History has an identity crisis

April 28, 1995

Moldovan students have won a temporary victory in their lively protest strike against the government's introduction of a new history curriculum in universities.

They suspended their strike until May 4 after President Mircea Snegur had declared a moratorium on the courses. But they are demanding a reply to other demands including better living conditions, payment of grant and staff salary arrears, university autonomy, air time on state radio and television and even the resignation of the government.

The content of the history course triggered discontent. The Marxism-Leninism and history of the Soviet Union of the previous era was to be replaced following independence by the history of the Romanian people. Moldovans and Romanians are ethnically and linguistically identical.

The protestors believe that stressing the separate identity of Moldova is a first step to absorption into a new Russian empire. Although not advocating political union with Romania, they want the Romanian identity of Moldovans to be stressed and the constitution changed so that the state language is called Romanian and not Moldovan as at present.

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