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Patriotic exhibitionism and Romanian danger

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Igor Botan / July 17, 2009
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Republic of Moldova like a besieged fortress

During the early parliamentary elections main political parties clarify in fact which of them loves the Motherland the most. The ruling Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) claims that only leaders and members of this party love the Motherland. PCRM has launched its campaign slogan — Let’s defend our Motherland! According to the Moldovan communists, the Motherland is threatened by Romanian danger. The Moldovan governors accused Romania of being involved into the April 7 events with the purpose to undermine the independence of the Republic of Moldova, and introduced the visa requirements for Romanian citizens in order to defend the Motherland. The majoritarian PCRM faction approved the programme of the temporary government and released it on June 10, 2009, saying that “this document is the mandate of a Government whose No.1 task is to keep the Republic of Moldova on the world map. The perseverance with which this supreme accomplishment of our people is assaulted in the latest period clearly determines the fundamental concern of the country’s Government.”

The media holding units affiliated to PCRM prove us how serious the Romanian danger is and how much the communists love their Motherland, as they infested the information space with propagandistic tablets and statements by PCRM leaders, with the most relevant saying the following:

The PCRM-affiliated media holding staged many other provocations focussed on the union with Romania, which some electoral runners would promote, so that the conclusion that voters should draw is that the Republic of Moldova is actually a fortress besieged by external enemy Romania, which is assisted from inside by the “5th column” — the liberal opposition, and the PCRM alone hurries up to defend the Motherland. But the posted patriotism is very doubtful. Such a perception is confirmed by attitudes expressed aphoristically by a number of great intellectuals: Lev Tolstoy, Alexandr Gherten, Mark Twain, Bernard Show, Oscar Wilde, Albert Einstein etc. Not quoting aphorisms about patriotic exhibitionism is welcome in order to spare patriotic sentiments of some. However, one could say after making a synthesis that “authentic patriots are those who, for example, pay voluntarily and immediately penalties for illegal parking, being happy that the system of keeping public order through penalties functions very well, while those who praise their Motherland make the impression that they prepare it for sale.” And it seems to be true. Moldovan citizens could recently realise this truth when they learned that the companies which the Minister of Construction has praised for patriotic work to clean up the Presidency and Parliament buildings after being vandalised on April 7, 2009 were selected at tenders worth hundreds of millions to rebuild them. It seems that the patriotism may be very profitable. And this just in the case of repairing the two buildings, but how profitable may the patriotism be at the level of promises to build the post-industrial society in Moldova the next 30 years?

Invocation of false dangers aims to camouflage real dangers

Given the key task of the temporary Government to prevent the disappearance of the Republic of Moldova from the world map, a question emerges here — how do states disappear from the world map? The experience of the last century shows that a state may disappear after a collapse related to internal tensions; occupation or an Anschluss (forced incorporation) by another state; a voluntary union with another state. Speaking seriously about dangers regarding the existence of the Republic of Moldova, our country is threatened by internal tensions. Firstly, the independence of the Republic of Moldova was proclaimed and recognised on background of a separatist conflict which was not settled so far. Secondly, the current political destabilisation is linked to the functioning of the so-called vertical of state power, which substitutes the constitutional mechanisms.

Dangers relating to an eventual Anschluss or voluntary union of the Republic of Moldova with Romania are based on mere speculations from which defenders of Motherland who spread them want to derive benefit. Firstly, after becoming member to the European Union and NATO, Romania cannot afford actions against collective agreements within these organisations. Secondly, there are many other factors which stress the dimension of fabrications related to the Romanian danger. These factors will be described below. But not before paraphrasing the joke that the Kremlin administration should build a gold monument to George W. Bush as homage for the mistakes from the foreign policy, gaffes which Russia seized to regain influence on international arena. Hence, one may affirm that Chisinau communist authorities could build a statue to President Traian Basescu near the monument of V.I. Lenin, as gratitude for fuelling the communist propaganda through his statements on Republic of Moldova and its citizens. It is worth noting that President Basescu makes two sorts of statements. The first envisages what he promises to do since several years, but does not do it, and the second is what he promises not to do and keeps his promises because no effort is required for this purpose. In the first case, he promises to facilitate the procedure of awarding the Romanian citizenship, and the second is the signing of the border treaty. But how much Basescu’s statements on divided nations German, Korean and Romanian fuel the PCRM propaganda?

