The Moldovans: Romania, Russia, and the politics of culture    –  Charles King

Charles King is Professor of International Affairs and Government at Georgetown University. He lectures widely on international affairs, social violence, and ethnic politics, and has worked with major broadcast media such as CNN, National Public Radio, the BBC, the History Channel, and MTV. He previously served as chairman of the faculty of Georgetown’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

The first English-language book to present a complete picture MoldovansCoverof this intriguing east European borderland, The Moldovans illuminates the perennial problems of identity politics and cultural change that the country has endured. Throughout the past two centuries, Moldova was the object of a variety of culture-building efforts from Russian, Romanian, and Soviet influences before emerging as an independent state in 1991. The author highlights the political uses of culture–the ways in which language, history, and identity can be manipulated by political elites–and examines why some attempts to mold identity succeed where others fail. He also reveals why, in the case of Moldova, a project of identity construction succeeded in creating a state but failed to make an independent nation.

What People are Saying 

“Presents in sharp relief the dilemmas of a people struggling to locate themselves and build a new order on the ruins of their Soviet past.” – Foreign Affairs

“Thoroughly researched, engagingly written, and completely up to date, this is a definitive book that will long serve as the best study of Moldova in any language . . . . Its strategic and precarious location between the Balkans and the former Soviet Union and its complex ethnic composition make Moldova a fragile new nation well worth knowing about.”  –  Daniel Chirot, University of Washington

Russia, the Near Abroad, and the West: Lessons from the Moldova-Transdniestria Conflict    –  William Hill

William H. Hill was head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, charged with negotiating a settlement to the Transdniestria conflict and facilitating withdrawal of Russian forces and arms from Moldova. He is a professor of national security strategy at the National War College and was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in 2001–2002.

What People are SayingRussia, the Near Abroad, and the West: Lessons from the Moldova-Transdniestria Conflict by William H. Hill

Russia, the Near Abroad, and the West should be required reading for all Transnistrian settlement optimists, especially for those Europeans with ambitious plans for a quick resolution outside of official channels.”—William Schreiber, –  New Eastern Europe

“This book is the first to explore in detail what happened in Moldova in 2003, told by a key player on the ground. It starts with strong chapters that set the wider context of Russian–western relations and developments in Europe, before turning to the evolution of events in 2003. The annexes contain drafts of the settlement proposals made during that year. On the whole, this is outstanding work that fills a gap in the literature that most are not even aware of, useful for students, specialists and policy-makers.” – International Affairs

“This is the first serious attempt to narrate and interpret the history of international efforts to solve the Transdniestria problem, with the focus—completely justified—on the crisis engendered by the Kozak memorandum.… There is nothing coming even close, in terms of the breadth of vision and depth of knowledge of the subject matter, among the disparate journal accounts and position papers available up to now. This book is an absolute must.” – Vladimir Solonari, University of Central Florida, former Member of Moldovan Parliament

Nation- and Statehood in Moldova: Ideological and political dynamics since the 1980s – Dareg Zabarah

This volume, based on a doctoral thesis defended in Germany in 2010, tries to identify the roots of postcommunist nationalism in Moldova, which for the last two decades has been de jure a single country, but de facto divided between Moldova proper, where Romanian-speaking Moldovans form a majority, the unrecognized Republic of Transnistria, where the Russian-speakers represent two-thirds o51YY+3qhEvLf the population, and the autonomous Gagauzia, which includes six villages dominated by the Gagauz, an Orthodox Christian Turkic group. Before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union the questions that dominated public debates related to whether Romanian-speaking Moldovans were Romanians or Moldovans and whether the independent country should represent the titular nation (the Romanian-speakers) or all its inhabitants (including the significant Russian-speaking minority). In a novel theoretical approach, the volume combines “constructivist assumptions, used in nationalism studies, with a New-Institutionalist approach that focuses on the role of ideas in forming institutions” (2). When it comes to this former approach, the study draws extensively on new discourse institutionalism, which is concerned with the role of historical legacies and focuses primarily on the elites who have defined and structured the nation and the state.

The analysis offers an updated look at Moldovan nation- and statehood, but its interpretations might be disconcerting for some specialists. The “prototypical understandings” can be assimilated to the better-known concepts of civic and ethnic nation, whose meaning remains loaded. Of the eight prototypical understandings identified in the text (three in Moldova, three in Gagauzia, and two in Transnistria), the only one the book assimilates exclusively with the ethnic nation is the Romanian idea. Similarly, both ideas upheld by the Transnistrian elites are seen as combining all three “prototypical understandings,” although it is doubtful that President Igor Smirnov’s quasi-dictatorship envisions the Transnistrian nation as sharing a future with its oppressed Romanian-speakers. In addition, names are curiously transliterated (Khrushchev is rendered as Chruscˇev and Brezhnev as Breznev), while the Pridnestrovian region, used by the Russian-speakers, is preferred to Transnistria, preferred by the Romanian-speakers. This elaborate study should be of interest to graduate students and academics working on Moldova, Russia, nationalism, and statehood.

Moldova: Arena of International Influences – M. Kosienkowski, W. Schreiber

Moldova: Arena of International Influences brings international perspective to Moldova’s foreign relations since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Eighteen chapters analyze the policy toward Moldova of selected international actors: Belarus, Bulgaria, China, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the European Union, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the unrecognized breakaway state of Transnistria. For these international actors, Moldova functions as an arena of influences—a sphere of intersecting interests, activities and, occasionally, (1)

For the first time, leading experts and practitioners from many of the countries engaged in Moldova are brought together in a common language. The result is a detailed map of the international political landscape in Moldova, a chronicle of the past two decades, and a forecast of the country’s future.


Stereotypes of Moldova as a Russian pawn or an EU protectorate are debunked by a well-known team of authors and insiders, revealing the nuts and bolts of national policies and interests vis-a-vis Chisinau. At last, Moldova: Arena of International Influences is an in-depth study probing beyond generic EU policies for Moldova; an excellent analysis of national policies. (Wim van Meurs, History Department, Radboud University Nijmegen)This is a unique updated volume, which covers the broad spectrum of bilateral relations between Moldova and eighteen countries, including the US, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, France, Germany, and Italy, set within the foreign policy perspectives of each of these countries towards Chisinau. It is an excellent collection of essays, chock full of useful facts and details, which combines foreign policy diversity with common themes such as the Europeanization of Moldova. (Robert Weiner, University of Massachusetts, Boston)

About the Author

Marcin Kosienkowski, PhD, is assistant professor at the Institute of Political Science of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland. His research focuses on the post-Soviet area. He has published extensively on Moldova and its breakaway region of Transnistria. Among other works, he is author of The Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. Survival Determinants [Polish] (2010).William Schreiber is a Millar scholar at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, The George Washington University, Washington, DC. He has written about the Central and Eastern Europe for Newsweek International, The Wall Street Journal, and others.

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