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 ROMANIA'S RELATIONS WITH THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA
Gabriel ANDREESCU Valentin STAN Renate WEBER
30 octombrie 1994

THE PROBLEM OF THE FRONTIERS

(1) The Ribbentrop-Molotov Treaty and its consequences

The year 1940 recorded a painful page in the history of the Romanian people through the territorial rape it was subjected to and the immensurable suffering caused by the policy of brutal force and the open aggression practised by the Nazi and Soviet dictatorial powers, in disregard of international law and treaties. Romania lost important territories in the West (North-Western Transylvania in favour of Hungary through the Vienna Diktat of August 1940), the South of Dobrudja in favour of Bulgaria (the Bulgarian territorial claims were complied with by the Romanian side through the negotiations started in Craiova, in August 1940), Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina and Hertza in favour of USSR (as a consequence of the two Soviet ultimatum notes addressed to the Romanian Government on June 26 and 27-28, 1940). Taking advantage of the non-aggression Treaty concluded with Nazi Germany on August 23, 1939 (the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact), the additional secret Protocol of which stipulated the Soviet interest in Bessarabia, and profiting by the collapse of the Allied resistance in France in front of the German armies, Soviet Russia took away the above mentioned territories from Romania, under the threat of military aggression.

Regarding these territories, lost by Romania in favour of the USSR, there has always been in our country, even during the period of Soviet domination, an acute consciousness of the historical injustice done to the Romanian people. The reunification of these territories to Romania was an unexpressed goal for many Romanians, who looked upon the occupation of the country by the Soviets in 1944, and the communist domination that followed, as a national tragedy and an assault upon the being of the Romanian people, as the action of occupation by force of Bessarabia in 1940 had also been. This was why some political circles in Romania assumed that the collapse of communism in our country, the breaking up of the USSR and the proclamation of Moldova's independence could constitute the premises of the reunification. They also had in view some decisions of the Parliament in Chi_in_u regarding the reassertion of the Romanian identity of the Moldovan state such as: the institution of the Romanian language as state language and the reintroduction of the Latin alphabet on August 31, 1989, the introduction of the new state colours on April 27, 1990, and of the state arms on November 3, 1990.

Romania was the first state which recognized the Republic of Moldova, after the proclamation of the state independence on August 27, 1991. From the declaration of the Romanian Government made on that occasion it clearly resulted that, in the opinion of the authorities in Bucharest, Moldova's independence was considered as a form of emancipation from Moscow's tutelage and a step towards the reunification with Romania:
"The proclamation of an independent Romanian state in the territories annexed by force, following the secret understanding set through the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, represents a decisive step towards the elimination, in a peaceful way, of its unfortunate consequences directed against the rights and the interests of the Romanian people".

When the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact was signed, the territories between the Prut and the Dniester belonged to Romania. Moreover, the mentioning of the "rights and interests of the Romanian people" clearly expresses the objective of the reunification. Since the recognition of the independence of the Republic of Moldova many references were made in Romania to the necessity of eliminating the consequences of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. As a matter of fact, in June 1991, Romania's Parliament adopted a declaration through which the above mentioned Pact was declared null and void. Moreover, in the second half of 1991, high Romanian dignitaries, as for instance the minister of foreign affairs at that time Adrian N_stase, looked upon reunification in very optimistic terms, identifying also a model in this respect: the German model. Obviously, the international juridical framework for the achievement of this desideratum was taken into account, namely the Helsinki Final Act of the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe that stipulates in the first of the ten principles' text concerning the regulation of international relations:
"They (the states-a.n.) consider that their frontiers can be changed, in accordance with international law, by peaceful means and by agreement (a.e.)". The ten principles of the Final Act were reconfirmed by the Charter of Paris for A New Europe in November 1990, and were to be also reiterated in the Document of the CSCE Summit in Helsinki, The Challenges of Change, in 1992.

However, the repeated statement regarding the necessity to eliminate the consequences of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, in Romania's relations with other independent states and in connection with the viability of the German model of reunification in the case of Romania and Moldova, raises some questions . In the first place, the fact that today it is not the problem of the consequences of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact we have to deal with when speaking about the border between Romania and Moldova or, simpler said, when speaking about the Eastern border of Romania.

The Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact was concluded on August 23, 1939. Its secret additional Protocol did not map out political-territorial borders, it only defined spheres of influence, which obviously meant the mutual acceptance of the territorial claims of the USSR and Germany towards third parties. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the USSR also claimed Northern Bukovina, a territory not mentioned in the Protocol of the Pact, thereby surprising the Germans , and it also occupied Hertza, a territory which had not even been claimed in the ultimatum notes addressed to the Romanian Government. What  really has to be stressed is the fact that the juridical validity of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact (namely the German-Soviet non-aggression Treaty) ceased on June 22, 1941. On that date, Nazi Germany violated the Treaty and attacked the USSR, war breaking out between the two states. This was the beginning of the process of annulment of the consequences of the said Treaty. For Romania, the political-territorial consequences of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact were eliminated by the Romanian armies who, participating in the military operations against the Soviet Union from the beginning of the German-Soviet war, freed the territories occupied by the USSR. In the second part of the war, after the defeats suffered by the Axis in the East, the Soviet armies occupied Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina again, but this had nothing to do with the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, but with the carrying out of military operations on the battlefield. This time the occupation was accomplished against Germany and not in understanding with it, as it had been in the case of the Pact. Those territories remained within the confines of the USSR not as a result of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact - which no longer had any value at the end of the war - but as a result of the Peace Treaty of February 10, 1947, which consecrated a political-territorial reality based on the relations between the winners and the losers in the World War. To request today the cancellation of the consequences of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact by referring to the setting up of Romania's Eastern border on the Prut, would in fact mean to request the cancellation of the political-territorial consequences of the Peace Treaty of 1947 (the Treaty that legally consecrated this territorial reality), at present the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact being totally irrelevant for the configuration of Romania's borders.
 

(2) Observance of the frontiers - a condition for stability in Europe

However legitimate the feeling of injustice might be, regarding the way in which the spheres of influence and the borders were established after the Second World War, the position of the Romanian authorities concerning the relations between Romania and the Republic of Moldova is conditioned by the present European political-territorial configuration and by the assertion in this context of the Romanian national interests . The modification of the Peace Treaty of 1947 (because it is about that Treaty we have to talk when speaking about the annulment of the consequences of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact ) does not concern only Romania. One thing must be clearly understood: regardless of the way in which the situation of the borders was settled, the Peace Treaty constitutes the basis of peace and stability in Europe after 1947. The Peace Treaty of Paris contains provisions which are unjust for Romania, like the military ones or those referring to obligations for restitutions and damages. Romania was not recognized as a co-belligerent state despite its huge human and material sacrifices on the anti-Hitlerite front. But the Treaty brought Transylvania back within the confines of the country and it also consecrated the independence of the Romanian state, guaranteeing its borders. The Peace Treaty of 1947 is either accepted as a whole or rejected as a whole . One can not plead at the same time for the intact preservation of the frontier in the West and for its revision in the East. And its non-acceptance would have all the consequences that can be generated today by the non-recognition or non-observance of the existing frontiers in Europe.

The stand taken by the Romanian Government by requesting the express mentioning in the basic Treaty with Hungary of the recognition and observance of the state frontiers is well known and only natural. The legitimacy of this request is given by the Peace Treaty of 1947. But the Romanian Government also requested the inclusion of a reference in relation to the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact in the basic Treaty with Ukraine (after the occupation by the USSR of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina in 1940, the South of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina were included in the Ukrainian SSR in the same year and they are still part of the Republic of Ukraine today). That request was also made at the negotiations for the basic Treaty with Russia. This attitude is considered in the respective countries, especially in Ukraine, a revisionist attitude aiming at territorial claims. Important bodies of the European Union perceive it in the same way, as well as Western politicians and experts. Suffice it to mention Resolution A3-0128/93 of the European Parliament regarding the relations between the European Community and Romania (the Balfe Report), which conditions "the favourable consideration" of the Association Agreement between the European Community and Romania on the offering of guarantees concerning the observance by our country of the international treaties, as a confirmation that it does not intend to "call into question the present borders by force". This was considered necessary because it is obvious that a peaceful unification (the only one accepted by international regulations, through the consent of the two parties) between Romania and Moldova is at present out of the question. One has to take into account the hostility of the majority of the citizens of the Moldovan state (expressed also through a referendum) towards such an act.

