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Politico-economical markers in the project of the Transnistrian regional identity construction

Ala Svet – 2008

The Transnistrian region offers an example of a state with serious problems of national and political identity that was able to negotiate provisional solutions. British sociologist Anthony D. Smith presented what he believed to be the five fundamental features of a national identity. They are indeed crucial in the formation of an identity and include a historic homeland, common historical myths and memories, a mass public culture, common legal rights for all members, and a common economy (Smith 1991, p. 20). All these identity indicators underwent change in the Transnistrian region after 1989, when the USSR collapsed and nationalist movements started on the two banks of the Dniester River. From August to December 1989, the Moldavian Socialist Soviet Republic (MSSR) Parliament passed a series of language laws that made the Moldavian language the official state language and provided the transition from Cyrillic to Latin script. A new tricolor flag was adopted and a national anthem that was the same as that of Romania. Then, in the summer of 1990, the MSSR declared sovereignty, changing its status within the USSR. A group of Russian speakers led by Igor Smirnov, a factory manager who came to Moldova in November 1987 to become a director of the Електромаш (Еlektromash) factory in Tiraspol, expressed concern that the newly sovereign MSSR would soon seek reunification with Romania and take Transnistria along with it. On August 11, 1989, several Transnistrian workers’ collectives united under the single banner of the Union of Workers Collectives (OSTK) and pursued a policy of secession from Moldova. Igor Smirnov was the first Chairman of the OSTK. On September 2, 1990, Transnistria declared its separation from Moldova and its existence as a republic within the USSR with “full powers” in the economic sphere. The research follows the course of Moldova-Transnistria coexistence; examines the influences on identity formation, especially the economical aspects which formed the contours of identity, and attempts to gauge popular responses to the challenges of the postwar partition.

Politico-economical markers in the project of the Transnistrian regional identity construction
Research Project: New and Ambiguous Nation-building Processes in South-eastern Europe
Moldova, Transnistria, economy, regionalism