The existence and the effective utilization of opportunity structures by the Gagauz and Pridnestrovian elites between 1989 and 1991 enabled them to successfully mobilize wide parts of the population, take control of the administration and build parallel state structures out of the control of both Chişinău and Moscow. The Pridnestrovian elites were more successful in the effective utilization of such opportunity structures than their Gagauz counterparts. Access to vast economic and political resources, political unity, and strong organizational skills combined with a creative interpretation of the right to self-determination enabled the former to pursue their secession policy with greater efficiency.

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