Majority and Minority,
by Radu Gorincioi
Ethnic Conflicts and Ways of Their
by Mariana Lunca
Problem of National Identity of Moldovans
by Alexei Tulbure, MA in History
Ethnic Minorities in Chisinau
and Minority in Transdniestria
by Alexey Kuznetsov
All Men are Created Equal
by Nadejda Mazur
Gays left underground
Security is the most precious thing...
by Olesea Corcinscaia
Their Future Is Difficult and Dangerous
by Irina Pivovarova
by Olesea Corcinscaia
Dahau: Therefrom Nobody Came Back
by by Julia Trombitskaya
Catastrophe of European Jewry
by Eugene Tikhonovich
Homosexuals and Lesbians are Victims
by Erwin Heberl and Amy Alman
The party Loves Movies
by Leonid Mlechin
Anti-Semitism Put in the Pillory
by Harol ISAK
Letters to the Editor
This is the first issue of Collage
in the new year and in the new millennium. Originally we planned to focus
on the minority and majority theme in its various manifestations. However,
in the process of working on the issue some new ideas shaped themselves.
Besides, we have received many letters from young people troubled with
present-day situation in the world. In Austria fascists are controlling
the country. In Latvia war legionaries get awards while many representatives
of ethnic minorities, though having lived in the country their whole life,
are no more its citizens. In Russia anti-Semitic attacks continue and those
against people from the Caucasus. In the neighboring Romania right extremists
gathered a significant number of votes in the Senate and closely follow
socialists. The leader of the right-radical party repeatedly expressed
his opinion against the Roma and Jews ostensibly desecrating the Romanian
nation by their presence in the country.
All these facts provoke thinking.
The acts of violence and discrimination on national, ethnic or linguistic
grounds have recently grown frequent. The browns find more and more supporters
Therefore, beginning with this
issue we open a new section - Modern Fascism, in which we will tell you
about neo-Nazi groupings in Europe, about right extremists coming to power
and about methods of struggling against them. Many people in Moldova associate
fascism only with Germany and World War II. They consider that modern fascism
may exist somewhere in Western Europe, if anywhere at all, and never here.
Nationalist and anti-Semitic slogans as well as search of a «scapegoat»
under the disguise of ethnic minorities that are allegedly to blame for
economic instability make a nourishing ground for fascism. It is an open
secret that we can also come across something of the kind in our country,
though Moldova is one of the most tolerant states in Europe. Such statements
may originate not only with the extreme right.
In the section called Memory we
begin to publish materials about victims of Holocaust and about horrors
of World War II, so that something similar never happened again. At the
European conference of ministers against racial discrimination, intolerance
and xenophobia in Strasbourg held in October 2000, a declaration was worked
out that recommended to introduce to school curriculum Holocaust as a subject.
By the way, some European countries already have this discipline, which
cannot be said about us yet, where on the territory of small country were
killed 300 000 Jews and Roma.
In this issue we also continue
publishing the opinions of young people from both banks of the Dniester,
about the frozen Transdniestrian conflict and ways of its resolution. Moreover,
we plan to devote the following two issues to this very theme. We are looking
forward to getting your letters with response, feedback, and suggestions.
Majority and Minority
What is Minority?
What is Majority? Generally, minority is the opposite of majority and vice
a versa. In a word, we could affirm that what does not constitute majority
represents minority. Between these two, as between the poles of magnet,
there exists a permanent tension, an antagonistic relationship of interests
and principles, of values and views and of form and substance. In everyday
life it can manifest itself in a diversity of forms - Power and Opposition,
Nation and Ethnicities, the World of Business and Mafia, Honesty and Corruption,
Smartness and Stupidity, We and You, etc.
In the course of history, on a regular
basis Power suppressed Opposition, Nation dominated Ethnicities, the World
of Business stood against Mafia, the Honest fought against the Corrupted,
the Smart took advantage of the Stupid and finally We were opposed to You.
It seems that everything is based on this double-sided relationship.
Evolution cannot exist without this relation as progress cannot exist without
contradictions. Zweig recognized this declaring that the most enigmatic
and mysterious human law is that les extremes de touches and contradictions
merge, transform from one into the other.
Minority becomes majority and the
latter transforms into minority. Therefore, in the time of Caligula Christians
represented a dominant religion as, together with a growing number of their
advocates, in 330 AD they made Christianity the official religion of Byzantium.
If we take as an example the sphere of politics, the situation will be
exactly the same: opposition replaces power, whereas ethnicities tend to
compel the state nation to recognize them or erode this state nation. From
the Greece of Solon till the Great French Revolution, with minor exceptions,
minority always dominated over majority. Even when some monarchs
were beheaded, it was not plebeians but usurpers that come instead of them.
In 1789 for the first time in history common people took power to enforce
the dictatorship of majority, i.e. the dictatorship of law. Though it lasted
but a few months, it turned into the most severe period France had ever
known. The dictatorship of majority was resumed, though in different
forms, by Communists, Nazi, fascists and nationalists in various states;
it demonstrated a colossal destructive power and several times served as
a shield - to Stalin, Hitler, and Ceausescu.
Does this mean that power represented
by minority (oligarchs) is preferable to the power represented by majority
(democracy)? No doubt that when democracy has a tendency to quickly regenerate
into dictatorship, oligarchy proves to be more stable. At the same time,
neither assures direct, complete and constant representation of interests
of all citizens. Even if democracy is not an ideal form of governance,
as Aristotle put it, presently it is the only one that allows peaceful
coexistence and co-rotation of majority and minority through free and democratic
elections. By means of a sovereign will of the people, the opposition
and power always exchange roles, which causes a wide representation of
various social and political options.
Yet here appears another problem:
how are the rights of ethnic minorities ensured in democracy? Nationalities
or ethnicities that are in opposition to the nation, as I observed, either
are dominated by the nation or the nation tries to dominate them. In both
cases the consequences of the battle are tragic. In a democracy
mutual tolerance establishes itself between the two parties that is manifested
in economic interdependence and political representation. In present conditions,
in the sphere of economy libertarianism offers a variety of interrelated
individual interests, which provokes a profound interdependence of people
given the conditions of high-tech, capital and foreign labor force. On
a political level, ethnic minorities assure an enormous support to those
political entities that they represent. Usually this takes the shape of
social and political movements of national or ethnic minorities. In developed
states, however, minorities have a certain representation in every socio-political
formation, which renders more stability to political equilibrium. In this
way, no matter whether they are in Opposition or in Power, minorities are
always politically represented.
It is naturally more complicated to
introduce this mode in multinational societies, not highly developed or
being in the period of transition, in which the level of political maturity
is pretty low. The Republic of Moldova is one of the states where the tension
in relations between minority/minorities and majority had serious consequences
and resulted in general aggravation of the countrys position, both domestically
I think it is time to realize that
the battle between Power and Opposition, Nation and Nationalities/Ethnicities
and, finally, between Minority and Majority has to proceed within the legal-democratic
framework, the only one able to ensure progress for all.
by Radu T. Gorincioi
Chisinau Association for Civic Culture and Politics
Ethnic Conflicts and
Ways of Their Resolution
The first definitions of majority and
minority proceeded from quantitative criteria. Later social division into
majority and minority was based on a set of criteria, such as age, color
of the skin, religion, and nationality; besides, some other criteria were
taken into account - social, linguistic, political, cultural, and ethnic.
The above could be combined and a certain group would hardly adhere to
a universal or historically fixed position. Therefore, in a certain society
or in a certain epoch a majority can become a minority and vice versa.
Frequent is the situation when a given group is a majority in one measurement
and a minority in another. For example, blacks in South America constitute
a quantitative majority, but till recently they were a political minority.
Sociological dictionary defines the
notion of minority in a narrower sense stating that it refers to a group
of persons differing as to their race, religion, language or ethnicity.
The dictionary specifies that the group does not make a minority, if it
does not identify itself as distinct from others and, thus, feels a social
inferiority. This is especially true if it is a conscious inferiority.
A very important case of the opposition
majority vs. minority, is the opposition nation vs. ethnic minority. For
a better understanding of the opposition, it is necessary to specify the
meaning of these two terms. French historian Ernst Renan defines nation
as a desire to live together. It is a common consciousness and civilization
created during a long common history. Wherefrom common civilization, culture,
honor and, most often as a result of it, unity of language and religion.
One state can have one nation (in such case we can speak of a mononational/monoethnical
state), many nations (multinational/multi-ethnical state) or only part
of a nation.
The concept of a national state that
appeared during the French Revolution of 1789, excluded the existence of
national/ethnical or cultural minorities and neglected the existence of
religious minorities. Each state should correspond to the set of secondary
meanings of the word opposite to the main meaning of a certain nation and
each nation to its state. Thus, the French nationality means French citizenship:
ethnic belonging, history and language spoken at home are insignificant
for the definition of nation. In the 18 century only a third of the population
of France spoke standard French, while the rest spoke either dialects of
French or others languages functioning on the territory of France - Oxitan,
Catalan, Basque, Breton, Flemish and German. Compulsory comprehensive school
established after 1880 prohibited the use of other languages. Nowadays
as a result of violent actions in Brittany, in the country of the Basques,
and on Corsica as well as under the influence of other European models,
France is compelled to reconsider the evaluation of its linguistic diversity.
The concept of a multinational/multi-ethnical
state is opposite to the concept of a national state. It implies the existence
of national/ethnic minorities. The Permanent Court of International Law
defines minority as a group of persons living in a country or area; belonging
to a certain race and religion; having its own traditions; united by a
feeling of solidarity; having the goal of preserving its traditions and
religious forms; ensuring upbringing and education of children according
to the spirit and traditions of the race and mutually assisting each other.
20 years ago Ivo Duhacek pointed out
that 90% of the then-existed states united within their borders national/ethnic
minorities. Those reached 15% or more of the total population. Almost all
of the rest 10% had minorities beyond the state borders.
An integral national state means the
territory enclosed in some borders where ruling is the law of the strongest,
of the majority of population, of the dominating national/ethnic group.
That is why equality and political freedom are achievable only within the
framework of multinational/multi-ethnic federation.
At the turn of the 20 century, Woodrow
Wilson introduced a new principle of peoples self-determination. Violence
connected with ethnic conflicts found its justification in adapting the
right to self-determination. Any group that presented convincing claims
to its ethnic identity can demand a legal recognition and can take, if
it wants it, measures of self-preservation and political self-expression.
In the world recognizing so many ethnic
groups some of them got into conflict with the states where they live,
or began conflicting among themselves. Ethnic conflicts became a major
global problem and required more and more attention, basically because
of the terrible consequences they entailed. The modern world searched for
new ways of conflict resolution. In this context federalism attracted attention
as a probable form of resolving ethnic conflicts, especially in multinational/multi-ethnic
states with relatively determined ethnic groups. The reason was flexibility
of federal frameworks permitting each nationality/ethnicity enough autonomy
for joint residing. During the last three decades, Yugoslavia, as well
as such other federations as India, Nigeria and Canada, experienced serious
discords, attempts of separation and even violence. These poor examples
caused doubts as to federalism being a perfect way to organize a multi-ethnic
There are arguments against this statement.
There are numerous organizations that can boast of good functioning. It
is true though that among stable federations few are multinational, multi-ethnic,
multilingual and multicultural countries. Nevertheless, Switzerland, which
chronologically appeared as the second confederation in the world, represents
clear evidence in favor of federalism as a successful solution even though
there are diverse linguistic, religious and cultural components. Swiss
peace is based on common security and on economic and political interests
of cantons providing representation of certain linguistic groups, religions,
parties, and cantons.
Sometimes unitarianism and centralism
are a source of instability both in the periphery as in the country of
Basques, and in the center as in Belgium. The problem of tension caused
in multicultural societies by an excessive centralism was resolved by delegating
certain powers of central authority either through regionalism/federalism
as in France, Italy, Spain, and Belgium, or by transforming a centralized
federation into an asymmetric federation as in Canada.
