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The Construction of Cultural Identity in Transnistria - Insights from a frozen Conflict Zone

Open Panel

Abstract

The self-declared Republic of Transnistria (Pridnjestrove) is part of the Republic of Moldova, a former Soviet Republic bordering Ukraine and Romania. Following the dissolution of the USSR, Moldova became an independent country and declared Romanian to be its national language. Amid fears of a growing cultural and political influence of Romania, a brief but violent civil war broke out that ended in 1993, when Transnistria emerged as a de facto independent political entity, not recognized internationally. In contrast to the Republic of Moldova, the Russian language emerged as a strong marker of a distinct Transnistrian cultural and political identity and as a powerful tool of separation from Moldova This paper will evalue the latest policy measures of the Transnistrian authorities that are designed to establish a disincts Transnistrian-Russian cultural identity and will shed light on the involvement of the Russian Federation in the area. A special focus will be laid on efforts to promote the Russian language that has emerged as the sole language within the last two decades in a once multilingual area. Furthermore we will examine, how ethnic Moldovans and Ukrainians living in the self-declared Republic deal with such overt policy measures.