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Kazakhstan and Moldova

 

Kazakhstan, which also belongs to this group, is a republic with a vast territory populated by a diverse ethnic mix of Turkic, Mongol, and Slavic populations. Geographically, it occupies a position between Russia and the central Asian republics. Historically, economically, and strategically, Kazakhstan gravitates more toward Russia.  

KAZAKHSTAN

These leanings are further reinforced by the fact that ethnic Russians constitute nearly half of its population. Russias famous Baikonur space-vehicle launching site is also situated in Kazakhstan. The deepening economic, political, cultural, and military integration between Russia and Kazakhstan is vital for the prosperity of both of these states. 

MOLDOVA

Finally, the small republic of Moldova is also likely to maintain its close ties to Russia. The majority of its people are ethnic Moldavians, who speak a language that is virtually identical to Romanian. But Moldova is also inhabited by large numbers of Russians, Ukrainians, Gagauz, Romanians, Jews, and others and is often compared to an ethnic powder keg.

The process of Moldovas separation from the USSR was agonizing and bloody. Political turmoil was fueled by ethnic tensions between Russians and Ukrainians, on the one hand, and Moldavians, on the other. In 1992 the Russian-speaking populations rebelled against Moldovan authority and formed the breakaway Dniester republic in the so-called Transdniester region. The region is located to the east of the Dniester River and contains large numbers of Russians and Ukrainians. The confrontation escalated into a drawnout military conflict.

Finally, in 1997 the Moldovan authorities and the leadership of the breakaway Dniester region were persuaded to sign a memorandum on normalizing relations. Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe acted as guarantors of the truce. Since then the tension in the area has been largely contained.

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