Resolving national/ethnic tension
through regionalism is characterized by interlacing, within the same geographical
framework, of common interests with ethnic and linguistic peculiarities.
As it was mentioned above, some states permitted or introduced in their
legislation political regionalism as regional autonomy. One of such states
is Spain that can be called an incomplete federation, or federation in
formation. Article 2 in the Constitution of Spain admits and guarantees
the right to autonomy of ethnicities and regions. Therefore, trying to
preserve the old state model and also striving for making autonomous its
economically stronger regions in the periphery, Spain took the decision
to introduce regional decentralization, supervising the Basques and the
Catalonians aspiration to separation. The Constitution recognizes the
right of neighboring provinces with common economic, cultural and historic
features to initiate self-governing in autonomous communities. By 1983,
50 Spanish provinces have been transformed into 17 autonomous communities
thus achieving certain independence. Each regional administration has in
its own competence a one-step legislative body.
Belgium illustrates another form of
ethnic and linguistic regionalism that finally determined federalization
of the state of modern European history. During 1970-1980 it passed through
an intermediate stage between federalism and decentralization and later,
facing growing ethnic problems between the Flemish and the Walloons, adopted
a federal state order that was urgently declared in 1994. Belgiums is
a peculiar case of regionalism - changeable regionalism. Thus, in Belgium
there are three communities - French, Flemish and German. From the viewpoint
of territory, Belgium includes three political regions: Walloon region,
Flemish region, and Brussels. From the linguistic point of view it is divided
into four regions: French-language, German-language, bilingual region -Brussels,
and Dutch-language. Alongside these two categories of regionalism, there
are also three cultural regions: French, German, and Flemish.
Ernst Renan said, To belong
to any nation means to deform history to some extent. This statement is
absolutely fair, as within the framework of interethnic conflict it is
very difficult to get an objective position, especially if you belong to
this or that group - majority or minority. One thing is true anyway.
To preserve domestic peace mutual concessions on the part of both majority
and minority groups are absolutely necessary, no matter which administrative
structure has been adopted by the multi-ethnic state - federalization,
confederation, decentralization, or compound union as in the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Kenner considers that the concept
of nationality/ethnicity should be separated from the concept of state
and the more so from the concept of territory, aspiring to autonomy of
individual. People should have the right to choose nationality/ethnicity
as well as they can choose faith.
Nowadays unitary state yields ever
more room to federation having the tendency to globalization. It is possible
that the 21 century will bring about a possibility to create a world federation,
and nationality/ethnicity will be no determining factor.
by Mariana Lunca
Problem of National
Identity of Moldovans
European and global
events of the late 80s - early 90s that marked the termination of the Cold
War and of the opposition between two poles of power - the USA and the
USSR - resulted in both new states, and new nations joining the course
of history. On the ruins of the Soviet Empire there appeared countries,
many of which gained, for the first time in the 20-century, their independence
and a possibility to build their own sovereign state. Moldova is one of
As well as all countries of Central
and Eastern Europe liberated from the Communist yoke, after gaining independence
the Republic of Moldova faced plenty of problems - political, economic,
and social. Democratization of society, transition to market economy, reforms
in management, optimization of social security system, creation of new
administration institutes and civil society were the tasks that the Republic
of Moldova had to consider and solve from the very beginning of its independent
existence. However, not only methods and speed of reforms distinguished
our country from the neighbors, but also the presence of another very specific
problem - the problem of national identity of Moldova's population. Strange
as it may seem, we had to answer the questions very simple for others,
but complicated for ourselves: what are we, the inhabitants of this new
independent state? What do all of us have in common besides the past? What
unites us today, and what ideas do we share?
The idea of national revival turned
into one of the main mobilizing factors of the society at the beginning
of the 90s. In Moldova few were the people who clearly understood what
was its essence and what was it necessary to begin with. The only thing
that caused no doubts with the new political elite was reviving the Moldovan/Romanian
language and granting it the status of a state language.
The language struggle, which started
even before the declaration of independence, for the majority of the population
has become a symbol of national revival of Moldova. Unfortunately, this
struggle had not only a mobilizing, but also disintegrating potential.
Some politically active representatives of ethnic minorities of the Republic
of Moldova - Ukrainians, Russians, Gagauzians, Bulgarians and others -
turned out not to be ready for radical changes in the language policy of
the new state. They perceived declaring Moldovan/Romanian the state language
as an attempt to exclude them from active public life. In Moldova, in contrast
to, say, Baltic States, a very liberal language law was adopted. Nevertheless,
in late 80e - early 90s it caused a wave of discontent among the part of
the population that did not speak Moldovan/Romanian. Linguistic disputes
developed into political discord among new political formations and between
the center and regions. Language problem became a political problem.
I will not describe the events of
1989 -1992 in Moldova in detail. I will only state that some political
conflicts inside the country that started with adapting the language law
have not been resolved till now. The most burning problem is that of Trans-Dniestria.
A thin strip of land in the eastern part of the country, along the left
bank of the Dniester is still supervised by the separatist regime that
was established there in 1990. In 1992 we failed to prevent an armed conflict
between Chisinau and Tiraspol, administrative center of Trans-Dniestria.
With clashes lasting 4-5 months, both parties suffered heavy losses. The
Trans-Dniestrian conflict that started with language problems very quickly
evolved into pure political opposition. It should be noted that Trans-Dniestria
is multiethnic: though most of the population consider themselves Moldovans
- 40%, 25% think they are Ukrainians and 24 % - Russians. Soon problems
related to interethnic relations, language, and culture ceased to be principal
and were ousted by claims of political, economic, financial, and defense
independence, even complete state and political independence.
Moldovan administration in Chisinau
also had a conflict with separatism in the South of the country, in places
of compact Gagauzians' residence. That problem was successfully solved
in 1994 when Gagauzians received territorial-administrative as well as
cultural autonomy. Those conflicts divided us then and keep us divided
today. Moreover, they are an extreme manifestation of the contradictions
tearing apart Moldovan society.
At the beginning of the 90s, the new
political administration of Moldova lost its power in an attempt to execute
a gradual transition from the idea of strengthening independence of the
country to the idea of uniting the Republic of Moldova with Romania. In
1994, new political forces replaced nationalists-unionists that dominated
in the first years of independence. They consistently acted in favor of
Moldova's independent development and consolidating the new Moldovan statehood.
The parliamentary elections of 1994 with mass support of the political
parties acting for strengthening independence of the Republic of Moldova
vividly demonstrated that the priority of most inhabitants of the country
was sovereign statehood. Since 1994 in the Parliament of Moldova many parties,
blocks and alliances have replaced one another, but those acting for independence
of Moldova have constantly dominated. Today it is hard to imagine the repetition
of the situation of1990-1993 when the majority of administration was the
supporters of uniting Moldova with Romania.
Nevertheless, it does not automatically
solve the identity problem for our population. There is a state and there
are political borders, but within the framework of these there are no certain
uniform cultural standards to permit stating the existence of a uniform
nation. Discrepancy of cultural and political borders is a major problem
in national construction, and its main task is making them coincide.
As 10 years ago, in the present-day
Republic of Moldova there are roughly three basic identification orientations:
Soviet, Romanian and Moldovan. The first is represented basically by the
people of the elder generation, for whom the disintegration of the Soviet
Union was a personal tragedy. They failed to recover from the events that
took place in late 80s-early 90s and could not find their place in a new
life. This orientation found its embodiment in some political forces; first
of all, it is the leaders of separatist regime of Trans-Dniestrian region
(by the way, in Soviet time this region completely depended on the orders
of the USSR military and industrial complex). Then it is a conservative
part of the Communist Party as well as a number of left radical parties
and cultural and enlightening societies. These people consider themselves
Soviet people rather than Russians, Ukrainians, Moldovans, etc. In the
hierarchy of self-identifications the preference is given to the Soviet
identity. It is worth mentioning that of the number of such people becomes
smaller and smaller both for natural and biological reasons and because
of gradually growing understanding that there is no way back. Their influence
on public opinion of the country decreases.
Pro-Romanian orientation in the Republic
of Moldova, after its triumph at the beginning of 90s, stabilized as to
the popularity it enjoys, but became the most aggressively advertised ideology.
Politically it is embodied in the right extremist organization called the
National Popular Christian-Democratic Party, former National Front and
a number of other right parties, public organizations and cultural societies.
These forces are represented in the Parliament, but since 1994 have constantly
been a minority. Nationalism in the Republic of Moldova differs from nationalism
of other countries only by the fact, that unlike in other places, it sees
its goal in the destruction of the state, in which it has arisen.
The main slogans of these people are
the following: the basic part of the population of the Republic of Moldova
are not Moldovans, but Romanians; the territory of the Republic of Moldova
is a part of Romania, unfairly "cut off from an integral national body
" by Russian occupants in 1812 and then in 1940; unification of the Republic
of Moldova and Romania is realization of olden expectations and aspirations
of the Romanian people to unity.
Let us dwell on the analysis of the
identity of this part of the population Moldova. Pro-Romanian propaganda
in our country is based mostly on myths. One of them is about " dismembering
an integral national organism " in 1812, which does not hold true. "Cutting
off" a part of territory from "an integral national organism " in 1812
could not take place for the sole reason of the absence of the latter.
At the beginning of the 19 century, Walachian and Moldovan principalities
were patriarchal, traditionalist communities, in which mass existence of
Romanian national identity was out of the question. Peasants, an overwhelming
majority of the population in the two Danube principalities, considered
themselves belonging to a village, a local community, a boyar or, at the
best, to a region, but in no way to an integral Romanian nation, which
had not yet existed. Among local aristocracy, the boyars, the ideas of
being Romanians and belonging to the Romanian nation began to spread after
1830, which was caused by European influence as the children of Moldovan
boyars started receiving education in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and Rome.
At that time there was almost no local so-called middle class in Danube
principalities; businesspeople and people of free professions were mostly
Greeks, Armenians, and later Jews. Who were the carriers of the idea of
Romanian nation then?
Concerning the national construction
according to European pattern - as first in France and then in Germany
- in Moldova behind the Pruth and in Walachia - and later in Romania when
the two Danube principalities were united in 1859 - it began to develop
in the second half of the19 century. It was extremely imitative and with
pretence to look European: transition to hereditary monarchy, changing
writing to the Latin alphabet, clothes, architecture, the French language,
etc. Bessarabia, i.e. present-day territory of the Republic of Moldova,
was outside of these transformations. Bessarabians came to know from their
relatives and acquaintances in Romania about the events happening there
- invitation to the throne of an Austro-Hungarian Protestant king, transition
to the Latin writing, etc. Bessarabian peasants went to the church and
put candles for pardoning the sins of their neighbors, as they considered
that devil got into them. They considered Romania painfully going along
the way of modernization to be an evil empire where everyone turned away
from the true faith. They, Bessarabians, continued a natural, normal existence
under the protection of Orthodox tzar, monarch of their faith. The population
of Bessarabia was outside the processes of national construction and modernization
taking place behind the Pruth, in Romania.
The ideas of united Romania were alien
to the majority of the population of Bessarabia, as any national ideas
were alien to any individual living in a feudal epoch. Neither did pro-Romanian
ideas find much distribution when on the map of Europe there appeared Greater
Romania (1918), in whose borders Bessarabia was included. This province
of Romania was and remained the most backward territory, with the population
being mostly illiterate, though the literacy level relatively grew compared
to 1914. Bessarabia had an undeveloped infrastructure and the highest death
rate in Romania. Feeling a constant threat of losing Bessarabia, in the
time between the wars the changing governments of Romania did not make
any investments in this province. Even active adherents of Romanization
of Bessarabia had to admit the disastrous conditions of its population.
Under the circumstances, the Romanian national idea had little chance of
rooting and developing in this province.
