According to a warning from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the pro-Kremlin breakaway Transnistria region of eastern Moldova may ask next week to be annexed to Russia as part of Putin’s Russky Myr, or Russian World, plan.

The new warning by the ISW says: “The pro-Russian breakaway region of Transnistria may call for or organize a referendum on Transnistria’s annexation to Russia at a recently announced Transnistrian Congress of Deputies planned for Feb. 28.”

The Transnistria region lies immediately across the Ukraine-Moldova border with a decades-long Russian military presence.

According to the ISW, the “Russian military has maintained a presence consisting of two motorized rifle battalions of the Western Military District in Transnistria since 1992.”


The grounds for the annexation would be in line with Putin’s plan to unite the Russian World of all lands once controlled by Moscow, whether as part of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact or the Russian empire. This Transnistrian plan goes together well with Putin’s revisionist history he espoused in his recent interview with the American right-wing political show host Tucker Carlson.

Rationale that ISW says Transnistrian leaders may use to justify the region joining Russia are the “need to protect Russian citizens and ‘compatriots’ in Transnistria from threats from Moldova or NATO or both.”

The pro-Russian breakaway region of Transnistria in eastern Moldova declared its independence from Moldova shortly after the nation’s independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. This region’s pro-Kremlin stance predates similar pro-Russian breakaway movements by collaborators in the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk by over two decades, though on a much smaller scale.

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ISW offered its assessment “as a warning for a high-impact event of indetermined probability.” According to its worst-case scenario:

“Russian President Vladimir Putin could, in the most dangerous course of action, declare Russia’s annexation of Transnistria during his planned address to the Russian Federal Assembly on February 29, although that appears unlikely. Putin will more likely welcome whatever action the Transnistrian Congress of Deputies takes and offer observations on the situation.”


The Moldovan government’s own assessment was more positive than ISW, with officials saying they believe the situation in Moldova is unlikely to worsen for the time being.

The Moldovan’s may be counting on Russia having its hands full coping with its full-scale invasion of the two countries’ mutual neighbor.

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It's never good to be on the wrong side of history.