March 28, 2023

Moldova Speaks Romanian


Moldova Speaks Romanian
Moldovan President Maia Sandu kissing her country's flag. Visegrad24, Twitter.

Moldovan President Maia Sandu announced last week that Romanian will be declared the national language of Moldova.

Analysts believe the action was aimed at Moscow, after suspicions arose that the Kremlin had fueled anti-government protests as part of a potential coup attempt. Sandu said, "We speak in Romanian, an official language of the European Union."  

Moldova and Romania are close culturally, historically, and linguistically, with many residents holding dual citizenship — including Sandu herself. Since Moldova's independence from the USSR, the country has drifted away from its Russian-Soviet legacy. However, the Moscow-backed breakaway region of Transnistria has kept the Cyrillic script, a nod to its alliance with Russia. The rest of Moldova uses the Romanian Latin script. In 2013, a Moldovan court ruled in favor of a law that replaced the Moldovan language with Romanian in the country's constitution.

The country accelerated the process of distancing itself from Russia after electing its current pro-West president in 2020. When Russia invaded Ukraine, anxiety grew around what might happen to Moldova and Transnistria, as the country is not a member of NATO or the EU. The Moldovan president expressed solidarity with the Transnistrian leadership after Transnistria appeared to be under threat of invasion from Russia in April 2022, improving a relationship ruined after the Transnistrian war in 1992.

The Russian press has reported that the linguistic move is part of a Moldovan reunification plan with Romania — a NATO and EU member — that would supposedly take place by 2030. Yet reunification is unlikely to happen any time soon.

 

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