The paradox of Moldova lies in the
fact that modernization on its territory - development of transport, industry,
educational system, etc. - took place in the Soviet time. The Soviet administration
promoted the attached territories with the idea to achieve their complete
integration - economic, political, and ideological - in the uniform
imperial system. At first, Moscow in every possible way stimulated the
growth of Moldovan self-consciousness in the population of the Republic
of Moldova that had the name of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
then. It went on making experiments with creating a Moldavian nation that
had been undertaken by the Soviet authorities on the left bank of the Dniester
in the period between the wars, in the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist
Republic. For example, there had been attempts to create an artificial
Moldavian language distinct from Romanian. It should have become attractive
for Bessarabians included in the structure of Romania. The construction
of a Moldovan identity was supposed to alienate them from Romania, and
in due course to develop in them a Soviet identity, a conscious belonging
to a united community called the Soviet people.
We have to admit that the policy of
the Communist leadership was rather successful. In Moldova a dissident
movement was non-existent, while manifestations of nationalism, e.g. underground
organizations, public demonstrations, etc. were insignificant, incidental
and quickly suppressed.
The situation changed with easing
political pressure from the imperial center. All conditions were created
for the development of nationalism and national ideas - a relatively advanced
country, intellectual elite capable of shaping these ideas, educated population
ready to comprehend and accept the ideas. No wonder that creating a separate
Moldovan nation became the dominant idea.
This is much about the Soviet and
Romanian identities. They both can be roughly called marginal cultures,
though both are sometimes very successful working against the statehood
of the Republic of Moldova. Concerning the idea of an integral Moldovan
nation, results of all elections - presidential, parliamentary, and
local as well as recent polls clearly testify to the choice of the population
in favor of the Moldovan statehood, sovereignty and independence of the
Republic of Moldova. For example, the poll of 1994 Consulting the
People proved that about 90 % of those participating, i.e. about 75% of
those having the right to vote were for the independence of Moldova.
Lately in Moldova the concept of a
citizens' Moldovan nation takes roots when belonging to a nation is determined
by citizenship. The prospects of national construction and consolidating
a new, modern Moldovan nation directly depend on the success of reforms
in our country. The desire to keep Moldovan citizenship is the desire to
live in this country, the desire to belong to the Moldovan nation. The
set of its essentials involves real democracy, protection of human rights,
decent standard of living, aspiration to stability, and European integration.
Xenophobia and policy of suppression of other ethnicities is alien to the
Moldovan nation. It does not recognize such terminology of exclusion as
indigenous and non-indigenous population, title and non-title ethnic groups,
historical rights and cherished expectations, etc. At the level of national
identity, all citizens of the Republic of Moldova are Moldovans. Only persons
belonging to minorities may have additional rights. On these principles
we build a new, modern European nation that should join a common family
of European democracies.
In Europe and all over the world people
should know that the Moldovans, citizens of the Republic of Moldova, are
full of resolution to go along the way of democracy, that the Moldovan
nation is not merely a prospect, but already a reality. The Moldovan nation,
as Renan said, is a daily plebiscite and we are ready to take decently
the challenges of our epoch. We, Moldovans, appreciate the support of international
community that should know that here in Moldova we value independence and
latest democratic achievements. We value our sovereignty, but are ready
to share it within the framework of united, democratic, stable and prospering
Europe. All other applicants for the Moldovan sovereignty are not invited.
Alexei Tulbure, MA in History
This article was written and submitted to the editor
before the early parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova took
Ethnic Minorities in
Chisinau is a multi-ethnical
and poly-cultural city with inhabitants representing various ethnicities
- Moldovans, Ukrainians, Russians, Gagauzians, Bulgarians, Jews, etc. These
ethnic groups have lived here for many years. In spite of the fact that
at the end of the 80s - beginning of the 90s many representatives of ethnic
minorities abandoned Moldova, today their part is still big in Chisinau.
However, compared to the Soviet period, the position of ethnic minorities
in sovereign Moldova has significantly changed. Staying at the same residence,
they as if have moved to another country. Today they have to organize their
life in a new fashion, not only adapting to new social and economic reality,
but also trying to find a niche in the country where all ideological, political,
historical, cultural and language priorities are given to the Moldovan
By the middle of the 90s, the most
acute problems of ethnic minorities adapting to a changing environment
have been ethno-political and linguistic.
Following the example of the Baltic
and Trans-Caucasian countries, in its initial period of state formation
Moldova adopted a number of laws somehow infringing interests of national
minorities. (Editor's Note: Unlike the Baltic countries, here all inhabitants
of the country, irrespective of their ethnic belonging, received Moldovan
citizenship). For example, according to the laws on language and on state
service, the replacement of all managerial positions as well as those involving
communication was caused by the requirement of state-language proficiency.
By the way, according to the census of 1989, for 68.5% of the inhabitants
of Moldova Russian was the mother tongue or the second language, of which
they had an excellent proficiency.
According to materials of ethno-sociological
investigation carried out in Chisinau by the collaborators of the Institute
of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russia's Academy of Science together with
the Institute of Ethnic Minorities, Moldova's Academy of Science, two thirds
of Russians and Ukrainians had poor or nonexistent state-language proficiency.
Among Bulgarians and Gagauzians this category was considerably smaller
- 40-44%. Russian and Ukrainians, despite lower state-language proficiency
compared to Bulgarians and Gagauzians, expressed less intention to improve
their language skills. Russian was absolutely dominant with all respondents.
It was somewhat less used in labor sphere: at work all ethnic of groups
under investigation use to some extent both the state language (14-22%),
and their mother tongue (18-29%). In family communication, Russians and
Ukrainians predominantly speak the Russian language, while Bulgarians and
Gagauzians often use their mother tongues.
In early 90s in Moldova there was
an essential reduction of number of schools with instruction in Russian.
If most respondents from all ethnic groups, who had studied in the Soviet
period, had attended Russian schools (from 84% with Bulgarians to 94% with
Russians), among their children the share of those attending Russian schools
was considerably lower - from 32% with Bulgarians to 55% with Russians.
When the question was which school respondents would prefer now, the first
was Russian school with Russians, Ukrainians and Bulgarians. 29% of Russians
and 24% of Ukrainians were in favor of Russian-Moldovan school. Gagauzians
have demonstrated practically equal choices of the two: Russian-Moldovan
school (30%) and Russian school (29%). Schools with instruction in the
corresponding mother tongue were the choice of 19% of Bulgarians and 14%
It is essential that to the item of
the questionnaire whether, alongside Moldovan, there should be a second
state language in Moldova an overwhelming majority of the respondents (70-80
%) answered in the affirmative stating that such language should be Russian.
Ethno-linguistic factor made a significant
influence on the sphere of labor and social mobility. The state language
proficiency became a requirement with job employment, promotion, and admission
to high schools and colleges. At the same time, quite often representatives
of ethnic minorities speaking the Moldovan language enjoyed less advantage
in employment than Moldovans. Thus, according to the data of our research,
one third of respondents with Russian, Ukrainian, and Bulgarian background
as well as over one fifth of Gagauzians expressed an opinion that their
ethnic belonging rendered a negative influence on their job promotion.
Hardships of the economic crisis that
took hold of Moldova in the 90s were felt the sharpest by representatives
of ethnic minorities. According to estimation of family budget provided
by the respondents from ethnic of minorities in Chisinau, over 40% of those
questioned had money enough only to purchase food products or did not have
enough money even for this. Especially low was the estimation of family
budget with Bulgarians (46%). Among Gagauzians such answers were less numerous
(33%). An overwhelming majority of those questioned (from 50% with Gagauzians
to 70% with Russians) proved to be completely dissatisfied with their financial
A drastic deterioration of the economic
situation in Moldova that brought about a lower living standard of the
entire population in the middle of 90s resulted in many ethno-linguistic
problems shifting to the background, though unresolved. Equality in poverty
triggered the beginning of a new stage in mutual adaptation of ethnic groups
in the population of Moldova. According to statistics (Statistical Newsletter.
Chisinau, 1998, # 2, p.2), a major part of family budget of Moldova's inhabitants
(68%) went for food, while the ability of the population to purchase other
goods and services was very limited. 77% of townspeople, including representatives
of the ethnic majority, had a per capita average income of 200 lei, i.e.$34
US or less.
In these conditions important is a
positive population's perception of socio- economic transformations taking
place in the country and active participation in new market structures.
More than a fifth part of Russians, Ukrainians, Gagauzians and a somewhat
smaller part of Bulgarians have estimated the market reforms carried out
in Moldova more or less positively. Approximately each tenth respondent
has participated in some entrepreneur activity, and almost every third
would like to. Among Bulgarians the share of those who expressed such a
desire was the highest reaching almost 40%. Meantime, the opinion of numerous
respondents (from 40% of Ukrainians and Gagauzians to 50% of Bulgarians)
was that representatives of ethnic minorities had less opportunity than
Moldovans to get engaged in business.
According to the materials yielded
by the research of 1998, in post-Soviet space conditions, extremely topical
becomes the issue of citizenship identity. An overwhelming majority of
respondents (96-98%) were the citizens Moldova. However, every 4-5th respondent
answered in the affirmative when asked about a wish to change the citizenship.
The representatives of all ethnic groups, with the exception of Gagauzians,
expressed preference in favor of their historical motherland, while the
latter, having no state outside Moldova, gave preference to Moldovan citizenship.
Negative influence of ethno-linguistic
factors on different aspects of life of ethnic minorities in Moldova persists.
Nevertheless, they are mostly characterized by interethnic tolerance. Estimating
interethnic relations in Chisinau, only 15-18% of the representatives of
minorities called them tense and 25-30% of the respondents expressed the
consideration that interethnic relations in the city would improve with
In these conditions, it is crucial
for the authorities of the republic to strengthen positive tendencies taking
advantage of the situation for the development of parity interethnic relations.
It is important to preserve and make better use of the rich labor and cultural
potential of the minorities living in Moldova. In the questionnaire there
is a point: " What policy of the Moldovan government towards ethnic minorities
would you approve? " The answers were the following. From 22% of Ukrainians
to 42% of Russians answered stating strict observance of human rights.
From 14% of Gagauzians to 37% of Russians chose providing free-of-charge
vocational training. From 12% of Ukrainians to 29 % of Russians and Bulgarians
mentioned help in studying the state language and from 8% of Gagauzians
to 25% of Bulgarians appreciate help in organizing ethno-cultural centers.
S. S. Kuroglo, Ph.D. in Science,
L.V. Ostapenco, Ph.D in History,
I.V. Subbotina, senior scientific collaborator
of the Center for Studying Interethnic Relations with the Institute of
Ethnology and Anthropology of Russias Academy of Science.
ETHNIC MAJORITY AND MINORITY
As a result of a 10-year opposition between the two banks of the Dniester
River, two absolutely different perceptions of the events have been developed.
A new generation of people has grown that does not remember Moldova as
a single whole. Mass media of the both parties have contributed a lot to
the creation of an image of enemy. As far as the Transdniestrian press
is concerned, it is actually engaged by the local authorities and reflects
exclusively their position. As far as the press of the right bank is concerned,
both Romanian-language and Russian-language editions should change their
policy towards the left bank. Mass media of the right bank should not see
the population of the left bank - Ukrainian, Russian, Moldovan, etc. -
as enemies. On the contrary, they should promote rapprochement of the two
parties. Nevertheless, to begin reuniting the country, which is for long
a no-headway-making process, the citizens, especially young, from both
banks need to know what their peers on the other bank think. Therefore,
we found it possible to offer a publication of these views, which may cause
an ambiguous reaction the readers.
