Balkans: April 12, 2000


The former Soviet republic of Moldova is composed primarily of the province of Bessarabia (which is ethnically Romanian) along with the predominantly Russian Dnester region and the predominantly Gaugaz region in the southwest. It is common in the west to assume that Moldova and Bessarabia are the same thing, which is an oversimplification. Bessarabia had been part of Romania for centuries when the Russians grabbed it in 1812 as part of a Napoleonic reshuffle of borders. Russia lost it in 1918, gained it back in 1940, lost it in 1941, regained it in 1944, and finally lost it during the collapse of 1991. Romania makes no secret that it wants Moldova to rejoin it, and most Bessarabians feel the same. Indeed, about 10% of the Bessarabians have, in the last 3 years, been granted Romanian citizenship! Russia does not want Moldova to rejoin Romania because it does not want the former Soviet borders to be eroded by encroaching "western" nations. US opposition to Romanian membership in NATO may have this point in mind. The EU has given Romania candidate member status, but is reluctant to give an outright signal that Romania should have at least Bessarabia and perhaps all of Moldova. And the Romanians want to keep their efforts quiet and low-key since Romania holds the predominantly-Hungarian province of Transylvania, and does not want to gain Bessarabia at the expense of Transylvania. The Hungarians are demanding that Romania give it more access to the ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania as a price of NATO membership. --Stephen V Cole


Article Archive

Balkans: Current 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close