from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gagauz Yeri (Gagauz)
Găgăuzia (Romanian)
Гагаузия (Russian)
Flag of Gagauzia
Coat of arms of Gagauzia
flag coat of arms
Official language Gagauz , Romanian and Russian
Capital Comrat
Form of government Republic , Autonomy Agreement with the Republic of Moldova
Head of government Irina Vlah
surface 1,832 km²
population 134,535 ( 2014 ) ¹
Population density 85 inhabitants per km²
currency Moldovan leu
founding December 23, 1994
National anthem Tarafım
Ukraine Rumänien Transnistrien Basarabeasca Briceni Cahul Gagausien Gagausien Gagausien Gagausien Taraclia Taraclia Cahul Cantemir Leova Cimișlia Căușeni Bender Ștefan Vodă Hîncești Ialoveni Anenii Noi Dubăsari Dubăsari Chișinău Munizip Chisinau Criuleni Criuleni Nisporeni Strășeni Orhei Rezina Ungheni Telenești Călărași Șoldănești Fălești Glodeni Bălți Florești Sîngerei Rîșcani Drochia Soroca Edineț Ocnița DondușeniGagauzia in Moldova.svg
About this picture

Gagauzia [ gagaˈuːziən ] ( Gagauz Gagauz Yeri or Gagauziya ; Russian Гагаузия ; Romanian Găgăuzia ) is an autonomous region within the Republic of Moldova . It has extensive autonomy, three official languages ​​(Gagauz, Russian, Romanian) and its own government. The vast majority of the almost 160,000 inhabitants belong to the Turkic-speaking ethnic group of the Gagauz , but there are also numerous Russians, Moldovans, Bulgarians and Ukrainians living in the region.

Gagauzia is the cultural, economic and political center of the Gagauz. Although there are significant Gagauz minorities in other parts of Moldova, in Ukraine , Russia , Turkey and other countries in Eastern Europe, Gagauz is the only area in the world where their language and culture have official status. With an area of ​​a little more than 1,800 square kilometers , it is smaller than the Saarland and less populated than the rest of Moldova.

The official name is Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia ( Gagauz Avtonom territorial Bölümlüü Gagauz Yeri , Russian Автономное территориальное образование Гагаузия and Romanian Unitate teritorială Autonomă Găgăuzia , shortly UTA Găgăuzia ).


Gagauzia has an area of ​​1832 square kilometers and is located in the south of Moldova. In some places Gagauzia borders directly on Ukraine . It consists of the core area around the capital Comrat including the south-east bordering Ceadîr-Lunga , an "island" around the city of Vulcăneşti in the extreme south and two other exclaves, the villages of Copceac and Carbalia. The most important cities in Gagauzia are Comrat (around 20,100 inhabitants), Ceadîr-Lunga (16,600 inhabitants), Vulcăneşti (12,200 inhabitants) and Congaz (11,100 inhabitants).


According to the official census, the population of Gagauzia was almost 162,000 at the beginning of 2014. This is around 4.6% of the total population of Moldova. In 2005 the population of Gagauzia was estimated at just under 156,000 people. In contrast to the rest of Moldova, Gagauzia has a growing population. In 2012 the birth rate was around 5% above the Moldovan average. The largest settlement in Gagauzia is the capital Comrat with around 26,000 inhabitants , where about one sixth of the inhabitants of Gagauzia live. However, at 97,400 people, the majority of the population live in rural areas. The degree of urbanization is a little less than 40%.


Ethnic groups in Moldova (May 1995)

The Gagauz population consists largely of Gagauz, but there are numerous other minorities in the region. An estimate from 2005 resulted in the following composition of nationalities:

With the exception of the three ethnically mixed villages Ferapontievca , Chioselia Rusă and Svetlîi , Gagauz form a clear majority of the population in the entire region. However, the latter municipalities decided to voluntarily join Gagauzia in a 1995 referendum. Another special case is the village of Chirsova , in which the proportion of Gagauz is roughly the same as that of the Bulgarians there (about 45% each). The Russians in Gagauzia mainly live in the three cities of Comrat , Ceadîr-Lunga and Vulcăneşti . Ferapontievca is the only village in Gagauzia in which Ukrainians make up the majority of the population (almost 58%).


