Journal of Romanian Studies

Regionalism or Otherness in Greater Romania: Bessarabia’s Response to Cultural Nationalism in the First Years after Unification (1918-1930)

Journal of Romanian Studies (2022), 4, (1), 57–82.

Abstract

This article tackles the “thorny issue” of Bessarabia’s integration into Greater Romania. A former gubernia inside the Russian Empire for approximately one century, the population of this region, located between the Rivers Prut and Dniester, displayed reluctance to unite with Romania. The paper analyzes the sociopolitical environment that led to the union with the Kingdom of Romania in 1918; it then reassesses the policies of homogenization carried out by the Romanian state during its aggressive nationalization campaign and Bessarabia’s reaction to them. Bessarabia’s reunion with its historical sister provinces in 1918, as well as the entire period throughout which the region was part of Romania, is still a highly politicized subject. This article stresses the response of people of different identities to the reconfiguration of the center-periphery relationship, and to Romania’s mission to consolidate a “nationalizing state.” It therefore emphasizes the asymmetry between the aspirations of the center and those of the Bessarabian populations.

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Author details

Chelaru, Valeria