Transnistria Considers Joining Russia in Upcoming Referendum

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.24 - 2024 11:00 AM CET

Photo: Aynur Mammadov /
Photo: Aynur Mammadov /
Transnistria Considers Joining Russia in Upcoming Referendum.

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A referendum scheduled for Wednesday could significantly impact the ongoing conflict between the West and Russia. The pro-Russian breakaway republic of Transnistria, nestled between Moldova and Ukraine, might soon vote to become part of Russia, as reported by the Norwegian media Dagbladet, based on an analysis from the American war think tank, Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

"This is definitely an escalation of the conflict with the West," stated Norwegian Russia expert Iver Neumann to Dagbladet.

Moving Closer to Russia The referendum in the breakaway republic has not been officially announced yet. However, Transnistria's government has called for an unscheduled parliamentary meeting on Wednesday, February 28th. According to ISW, it is assessed that the meeting will decide on holding a vote on whether to join Russia.

"It's been on the cards for a long time," explains Norwegian Russia expert Tormod Heier. He suggests that as Moldova, which Transnistria was once part of, moves closer to Western countries, Transnistria is now shifting closer to Russia. Moldova was granted EU candidate status in June 2022.

"It's a confirmation that Russia is trying to gather the old Russian empire," Iver Neumann commented on the situation.

Deteriorating Situation The self-proclaimed republic's president, Vadim Krasnoselsky, has made it clear that he wishes for the republic to become part of Russia. On February 21st, the government announced that the republic's situation has "significantly worsened since January 1, 2024." They also accused Moldova of destroying the republic's economy and violating its freedoms.

Transnistria declared its independence from Moldova in 1990 but has not been internationally recognized as an independent state. ISW assesses that Moldova could be Russia's next target for operations, highlighting the potential for further escalation in the region's delicate geopolitical situation.