A church in Ceadir-Lunga

The vast majority of the population of Gagauzia belong to Orthodox Christianity , especially the Moldavian Orthodox , Russian Orthodox and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches. Due to the long membership in the Soviet Union, there is also a relatively high number of non-denominational and non-practicing Christians.


Trilingual signage in Gagauzia: Gagauz, Romanian and Russian

Gagauzia has three officially equal official languages: Gagauz , Romanian and Russian . Gagauz is one with the Turkish closely related Oghuz-Turkish language and is spoken as a mother tongue, according to census of 2014 of 80.4% of the population of Gagauzia. Gagauz is so close to Turkish that in the past it was usually classified as a Turkish dialect . In the meantime, however, the assessment as an independent language dominates.

The position of Russian is much stronger in Gagauzia than in the rest of Moldova. In the 2014 census, it was only mentioned as their mother tongue by just under 10% of the Gagauz population, but at the same time 41.3% of the population said Russian as their preferred everyday language, while 55.6% mentioned Gagauz. The Russian language serves in particular as the lingua franca between the population groups, as the language of business and the media, and is mastered by almost the entire population. Many Gagauz speak Russian on a native level; Russian is the language of instruction in most Gagauz schools, as is the case at Comrat University , the only university in the region. According to some estimates, Russian is the most widely spoken language in everyday life. Knowledge of the Gagauz language is required for higher political offices in Gagauzia. Romanian plays only a subordinate role in Gagauzia, although it has gained in importance since the collapse of the Soviet Union . In the 2014 census, 3.8% of the population stated Romanian (or Moldovan) as their mother tongue; only 1.1% named it as their preferred language in everyday life.

Gagauz youth in their traditional costumes



In the 11th century, parts of the Turkish tribes of the Oghusen and Pechenegs and other ancient Turkish tribes came from the Altai to the Balkans via the Black Sea . In the 12th century the Gagauz founded a country with the ruler Balik Bey . After his death in 1386 Yanko (Ivanko) took over the leadership. In 1417 the Balkans came under Ottoman rule , in 1484 also the Bessarabian Budschak including Gagauzia. Under pressure from the Bulgarians , the Gagauz withdrew to Russia in 1750 . Later, between 1769 and 1791, she was increasingly drawn to the Danube . In the years from 1801 to 1820 they finally emigrated to Bessarabia . In 1906 they proclaimed the Komrat republic in what is now the settlement area , which lasted only 15 days.

In total, the Gagauz lived for around 300 years under Ottoman rule and almost as long under Russian , Romanian and Moldovan rule.

Soviet era

Landscape in Gagauzia

After the end of World War II and the establishment of the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic , 80 percent of the Gagauz lived in this area, and 20 percent lived in Bulgaria and Ukraine . Since the 1980s, a Gagauz nationalism developed, which was in conflict with the emerging nationalism of the Romanian-speaking Moldovans.

Collapse of the Soviet Union and regional autonomy

During the collapse of the Soviet Union , the Frontul Popular din Moldova won the elections in what was then the Moldavian SSR . This party represented ultra-nationalist positions and had set itself the goal of a quick separation of Moldova from the Soviet Union. Their policy was directed particularly against Russian-speaking population groups, the Gagauz and other minorities. As early as 1989, Russian was abolished as the official language in the Moldovan Soviet Republic and Romanian was the only official language. In 1990 Moldova proclaimed the country's sovereignty.

