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A Visit To Moldova's Autonomous Gagauzia Region

As Ukraine's tensions with Russia come to a boil, residents of Moldova are keeping a watchful eye on their neighbor. In February, Moldova's autonomous region of Gagauzia -- home to a Russian-speaking, ethnically Turkic minority -- voted for closer ties with Russia, and voted against closer EU integration for Moldova. Gagauz voters also supported the region's right to declare independence should Moldova lose or surrender its own autonomy. The Moldovan government declared the referendum illegal. Here is a look at daily life inside the autonomous region of some 155,000 residents.

A glider sits at an abandoned airport in Ceadir-Lunga, in Moldova's Gagauzia region.
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A glider sits at an abandoned airport in Ceadir-Lunga, in Moldova's Gagauzia region.

Women treat plum trees with chalk in a field near Comrat, the main city of Gagauzia.
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Women treat plum trees with chalk in a field near Comrat, the main city of Gagauzia.

A man rides a donkey cart in the village of Comgaz.
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A man rides a donkey cart in the village of Comgaz.

A man stands near his Soviet-era motorcycle.
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A man stands near his Soviet-era motorcycle.

A woman tends a grave at a cemetery in Ceadir-Lunga.
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A woman tends a grave at a cemetery in Ceadir-Lunga.

A Russian Orthodox chapel in the cemetery in Ceadir-Lunga. The Gagauz have ethnic Turkic roots, practice Orthodox Christianity, and speak both Russian and the Gagauz language.
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A Russian Orthodox chapel in the cemetery in Ceadir-Lunga. The Gagauz have ethnic Turkic roots, practice Orthodox Christianity, and speak both Russian and the Gagauz language.

A woman and her cow near the city of Comrat
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A woman and her cow near the city of Comrat

A statue of Lenin next to Gagauzia's government building in Comrat
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A statue of Lenin next to Gagauzia's government building in Comrat

People attend a service at a Russian Orthodox church in Comrat.
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People attend a service at a Russian Orthodox church in Comrat.

People leave church after a service in Comrat.
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People leave church after a service in Comrat.

Children walk in a park in Comrat.
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Children walk in a park in Comrat.

A worker installs a new billboard beneath the faded flags of Moldova and Gagauzia.
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A worker installs a new billboard beneath the faded flags of Moldova and Gagauzia.

The city dump in Comrat
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The city dump in Comrat

Moldovan and Gagauz flags fly at the border of the Gagauzia autonomous region.
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Moldovan and Gagauz flags fly at the border of the Gagauzia autonomous region.

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