Here the current electoral campaign for election of Moldova’s Parliament is focussed almost exclusively on the Romanian danger. In this framework, approaching cold Moldova’s union with Romania is an absolutely integrated thing. The attitudes of various segments of the political class towards the union issue is usually polar — strictly pro or against — or this problem is unmentioned in the best case. No poll on this issue is conducted, no referendum is held, as findings would throw doubts on incontestable truths of one or another side. This state of things was comfortable for a long time. But the things changed radically after the April 7, 2009 events when the Moldovan authorities accused Romania of being involved into the coup d’etat attempt aimed to further annihilate the independence of the Republic of Moldova. The absurdity of such speculations becomes very defiant once the question why would Romania politically destabilise a very poor Moldova is raised. Just to add problems to the lots it already faces?

Germany’s example — acceptable and successful, but inapplicable for Romania

Invoking the reunion of Germany as a successful example may indicate Romania’s capacity to follow it. Firstly, the two German states united themselves into a single state after ensuring conditions for the process and act of union, so that not to be contested inside and outside. Any union attempt would be counterproductive and very dangerous, should it fuel denials inside and outside of the countries concerned.

Some things were needed to achieve the union of Germany successfully: legalised political willingness; administrative and financial capacity; a favourable internal and international conjuncture. All of them are necessary for a rapid union, so that to prevent angers which are unavoidable during such projects.

The union of Germany was achieved in one year! The Honecker regime fell down on October 18, 1989 and the annexation of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) was celebrated on October 3, 1990, after the signing of a number of inter-German and international treaties. Elections to the Bundestag of reunited Germany took place two months later, on December 2, 1990.

Express regulations on union from German Constitution

In the case of FRG the fundamental law of the country instructed competent institutions to take actions for the reunion. The preamble of the supreme law adopted on May 23, 1949 stipulated the national and state unity of Germans and their rights to free self-determination. Even more, Articles 23 and 146 stipulated express two ways to reunite the country — the accession of the lands from outside of FRG to those covered by the supreme law; and the reunion through adoption of a new Constitution and state entity made of FRG and GDR. Finally, the first way was taken to speed up the reunion stipulated by Article 23 of the supreme law.

In this framework, the Constitution of South Korea adopted on July 17, 1947 and modified on October 28, 1987 stipulated express the future union, charging the Government “…to unify the country through peaceful means and democratic reforms, consolidating the national unity through justice, humanitarianism and fraternal love…” Article 4 of Constitution reiterated that “the Republic of Korea aims at unification, formulating and translating into practice policies for the purpose of ensuring a peaceful reunion based on freedom and democracy principles.”

It is worth noting in this context that Romania’s Constitution does not make any reference to an eventual reunion. Therefore, no officialised task could exist in order to be transposed into actions aimed at the annexation of some former territories to Romania. In these circumstances, Romanian high-ranking dignitaries can afford using formulas such as two Romanian states or a people and two states etc. But opposition politicians from Romania criticise such statements immediately, too.

Delimitation between union of two German states and reunion of German territories

Preparing the union of Germany, political and academic environments from FRG took efforts to explain that in terms of law, international law this notion explains the union of two German states — FRG and GDR existing at that time, not the reunion of all former German territories. Strict respect for principles and norms of international law, particularly those concerning the inviolability of borders was a cardinal reference point. Therefore, there was no reunion of territories from Poland or former province East Prussia. The union of Germany was achieved so that to make clear that it was a voluntary union of two sovereign states, combating speculations on anschluss, though finally as a process uncontested inside of the two German states.

