The embers of a debate on national language continue to glow.
On the eve of national independence on 31st August 1989, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic responded to mass protests (the ‘Marea Adunare Naţională’ of August 27th led by nationalist movement, ‘Frontul Popular din Moldova’): Romanian written in the Latin script became the ‘limba de stat’ (official State language). The 1991 Declaration of Independence reaffirmed this.
Yet when the Moldova’s Constitution of 1994 came into force (on August 27th), the official name of ‘limba de stat’ became “Moldovan language”:
“Limba de stat a Republicii Moldova este limba moldovenească, funcţionînd pe baza grafiei latine.” (Title I, Article 13)
The existence of a ‘Moldovan’ language has been debated occasionally since 1994, with some key political figures and academics on both sides making a settlement unreachable.
The country’s former president, Vladmir Voronin, sought to bolster the notion of ‘Moldovan’ in 2007 but few were convinced…
So it is a marked change that not only has Moldova broken the deadlock and inaugurated a new president for the first time in over a decade but that the new president, Nicolae Timofti, has acknowledged both sides of the “artificial problem”:
“Eu vorbesc limba română. Dar eu sunt jurist, iar în Constituţie scrie «moldovenească». Academia spune că vorbim româna, dar legile ne spun că vorbim limba de stat, moldoveneasca”
(I speak Romanian. But I’m a jurist, and it is written in the Constitution as “Moldovan”. Academia says that we speak Romanian but the law says that, for the official State language, we speak Moldovan.)
“Este o problemă artificială, cu antiromânismul”