Unirea: trick or treat
BSSB.BE moldova.org 06.03.2018
Danube Moldova Ex-USSR
*MP: If the union with Romania happens, I will take my weapon to defend the Gagauz autonomy
For Romania and Moldova, 2018 will mark a bittersweet historical moment: the centennial of the Great Union, which brought together the key Romanian-inhabited provinces: Bessarabia, Transylvania and the Romanian Kingdom.
By Raluca Besliu in Bucharest
While Transylvania has remained part of Romania since 1918, Bessarabia became the Moldavian Socialist Republic in 1940, after a Soviet Union ultimatum.
It only gained independence as the Republic of Moldova in 1991, following the Soviet Union’s fall. Since then, two divergent perspectives for Moldova’s future have developed. On the one hand, a strong Moldovan-Romanian nationalist movement has emerged to promote reunification with Romania, which has become a topic of socio-political discussions in both territories.
- On the other hand, Russia still considers the former Soviet Member as part of its sphere of influence and presses it to join the Eurasian Union. This is an eco-political entity comprising former Soviet members and centered around Moscow. Moldova is currently caught between these two potential paths for the country’s future and seeks to navigate between them.
- In line with public opinion, Romanian politicans have typically talked up the prospects of union with their neighbour. A survey conducted by The Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy (IRES) suggested that three quarters of Romanians are pro-union. Only one fifth declared themselves outright opposed.
In Moldova, opinons are much more divided. The country’s pro-Russian President, Igor Dodon, has vocally opposed reunification but prime minister Pavel Filip has opposed efforts to align the country with Moscow, pushing instead to advance European Union membership prospects, with the backing of Bucharest. Political support for a comprehensive union with Romania is low, with pro-unification candidates getting fewer than 2 percent of votes in the 2016 presidential election.
Research commissioned in 2016 by the Black Sea University Foundation (FUMN), found that around 28 percent of Moldovan citizens would be in favour of unification with Romania, while 47 percent would oppose it.
The Democrat MP, Corneliu Dudnic, declared that in the case of Moldova uniting with Romania, he would be the first to take his weapon to defend the Gagauz autonomy. The declaration was made during an assembly of regional and local governments of Gagauzia in Tomai, next to Ceadîr-Lunga.
“Just to close this discussion on unionism, I am promising that if this project of Union ever takes place, I will be the first to take my automatic rifle and to defend the Gagauz autonomy”, said Dudnic. The Democrat MP also promised to elaborate a draft law on banning political parties with unionist messages.
Over one thousand people from all over Gagauzia gathered to condemn the symbolic declarations of some 50 villages on union with Romania.
The Gagauz leader, Irina Vlah, declared that Gagauzia must stay within an independent Moldova:
“I would like that this meeting confirms that we are interested in consolidating the statehood of Moldova. I am sure that a strong Gagauzia can exist only in a strong Moldova”, underlined Vlah, quoted by Gagauzinfo.md.
Other leaders from Gagauzia, such as former head of the Council of “the Republic of Gagauzia”, Mihai Kendigelyan, or the current head of the People’s Assembly, Vladimir Kyssa, proposed to call 2018 the year of Romanian occupation of Gagauzia- apparently because of the period of 1918-1940.
Most of the speakers at the assembly were mostly concerned about Gagauzia’s possible loss of autonomy in case Moldova loses the statehood:
“If the state is eliminated, what kind of Gagauzia’s competencies are we talking about? Thus, first of all, we need to talk about consolidating the statehood of our country”, stated former regional deputy, Ivan Burgundji.
What President Dodon and Gagauz people call anti-constitutional and threatening acts are just some symbolical statements of local councils from about 50 villages, towns or district councils on the occasion of the 1859 Romanian Union Day.
Gagauzia was established in 1994 as an autonomy for around 150 000 Gagauz (Turkic origin) people in the south of the Republic of Moldova.
- The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: org