During the past few months, many people have been talking about the Ukraine as it pertains to the EU agreement that was signed today. Much commentary has been given about the fate of the Crimean Peninsula, and about the European-Russian conflict with regard to getting a government that would satisfy everyone. Meanwhile, very little has been shared about the fate of other former Soviet nations, struggling to gain a real independence from Russia. One of these lesser discussed countries is the Republic of Moldova.
The conflict between the East and the West has always been an influential political skirmish. After reaching its peak during the Cold War, this battle was seemingly over; but, according to reports, for many Soviets the battle was ongoing in their hearts. Thus, several decades later, Russian president Putin decided to attempt regaining an international leadership position and rewind the world to the bilateral division.
In modern history, the nation of Moldova was a part of Greater Romania, a nation which was comprised of all Romanian speaking regions. However, during World War II, the Soviets were able to conquer Bessarabia from Romania, which then became the independent Republic of Moldova after the fall of the USSR.
Nevertheless, the Republic of Moldova has always been, in the eyes of many Romanians, a part of the Romanian Moldova. Moreover, the Republic of Moldova has Romanian as an official language, and shares with Romania many cultural aspects beyond language ranging from folkloric dance and clothes to the national poet, Mihai Eminescu, and writer, Ion Creanga.
Because Moldova is culturally linked with Romania, both the Moldovan and the Romanian governments have worked hard throughout the years, trying to eliminate Russia from the equation and diminish its control over Moldovan politics. In 2009, pro-Romanians were finally able to take the majority from the Russian-leaning communist party, consequently starting a path towards the West.
After several years of struggle, the Ukrainian crisis was not without consequence to Moldova. After the referendum demanding the independence of Crimea being acknowledged by Russia, the Moldovan region of Transnistria demanded the recognition of their will to become an independent state. Moreover, Romanian President Traian Basescu led several visits to Moldova, eventually leading to strengthening the already unbreakable ties between the two sister countries. Finally, the Moldovan government was able to sign a treaty with the European Union today, proudly declaring its intention to join the West and become a part of the EU, choosing Romania over Russia.
This EU treaty has therefore played a significant part in a struggle that has been going on for decades in Moldova. The treaty was not only the first official real link between Moldova and the European Union, but also a definitive moment in severing Moldova from Putin’s control. Many in this nation are looking forward to Moldova’s full integration into the West either as an independent state, or through an official merger with Romanians with whom they share the same ancestors. Only time will tell the fate of this small and, some feel, neglected Eastern European country.
By: Rebecca Savastio