Moldovan Themes

"The ’Bessarabian Question’ was one of the thorniest but least-understood problems of nineteenth- and twentieth-century diplomacy in Eastern Europe. In this erudite, deeply researched, and sensitive account, Andrei Cusco shows how both Romanian and Russian imperial interests intersected in this small but much-disputed borderland. In its level of detail and eloquence of style, Cusco's book is unmatched as a study in the limits of diplomacy, the origins of nation-building, and the travails of empire-maintenance." - Charles King, Georgetown University
“In Eminescu’s hierarchy of ethnic dangers, the Slavic element clearly took precedence over any other group, including the undoubtedly oriental but essentially harmless Turkish and Tatar populations of Dobrogea. The tendency to view the Bulgarian (i.e., Slavic) inhabitants of the region as a major threat prompted him to exonerate Dobrogea’s Turks and Tatars from the stigma of “savagery” prevalent in the discourse of opposition Liberals.”
“Invoking the legal guarantees that were introduced in the legislative acts confirming Bessarabia’s autonomous status and deploring its subsequent liquidation, Constantin Stere uses the metaphor of the ordeal to define Bessarabia’s regression from an emancipated to an annexed country subjected to a yoke a thousand times crueler than that of the Ottomans.”

Titles from the backlist, contemporary topics on top, older themes below.

“Moldova acquired a special status once Romania itself was Sovietized in the sense that the Soviet Union had to develop policies that could institutionalize and consolidate sharp distinctions between the populations of the two communist countries. The result was strong cultural, social, and economic discrimination of the ethnic Romanians in Moldova.”
A volume that offers a rich panoply of remembrances of the communist era.
“In Moldova, because of its specific history within the Soviet Union, the process of coming to terms with the past is in danger of being ethnicized, as either Romanians or Russians often tend to claim a monopoly of victimhood.”

Gorbachev, July, 1991: “We need the Union. This new government will have new terms of reference. As for the other republics, some will hold their own referenda, e.g., Armenia, Moldova, even Georgia. A large majority are for union. Even their polls show 70–80% in favor of a new union.
When Moldovans started talking about joining Romania, the population of one-third of its territory immediately objected, they do not want to leave.”
From the edited records of the American and Soviet leaders’ last face-to-face meetings.
Brent Scowcroft, October 1991: “Power is quickly flowing away from Mikhail Gorbachev. His effort to create a voluntary economic union has produced a vague agreement to set up a ‘commonwealth’ based on 27 other yet-to-be-negotiated agreements. Even that vague agreement has failed to attract Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia or Moldova.”

“In Moldavian eyes, the Ottoman Other was strange and resentful, ‘just like dirty water,’ as chronicler Macarie puts it in a creative metaphor of repulsion towards the sultan’s subjects.”
A collection of studies proposes a new cultural history of the early modern coexistence of various communities.
“Pope Sixtus IV named Stephen the Great verus christiane fidei athleta, the true champion of the Christian faith.”
“Peter Rareş, always aided by the bishop and chronicler Macarie, developed Stephen’s artistic program and applied it to the exterior walls of the monasteries. These decorations not only supported the liturgical process but also could be interpreted as symbols of attitudes in 16th century Moldavia.”
“The reasons for Elijah Rareş’s conversion remain uncertain. Most likely, the Ottoman lifestyle impressed him and he consequently brought it to his court in Suceava.”
“Stephen Rareş was likewise a controversial ruler. From the second day of his reign, he began persecuting mainly Armenians but also Ottomans, Hungarians, and non-Christians generally.”

 “The mode of minimal market reform is common to the communist countries that limited themselves to legalizing private economic activity while keeping the reins of economic control in the hands of the state. The most obvious cases of minimal market reforms are Belarus and Uzbekistan. Partial market reforms were carried out in Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan.”
Moldova appears in dozens of comparative charts, ranklists and tables in the book on post-communist transition models of 29 countries in Europe and Asia, ranging from Estonia to Vietnam.
“Many countries that were much more attached to their communist past because of continuational orientation (Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Mongolia and Ukraine) managed to enter the second post-communist decade as liberal democratic countries (although their democracy was still unconsolidated).”