As for Romania and Republic of Moldova, certain politicians and academia representatives reiterate constantly the condemnation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its consequences, knowing that condemning some unjust treaties in international practice does not imminently imply the comeback to the status quo ante that means returning to the situation anterior to their signing. These condemnations have an ethic-political significance, often targeting at internal political purposes, often electoral. This is the case of President Traian Basescu, whereof the Romanian media reported ironically that he has plans to condemn the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact for the third timeRO. Of course, attitudes towards such statements are divided. Those criticising them argue as follows: “Anybody has the right to condemn this pact, but the gesture is useless… There are certain political gestures which repeating them is useless. What should Sarkozy do now, denounce the Vichy regime one more time?”

Basescu’s supporters reply: “Such a statement sends an important political message which reveals the basis of bilateral relationship with Moldova and its perspectives, which we, Romanians and Moldovans would like to reach… any Romanian president, should make this gesture.” However, a fact is that in the case of Romania compared with Germany, no clear plan or officialised vision of eventual union with the Republic Moldova or annexation of Bessarabia was ever available. All talks on these issues had a scientific or speculative political nature. Nothing more. But how useful they are to the Moldovan communists…

German unity vs. Moldovan unity

It is true that the German unity concept played an essential role for the union of Germany. It is important that this concept was spread by GDR leaders after the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9 and publication on November 28, 1989 of the ten-clause plan by Chancellor Helmut Kohl on overcoming the division of Germany. Yet on February 1, 1990 the last premier of GDR, Hans Modrow, presented to the People’s Chamber (Parliament) the report on the German unity concept called “Germany — Common Motherland” aimed to prepare the declaration of the united German state with the capital in Berlin. This way, a legitimate ongoing action, not a possible action was proclaimed. In other terms, the international community was informed in fact about implacability of uniting GDR with FRG. In those circumstances, the US administration tabled the “2+4” concept aimed to direct the union of the two German states with the support of the four powers which won the World War II. In accordance with the concept concerned, GDR organised free elections on March 18, 1990 and the Alliance for Germany won them under the slogan “Freedom and welfare — never socialism again”. The elections opened the path to the signing on May 18, 1990 of the treaty on building the currency, economic and social union between FRG and GDR, a document enforced on June 1, 2009. The treaty concerning the unity of Germany (Union of Germany) was signed two months later, on August 31, 1990.

Any attempt to compare the Republic of Moldova with GRD would fail. It is unimaginable that Moldovan authorities would have a similar attitude like the authorities of the former GDR had. On the contrary, after the Republic of Moldova was declared independent, the authorities took measures to prevent the Romanian unity. The equivalent to the symbolism related to the fall of the Berlin Wall was organising on May 6, 1990 the flower bridge over the Prut river — the first opening of borders between Romania and Republic of Moldova. But the fall of the Berlin Wall was the start point to achieve the German unity, while in case of the Republic of Moldova the flower bridge preceded the declaration of independence of Gagauzia and Transnistria, followed by tragic conflicts.

Indeed, the only unionist government in the Republic of Moldova was headed by former premier Mircea Druc, leader of the People’s Front of Moldova (FPM), from 1990–1991, before the declaration of independence. After the dismissal of Premier Mircea Druc in May 1991, FPM was declared opposition force in October 1991. But just in 1992, once FPM turned into a political party, it set a clear programmatic goal — the union of the Republic of Moldova with Romania, giving up this purpose in December 1999. Since then, none of political parties in the Republic of Moldova targeted the union with Romania.

It is worth noting that now the leader of the Christian Democratic People’s Party (PPCD), successor of FPM, is a firm adept of Moldova’s independence and even runs the office of deputy prime minister in the PCRM Government, which fights against the Romanian danger and for maintaining the Republic of Moldova on the world map. Even more, after five electoral cycles held since Moldova gained independence, it was found out that pro-Romania political parties altogether did not win more than 20 percent of the people’s votes. In this context, realising that an eventual union with Romania should be supported the least by majority of people, a fact confirmed recently by President Basescu as well, leaders of pro-Romania parties from the Republic of Moldova noted on any occasion that an eventual union with Romania may be achieved after a national referendum.

