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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 09 abril 2007 :  22:50:43  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
The Example Of Gagauz-Yeri As An 'Unfrozen Conflict' Region

Emmet Tuohy and Melinda Haring
Thursday, April 5, 2007

COMRAT, Gagauz-Yeri, Moldova; April 5, 2007 (RFE/RL) - As policymakers search for lasting solutions to Kosovo and unresolved conflicts in the former Soviet Union, many overlook the example of Moldova's semiautonomous region of Gagauz-Yeri. The southern Moldovan region, populated by a Turkic Christian group that fled the Russo-Turkish Wars in the 19th century, launched an independence drive in 1994.

But unlike the region of Transdniester, which fought a short war of independence with Moldova in the early 1990s that remains unresolved, Gagauz-Yeri managed to bridge its differences with Chisinau and now enjoys wide-ranging autonomy. Emmet Tuohy and Melinda Haring spoke for RFE/RL with the region's recently elected governor, Mihail Formuzal, about the history, current problems, and future prospects of Gagauz-Yeri.

RFE/RL: How long have you been involved in politics? What positions have you previously held?

Mihail Formuzal: For the most part, I have never been involved in politics as such, nor do I have much desire to be in the future. Instead, I consider myself to be first of all a manager and an administrator. All of the positions that I have held have been related to working with people. In the army, I served in many positions of authority, just as I have held many supervisory posts in civilian life. As deputy mayor and then mayor of the city of Ceadir-Lunga, and now as governor (baskan) of Gagauzia, I have worked and will continue to work with people. I think that not every person can boast of such a record of service and such work experience as I can.

RFE/RL: Why did you seek the position of governor? What are your priorities for Gagauzia?

Formuzal: I will try my best to answer this question without the unnecessary rhetoric that so many people use while responding to similar questions. I am fully aware of the profound crisis in which Gagauzia finds itself today -- and I am fully capable of leading Gagauzia out of it. I am a hard-working person who knows his goals. Furthermore, I am confident in my strengths and it will undoubtedly help me to achieve my objectives. As for priorities, it is clear above all that my priority is economic growth, combined with ensuring a sufficient standard of living for the people of Gagauzia.

"The wisdom of the Gagauz and Moldovan peoples demonstrated that far better results can be achieved when one is armed not with automatic weapons, but with sober minds and political will."

RFE/RL: Did you encounter any problems during the election process? Were the elections in December free and fair?

Formuzal: Of course, there were some problems. However, these difficulties lie in the past, and I do not want to recall them. Moreover, the new authorities do not under any circumstances intend to carry out any investigations, prosecutions, etc. We simply do not have time for it. Today we face much more important tasks. And as they say, let bygones be bygones. [We] have derived some useful lessons and are going to move forward.

RFE/RL:What was the role of the United States and other Western countries during the elections under which you were elected?

Formuzal: Without a doubt, the United States -- along with other Western countries -- played a very significant role in these elections. Let me remind you that the second round of elections was greatly distinguished from the first one by the far freer atmosphere that prevailed. The second round complied with all the standards of democratic elections. Above all, we link this fact to the visit of foreign ambassadors and representatives of the OSCE Moldova mission to Gagauzia. In fact, there were two visits. The first one took place on November 7. Particularly, it was this day and this visit that became a turning point in conducting fair, free, and democratic elections in Gagauzia.

RFE/RL: Does freedom of speech exist in Gagauzia? What is the situation with the mass media?

Formuzal:Once again, let's not talk about the past -- instead, let's focus on the situation we encounter today. The first step taken by new government was the reorganization of all media in Gagauzia from the state to the public sphere. This means that all journalists no longer feel the pressure of self-censorship; they can now allow themselves to write and speak in accordance with their convictions. Let me give you an example: the new director of the Gagauz television and radio company is someone who worked in the election headquarters of my opponent -- to be exact, my principal opponent. Allow me to underscore the fact that he attained his new position on my initiative -- because this person is a good professional. Clearly, I could have instead tried to promote to that post someone from my own team!