National pride is the cheapest kind of pride
Strange as it may seem, at the end
of the 20th century, the issues of relations between different peoples
and ethnic groups appear extremely sharp. A number of local conflicts burst
out in Europe - wars in former Yugoslavia that involved the Serbs, Albanians,
Croatians, Moslems, the conflicts between the Georgians and the Abkhazians
as well as between the Georgians and the Osetians, the conflict between
the Armenians and the Azerbaijanians in Karabakh. They reminded that the
relations between different peoples that had for rather a long time lived
peacefully with each other might transform into a bloody repartition of
territories, death and destruction. It happened when certain political
forces put up the question of ethnic belonging and a privileged right of
one ethnicity over others.
At a closer study of the conflict
between Transdniestria and the Republic of Moldova that also turned into
a military opposition, we can see that the ethnic issue has become a major
factor in the conflict arising. At the end of 1988, in Moldova there started
the formation of the Popular Front. With no sanction, but without counter-action
of the authorities, in the center of Kishinev, in Victory Park some relatively
small informal groups began to gather. They included from several dozens
to a couple of hundreds participants. The groups had a nationalistic orientation
and called themselves a Perestroika support movement, Mateevici circle,
etc. They, as well as a group of Moldavian writers, demanded granting Moldavian
the status of the state language and its transferring into the Romanian
writing. Multiple were accusations of the CPSU, KGB and Soviet power. Russians
and other non-indigenous inhabitants of Moldavia were accused as resettled
by Moscow to enslave Moldavians. In view of these events, in November of
1988, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Moldavia (CPM), the
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet and the Council of Ministers of the Moldavian
Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR) published the abstract called Asserting
Perestroika with Concrete Deeds. It stated that the Moldavian language
required no state language status, that its original attire was of the
Cyrillic writing, that interethnic attacks were inadmissible, etc. However,
in January and February the nationalistic groups united and after gatherings
in the park every Sunday, using the connivance of authorities, would arrange
processions in the center of Kishinev that regularly blocked the traffic
for several hours. The number of the Popular Front supporters grew with
every Sunday. In February they endeavored to storm the government buildings.
In March of 1989 the scared authorities
of the MSSR published the Bills about granting Moldavian the status of
the state language. They left a minor role to Russian, but it still was
to keep the function of a means of interethnic communication. Soon the
Literatura si Arta newspaper published purely nationalistic Bills - the
so-called variant of the MSSR Writers Union.. They deprived Russian even
of the above-mentioned role and, thus, confined it to the sphere of everyday
routine and private life. The national discussion of the Bills was not
really made by the entire nation. Kishinev newspapers printed only nationalistic
opinions; these were preferable even in the Dnstrovskaya Pravda (Dniestrian
Truth) Tiraspol newspaper. In this context, in Kishinev an international
movement began to evolve. On May 5th, one of its leaders, Prof. Lisetsky
gave a lecture on the subject for the first time in Tiraspol explaining
to the people the essence of the situation and the necessity of political
struggle with nationalism.
On May 8th, in Tiraspol a meeting
took place to inaugurate the Memorial to Victims of Nazi Occupation at
which the protest of Tiraspol citizens against language discrimination
was voiced for the first time. It is worth mentioning that the City Committee
of the CPM, the official organizer of the meeting, did not give the floor
to V. Lesnichenko before the meeting was closed. The persistence and courage
of the latter helped him to get the microphone. That was the period when
the population began to demand organizing a meeting. The City Committee
of the CPM hindered its taking place. Nevertheless, on May 11th at The
40-th Anniversary of All-Union Young Communist League industrial sewing
association the meeting of protest against the threat of nationalism did
take place. On May 12th , they held an open party meeting on the same issue.
5000 signatures were put under the appeal to the Central Committee of the
CPM demanding to recognize Russian as the state language alongside Moldavian.
On May 23rd, the same requirement was put forward by the 10th session of
the City Council of Tiraspol.
In June groups of Yedinstvo (Unity)
interethnic movement began to arise in Tiraspol, and at the end of the
month its leaders actively participated in the constituent congress of
the movement in Kishinev. The City Committee of the CPM, and its
first secretary L. Turcan in particular, tried to prevent their trip. Subsequently,
the session of the City Committee of the CPM adopted the resolution actually
directed against interethnic movement. Similar events occurred in other
places of Transdniestria. The Central Committee of the CPM displayed no
counteraction to the Popular Front that had succeeded by the time in uniting
all nationalistic forces into a single organization and in fighting every
opposition. One should take into account a specific public atmosphere of
the summer of 1989, the fifth year of Perestroika. The press kept writing
about the necessity of changes, exposing old lie and crime and calling
for civil activity. Everyone was looking forward to changes for the better,
ready to help them happen and serve society with concrete deeds. Against
this background especially intolerable would be returning to state and
party lies or replacement of the Communist Party dictatorship with a nationalistic
dictatorship. The aspiration of the people to progressive changes manifested
itself at the following stage connected with the creation of the United
Council of Labor Collectives (UCLC) in Transdniestria.
The Councils of Labor Collective that
began to appear in pre-Gorbacheov period had by that time already existed
at the enterprises for rather long and managed to get some experience.
Traditional forms of authority were obviously paralyzed - neither the Central
Committee of the CPM, nor the Council of Ministers, nor the Supreme Soviet
of the MSSR could or wanted to undertake any measures against growing nationalism.
Under the circumstances the Councils of Labor Collective as part and parcel
of the working movement succeeded in taking the initiative. When representatives
of interethnic movement from Tiraspol addressed them, it turned out possible
and easy to organize a city conference that was held in Tiraspol on August
1st, 1989. The UCLC was elected led by B. Stefan and plunged into work
vigorously. The decision was taken to insist on holding an extraordinary
session of the City Council and the work started on organizing a warning
strike. By the middle of August it has become obvious that the developers
of the Bills on language were going to neglect the opinion of the Russian-speaking
population of Moldavia. Then the session of the Supreme Soviet of the MSSR
scheduled for August 29th would face a new bill, even more restraining
interests of the non-Moldavian population. On August 16th the UCLC managed
to successfully hold a two-hour warning strike.
Despite the strike in which more than
30,000 people took part, the opinion of Tiraspol workers was utterly neglected
by the ruling top of Moldavia. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the
MSSR of August 19th recommended discriminating language bills for
discussion at the following session. On August 21st, Monday, the suspended
strike was resumed with a new force. The workers of many enterprises stopped
the work even before the administration came to the shops. On discussing
the situation, the UCLC tried to postpone mass actions to the weekend,
but eventually was compelled to go with the popular enthusiasm that it
completely shared. Fortunately, in Tiraspol UCLC ordinary workers prevailed
(cf. Estonian SSR where, on the contrary, only three persons out of several
dozens were not directors, which caused further defeat of the UCLC). On
August 22nd, a mass meeting took place at Tiraspol stadium. Beginning with
August 23rd, the strike became general and enterprises of Bendery, Rybnitsa,
Komrat, Kishinev, and Beltsy joined in. The authorities of the Moldavian
SSR completely neglected the requirements of those on strike. On session
of the Supreme Soviet adopted the laws that were discriminating in its
essence. A month of strike did not help Transdniestria to reach the goal
Heinrich Heine must have been right
saying that history teaches that it teaches nothing. The authorities of
the then Soviet Moldavia overlooked the opinion of a large part of the
community. Their unwillingness to make a compromise yielded no good. Social
tension grew; Transdniestria actually stopped obeying Kishinev. On September
2nd, 1990 the Trans-Dniestrian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (TMSSR)
was proclaimed. One may find some sly implication in the name of the republic.
It is common knowledge that in Trans-dniestria the etnicities are mostly
Slavic - 29 % of Russians, 29 % of Ukrainians, 3 % of Bulgarians, 2 % of
Poles, the total being 63 %. The Romance language group is represented
by 33% of Moldavians. There are also 2% of Gagauzians belonging to
the Turk language group, while the share of other peoples makes up 2%.
Later, due to new tendencies, the abbreviation TMSSR lost two S standing
for Soviet Socialist. However, the word Moldavian was kept in spite
of proposals to omit it.
The reason behind it is that authorities
of Trans-dniestria, in contrast to the policy dictated by the Republic
of Moldova, insist that the Moldavian language should keep the Cyrillic
writing. In Transdniestria the Moldavian language, as opposed to Moldova,
is taught with the Cyrillic alphabet. It is necessary to mention that Moldavian
students from Transdniestria experience difficulties while applying for
universities of Moldavia. In Kishinev they often refer to it as violation
of human rights of Moldavians. In Transdniestria they put aside all these
accusations and, in their turn, fill local newspapers with various materials
about suppressing Russian-language mass media in Kishinev.
Talking about language policy in particular,
the Trans-dniestrian authorities repeatedly refer to the basic code of
the region - the Constitution. According to article 12 of the Transdniestrian
Constitution, the languages of three biggest ethnic groups - Moldavian,
Russian and Ukrainian - are proclaimed official languages that enjoy equal
rights. All the record management and government documentation, as well
as Orders and Laws adopted by Trans-dniestrian Parliament are published
on all the three official languages.
There is practically no interethnic
discord in Trans-dniestria worth speaking of. During the military conflict
of 1992 in Transdniestrian armed forces there were both Moldavians, and
Russians, and Ukrainians. Among the names of those perished one can read
last names belonging to people of various ethnic groups.
In Transdniestria there are numerous
ethnic public organizations: Ukrainian Cultural Society called Chervona
Kalyna, Union of Trans-dniestrian Moldavians, Society of Gagauzian Culture,
Society of Jewish Culture and Jewish Agency for Israel, Society of Bulgarian
Culture named Svyastno Tsvete, Russian community, etc. These societies
do not always perform cultural and enlightening activities. Through them
Trans-dniestria tries to establish international connections on an official
Transdniestrian leaders, giving interviews
to foreign mass media, constantly emphasize that in Transdniestria there
is no ethnic disagreement, no issue of ethnic minority or majority, no
domination of one nation over another, and no concept of title nation.
It is worth mentioning that authorities of the Republic of Moldova do not
have much to boast in this respect.
By way of conclusion we can say that,
in our subjective opinion, various political forces, both in Moldavia,
and in Transdniestria try to play an ethnic card, only in Transdniestria
it is termed policy of internationalism, opposed to official Kishinev.
The Republic of Moldova merely indulges this, closing various Russian radio
stations, which gives a pretext to the authorities of uncompromising Transdniestria
to get assured that the way covered by this region in 10 years is correct
19 years old, or.Tiraspol
All Men are Created Equal
One can hardly say that sexual minorities
is the most topical subject in our country. Focusing attention on economic
problems, our society tries not to notice issues that are minor in its
opinion and that in the West are, on the contrary, promoted to the rank
of major ones.
Beginning with what age should two
persons of the same sex be allowed cohabitation? Can homosexuals have a
church wedding? Do they have the inheritance right? These and other disputable
questions are solved differently in different developed countries and provoke
ambiguous reaction of representatives of supreme legislative bodies, whose
legal confirmation of vital necessities is required.
It is known that northern states - Denmark, Sweden and
Norway for many years have had the most liberal attitude to gays and lesbians.
For example, in 1981 Norway became the first country in the world that
introduced the amendment to the Criminal Code which does not allow discrimination
based on sexual orientation. Later, in 1987 the same amendment was introduced
in Denmark and Sweden. These very countries made the most progress in this
direction. They accepted the Law on Partnership/Law on marriage
that completed the work of many organizations started in the 1970s - Denmark
in 1989, Norway in 1993 and Sweden - in 1995. As a matter of fact, this
law is revolutionary and it adjusts the mutual financial and legal rights
and responsibilities between partners, on the one hand, and between couples
and society that should accept such marriages, on the other. The present
legal act means that homosexual couples can be in almost the same legal
position as heterosexual, including full rights of inheritance, property,
pension and insurance (state and private), the right of social security,
and the right of legal support in case of divorce, its procedure being
the same for all marriages. It is necessary that at least one of the partners
should be a citizen of and live in the country, where this law is in force.
At the same time, homosexual couples do not have a right to adopt children,
wed in church, set trusteeship and are not recognized outside the countries
accepting this law.
