and districts (37 to 41%), and lowest in Transdniestria (13%) and Gagauzia (19%). The issue of Moldova’s unification with Romania received low support (2 to 6%) in all regions of Moldova. (See Table 3).

Table 3. Regional dimension of attitudes towards independence of Moldova, May 1990 (%).[25]

The 1998 Laitin/Hough survey revealed similar differences regarding the future state structure of Moldova. The absolute majority (58%) of the Gagauz respondents, favored a confederative/united government with Russia, and 9% favored an independent government. No Gagauz respondents supported confederation or union with Romania.[26]

Respondents from Gagauzia in the World Values Survey in 1996 were much more favorable in their evaluation of the Soviet system than were respondents from Moldova, with the exception of Transdniestria. Eighty percent of the respondents in Gagauzia gave Communist political systems a positive rating, compared to 41% in Chishinau and other districts of Western Moldova. A negative rating was registered by 18% of the respondents in Gagauzia, 21% in Chishinau city, and 30% in the rest of the Bessarabian part of Moldova. (Table 4). The 1998 Laitin/Hough survey showed that 72% of ethnic Gagauz expressed regret for the break-up of the Soviet Union, while only 19% viewed the collapse of the USSR in a positive light.

According to the 1996 World Values Survey in Moldova, support for various nationalist and pro-Moldova parties was lowest in Gagauzia (0%), compared with 29% in the capital and 34% in the rest of Moldova. However, contrary to the election results, an absolute majority of respondents in Gagauzia (85%) expressed the desire to vote for centrist parties and not for Communists (15%). (Table 4). This major discrepancy concerned the Agrarian Democratic Party, which was supported by 55% of the respondents in the region but received 12% of the vote in the 1995 Gagauzia regional assembly elections.[27]

Table 4. Party support and attitude towards the Communist system in regions of Moldova (%). (1996 World Values Survey)[28]

The 1996 World Values Survey revealed that support for privatization was lower in Gagauzia (8%) than in Chishinau city (35%) and the rest of Bessarabia (18%). Eighty-five percent of the respondents in Gagauzia, compared to 38% in the capital and 59% in the rest of Western Moldova, favored an increase in government ownership of business and industry. (Table 5). The 1998 Laitin/Hough survey showed a similar difference on attitudes towards a transition to market economy. Eighteen percnet of the Gagauz respondents, compared to 12% of the respondents in Bessarabia and 19% in Transdniestria, opposed a transition to market economy.

Table 5. Attitude towards privatization in regions of Moldova (%). (1996 World Values Survey)[29]

Similarly, agricultural privatization in Gagauzia lagged behind, compared to other regions of Bessarabia. As of April 1998, only 5% of the entitled individuals in Gagauzia received land in private ownership, compared to 19% in all of Western Moldova. In Gagauzia, private farming was much less developed than in the rest of Western Moldova.[30]

Similar political and geopolitical orientation was demonstrated in various elections. A number of the former Communist party officials in the Gagauzia region became leaders of both the Gagauzia autonomy and the separatist movement after start of perestroika. Tabunshchik, the former First Secretary of the Communist Party of Soviet Moldova in the Gagauz region, was elected governor of the Gagauz autonomy in 1995.[31] In October 2002, he ran for governor as a Party of Moldovan Communists candidate and won in Gagauzia for a second time. Tabunshchik received 51% of the vote in the second round of the elections in the autonomous region.[32]

In the 1995 Gagauzia parliament elections, Vatan, a Gagauz party headed by Stefan Topal, received 15% of the vote, and the Communist Party of Moldova received 14%. The Gagauz People’s Party, which opposed Gagauzian secessionism, had only 4% of the vote. The Agrarian Democratic Party, which received 47% of the vote in the 1995 local elections in Moldova, obtained just 12% of the vote in Gagauzia. Non-party candidates received more than half of the vote (55%).[33]

In the second round of the 1996 presidential elections, Petru Lucinschi, who had been head of the Communist Party in Moldova during the Gorbachev period, received about 93% of the vote in the Gagauz region compared with the 54% he received in all of Western Moldova.[34] He ran against the nationalist incumbent on a more pro-Russian platform and was backed by the Moldovan Communist Party in the second round.[35] Petru Lucinschi favored closer relations with Russia and negotiated a solution of sorts to the conflict with Transdniestria.

