The highly topical ECMI Issue Brief #33 examines the situation of the minorities of Moldova in the light of Russia’s Crimea ‘land-grab’. The much discussed and possible annexation of Transnistria by Russia is not included in the examination.
In the ECMI Issue Brief #33, What next for Moldova’s minorities after Crimea?, Dr Federica Prina argues that there are two consequences for Moldova of Russia’s annexation of Crimea:
- The annexation deepens the polarization between the pro-Russia and the pro-EU camps in Moldova.
- The polarization furthers a tendency to marginalize the non-Russian minorities.
The two consequences define the disposition of the Brief.
Part one thoroughly contextualizes the polarization that is now deepening in Moldova, from the Romanian and Soviet past and up to and including the accords signed by EU and Moldova on 27 June. The accords or Association Agreements that were also signed by Georgia and Ukraine include the so-called Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
EU signs pacts with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova (BBC News Europe 27 June 2014)
EU signs ‘historic’ accords with Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova (EU Business 30 June 2014)
Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia Sign EU Accords (Radio Free Europe 27 June 2014)
Part two describes how the non-Russian minorities are in danger of further marginalization in the process of polarization.
The Brief details how protection of vulnerable minorities tends to be overlooked, while all attention is on the East-West divide. The dilution of linguistic and cultural diversity and ambitions of empowering minorities are likewise described as out of focus, though the measures and ambitions are protected by domestic law and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
Roma, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Gagauz, Poles, and Russians are specifically addressed in the Brief, as they are differently positioned in the East-West divide and in the ideological strife that, according to Dr Prina, forms the backdrop of the Moldovan political scene: the divide between the advocates of a ‘nationalizing state’ and of a (de facto) multi-ethnic state.
Dr Federica Prina is editor of the Journal of Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe (JEMIE).
ECMI Issue Briefs problematize and present minority issues that have been identified as relevant for greater dissemination by the Centre’s research team. They aim to introduce important issues for further debate and where relevant make recommendations for future agenda setting.
ECMI Issue Briefs are written either by the staff of ECMI or by outside authors commissioned by the Centre. As ECMI does not propagate opinions of its own, the views expressed in any of its publications are the sole responsibility of the author concerned.
The European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) is a non-partisan institution founded in 1996 by the Governments of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the German State of Schleswig-Holstein.
ECMI was established in Flensburg, at the heart of the Danish-German border region, in order to draw from the encouraging example of peaceful coexistence between minorities and majorities achieved here. ECMI’s aim is to promote interdisciplinary research on issues related to minorities and majorities in a European perspective and to contribute to the improvement of interethnic relations in those parts of Western and Eastern Europe where ethnopolitical tension and conflict prevail.