Romania intends to annex the Republic of Moldova, including Transnistria and part of the territory of Ukraine, which includes Odesa, but Russia will not allow this, writes a pro-Kremlin publication in an article entitled “Russia will take Moldova along with Iași”. The narratives are false given that, on the one hand, Romania has no territorial claims, and on the other hand, Russia is now mired in Ukraine and does not have the force to change the borders of the states to its liking.
NEWS: Russia will not agree to the union of Romania and Moldova, and will bring Bessarabia back under its wing, together with Transnistria, said the expert from the Institute of CIS Countries, Igor Shishkin, in an interview on the YouTube channel “Vnuki.info”.
“Moldovans are our Orthodox brothers. And we have no reason to hand them over to the Romanians. [...] The entire former principality of Moldavia should gain independence and unite in one Moldovan state”, Shishkin said.
It is certain that in case of a union with Moldova, Romania will want to take over not only Transnistria, but also Odesa. Instead, the expert proposes the annexation of the Romanian city of Iași to Moldova.“Iasi is an old Moldavian city. And the Romanian boot has no place there, Shishkin also said.
NARRATIVES: 1. Moldovans and Romanians are different peoples. 2. Romania is an aggressor state with territorial claims. 3. Russia can reshape the regional map as it pleases.
LOCAL CONTEXT/ ETHOS: The Republic of Moldova appeared on the world map in 1991, when it proclaimed its independence from the USSR. Until 1812, when it was annexed by the Tsarist Empire, the territory between the Prut and the Dniester was part of medieval Moldavia. From 1918 to 1940 it was part of Romania, but the USSR occupied the territory in 1940 and formed the MSSR, with borders other than those of the former Bessarabia.
The territorial claims that Romania allegedly has for the Republic of Moldova and several regions of Ukraine that used to be part of Bessarabia represent one of the most promoted theses by the Kremlin and pro-Russian politicians in Chisinau, despite the fact that Bucharest recognized the independence and sovereignty of the two states and provides political and financial support to Ukraine in the war launched by Russia; as far as the Republic of Moldova is concerned, Romania has constantly supported it, even when political parties with a Moldovan and even anti-Romanian rhetoric were in power.
Another thesis promoted both during the Soviet period and after the collapse of the USSR, is the existence of two distinct peoples - the Moldavians and the Romanians, who speak two different languages. The union of the two Romanian principalities in 1859 is presented as an annexation of Moldavia and it is suggested that the Republic of Moldova would have the right to claim Moldavia from the right side of the Prut River.
PURPOSE: To present Romania as an aggressor state and, at the same time, Russia, which got bogged down in the war in Ukraine, as a strong country, a regional leader, which can bring order to this part of the continent.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The thesis of Moldovanism, which emerged during the Tsarist Empire and was intensively promoted during the Soviet period, represented one of the elements of propaganda intended to justify the annexation of a part of the territory inhabited by ethnic Romanians.
Romania was the first country to recognize the independence of the Republic of Moldova, and even if over the years there’s always been talk of a potential union, this topic is not officially discussed either in Bucharest or in Chisinau.
In parallel with these theses, using assertions about the role of Russia and the possibility of Moscow changing borders at will, the idea of the military and political power of the Kremlin in the region is promoted, against the background of the failures recorded on the battlefield in Ukraine. Romania is a NATO member state and any attack on its territorial integrity would provoke a common response from the Alliance, so it is very unlikely that Russia, which is not making progress in the war with a militarily non-aligned state, would risk a confrontation with the strongest military alliance in the world.