In the 1998 parliamentary elections, the Party of Moldovan Communists, along with two smaller pro-Communist parties, garnered less than one-third (31%) of the vote in Moldova, excluding Gagauzia and Transdniestria. Almost two and a half times (74%) more voters in the Gagauz autonomy voted for the Communist parties in the same elections (Figure 3.1). A similar pattern was repeated in the 1999 local elections, when more than half (53%) of voters in the Gagauz region supported the Communist parties, compared to a third (33%) in the rest of Moldova, excluding Transdniestria. Similarly, in the 2001 parliamentary elections, the Party of Moldovan Communists earned 81% of the vote in Gagauzia, compared to 49% in the rest of Bessarabia.[36]

The results of the parliamentary elections in Moldova in March 2005 provided fresh evidence of pro-Russian and pro-Communist political values among the Gagauz. The “Patria-Rodina” bloc received the majority (51%) of votes in the Gagauz autonomy, while it scored only 5% of the national vote in Moldova. The Socialist Party and the splinter Party of Socialists established this electoral bloc. These parties, which had once been allied with the Party of Moldovan Communists, offered a pro-Russian electoral program that included Moldova’s integration in the Common Economic Space, a union of ex-Soviet republics led by Russia, and support for a Russian plan to resolve the Transdniestria conflict. The movement “Ravnopravie,” which also favored a union with Russia, received the support of more than 5% of Gagauz voters, compared to less than 3% in Moldova overall.[37]

In spite of the administrative resources used by the ruling Party of Moldovan Communists, support for this party in Gagauzia in the 2005 parliamentary elections dropped by more than 200% compared to the 2001 parliamentary elections. Vladimir Voronin, the leader of this party and then president of Moldova, did not accept the Russian plan for Transdniestria, and changed his orientation from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) towards European Union integration in order to stay in power. As a result, the Party of Moldovan Communists received about one-third (31%) of the vote in Gagauzia compared with about one half of the vote in the rest of Moldova, excluding the Transdniestrian Republic.[38]

In the absence of the “Patria-Rodina” bloc in the parliamentary elections in April 2009 and their rerun in July 2009, the Party of Communists won again the absolute majorities of votes in the Gagauz autonomy (64% and 78%, respectively). In contrast, this party got 49% in the first election and 46% in their rerun in Moldova overall and lost power to a bloc a pro-Western, pro-nationalist, and oligarchic parties.[39] The early elections in 2010 produced a similar result and a divide between Gagauzia and the rest of Moldova.

In the parliamentary elections in November 2014, the Party of Socialists, won 57% of the votes among the Gagauz autonomy voters, compared to 20% in Moldova overall. This party was formed by a pro-Russian faction of the Party of Communists, which dropped to the third place in the region with 12% of the vote. A bloc, which used support for the Russia-led Customs Union as its name, came second in Gagauzia with 14% of the votes, compared with just 3% in Moldova overall.[40]

Similarly, Igor Dodon, the leader of the Party of Socialists, won 99% vote share in Gagauzia in the second round of the presidential elections in 2016, compared to 52% in Moldova overall. Public opinion polls suggest that his party is likely to receive much higher support in the Gagauz autonomy than in the rest of Moldova in the parliamentary elections in February 2019.

Nationalist and pro-Western parties were much weaker in the Gagauz autonomy than in the rest of Moldova. For instance, parties that formed a coalition in the aftermath of the 1998 parliamentary elections, in order to prevent the Communists from heading the government, won 11% of the vote in Gagauzia, compared with their total vote of 46% in Moldova. This coalition included the For Democratic and Prosperous Moldova bloc organized by supporters of President Petru Lucinschi, the Democratic Convention bloc led by the former President Snegur, and the Party of Democratic Forces, which had backed Mircea Snegur in the second round of the 1996 presidential elections. Like the previous and subsequent elections, the 2005 parliamentary elections showed a very low level of support for Moldovan nationalist and pro-Romanian parties in Gagauz Yeri in comparison to the rest of Moldova. Only about 1% of voters in this autonomous region backed the Christian Democratic People’s Party. In comparison, this main nationalist party received about 10% of the national vote in Moldova, excluding the Transdniestrian Republic.[41]