Under these circumstances, the permanent appeal made in Romania for the elimination of the consequences of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact is perceived as the expression of a real danger: the attempt to modify the frontiers by force, with a mind to the territories included into Ukraine in 1940 as well .

No matter how motivated historically Romania's pretensions might be, to call into question the existing frontiers is an unacceptable act for the European institutions and for the other countries in Europe. The tragedies in former Yugoslavia and the former USSR abundantly prove it. The Romanian national interests at present aim at Euro-Atlantic integration. But the Euro-Atlantic institutions would never accept in their midst a country that has frontier problems with another country, thus introducing the danger of internal destabilization through the "import" of a possible conflict. The permanent reference to the "cancellation of the consequences" of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and the unification with the Republic of Moldova, as long as the latter does not wish this unification, does nothing else than enhance the mistrust of the Euro-Atlantic community concerning Romania's capacity to contribute to stability and security in Europe .

As regards a possible unification after the German model, reality has already given the answer to such an option. Germany did not sign the Peace Treaty at the end of the Second World War and thus, the contesting of the frontier between the two Germanies could not be considered a revisionist act. Moreover, the unification was wished for by all the Germans, who expressed themselves to that effect, and was achieved in a peaceful manner, in keeping with international regulations. Besides, it was the unification of the most developed country in the former communist bloc with the most strongly developed country of the European Communities, capable of bearing the huge costs of the integration and to offer a prospect of progress to the former East-German citizens. In this respect, the Moldovan-Romanian unification cannot have the German case as a model.
 

THE CONCEPT OF "MOTHER COUNTRY" AND THE ROMANIAN-MOLDOVAN RELATIONS

The political discourse in Romania evinces a constant interest in the situation in the Republic of Moldova. One must remember the fact Romania recognized Moldova as a sovereign and independent state and it is therefore obliged to adjust its position towards the young Moldovan state in accordance with the international agreements to which it is a party to. Moldova was recognized as an independent state by the international community, it is a member of the UN and participates with full rights in the CSCE. In this respect, the UN Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among states in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, adopted by the General Assembly in 1970, is relevant. It clearly asserts that the principle of equality between states includes the duty of each state "to  respect the personality of other states" and the "inalienable right" of every state "to choose its political, economic, social and cultural systems, without interference in any form by another state" (a.e.). The text of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the CSCE is equally suggestive by enunciating in the first principle that the states "will respect each other's right to define and conduct as it wishes its relations with other states in accordance with international law and in the spirit of the present Declaration".

On April 14, 1994, the Chamber of Deputies of Romania's Parliament adopted a Declaration of protest against the decision of the Parliament in Chi_in_u to vote in favour of Moldova's adhering to CIS. Referring to the legitimate act of the Moldovan Parliament through which the latter "was conducting as it wished its relations with other states", the protest of the Chamber of Deputies in Romania brings serious accusations to the legislative body of the other equal, sovereign and independent state:

"The vote of the Parliament in Chi_in_u regrettably reconfirms the criminal Pact and irresponsibly cancels the right of the Romanian nation to live within the integrity of its historical and spiritual space... Through the geographical position, through culture, history and traditions, the natural place of our brothers from across the Prut is, undoubtedly, together with us, in the great family of the European nations and by no means in an Euro-Asian structure".

The legislative body in Bucharest accuses the fundamental state institution of a country, which it has recognized as independent, of irresponsibility, of confirming criminal acts and it decides upon the place the Moldovan state should take in the configuration of international relations. That makes the way Romania understands to observe the UN and CSCE principles, in its relations with Moldova, a controversial one. No wonder that the relations between Romania and Moldova have continued to deteriorate after the Declaration of Independence of the Moldovan state.

On August 1, 1994, Romania's Government issued a Declaration regarding the passing in Moldova's Parliament and the promulgation by presidential decree, on July 29, 1994, of the new Constitution of the Moldovan state. In this Declaration, the institutions of the Moldovan state are again accused for having changed the name of the official language . The Declaration of the Romanian Government considers the decisions of the legislative body of the Republic of Moldova as being directed against the independence of the  Moldovan state:

"The erosion of the character of national language, the declaration of zones with special status, instead of the implementation of internationally accepted practices aiming at a wide administrative-territorial decentralization, represent in essence the premises of the disintegration of the state, of a possible federalization, with serious consequences upon the independence of the Republic of Moldova" (a.e.).

