Gagauz Yeri - Work in Progress
Moldova has two obstacles on its way to European integration. The first, the best known, is Transnistria, a pro-Russian region, which for nearly 25 years has been an independent de facto State that lives outside the Moldovan authority. The second, more unknown, is Gagauzia, an autonomous territory within the Moldovan Republic, split up, and pro-Russia, which has tried for three years the separatist path before having to renounce to it due to a lack of support and local resources. Recently Gagouzs confirmed by referendum that they refuse any rapprochement with the EU and prefer to join the Eurasian Custom Office (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia).
The population of 160,000 is one of the minorities in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, stuck between Ukraine and Romania and fluctuating between pro-European and pro-Russian governments. The Gagauzs are Christians of Turkic origin whose language mixes the Turkish of Anatolia and a bit of Bulgarian. At the fall of the USSR, the fear of the Gagauzs, as for inhabitants of Transnistria, was a union between Moldova and Romania and the risk for those two Russian-speaking populations to be “lost” in a Romanian-speaking country. Even today, very few Gagauzs speak Moldavian, and use Russian or Gagauz. Unlike Transnistria, they did not obtain their independence after their uprising. Their ephemeral and self-proclaimed Republic in 1991 had to drop flag after three years. But since 1994, they officially have a very strong autonomous status in the Moldovan State. In this respect, Gagauzia could be an example of successful reintegration for the unrecognized States that flourished throughout the former Soviet area.
However, little by little, the Gagauz autonomy is nibbled and reduced to a symbolic portion. A reality that the Gagauzs are not at all ready to accept ...