Transnistrian conflict in the context of post-Soviet nation-building
Keywords:Moldova, transnistira, national identity, nation-building, Pridnestrovie
AbstractThis paper aims at comparing national identity situations in Moldova and the self-proclaimed Transnistrian state (Pridnestrovie). Moldovan identity is torn and takes at least five forms: (1) Moldovan ethnonational identity as a regional variation of the Romanian one; (2) specifically Moldovan ethnonational identity; (3) post-Soviet amorphous ‘non-identity’; (4) specific identities of ethnic minorities (identification of the Ukrainians with Ukraine, Russians with Russia, etc.); (5) marginal identities of the titular ethnic group. None of these identity projects is directed towards consolidating the Moldovan civil nation, including ethnic minorities (roughly making 22 % of the population). Moreover, there is an identity split within the titular ethnic group, more complex than a dilemma of Romanianism / Moldovanism. Moldovanism has at least two versions (ethicized and integrative), not mentioning marginalized identities (such as Romanian-speaking Orthodox fundamentalists objecting eurointegration). Transnistrian identity, to the contrary, is firm and consolidated, although it consists of seemingly incompatible parts (pre-Soviet, Soviet and post-Soviet). It is a civil identity based on ideology, not on ethnicity. This ideology is also mosaic and cannot be reduced to ‘neo-Communism’ or Russian nationalism. Thus, Transnistrian national project is open for all post-Soviet ethnic groups. Rapid reunification of the two banks seems impossible because their national projects have not just different contents, but different structures. Moldova should first decide on its vision of the national project and then build its policy towards Pridnestrovie and the EU on this ground. Without it, the conflict cannot be resolved in the foreseeable future.
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