Dacia, the ancient domain of the Roman Empire conquered by Traiano, is called Romania because it was conquered by the Romans (Romagna, in Italy, has the same name because it was under the rule of the Roman Pope). Romans were not so original in giving names. They only gave Greek gods they copied new names. The Greek were much more educated the Romans at those times indeed. A slice of eastern Romania is still talking neo-Latin and was known as Bessarabia. This slice of land was part of the Soviet Union by the name of Moldova. Before that, more or less the same part of turf was part of the big Romania. Another slice of Moldova (so: a slice of slice of Romania) is still over there and until few times ago was a known affair only by few people: Transnistria.
The name recall the geographically close Transylvania (the heart of Romania, the mythical place of Count Vlad) and whatever might be sinister or ambiguous like whatever is fickle (trans– , like transsexuals for instance. The Rocky Horror Picture Show played with this). As a result, whatever is so far in the Eastern Europe sounds to Western people as weird and filthy. I strongly believe this is very exaggerated.
This Transnistrian fractal of European land toward the East is nothing but the will and necessity by the Putin’s Russia to rule the turf like in a pre World War era. Any place with some Russian minority becomes magically a casus belli, as Mr. Putin last year was able to mention Kosovo as a land with Russian oppressed people. In this case Russia is a rational player because Transnistria means to get a hook in a place. As a matter of fact Putin is aiming at connecting Russia and Crimea to Transnistria passing from Odessa, making Ukraine a deadlock country like Belarus.
Consequences and implication are clear: like in Georgia and Ukraine, Moldova must not enter the European Union and especially the Nato alliance. This dispute is challenging but even very dangerous. Is this spoiling more the Russians of the European countries? Which the role of the American big stick?
Despite the big issue of Ukraine, which I already touched, Moldova passed through the Vilnius agreements and other steps with no attention. Usually Italian people refer to Moldova as the place where beautiful blond girls come from. Is only that? I think Moldova is more important than that, though it is a 3.5 million people country with a very fragile economy based on export toward Russia. Let’s see something more
If we believe, as I strongly believe, that vexillology has not only an aesthetic meaning, but even an anthropological, political and economic meaning, the coat of arm of Georgia is more “European” of other European countries, despite its geography. Even history doesn’t deal totally with Europe. The Moldovian coat of arm, for instance, has an eagle (with an Orthodox cross), but especially a cow. The flag, moreover, is actually the Romanian one with this cow in the middle. As far as I know, only African and some other not developed countries have a not noble animal as a national symbol. Felines for instance are pretty common, and how can you laugh at one of them? Moldova is maybe nothing but an agricultural place, a pretty poor one. Transnistria is considered the industrialized part of Soviet Moldova. If I had to guide myself according to flags, I’d say that the not recognized Transnistria is by far more original and beautiful (but mine is a matter of taste for 80s’ vintage). If it were not for the démodé hammer and sickle, of course.
Recently, a couple of months ago, Moldova had elections and people didn’t have to choose between left and right. Rather, they chose between East and West. Few days ago Moldova created an Establishment which was approved by the Parliament. It is a confirmation of a path toward European Union. My impression is that neither the Romanian people I know are very involved in the destiny of their twin Bessarabian people.
Since, for instance, the current European Union Foreign Minister (or whatever it is), looks to be in a low profile mode, I wonder what kind of Europe is this: a “Normandy-mode” one? A fractured one. A not-very-unified one, even though in possible expansion toward a power (Russia) that considers itself a rival of EU. This all hardly is without problems.
However, definitely, Chisinau is a place that I’d like to visit sooner or later, hopefully as a member of our loved European Union. After all, I strongly believe the right choice for Moldova is to join the Union.