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The role of the organization for security and co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in the transdniestr conflict and the Russian factor

Karaaslan, Hakan
This thesis aims to explore the Transdniestr conflict in Moldova by examining the involvements of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Russian Federation in their attempts at finding a working solution to this conflict. The thesis focuses on the reasons for the emergence of the Transdniestr conflict, the initiatives for the settlement of this conflict, and the causes, as of today, why the conflicting parties and the mediators have not been successful in reaching a working settlement. Contrary to the line of thinking on this conflict which suggests that the conflict has its roots in domestic factors in Moldova and Transdniestr such as ethnicity, socio-economic underdevelopment and the weakness of democratic institutions, this thesis argues that the primary reason behind the persistence of this conflict is international. It is the radically different definitions of the conflict by the OSCE and the Russian Federation that makes the conflict very difficult to solve. Russia tends to value the Transdniestr region as a geostrategic tool for maintaining its influence over post-Soviet Moldova and its neighbourhood. Since the involvement of the OSCE in this conflict limits Russia’s capacity to use the Transdniestr region as a geostrategic tool, it becomes extremely difficult to alter the status quo that contributes to the existing impasse rather than to its opening of new avenues for the peaceful settlement of this conflict. .