2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Peoples

Total population ca. 3,200,000
Regions with significant populations Moldova:
2,741,849 (2004) ( Transnistria included)
258,619 (2001)
172,330 (2002)
19,458 (1999)

10,434 (2006)
4,300 (1999)
778 (1999)
300 (2000)

Language Moldovan/ Romanian
Religion Predominantly Eastern Orthodox.
Related ethnic groups •  Vlachs

  •  Romanians
  •  Aromanians
  •  Megleno-Romanians
  •  Istro-Romanians
• other Latin peoples note:Many Moldovans declare themselves Romanians

Moldovans, or Moldavians ( Moldovan/ Romanian: Moldoveni; Молдовень is the form used by the Moldovan Cyrillic script, which nowadays has official status only in the unrecognized state of Transnistria) are the native population in, depending on one's interpretation, all or part of the lands that correspond to the former Principality of Moldavia.

The recognition of Moldovans as a separate ethnicity, distinct from Romanians, is a relatively new and controversial subject. Before the annexation of Bessarabia by the USSR in 1940, there was no such thing as a recognized Moldovan ethnic group. Today, outside of Moldova, this group is recognized as a minority ethnic group by several CIS countries.

The majority of Moldovans live in the Republic of Moldova where, according to the 2004 Moldovan Census, they officially comprise 76.1% of the population, and in Ukraine, where according to the 2001 Ukrainian census results they constitute a recognized ethnic minority of 0.53%. This definition is a matter of much controversy.


Prior to the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia in the 1940s, which led to the formation of the Moldovan SSR Moldovans in the territories of modern Romania and Moldova were considered to form a subgroup or regional group of the Romanian ethnos along with Transylvanians, Oltenians, etc. A series of Soviet propaganda campaigns attempted to erase the links between Moldova and Romania in order to dissuade any ideas of re-unification of the two states, including an emphasized 'distinct' " Moldovan language", history, culture etc. and the claim that Moldovans constitute a separate ethnic group. Numerous Romanians, as well as a large part of the Moldovan populace, claim that external interference rather than any actual differences led to Moldova's increasingly separate identity.

Despite this, certain Moldovans have pressed for recognition of an ethnic Moldovan identity, separate from that of Romanians. Nevertheless, in the 2004 Moldovan Census, about 40% of the population of Moldova (55% of all Moldovans and Romanians in Moldova) reported Romanian as a native tongue, rather than Moldovan.


Some differences between Moldovans and Romanians include denominational affiliation, as under Soviet rule the Orthodox Church of Bessarabia was transferred from the Romanian Orthodox Church to the Russian Orthodox Church. However, immediately after Moldova declared independence from the Soviet Union, the Romanian Orthodox Church reorganized the Moldovan Metropolitan Church under its authority, forming the autonomous Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia (Romanian/Moldovan: "Mitropolia Basarabiei"). Moldovans are now split between the Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia and the Metropolitan Church of Chişinău and the Whole Moldova which depends on the Russian Patriarchate.

Moldovan ethnos theory and the Romanian identity

In the past, the term Moldavian/Moldovan has been used to refer to the population of the historical Principality of Moldavia. Nevertheless, after 1924, Soviet sociologists began using the term to demonstrate the distinctiveness of the natives of Bessarabia, in a movement called Moldovenism. On December 19, 2003, the Moldovan Parliament adopted "The Concept on National Policy of the Republic of Moldova" which critics have accused is a revival of the Soviet-style Moldovenist theories. The document states that Moldovans and Romanians are two distinct peoples and speak two different languages, Romanians form an ethnic minority in Moldova, and that the Republic of Moldova is the legitimate successor to the Principality.

Today, Moldovans are recognized as an ethnic group by several former Soviet countries. Presently, the largest number of people who declared their ethnicity as Moldovan live in the Republic of Moldova, where according to the 2004 Census, they comprise 76.1% of the population, although a group of international census experts has identified certain problems in the collection of data for this census, particularly in the domain of nationality (that is, Romanian vs. Moldovan) and language. These experts claim that many respondents were encouraged to state that they were "Moldovans" rather than "Romanians". In Ukraine, according to that country's census in 2001, Moldovans constitute a recognized ethnic minority of 0.53% (7.28% in Chernivtsi Oblast and 5.01% in Odessa Oblast).


The issue is an extremely sensitive and controversial one. Even within the Republic of Moldova there is disagreement on whether Moldovans represent a distinct ethnic group, as demonstrated by the political platforms of parties such as the PPCD. In Romania, despite its proximity to Moldova, no Moldovan ethnicity was reported in the 2002 census, as Moldovans are understood to be a regional Romanian subgroup that lives in the Romanian historical province of Moldavia. The Romanian government as well as various other states do not recognize the existence of a Moldovan ethnic group. For example, in the United States, no difference is made between the two, as can be seen in the CIA World Factbook.

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