Does Moldova face the risk of experiencing the Ukraine scenario – intervention by another state on the pretext of ‘protecting’ the speakers of Russian, Romanian or Moldovan, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Gagauz etc? What should we do for the country’s people to feel at home in Moldova? IPN Agency produced a series of articles where politicians, experts and representatives of national minorities provided answers to these and other questions. In a synthesis, the director of the Institute for Marketing and Polls (IMAS) Doru Petruţi analyzed the expressed viewpoints.
In general, those who stated their viewpoints do not perceive a state of manifest ethnic conflict in Moldova. Moreover, they consider that at the level of communities, constructive coexistence solutions have been always found. Cooperation relations were established even there where there are more ethnic groups. Most of the participants believe that problems exist at high political level, where solutions could not be identified to classify the themes concerning the spoken language and history. As a result, there appeared sources of permanent divergent opinions. The aggressive imposition of particular values was another dysfunctional approach.
Another mentioned problem was the fact that the ethnic groups consider they are not represented at national and regional levels. This political algorithm results in the preferential distribution of funds in the territories where there is a large number of representatives of ethnic group.
Aggressiveness of ethnic groups is not a surprise
There was a viewpoint whose argumentation was the climate of no confidence and the social-economic dissatisfaction existing in the current government. In this connection, the aggressiveness of particular ethnic groups is not s surprise. Drawing a parallel with other states where there were witnessed manifestations of separatism, the economic problems and the lack of social equity were important preconditions for the existence of such manifestations. In such a climate, the behavior of the ethnic minorities can be aggressive and defiant of the government, society, statehood and event policies that are good.
The participants involved in governance expressed much more positive opinions, considering that the ethnic groups in Moldova have a common religion, can communicate in two languages, have the necessary framework, including legal, to assert themselves and are supported by concrete actions, bilingual education. Furthermore, compared with the oscillations of the President of Ukraine, the Moldovan politicians pursued a consistent policy and thus separatism cannot be considered an imminent danger.
Some of the opinions diverge on the danger that may come from outside rather than from inside, especially from Russia and Romania (even if the models of exerting influence are different). The national minorities are considered a vulnerable point in this respect as foreign factors use them to promote their interests, affecting the domestic and foreign policy of the state. The mentioned ‘crisis areas’ are Gagauzia, Taraclia, Basarabeasca, northern Moldova (Balti municipality), and the Transnistrian region, where the problem is the most serious.
Solutions for avoiding a possible interethnic conflict
The solutions identified by the participants for avoiding a possible interethnic conflict or conflicts, as those in Ukraine, followed the patterns of the aforementioned causes.
Social – considerable investments are needed in education, which will ultimately generate beneficial economic effects and, implicitly, social stability. A number of participants suggested solutions that lay emphasis on the knowledge of the official language by all the people and simultaneously encouraged the studying of the languages of the ethnic groups. This way, the values and identity aspects of every ethnic group may be recognized reciprocally swifter. It is also recommended not laughing at those who do not know the official language very well or who make mistakes (aspects that are often mentioned in the mass media). All the measures should converge to form a Moldovan civic nation where everyone must perceive Moldova as their Motherland, while the state must treat each of its citizens with the same respect.
Political – the representatives of the state administration suggest ensuring continuity in the policies aimed at integrating the ethnic groups. Other participants recommend making more changes to the Law on the Security and Information Service so as to enable the Service’s employees to tap the phones of organizations and parties that endanger the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Moldova. Among other proposed measures are amending the Penal Code and introducing punishments for separatism promotion and not registering or banning parties that promote separatism in Moldova. The representatives of the ethnic groups consider that their under-representation at national level must be replaced by a new model where they would have guaranteed places in the composition of the Government and in other executive bodies. This model should be adopted including by the political parties, while the national minorities should be represented in the administrative bodies of parties. Those who support such a model consider that this way we can speak about a functional multiethnic society, represented correspondingly at all the levels.
Doru Petruţi, for IPN
IPN note: In this series of articles, IPN presented the opinions of Prime Minister Iurie Leanca, head of the International Relations and Politology Department of the Free International University of Moldova Mihai Cernencu, politologist Vitalie Andrievschi, who manages a network of information-analytical portals in Moldova and Ukraine (ava.md, apn.md, and avaukr.com), and head of the Union of Ukrainians of Moldova Svetlana Mislitski, program director at the Foreign Policy Association Victoria Bucataru, the Bashkan of Gagauzia Mihail Formuzal, Deputy Head of Parliament Andrian Candu, specialist in education economy and a consultant of the Mediation Council of Moldova Andrei Munteanu, head of the Bulgarian community in Moldova Fiodor Sabii, Communist MP Alla Mironic, and head of the National Roma Center of Moldova Nicolae Radiţa.