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Transnistria’s call to join Russia: A bluff in troubled times and for what consequences?
On September 7, Evgheny Shevchuk, president of the separatist republic of Transnistria, announced by presidential decree that he will move to enact a 2006 referendum in which 97% of the population of the breakaway territory opted for unification with Russia (Radio Liberty Radio Free Europe, 9 September 2016).
As a first measure, this implies aligning the Transnistrian legal system with Russian legislation. Shevchuk’s seemingly radical move generated a lot of attention in Moldova, the country Transnistria is formally part of, and in the region, particularly in neighbouring Romania. The announcement comes after sustained Russian military drills in the breakaway republic over the summer, which have raised strong criticism from the Moldovan foreign ministry (Radio Liberty Radio Free Europe, 18 August 2016). Coupled with these exercises, Shevchuk’s decree seems to paint a worrying picture and suggests a change in the status quo of this lon