It is obvious that the independent Moldovan state has the sovereign right to decentralize its own territory in accordance with its option, freely expressed by the competent institutions. The fear of the Romanian Government that Moldova might reach federalization seems to be determined by the concern of the authorities in Bucharest to maintain the unitary character of the Moldovan state in the prospect of unification with Romania and less by the wish to protect "the implementation of internationally accepted practices". Besides, it is absolutely incomprehensible why the Romanian Government does not consider "the declaration of zones with special status" as a practice accepted at international level. Many countries, depending on their specific situation, of course, grant a special status to some regions of their territory (or even to some populations). The relevant international regulations establish only the unanimously accepted framework and does not hinder special arrangements depending on specific conditions. Even Recommendation 1201 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe mentions under Article 11 the possibility of giving a special status when the circumstances require that. In the case of Moldova, one has to take into account the special situation in the Transdniester zone (and not only there) where a strong Russian-speaking minority lives. The latent conflict, which still exists there, had developed not long ago into a ravaging war, with the intervention of some units of the Russian army and with the danger of the disintegration of the state. These are serious problems and they have to be solved trying at the same time to safeguard the major state interests, even if some concessions are painful to the leadership in Chi_in_u.

Finally, to the set of declarations coming from the Romanian Parliament or from the Government, the stands recently (October 1994) taken by President Ion Iliescu are to be added. His statements, made on the occasion of press conferences or of some visits into the country, namely that the Republic of Moldova has acquired its independence from the Soviet empire and not from Romania, raise the contesting of the sovereignty of that state to an unprecedented level.

We do not think that it is through declarations of Romania's Parliament, Government and Presidency like those we have mentioned, that Moldova can effectively be helped to consolidate its statehood. On the contrary, such declarations play into the hands of those who do not want to accept the Moldovan independence and invoke the danger of Moldova's annexation by Romania. And, under these circumstances, it is obvious that such declarations can be of no use either to Moldovan Romanians, or to the Republic of Moldova.

Another reason for worry as regards the Romanian-Moldovan relations is the maintenance, at the level of the political discourse in the Romanian Parliament, of some concepts which cannot be applied to the configuration of the inter-states relations at the end of the 20th Century. Thus, the above mentioned Protest of the Chamber of Deputies of April 14, 1994, specifies:

"The events which have happened since 1989 gave us hope for Bessarabia's return to the Mother Country"  (a.e.).

Today, the phrase "mother country" can no longer express political or historical necessities. It was used in the context of the setting up of the objectives of the peoples' emancipation in the period of the establishment of national states. It was valid for that historical moment, but it has always had an ethnocratic content. Modern societies of today are founded on the values of civic nationalism.

The theory of "Volksgemeinschaft" (community of the people), substantiated in the work of Ferdinand Tönnies, Gemeinschaft und Gessellschaft (Community and Society)  in 1887, defined as basis for the existence of the human community the affiliation to a certain ethnic identity, the community itself being based on blood relations. The Nazis have taken over and distorted this theory, setting as basis of the state the very belonging to an ethnic community: a community which does not allow for state frontiers that could divide the body of the nation and which found its political expression in the "Mutterland" (mother country) . This is how the formula invoked by Hitler was reached: "The Reich as a state (namely mother country-a.n.) must include all Germans" . And there he had in view, in the first place, the German minority groups spread in different countries of Europe. Obviously, this was "dynamite" for European security during the interwar period. It indicated a classical case of annexation policy of a state "seeking to incorporate all the components of its nation (understood in an ethnic and not civic sense-a.n.)" .

