NARRATIVES: 1. The Republic of Moldova is a country led by a nationalist elite whose goal is the union with Romania. 2. The rights of ethnic minorities in the Republic of Moldova are being breached. 3. The Republic of Moldova (and Ukraine) could have chosen to join the Eurasian Union, which would have brought them more benefits.
BACKGROUND: On August 27, the Republic of Moldova celebrated 30 years since the proclamation of its independence from USSR. All these years, the country has been ravaged by corruption, separatism, but also uncertainty in terms of its foreign policy, constantly oscillating between East and West. Still, in the recent rounds of election – held in November 2020 and July 2021 – pro European forces have grabbed landslide victories.
Talks concerning the union of the Republic of Moldova with Romania have made headlines on and off during these 30 years of independence, considering Moldova’s territory was part of the Principality of Moldavia up until 1812, when it was annexed by the Tsarist Empire, and part of Romania – which emerged as a state after the Great Union of the Romanian Principalities during 1918-1940.
PURPOSE: To describe the administration in Chișinău and the supporters of European integration and the union with Romania as radicals who violate the rights of ethnic minorities and who are to blame for Moldova’s underdevelopment. To depict the Eurasian Union controlled by Russia as a space of stability and welfare.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: Starting at the end of the 1980s and the early 1990s, and with the advent of the National Liberation Movement, the Republic of Moldova has always had political factions who supported the union with Romania, although they never formed the majority. Only in 2009 did the unionist Liberal Party manage to take power, but it was only as part of a larger governing coalition where it held a small share of the executive power. While the Liberals were in power during the term in office of various ruling coalitions, none of these set their goal to unite with Romania.
Unlike other ex-Soviet states, such as the Baltic States, the Republic of Moldova has never taken radical decisions against the use of the Russian language. Russian continues to be a language or inter-ethnic communication. Schools with Russian-teaching classes continue to be opened across the country, Moldova has a number of Russian-language media, while most pieces of legislation are also translated into Russian as well.
The myths about the intentions of the pro-European government and Maia Sandu for Moldova to unite with Romania have become one of the major scares promoted by certain media outlets and politicians, although none have provided arguments to support their claims.
The European Union is vastly superior to any other CSI state in terms of development, and statistics point to an explosive development of Eastern-European economies, or even former members of the USSR (Baltic states) which have joined the EU after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Development gaps between these countries and the CSI have further widened during the former’s years of EU membership.
Moreover, some 800 thousand Moldovans have left the country seeking better jobs elsewhere. Most of them opted for Western Europe. At first, Russia too was on the list of favorite destinations, but the number of Moldovans in this country dropped sharply in recent years, mostly due to the economic difficulties facing the Russian Federation. Besides, economic assistance provided by the EU to countries in its vicinity (Moldova, Ukraine, etc.) vastly exceeds any help from Russia, a country whose economic strength is no match for the West.
GRAIN OF TRUTH: There are political forces in the Republic of Moldova, in addition to part of society, which favor a union with Romania.
WHO STANDS TO BENEFIT: Moscow, pro-Russian political forces, such as the Bloc of Communists and Socialists.