I have to say that, [since] my first day on the job, I have been receiving a great deal of criticism. I must say these critical remarks have been heard from my very first days in office. I have been working for only a month and a half. This also testifies to the fact that freedom of speech is secure. Yet, I have been entirely at ease with this criticism, since it is such an integral part of the democratic political process. It is true that such criticism sometimes disappoints me, as it is directed not at the policies and activities of my new government, but instead at me personally. Surely you will agree that this does not speak in favor of those who criticize me.

RFE/RL: To what degree is the Gagauz language protected? On what level and how often is it taught in schools? Is the Gagauz language the language of communication among the population and also in government bodies?

Formuzal:I must acknowledge that the Gagauz language is currently protected only to a small degree. The state does not allocate resources to its development. In schools, the main problem is that there are not enough books -- and, in some cases, there are no methodological materials [or] handouts necessary for studying the Gagauz language at all. In daily life, the population primarily uses Gagauz, especially in villages. Still, one can often hear Russian, Moldovan, and Ukrainian as well. However, one must admit that Gagauz society is very tolerant in this respect.

Regarding the use of Gagauz in government bodies, unfortunately it is rarely heard.

I know that the European Union has a great number of programs that provide assistance to national minorities. The new administration will work hard to get involved and to cooperate with these programs. We also would like the EU to devote attention to developing the Gagauz language. During the past century, 70 nationalities vanished from the face of the Earth. The world thus lost 70 languages, 70 cultures, and 70 [sets of] customs and traditions. The world has become poorer in terms of cultural heritage -- and we do not want the Gagauz people to become the next in this sorrowful list. Since after all, we are not numerous, there being only 150,000 of us in the world. The Gagauz people are unique, since the language itself belongs to the Turkic language family, while the overwhelming majority of citizens are Orthodox believers. We want this language to be preserved and secured.

RFE/RL: What is Turkey's role in supporting and promoting the Gagauz ethnic, linguistic, and cultural identity?

Formuzal: It is difficult to overestimate the role of Turkey in these issues. We believe that the existence of our autonomy was made possible thanks to a great deal of support and assistance given to us by the Turkish Republic. It is Turkey that played a decisive role in acknowledging Gagauzia as autonomous, and in resolving this international conflict peacefully. So I do esteem Turkey's contribution.

RFE/RL: To what degree does Turkey support Gagauzia economically?

Formuzal: More than any other state, Turkey has granted us economic assistance. Since the founding of our autonomy, our Turkish friends have worked to help us solve economic problems, and have provided valuable assistance in the social sphere. For example, the principal credit in providing the water supply system of Gagauzia also belongs to Turkey. Our nation will always appreciate and remember this help and attention. However, this economic assistance is not a one-way cooperation. On our part we are trying to create a favorable investment environment so that the Turkish side can invest funds in the economic development of Gagauzia as well as create new places of employment. For this purpose, we have freed them from all kinds of taxes for five years.

RFE/RL: Does Greece play an active role in Gagauzia?

Formuzal:Greece holds a certain interest for us, and for this there are natural reasons. As you know, in Greece, there are many communities and villages where the residents are Gagauz or Greeks of Gagauz origin. In some villages, people...still speak Gagauz. Here in Comrat, there is an active Greek-language study program established with the direct assistance of the Greek government. Greece is financing a number of social projects in Gagauzia. Quite recently we finished the implementation of the first stage of our cooperation, regarding constructing a number of infrastructure improvements. Greece has been very helpful to us.

RFE/RL: How close are your ties with Gagauz communities outside of Gagauzia, especially in Ukraine?

Formuzal:With other Gagauz communities, including that of Ukraine, we enjoy close relations. We are always glad to receive visits from our brethren who live in other countries. Our doors are always open to them. We try to maintain close relations with overseas Gagauz communities in the fields of education, culture, and economics. These are three primary vectors of our cooperation. Practically all our intellectuals maintain close contact with that of Ukraine and these relations are extremely strong and lasting.

RFE/RL: Many have argued that Gagauzia is a model for conflict resolution elsewhere, particularly for the Caucasus, the Balkans, and Transdniester. What, in your view, are the most important lessons for other contested territories?

