In the shadow of history. Romanian-Moldovan relations
Romania and Moldova have developed very strong ties, resulting mainly from many years of common history (including joint statehood), language and cultural heritage. On the one hand, this closeness fosters bilateral relations, but on the other hand it places a serious burden upon them. This is because Moldovan statehood and identity has in some way been built in opposition to Romanian statehood and identity. Part of Moldovan society (especially the Russian-speaking minority) fears closer cooperation with Bucharest, seeing it as threatening a loss of independence and the declaration of unification with its western neighbour. Historic sentiment is also reflected in Bucharest’s policy towards Moldova. Officially, relations with Chisinau are considered as exceptional, and representatives of the Romanian political class are full of declarations of assistance and support for their eastern neighbour, appealing to the national, cultural and linguistic community. In practice, however, Romanian policy towards Moldova (and hence also the two countries’ bilateral relations) is most often shaped not by sentiment but by political pragmatism, resulting among others from a desire to win the support of the Romanian electorate.