Moldova’s Russians want Russian language status up for referendum

Eighteen nongovernmental organizations defending the rights of ethnic minorities in Moldova have announced their support for the proposal of the Ravnopravie (“Equity”) party.

Ravnopravie suggested that, besides the way of electing the president, two more questions should be asked in the upcoming referendum: whether Russian should be the second official language and whether a fifth of MP seats should be allocated to ethnic minorities.

“The fact that Russian is not recognized as an official language creates a number of problems at a national level”, Yuri Maksimov, the chairman of the Association of Moldo-Russian Cooperation and Friendship, told a press conference on Friday. In particularly he referred to the example of a woman who was denied medical care because she spoke Russian.

Granting Russian the status of an official language in Moldova would also contribute to the settlement of the Transnistrian problem, argued Maksimov. Additionally, the decision would have a positive impact on the cultural and scientific sectors, since most of the scientific literature that comes into the country is in Russian, he added.

Vladimir Moskalyov, the chairman of the NGO the People’s Council, referred to the example of 19th-century-Russia, where a great part of people knew German and French, not necessarily due to the esteem held for those countries, but mainly due to the fact that those languages served as informational portals for Russia; today Russia is such a portal for Moldova, thus, Russian must have a special status, he maintained.

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