Formuzal:Indeed, in the middle of the 1990s, Gagauzia and Moldova served as an example to the entire world. At that time, the wisdom of the Gagauz and Moldovan peoples demonstrated that far better results can be achieved when one is armed not with automatic weapons, but with sober minds and political will. For many, it was an important lesson. The leaders of many so-called separatist republics realized that it was not a losing move to undertake dialogue at the conference table -- instead, it's simply a different strategy, one that is often a more effective way of protecting their own interests.

However, the positive achievements of the talks today are being lost to a significant degree.Unfortunately, in recent times we have had cautious relations with Chisinau that lacked trust. These relations were expressed most notably by the center's continuous fear of losing control over Gagauzia and, as a result of this fear, by its constant striving to thrust a leader upon us.It is superfluous to say that such behavior of the central authorities had a reverse effect, and contributed to inflaming tensions in the autonomy itself. However, it is possible to return to trust-based relations. Today, the new leadership of Gagauzia has taken several steps to meet Chisinau halfway. We have clearly announced that we are ready for open, honest, and constructive dialogue.

Our degree of readiness and openness to undertake talks is exemplified in particular by our policy regarding government employees. Approximately 20 percent of the members of our Executive Committee are Moldovans, and among them are high-ranking officials and members of the ruling councils of Moldovan political parties. We do not differentiate among people in terms of their nationality or political affiliation. Examples are not hard to find. The finance minister is an ethnic Moldovan, as is the interior minister. Two weeks ago we approved the candidacy of the Communist Party representative for the position of deputy head of the regional administration, which is a rather high position -- even though I am not a Communist supporter.Our main criterion is professional aptitude. And in this respect we would like Gagauzia to become a place of innovation where the benefits of this approach can be exemplified. It goes without saying that we are waiting for an adequate reaction on behalf of Chisinau. We would like the higher leadership of the country to understand that they can work more effectively with us than with the previous government. There is only one principal condition: that Chisinau get rid of its harmful political phobia regarding the alleged "separatist republic" of Gagauzia.

RFE/RL: Some have argued that Gagauzia lacks real autonomy and that Chisinau calls the shots. Is this true? How is power divided between Comrat (the capital of the Gagauz-Yeri autonomous region) and Chisinau?

Formuzal:We do have the full legislative basis necessary for the existence and functioning of the autonomy. Insofar as the autonomy does not exercise its full powers, it is first of all our fault and only then the fault of Chisinau. From time to time, Chisinau causes some complex difficulties for us, but this is quite understandable. The actions of the central authorities are dictated by the same obsessive fear of losing the southern region of the country. However, the very fact that we in Gagauzia are letting others restrain our own autonomous rights can neither be justified nor explained. We ourselves have not [yet] enjoyed those possibilities provided by our law.

There is no distinct division of powers between Chisinau and Comrat. This delimitation is partially provided by the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, the Code of Gagauzia, as well as the Law on the Particular Legal Status of Gagauzia. There do exist certain discrepancies between Moldavian and Gagauz legislation. Yet, we hope that in the near term the bilateral Moldovan-Gagauz commission established to eliminate these inconsistencies will [remedy] this problem.

RFE/RL: How would you characterize Russian-Gagauz relations?

Formuzal: Gagauzia has always enjoyed friendly and close relations with Russia. Throughout its history, our people have experienced many reversals of fortune, and fate has led us to live among many different nations. With the Russian nation in particular, we have been very closely connected. Above all, we are thankful to Russia for the land on which we continue to live to this day. We are also grateful for the education that the majority of our nation has obtained. Today, we continue to receive valuable interest, attention, and support from Russia.

RFE/RL: What was the effect on Gagauzia of the growth of tension between Russia and Moldova? How did Russia's ban on Moldovan wine imports affect the region's economy?

Formuzal:The worsening of Moldovan-Russian relations has affected us in the worst way possible. Our economy -- which, even before the ban, was underdeveloped -- was practically paralyzed after [ the ban was enacted.] After all, our region's earnings from the most part come from wine making, tobacco growing, and horticulture. And I remind you that, following the ban on wine imports, there were similar bans imposed on fruit and tobacco. It is difficult to explain the upheavals that Gagauzia has experienced. All of these industries remain in dire straits. But we believe that in the short term we will be able to overcome these problems.

RFE/RL: What has the impact of increased natural-gas prices been on the Gagauz people?