The 1998 Laitin/Hough survey indicated that 23% of the Gagauz took part in meetings and demonstrations against Romanization, while only 2% of the Gagauz participated in such actions of protest against Transdniestrian separatism.[42] In Gagauzia, Russian remained the main language of instruction in schools and college. Although instruction in the Gagauz language expanded, it occupied a secondary role compared to Russian. This reflected language preferences of the majority of the Gagauz, who speak Russian. Ethnic Gagauz comprise 82% of the population of the Gagauz autonomy in Moldova. Ethnic Moldovans constitute 5% of the population, while Bulgarians 5%, Russians 4%, and Ukrainians 3%, and others 1% of the population of this autonomous region. The 1998 Laitin/Hough survey demonstrates that Gagauz attitudes towards inter-marriage are similar to the attitudes of the Transdniestrians and more tolerant than the attitudes of other Bessarabians.

About two-thirds of the Gagauz and Transdniestrian respondents say that the marriage of their son or daughter to a person of a different nationality makes no difference to them, while only 1% and 2% of these respondents consider inter-marriage completely undesirable. Forty-six percent of non-Gagauz respondents in Bessarabia are indifferent, and 6% are totally opposed to inter- marriage for their children.[43]

Conclusion

A pro-Communist and pro-Russian separatist movement emerged and came to power in the Gagauzia region of Moldova in the late Soviet Union by declaring a republic there. But this conflict remained largely non-violent, in contrast to such pro-Russian regions as Transdniestria in Moldova and Donbas in Ukraine. This conflict was resolved peacefully as a result of a compromise agreement between the Gagauz separatists and the central government of Moldova. This deal established the Gagauz autonomy with a right to collect and keep all major tax revenues and a right to secede if Moldova were to join Romania.

This study shows that the autonomy status of Gagauzia was successful in prevention of armed conflict there. However, the autonomous status did not end regional political divisions and did not end or significantly diminished support for separatism and pro-Communist and pro- Russian orientation in Gagauzia. The parliamentary, presidential, and local election results and public opinion polls consistently showed much stronger support for pro-Communist/pro-Russian candidates in the Gagauz autonomy, compared to the rest of Moldova, with the exception of pro- Russian Transdniestrian Republic.

The distinct political values and pro-Russian orientation of the Gagauz in independent Moldova were linked to the historical experiences of this Turkic and Orthodox people. The critical juncture in the evolution of Gagauz political culture was the nineteenth-century mass migration of the Gagauz people from Bulgaria to the Southern part of Moldova, with the aid of the Russian government, to avoid persecution as a Christian Orthodox minority in the Ottoman Empire. The distinct historical experience of the Gagauz shaped their political behavior and attitudes during the post-Communist period.

The fiscal relations between Gagauzia and the national government of Moldova also experienced a certain conflict over tax revenues remaining in the autonomous region. But the tensions in the fiscal relations were much less significant than the political and geopolitical divides and Gagauzia retained the right to keep all major tax revenues collected on its territory. Since Gagauzia remained one of the least developed and urbanized regions in Moldova, the Gagauz budget increasingly relied on transfers from the state budget of Moldova.

This study suggests that the Gagauz autonomy and its fiscal relations with Moldova can serve as a model of successful peaceful resolution of a separatist conflict even though they unlikely to significantly diminish political and geopolitical divisions with the central government. But such a model would be most applicable to cases of minority regions, autonomous regions, and non-violent separatist conflicts in order to prevent or resolve such conflicts and, especially, to prevent them from turning violent.

However, the Gagauz autonomy model failed to resolve the conflict in similarly pro- Russian Transdniestria region in Moldova. This suggests that such model would be problematic in resolving conflicts in separatist regions after these regions experienced armed conflicts and gained de facto independence, such as Transdniestria or Donbas. For example, the Gagauz autonomy model might have helped to prevent the separatist conflict in pro-Russian Donbas in Eastern Ukraine from turning into a civil war in 2014, but it would not be accepted after this region experienced a civil war and Russian military interventions and became de facto independent. The same applies to various other countries with similar minority regions, autonomous regions, or separatist regions.

