1 – Moldova’s Bermuda triangle of problems
Fifteen years have passed since the former Soviet Socialist Moldovan Republic, constituted after the war on three quarters of the old Romanian province of Basarabia, has declared its independence from Moscow. But we can firmly state that the experiment that has begun so promising (and insecure) in August 1991, today spreads the feeling of a quasi unanimous failure of impressive proportions.
It is enough to confront the hopes of the citizens with which they began their post-communist adventure with the crushing reality that transformed since then, the wide majority, from actors of their own history, into dumb victims unconscious of their incapacity of outrunning the ancestral condition of slavery, and the bad luck of an unfavorable geographical location. I think it is worth concluding the reasons of this terrible Moldovan disappointment, before formulating some predictions for the proximate future of this state.
- The declaration of independence of the Republic of Moldova on August 27, 1991 represented the expression of the will of freedom of the population, crushed throughout fifty years by the cruel machine of denationalization.
- Fructifying their right to choose, a mandatory precondition for democracy, the choice of Basarabians seemed to be a natural step at that moment.
- On the other hand, it is a state that never existed autonomously before 1940, unlike the Baltic States that once got independent in 1991, started to get back to the normal estate that was interrupted by the Soviet invasion.
From the very start the act of independence of the Republic of Moldova raised some questions, as it was contradicting this unfolding scenario in the whole Eastern Europe, where nations enslaved by Russians were recovering their antebellum status, stipulated in the Treaty of Versailles.
Following the same logic, the end of the deploring domination of the Soviet regime of occupation in Basarabia should be followed by the reunification with Romania, from which this province was rooted out by Stalin through the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, on June 28, 1940. Romania, that also came out of the long tunnel of communist dictatorship two years earlier, in December 1989, was apparently offering this chance.
The Republic of Moldova however did not use it. This new note of originality in the landscape was suggesting a certain insecurity regarding the victory, in the new ‘country’ between Prut and Nistru rivers, of the democratic values that triumphed in the ex ‘soviet block’.
Therefore, the problem that the Republic of Moldova was facing from the very start, was not only its capacity to pass from a centralized system of governance to a democratic and capitalist one, but also at a certain extent, the identity of this state entity that appeared on the ruins of a dead empire.
As a consequence, it used its historical, geopolitical and cultural legitimacy that was accompanying the democratic one, transposing into reality the right to self-determination of a community.
Indeed: what kind of legitimacy from this point of view could a province pretend which independence was not reflecting so much the expression of the will of freedom toward a disfiguring centre, as the further evolutions demonstrated, but it suggested its refusal to reestablish that scenario of normality, that most of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe were re-establishing?
What foundation for proceeding differently could the artisans invoke to this geopolitical actor, called the Republic of Moldova, in the support of the difference in destiny which they opted for, including of the delimitation from the precedent, which took place just a year before: reunification of Germany after forty-five years since the Second World War ended?
- Thus, it is not difficult to explain the bewilderment of the citizens of Romania toward the hesitation of their co-nationals from between Prut and Nistru rivers to reunite with Romania.
- A bewilderment however mined by the lack of perception of its own unhappy originality: after a bloody revolution that pushed Romania, at a certain moment, to the top of changes taking place in Eastern Europe, a neo-communist regime of governance was installed in Bucharest, a defender of Moscow interests in the zone.
This regime did not hesitate even for a moment to officially recognize the second, in chronological order ‘original event’, in the same nation area: the independence of the Republic of Moldova, when only with four months earlier, in April 1991, the new regime had signed a treaty with the Soviet Union in which the former ‘camp partners’, were mutually confirming having no territorial claims…
We invoke these things as the current geopolitical formation of the Republic of Moldova existed in embryo when it detached itself from the imperialist structure. Despite it was not a direct consequence of this original alienation from the above mentioned Central European ‘standard’, the bankruptcy of the Republic of Moldova as a state is explained by the absence of premises that could have allowed it to pass the exam of independence. Firstly, a firm political will oriented towards the West. Today, at the end of 2006, this thing is more than just obvious: Moldova missed all waves in a row of the European Union enlargement just because of the fact that it was on the wrong path.
European Integration Studies Centre
Institute for Development and Social Initiatives ‘Viitorul’ (Moldova)
Quo vadis, Moldova?’ is 10 analytical articles which will contribute to the objective estimation of the situation in Moldova. This edition is more orientated towards the expert level—the public servants dealing with Moldova, agencies of diplomatic and international organizations, non-governmental organizations, journalists, analysts, as well as the members of the academic community; however, we expect it will attract the attention of a larger audience as well