The West through Moldavian Lens: Reflections on a Liminal Identity

  • Abstract:
    The main aim of this paper is to focus the discussion on the way in which the East represents the West or the outside represents the inside of the EU on a specific country, Moldova. Moldova is a rather singular case in post-communist Eastern Europe, being the only country that is a kin state to a member of the EU, Romania. Stemming from this, the paper examines the Moldovan portrayals and othering of Romania and of the EU, as the two main actors representing the West both in national identity and foreign policy discourses in Chisinau. The data for this project encompasses interviews conducted by the author in 2012, official political declarations speeches and newspaper articles and editorials (2009-2013), thus offering a comprehensive view of Moldovan society. The main argument here is that the sense of periphery in Moldovan thinking is determined by a wide series of factors. Analyzing Moldova’s representations of the West through its portrayals of Romania and the EU allows the study to incorporate articulations ranging from the individual sense of inferiority against the Romanians to the national lack of agency in relations with the EU. On issues such as the correctness of the language they speak, their economic development or their importance in international affair, the Moldovans construct themselves a liminal: part Romanian/European, part outsider and thus inferior. The national identity issue is, thus, augmenting the sense of marginalisation and inferiority in Moldova’s normative representation of the EU, offering an original take on the way in which the East-West cleavage divides nations.