March 13, 2013
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v2.1 Reference

Russia, the Near Abroad, and the West

Lessons from the Moldova-Transdniestria Conflict

Post-communist Russia turned against the West in the 2000s, losing its earlier eagerness to collaborate with western Europe on economic and security matters and adopting a suspicious and defensive posture. This book, investigating a diplomatic negotiation involving Russia and the formerly Soviet Moldova, explains this dramatic shift in Russian foreign policy.

William H. Hill, himself a participant in the diplomatic encounter, describes a key episode that contributed to Russia’s new attitude: negotiations over the Russian-leaning break-away territory of Transdniestria in Moldova—in which Moldova abandoned a Russian-supported settlement at the last minute under heavy pressure from the West. Hill’s first-hand account provides a unique perspective on historical events as well as information to assist scholars and policymakers to evaluate future scenarios.

When western leaders blocked what they saw as an unworkable settlement in a small, remote post-Soviet state, Kremlin leaders perceived a direct geopolitical challenge on their own turf. This event colored Russia’s interpretations of subsequent western intervention in the region—in Georgia after the Rose Revolution, Ukraine in 2004, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and elsewhere throughout the former Soviet empire.

About the Author

William H. Hill was head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, charged with negotiating a settlement to the Transdniestria conflict and facilitating withdrawal of Russian forces and arms from Moldova. He is a professor of national security strategy at the National War College and was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in 2001–2002.


"Russia, the Near Abroad, and the West should be required reading for all Transnistrian settlement optimists, especially for those Europeans with ambitious plans for a quick resolution outside of official channels."

- William Schreiber - New Eastern Europe

"This book, a narrative focusing on the southwestern confines of the "Russian space," is an event unto itself; a must-read, full of inside information, for any student or scholar studying Moldova, Transnistria, and de facto statehood..."

- Octavian Milewski - Russian Review

"A valuable study of Russian-Western relations, which should be recommended to a broad audience."

- Vsevolod Samokhvalov - Europe-Asia Studies


"This is the first serious attempt to narrate and interpret the history of international efforts to solve the Transdniestria problem, with the focus—completely justified—on the crisis engendered by the Kozak memorandum. Although focused on Moldova, the crisis involved major international actors—Russia, the U.S., OSCE, EU, and Council of Europe—and put Moldova for a short time in the international spotlight. The crisis and its less-than-satisfactory resolution had multiple long-lasting consequences and is fraught with lessons for those who are interested in conflict resolution theory and practice, those who study Russian diplomacy and policy-making, and those who focus on political cultures of post-Soviet countries and of southeastern Europe. There is nothing coming even close, in terms of the breadth of vision and depth of knowledge of the subject matter, among the disparate journal accounts and position papers available up to now. This book is an absolute must."

- Vladimir Solonari, University of Central Florida, former Member of Parliament of the Republic of Moldova
Woodrow Wilson Center Press / Johns Hopkins University Press
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9781421405650 : russia-the-near-abroad-and-the-west-hill
296 Pages
$55.00 USD

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