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From January 29 – February 2, 2015, second-year political science students of the HSE Faculty of Social Sciences, together with students of the MGIMO Faculty of Political Science, went on a field trip to Chisinau, Tiraspol, Comrat, and Taraclia. The purpose of the expedition was to study the territorial identities of Moldova’s different ethnic groups. The trip was organized in partnership with the Research Group on Political Geography and Geopolitics of the Russian Political Science Association’s Youth Section, with support from the MGIMO Development Fund.
On behalf of HSE, Z. Sergeeva, chairperson of the Geoenergy Policy Club, G. Ostapenko, member of the Club, and Associate Professor I. Okunev, academic supervisor of the Club, participated in the research expedition.
On the expedition, the students gathered written, oral, and visual materials and visited places of historical, cultural, and ethnographic interest. They also carried out in-depth interviews with experts, opinion formers, and young people. Materials were gathered in the capital city of Moldova, in Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, in the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia, and the Bulgarian national-cultural autonomous region.
The PMR Foreign Ministry invited the students to a session of the Council of Young Diplomats where they discussed the current geopolitical situation in the region.
The expedition included a visit to Taraclia State University where leading professors gave a lecture on the history and culture of Bessarabian Bulgarians and showed the group around the university museum. The meeting ended with a roundtable discussion with the university’s lecturers and students, where opportunities for cooperation were discussed among other things.
The data received on the expedition will be analyzed and presented at a topical research conference and published in a collection of papers.