COMPETING NATION-BUILDING
PROJECTS IN
BESSARABIA, TRANSNISTRIA, AND THE
REPUBLIC MOLDOVA:
DECONSTRUCTING A PLURAL IDENTITY...
The Republic of Moldova and its
challenges












3,3 mln / 4,2 mln
population (with
Transnistria)
Transnistria...
The “identity crisis” in the Rep. of
Moldova


Definitions of the „identity crisis” in RM:
 Lack

of consensus on the id...
The Romanianist discourse







Followers: Romanian speaking intellectuals
and some political parties (e.g. Liberal P...
The ethnic / identity structure in
RM according to the 2004 census

11.20%

9.40%
3.80%

8.40%
5.90%

4.40%

1.90%

2.20%
...
The identification of the Moldovan
citizens (multiple responses), 20042005
Bulgarians
Settler of X
Gagauzes
Citizen of RM
...
The Moldovanist discourse








Followers: Political parties (Agrarian
Party, Party of Communists) and a few
histori...
1991-2013: “Romanianist” and
“Moldovanist” political agendas
The years

The main party or alliance at
power in Parliament
...
Moldova today: a conglomerate of
competing nationalizing agendas
Two ethnic concepts of the
Moldovan nation and neither civic
one





What about the ethnic / linguistic minorities?
¼ ...
Nationalist proposals vs. everyday
reception







“National indifference”? (Zahra, 2010)
„Ethnic entrepreneurs‟ and ...
“Flammable” and “smoke-producing” identity
issues concealing social and economic
problems
Identity perceptions and
geopolitical moods




The Romanianist discourse, associated with
unionism (with Romania) and a...
Bessarabia and Transnistria in the
19th century

Borderlands and / or
provinces?
Demographic dynamics in
Bessarabia during the 19th century
population
3,000,000

2,686,000

2,500,000
1,935,000

2,000,000...
Demographic dynamics in Bessarabia
during the 19th century (ethnic / linguistic
groups)
100.00%
90.00%
80.00%
"Moldovans"
...
Romanian Bessarabia and Soviet
Transnistria








Mass schooling
Romanization /
Moldavization
Modernization &
Indust...
Romanian Bessarabia and Soviet Moldavia:
Generational gap and authority transfer


In the Romanian Bessarabia:
 The

“Ol...
MASSR (1924-1940) and MSSR (19401991): an inconsistent national policy








MASSR: “Moldovanists” vs. “Romanianist...
Dividing “historical truths” and a
shared future

Photos by © Pablo Chignard:
http://www.pabloc.com/
Danke!
Haben Sie Fragen?

petru.negura@gmail.co
m
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Competing nation-building projects in Bessarabia, Transnistria, and the Republic Moldova: Deconstructing a Plural Identity

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In my presentation I will discuss the nation-building projects that have been implemented in Bessarabia and Transnistria (current territory of the Republic of Moldova) in the 19th and 20th centuries. Discussing these competing projects, generally elaborated outside these regions, will help us to better understand the so-called “identity crisis” that the population of Moldova, both the political and intellectual elite and ordinary people, is facing during the last 20 years

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Competing nation-building projects in Bessarabia, Transnistria, and the Republic Moldova: Deconstructing a Plural Identity

