Transnistria Vote Highlights Tension Between Values and Interests

Transnistria Vote Highlights Tension Between Values and Interests

On Dec. 25, 43-year-old Yevgeny Shevchuk was elected president of Transnistria by a landslide, winning nearly 80 percent of the vote in a runoff after outmaneuvering two powerful and seasoned opponents. It was a triumph for democracy in a remote corner of Southeastern Europe that few outside the neighborhood would have had any reason to notice.

But it is worth taking note, not only because Shevchuk is a young reformer in a part of the world groaning under entrenched oligarchies, but also because his successful campaign offers a larger lesson at a time when popular democratic movements are shaking the foundations of governments worldwide.

The good news is that if democracy can triumph in Transnistria -- where a stylized Lenin stands watch over the presidential offices, the hammer and sickle adorn the official seal and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is a local hero -- it can do so anywhere. This sliver of Dniester River frontage sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine is one of Europe’s poorest regions, and it is still recovering from the bloody fighting and social upheaval that accompanied its secession from Moldova after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yet when Transnistrians cast their ballots, they made a conscious choice in favor of reform, transparency and accountability over the old ways of stagnation, cronyism and intimidation.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article as well as three free articles per month. You'll also receive our free email newsletter to stay up to date on all our coverage:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review