The Unexpected After-Life of the ‘Soviet People’? The ‘Pridnestrovskaya Moldavskaya Respublika’ as a Political Fact and Legal Anomaly: A Case-Study
22 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2012 Last revised: 17 Jan 2012
Date Written: January 9, 2012
This case-study concerns a very strange unrecognised entity. There is not even a consensus as to its name. Most of the scholarly literature refers to is as “Transnistria.” However, in its judgments in 2004 in Ilaşcu and others v. Moldova and Russia and in 2011 in Ivanţoc and Others v. Moldova and Russia the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) refers to it as the “Moldavian Republic of Transdniestria (MRT).” The entity in question calls itself in Russian the “Pridnestrovskaya Moldavskaya Respublika (PMR),” "Pridnestrovie" in Russian, or “Transdniestria” in English. The New York Bar mission, mentioned below, referred to it as the “Transnistrian Moldovan Republic” (TMR). I stick to the “the PMR.” The structure of this case study is as follows. First, I describe the geographical location of the PMR, and the history of this territory. It is generally agreed that the left, east, bank of the Dnester river has an identity quite different from that of the right, west, bank, previously known as Bessarabia. Second, I describe the institutions of the PMR, and its industrial base. Third, I analyse the ethnic composition and identity of the population of the PMR. Fourth, I consider whether the PMR could have a claim to self-determination, internal or external. Fifth, I criticise the findings of the European Court of Human Rights, in the cases mentioned above, that Russia exercises “effective control” over the PMR. Sixth, I analyse the various attempts at settlement, and the position of the Moldovan government. I conclude with a note of optimism.
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