Notas Al Calce

* Ivan Katchanovski teaches at the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at the State University of New York at Potsdam, a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto and Kluge Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. His articles have appeared in Europe-Asia Studies, Nationalities Papers, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, Post-Soviet Affairs, Problems of Post-Communism, International Journal of Public Administration, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, Journal of Public Policy, Journal of Labor Research, Relations industrielles/Industrial Relations, Obshchestvennye nauki i sovremennost’, U sviti matematyky, and Ukrainian Quarterly. He received his Ph.D. from the School of Public Policy at George Mason University in the US.

[1] See Gordon M. Hahn, Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West and the “New Cold War” (2018); Ivan Katchanovski, Crimea: People and Territory before and after Annexation, in Ukraine and Russia: People, Politics, Propaganda and Perspectives 80-89 (Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska & Richard Sakwa eds., 2015); Ivan Katchanovski, The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine, SSRN (Sept. 5, 2015) available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2658245; Ivan Katchanovski, The Separatist War in Donbas: A Violent Break-up of Ukraine?, 17 European Politics and Society 473-89 (2016); Ivan Katchanovski, The Maidan Massacre in Ukraine: A Summary of Analysis, Evidence, and Findings, in The Return of the Cold War: Ukraine, the West and Russia 220-24 (J.L. Black & Michael Johns eds., 2016); Serhiy Kudelia, The Donbas Rift, 54 Russian Politics & Law 5-27 (2016).

[2] Jeff Chinn & Steven Roper, Territorial Autonomy in Gagauzia, 26 Nationalities Papers 87-101 (1998);

Ivan Katchanovski, Small Nations but Great Differences: Political Orientations and Cultures of the Crimean Tatars and the Gagauz, 57 Europe-Asia Studies 877-94 (2005); Ivan Katchanovski, Cleft Countries: Regional Political Divisions and Cultures in Post- Soviet Ukraine and Moldova (2006); Charles King, Minorities Policy in the Post-Soviet Republics: The Case of the Gagauzi, 20 Ethnic and Racial Studies 738-56 (1997); Larisa Patlis, The Discourse on Asymmetrical Devolution in Moldova: Gagauzia and Transnistria in Focus, 17 Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe 87-111 (2018).

[3] Charles King, The Moldovans: Romania, Russia, and the Politics of Culture 213 (2000).

[4] See Ivan Katchanovski, Small Nations but Great Differences: Political Orientations and Cultures of the Crimean Tatars and the Gagauz, 57 Europe-Asia Studies 877-94 (2005); Ivan Katchanovski, Cleft Countries: Regional Political Divisions and Cultures in Post- Soviet Ukraine and Moldova (2006).

[5] See Jeff Chinn & Steven Roper, Territorial Autonomy in Gagauzia, 26 Nationalities Papers 87-101 (1998); Ivan Katchanovski, Small Nations but Great Differences: Political Orientations and Cultures of the Crimean Tatars and the Gagauz, 57 Europe-Asia Studies 877-94 (2005); Ivan Katchanovski, Cleft Countries: Regional Political Divisions and Cultures in Post- Soviet Ukraine and Moldova (2006); Charles King, Minorities Policy in the Post-Soviet Republics: The Case of the Gagauzi, 20 Ethnic and Racial Studies 738-56 (1997); Larisa Patlis, The Discourse on Asymmetrical Devolution in Moldova: Gagauzia and Transnistria in Focus, 17 Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe 87-111 (2018); Steven D. Roper, Regionalism in Moldova: The Case of Transnistria and Gagauzia, 11 Regional & Federal Studies 101-22 (2001).

[6] Ivan Katchanovski, Small Nations but Great Differences: Political Orientations and Cultures of the Crimean Tatars and the Gagauz, 57 Europe-Asia Studies 877-94 (2005); Ivan Katchanovski, Cleft Countries: Regional Political Divisions and Cultures in Post- Soviet Ukraine and Moldova (2006).