In some regions of the country, however, this was not accepted, many minorities saw their rights as threatened and defended themselves against their "Romanization policy". On August 19, 1990, the Gagauz proclaimed the independent “Gagauz Socialist Soviet Republic”. Two weeks later, on September 2, 1990, complete independence from Moldova was proclaimed in the eastern part of Transnistria . Against the will of the Moldovan leadership, the Gagauz held parliamentary elections. Stepan Topal , who was head of government in Gagauzia until 1995, was chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Gagauzia . At first, Gagauzia tried to remain as a republic within the Soviet Union, but after it finally collapsed in 1991, efforts were made to gain state independence.

In contrast to the Transnistria conflict , which ended in open war in 1992, there was no major armed conflict in Gagauzia. The Moldovan government subsequently proceeded much more cautiously to enable the reintegration of separatist areas and to prevent the further decline of areas with strong separatism, such as Taraclia and Bălți . Starting in 1994, negotiations were held to return Gagauzia to Moldova. The Moldovan government gave in to numerous demands of the Gagauz and agreed to a constitutional reform that guaranteed Gagauzia extensive autonomy. The creation of this autonomous region of Gagauzia within Moldova was approved by the parliament in Chișinău and the leadership of the Gagauz now renounced full independence.

On December 23, 1994 the "Autonomous Territorial Unit Gagauzia" ( Romanian Unitate teritorială autonomă Găgăuzia , short UTA Găgăuzia ) was officially founded; an autonomous region within Moldova that is endowed with extensive special rights, has its own government and three official languages ​​(Gagauz, Romanian, Russian). The peaceful solution to the conflict and the autonomy agreement were also welcomed abroad; the German historian Stefan Troebst called it, for example, a "both rare and mature solution for all conflict actors in the post-Soviet area".

Although there were still some political tensions in Gagauzia in the period that followed, the Gagauz-Moldovan conflict was considered largely resolved for a long time after this agreement, and the Gagauz were even described as an "exemplary minority". The Gagauz government, however, repeatedly complained of a lack of support for its region from Chișinău . The economic development of Gagauzia was extremely sluggish, up to 30,000 Gagauz work for a large part of the year as guest workers in Russia . The Moldovan side repeatedly accused Gagauzia of having special relations with the Republic of Transnistria, which has broken away from Moldova . In 2008 the Gagauz regional parliament decided on the initiative of the parliamentary chairperson , Ana Harlamenco , to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and provoked a renewed conflict with the Moldovan government, which refused.

Location from 2014

Against the background of the crisis in Ukraine in 2014 and above all the EU association decided by the Moldovan government, there was a renewed increase in separatist efforts and Russian attempts at influence in Gagauzia. Gagauz politicians complained about alleged violations of Gagauz autonomy and a rise in nationalism in Moldova. There were similar complaints in the Taraclia Rajon bordering Gagauzia , which is mostly inhabited by Bulgarians and which is also demanding more rights of autonomy. A merger of Taraclia and Gagauzia was briefly considered. Many Gagauz and other minorities associate Moldova's accession to Romania with joining the EU and fear policies that are hostile to minorities, as in the early 1990s.

In the Gagauz public, there was again increased debate about breaking away from Moldova. Finally, the regional government of Gagauzia decided to hold a referendum in which, among other things, a vote should be taken on membership of the customs union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, as well as on further autonomy rights. The referendum was declared unconstitutional and unlawful by a Moldovan court, but the Gagauz government insisted that it be carried out and described the verdict as "politically motivated" in view of the idea of ​​Moldova annexing Romania, which was openly supported by Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti .

The referendum finally took place on February 2, 2014. With a turnout of over 70%, 98.4% of the population voted for closer relations with Russia and other CIS states, 97.2% were against rapprochement with the EU. Although the referendum was condemned by the Moldovan government, it received support from the influential opposition parties of the Communists of the Republic of Moldova, as well as the socialists , the regional governments of the Moldovan Rajons of Taraclia and Basarabeasca, and the municipal administration of Bălți , the country's second largest city.