Formuzal:Obviously, it has been very severe. In one sense, there was a reprieve, at least for many of our citizens, as the unexpectedly warm winter allowed them to reduce gas consumption. However, notwithstanding even this, the new gas prices are out of reach for the majority of our population. Many of our elderly are forced to freeze to death in their own unheated homes. Some elderly people have told me that they put bottles [filled] with hot water in their beds. It was certainly a severe upheaval for people. Wages and prices should certainly grow faster than energy prices. Yet for the time being, prices for services are surpassing growth in wages as well as pensions.

RFE/RL: What is the ultimate outlook for Gagauz-Yeri? Do you believe that things are getting better or worse overall?

Formuzal: Not only do I believe that things will get better -- I know it for sure! The new government will do everything in its power so that people will be able to feel positive changes within a year . Increasing people's quality of life is our highest priority. To achieve this change, we [already] have all that we need. We have fertile land, hard-working people, a professional management team, a well-developed action plan and, most importantly, a tremendous will to work for change. We do believe we can change people's lives for the better.

(Emmet Tuohy is a Fulbright Research Fellow in Kyiv, Ukraine, and assistant director of the Center for Eurasian Policy at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. Melinda Haring is a former Freedom House staffer who now works as a freelance writer based in Kyiv, Ukraine.)

(Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty © 2007 RFE/RL, Inc. - http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/04/e3dc919f-38ea-4f73-bbc7-4468bae6aa7a.html)


Envíos 10057

Enviado - 09 mayo 2007 :  14:08:28  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita

Marianne Paul-Boncour et Patrick de Sinetry
Voyage au pays des Gagaouzes

Editions Cartouche, Paris, 2007, 143 pages, 9,50 euros

Par Laurent Geslin

Les Gagaouzes, voilà un nom qui étonne et qui prête à sourire ! Un de ses peuples oublié par l’histoire occidentale qu’on serait bien en peine de positionner sur une carte. Pourtant ils existent. Chrétiens de langue turque aux ascendances mystérieuses, les Gagaouzes occupent des terres au sud de la Moldavie. On les dit héritiers des Petchenègues, des Koumans ou des Oghuzs. Ces mythologies les font sourire. Ils veulent simplement vivre en paix avec leurs voisins et continuer de pratiquer leur langue. Depuis le début des années 90, les Gagaouzes ont même une République autonome ainsi qu’une capitale, Comrat. Mais la crise économique qui pousse les citoyens moldaves à partir travailler en Russie ou en Turquie, ainsi que les politiques successives de roumanisation et de russifications menées par les divers occupant durant des dizaines d’années ont sérieusement fragilisé l’identité gagaouze.

Rencontre dans un café désert avec un ancien officier de police, autour d’un verre d’alcool dans la cave d’une ferme isolée, ou dans les locaux défraîchis d’un peintre un peu mystique, il y a du Albert Londres dans les récits de Marianne Paul-Boncour et de Patrick de Sinetry. Le compliment n’est pas anodin. On retrouve ce même humanisme, cet étonnement constant plein de bienveillance, ce sens du mot et de l’expression. Car si le reportage dépayse et enrichit, la plume ravit le lecteur exigeant.

Premier opus d’une nouvelle collection consacrée aux peuples « oubliés », Voyage au pays des Gagaouzes est un ouvrage qui se lit beaucoup trop vite. Mais que l’on est heureux d’avoir croisé, au moins pour quelques heures. Vivement la suite !

(Source: LE COURRIER DES BALKANS. - http://balkans.courriers.info/livre8211.html)
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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 29 julio 2007 :  14:35:42  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita

Real and 'Virtual' Elements of Power Sharing in the Post-Soviet Space: the Case of Gagauzian Autonomy
Oleh Protsyk and Valentina Rigamonti

Download (PDF file 111 KB):
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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 14 marzo 2008 :  00:57:18  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Sécheresse en Moldavie: La Russie envoie de l'aide humanitaire

RIA Novosti, Moscou
07/ 03/ 2008

MOSCOU, 7 mars - RIA Novosti. - Un avion du ministère russe des Situations d'urgence chargé d'aide humanitaire est parti pour la Moldavie, a annoncé vendredi un porte-parole du ministère russe des Situations d'urgence.

