The autonomous region in Moldova, established in 1994. The Gagauzes define themselves as independent people formed by the Northern Turk tribes in the 10th century. From 1400 to 1812 Gagauzes were under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, and afterward, the area became part of Russia. In 1940, about 80% of Gagauzes were included in the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.
The desire for autonomy manifested itself in Gagauzia in the 1980s. After the Declaration on the Freedom and Independence of the Gagauzian People from the Republic of Moldova was adopted in 1990, a sharp conflict arose with the Moldovan authorities. The bloodshed was avoided. Hence, Gagauzia was regarded as an example of a successful resolution of the ethnoterritorial conflict in the post-Soviet space. In 1994, the Moldovan Parliament adopted the Law on the Special Legal Status of Gagauzia (Gagauz-Yeri), which endowed the region with autonomy rights
The share of Gagauz as a titular group is 82.1%, Bulgarians are 5%, Moldovans - 4.8%. Gagauzes are specific in that they are Orthodox Christians speaking the language of Turkic origin; they are also active users of the Russian language. Only 4% of Gagauzians indicated Moldavian (Romanian) as a second language in 2004, compared with 73% who reported Russian as native.
The main mechanism of Gagauzia's influence at the national level is its head, Bashkan of Gagauzia, which is a member of the Government of the Republic of Moldova. The Bashkan is elected by direct vote by all residents of the region and heads the government of the autonomy. Thus, the position of Bashkan does not depend on the results of the elections to the Moldovan parliament.
The foreign policy issues are of vital importance for the situation of Gagauzia within Moldova. Gagauzia is oriented towards Russia and stands out sharply against integration with Romania. In 2014, a referendum was held on the territory of the autonomy, and the majority supported the orientation towards Russia and the Customs Union and not the EU for economic and linguistic reasons.