Political organization

Anger rises in Moldova’s pro-Russian Gagauz community – The Organization for World Peace

On July 17, in a series of anti-government protests across Gagauzia, the people demanded the resignation of the Moldovan government and reductions in price hikes, threatening to block roads and collecting signatures asking the Russian president Vladimir Putin to lower the gas price rate.

The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine has sparked anger and confirmed the tension between Moldova and the autonomous territorial unit of Gagauzia. A few months ago, the Moldovan government passed a law banning the use of insignia associated with Russia’s war effort, such as the display of the Ribbon of St. George which symbolizes the defeat of the Soviet Union. against Nazi Germany. In response, many in Gagauzia reacted with anger and disapproval. A few days later, thousands of people took to the streets of Comrat, the regional capital, displaying Russian flags and painting graffiti in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Tensions continued to rise, with Gagauz accusing Moldova of trying to eradicate Gagauzia’s statehood. Rising gas, food and electricity prices are making life harder for people in the already impoverished region and deepening the sense of injustice. Combined with a clear ideological conflict with the Moldovan government, the region appears to be threatened with conflict.

The Republic of Moldova is a country in Eastern Europe whose territory is inhabited by multiple ethnic minorities, such as Ukrainians, Gagauzes and Russians. Most of these ethnic groups are spread throughout the country, unlike the Gagauz, who formed an autonomous pro-Russian territorial unit in the southwest of the country. Throughout their history, the Gagauz have been subject to the control of many people, acquiring a strong Russian influence. It was not until 1990 that Gagauzia declared its independence, and support for the Soviet Union remained high, with a referendum in March 1991 showing a strong desire to be part of the USSR The referendum, however, was boycotted by Moldovans in the Gagauzia region and the rest of the country. From then on, the frictions between Gagauzes and Moldavians never completely died out, leaving the way of the conflict always open.

Moldovan President Maia Sandu said the people of Gagauzia are trying to break the already unstable harmony in the country by working with Russia, saying “there are certain attempts to destabilize the situation by certain individuals and groups in Gagauzia, who we believe are working for foreign interests. It is difficult, but our services are trying to keep the situation under control, monitor it and take action if necessary. Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita also expressed concern about the current situation and concern about a possible Russian invasion. Rising tensions in the region have also drawn Russian attention. Foreign Ministry representative Maria Zakharova said the banning of Russian war symbols was “a real betrayal” of Moldova and she threatened harsh and painful repercussions for said embargo.

Every spark could cause a fire in such an unstable environment, generating much greater conflict. It is essential to rebuild the path to peace, which can be achieved through financial aid. The international community should promote reconciliation by sending resources to Moldova, which would be equally distributed among its regions, and can help ease the grievances of poorer regions such as Gagauzia. The political and social situation is tense in Moldova and may also generate a larger-scale conflict with disastrous consequences for Eastern and Western Europe. Although easier said than done, creating a more stable connection between the central government and Gagauzia is essential to preventing conflict and restoring peace.