Routes across the Nistru
Transnistria: People's Peacemaking Perspectives
It is over 20 years since Transnistria, a sliver of land on the east bank of the River Nistru, broke away from the rest of Moldova amidst the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Violent conflict ended with the ceasefire of 1992. There have been occasional clashes since, but no fatalities. Yet, the unresolved conflict has separated a generation of Moldovans and Transnistrians.
This is not really a conflict: it is a stand-off which benefits the business interests of those who are close to ruling elites, and suits some external players. Transnistria has deep economic problems and little prospect of being recognised, even by Russia. Moldova has little hope of European Union (EU) membership while the status of Transnistria remains unresolved. The current impasse benefits the business interests of those who are close to ruling elites and suits some external players, but it harms the prospects for ordinary people on both sides of the divide.
This study is timely in that it comes at a moment when Moldova is reaffirming its EU perspective, while elections in Transnistria may also presage some change. The problem of Transnistria is now on the borders of the EU: Transnistria is the EU's problem.
Findings and recommendations were generated from consultations which, for the first time, brought together separate representative groups on either side of the divide. Reflecting the views of youth, women and business people, this report provides valuable non-elite perspectives ( particularly important when some in the elite have a personal interest in maintaining the status quo) on the situation and a range of concrete actions to improve the lives of ordinary people and build confidence and support for a resolution. These perspectives were reinforced by interviews with politicians and experts in Chisinau, Tiraspol and Berlin.
This research is part of the People's Peacemaking Prespectives project.
“Ten years ago people in Transnistria wanted integration [with Moldova] or recognition; now their concern is for the economy.”PPP participant, economist, Tiraspol