It is also worth mentioning that just the National Liberal Party (PNL) and “Actiunea Europeana” (European Action) Movement (MAE) reunited on a common list of candidates sent a clear pro-Romania message at the April 5, 2009 parliamentary elections by releasing the so-called Soroca Manifesto. This political platform won approximately 1 percent of the people’s votes. To note that according to official results of the 2004 census, just 2.2 percent of Moldova’s citizens introduced themselves as Romanian ethnics. A question breaks out here — why are the Moldovan authorities afraid of the Romanian danger, or should one admit that the real results of the census were forged and people have no idea about?

National minorities did not resist to union of Germany

When the union of Germany was achieved just approximately 250,000 out of about 75 million people from both states were belonging to the domestic minorities that means those who were not part of Moslem minorities who started immigrating to FRG after the World War II. The cohabitant minorities did not raise any problems or appeals during the unification of the two German states. National minorities in Moldova count for approximately 20 percent of the population. An eventual support to the union with Romania by majority of population within a national referendum would be an absolutely necessary factor but not enough. For this purpose, the organised communities of national minorities that means those which already have a certain self-determination status should not contest an eventual union.

Gagauzians from the Republic of Moldova have already got the right to autonomy on ethnic and territorial criteria. This autonomy is sanctioned under a special law and Constitution. The separatist conflict in Transnistria, which is rather political, has an important ethno-political and linguistic dimension. This conflict was not settled so far for 20 years and Transnistria self-administrates without any participation of Moldovan authorities. Transnistria is part of the Republic of Moldova de jure, while de facto it is fully controlled by the Russian Federation, surviving due to the Russian military presence and economic and financial support of Moscow. Both people and elites from Gagauzia and Transnistria are pro-Russia and do not accept an eventual union with Romania.

In this context, it is worth stressing that a series of speculations aimed to undermine the Republic of Moldova make mention of the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Moldova, which would justify the Transnistrian separatism. To note that the first part of the Declaration, which ascertains the circumstances in which the independence of the Republic of Moldova was declared, says that the Parliament of Moldova takes notice “of the fact that in their statements the parliaments of many states regard the agreement signed on August 23, 1939 between the Government of USSR and Government of Germany as null ab initio and demand the cleanup of its political-legal consequences, a fact revealed as well by the international Conference «Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its consequences for Bessarabia» through the Chisinau Declaration adopted on June 28, 1991.” Hence, that means mentioning the attitude of legislative organs of other countries towards the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. At the same time, the second part of the declaration proclaims the accession “to the Helsinki Final Act and Paris Chart for a new Europe, seeking concomitantly an equal-right accession to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and its mechanisms.”

External factor in reunion process of Germany

The international factor had a determinant role in the process of German unification. An eventual unification of Germany was predictable, its accomplishment should not be contested at international level, first of all by great powers, but security problems should be settled inclusively by getting rid of foreign military presence. Interestingly, leaders of the states which won the World War II took certain efforts for the reunification of Germany long before the achievement. Thus, the Soviet government released a note on March 10, 1952 to propose a united, militarily neutral Germany. Of course, this initiative must be regarded in the light of USSR efforts to oppose the accession of FRG to NATO. In order to balance the Soviet initiative, in 1954 British Prime Minister Anthony Eden tabled a counter proposal colligating five clauses: organisation of free elections nationwide in Germany; convocation of a national assembly; elaboration and further adoption of a new draft Constitution of the reunified state; instauration of a common Government; signing and enforcement of a peace treaty. The plan came to detail the ideas of the FRG Government concerning the building of a German confederation. But all efforts failed.

