This article investigates how the Bulgarian community of southern Moldova experienced the collapse of the Soviet Union. It questions why Moldova’s Bulgarian population refused offers from the Gagauz and Ukraine’s Bulgarian minority to join them in their quest for autonomy. The fact they chose not to is somewhat puzzling, as Moldova’s Bulgarian minority shared many of the same grievances as the Gagauz and Ukrainian Bulgarians, and they were offered considerable concessions to join each movement. I argue that there were several reasons for this. Firstly, Bulgarians in Taraclia distrusted the Gagauz and Ukrainian Bulgarians. Secondly, local political elites quickly realised they could extract greater concessions from Chișinău by aligning with the central government during such a tumultuous period. Finally, relations between Taraclia and Chișinău were characterized by a high degree of pragmatism.