This article , based on a bottom up perspective investigates which are the main effects of war in Ukraine over the life and perceived identity of Romanian ethnic communities in Ukraine
First of all, it tries to challenge the current definition of Romanian (and/or Romanian-speaking/Moldovan) ethnicity both from Bucharest and Kyiv political and ethno-nationalistic perspective. My conclusion is that Romanian communities in Ukraine are more fractured and diverse that usually considered, with people identifying themselves by ”mixing” their ethnic, linguistic, cultural, political and even territorial identities more than in simple exclusive census categories.
Secondly, this article presents how the situation of ethnic Romanians continues to worsen, due mainly to the fact that – following Crimea annexation and Russia’s invasion in Ukraine – Kyiv has adopted new laws aimed at reducing the influence of Russia and the Russian language in society. In such context, the public policies of the Romanian state, as a kin-state, as well as the actual aid measures taken so far are not ones that fully correspond to the real needs of the people.
Finally, the article reaches a seemingly paradoxical conclusion: the war in Ukraine opens opportunities for Ukraine, Romania but also Moldova to reset their sometime dysfunctional relations and to try to find new ways for better cooperation, including in the field of ethnic minority protection.
Most of the findings and subsequent ideas from this article are based on interviews and informal discussions conducted during March and April this year, as part of an investigative reporting project. The interviews with everyday social actors and stakeholders were realised in Ukraine (with ethnic Romanians and Ukrainian officials from Odesa and Chernivtsi / Cernăuți & Transcarpathia regions), Romania (with country officials and ethnic Romanians from Ukraine), Chișinău (ethnic Moldovans) and Germany (with Ukrainian linguists, via e-mail).
The article has been presented at the international conference
Identități, reprezentări și politici – relații stat-minorități în secolele XX și XXI (Identities, representations and policies – kin-states – minorities relelations during XX and XXI centuries), Cluj, 5-6 October
The full presentation is available on request, by sending a message at [email protected]