Open tensions subsequently arose between the Gagauz regional government and Moldovan authorities. In June 2014, former Moldovan President Mihai Ghimpu , leader of the government's Liberal Party , called for a nationwide referendum on the abolition of Gagauz autonomy, publicly claiming that Gagauzia no longer deserves its right to autonomy; moreover, it has already developed into a “state within a state”. Reports had previously surfaced that Gagauzia was now recruiting its own security forces.

Politics and administration

Politics and government

Michail Formusal , from 2006 to 2015 head of government of Gagauzia ("Başkan")

The autonomy of Gagauzia is enshrined in the Moldovan constitution. This grants them, among other things, the right to their own administration and an independent education system, as well as the recognition of their language as an official language . Should Moldova lose the status of an independent state, Gagauzia will become independent under the constitution.

The legislature is the parliament , called "Halk topluşu" (People's Assembly). A democratic constitution has existed since 1998 . Gagauzia is ruled by a prime minister who is directly elected for four years . This post bears the Gagauz name "Başkan". In the last election in March 2015, Irina Vlah won the first ballot with 51.1% of the vote. It clearly prevailed over the second-placed Nicolai Dudoglo , who only achieved 18.2%. Gagauzia has its own police force, which is under the Ministry of the Interior. Vlah is the first woman in this position.

Heads of government

The head of government in Gagauzia has had the title of "Başkan" since 1994. The heads of government in Gagauzia were:


Administrative map of Gagauzia.

Administratively, Gagauzia is divided into 3 Rajons (Comrat, Ceadîr-Lunga and Vulcăneşti) and 4 cities ( Comrat , Ceadîr-Lunga , Congaz and Vulcăneşti ) and 29 villages:

Gagauz name Russian name Romanian name
Komrat (city) Комрат (Komrat) Comrat
Kongaz (city) Конгаз (Congaz) Congaz
Çadır-Lunga (City) Чадыр-Лунга (Chadyr-Lunga) Ceadir-Lunga
Valkaneş (city) Вулканешты (Wulkaneschty) Vulcăneşti
Alekseevka Алексеевка (Aleksejewka) Alexeevca
Avdarma Авдарма (Avdarma) Avdarma
Baurçu Баурчи (Baurchi) Baurci
Başküü Кирсово (Kirsowo) Chirsova
Beşalma Бешалма (Beschalma) Beşalma
Beşgöz Бешгиоз (Beschgios) Beșghioz
Bucak Буджак (Budschak) Bugeac
Coltay Джолтай (Dscholtaj) Joltai
Çok Maydan Чок-Майдан (Chok- Maidan ) Cioc-Maidan
Çöşmäküü Чишмикиой (Tschischmikoj) Cișmichioi
Dezgincä Дезгинжа (Desginscha) Dezghingea
Duduleşt Дудулешты (Duduleschty) Duduleşti
Haydar Гайдары (Gajdary) Gaidar
Kazayak Казаклия (Kazaklija) Cazaclia
Kıpçak Копчак (Kopchak) Copceac
Karbalı Карболия (Karbolija) Carbolia
Kırlannar Котовское (Kotovskoye) Cotovscoe
Kiriyet Кириет-Лунга (Kirijet-Lunga) Chiriet-Lunga
Kongazçık Yukarkı Верхний Конгазчик (Verkhny Kongastschik) Congazcicul de Sus
Köseli Rus Русская Киселия (Russkaja Kisselija) Chiselia Rusă
Eni Tülüküü Новая Етулия (Novaya Jetulija) Etulia Noua
Parapontics Ферапонтьевка (Ferapontijewka) Ferapontievca
Svetlıy Светлый (Swetlyj) Svetlîi
Tomay Томай (Tomaj) Tomai
Tülüküü Етулия (Jetulija) Etulia


Gagauzia is an agrarian region, agriculture forms the economic backbone. In addition to agriculture , livestock and fish farming , viticulture in particular plays an important role. Most of the wine exports go to Russia.

