Moldovan President Maia Sandu has signed off on a law making “Romanian” the official name for the language spoken in the former Soviet republic.
The language was renamed ‘Moldovan’ during the Soviet era to keep a separate identity from Romanian, even though the languages are the same.
The Soviets wanted to suppress any reunification initiative between the neighbors_ which were the same country until 1940 and create a distinct identity. The language even used the Cyrillic rather than the Latin script.
Earlier this month, parliament voted to finally change the name of the language to Romanian, part of moves to develop ties with Europe and move away from the Soviet orbit.
In a sign of the political tensions over the move, there were heated arguments and pro-Russian lawmakers walked out of the session to protest the change. The opposition plans to challenge the decision in Constitutional Court.
After signing the law on Wednesday, Sandu said it confirmed “ the historical and irrefutable truth: the official language of Moldova is Romanian. I want the Romanian language to unite all of us who live here and love this land,” she wrote on Facebook.
Sandu argued that renaming Moldovan into Romania will „unite the society.”