Not only Sweden, Norway and Denmark
banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. The same path was taken
by Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Finland, France, Iceland, Southern Africa,
Spain, Netherlands and other countries in which lesbians and gays have
their legal status and are recognized by the law. On the whole, out of
212 countries of the world, excluding the USA, gay status is legal in 88
states and lesbian status in only 79 states.
As to the Republic of Moldova, the
position of gays is legalized here, i.e. the existed criminal liability
for sodomy between adult persons has been cancelled. In the Criminal Code
there remains the article providing responsibility for forced sodomy, i.e.
for acts against people under age or those involving physical/psychical
violence. Status of lesbians is neglected in the Criminal Code and their
actions are not regulated by the law. Despite the declaration of the main
human rights and freedoms, in many national documents, beginning with the
Constitution, marriage contracts are stated to be signed between
a man and a woman; thereby rights of sexual minorities are restrained.
It also refers to ratification of the international acts in the field of
the human rights, to the Code on Marriage and Family of the Republic of
Unfortunately, the rights of sexual
minorities are infringed not only on the level of legislation, but
also in everyday life. This is not homosexual relations propagation. This
is stating a lack of minimal respect to the rights of person to self-identification
and self-expression. This is stressing the necessity of tolerant attitude
to all minorities in society.
I for one do not understand why a man who walks holding
hands with another man provokes contemptuous smiles and spiteful words
in our society and why a man who walks with a woman, even if he treats
her harrassingly, evokes empathy and approval. Maybe critical approach
to conventions will help us to get rid of groundless prejudice to sexual
minorities? I want to emphasize again that, in my opinion, what matters
is not who you spend your life with, but how you spend it, how much warmth
you give to those around you and what is there in your soul.
May be of much good for our society would be a full legalization
of sexual minorities. This is the situation not only in the West, but also
in a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, e.g. in Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Estonia, Lithuania, Georgia, and Ukraine. The proof is in the
materials of International Association of Lesbians and Gays founded in
by Nadejda Mazur
Gays left underground
Last year I happened to spend a
day in the most liberal city of Europe - Amsterdam, where drugs are legally
sold in the streets, where sex-shops are a most widespread kind of shops,
and where in the downtown there is a monument to male force and fertility
symbol - phallus. However, it was not what struck me most. Being on an
escalator to the second floor of a supermarket, I saw two guys passionately
kissing each other. They seemed to pay no attention to people around them,
while those paid absolutely no attention to them. As I understood later,
such scenes in Amsterdam, as well as in other cities of Europe, were not
rare, but constituted a part of daily routine. In no way can this be said
about the post-Soviet space, where until recently sodomy was criminally
In all civilized countries there are
organizations for homosexuals and lesbians, special discos and clubs where
they get acquainted and merrily spend their leisure time. In some cities,
for example in Paris, there are whole regions, the so-called ghettoes for
Here in Moldova, until lately people
with non-traditional sexual orientation were disconnected. Only on January
17 of the current year, in Chisinau a meeting of representatives of sexual
minorities was held that gradually developed into a constituent conference
of the public movement of homosexuals and lesbians of Moldova called Rainbow.
The address adopted at the conference ran: "We are not going to recruit
anybody to our faith. We reject any violence. The society should be aware
that there exists homosexuality as a phenomenon in the republic; there
are homosexuals that cannot enter certain public relations with representatives
of sexual majority
We appeal to the people of good will to reconsider
their attitude and accept us as we are, not to insult us only for the fact
that we are of an alternative sexual orientation".
A little earlier there came out the first issue of the
Mirror cultural and enlightening magazine devoted to problems of gender
relations, whose chief editor is the Director of the GenderDoc-M Gender
Information Center Alexei Marchkov. It is going to have two issues a year.
The magazine touches upon the rules of safe sex, gay symbols, Chisinau
prostitutes and many other things not necessarily related to sexual minorities.
The GenderDoc-M Center was registered
in 1998 and to the present moment, in spite of numerous difficulties, managed
to do a lot. For example, in Chisinau two international seminars were held,
to which mass media representatives were also invited. At the seminars,
they spoke about both psychology and physiology of homosexuality, about
the legislation in Moldova and former Soviet countries and about problems
that the representatives of sexual minority have to face.
First of all, it has already been proven by medicine
that sexual attraction between individuals of the same sex is not a disease;
it may be of two kinds - innate and acquired. The innate one is generic,
as a biological program, and then it cannot be changed. Acquired homosexuality
is mostly accounted for by social and psychological reasons. By the way,
a public poll has testified that about 48% of men and 28% of women had
at least one same-sex contact in their life. The motives were various -
weak will, durable stay in one-sex collectives, cession to friends persuasion,
curiosity and mere manifestation of depravity. In any case, the attitude
to homosexuals and lesbians as to social outcasts is completely unmotivated.
It is their choice, their right, and their life.
Secondly, criminal liability for unisexual
love was cancelled in our country five years ago; nevertheless, police
keeps arresting gays and lesbians and blackmailing is frequent. ??????
are still the only places in the city where homosexuals meet. The police
come there not only for taunting them, beating and taking away money or
clothes from them, but for cruel and rude sex as well. They mostly do not
think of gays as human beings. If you call the police, introduce yourself
as a journalist and ask whether homosexuals happened to be arrested recently,
the answer is full of four-letter words. No wonder that in Chisinau numerous
murders have been recorded caused by homophobia.
Thirdly, officially Moldovan Orthodox Church does not
recognize homosexuality as such and accordingly considers both gays and
lesbians to be sinners and perverts.
Young gays have lots of problems.
Their peers scoff at them; it is difficult for them to confess their alternative
orientation to their parents, who dream of grandchildren; as a result it
is hard for them to find friends. Many of them are extremely lonely.
We can speculate that sodomy is faulty,
that society should isolate homosexuals, that these people are sick morally
and mentally. However, we cannot deny their existence and their right to
a full-fledged life. When we listen to Chaikovsky's music or Freddie Mercury's
songs, or read masterpieces of Oscar Wild, we do not think of their non-standard
orientation, but enjoy their talent. It is not easy to make this decision,
it does not seem to be natural, right? Actually, why divide the society
into a sexual minority and a sexual majority? Why label people? Why hate
someone only because he or she is different from others? Moreover, why
intrude in somebody's private life? Do gays and lesbians make love in everybodys
It is Interesting to Know
that in Holland, 1045 male and 769 female couples took
advantage of the new law about gay partnership in the first half of 1998.
Under this law, unisex couples receive the parent rights, including the
right on children adoption.
There is an Opinion:
FOR: Radu, a student from Bucharest:
Frankly speaking, sexual minorities do not bother me.
Unless their behavior does become aggressive. I knew many gays. To
be sincere, I even feel pity for them. Imagine how difficult it is to live
having body of man and soul of woman. The best thing we can do about it
is leave them alone. As long as they behave according to the law, they
are decent people.
AGAINST: Anastasia Feodorovna, communication operator:
You see where we have gotten? It is beyond understanding!
I think these people should be treated medically. They do not have a place
in our society. The society as such is already sick, and, on top of that,
we have these gays and lesbians! I don't know
Security is the most
Security. It is valued by human beings
as a most precious thing without which they can never feel at ease. We
live in rather a safe country - no shots breaking silence in the streets,
no explosions destroying our houses. We take it for granted and do not
seem to appreciate it.
Nevertheless, there are people among
us who know a high the price of security. They witnessed how all they liked
and were accustomed to was falling to pieces. The world was changing beyond
recognition, but it could not be helped. Hearing shots in the streets,
they realized that war was knocking on their doors. They lost everything
and the only value that remained was life. To preserve it these people
had to escape to where there was no threat to their safety. Thus, they
The twentieth century is outstanding
in this respect. Nobody can make an exact estimation of how many people
were compelled to abandon - temporarily or for good - their homes during
World War II. It is stupid to consider that the war was a tragedy for a
particular nation. Death does not choose whose house to visit. People had
to search for refuge irrespective of their citizenship or ethnicity, religious
beliefs or political convictions. Escaping from danger, they left their
houses for uncertainty. They fled not knowing what was in store for them,
leaving behind their native land that became hostile to them. First there
were dozens of refugees, after that - hundreds, and later hundreds of thousands.
Separate families and then whole blocks were on the move. It was a past
peaceful life that was leaving.
Who knows, what the fate of these
refugees would be, if people did not cross their ways who were always ready
to give a helping hand as they understood the difficulty of leaving everything
behind. An underground organization called Holland-Paris Network was created
that carried over the refugees from Holland and Belgium to Switzerland
and Andorra. During its existence, the organization
helped pass to safer places to 1.5 thousand refugees among whom were English
and American militaries, representatives of other nationalities, and also
It is worth mentioning that at that
time Jews could not feel absolutely secure in any European country. Nevertheless,
in Romania the persecutions of Jews reached the climax. No wonder, there
appeared refugees ready to abandon all their property for the sake of security.
Many of them moved to Palestine via Bucharest. The following data testify
to a mass scale of the exodus: one tenth of the population of modern Israel
are disciples of Romanian re-settlers. The growth of a refugee stream was
also increased by declarations of the-then administration of Romania: I
am for a forcible eviction of the whole Jewish element of Bessarabia and
Bucovina, which needs to be chucked out beyond the border. I am also for
a forcible eviction of the Ukrainian element that is out of place here
now. Antonescus government also carried out a violent displacement of
Persecution of the Roma was a consequence
of the Nazi ideology. However, as part of the Roma was considered to be
cousins of the Aryans, experts in racial issues faced a hard task of separating
those who lost the purity of blood from the Aryans. According to different
sources, the sifting resulted in the loss of 10 to 50 percent of the European
Roma. How many of them were compelled to run escaping from persecutions,
we do not know and we will never know. Romas migration from country to
country was attributed to their inclination for wandering, but not striving
for security. Being actual refugees, they were treated as idle vagabonds.
Since the end of World War II, about
50 million people were displaced or repatriated. Today no fewer people
devoid of native home are fighting for regaining their human rights. The
1990s came down into history as a long chain of civil wars and military
conflicts that resulted in thousands of homeless people looking for a refuge
in strange, if hospitable, states. Mass population migrations ever more
often turn into war tactics. In the countries of the NIS, migration reached
an extreme level in modern history. According to some rough calculations,
over 9 million people migrated on the territory of the former Soviet Union.
Those on the move are civilians escaping from military conflicts and economic
Speaking of Moldova. Nowadays it is a unique country
in Europe whose legislation does not have a stated attitude to refugees.
Moldova is sure to have other priorities and the refugee issue may be less
topical and urgent. Besides, for some reason, it is considered that the
solution of the problem of refugees requires huge financial expenses, which
is far from being true. According to international norms, we have no right
to deport a refugee from our country, if his or her life is in danger in
the native land. Once it is so, it is necessary to determine the persons
identity and offer him or her a shelter as well as a possibility to earn
their daily living. Does it involve enormous expenses? Legislatively stated
attitude to refugees would give these people an opportunity to take care
of themselves. Moreover, welfare organizations allocate money for such
purposes as settling refugees. It is evidently cheaper to give a fisherman
a rod than to keep feeding him with fish. Nevertheless, for some reason
it is believed that it is better to ignore the problem than to try and
It is sad to admit that we are talking
about the country traditionally famous for its hospitality. One can recollect
but a few of numerous historical facts to make it clear that we always
sympathized with forced migrants here. Many years ago people from Bulgaria,
fleeing from the Turkish oppression, came to Moldovan land and started
their settlements here. A new motherland welcomed them ready to help. Today
refugees get nothing from us, nothing but such insulting words as spongers
and loafers said behind their back or in their face.
