2 – Moldova. Nationalism of Moldova
BSSB.BE comparativepolitics.org/ 24.12.2015
On 27 August 1991 the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Moldova by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova following the failure of the August coup attempt. But the idea of Independent Moldova has existed for many years.
There was the Popular Front of Moldova was a political movement in the Moldavian SSR, one of the 15 union republics of the former Soviet Union, and in the newly independent Republic of Moldova. Formally, the Front existed from 1989 to 1992. It was the successor to the Democratic Movement of Moldova and was succeeded by the Christian Democratic Popular Front (Frontul Popular Creștin Democrat; 1992–99) and, ultimately, the Christian-Democratic People’s Party (Partidul Popular Creștin Democrat; since 1999).
The Popular Front was well organized nationally, with its strongest support in the capital and in areas of the country most heavily populated by Moldavians. Once the organization was in power, however, internal disputes led to a sharp fall in popular support, and it fragmented into several competing factions by early 1993.
PFM consisted of three different groups:
1) naive idealists (representatives of rural humanitarian intelligentsia)
2) opportunists and careerists, who joined the National Front, but they at the same time they stayed at their offices;
3) the most energetic group were lumpen-proletarians, whose main motto was “take and share.”
Due to such heterogeneity the plans of the front used to change from radicalism to the soft cultural policy within a week, depending on who was at the microphone.
Why did the intelligentsia start proclaiming nationalist slogans? After the Second World War, a lot of pro-Romanian intellectuals moved to Romania . According to Neukirch the problem of Moldovan consisted in that fact, that Moldovans from Bessarabia in the Soviet Union were not in power. At best, the authorities were Russified pridnestrovtsy5. Hence the struggle for symbolic capital positions in the social hierarchy.
In the same period, a Moldovan national movement came into being in Chişinău, which was united in the Popular Front of Moldova in summer 1989. At the beginning, the Front embraced opposition forces from different nationalities – especially Ukrainians and Gagauz who had also suffered under the soviet-style russification policy and who were perceived as potential allies by the Moldovans.
However, a nationalistic agenda quickly gained the upper hand against more general demands for democratization and transparency. The demand to make Romanian in the Latin script the official state language won support rapidly in spring 1989, and first splits between reform-minded Moldovan-speakers and more conservative Russian-speakers became apparent.
On 31 August 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the MSSR gave way to the public pressure and passed a new language law, declaring Moldovan in the Latin script the state language of the MSSR. As a matter of fact, this was a compromise solution. The language was called ‘Moldovan’ and not ‘Romanian’ and Russian retained an official status as the language for interethnic communication.
In other words, it was the first Moldovan nationalism in his unionist version combined with Romanian irredentism. However, the economy collapse and growing frustration of the population have weakened the Moldovan-Romanian discours of unionist, as well as their influence.
However, they retained their positions in the field of culture and education. For instance pupils had to study “History of Romanians”, and not the history of Moldova.
- In the zero years several different groups that have emerged from the NF continued its political activities. These parties were grouped together and were able to successfully found a coalition called the Alliance for European Integration.
- In 2002-2003 there was a twist in the political discourse of Moldova towards the “European choice”. The main reason of such sudden changes was that neighboring Romania was to join the European Union in 2004.
- 2009 the unionists had their triumph. It was In the April 2009 parliamentary elections, the Communist Party won 49.48% of the votes, followed by the Liberal Party with 13.14% of the votes, the Liberal Democratic Party with 12.43%, and the Alliance “Moldova Noastră” with 9.77%. The controversial results of this election sparked civil unrest. In August 2009, four Moldovan parties – Liberal Democratic Party, Liberal Party, Democratic Party, and Our Moldova Alliance – agreed to create a governing coalition that pushed the Communist party into opposition. Those four parties created After the Alliance for European Integration.
As a matter of fact the Alliance for European Integration continued the liberal policy of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM), but in a new way. In addition to the cultural hegemony they provided political control. For several years, the standard of living in Moldova has dropped considerably. However, on 29 November 2014 Moldova signed the agreement on association and free trade with the European Union, thereby the program at a minimum of the unionists had been carried out.
To sum up it is to say what we see now in Moldova is simply a sequential change of discourses and frames from the radical anti-Russian nationalism to the European democratic discourse. The problem is that the same people still have leading positions and the use nations for their own political legitimacy. They act as if they were promoting the European concept of nation, but they keep dragging an old unionist ideas into new wineskins.
Author: Kochedykov I.E.
NATIONALISMS IN MOLDOVA. Comparative Politics
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