[7] See Ivan Katchanovski, Small Nations but Great Differences: Political Orientations and Cultures of the Crimean Tatars and the Gagauz, 57 Europe-Asia Studies 877-94 (2005).

[8] Charles King, The Moldovans: Romania, Russia, and the Politics of Culture 213 210-11 (2000).

[9] In addition to the Gagauz, thousands of Bulgarians, Serbs, Albanians, and Greeks resettled from the Balkans to Southern Moldova and Southern Ukraine.

[10] Jeff Chinn & Steven Roper, Territorial Autonomy in Gagauzia, 26 Nationalities Papers 87-101, 89 (1998); Ivan Katchanovski, Small Nations but Great Differences: Political Orientations and Cultures of the Crimean Tatars and the Gagauz, 57 Europe-Asia Studies 877-94 (2005).

[11] Ivan Katchanovski, Small Nations but Great Differences: Political Orientations and Cultures of the Crimean Tatars and the Gagauz, 57 Europe-Asia Studies 877-94 (2005); Ivan Katchanovski, Cleft Countries: Regional Political Divisions and Cultures in Post- Soviet Ukraine and Moldova (2006).

[12] Ivan Katchanovski, Small Nations but Great Differences: Political Orientations and Cultures of the Crimean Tatars and the Gagauz, 57 Europe-Asia Studies 877-94 (2005); Ivan Katchanovski, Cleft Countries: Regional Political Divisions and Cultures in Post- Soviet Ukraine and Moldova (2006).

[13] Charles King, Minorities Policy in the Post-Soviet Republics: The Case of the Gagauzi, 20 Ethnic and Racial Studies 738-56 (1997).

[14] See Jeff Chinn & Steven Roper, Territorial Autonomy in Gagauzia, 26 Nationalities Papers 87-101, 89 (1998).

[15] See Ivan Katchanovski, Cleft Countries: Regional Political Divisions and Cultures in Post- Soviet Ukraine and Moldova (2006); Charles King, Minorities Policy in the Post-Soviet Republics: The Case of the Gagauzi, 20 Ethnic and Racial Studies 738-56 (1997).

[16] See Oleh Protsyk, Federalism and Democracy in Moldova, 21 Post-Soviet Affairs 72-90 (2005).

[17] Paul D. Quinlan, Back to the Future: An Overview of Moldova under Voronin, 12 Demokratizatsiya 485-504 (2004); Moldova Contemplates a European Future, Economist (January 29, 2005), available at https://www.economist.com/.  

[18] See UNDP-Moldova & Administration of the Territorial Autonomous Unit Gagauzia (Gagauz-Yeri), Regional Development Programme Gagauz-Yeri (2001) (for the level of economic development in Gagauzia compared to other regions of Moldova)

[19] See Center for Strategic Studies and Reforms, Gagauzia v poiske finansovoi avtonomii (2006), http://www.cisr-md.org/ROM/Notes%202006%20rus/note2.html.

[20] See Center for Strategic Studies and Reforms, Gagauzia v poiske finansovoi avtonomii (2006), http://www.cisr-md.org/ROM/Notes%202006%20rus/note2.html.

[21] Postanovlenie Ob ispolnenii zakona ATO Gagauziya «O byudzhete na 2018 god» [On the implementation of the law of ATU Gagauzia “On the budget for 2018”], 2018, http://www.halktoplushu.md/index.php/postanovleniya/2536-ob-ispolnenii-zakona-ato-gagauziya-o-byudzhete-na-2018-god-16-ix-vi-ot-08-12-2017-g-za-9-mesyatsev-2018-goda.

[22] Center for Strategic Studies and Reforms, Gagauzia v poiske finansovoi avtonomii (2006), http://www.cisr-md.org/ROM/Notes%202006%20rus/note2.html.; Postanovlenie Ob ispolnenii zakona ATO Gagauziya «O byudzhete na 2018 god» [On the implementation of the law of ATU Gagauzia “On the budget for 2018”], 2018, http://www.halktoplushu.md/index.php/postanovleniya/2536-ob-ispolnenii-zakona-ato-gagauziya-o-byudzhete-na-2018-god-16-ix-vi-ot-08-12-2017-g-za-9-mesyatsev-2018-goda.

