The geopolitical interests of the great powers led to a state of division for two great European nations – the German one and the Romanian one – after World War II. This is an abnormal state contrary to the historical logic of existence and development of European nations. This historical algorithm cannot continue endlessly. Its reparation is a matter of time only. The case of restoration of Germany’s national unity only confirms the immutability of this historical likelihood.
German unionism and other successful and less successful examples of unionism
The Romanian unionist movement supports the idea of reunification of the Republic of Moldova and Romania, invoking the cultural and linguistic identity of the natives of the two states and starting from the common history of the Moldovan Romanians from both sides of the Prut, before 1812, between 1918 and 1940 and between 1941 and 1944. One of the strong arguments of the Romanian unionists is the German reunification model of 1990, which profoundly marked the history of Europe during the period after the end of the Cold War and served as an edifying example of redressing historical injustice with regard to the German nation by peaceful ways.
It is noteworthy that unionism in Romania and the Republic of Moldova is not a fully special phenomenon as it forms part of multiple cases of unionism existing in Europe and in the world in contemporary history. The most recent successful unionism was the German one. The unionist movements of Yemen and Vietnam in Asia were also successful. It is as true that history known multiple unionisms that failed. Among cases of failed unionism are the union of Austria and Germany of 1918, the multiple failed attempts to ensure union between a number of Arab countries, the cases of Korea, of Cyprus with Greece, of North Macedonia with Bulgaria, etc.
In most of the unionist cases that failed, centrifugal forces were in the middle and these turned out to be more powerful than the unionist ones. A special role was also played by international conjuncture that was unfavorable or, inversely, favored the union process. Alongside the objective cases, the preparation and resolve of the political class involved in the forging of national unity and its capacities to wake up and mobilize the people in the name of the national ideal play a special role in the union process.
More dissimilarities than resemblances at internal level
The case of Romanian unionism has particular similarities with the reunification of Germany of 1990, these serving as solid arguments in favor of the scope of the movement of reunification of the Republic of Moldova and Romania. In both of the cases, it comes to a single nation-people who speak the same language that is at the basis of the common national culture and who have had a common history for centuries.
However, against the German reunification model, the Romanian model sees particular differences. In eastern Germany, the feeling of Germanic nature has never been combated by the Soviet authorities, while in Moldova eastward the Prut, the Soviet policy was aimed at countering identity Romanianism, which was replaced militantly with the ideology of anti-Romanian Moldovenism. In eastern Germany, unlike Soviet Moldova, a national identity different from that of the other Germans had never been promoted. The language was also called German. The coexisting minorities represented less than 2% of the population and hadn’t been recently colonized by the tsarist empire or the USSR, not being in a dominant socioeconomic position as the Russian minority was in Moldova. Unlike the case of the population of Eastern Moldova at the moment the USSR collapsed, when the Berlin Wall fell, the quasi-totality of East German citizens wanted and demanded the union.
Different attitude of Moscow
Unlike the German reunion model, in the Romanian case Moscow hasn’t accepted such a scenario. At international level, no great Western power – the United States, the UK or France – expressed interest in such a development. Furthermore, in Romania and surely in the Republic of Moldova, in comparison with Federal Germany, the political leaders during a long period of time had been very attentive to Russia’s opinion about the union. Against such a background, the relevant preferences of the voters from the two Romanian language states had been formed.
Moreover, even if both of the states experienced communism after 1945, the right side and the left side of the Prut developed in different directions as regards modern national identity. In Ceausescu’s Romania, the organic and exclusivist nationalism had flourished during the last decades of communism, serving as a substitute for the dying socialism. In the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic, the expression of the national identity of Romanians was accepted only within the limits of Moldovenism, of systemic cultivation of differences from Romania and subduing to an expected meta-ethnic project to build the Soviet nation.
Preparations for new international circumstances
From legal viewpoint too, the political class of Federal Germany showed maximum visionism with regard to the country’s reunification perspective. The Constitution of Western Germany contained a provision saying that if other territories express the wish of joining Federal Germany, the Constitution will make this possibility valid for all the joining sides. So, from purely legal viewpoint, this provision of the West-German Constitution maximally simplified the legal country unification procedure, being simultaneously a plenary expression of the will to keep the door open for the union of Germans at all times. Unlike Germany, Romania’s Constitution does not send a reunion encouragement message to the Romanians from the left side of the Prut.
The precedent of Germany’s reunification cannot and should not be repeated mechanically by the Romanians. But the German lesson should be thoroughly learned by the politicians from both sides of the Prut. The unification of Germany became possible in an exceptional international conjuncture, when the Soviet Union fell, while the geopolitical influence of Moscow weakened dramatically. But at that moment, the Romanian political class from both sides of the Prut, unlike the German one, came fully unprepared to ensure the Union, missing the historical chance offered by the collapse of the USSR. In only 30 years, due to Russia’s adventurist war against Ukraine, a window of opportunity appears again for the Romanian unity cause.
Knife or shield in Ukraine’s back
Today the Republic of Moldova is the sick state of Europe, with a society that is chronically divided according to the identity criteria and lacks internal capacity of sustainable development. The danger that anti-European and pro-Moscow forces will come to power in this state will yet exist for many years to come and this fact makes the Republic of Moldova’s accession to the EU improbable. At geopolitical level, the Republic of Moldova potentially can play the role of a knife stabbed in Ukraine’s back in the confrontation of this with imperial Russia. In such a state, the generous investments of the development partners are wasted as water poured into sand without generating systemic changes and only maintaining afloat this state that consumes resources without development effects.
The return to the “historical and ethnic space of its national growth”, as the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Moldova of 1991 provides, is the only sustainable development path for the Republic of Moldova and its people, this meaning the reUnion with Romania. Only this way, through integration into the economy and the internal market of Romania, the problem of economic development of Moldova eastward the Prut can be solved swiftly and cardinally. A qualitative leap will be seen in the living standards of the population and a definitive full stop will be put to the nightmare of Moscow’s imperial aspirations over this territory. If the national Romanian unity is restored, the area eastward the Prut will stop being a source of geopolitical instability and will turn into a guaranteed security factor in Ukraine’s back. To implement this desideratum, the Romanian political class from both sides of the Prut needs a well-thought-out and intelligently applied policy to ensure Romania is reintegrated and the Romanian nation is reunified within is natural historical borders.
IPN publishes in the Op-Ed rubric opinion pieces submitted by authors not affiliated with our editorial board. The opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily coincide with the opinions of our editorial board.