Republic of Moldova will be either Romanian or Russian. Tertium non datur. Op-Ed by Anatol Țăranu



Only this way will the Russian identity jamming in the Republic of Moldova based on the propagation of the policy of anti-Romanian Moldovenism be brought to an end, while Moldova eastward the Prut will fully return to its natural Romanian identity, completely overcoming the curse of the two-century-old danger of being conquered by the Eastern empire...


Anatol Țăranu

On March 2, by the vote of the MPs of the current parliamentary majority PAS, the legislative proposal to replace the phrase “Moldovan language” across the national legislation with “Romanian language” was given a first reading. Even if, by this vote, the current parliamentary majority delivered an old promise that obliged the Moldovan lawmakers to implement the Constitutional Court Decision of 2013, concerning the prevailing of the text of the Declaration of Independence, which says that Romanian is the official language of the Republic of Moldova, over the Constitution, which was adopted later with the troublesome Article 13 about the Moldovan language, the Communist-Socialist opposition’s reaction was virulently disapproving. The plenary sitting was held amid arguments and pushing among the MPs.

Origin of controversies is in 1812

The surfacing emotions of the Moldovan MPs show a state of affairs existing in society about the ethnic and cultural identity of the Moldovan-Romanians in the space eastward the Prut River. The origin of the controversy is in the Treaty of Bucharest of 1812, by which Moldavia’s part eastward the Prut was annexed by force of arms to the empire of tsarist Russia. From that moment, the drama of the population of Bessarabia started as this was separated, in the interests of the conquerors, from its Romanian identity space that was fully developing in the formula of the modern historical epoch. An iron curtain was drawn on the Prut and Bessarabia was turned into an ethnic and cultural reserve separated from the Romanian world. To justify the separation of Bessarabia, the Russian imperialism needed to turn the Bessarabian Moldovans into individuals different from the Romanian Moldovans.

This policy of national separation of the population of eastern Moldova from their compatriots from over the Prut became more accentuated in the times of the USSR. The Soviets, with special tenacity, put into practice the Moldovenist identify construct counterpointed with the Romanianism from the right side of the Prut. To achieve the objective of identity separation of the Transnistrian Romanians, and after 1940 also of the Bessarabians, the harshest oppression policies (extermination and/or deportation of intellectual elites or elites that publicly presented themselves as ”Romanians”), combined with totalitarian propaganda measures, altogether managed to partially ensure the identity secession of the “Moldovans” from the basic ethnic identity – the Romanian one. This was the effect of the policy to mankurtize a considerable part of the Romanian population eastward the Prut, whose consequences continue to be felt today.

Moscow’s goal of attracting Romania through the Romanian language

The provisional abandonment by the Soviet authorities of “Moldovenism” in 1932-1938, when the policy to Latinize the language of Moldovans had been pursued in the Moldavian ASSR, points to the speculative character of the concept of anti-Romanian Moldovenism that was invented in the propaganda laboratories of imperial Moscow. In that period, the idea of spreading communism all over Romania became a priority for the imperialism of Soviet Moscow. Consequently, the claiming of Bessarabia as a former Russian empire was temporarily moved to the second place. But when the prospect of communizing Romania in the interwar period faded away, with increased brutality the Soviets returned to the imbedding of the values of anti-Romanian Moldovenism in the people’s minds.

After World War II, even if Romania became a communist state, the Soviet Union continued to promote the “non-Romanian” Moldovan identity with even greater intensity or it would have been impossible to justify, from ethnical viewpoint, the separation of East-Moldova from the motherland Romania, which is the annexation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union, even if the so-called proletarian solidarity seemed to have been influencing Moscow to try and restore the national unity of the Romanian brother nation by retroceding Bessarabia to the communist Romania. In reality, the imperial reflexes of the Soviet leadership from Moscow, in the case of Bessarabia, as actually in all the similar cases, violated, without further thought, all the announced norms of the code of conduct of the Communists, including the so-called Socialist interstate brotherhood.

The official insinuation of the existence of a difference between the so-called Moldovan language and the Romanian language was another striking absurdity produced by the imperil interest of Moscow in the Romanian space eastward the Prut. In everyday life, this fact led to a situation in which the individuals in Soviet Moldova were allowed to survive only if they presented themselves in public mandatorily as anti-Romanian, with the recognition and assumption of the difference between the so-called Moldovan language and the Romanian language being the main proof of the ideological and political loyalty.

