We used to think that our people, the Moldovans, were just a minority
in the multinational Soviet Union. This is what we were taught in our
history classes at school. Our people were a people with no roots, no
past, who had been taken and brought up by Russians. Russians even
lent us their alphabet. We had no idea about any connection to Romania
and the Romanian language. However, there were some people who doubted
our Russian origin.
I remember watching TV once in my childhood and seeing on the news the secretary of the Moldovan SSR meeting Ceausescu, the head of Romania, and speaking without an interpreter. I was extremely surprised and when I asked my mother how they could understand each other, she said they were speaking very similar languages. Then she told me that as a child she used to watch a Romanian TV station. My mother said she was able to understand everything and that the only difference between these languages was that Romanians wrote with "French" letters. It was amazing how similar the Moldovan language was to Romanian. But we were still very far from the idea that these two languages were, in fact, one.
My grandmother used to tell me some stories about Romanian heroes. But they were so different from what we learned at school that I thought these were just tales or bedtime stories. How could we know about these heroes, when everything we learned at school was the history of Russia and the USSR? And half of the poems were dedicated to Lenin, our shining future within communism, Russia as our homeland etc. In fact, some people could consider Russia their homeland, because they were born or brought up there, or spent a few years there, and had no idea how or when they would come back. My mother, for example, was born and lived for five years in Siberia, because her parents were deported under Stalin's regime. My father spent his childhood in Kazakhstan for the same reason. They were "enemies of the people." But which people? Moldovan? Russian?
The answer to all these questions came to us only after 1990, when we
started learning about our ancestors, the Dacians. Of course, we had no
history books, and we used to bring newspapers to school so that we could
put together some information from them about our past. This was how we
discovered who we really were and how Dacian culture and civilization
were influenced by Romans and not by Slavs or Russians. All of a sudden
our neighbors became our brothers, because we have the same language,
traditions, and past. A flower bridge was even built over the Prut River,
which serves as the border between our two republics. Although there is
still a lot to be done in order to improve communication between Moldova
and Romania, I hope one day this border will disappear and our two
countries will become one.