This problem will persist until we
solve it. It means that those in need of our help will keep knocking on
closed doors. Later a day will come when we, in our turn, will find ourselves
standing before closed doors. Closed doors to offices whose threshold refugees
are haunting now. Closed doors to human hearts.
by Olesea Corcinscaia
Their Future Is Difficult
World War II and attending crimes, Nazis
crimes, bred millions of refugees. In search of escape they left the most
sacred places - their native homes and dear graves. In spite of the fact
that 55 years passed and the war is an old memory, a refugee is not a reminder
of a fading epoch, but the saddest reality of today. By the definition,
refugees are persons crossing a state border in search of safety. Though
state border is an object of special attention and zealous protection on
the part of political structures, one has to acknowledge that certain rights
are above borders. These rights, the rights of refugees are precisely and
comprehensively described in the Convention on the Status of Refugees of
1951 ratified by 133 states. The principal body ensuring observance of
the Convention is UNHCR. Hundreds of thousands wretched people from the
countries of Africa, Iran, Afghanistan and lately from Chechnya seek a
refuge and protection in strange and unknown states. However, not every
country is ready to render a hospitable reception.
In Moldova this is an extraordinary
problem. Though our Constitution mentions a right to refuge, a corresponding
legislation is non-existent. Ours is the only country in Europe that does
without the Law on Refugees. For this reason, it is Chisinau representatives
of the above-mentioned United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees created
in1997 that nowadays deal with this problem in the republic and render
real help and support to the persons looking for a shelter. Here they offer
assistance to those who became refugees as a result of armed conflicts
and political or ethnic persecutions. This support is granted in various
forms - from distributing humanitarian aid to lobbying at a legislative
level. Our authorities have been playing against time unwilling to adopt
this law as they consider that the Republic of Moldova is not rich enough
to take care of citizens of other countries.
Nevertheless, our state that has accepted
a number of other international acts, General Declaration of Human Rights
and European Convention of Human Rights in particular, is obliged to give
a refuge to the persons that appeal to it with such request. In this connection
it is necessary to say that, once the official authorities of the Republic
of Moldova have started off for the integration in European structures,
they have to accept a complete package of international documents and not
to be selective.
One more category of people looking
for protection and shelter are internally displaced persons. These are
citizens who, abandoning their homes because of a local conflict, remain
within the borders of their own state. Their future may be difficult and
dangerous. The basic source of their financial and legal protection is
their own government, which, however, can treat the displaced persons as
enemies or be unable to provide them with food and shelter in extreme conditions.
As a result of its internal Transdniestrian conflict, Moldova faced this
problem too. During the armed conflict, many families that lived on the
territory of military actions moved to the Right Bank of the Dniester River.
Because of absence of a proper legislation, granting help to them was delayed
for an uncertain time. For this reason even a Movement of Transdniestrian
Refugees was formed whose purpose became the struggle for observance of
their human rights.
In spite of the fact that the state
does not have a proper attitude to the hard situation of these people,
the problem of refugees demands a steadfast attention. The cause lies not
only in the system of international standards. It is also in moral and
ethical norms based on the principles of mutual respect and mutual support.
by Irina Pivovarova
they tell you that fascism is dead, that it was completely defeated in
the Great Patriotic War 55 years ago, do not believe it. Fascism is alive.
Daily life shows that Nazis ideas have turned out to be viable and take
roots perfectly in any soil. Will you say that it is true of the West and
does not concern us at all? Big mistake! In our country there are also
people ready to ecstatically declare that the Moldovans, the Russian, the
Romanians, etc. are the greatest among the peoples chosen for a great mission
- to relieve the world from the domination of the Jews and all other defective
nations. It appears there is a lot of youth adhering to this point of view,
and I will tell you about but one young man.
His name is Vadim and he confided
me that he had been a nationalist since early childhood. To my question
Why? Vadim narrated a story about a Jewish boy who lived in their apartment
block and was terribly disgusting. I objected saying that one could not
build an attitude to an entire nation basing on the example of a single
person, moreover of a child whose actions might not be always conscious.
Vadim would not listen to me - All Jews are the same.
Actually, he had a long way to go before turning into
an adherent of fascist ideas. Being 17 now, two years ago he was still
an ordinary teenager - mixed with his peers and was a devoted music fan.
Nevertheless, neither on the block, nor at school did he become the center
of attention, which was his ambition. Somehow in despair, he started
speculating on the reasons.
Then it occurred to me that all people
were different, Vadim went on. Some are created to order while others
to obey. However, they are all part of one big whole and have a common
purpose. I read many great philosophers, but only Hitlers works fully
reflected what I thought and felt.
I made no comments on the attempt to rank Hitler as a
great philosopher. For one thing, I am not an expert in philosophy; for
another, it was no use trying to argue with a person to change whose opinion
was as hard as to move a mountain. I only asked, Do many people share
Vadim proudly answered that he had a lot of like-minded
Skinheads, as Neo-fascists call themselves,
cannot be alone by definition. Unless they are not skinheads. One can share
our ideas, but one can hardly change anything by oneself. To act one needs
Saying to act, he meant to arrange
attacks on foreigners studying in Moldova, to beat the black people and
persons of the Caucasus nationality. (This is how Georgians, Armenians
and other people from the Caucasus are called collectively, which is not
politically correct. - Translators note) He also meant to recruit supporters,
adherents of fascist ideology.
Vadim, what do you think of your
actions being illegal?
He answered my question with an obvious
irritation. Are they? Okay, but this is the only way to change something
in this world! I am proud of being a Russian and do not want others to
prevent me from living the way I like! My peoples culture is measured
by millennia. Why should all other nations claim equal rights with me?
By the way, his words about national
pride reminded me of Schopenhauers famous statement: When the person
has nothing to be proud of, (s)he begins to be proud of what does not require
any effort to achieve and what cannot be taken away from him/her - nationality
. If Vadim claimed to have read many philosophers, perhaps he had read
these words too. Did they not provoke any thoughts?
Meantime Vadim stopped talking to
detect my reaction to his question. In this moment I suddenly saw him the
way he actually was - a teenager with a lot of complexes trying to look
adult and tough to hide his own uncertainty. I could not possibly admit
he believed all the stuff he related with such inspiration.
Our people lives in misery, because all money in Moldova
belongs to foreigners! Turks study at our universities. Can ordinary Moldovans
be admitted with no bribes and connections? Foreigners come to our country
to eat our bread and take away our girls!
After these words I realized what
was driving Vadim. It was envy that made him hate all foreigners. It was
envy that half a year ago pushed him and his friends to beat a Chinese
student. It is envy that forces him to get rid of those who made bigger
achievements in life than he did. It is envy that prompts him to shift
responsibility to foreigners that have bought the whole university together
with teachers. It is easier than to study hard.
Vadim went on, They marry our girls
and take them away to their countries. Dont you see they do it on purpose,
to break down the genetic fund of our nation? Then our girls bear children
that should not be born at all! They are biological monsters!
Before I could ask a question, he
read astonishment on my face and specified it, There should be no blending
nations. It erases borders between peoples. Mixed marriages result in children
that belong neither to mothers, nor to fathers people. By birth they
are deprived of spirituality and culture peculiar to each representative
of his/her people. To preserve spirituality and culture, nations should
not mix up, otherwise national identity is lost.
How I could object to it? Should I
have said that feelings of two persons concerned the two individuals and
not the whole nation? That it was impossible to treat love as animal breeding?
That interaction of cultures was always advantageous to the peoples?
We should not forget that in our republic
the national question is especially topical. Nevertheless, we are not worried.
For some reason, we behave as if we did not witness the nightmare of Transdniestria
that had grown out of interethnic disagreements. We behave as if we were
not responsible for doing everything possible to exclude the repetition
of the tragedy. The law-enforcement bodies pretend that the problem does
not exist at all, and the press is also silent.
As they stay passive, our homebred
fascists acquire new supporters. Today they are in the background, gathering
forces. Some skinhead organizations are registered as sections of martial
arts in the Republic of Moldova. Besides practicing self-defense, they
make a thorough study of fascist literature, getting, as it were, morally
and physically mature. Others call their get-togethers philosophical
societies. Sometimes such societies are organized at schools, lyceums,
and universities, and the administration of the educational institutions
is absolutely indifferent to what they do.
How long can we play ostrich hiding
its head under a wing not to see the problem? While parents pretend that
everything is okay, their children are occupied with the most dangerous
game on earth - fascism. When adults finally attend to the kids game,
it can be too late.
Dahau: Therefrom Nobody Came Back
On November 9th, 2000 it was 62 years
of the Crystal night that opened Nazism mass manifestations and massacre
of the Jews and other nations. This date was observed in all countries
of Europe. The European community voiced its protest against the repetition
of this disgraceful day and against modern fascism existing in many countries
of the world.
Here nobody likes to recollect this
date, but if we forget about it, it can happen again.
«Leave your hope everyone who
As a rule, therefrom nobody came back,
the more so as nobody went there voluntarily. Dahau was the place of the
first fascist concentration camp in Europe. It started functioning in 1933
and contained over 200 thousand of people.
It was there, to the youth camp of
struggle with fascism and anti-Semitism that a group of young representatives
of Helsinki Citizens Assembly in Moldova went. By the way, being sober-minded
and not too emotional, at first glance at the place of the former concentration
camp I did not feel anything. A ground filled with sun, a blue sky, a stream
Our peers from Poland, who came there
with us, remarked that Auschwitz, their death camp that had been preserved
as it had been, looked much more awful than a reconstructed Dahau. However,
the landscape seemed quiet only at first sight, while in the process of
absorption of the guides information this impression vanished. It turned
out that the barrack that looked clean and neat was only the first of two
dozen of the same barracks standing in two long rows on the territory of
the camp. They had all swarmed with hundreds of people, forced to sleep
three-four persons in a narrow bed, in the conditions of severe discipline
and absolute tyranny of supervisors. The episodes we read in the diaries
and memoirs of Dahau prisoners needed no comments. The people had been
made to straighten the blankets on their beds so that those formed a perfect
line all the barrack long. The Nazi soldiers had sneered at the condemned
pushing them to step on a forbidden strip that encircled the camp; they
had known that those would be shot there by a never slumbering guard on
the tower. Death by shooting seemed a painless punishment compared to horrifying
tortures. Typhus and dysentery, tuberculosis and famine, pseudoscientific
experiments of SS doctors destroyed thousands of people.
The architect of four crematories
in the concentration camp had badly designed the chimneys and their tops
went to pieces from heat. That was why the smell had stayed and the ashes
of the burned people had had no time to be processed; according to eyewitnesses,
in the neighboring villages in summer ashes used to descend like snow.
In Dahau the Nazis had not managed to hide their outrages as they had done
in other concentration camps.
Not only Jews had been there among
the prisoners of the camp. Dahau had been an unusual concentration camp
- one both for real criminals and for political prisoners (communists,
socialists, social-democrats, etc.), for priests disapproving of the Hitlers
doctrine, for homosexualists causing disorder in army, for Gypsies, for
war prisoners - for all who could hardly be enumerated.
The thing that astonished most in
the Dahau camp museum, was a meticulous and orderly manner, with which
SS officers had documented and photographed all atrocities that were taking
place. Nevertheless, coming back home from the camp, they used to turn
to quite ordinary people. It had been believed in the neighborhood that
they had carried out a noble work - in the camp had allegedly been contained
elements dangerous to society.
Meantime, international community
had practically stayed in ignorance as to what had been happening. The
reporters reaching the concentration camp had been shown barracks cleaned
the night before their arrival and smiling prisoners. The stories of runaways
had sounded unbelievable. The first truth came to the world with liberating
the first concentration camp prisoners. One of the former prisoners of
Dahau, Transilvanian Jew Nicholas Lina confessed that he started talking
about his past only in the seventies.
Now Dahau is a city living a quiet and cheerful life,
not carrying along the burden of the past, and daily growing after the
war. Young inhabitants of Dahau do not perceive their neighborhood with
the concentration camp as something oppressive; they do not feel the curse
of the past, though they know about it. Knowledge does not necessarily
breed adequate acts, but it is even more difficult to act reasonably without
it. In this respect it was worth restoring the Dahau concentration camp
and setting up our youth camp.
