In a move that has angered pro-Russian opposition, communists, and socialist deputies, Moldova’s parliament approved Thursday a law that changed the official language in the constitution from ‘Moldovan’ to ‘Romanian’.
Although the Republic of Moldova’s 1991 declaration of independence from the Soviet Union stipulated that Romanian is the official language, the constitution currently refers to the national language as Moldovan.
This new law was proposed by Moldova’s governing PAS party to bring the constitution in line with a 2013 ruling by the Constitutional Court that the declaration of independence takes precedence over the constitution.
In a heated dispute over whether the national language should be referred to as Romanian or Moldovan, many Moldovans consider their language to be Moldovan.
Supported by equally angered communists and socialist deputies, they were protesting both in the Parliament and in front of it with banners reading, among other things, “The Constitution of Moldova: Moldova, Moldovans, Moldovan language.”
Others want it referred to as Romanian, so the passing of the law is reportedly aiming to resolve that.
In line with the approved law, the national language will be referred to as Romanian in all legislative texts and the constitution.
Pro-Romanian Moldovans see this change as righting the wrong – as they see it – that the Soviet Union did in seeking to reinforce the Moldovan identity by imposing the notion of a Moldovan language written in Cyrillic.
And not only that. A recent poll conducted by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (Germany) showed that 34% of Moldovans are for the union of the Republic of Moldova with Romania.
With regard to the direction of development in which the Republic of Moldova should go, the results of the poll showed that 48% of the respondents believe that the Republic of Moldova should become a member of the European Union whereas 34% believe that Moldova should have much closer relations with Russia (similar to Belarus model).
The language dispute has basically started to rage since Chisinau’s relations with Russia deteriorated following Moscow’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine last February and the government has pursued the EU course where Moldova is officially a candidate for membership.