Gagauzia (Gagauz Yeri) is an autonomous region spread out across the south of Moldova with close ties to Russia.
Unlike Transnistria, a region which cut itself loose from the country following a civil war in 1992, Gagauzia negotiated its autonomy with Chisinau two years later.
There are 170,000 people in Gagauzia, mainly ethnic Turks, who have remained here since the Russian-Turkish war in the 19th Century and converted to Orthodox Christianity.
Links between Russia and Gagauzia are close - and while Moscow has put an embargo on wine from Moldova, it has made exceptions for imports from Transnistria and Gagauzia.
This is important as the local economy depends on agriculture and wine production.
Many locals fear that Chisinau's EU-integration agenda masks an intention to unite Moldova with neighboring Romania.
During a referendum in February, the people of Gagauzia overwhelmingly voted against Moldova’s integration in the EU.
A massive 98.4 per cent of voters supported closer integration with the Russian-led customs union including Belarus and Kazakhstan, while 97.2 per cent voted against closer ties with the European Union.
More voices are questioning whether there is a chance that Gagauzia could break out into conflict, especially if Moldova continues to pursue its path towards the EU.
Photos and text by @Petrut Calinescu/TheBlackSea.
This article is supported through moldova.org by 'Fortification of the independence of online mass-media in the Republic of Moldova through the transfter of Know-how from the EU' - with support from the 'European Partnership for Democracy' and financial resources from the 'National Fund for Democracy' (NED).