Russia and Moldova’s Opposition Denounce Romanian PM’s Remarks on Moldovan Identity

CHISINAU – Russia and Moldova’s leftist opposition condemned Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu on Thursday for his recent remarks asserting that Moldova’s population is exclusively Romanian and speaks only Romanian.

Ciolacu’s controversial statement, made during a Romanian television interview, declared, “There are no Moldovans, there is no Moldovan language. There are Romanians and the Romanian language.”

Moldova, strategically situated between Ukraine and EU member Romania, has historically fluctuated under various regimes, including the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and “Greater Romania.” Although Romanian is the sole state language, Moldova’s diverse population includes ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, and other groups, with Russian widely spoken.

In response to Ciolacu’s comments, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova criticized both the Romanian Prime Minister and Moldovan authorities for their lack of condemnation. “Romania is asking Moldovans to deny their own identity and language,” Zakharova stated, accusing Romanian officials of blatant interference in Moldova’s internal affairs and expressing disappointment over the absence of a strong response from Chisinau.

Moldova’s Moscow-friendly opposition Socialist Party also condemned Ciolacu’s remarks, describing them as an “insult to our country and our citizens.” They directed their criticism not only at Ciolacu but also at Moldova’s president, government, and parliamentary majority for their silence in the face of what they termed a “boorish, chauvinistic statement.”

Moldovan President Maia Sandu, who advocates for closer ties with the European Union and has planned a referendum on EU membership later this year, has not commented on the issue. The press secretary of her Action and Solidarity Party, which holds a parliamentary majority, emphasized that Moldova respects and defends all its citizens and aspires to a united European space.

Sandu, facing re-election this year alongside the EU referendum, has consistently identified Russia and corruption as the primary threats to Moldova’s sovereignty. Her administration’s silence on the remarks by the Romanian Prime Minister has drawn criticism from both domestic opposition and international observers, adding a complex layer to Moldova’s political landscape as it navigates its future within Europe.