Especially in the context of an agitated Central and Eastern Europe, where the problem of minorities made a particularly violent come back after the collapse of communism, it is necessary to have some moderation in the political discourse and to give up dangerous phrases like "mother country". Asbjorn Eide, rapporteur of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the Commission on Human Rights of ECOSOC, was very firm when stating:

"A cursory look at the world today shows that there are several minorities which pursue extremely provocative and violent policies. Sometimes they gamble in the hope that, if the worst comes to the worst, an outside power, the mother country (a.e.) or some other external actor will come to their aid should their provocation result in large-scale military action by the majority side threatening their very existence. It is a dangerous gamble (a.e.)" .
 

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE ROMANIAN STATE FOR THE SITUATION OF THE ROMANIANS IN THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA

The authors of this study consider that Romanian ethnics form the majority population in the Republic of Moldova. But they have the right, recognized by international law, to declare themselves Moldovans, as most of them actually do. This being so, the citizens of the Republic of Moldova who declare themselves to be of Romanian origin automatically come under the regime of internal and international protection of minorities.

Under article 7 of Romania's Constitution the Romanian state is bound to maintain relations with and hold out support to Romanians abroad: "The State shall support the strengthening of links with the Romanians living abroad and shall act accordingly for the preservation, development and expression of their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity, under observance of the legislation of the State of which they are citizens".

This normal provision, set forth in the Constitution of the Romanian state adds to the international regulations concerning relations between minorities and citizens of other countries to whom they are bound by ethnic affinities and regarding the rights of persons belonging to such minorities. Obviously, according to the UN Declaration on the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, the citizens of the Republic of Moldova who declare themselves of Romanian origin represent a national minority. Article 2, paragraph 5 of this document stipulates that "persons belonging to minorities have the right to establish and maintain, without any discrimination, free and peaceful contacts with other members of their group, with persons belonging to other minorities, as well as contacts across frontiers with citizens of other States to whom they are related by national or ethnic, religious or linguistic ties (a.e.)". Equally clear is the relevant provision in the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE: "Persons belonging to national minorities have the right to establish and maintain unimpeded contacts among themselves within their country as well as contacts across frontiers with citizens of other States with whom they share a common ethnic or national origin, cultural heritage or religious beliefs". (Art. 32, parag. 4). As a member of the UN and as a participant in the CSCE process, the Republic of Moldova must abide by these documents.

No less important is the ratification by the Republic of Moldova of other international documents that state the obligation to observe the basic rights and freedoms, the values of democracy, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Romanian state, as a member and as a signatory of the CSCE documents, has the right to demand the Republic of Moldova to observe the obligations it has assumed concerning the conduct towards its citizens, some of whom are of Romanian origin. Unfortunately, of late there have been worrisome events in the Republic of Moldova. These are related both to the general process of democratization and the will of the Moldovan state to observe the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Romanians who live there or are residents in its territory. The police-like atmosphere often created around meetings between Romanian citizens and Moldovan citizens, the obstacles raised in the way of certain Romanian-language publications that are pro-minority, the expulsion of daily Romania Liber_'s correspondent in Chi_in_u, the pressures exerted on the Christian Democratic Popular Front of the Republic of Moldova, and other similar situations, should be included in the agenda of the talks between the Romanian state and the Moldovan state.

Furthermore, vague accusations should be given up and each particular case should be accurately circumscribed. The August 1, 1994 Declaration of Romania's Government considers, for instance, that the resolutions of the Parliament of Moldova on the country's decentralization - which we have already referred to - have "serious consequences (...) on the observance of the rights of the majority population, of the Moldovan Romanians (a.e.) in keeping with relevant international standards". Romania's Government thus fails to distinguish between the field where it is entitled to become involved, that is, the rights of the Romanian minority (the observance of which it may demand, according to international regulations) and the field where domestic policy decisions are forms of expression of the Moldovan state's sovereignty. Moreover, the Government fails to distinguish between national minorities (the Romanian state has the internationally guaranteed possibility to be concerned over the fate of the Romanian minority in the Republic of Moldova and to ask the Moldovan state to abide by the relevant international rules regarding minorities rights) and the majority population of the Moldovan state, whose national identity, an expression of a free option, it is bound to respect.

