Moldovan acting president offers compromise in settling language dispute with Gagauzia

CHISINAU, August 5 (Itar-Tass) —— Moldovan Acting President, Speaker Marian Lupu has offered a compromise in settling the dispute with Gagauzia, where high school graduates did not pass an exam in the state Moldovan language.

“They must have a chance to take the exam again,” he said, blaming the authorities of Moldova and Gagauzia for the confrontation. “Both Chisinau and Comrat are responsible, and the problem must be solved,” he said.

Passions flared when several dozens of Gagauz schoolchildren failed the language and literature exam and the Moldovan Education Ministry decided to issue them with certificates, which would enable the graduates to study at vocational schools but not at higher educational establishments.

Gagauzia leader Mihail Formuzal issued the graduates with diplomas of the autonomous district, in which the Moldovan language exam was omitted. The Moldovan Education Ministry called the diplomas illegal. Formuzal demanded the dismissal of Education Minister Mihail Sleahtitchi for destroying the national education system and ruining the future of the students. “This is not a native language of many children, they study it as a foreign language. Many have good marks in other subjects and have been admitted to schools in Russia, Turkey and other countries,” he said. As a compromise, he suggested a new test or diplomas without language exam marks.

The dispute escalated tensions between Gagauzia and Moldova, and some Moldovan politicians accused Formuzal of separatism. In reply the authorities of Gagauzia refused to accept letters in Moldovan from the central authorities in the case the letters are not translated into Russian. They explained the demand with the Law on Languages in Moldova adopted in 1989. The law said that acts of state authorities and public organizations must be adopted in the state language and translated into Russian.

The Gagauz autonomous district within Moldova was formed in December 1994 by the Moldovan parliament’s law on the special status of Gagauzia. The document put an end to the three-year confrontation, which started in 1990, when Turkic-speaking people of Gagauzia declared their own republic in the wake of the struggle for national revival and Chisinau tried to destroy the republic by force. Soviet forces sent by President Mikhail Gorbachev prevented bloodshed.

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