In addition to wine , cans , fruit drinks , meat products , grain products , animal and vegetable oils , jam , tobacco , cotton , leather and textiles are produced in Gagauzia . Twelve cellars process 400,000 tons of grapes annually .


The road network is 452 km long, 220 km of which are country roads and 86% are paved. 18% of the urban population have a telephone, while in the villages it is only 8.5%. Turkey had granted Moldova a US $ 35 million loan to improve and restructure the infrastructure in Gagauzia. Less than the half; Only 15 million US dollars of this was granted by the Moldovan government to the autonomous region.

Education and culture

There are a total of 55 schools in Gagauzia. In the majority of schools, the language of instruction is Russian. Some are organized in the form of school centers and comprehensive schools. In the capital is the Comrat University , which is financially supported by Turkey and Russia (through the Russki Mir Foundation ). The Ataturk Library (Ataturk Kütüphanesi) founded by Comrat-TIKA (Türk İşbirliği Ve Kalkınma İdaresi Başkanlığı) in the form of a cultural center is the largest free information center in Gagauzia. The Gagauz village of Beşalma (“Five Apples”) is home to the National Museum for Gagauz history and ethnography, which was founded by Dimitri Karacioban. In addition to the numerous school libraries, there are 45 other libraries.


The most famous Gagauz magazines are Sabaa Yıldızı and Üç aylık jurnal . One of the most important newspapers is the Gagaoğuzya Haberleri (Gagaoghusien-Nachrichten). In almost all villages in Gagauzia you can listen to the radio in Gagauz and sometimes also TRT - FM programs, which are alternately broadcast by the Gagauz radio station at certain times. In addition, the population receives especially Russian-language media, often from abroad. There is also local Gagauz press in Russian. The local broadcaster Teleradio-Gagausija broadcasts in Gagauz , Russian and Romanian.


Football is probably the most popular sport in Gagauzia. The most famous clubs are FK Gagauziya Komrat , who currently plays in the Moldovan Divizia A , the second highest league in Moldova. At the end of the 2013/14 season, FC Saxan Ceadîr-Lunga achieved promotion to the Divizia Națională , Moldova's highest league, and one year later qualified for the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League .


Web links

Commons : Gagauzia  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Национальное Бюро Статистики: // Пресс-релизы. March 17, 2014, accessed January 16, 2019 (Russian).
  2. Gagauzia Birth Rate, 1980-2012 - Retrieved January 16, 2019 (fr-fr).
  3. Гагаузия-официальный сайт: // Население Гагаузии. Retrieved January 16, 2019 (Russian).
  5. a b c
  7. Archived copy ( Memento from July 14, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  8. ^ Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power , Anatol Lieven, Yale University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-300-07881-1 , p. 246.
  9. Can Liberal Pluralism Be Exported? , Will Kymlicka, Magdalena Opalski, Oxford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-19-924063-9 , p. 208.
  10. Renate Nimtz-Köster: Gagauzia in Moldova: The descendants of the wolves. In: Spiegel Online . November 28, 2008. Retrieved June 9, 2018 .
  14.â????gagauzia-needs-to-be-taken-as-a-model-in- settlement-of-the-transnistrian-conflictâ ???? /
  16. AP / John McConnico: Conflicts: Now it is fermenting in Moldova. Ria Novosti, July 3, 2014, accessed July 13, 2014 .
  17. a b
  32. Archived copy ( Memento from August 20, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  34. ^ Karl-Peter Schwarz: Pro-Russian forces gain influence in Gagauzia . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, March 24, 2015, p. 4.
  35. ^ Russia is playing harder for Moldova , Center for Eastern Studies , February 2, 2014
  36. a b Yevgeny Scholar on "Гагаузия - часть русского мира": Гагаузия за неделю , November 15, 2008

Coordinates: 46 ° 19 ′  N , 28 ° 40 ′  E