The name and the curriculum of “the History of Romanians” discriminate against the majority “Moldovan” population, according to an NGO who’s lodged a complaint with the Anti-discrimination Council. The NGO picks up the USSR’s narratives regarding the existence of the Moldovan language and people.
NEWS: “Stephen’s Followers” youth movement has challenged the name of the history subject taught in schools in the Republic of Moldova. NGO representatives claim both the name and the curriculum of the school subject are biased. In a press conference hosted by IPN, the NGO’s chairman, Dumitru Roibu, announced he has petitioned the Council regarding the prevention and elimination of discrimination and ensuring unbiased treatment.
Dumitru Roibu referred to the data of the latest census carried out in 2014, saying that, of the 2.8 million people who took part in the census, 2 million described themselves as Moldovans. The name and curriculum of “the History of Romanians” is discriminating against the children and families with an ethnic origin other than Romanian, as pupils are being forced to study national history “in a Romanian key”, Dumitru Roibu pointed out. According to him, equally discriminated against are history teachers, who may have a different approach on the subject they teach.
Dumitru Roibu said this is a breach of the International Convention on the Eliminating of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on Human rights.
The chairman of the “Stephen’s Followers” youth movement presented an analysis of the history handbook for 4th graders, saying that the term “Moldovan” is used only eight times, compared to the 92 uses of term “Romanian”. “In Romania, the subject is called History, whereas the Republic of Moldova is the only country where the name of the history subject also includes a term designating another ethnic group: the History of Romanians”, Dumitru Roibu went on to say.”
NARRATIVE: The citizens of the Republic of Moldova are learning the history of another state / another ethnic group, which discriminates against the majority of the population in this country.
BACKGROUND: The curriculum and name of the history subject taught in schools in the Republic of Moldova are sensitive topics, in addition to the name of the official language and other identity issues. “The History of Romanians” taught in schools has sparked heated debates at society level ever since the 1990s.
The concepts of Moldovan language and Moldovan nation, other than the Romanian ones, surfaced in the Soviet period, when they were used to justify the USSR’s appetite for expansion beyond the Dniester. They subsequently served to legitimize the occupation of Bessarabia and its affiliation to the “Russian world”. With the resurge of national sentiment at the end of the 1990s, Moldova has been making efforts to restore the scientific and historical truth.
In 1995, the first attempt at replacing “the History of Romanians” with “the History of Moldova” stirred protests. A second attempt in 2002 brought about the biggest and longest street demonstrations Moldova had ever seen. Still, a few years later, the communist regime led by Vladimir Voronin did manage to replace the “History of Romanians” handbooks with the so-called “Integrated History”. The new handbooks were met with criticism from experts and accused of being “anti-Romanian” and highly politicized, as well as for glorifying the Russian Empire and the USSR.
After the demise of communism in 2009, the handbooks were withdrawn from school curricula and replaced with new ones. At present, schools in the Republic of Moldova use “History of Romanians” and “World History” handbooks.
Some political factions, most notably the Party of Socialists, continue to call for renaming the subject to “the History of Moldova”. PSRM has actually laid out this objective in its political program.
“Stephen’s Followers” is part of a group of organizations in the Republic of Moldova promoting Moldovenism and Moldovan statehood. In the 2020 presidential election, they declared their overt support for the then president, Socialist leader Igor Dodon.
PURPOSE: To give weight to the idea promoted by the so-called “statist” politicians regarding the need to rename the history subject and its curriculum.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: The “History of Romanians” and “World History” handbooks Moldovan pupils are currently perusing in schools refer to the historical area where the Romanian principalities emerged and developed, including the present-day territory of the Republic of Moldova, making no ethnic discrimination, as “Stephen’s Followers” claims.
The 4th-grade handbook the NGO is referring to mentions the term “the Republic of Moldova” 40 times, compared to half the times the term “Romania” is used.
GRAIN OF TRUTH: Pupils in the republic of Moldova study “the History of Romanians” and “World History”.
WHO STANDS TO BENEFIT: This initiative bolsters PSRM’s discourse on the need to replace the history subject taught in Moldovan schools. The message equally echoes the Kremlin’s Soviet approach to history, language and the majority ethnic population of the Republic of Moldova.