Romania as a source of European conflict

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Romania as a source of European conflict

Original by Wladyslaw Gulewicz published by konserwatyzm.pl; translation by J.Hawk

“Great Romania” is a geopolitical project pursued by Bukarest in order to allow the country to assume the leading role in south-eastern Europe. According to the ideology’s authors, Romania could become “Great” only after absorbing not only Moldova, but also Transnistria together with the Ukrainian part of Bessarabia and Bukowina.

Moldova would be the first victim of Romanian expansionism. Although Moldovan identity is older than Romanian, in both historic and chronological terms, Moldovans would be assigned a subordinate political and cultural role in the “Great Romania” ideology. The Great Romanian worldview perceives Modovans as incomplete Romanians. Incomplete because they were not able to establish an influential and prosperous state, could not become a civilizational and geopolitical formative center in south-eastern Europe. That state is to be the Great Romania.

This is both a false and treacherous policy. Romania is not interested in strengthening Moldova’s statehood. Romanians don’t need a strong and prosperous Moldova because then it would not become an appendage of Great Romania. An influential Moldova negates the possibility of an influential Romania and vice versa. History itself bears it out. Moldova’s history knows one attempt at creating a unified Romanian state in 1859. With pathetic results: Moldova’s capital Iassy fell into obscurity while Bukarest flourished. Moldova’s identity waned together with its capital, including in the political sense of the word.

Chronologically, Moldovan identity is older than romania. As Moldovan playwright Ion Druta said, “the Moldovan language is the grandmother of Romanian.” This Romania’s efforts to subordinate Moldovan identity to Romanian resemble placing the cart in front of the horse. However, Bukarest is not interested in historical truths. Romania’s interest consists of suppressing and abandoning Moldovan identity, or at the very least degrading it and labeling it as backward and regressive.

To be sure, Moldova can’t boast of economic success. It is partly Romania’s fault, alas. Since USSR’s break-up, Bukarest has done everything possible to weaken Moldova’s trade and economic ties with Russia and the EU. The enforced pro-Romanian course led Moldova’s to its current sad state because Romania counts on Moldova remaining and impoverished and third-rate state which can be taken under Romania’s wing. That’s why Bukarest will support any clever crook in Kishinev who pursues a pro-Romanian course. The course which will ultimately finish off Romania’s statehood. In the early 1990s, the senseless pro-Romanian policy led to bloodshed which in turn ushered in independent Transnistria. The new escalation of Kishinev’s pro-Romanian activity will lead to more fighting. In addition to Transnistria, autonomous Gagauzia, which has a right of secession in the event of Moldova’s loss of sovereignty, also doesn’t want to become part of Great Romania. In 2009 some 98% of Gagauzians voted in support of that right. Kishinev did not recognize the vote, which only worsened the existing problem.

In 2014, the  Taraclia district authorities adopted a resolution to give it the status of a national and cultural autonomy. Taraclia has close relations with Gagauzia, whose population is 70% Bulgarian. Kishinev is horrified by the prospect of an ideologically and territorially unified anti-Romanian front in Gagauzia and Taraclia, and convinced Taraclia’s authorities to temporarily give up the autonomy idea. That’s what’s happening in Moldova’s south. In the north, in the area around the city of Bielce where Russians and Russian-speakers represent half of the population, there is likewise intense resistance to the country’s Romanization. Thus only the central part of Moldova and Kishinev favor Romanization which is exacerbating ethnic and religious strife that could potentially lead to the country’s splintering.

During the war with Transnistria, Gagauzians sided with the rebels. If the conflict is reignited they will do the same. Gagauzia’s executive committee initiated the organization of a march of Moldovan statehood supporters on April 2, in response to pro-Romanian union supporters’ march in Kishinev. Several thousand individuals marched through the streets of Kishinev to support the idea of unification with Romania, and then formed the so-called Sfatul Țării-2, or Council of State-2. It includes a Moldovan and a Romanian citizen and the council is the reincarnation of Council of State-1 which recognized Moldova’s inclusion into Romania in 1918. Those members of the council who were opposed were executed or fled the approaching Romanians. This fact alone shows that Great Romania was never the product of a constructive dialogue. It can only be built through violence and physical annihilation of oppositionists.

Which leads to a question of great import to the Moldovans: on what historical foundation would Great Romania be built? The answer lies in Bukarest’s history policy which glorifies Great Romania adherent and Hitler’s ally, Marshal Antonescu. To Romania, Antonescu is not a war criminal but rather a hero. As far as Bukarest is concerned, Romania’s participation in the invasion of USSR on June 22, 1941 is not a crime but preventive action. During the Great Patriotic War, Moldovans fought in the Red Army against both the Germans and Romanians. Great Romania supporters view them as criminals, since they fought against the Great Romania idea.

If the current reincarnation of Great Romanian ideology prevails, the history of Moldovan participation in the Great Patriotic War would be censored and ostracized. Young Moldovans would have to renounce their ancestors’ heroic deeds. The tragic June 22, 1941 is a holiday for the unionists because it signaled the second attempt to create a Great Romania. The fact it was to be built on the corpses of other nations, including the Moldovans, does not concern them in the least.

Romania is simply imposing the Ukrainian history policy scenario on Moldova, in which the grandchildren are taught to hate the grandparents. In Ukraine, that’s evident in the OUN-UPA cult, while in Moldova in the cult of Antonescu and other Great Romanians.

The Great Romania idea is unimaginable without Slavophobia which is unacceptable to Moldova where Slavic peoples represent 16% of the 3 million population. Bukarest views Russia, the world’s largest Slav state, as the main obstacle in creating Great Romania, and considers Moldovans to have been “corrupted” by Slav influences. To justify Great Romania’s creation, one first has to prove that the Slavs are responsible for everything negative in Moldova’s past. Here the Great Romania ideology will naturally contain a racist theory of its own national superiority.
There’s one additional point: the Great Romania idea is a threat not only to Moldova but also the whole south-eastern Europe because Ukraine would fall as its next victim. Nobody in Bukarest doubts that Odessa and Chernovtsi regions ought to become part of Great Romania. This is why Bukarest supported the coup in Kiev in February of 2014. They realized perfectly well that Kiev’s anti-Russian course would weaken Ukraine, which benefits Great Romanians.

They could not stand either a strong Ukraine or a strong Moldova. Only a weak Ukraine can be subordinated to Romania’s influence, and Euromaidan seriously sapped the already weak pillars of Ukrainian statehood. All of that greatly increases the risk of a major, multifaceted geopolitical conflict in south-eastern Europe whose jumble of conflicting interests is made worse by the involvement of regional powers.

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  • Bendys

    I’m afraid the author is not very well informed re the actual situation of Romania.

    Romania doesn’t want to be that great, on the contrary. She signed an agreement with Ukraine, recognizing the actual borders, and effectively throwing the Romanians in Bucovina and Chernovtsi (Cernauti) under the bus.
    Also some Romanian political factions actively militate for the dismembering of the Romanian national state by giving autonomy to the region of Transylvania (much coveted by the Hungarians).

    For some curious reason, this Romanian desire for greatness manifests itself only towards the East. But it is not shared by most Romanians, who are too busy with the struggles of their daily life, made worse by those who were supposed to make it better.