[23] See Center for Strategic Studies and Reforms, Gagauzia v poiske finansovoi avtonomii (2006), http://www.cisr-md.org/ROM/Notes%202006%20rus/note2.html.

[24] See Department of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Obshchestvennoe mnenie: Aktual’nye problemy sotsialnoi zhyzni SSR Moldova 109 (1990).

[25] Department of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Obshchestvennoe mnenie: Aktual’nye problemy sotsialnoi zhyzni SSR Moldova114 (1990) (the survey question is “How do you see the future of Moldavia in the near future?”).

[26] Ivan Katchanovski, Cleft Countries: Regional Political Divisions and Cultures in Post- Soviet Ukraine and Moldova (2006).

[27] IFES, Republic of Moldova: Local Elections, April 16, 1995 (1995).

[28] The survey questions are: “If there were a general election tomorrow, which party would you vote for? If don’t know: Which party appeals to you most?” (Excludes don’t know and other) and “People have different views about the system for governing this country. Here is a scale for rating how well things are going: 1 means very bad and 10 means very good. Where on this scale would you put the political system as it was in communist times?”

[29] The survey question is “Private ownership of business and industry should be increased or government ownership of business and industry should be increased.”

[30] See Ivan Katchanovski, Regional Political and Policy Divisions in Ukraine and Moldova (2001) (Ph.D. Dissertation, George Mason University); Lerman, Zvi, Csaba Csaki, and Victor Moroz, Land Reform and Farm Restructuring in Moldova 15-16 (1998).

[31] Jeff Chinn & Steven Roper, Territorial Autonomy in Gagauzia, 26 Nationalities Papers 87-101 (1998).

[32] Ivan Katchanovski, Small Nations but Great Differences: Political Orientations and Cultures of the Crimean Tatars and the Gagauz, 57 Europe-Asia Studies 877-94 (2005); Ivan Katchanovski, Cleft Countries: Regional Political Divisions and Cultures in Post- Soviet Ukraine and Moldova (2006).

[33] IFES, Republic of Moldova: Local Elections, April 16, 1995 (1995).

[34] IFES, Republic of Moldova: Presidential Elections, November 17 & December 1, 1996 (1996).

[35] William Crowther, The Politics of Democratization in Post-Communist Moldova, in Democratic Changes and Authoritarian Reactions in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova 320 (Karen Dawisha and Bruce Parrott eds., 1997).

[36] See Electorala ’98, Documente si cifre (1998); IFES, Republic of Moldova: Parliamentary Elections, March 22, 1998 (1998); IFES, 2001 Parliamentary Elections (2001).

[37] See Preliminary Results of the Parliamentary Elections in the Republic of Moldova (2005).

[38] Id.

[39] Parliamentary Elections in Moldova on April 5, 2009 (2009), http://www.e-democracy.md/en/elections/parliamentary/2009/;  Early Parliamentary Elections in Moldova on July 29, 2009 (2009), http://www.e-democracy.md/en/elections/parliamentary/20092/.

[40] Vybory-2014. (2014). http://old.gagauzmedia.md/index.php?newsid=1485.

[41] Ivan Katchanovski, Crimea: People and Territory before and after Annexation, in Ukraine and Russia: People, Politics, Propaganda and Perspectives 80-89 (Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska & Richard Sakwa eds., 2015); Ivan Katchanovski, The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine, SSRN (Sept. 5, 2015) available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2658245; Ivan Katchanovski, The Separatist War in Donbas: A Violent Break-up of Ukraine?, 17 European Politics and Society 473-89 (2016); Ivan Katchanovski, The Maidan Massacre in Ukraine: A Summary of Analysis, Evidence, and Findings, in The Return of the Cold War: Ukraine, the West and Russia 220-24 (J.L. Black & Michael Johns eds., 2016).

[42] Laitin/Hough survey respondents who considered themselves at least 50% Gagauz are classified as Gagauz in this study.

[43] Nine percent of West Moldovans and 44% of the Gagauz selected neo-Nazis as the least-liked group. Attitudes towards Stalinists show the opposite regional pattern: 12% of West Moldovans chose Stalinists as least-liked and zero percent of the Gagauz did so.