Languages and politics

This post will be very harsh and will present real information, although told through the prism of a person with a certain political affinity.

Theoretically, a country hosts a nation, a nation that speaks the same language and has the same tradition. And yet, various political groups divide these nations. A perfectly normal thing, practiced by all the world’s greatest powers. If you don’t think this is happening all over the world, pick up a history book.

Once upon a time, there was a big Romania, made up of the territory that Romania has today, the Republic of Moldova and a small part of Ukraine. Then came World War II. Northern Bukovina became part of Ukraine, Romania became the Socialist Republic of Romania (puppet state of the USSR, but led by a local dictator), and the Republic of Moldova became part of the USSR (ie led directly by Stalin/Khrushchev/etc.).  The Cold War came, passed, and the USSR split. The Republic of Moldova did not unite with Romania (although we are the same people), and chose to be a democratic nation (like Romania by the way).

The two countries, however, are politically different. Both are crushed by corruption (both high and low) and hatred. But while one (Romania) has taken the road to the EU and NATO, the other is particularly divided politically. In the Republic of Moldova there is (still) a fairly strong communist party, a pro-Russian socialist party, a “Democratic” party led by a media oligarch and a party led by a local mayor with criminal problems. To find out how things are there, the Democratic Party of the Republic of Moldova is led by a runaway businessman who owned 6 of the 7 largest televisions in the country. In 2014, in a country with only 2 million inhabitants, 1 billion $ was stolen from state accounts. It turned out that three of the largest political parties were behind the scheme.

But let’s get back to the topic, because this is a language blog, not a geopolitics one. Moldova is still very strongly influenced by Russia. And one of the ways to get closer to Russia is to move away from Romania. Thus appeared the “Moldavian language”. From a linguistic point of view, the Moldovan language is the same as the Romanian one. The emphasis is really different, but in writing, the language is exactly the same. This seemingly insignificant move to change the name of a language can have major cultural consequences.

Let’s take another case, that of Kazakhstan. Instead, they try to distance themselves from Russian influence and leave the Soviet past behind. So they decided to change the Cyrillic alphabet to a Latin one. Thus, Қазақстан Республикасы will become Qazaqstan Respýblıkasy. This would be the third change of alphabet of the Cossacks, because they initially had an Arabic alphabet.

Although it may seem like a very weak measure, but it is particularly useful. It is not for nothing that Kazakhstan has spent 800 million dollars just to change all the signs, posters, books and textbooks from the Cyrillic alphabet to the Latin one. It is very interesting to see how these cultural changes will influence the political views of a nation.

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