One step forward and many steps backward

In Soviet Moldova, the national emancipation movement that led to the declaring of the independence of the Moldovan state from the eastern empire started and developed as part of the struggle related to the decreeing of the language of the native population as official language and served as a unifying factor for the Romania-phobe population of the Republic of Moldova. But the adoption of the law on the official language didn’t produce the same effect as the asserting of the historical truth about the controversial issue of the official name of the language of the majority population, the law stipulating the name “Moldovan language” even if this was recognized as identical with the Romanian language. This ambiguity over the name of the language led in time to difficulties in correctly defining the national identity of the native population. Forming the roots of a latent conflict since the years of agony of the Soviet domination, later, when the unrest and political actions to liquidate the consequences of the foreign domination were stepped up, the given issue surfaced in Moldovan society even more conspicuously.

In the wake of the élan caused by the proclaiming of independence, the ruling elite of the Republic of Moldova, which consisted primarily of the national element of the former communist nomenclature, accepted with regard to Romania the formula “Two states, one nation”. But in 1994 already, the vulgar-Moldovenist thesis about the Moldovan language that was presumed to be different from the Romanian language reappeared in the Constitution adopted by the agrarian-socialist majority. Immediately afterward, the forces of the Russian imperial revenge revived and became the most ardent promoters of the “originality” of the Moldovan language that, with rare exceptions, they do not know, and of the Moldovan national identity distinct from the Romanian one. These fundamental theses of the vulgar Moldovenism took a preferential place also in the effort of the official propaganda from Moscow, which was aimed at the Moldovan information space, revealing this way the true mission of the anti-Romanian Moldovenism as a promoter of the Russian imperial interests.

The agrarian Constitution upset the development prospects of the young Moldovan state, in particular as regards the extension of the national emancipation process that, in virtue of the logic of the historical truth, invariably envisioned the acceptance of the unity of the language and identity of the Romanian nation on both sides of the Prut. The return to the anti-Romanian Moldovenism in the state policy pursued by the agrarian government condemned Moldovan society to the state of identity diffusion without a unifying factor inside and with definite  prospects of remaining part of the geopolitical dominating space of the former colonial metropolis.

Status of poorest state starts also from language

Consequently, the Republic of Moldova constantly holds the lead as one of the poorest European states without territorial integrity and with a divided society in terms of national identity. The situation didn’t change even after the official Chisinau assumed the European development course as uniting idea for the population and as a country project for the drifting Moldovan state. Moreover, the supporters of the choice of the Eurasian civilization model represent almost half of society, these competing in almost equal conditions with the supporters of the European development course. It is noteworthy that the Eurasian model is the fiefdom of the anti-Romanian Moldovenists, while the Romanian identity in Moldovan society is clearly and fully identified with European civilization. It therefore results that the Moldovenist identity orientation condemns the Republic of Moldova to the state of hostage to the Russian world and to the restoration of colonial dependence on the former metropolis. And vice versa, only the Romanian identity of the Republic of Moldova leads to liberation from the colonial yoke and to safe accession to the European civilization.

The initiative to replace “Moldovan language” with “Romanian language” across the national legislation, which was adopted in Parliament last week, is not only a “necessary amendment” deriving from the Constitutional Court decision, but appears also to be a promising start of a state identity, political construct policy that was insufficient throughout the history of the Republic of Moldova. Not at all accidentally, this initiative was harshly attacked by the political parties that embrace the concept of anti-Romanian Moldovenism supported by their patrons from Moscow, who are frightened about fully losing control over the Republic of Moldova. A well-thought-out identity state policy will open up special development perspectives to Moldovan society, also as regards national emancipation that means the unity of the language and identity of the Romanian people from both sides of the Prut. Only this way will the Russian identity jamming in the Republic of Moldova based on the propagation of the policy of anti-Romanian Moldovenism be brought to an end, while Moldova eastward the Prut will fully return to its natural Romanian identity, completely overcoming the curse of the two-century-old danger of being conquered by the Eastern empire.

Anatol Țăranu
doctor of history, political commentator

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.

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