FRG joined NATO on May 6, 1955, while USSR and communist European countries constituted the Warsaw Treaty Organisation (WTO) on May 14, replying to Germany’s accession to NATO. Anyway, it is important that the problem of German unity and maintaining the division of Germany was in the middle of great international policy even during the cold war. Thus, the first secretary of the United Socialist Party (PSUG), Walter Ulbricht, first deputy chairman of the GDR Soviet of Ministers, reintroduced the problem of union of the two German states on agenda in 1958. Building the German confederation meant gradually approaching the two states in economic, customs, currency, transportation and communication sectors. The main idea was focussed on keeping the different state constructions and economic bases, while the key condition was to withdraw FRG and GDR from NATO and WTO respectively. Definitively, the escalade of the cold war removed from agenda the reunification of Germany until a favourable international conjuncture for the union.

The problem of Germany’s unification was reintroduced on political agenda once the international context changed dramatically — the collapse of the communist camp and some former communist states on the one hand and beginning of the European integration process on the other hand. In this context, the unification of Germany had a double nature in legal terms -legal state and international law. Germany could not stay divided any longer, as that condition was the main indicator of Europe’s division. Even more, the historical imperative of restoring the unity of the divided German people was so urgent that resolving the problem of divided Europe was unimaginable without a solution to this issue. A number of negotiations took place within the same “2+4” formula and ended with signing of the final settlement treaty on Germany (Germany Treaty) on September 12, 1990 not somewhere else, but in Moscow. Six ministers, of them four representing allied states in the World War II and two representing the German states, signed the document which stipulates that the final setting of Germany’s borders is a major contribution to the cause of peace and stability in Europe; the four allied states withdraw their responsibilities and influence on Berlin and unified Germany; the borders between Germany and Poland cannot be contested; Germany does not raise any territorial claims against other states; Germany will promote the peace alone, denying the manufacturing, holding and placing of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in its territory; USSR will withdraw its military presence etc. At the same time, a new basic German-Soviet treaty was signed for a 20-year term and the German-Polish border treaty was signed on November 14, 1990.

Relevant factors in post-unification process

The post-unification financial effort was very important. Integrating the eastern German lands and adjusting them to minimum standards of those from the west was estimated at approximately trillion (one thousand billions) Euros and half of this amount were spent in the first five years. Despite huge financial efforts and wise policies, the so-called Ossi-Wessi conflict, which originated from very deep cultural and social factors, could not be avoided. Journalists estimated that an eventual reunification of the Republic of Moldova with Romania would cost 30–35 billion Euros.

The second important factor is that concerning the union of Germany the supreme law stipulated that the western German lands and the eastern German lands will be a new federative configuration. As for Romania, no one knows and discusses any administrative-territorial organisation of an eventual reunified Romania. How could the Gagauz and Hungarian factor manifest if insisting on Romania’s status as unitary state. And how could the things develop if accepting the autonomy of regions or even federalisation of country.

The third factor is that the unification of Germany was the union of the most prosperous and dynamical member of the European Union (FRG was called EU engine) with the most developed and prosperous communist country in Europe — GDR. In contrast, now an eventual union of Romania with the Republic of Moldova would mean the union of the poorest EU member with the poorest country in Europe. The gap between advantages of the German states and disadvantages faced by Romania and Republic of Moldova because of these statuses is deep and hard to remedy. Eventual economic and social problems would be used to compromise the union and permanently maintain an unstable situation. The two German states were active “subjects” capable to influence realities, building some new realities advantaging them, while in the second case the states are under the influence of great powers.

The fourth factor is related to the conduct and interests of political and economic elites from the annexed country. As regards the GDR, when the union was achieved the communist political elites unique in that period were demoralised with the collapse of the communism in Eastern Europe. If the unification of Germany was longer, the reaction of emerging political and economic elites would have been unknown. As for the Republic of Moldova, political leaders who were outstanding promoters of the union with Romania in the early 1990s realised after standing out in domestic political elite and starting up profitable business that the borders of an independent state, despite of the status of poorest country in Europe, provides a serious protection against competition with more developed elites and capitals with a stronger penetrating power.

Conclusions

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