  1. 1. COMPETING NATION-BUILDING PROJECTS IN BESSARABIA, TRANSNISTRIA, AND THE REPUBLIC MOLDOVA: DECONSTRUCTING A PLURAL IDENTITY . Petru NEGURA, Ph.D
  2. 2. The Republic of Moldova and its challenges       3,3 mln / 4,2 mln population (with Transnistria) Transnistrian conflict and separatist region Economic challenges (the poorest country in Europe) Mass migration (officially up to 0.5 mln) Split between the Russian space and Europe „Identity crisis”?
  3. 3. The “identity crisis” in the Rep. of Moldova  Definitions of the „identity crisis” in RM:  Lack of consensus on the identity perception within the the group of Romanian speaking Moldovans  A component of the Romanianist “nationalizing discourse”
  4. 4. The Romanianist discourse     Followers: Romanian speaking intellectuals and some political parties (e.g. Liberal Party) Slogan: “We are Romanians!” Strength: significant representation among the Romanian speaking elites Weaknesses:  Lack of popularity  Non representation of ethnic / linguistic minority groups
  5. 5. The ethnic / identity structure in RM according to the 2004 census 11.20% 9.40% 3.80% 8.40% 5.90% 4.40% 1.90% 2.20% 2% 1.90% 0.10% 0.10% 1.00% right-bank Moldova Other nat. Poles Jews Bulgarians Romanians Gagauz 0 Russians Ukrainians 60.00% 40.00% 20.00% 0.00% 69.60% 75.80% Moldovans 80.00% right-bank Moldova
  6. 6. The identification of the Moldovan citizens (multiple responses), 20042005 Bulgarians Settler of X Gagauzes Citizen of RM Ukrainians Romanian Russians Moldovan / Russian / Ukrainian / Gagauz / Bulgarian Moldovans / Romanians 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Source: Etnobarometru, Institutul de Politici Publice, 2004-2005
  7. 7. The Moldovanist discourse     Followers: Political parties (Agrarian Party, Party of Communists) and a few historians Slogan: “We are Moldovans (not Romanians)!” Strength: large support among the majority population Weakness: low representation among intellectual elite
  8. 8. 1991-2013: “Romanianist” and “Moldovanist” political agendas The years The main party or alliance at power in Parliament 1991-1994 Mainly “democratic” deputies (the Romanianist Popular Front) 1994-1998 The Agrarian Democratic Party (former Communist nomenklatura) Pro-Democratic Alliance (ADR) Moldovanist The Party of Communists of Moldova (former Communist nomenklatura) Pro-Democratic alliance (AIE) Moldovanist 1998-2001 2001-2009 2009 – now National discourse Romanianist (moderated) Romanianist (moderated)
  9. 9. Moldova today: a conglomerate of competing nationalizing agendas
  10. 10. Two ethnic concepts of the Moldovan nation and neither civic one    What about the ethnic / linguistic minorities? ¼ of the population in the mainland Moldova and 1/3 with Transnistria “Minorities” overrepresented in cities (33% in Chişinău municipality (i.e. including the villages around), 48% in Bălţi municipality
  11. 11. Nationalist proposals vs. everyday reception     “National indifference”? (Zahra, 2010) „Ethnic entrepreneurs‟ and „ordinary people‟ (Brubaker, 2006) “The people” – object or subject of nationalizing discourses / agendas? “Banal nationalism(s)” (M. Billig, 1995)
  12. 12. “Flammable” and “smoke-producing” identity issues concealing social and economic problems
  13. 13. Identity perceptions and geopolitical moods   The Romanianist discourse, associated with unionism (with Romania) and anti-Russian feeling The Moldovanist discourse, coming together with pro-Russian mood and favorable to the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union
  14. 14. Bessarabia and Transnistria in the 19th century Borderlands and / or provinces?
  15. 15. Demographic dynamics in Bessarabia during the 19th century population 3,000,000 2,686,000 2,500,000 1,935,000 2,000,000 1,500,000 1,000,000 500,000 population 1,003,035 700,000 482,000 0 1817 1844 1861 1897 1915
  16. 16. Demographic dynamics in Bessarabia during the 19th century (ethnic / linguistic groups) 100.00% 90.00% 80.00% "Moldovans" "Ukrainians" "Russians" "Bulgarians"* "Jews" "Germans" "Gagauz" 70.00% 60.00% 50.00% 40.00% 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% 1817 1844 1861 1897 * "Bulgarians" included also "Gagauzes" in 1917, 1844, and 1861
  17. 17. Romanian Bessarabia and Soviet Transnistria     Mass schooling Romanization / Moldavization Modernization & Industrialization The “people” – object and target group of modernizing / nationalizing policies
  18. 18. Romanian Bessarabia and Soviet Moldavia: Generational gap and authority transfer  In the Romanian Bessarabia:  The “Old Generation”: trained in the Russian Empire –Romanian nationalists and unionists  The “New Generation”: trained in Romanian schools –regionalists  The legitimacy of each group‟s social capitals  In the Soviet Transnistria:  The “Old Generation”: coming from Bessarabia and Romania, trained in the “Ancien Régime”  The “New Generation”: locals, trained in Soviet schools
  19. 19. MASSR (1924-1940) and MSSR (19401991): an inconsistent national policy      MASSR: “Moldovanists” vs. “Romanianists” MSSR: Transnistrians vs. Bessarabians Fighting for power and symbolic definition of the language and cultural heritage (legitimizing the Moldovan nation) 1924-1956: Balancing between Moldovanist and Romanianist nationalizing policies The 1950s: the “latent Romanianization” of the language, cultural heritage, and intellectual elites
  20. 20. Dividing “historical truths” and a shared future Photos by © Pablo Chignard: http://www.pabloc.com/
  21. 21. Danke! Haben Sie Fragen? petru.negura@gmail.co m

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