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Gubernatorial elections in Gagauzia, Moldova — Or, whose imperialism?

Gaguazia, an autonomous region of Moldova, is currently facing a very interesting political moment in its relations with its federal authorities.   Geographically, the region lies in the southern part of the country bordering with Romania and Ukraine.

According to Wikipedia,

The Gagauzian People’s Assembly (Adunarea Populară; Gagauz: Halk Topluşu) has a mandate for lawmaking powers within its own jurisdiction. This includes laws on education, culture, local development, budgetary and taxation issues, social security, and questions of territorial administration. The People’s Assembly also has two special powers: it may participate in the formulation of Moldova’s internal and foreign policy; and, should central regulations interfere with the jurisdiction of Gagauz-Yeri, it has the right of appeal to Moldova’s Constitutional Court. [1]

Ethnically, the absolute majority (82.1% of the total population of the region) identify themselves as Gagauzians, with the other 14% consisting of people who think of themselves as Bulgarians, Moldovans, Romanians, Russians and Ukrainians.  The electorate overwhelmingly favours closer economic links with Russia.

Last Friday, when I first heard of it, the region was about to hold its gubernatorial elections, with 10 independent candidates vying for the position of governor.  The election campaign took place against the background of intense struggle between the local and the central government.  Locally, 98% of the electorate wants closer ties with the Eurasian Customs Union.  The Moldovan federal government, on the other hand, is dreaming the Kiev dream of joining the European Union. Why the folks in Chișinău think such a course a viable one has probably more to do with the bribes the federal-level politicians have been receiving from the USA and the EU, whose foreign policy in the region seems to be the puerile “Stick it to the Russians” project of civilizational-cum-economic domination (the imperialism we’ve been taught to call globalization), rather than with anything remotely realistic or economically feasible for Moldova itself.

The voting was monitored by 65 local and 50 foreign NGOs as well as by the observers from the US Embassy, Ukraine, and Turkey.  Given the minuscule numbers of ethnic Ukrainians and Turks in this autonomous region of Moldova, the presence of the latter two – we know the USA thinks it’s entitled to stick its nose into everybody else’s business – is particularly curious.

In the immediate run-up to yesterday’s voting in Gagauzia, this is how Deutsche Welle, Germany’s official propaganda organ —  or, “Germany’s international broadcaster, producing TV, Radio and Internet programming for you in 30 languages,” as it describes itself — chose to present the elections to its English-speaking readers:

Gagauzia: A new stumbling block for Moldova


A candidate supported by Russia is likely to win the vote for a new governor in Gagauzia, an autonomous region in Moldova. The Moldovan government and the EU fear that Gagauzia’s separatist ambitions are on the rise. [2]

A day earlier, Al Jazeera, Qatar’s propaganda organ,  owned by its ruling family, the House of Thani– “We broadcast to more than 220 million households in more than 100 countries” — framed the Gagauzian gubernatorial elections and primed its English-speaking public thus:

Is Gagauzia next on Russia’s list?

What the world is witnessing today is not a resurgent Cold War or Soviet-style Russia, but an Imperial Russia [3]

Al Jazeera's photo illustration for Gagauzia

Let’s keep an eye on whether — and how — the rest of our mass media choose to cover the results of these gubernatorial elections in this autonomous region of Moldova. 

Will their UN-recognized right to self-determination and the full constitutional rights of the citizens of Gagauzia be championed by our supposedly free press?  Or will our media decide to present their gubernatorial choice as a matter of a predominantly Anglo-American-German rivalry with Russia, as Deutsche Welle and Al Jazeera have already done?

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gagauzia

[2] http://www.dw.de/gagauzia-a-new-stumbling-block-for-moldova/a-18333303

[3] http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/03/gagauzia-russia-list-150318052557225.html


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Categories: latest, Media Criticism, Vaska
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