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Dreams of Annexation

Transdniestria.gifIt’s been a while since we’ve heard news from that other problematic frozen conflict in Moldova, Transnistria, where separatists groups are more hopeful than ever that the invasion and occupation of regions of Georgia by Russian military forces could eventually set precedent for their own annexation back to the perceived mother country.  While many observers from Estonia and Lithuania down to Ruthenia and Crimea hold serious concerns about Georgia being the first domino to fall in a grand Kremlin plan to re-unite the territories of the former Soviet Union, in this breakaway statelet, that is exactly what they are hoping for (not to mention a desperate hope for aid and subsidies to prop up a failing independent state).

But lest we jump to conclusions in comparing South Ossetia with Transnistria, Thomas de Waal had an excellent recent article highlighting the major differences, including observations that this is more like a quarrel between rival clans, characterized by a total absence of bellicose rhetoric.

The latest from the Associated Press:

“If only we had one centimeter” of border, said Alyona Arshinova, 23, an activist with the Kremlin-funded youth group Proryv or Breakthrough, who has a small Russian flag hanging from her key chain. “For me Russia is everything, for me Russia is knowing who I am. Who am I? I am Russia.”

The group leader, Dmitry Soin, is no less fervent, praising Russia’s commitment to democracy at a time when the West is criticizing it for rolling back democratic reforms. “The winds that are blowing in Russia must start blowing in Transnistria,” Soin tells the  group.