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Moldova torn apart between West and East on 9 May

This year, the day of 9 May in Moldova was scandalous as never before, as too many more or less memorable dates overlap. Pro-Russian youth celebrates the Victory Day, pro-Romanians mark the Romanian Independence Day, while euro-enthusiastic politicians celebrate the EU Day. Even though there were so many disputes over what holiday to celebrate and how, today Moldovan population has given preference to only one of them, which is the Victory Day. Hundreds of thousands of people came to the Chisinau Memorial with traditional carnations and St. George’s Ribbons.

High-rank officials gathered around the so-called Eternal Light addressing the veterans and all those present. It is interesting to remark, that many of them were afraid to say “Russia” and “USSR” as these are some curse words, which could summon the Communist party back to the rule. On the other hand, “Europe” was mentioned so often as though liberals and democrats are paid for every time they pronounce it.

The discourse of Nicolae Timofti, current president of the Republic of Moldova, held before the veterans, could not be more politicized. He said:

“Thousands of our nationals were killed in the battles, some of them fighting for the Soviet Army, others for Romanian army. The 9th of May must not become a reason for political forces to promote ideological slogans and symbols of the past epoch.”

In this reference to the past epoch, he was probably hinting at the communist flags which were proudly waving all over the city. Indeed, they could have upset our European donors who probably believe in regeneration of Moldovan nation. But in order to show that today the country has not forgotten about Europe, the President adds:

“We believe, that the integration of our country into the EU, which is a space of democracy and prosperity, would provide a better future for the generations who survived the war. Today the whole European continent celebrates the Europe Day. Overcoming all the obstacles, our desire to become free and wealthy citizens of Europe will certainly become true. I wish you a safe and truly European future”.

Barrosso would be touched by these words, but not Moldovan citizens, who hardly believe in European integration.

Vladimir Voronin leads the Victory march. Photo: Ramin Mazu
Vladimir Voronin leads the Victory march. Photo: Ramin Mazu

The leader of the Communist Party and Moldovan ex-president Vladimir Voronin has used the occasion to throw his red stones at the EU. Saying, that the communist guidance and unity of all Soviet nations made the victory possible, he adds: “We have to transmit from generation to generation the memory of the Great Victory, so that we could not accept so-called democratic order, which is imposed by the EU”.

The contribution of the Russian Federation to today’s celebrations was generous as never before. The Russian Embassy invited two Soviet-era eminent singers (Iosif Cobzon and Lev Leshenko) to perform in the centre of the capital, while Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has ‘honoured’ the event with his presence. It seems that political crisis, which Moldova currently and frequently undergoes, was used today by the Russian Federation to reinforce its influence in the country.

Of course, everyone is free to choose what to celebrate today.  Just do not let some bureaucrats use our holidays in their political games, because the Governments change, but the cherished memories of our past remain.