Moldova edges toward reunification with Romania, and Russia is not pleased.
Vlad Filat, the former prime minister of the Republic of Moldova, has advocated that his country, which lies landlocked between Romania and Ukraine, reunify with Romania. Speaking to Antenna 3 CNN, he said that unification “will happen, when [it will] depends on us. I think it has started, but in an unorganised and very inefficient way, which detracts time and quality [from the process].”
Moldova was annexed by Tsarist Empire in 1812, before regaining it in 1918. It then became one of the Soviet Union’s republics in 1940 before declaring sovereignty after the dissolution of the USSR in December 1991. Moldovians, however, having amicable relations with their southern neighbour and a shared language, are once again considering consolidating their resources with their Romanian relations.
Many think the union is long overdue, especially in light of the conflict in Ukraine which has brought war right to Moldova’s borders. The question arises how viable the country is if it remains an independent state, since unification with Romania would automatically mean security: accession to NATO and access to Romanian military resources. Vlad Filat emphasises that
Talks about investing in air defence and so on … are good, but they are not effective because the results will not produce security for the Republic of Moldova. Security for the Republic of Moldova would be the automatic reunification with the protection shield, with NATO, and with all the elements that Romania offers.
Reunification is, therefore, because of NATO, an especially thorny issue, since the east of the country is occupied by Transnistria, an unrecognised breakaway republic backed by Russia. Today, there are reported to be about 1,700 Russian troops based there, ostensibly as peacekeepers. Under the right light, Moldova’s inclination to reunify with Romania looks similar to Ukraine’s pursuit of NATO membership.
Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, has made several threats against Moldova’s intentions to move towards the West, saying that they are liable to “follow Ukraine’s path.” A member of the Russian Duma stated that “if Moldova would like to destroy its own state, then this (NATO membership) is the best way.” A Russian senator asked if Moldova’s current president is trying to replicate Zelensky’s “suicidal policy.”
Rumours have surrounded the possibility that Maia Sandu may run for president in Romania and Moldova. Both elections are due at the end of 2024, and since Sandu, the president of Moldova, holds Romanian citizenship, she is entitled to stand for both elections. Some commentators have dismissed the possibility as Russian propaganda, yet still, a number of stories point in unification’s direction.
In November of last year, a pro-unification Moldovan paper reported that Sandu had managed to change the mind of Klaus Iohannis, Romania’s current president, on the matter of unification. Additionally, political parties have begun to become active in both countries, including the nationalist AUR, which has several parliamentarians in Romania who originate from Moldova.
Speaking to The European Conservative, Christian Tehreș, a Romanian MEP with the conservative ECR Group, expressed strong support for unification.
The solution for Moldova is to reunite with Romania. The Romanians are the only nation right now divided in two countries, perpetuating an injustice done on our nation by the Soviets. This injustice must be corrected.
Moldova, alongside Ukraine, became a candidate for accession to the EU in June of last year. As a consequence, much of its legislation and institutions have to be brought into line with European standards.