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.

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.


Maps of the Region 

1. Introduction: How Things All Went Bad

2. Russia and the Post–Cold War Euro-Atlantic Security Architecture

3. Conflict Resolution in the Former Soviet Union: Russian Mediation, Peacemaking, and Peacekeeping

4. The Soviet Collapse and the Transdniestrian Conflict

5. The Voronin Constitutional Initiative

6. The Joint Constitutional Commission: Buyers’ Remorse?

7. Roadblocks over Security Issues

8. The Summer of 2003: Pressing for a Settlement

9. The Competing Negotiations

10. A Settlement Is at Hand

11. The Dénouement 149

12. Conflict Resolution in Moldova and East-West Relations after Kozak

13. Russia and the West: An Endless Dilemma? 

A. The Mediators’ Document
B. The Kozak Memorandum—September 11 Draft
C. The Kozak Memorandum—November 23 Redaction


“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

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 is the first to explore in detail what happened in Moldova in 2003, told by a key player on the ground. It starts with strong chapters that set the wider context of Russian–western relations and developments in Europe, before turning to the evolution of events in 2003. The annexes contain drafts of the settlement proposals made during that year. On the whole, this is outstanding work that fills a gap in the literature that most are not even aware of, useful for students, specialists and policy-makers.”—International Affairs

“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.… 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