The obligations and commitments deriving from the signing of treaties, covenants, agreements and declarations constitute a component of the Republic of Moldova's sovereignty. If Romania asks the Republic of Moldova to observe the obligations and commitments related to the Romanian minority in its territory, this stands for an implicit recognition of the sovereignty of the state on the other side of the river Prut, besides the August 27, 1991 official recognition. Actually, Article 10 in the Constitution of Romania sets forth the principles underlying Romania's relations with other states: "Romania fosters and develops peaceful relations with all the states, and in this context, good neighbourly relations, based on the principles and other generally recognized provisions of international law". Through several international documents, adding to which is also the recent initiative regarding  the Pact on Stability in Europe, the Romanian state has confirmed the recognition of the existing borders as a condition of regional and international stability.

The right of the Romanian state to be concerned that the Romanians in the Republic of Moldova - and in the world, in general - should not be subjected to discrimination is complemented by the need for constructive, substantial measures to support their national identity. The Romanian state has granted scholarships for students from Moldova and has provided material support to cultural institutions in that republic. A special weight in this respect would be carried by the promotion of a policy of transparency of frontiers, a promising way of fostering mutual knowledge and of harmonizing the interests of the inhabitants on either side of the Prut. Romania's emphasizing the concept of transparency of frontiers would make the Romanian state's policy more consonant with the European spirit.
 

THE BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA AND ROMANIA'S INTERESTS IN A EUROPEAN CONTEXT

On the other hand, Romania pursues the essential goal of integrating in the Euro-Atlantic structures, as this alone can provide it with the opportunity of promoting its national interests, its economic, social and cultural prosperity, as well as security in this part of Europe. Romania's relations with Moldova should be subordinated to its current fundamental interests and not to some historical realities that defined the national interests fifty years ago. However strong the desire for it, the Union cannot be accomplished without Moldova's consent, without a strong economic foundation, without an adequate international (and regional) context. One should not forget either Moldova's very diverse ethnic map - including a large number of Russian-speakers - or the fact that Russian troops are stationed in Moldova, or else the Republic's membership in the CIS. Given the latest developments, the fact should also be understood that Romania's Euro-Atlantic integration does not offer very good chances for reunification with a country which lies in the space of the former USSR and is a member of CIS. Naturally, the idea of Union has its legitimacy. The Romanians on the other side of the Prut should benefit by Romania's whole support in consolidating the common spiritual space. But the idea of Union cannot be fostered by incendiary statements of the Romanian Parliament and Government with respect to the decisions of the legitimate Moldovan authorities. Such statements seriously harm Romania's endeavours to adhere to the Euro-Atlantic institutions which make renunciation of territorial claims and observance of international law and of the principles on which institutionalized Europe has been built an essential condition of integration. Moreover, such statements damage the very relations between Romania and the Republic of Moldova, the latter being thus justified to consider, as shown in the Declaration of the Government of the Republic of Moldova on the Government of Romania's Declaration of August 1, 1994, that Romania nurtures the ambition to "take the posture of an elder brother entitled to give advice and to practice the same policy of dictate and supremacy".
 

CONCLUSIONS

The historical traditions, the cultural identity of Romanians on either side of the Prut and the long history of common statehood command privileged relations between Romania and the young Moldovan state. The natural desire for unification, evinced by many Romanians in both countries, is the outcome of a complex historical process which was brutally interrupted in 1812 and in 1940 by the invading armies of a big neighbouring power. It is no less true, however, that the current political realities require a new approach of the relations with Moldova.

But from 1991 until 1994 the relations between Romania and the Republic of Moldova went all the way from excitement and enthusiasm to a situation of tension and public accusations with adverse effects on both states. The causes of this situation include, on the one hand, certain statements made by the Romanian Parliament and Government which called into question the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova and, on the other hand, certain political decisions of the authorities in Chi_in_u which affected the situation of the Romanian population in the neighbouring country. There is no doubt that some pressure from outside the two states is partly to blame for the change in the Chi_in_u Government's opinions and in the way they are expressed .

As already shown, the relations of the Romanian state and of the Romanian citizens with the Romanians in the Republic of Moldova are based on two fundamental guide marks: a) the Constitution of Romania (Article 7), which sanctions the Romanian state's concern for the Romanians outside the country's borders; and, b) the international documents referring to the obligations of states to observe the basic rights and freedoms of national minorities, including their right to maintain relations with the citizens of countries to which they are bound by ethnic, cultural and religious ties.

