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Transnistria: In Search of a Settlement for Moldova's Breakaway Region

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The Transnistria issue has generally been studied through the lenses of political analysis, international relations, or area studies. Such a development is hardly surprising, given the high level of interest across a range of academic disciplines in both the disintegration of the Soviet Union after 1989 and in the current external strategies of the Russian Federation. This article draws on a conflict analysis framework to provide an abbreviated examination of the factors and players in the stand-off over Transnistria and is based on written source materials, interviews, and the author's experience as British Ambassador to Moldova 2006–2009, a period during which the conflict analysis was put into effect. However, the views expressed are those of the author alone. As well as outlining the structural causes behind the conflict, this article offers some comparisons with other conflicts in the region and addresses factors that keep the conflict alive. A further section examines the extent to which these factors are permanently entrenched, considers the question of whether a separate Transnistrian identity exists and analyses the roles and attitudes of the actors, both internal and external. Finally, the article identifies elements of dynamism that might enable change and concludes with some brief strategies for resolution.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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