Is the Transdniester conflict an ethnic conflict?
There are Moldovans who support the Transdniester side, while there are Russians who support the Moldovan side. Indeed, 40% of the Left Bank population is Moldovan. While not ethnic in the narrowest sense, the conflict did initially pit groups with opposed political interests and divergent linguistic and cultural orientations against each other: toward Romania on one side, toward Russia on the other. Now that Moldova has a central government that is not seeking to embrace either of its neighbors, this contrast no longer exists.
If the Transdniester leaders want (and continue to be able) to preserve their enclave as an independent mini-state, it is presumably for the sake of power and the benefits, including criminal income that go with it. Moreover, the Transdniester authorities are able to maintain the status quo because they have the support of Russia.
The renewed 5+2 Talks in 2012 created anxiety among some Transdeniestrians that the EU iwa pushing unification of their region with Moldova. The Union of Russian Communities, the Union of Moldavians and the Union of Ukrainians wrote a joint letter to Russian President Putin claiming that the absolute majority of the people of Transdniester have opted for close historic and spiritual ties with Russia and cited the 2006 referendum where 97% of the Transdniestrian population voted in support of integration with the Russian Federation. Approximately 170,000 residents of Transdniestria have applied for and received Russian citizenship.
Call for national cultural autonomy
Taraclia district council, where a large number of Moldovan Bulgarians (also called Bessarabian Bulgarians) live, called for national cultural autonomy. Some attribute this demand to continuing Russian efforts to develop pressure points on the government in Chisinau.