Concurrently, Romania's relations with the Republic of Moldova are based on recognition of the existing borders in Europe, on renunciation of any territorial claims by the two states. Both the Constitution of Romania (Article 10) and the Treaties signed by Romania represent non-interpretable obligations.

The Romanian state's capacity to help protect the rights of Romanians abroad and its being recognized as a civilized state and a positive participant in the realities of a united Europe presupposes not only recognition of the Republic of Moldova, but also respect for the neighbour state. Emotional statements, in which Bessarabia's historically having been part of Romania is used as an argument in favour of action to incorporate the former Romanian territory, are incompatible with the international commitments assumed by Romania. Such statements are detrimental both to Romania's integration in European structures and to its possibility of protecting the interests of the Romanians in the Republic of Moldova.

Instead of a narrow nationalism, Romania can and is entitled to promote, in its relations with the Republic of Moldova, the principles of stability and good neighbourliness, democracy, the fundamental rights and freedoms, including assertion of the ethnic identity of the Romanians in the Republic of Moldova. 



HISTORICAL OUTLINE

The territory bounded by the Prut, the Dniester, the Chilia Arm of the Danube, the Black Sea and the North-Eastern limit of Bukovina, called Bessarabia, was, until 1812, an integral part of the state of Moldova, which also included the territories between the Prut and the Eastern Carpathians (the latter being today an integrant part of Romania).

The name of Bessarabia was given to the above mentioned territories in 1812. Initially this name referred only to a small area North of the Danube Delta, also known as Bugeac, which had belonged to Wallachia until 1418 when it became a part of Moldova. The name of Bessarabia initially was related to the fact that the area belonged to Wallachia, the Basarabs having been the ruling family in Wallachia. The name came to refer to the whole zone between the Prut and the Dniester in 1812 when, after the military occupation of Moldova and Wallachia during the Russo-Turkish War, Tsarist Russia forced the Porte to cede Bessarabia, a constituent part of Moldova. That represented a violation of the 1711 Treaty between Moldova and Russia, under which Tsar Peter the Great pledged not to encroach upon Moldova's sovereignty and territorial integrity. In keeping with the that time treaties the Porte was not allowed to alienate these territories which were not Turkish lands and which enjoyed a broad autonomy under the Sultan suzerainty.

After the annexation, the entire territory between the Prut and the Dniester was named Bessarabia by the Tsarist authorities, due to the political situation having resulted from the 1807 Treaty of Tilsit between Napoleon and Alexander I of Russia. Russia pledged to withdraw its troops from Moldova and Wallachia. But, at the subsequent negotiations in Paris, the Tsar's representatives claimed, in order to maintain the Russian troops in those territories, that Bessarabia was not mentioned in the Treaty of Tilsit, and thus a large part of Moldova was incorporated in the Tsarist Empire.

In 1829, under the Treaty of Adrianopole, Russia annexed the Danube Delta and the Island of Serpents. In 1856, after the Crimean War, under the Treaty of Paris three counties of Southern Bessarabia were ceded back to Moldova, while under the 1857 Memorandum the Danube Delta and the Island of Serpents came under Ottoman sovereignty. Romania lost the South of Bessarabia in 1878, under the Treaties of San Stefano and Berlin, which marked the end of the Russo-Turkish War (Moldova had united politically and administratively with Wallachia in 1862, after Alexandru Ioan Cuza's ascent to the throne of the two principalities in 1859, the new state being increasingly known as Romania). The Romanian state has participated in the war and made great sacrifices to the end of obtaining its independence from the Porte. Under the Peace settlement, Dobrudja and the Danube Delta came to Romania. After 1812, the Tsarist regime carried on a brutal policy of denationalization of the majority Romanian population in the annexed territories.

As the Tsarist Empire collapsed in 1918, the Council of the Country in Bessarabia (Sfatul __rii) proclaimed the territory's independence on January 24, and on March 27 it decided the Union with "its mother Romania". In December 1919, the Parliament of Romania, with representatives of the new provinces among its members, confirmed the Union of Bessarabia to the Romanian state, and in October 1920, in Paris, was signed the treaty whereby Britain, France, Italy and Japan recognized the Union (Japan did not ratify the document). With all the negotiations and despite the fact that Romania and the USSR signed the Moscow Protocol of 1929 and the 1933 London Conventions on the definition of aggression, Soviet Russia never recognized Bessarabia as a Romanian territory.

