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Moldova: Gagauz leaders “more Russian than Gagauz”

A Gagauz folk ensemble
Moldova: Gagauz leaders “more Russian than Gagauz”

The Gagauz Autonomy was established in Moldova to protect and promote the Gagauz language, but according to Todur Zanet, editor of “Ana Sozu,” those who proclaim themselves leaders of Gagauzia not only do everything in Russian but have failed to support the national language.

“Our language,” he said during a broadcast on a Komrat television channel, “isn’t needed by the Gagauz leadership or by the Moldovan.” Instead, “the leaders of Gagauzia do everything they can in order that the Gagauz language will disappear,” thus eliminating entirely the basis for autonomy as such.

“Look around,” he continued, “everything is in Russian: all the websites, all the scandals, all the meetings. Where are the three official languages” that are supposed to exist in Gagauzia?  “In the education law, there are no plans for the opening of Gagauz schools and kindergartens.” Given that, Zanet continues, it will soon be time to “liquidate the autonomy.”

The Komrat editor’s words are important for two reasons. On the one hand, they strongly suggest that the Gagauz leadership is as many in Moldova assume simply a Trojan horse for Moscow to be used against Chisinau along with Transdniestria rather than a national movement meriting respect.

And on the other, they show that there are at least some within the 200,000-strong Turkic speaking minority in southeastern Moldova some who are really interested in defending their nation, an attitude that means they may be less willing to follow their Russian-speaking leadership and more interested in a genuine cultural deal with Chisinau.

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