This essay is not an appeal to restore
Kishinev Jewish ghetto. Nevertheless, its goal is to remind of the past
once again, so that the shame and terror never repeated and that history
had less and less black datys. by Julia Trombitskaya
Catastrophe of European
Holocaust, Shoa, Catastrophe is one term
in three languages, which cuts the ear and brings to the mind the Warsaw
ghetto, children from Treblinka, and Crystal Night. It reminds of
millions of people tortured and suffocated in the gas cells of Auschwitz,
Dahau, Mauthausen, Buhenwald, Mittelbau, Sobebor, Maidanek and other death
camps. They were worn out by cold and famine, by wearisome works and brutal
medical experiments and finally found their ruthless death. It happened
to those who did not rush to fascist meetings, who did not loot Jewish
shop windows, who did not beat pedestrians and their families, who did
not measure their superiority with applying arms.
Appalling is the number of victims
of Nazi regime. During the Second World War fascists and their allies destroyed
over 6 million Jews, a third of the Jewish people. It was more than massacre,
it was an attempt to annihilate Jewry as such.
Such destruction of more than 6 million
people in itself seems an act that exceeds reasoning. It provokes eternal
questions about human nature, about forces controlling behavior of individual
and human society. For over forty years, scholars investigating society
and behavior of its individual citizens have been researching the causes
of what happened then. The general conclusion is that the Holocaust is
unique in the history of humanity. It differs from other cases of massacre
in terms of both the number of the killed, and the malicious intent to
destroy all the Jews, and the scale of crime planning, and the intricacy
of murders, and many other parameters.
The issues related to the Holocaust
are investigated from the viewpoint of psychology of person and society,
from that of sociology and political science as well as from that of philosophy,
including religious, both Judaic and Christian. Decades of research work
have resulted in extensive knowledge, but even today we fail to restore
a complete picture of the Catastrophe. We know the number of victims that
shocks an average human mind. We also know that Nazis did not manage to
break the spirit of those who were aware of their limited days. We can
definitely make this conclusion based on the saved documents, archives,
diaries, and letters. Here is the last letter of Mordehai Anelevitch.
THE LAST LETTER
There are no words to describe what has happened to
us. It exceeded our most audacious dreams. The Germans ran away from the
ghetto twice. One of our groups has kept the ground for 40 minutes and
another for more than 6 hours. A mine exploded in one of the yards; some
of our groups attacked running Germans. Our losses were minimal and it
was also a big achievement. Ihiel fell at the battlefield. He died as a
hero, at his machine gun. I have a feeling that something extraordinary
is happening - a revolt we have made has a great historical significance.
Since this night we switch over to
partisan tactics. Three battle groups of ours will go to the territory
at night their task being to make an investigation and get some weapons.
Cold weapons and pistols are not of much value; we need rifles, guns, grenades
and dynamite. I am unable to depict the life conditions of the ghetto Jews.
Only a few will survive, the majority will die sooner or later. Their fate
is predetermined. In the refuge where they are hiding, it is impossible
to light a candle because of a lack of air. We managed to hear on our radio
transmitter an impressive report about our operation. The fact that they
know about us beyond the ghetto walls is very important for us and encourages
us in our struggle. The dream of my life came true - an armed resistance
of Jews is a piece of reality. I witnessed an unprecedented heroism of
April 23, 1943, ghetto
Mordehai Anelevitch was a native of
Warsaw. He was a member of Ha-shomer hatsair organization. He was among
those who revived the activity of the organization on the occupied territory.
He edited clandestine editions. He was nominated a member of commandment
of Jewish Battle Organization. He was a revolt leader in Warsaw ghetto.
He perished on May 8, 1943 in the bunker on Mila Street 18 at the age of
After the end of the war, in the Jewish
circles there was a routine view of the Holocaust as of a kind of insanity.
It was treated as a phenomenon with neither pre-history, nor aftereffects,
which has no explanations whatsoever. Moreover, there were scientists rejecting
explanations of the Holocaust point blank, for explanation means understanding,
and understanding to a certain degree means excuse.
In its turn, in Germany after the end of the war an opinion
was spread that Nazi Reich was a mere deviation from the course of history
of the country, similar to a railroad accident when a train got off rails
and caused over 6 million casualties.
Open University of Israel in Chisinau
Homosexuals and Lesbians
are Victims of Holocaust
The first researchers in the field
of sexology, actually, the founding fathers of the science, were German
Jews. Hitler coming to power first bred limitation of the researches,
then their complete banning and, finally, an utter annihilation of sexology
as a science and a growing movement for sexual reforms. That was the first
harbinger of regular persecutions of homosexuals during 1933-1945. Revealing
contact points between anti-Semitism, anti-feminism and homophobia in Nazi
ideology in terms of sex broadens our understanding of Holocaust.
In 1922, a representative of a right
political party killed Herr Ratenau, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of
Germany. It was a start signal for persecutions to follow. The thing is
that Ratenau was not only a democrat, but also a Jew, and a homosexual.
When Hitler came to power, no more journals on sexology were published
and no more sexology congresses were allowed to be held.
In the spring of 1933, the first group of homosexuals
was sent to newly created concentration camps. In the summer Hitler liquidated
Herr Rem, his closest friend, and also some SA leaders as possible competitors
accusing them of homosexual depravity. In 1935 the phrasing of article
175 of the Criminal Code, stating that anal contact between men was considered
a punishable crime, was extended to cover all forms of homosexual contacts,
including kisses between men and even glances. It is noteworthy that, though
right after the fall of Nazis regime it became obvious that homosexuals
were a special category of prisoners in concentration camps, for a long
while historians avoided the subject of Germanys policy towards homosexuals.
On May 14, 1928, i.e. earlier than
1933, it was declared on behalf of the National-Socialist Party that homosexuals
weaken the people, that they are enemies and sexual degenerates who in
no way promote a healthy increase of a healthy nation. On coming to power
the Nazi government established Reihs-centers to fight homosexuals and
abortions. These centers were placed with criminal police, which illustrated
both growing homophobia of the Nazis and its connection to the idea of
nation reproduction. A wide agent network, informing and reporting started
immediately. Even those suspected of homosexuality who passed not through
Gestapo, but through civil court ended their life in a concentration camp.
According to updated statistics, the number prisoners
condemned for homosexuality was about 10 thousand or more. Nevertheless,
it is not only a great number of victims that matters. It is also the fact
that the persecutions homosexuals suffered during the Nazi regime are a
mirror of a customary attitude to homosexuals and their treatment on the
part of society both before the Nazi regime and till nowadays in many countries
of the world.
In the concentration camp hierarchy
homosexuals always found themselves at the lowest stage. As a rule, they
were assigned the most dangerous and painful work. Therefore, the death
rate among this category was especially high.
The Nazis tried to solve the homosexuality
problem scientifically and return the necessary manhood to homosexuals
surgically. Thus, in the spring of 1944, Sturmbahnfurer SS Dr.Vernet, Danish
by origin, arrived in Buhenwald with the sanction signed by Himmler to
carry on a series of experiments to annihilate homosexuality through implantation
of synthetic hormones. Fifteen persons underwent the operation, two of
which became sterile, two ended their life on the operation table, while
others soon died due to overall weakness of the body.
Then, as well as at present, the persecution
of lesbians existed in a more hidden form. In all times, for women and
girls there existed a strict presumption of heterosexuality. Suppressing
lesbian relations, the Nazi state based not on the criminal code, but on
intimidation. It compelled lesbians to lead a double life. However, marriage
as a camouflage was not a sufficient guarantee of survival, especially
for Jewish lesbians. Non-Jewish lesbians who did not want to stick to conventional
norms of behavior were imprisoned as antisocial elements. According to
Nazi classification, that was a diverse group of socially unacceptable
citizens including thieves, prostitutes, etc.
The prejudices have not died with
Nazi regime, but continue to exist in the present-day world, including
(Based on materials by Erwin Heberl and Amy Alman
published in Tum-Balalaika, Russia)
The party Loves Movies
On December 16, 1938 SS Reihsfürer
Himmler or dered to register in the police all the persons keeping to
gypsy nomadic way of life and check their racial and biological characteristics.
In September 1939, it was decided to deport all gypsies to concentration
camps located in Poland. Nevertheless, empire railroads were overloaded
and the security service had to fill with Roma local concentration camps
or even to create
new ones. Driven to near Salzburg, Roma were forced to build a concentration
camp for themselves, which they did on a boggy meadow of Maxglan suburb.
They constructed barracks, a building for guards, two sentry towers, and
fitted the camp with a barbed wire.
Once in the camp there appeared Lenni Riffenstal, a famous
actress and film director. She made films and acted in them. In that year
she decided to create a screen version of a dAlbers opera with a romantic
plot. A beautiful dancer finds herself captured by a severe master who
oppresses local peasants. Lenni
Riffenstal played the lead herself. The thing was to choose who was going
to play the count, his servants, and Spanish peasants. Cinematography could
cope with any problems using make-up, costumes, and scenery. The movie
was supposed to be watched by common people and not ethnographers. Still
Lenni Riffenstal was not the person to achieve success by trivial means.
She wanted the Spaniards to be played by Roma!
For any director, in any country such
mass scenes would cost a pretty penny. To get a big number of Roma, persuade
them to act, bring them over to the film-shooting place and pay them a
reward. For anyone, but not for Frau Riffenstal! In the Third Reih her
name opened all the doors. After The Triumph of Will, the movie about
the Nazi party congress and the film about the Olympic Games of 1936 in
Berlin, she would not hear no. The party highly appreciated the artists
devoted to itself, the party and the people. Therefore, Riffenstal started
working on the film in 1940 and the shootings lasted for several years.
A bloody war with Russia was under way, but the party did not forget about
In the list of defense works for 1942, there was an item
running Lowland, the fiction film directed by Riffenstal, whose production
was carried out on the Fürers order and supported by the Reihs Ministry
of National Education and Propaganda.
Thus, the destruction of the Roma
was stopped - for the time of film-shootings. Lenni Riffenstal was walking
about the Maxglan concentration camp accompanied by SS officers. They were
lined up and Lenni Riffenstal herself chose the extras for her movie.
The shootings and production of the
film lasted as long as the war did. Carried away by the film making, Frau
Riffenstal aspired to art perfection and, if she found it necessary, again
and again explained to the Roma how they should portray a carefree life
of Spanish peasants. There was a Roma young man, who had been acting longer
than the rest. Once he dared to address her: Our family has a good reputation..
None of us has ever been charged. Could you do something for us, I mean
help to get us free? Lennis film was her only obsession: I will certainly
try to liberate all your family, or at least send you to Berlin.
The Roma, who had shortly been Spaniards,
were brought back to the camp. In May 1943 the Maxglan camp was closed
and the Gypsies were transferred to Oswentsim.
I have a special fondness for the
Roma, - will later say Lenni Riffenstal, pleased with the film. I always
rendered them a special preference. God is my witness. Nevertheless, there
are more reliable witnesses. To Oswentsim, as well as to Riffenstals shooting,
the Roma were taken with all their families, and hardly any of the actors
The young Roma man who had addressed
Frau Riffenstal with the request chanced to survive, the only one from
the whole family that had cast in the movie. Many years after the war he
testified that everyone who had acted in Riffenstals movie waited for
her help, but in vain. They had broken expectation. Lenni Riffenstal was
more than a filmmaker; she was also an embodiment of German national consciousness.
From the article Gypsy Ballad (New time, 1991,
Once again I feel privileged as the Representative
of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Republic
of Moldova to contribute to a publication related to the refugee issue.