On August 23, 1939 was signed the non-aggression Treaty between Germany and the USSR (known as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact). The secret additional Protocol to this treaty specified under paragraph 3: "As concerns South-Eastern Europe, the Soviet side emphasizes its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares its total political désintéressement (in French in the text-a.n.) versus these territories".

As the Allied front collapsed in the West under the blows dealt by Nazi Germany, the USSR sent Romania two ultimatum notes on June 26 and 27-28, 1940, whereby it demanded Bessarabia's "return at any cost" and the "transmission" of Northern Bukovina to the Soviet state, as "a means of compensating the big loss incurred by the USSR and the population of Bessarabia because of Romania's 22-year domination over Bessarabia". With the traditional alliances shattered, and under pressure from Nazi Germany, the Romanian Government was forced to reply on June 28, 1940, after the Soviets had rejected any negotiations (the Romanian Government had made a proposal to this effect which was rejected by the Soviets):
"The Romanian Government, in order to avoid the serious consequences the resort to force and the outbreak of hostilities in this part of Europe would have, finds itself compelled (a.e.) to accept the evacuation terms specified in the Soviet reply". The Soviet troops immediately occupied the mentioned territories, encroaching upon the terms of their own ultimatum by annexing the Hertza territory, which had not been claimed in the ultimatum notes.

According to the statistical data used by Molotov in his speech before the Supreme Soviet, one month after the Soviet invasion, by occupying Bessarabia the USSR gained a territory of 44,000 sq.km with a population of 3,200,000 people. The general census held in Romania on December 29, 1930 shows Bessarabia's total populations standing at 2,864,402 out of which 1,610,757 Romanians, 351,912 Russians, 314,211 Ukrainians and Rutenians, 204,858 Jews, 163,726 Bulgarians etc. (see Recens_mântul general al Popula_iei României din 29 decembrie 1930/General Census of Romania's Population of December 29, 1930, publicat de Dr. Sabin M_nuil_, Directorul recens_mântului general al popula_iei, vol. V, Editura Institutului Central de Statistic_, Bucure_ti, 1940, p. XCIII).

On August 2, 1940 was created the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic, belonging to the USSR and formed of the territories taken away from Romania under threat of military aggression. The former Romanian counties of Hotin, Cetatea Alb_ and Ismail were severed from Bessarabia and incorporated in the Ukrainian SSR, the same as Northern Bukovina.

As attested by the report of July 20, 1940, submitted by the Secretary of the Presidium of the USSR's Supreme Soviet, A. Gorkin, to the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, G.M. Malenkov, in connection with the setting of the border between the Ukrainian SSR and the Moldovan SSR, the population of the new Soviet Republic - diminished following the transfer of territories to Ukraine - stood at 2,538,400 people (including the population in the territories left of the Dniester, annexed to Soviet Moldova). Of these, 1,556,863 (61.34%) were Moldovans (as termed in the document), 263,551 were Russians, 273,020 Ukrainians and 444,866 other nationalities (see Document no. 25 in Pactul Molotov-Ribbentrop _i consecin_ele lui pentru Basarabia/The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and its consequences for Bessarabia, Universitas, Chi_in_u, 1991, p. 84).

On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany started the war against the USSR. Romania participated in the anti-Soviets war to the end of regaining the territories the Soviet State had robbed it of under threat of military aggression, and it managed to liberate them for a short time. But they were again occupied by the USSR in the second part of the war, their belonging to the Soviet state being recognized by the Peace Treaty of Paris, dated February 10, 1947. Article 1 of this Treaty signed by Romania specified:
"The Soviet-Romanian border is thus set in keeping with the Soviet-Romanian Agreement of June 28, 1940 (a.e.) and with the Soviet-Czechoslovak Agreement of June 29, 1945".

Given the political circumstances in the USSR which favoured national emancipation, the Moldovan state proclaimed its sovereignty on June 23, 1990 and changed its official name on May 23, 1991. On August 27, 1991, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova proclaimed the independence of the Moldovan state.
 

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