Op-ed By Alexa Balanescu, for FRN
In recent months, there has been a growing consensus among Romanians of the former Soviet state named Moldova, that the time has come to finally push the yearnings to reunite with their brethren of Romania, to the legislative level. Through a series of popular votes, municipality by municipality, Moldovan Romanians have turned out to signal their desire to unite the two states under a single Romanian banner. This can’t be understood in a vacuum, but reflects historical, material, as well as cultural and ethnic factors. One symbolic factor is that 2018 represents the 100th anniversary of the creation of Greater Romania. For Romanians to survive, and for a single Romanian state to weather any future potential pull-out from the EU and NATO, it first requires that it accomplish the historical task of uniting Romanian lands.
This history is more than a recent one
As many ought to know, throughout history, Moldova – the ancient Romanian kingdom of King Stefan the Great – was on the forefront of defending against Islamic as well as many other invasions, ranging from from Turkish to Tatar, and later Polish, Austro-Hungarian, German, and Russian. Moldova first unified with its sister Romanian states of Transylvania and Wallacia in 1600 under the powerful rule of Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave).
The Romanov Russian Empire annexed the Romanian territory of Moldova in 1812 after the Russo- Turkish wars. Moldova then gained independence after the Crimean war in 1856, later on Moldova united with Wallachia in 1859 under the rule of Alexandru Ion Cuza and formed little Romania. It joined Greater Romania on March 27th of 1918 after the collapse of Austro-Hungary and Tsarist Russia.
Following the political drama of the 20th century, Moldova was ‘liberated’ by the Soviets in the eyes of Romanian communists in 1940, and ‘liberated’ by Marshall Antonescu in the eyes of Romanian nationalists in 1941, then retaken again by the Soviets in 1945, becoming part of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet sphere of influence, and finally gained nominal ‘independence’ – a phrase used to describe satellite country’s subsequent rule by western capital and Eurocrats – in 1989, after the collapse of the USSR. But as post-Soviet Russia sought to hold onto parts of its now fragmented sphere of influence, Moldova lost Transnistria to the Russians after the bloody Transnistrian conflict in 1992. So its been quite a turbulent and bloody history for this small but proud land. Many Moldovans ended up in Stalins Siberian and Kazkhstani gulags in 1940 and later on in 1947. And today, many Moldovans struggle to survive, neither part of Russia nor part of Romania, and relatively alone to fend for itself under the pernicious diktats of Brussels and NATO (though formally not a member of either).
In their place, Russians colonized in big cities like Chisinau and Balti. This didn’t change the composition of the population much since Romanian speaking Romanians and Moldavians are still 85 % of the population, Russians 4%, Ukrainians 4%, Bulgarians 2%, Gaugaz people 2% etc.
As we have said, 2018 marks the 100 year anniversary of the creation of greater Romania under king Ferdinand I in Alba Iulia on December 1st, when thousands of delegates from all ancient Romanian lands joined hands to sign the declaration of Romanian Unification. This sentiment of Romanian unification still lives in most Romanians and is very much present to this day. In this 100th anniversary year, a Petition for the Unification of Moldova with mother Romania has been initiated in Moldova. Countless towns and villages have already signed the petition, including the Straseni raion, a few municipalities of the capital Chisinau city , the town of Cimislia and others and this list is growing bigger by the day.
Today, over 100 of Moldova’s roughly 800 municipalities have voted to join Romania. This number has doubled in the last two weeks alone, in a rolling referendum/petition process.
There is no legal barrier to really stop this unification, Romanians say if the two Germanies were allowed to unite in 1989, if Crimea was allowed to come home to Russia, no one can really stop the unification of the two Romanian states, which share the same population, same language, currency, and history.
Even prominent Russian geo-politicians like Dugin, Savin, and Zhirinovsky confirmed that Moldova and northern Bucovina regions historically belong to Romanians and that the Moldavian ethnicity and language was invented artificially to divide Romanians and diminish their influence in the region. This view was also increasingly publicly expressed by former Romanian communist leader, Nicolae Ceaușescu, who included this in speeches and ordered changes to formerly Soviet compliant official historiography in the 1970’s.
If most raoins and towns of Moldova sign this declaration of unification, hopefully the two governments will sign the official unification act. The Moldavian and Romanian governments have cooperated before and held common meetings . The official opposition to this are Dodon’s socialists which do not control the pro-Romanian government in Moldova, but Igor Dodon does hold the Presidency and has close ties with Russia and president Putin. While Dodon, since 2016, has been generally good on a number of other questions facing Moldovians, time will shortly tell where he will ultimately stand on this pressing historic question that has thrust its way to the near future. If Dodon is wise, he will heed the yearnings of the people he governs.