Vladimir Voronin (file photo) (RFE/RL)
March 23, 2007 -- Vladimir Voronin, the president of Moldova, has accused neighboring Romania of trying to undermine his country by demeaning its language and culture and offering its citizenship to Moldovans en masse.
In an interview with Reuters, Voronin said Bucharest is pursuing a nationalist and "unionist" policy. He said that "an intervention is under way against Moldova's statehood, its people, history and language."
Most of present-day Moldova's territory was part of Romania before World War II and some two-thirds of its population speak Romanian.
But Voronin said that the "Moldovan language is the mother of the Romanian language. It is the mother. This is how it should be treated, and this is what we teach our citizens about our language. Attempts to call it Romanian, attempts to call it anything else, are attempts to cheat history and deceive one's own mother."
Since Romania joined the European Union in January, hundreds of thousands of Moldovans have applied for Romanian passports. The have been trying to take up a long-standing Romanian offer of fast-track citizenship.
Voronin also said that currently improved relations with Russia means that prospects to resolve Moldova's 15-year-old dispute with its pro-Moscow separatist region of Transdniester are better.
Transdniester broke away from Moldova in 1990. The two sides fought a short war in 1992, which was curbed by Russian troops in the region. No final agreement has been concluded between the two sides.