Since Moldova embarked on the road of building democratic institutions
governed by the rule of law, it also became more relevant to confront the
phenomenon of irregular movements pursuant to its
international human rights obligations. Persecution, or the fear thereof,
owing to a well founded fear for reasons of race, religion, nationality,
membership of a particular social group or an unwelcome political opinion
which disrupted countless Moldovan lives in the past, unfortunately continues
to lie at the root of problems of those who today seek asylum in Moldova.
UNHCR was initially created for a period of three years
to find solutions for the millions of refugees displaced by World War II.
On 14 December 1950 the United Nations General Assembly, guided by noble
ideals and the practical realization that while refugees have a problem,
that they are not the problem, endowed the Office of the High Commissioner
with a Mandate to assist and to protect those who flee persecution.
In recognition of its humanitarian
role, I UNHCR has over the years received additional resources and saw
its authority extended to deal with new problems such as internal displacement.
On the other hand, the 50th Anniversary gives rise to mixed feelings as
paradoxically the Organizations longevity is a sad testimony to the state
of affairs on our planet. There is hardly a country in the world that has
not been affected by irregular movements and it is a sobering thought that
UNHCR has over the past five decades assisted over 50 million people on
five continents to repatriate.
One in 250 inhabitants of our planet
have received some form of assistance and since the nineties UNHCR is once
again called upon to assist 9 million refugees in Europe alone.
The sustained commitment to effective
international mechanisms to facilitate solutions for those who are forced
into flight through an organisation like UNHCR demonstrates inter alia
that the international community, through impartial humanitarian action,
is ready to give substance to one of the basic rights articulated in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights - the right to asylum.
50 years into its existence, UNHCRs
role to protect and to assist refugees is just as relevant as it was in
its first year. Those who may loose all but their dignity, deserve international
protection to help themselves to re-gain access to basic human needs. To
commemorate the Anniversary, UNHCR therefore wishes to salute the resilience
of those who struggle against the odds to reestablish their lives. The
need to raise public awareness and to increase thus sensitivity to refugee
needs is in this regard central to UNHCRs efforts. If humankind does not
wish to forfeit the benefits of freedom from oppression, it must provide
for the right to asylum. UNHCR is therefore pleased to support the publication
of this volume which indirectly elaborates on to The Memory of a Refugee
(also dedicated to the 50th Anniversary), that tells life stories of persons
who managed to become refugees. This book recounts the fates of those
who did not become refugees only to suffer another horrible fate - forcible
deportation. The trials and tribulations - calvaria as referred to locally
- of those who did not flee only to be perceived as enemies and were therefore
simply to be hoarded on to trains of death are vividly described not
only to recall history, but also to show the strength of the human spirit.
Although many finished their lives prematurely in imposed exile, some survived
against all the odds and managed to repatriate to their homes.
The gruesome statistics from a period
when individual rights were subordinated to higher interests and when the
rule of law was ignored, indicate that taken together some 2.000.000 persons
became refugees or were deported from this region alone. Although such
injustices in Moldova are a thing of the past, as long as others continue
to flee discrimination, inhuman or degrading treatment or other various
forms of persecution, international protection and assistance to the victims
supervised by an organisation like UNHCR will remain relevant.
This publication aims to recount testimonies
of people who experienced deportations and brings forth a number of well-known
or less known names, names that unveil tragic, harsh, merciless destinies.
While reading the life stories of this book one can shiver with terror
at the harsh reality experienced by the deportees. In the pages to follow,
without commenting on the causes and effects, without taking a specific
attitude towards the ideas expressed, we allow the reader to reflect on
the fate of earlier generations.
In offering this volume to the reader
UNHCRs implementing partner, the Law Center and its team of devoted staff,
has in my mind done a splendid job for which they should be commended and
UNHCR Representative in Moldova
in the Pillory
Anti-Judaism, or Cave World, the selection
compiled by Efim Tcaci, was published in two language versions. When Boston
Society of Struggle against Anti-Semitism and Racism (USA) announced a
contest for the best publication against national discord exposing lies
and slanders that are spread by Black Hundred-type editions, the Russian
version of the book was recognized as one of the best. Recently from Israel
a review of the Romanian version of the book came that had been published
in the Ultima ora Romanian newspaper. Here it is offered to the attention
of the readers.
From Chisinau we received the anthology
of texts against anti-Semitism compiled by Efim Tcaci issued under the
aegis of Helsinki Citizens Assembly in Moldova. * It represents the verdict
without the right of appeal against those who continue propagation of this
monstrous phenomenon, one of greatest shames of humanity. According to
the definition of a group of Jerusalem researchers dated by 1938, anti-Semitism
is associated with a mob behavior in conditions of clan struggle. Explicitly
or implicitly - as with communist parties - a part of the programs of extremist
political groupings, anti-Semitic publicists creation bred only poor ideologized
stuff based on falsifications and insinuations, from Protocols or Mein
Kampf to recent writings of Garodi.
The goal of the anthology is to collect
on its pages pieces of evidence, memoirs, documents, and literary compositions,
growing out of the indignation at the fact that, after the tragic experience
of the 20 century, even today some people keep manipulating with anti-Semitism
for political purposes.
The book is of interest for the Jews in Romania and the
Republic of Moldova, as many of its pages are devoted to their martyrdom.
They suffered during the Nazi regime or Nazi occupation and also as a result
of the blows they received lately caused by the propaganda and organization
of escalation of what Raul Hilberg, the historian, so meaningfully called
a war against the Jews. E. Tcaci has carried out a detailed research in
the aspiration to reconstruct the tragic way of the extensively performed
operation, which was implemented with resolution of military action, whose
aim was the extermination of the Jewish population of Europe. Myths pleasing
many people, for example, the myth about Antonescu, crash under the impact
of irrefutable data. Revisionists of history will not manage to hide his
crime, no matter how many monuments to him are erected on the territory
It seems symbolical that the present
book, that is unique so far, appeared in Chisinau, where in 1903 the first
anti-Semitic pogrom of the 20 century took place. It was followed by Petliuras
slaughter in the Ukraine, the so-called ritual murder processes and after
that pogroms in Iasi and Odessa (1941-1942), then in Trans-Dniestria, the
responsibility for which is with Romanian anti-Semitism. They could be
the last in this part of Europe, if the victims, using the expression of
the deceased Rabbi Mozes Rosen, were not killed again by neo-anti-Semitism
he had to face too.
The positions reflected in the book follow the spirit
of protection of human values. Among them are classical writings of synthesizing
contents, such as Nikolai Berdiaevs Christianity and Anti-Semitism,
Moris Bomonts In the Core of Dreifus Case translated from French, the
work by Prof. Rasvan Teodorescu to whom the book owes its title. We read
again Ilia Erenburgs articles about Anna Frank and anti-Semitic spectrum
that appeared after the war. Here is also Francoir Moriaques famous foreword
to the book of short stories by Elli Visel, a fragment of Raimond Devos
sketch on xenophobia, and an anti-Nazi essay from Tudor Teodorescu-Branistes
magazine entitled Anti-Semitism as the Most Dangerous Form of Anti-Romanianism.
The book quotes viewpoints of various persons - the queen who signed her
poems as Carmen Silva, I.L Carageale, Alexander Makedonsky, Yevgeni Yevtushenko,
etc. who witnessed hatred to the Jews.
In this noble exclusive gathering
could not but partake modern writers insulted by the existing cave world.
In spite of the fact that the collection is confined to Russian poets and
writers **, it reached the goal: in the space where they lived, the most
violent and horrible crimes took place that challenged their convictions
cultivated in the traditions of great literature. If we know Babiy Yar
by Yevtushenko, this is the first appearance in Romanian of such poems
as Anti-Semites by Vladimir Vysotski or Yude by Vladimir Mayakovsky (1928).
The latter writes in his peculiar emotional style about warning him who
in his ignorant darkness, seeing not a thing ahead, even today uses the
swear word yude.
Significant place is allotted to the memoirs of the survivors
of exterminating concentration camps on the territory of Bessarabia and
Bucovina, the Ukraine and Poland. Several materials are signed by Israeli
authors: Tsvi Zaltsinger (Overture to Trans-Dniestrian Hell), Nisan Shehtman
(An Overdue Retort), Debora Morgenstern (Century of Zionism), etc.
Another distinction of the publication
is its topical and sharp polemic character. It is illustrated with the
research of Z. Ornia, historian and literary critic and the article of
Rabbi M. Rosen, as well as with the chronology of events related to repeated
manifestations of anti-Semitism reflected in Romanian press of the last
In the chapter called About the Jews,
there are quotations assembled from Panait Istrati, Tudor Arghesi, Gala
Galaction, Nicolae Iorga, G. Calinescu and other outstanding figures of
Romanian culture. They condemned anti-Semitism whose temptation solves
not a single problem and brings to everybody, Jewish and non-Jewish, only
grief and disaster, as Eugen Ionesco said.
Translated from the Romanian by E.TCACI
(Ultima ora, Israel)
*Àlso by Anti-fascist Democratic Alliance of the
Republic of Moldova (Translators comment)
** In the book Moldovan writers and publicists are represented
too: Aureliu Busuioc, Leonid Cemirtan, etc. (Translators comment)
Letters to the Editor
Thank you very much for the last issue
of Collage publicizing the creative works presented for the contest
Moldovan Youth against Racial Discrimination and Intolerance. Though
I did not participate in the competition, I find it absolutely necessary
to organize such events that develop the culture of tolerance among the
youth. I study in Russian-Romanian Lyceum and recently witnessed an incident
that occurred between the guys from Russian and Romanian classes. The Russian
speakers were making fun of Romanian speakers whose Russian was poor, and
those, in their turn, reacted with insulting cries like Go to your Russia.
There is no place for you here! Unfortunately, such incidents are not
infrequent in our society. Those will be wrong who will say that ethnic
issues in Moldova are not topical. There is certainly a big difference
between the interethnic situation in Moldova and that in Latvia. In Latvia
almost all Russians are not citizens; in Latvia former Nazis are awarded
while veterans of the former Soviet Army, who stopped the outrages of fascists,
are put in prison. In Moldova all inhabitants, irrespective of their ethnic
background, have received Moldovan citizenship; in Moldova they do not
put in prison veterans of the Great Patriotic War who fought against Nazis.
However, in Moldova it is pretty often that a Russian or a Ukrainian offends
a Moldovan and vice versa. Though here I can freely speak Russian, my mother
tongue, sometimes I hear remarks concerning my ethnicity that are far from
flattery. Yes, I am Russian, but I learn the language of the country I
live in; I respect traditions of this country; I want to live in it and
restore its economy. There are many young people like me. And it doesnt
matter that we are Russians, Ukrainians, Gagauzians, Belarussians and not
Moldovans or Romanians. We were born in this country and we want to live
I would like you very much to publish
this letter in one of the following issues of the magazine. I think it
can somehow effect the consciousness of youth. We should not quarrel; we
should live in peace and mutual understanding. Then everything will be
fine in the country.
Recently I saw your second issue devoted
to ethnic and cultural diversity of Moldova. I was very much delighted
to discover in this country a magazine of such kind. Then I found out that
a new issue was under work devoted to the subject of majority and minority
and had an impulse to write you immediately. We are majority, a whole world,
but those who have saved this world from the fascist plague become fewer
with every day. They, veterans, are a minority undeservingly forgotten.
They do not have restful old age,
as their pensions are miserable. On Victory Day, there are no fireworks
to glorify them, though many people come to put flowers at the memorial
cemetery. Veterans are neglected. I try to understand why our society treats
them with such indifference. Merely because we are not told about the Great
Patriotic War in such a way that we could realize all the horror and tragedy
of that inhuman battle between the good and the evil. We open history textbooks
to see that World War Two is not properly reflected. After reading in the
second issue of the magazine about seminars dated for International Day
of Struggle against Fascism and Anti-Semitism, I thought about the necessity
of organizing such events more often: we need to write, speak and remember
about horrors of fascism.
Let us restore honor and respect to
those who defended the borders of our state!