4.2.5 Language issues and policies
Romanian is the language spoken by the majority of the indigenous population; however this is not reflected clearly by its status as "official language". The status of the "official language" in the Republic of Moldova is critical to national cultural policy development.
Two years before the collapse of the USSR, the Supreme Soviet of the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic passed three language laws: Law on the Official Language, Law on the Functioning of the Languages Spoken in the Republic, and Law on the Re-introduction of the Latin Script. These laws were followed by the government's State Programme Ensuring the Functioning of Languages Spoken in the MSSR, designed to open the way for the Romanian language to become the main means of communication in all areas of society.
The Law on the Official Language assigned the Romanian (state) language the same status as Russian. However, no less than 20 of the 32 sections of the law make reference to the Russian language. As a result, Russian has remained the language used in official documents in all structures of the central and local public administration. In addition, the mother tongue of the native population is not yet "a language of inter-ethnic communication".
The language laws introduced by the Soviet regime contained a non-scientific concept "the Moldovan language" (Moldovan is one of the numerous dialects of the Romanian language) that has not been corrected in the 1994 Constitution of the Republic of Moldova. Despite the amendments of the General Assembly of the Academy of Science and other linguistic local and international forums, the state authorities name the official language as "Moldovan", while the schools, universities, mass-media, intellectuals and public administration use the term "Romanian language".
All of these laws and state acts were adopted in 1989 when the Republic of Moldova was still part of the USSR and did not correspond to the radically changed circumstances in 1991, when Moldova declared its independence. However, in the past 17 years the laws have not been amended. In the absence of new state programmes and strategies, language policy in the Republic of Moldova may remain in a deadlock.