Moldovan court overturns special status for Russian language

By Alexander Tanas CHISINAU (Reuters) - Moldova's constitutional court threw out a law on Thursday that would have given special status to the Russian language, passed last month by the pro-Russian parliament over the objection of the country's newly elected, pro-EU president. The law would have made Russian the language for communication between ethnic communities, and required the names of goods, services and medicines to be translated into Russian. The court ruled it unconstitutional.

Reuters January 22, 2021 00:11:50 IST
Moldovan court overturns special status for Russian language

Moldovan court overturns special status for Russian language

By Alexander Tanas

CHISINAU (Reuters) - Moldova's constitutional court threw out a law on Thursday that would have given special status to the Russian language, passed last month by the pro-Russian parliament over the objection of the country's newly elected, pro-EU president.

The law would have made Russian the language for communication between ethnic communities, and required the names of goods, services and medicines to be translated into Russian. The court ruled it unconstitutional.

"The law presupposes giving the Russian language a status similar to the state language, which is not provided for by the Constitution," said Domnica Manole, the head of the court.

Russian state news outlets criticised the ruling. Russia's RIA news agency quoted a source as calling it "deeply regrettable" and a "politically opportunistic decision".

Language is a core issue of national identity in Moldova, a country which consists mostly of territory annexed by the Soviet Union from Romania during World War Two. Romanian, spoken by the ethnic Moldovan majority, is the state language, while Russians, Ukrainians and others mainly speak Russian.

Russia and the West have vied for influence in the country, with many Moldovans favouring closer ties with NATO- and EU-member Romania, while many Russian-speakers look towards Moscow.

President Maia Sandu, who favours closer ties to the European Union, took office in November after defeating the pro-Moscow incumbent Igor Dodon in an election. But the parliament is still controlled by pro-Russian groups, accused by Sandu of passing laws intended to stir controversy.

Vitalii Andrievschii, a political analyst, said the language law would have provoked political passions.

"Moldovans willingly switch to Russian in communication with those who do not speak the state language, but if they are forced to do this on the basis of the law, it will only worsen the current situation."

(Additional reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber in Moscow; Editing by Peter Graff)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.