Romania urges Ukraine to revoke recognition of ‘non-existent’ Moldovan language

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Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu (right) welcomes Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to Bucharest in April 2021. Photo: EPA-EFE / Robert Ghement

Romania’s Foreign Ministry said State Secretary Dan Neculaescu on Friday called on Ukraine to stop recognizing Moldovan as a language separate from Romanian.

The ministry said in a statement that Neculaescu asked the visiting deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, Ihor Jovkva, to respond to Romania’s previous demands for Kiev to accept the “non-existence of the so-called” Moldovan language. “”.

Moldova’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union, adopted in 1991, stipulated that the official language in Moldova was Romanian.

However, Ukraine is guided by the Moldovan constitution, which states in article 13 that the “Moldovan language” is the national language of the country. The article was introduced in 1994 by the pro-Russian Agrarian Party and the Socialist Party.

Since then, this has been one of the main sources of disputes between pro-Russian and pro-European and pro-Romanian parties in Moldova.

The Moldovan Constitutional Court in Chisinau ruled in December 2013 that the text of the declaration of independence of the Soviet Union prevailed over the provisions of the Moldovan Constitution.

In June, Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu asked his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitro Kuleba, for Kiev to accept that the Moldovan language does not exist. He made the same plea in April of this year.

State Secretary Dan Neculaescu also called on Friday for a solution to the problems of the Romanian ethnic minority in Ukraine, who want their children to be educated in Romanian. Ukraine, however, wishes to switch to a system in which all pupils are educated in Ukrainian.

In March of this year, two Romanian language schools in the Odessa region were turned into branches of a Ukrainian school, causing anxiety in Romania.

According to the Romanian Foreign Ministry, the Romanian community would represent the third ethnic group in Ukraine, after Ukrainians and Russians, if it were not artificially divided into Romanians (151,000 people) and “Moldovans” (258,600 people).

Within the Ukrainian education system, these two groups have separate schools, although they share the same vocabulary and grammar.

Ethnic Romanians live mainly in the region of Bukovina in the southwest of Ukraine called and the region of Bugeac in the south of the country. These two regions previously belonged to Romania. After World War II, both were annexed by the Soviet Union and remained in Ukraine after the fall of the USSR in 1991.


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