"Un avion cargo Il-76 a décollé de Moscou à destination de Chisinau à 11h00 GMT. L'appareil a à son bord 25 tonnes de conserves de viande et de 75 tonnes de riz et de sarrasin.

En outre, la Russie acheminera plus tard vers la région autonome de Gagaouzie 5.000 tonnes de vivres et 60.000 tonnes de l'huile de tournesol.

La Gagaouzie est une région autonome de la Moldavie située près de la frontière sud de l'Ukraine et peuplée par les Gagaouzes.

La Moldavie est toujours en proie à la grave pénurie alimentaire due à une sécheresse sans précédent qui s'est abattue l'année dernière sur le pays et détruit ses récoltes.

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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 29 abril 2008 :  14:11:12  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Yedinaya Gaguzia Movement warns on protests

Info-Prim Neo
April 11 2008

The social movement "Yedinaya Gagauzia" warns it is likely to unfold protests in case of invalidating the elections in the constituencies where its supporters were elected as local parliamentarians, Info-Prim Neo reports.

A communiqué issued by Yedinaya Gagauzia’s executive committee reads that the representatives of the central authorities largely used administrative resources in the elections in the autonomous area. Especially in the runoff, on March 30, employees of the law-enforcement organs interfered into the ballot and exerted pressures on voters.

The movement’s representatives maintain they hold information on the further use of administrative resources, the pressure being now exerted on the newly elected parliamentarians who support the movement. In case the latter ones don’t give in, pressure is exerted on courts to invalidate the elections in their constituencies.

The social movement "Yedinaya Gagauzia" states that, in case pressures are exerted on courts not to recognize the mandate of the legally elected MPs, “supporters of our movement reserve the right to organize protest meetings and to take adequate measures to defend democracy, the citizens’ rights and freedoms.”

Yedinaya Gagauzia requests the representatives of the OSCE and of diplomatic missions accredited to Moldova to support the validation of the results of the runoff for the local People’s Assembly.

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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 01 octubre 2008 :  23:31:45  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Mihai Eminescu’s Luceafarul (Evening Star) is being translating into Gagauz for the first time by the former ambassador of Moldova to Turkey, Fiodor Angheli

MOLDOVA (Source: Info-Prim Neo)

Fiodor Angeli has told Info-Prim Neo he has been working for one year on Eminescu’s masterpiece and has already translated 80 of 98 stanzas. The Gagauz version is very close to the original by form: paired rhyme quatrains, the same metric measure and rhythm, the iambic verse. The translator left unchanged the characters’ names - Luceafarul (Luceafêr), Catalina, Hyperion. Yet the poem has the title “Çoban yildizi” (the Shepherd’s Star), as Venus is called in Gagauz. The translator recognizes Eminescu’s verses sound better in original, but assures in Gagauz they are easily read and sound extraordinarily: “Olur masaldaki gibi-/ Sevgidä yok dibin dibi./ Geçmistä hiç olmayan olmus-/ Kral soyundan bir evlad duumus.”

The translator’s idea is to publish the poem in a bilingual edition. He thinks this way the book is going to be useful both to teachers and students and to all those wanting to study any of the two languages. The author would like to include in the same book the fairy tale “Prince Charming from the Teardrop” by Mihai Eminescu, which is, in his opinion, the most valuable prose work of the national genius. Fiodor Angheli has already translated the tale into Gagauz, but in verses.

Fiodor Angheli has recently published a book in Gagauz called “Masallar” (“Fairy Tales”), in which he included 5 tales by A.S. Pushkin in Gagauz. The book was published with the support of the Russian embassy to Moldova. Yet he has not found yet sources to support the publishing of “Luceafarul”. The authorities still ignore his notifications, and the translator opened a special bank account in this respect.

The former ambassador says he has been struggling with the Moldovan officials for three years that they grant more attention to the study of the state language in the schools for national minorities. “Now, neither the Gagauzians, nor the Ukrainians, nor the Bulgarians and nor the Russians have possibilities to study Romanian. They do not know the state language not because they do not want to, but because they are not created the conditions. The state gives no penny for the Gagauzian students to learn Romanian. They don’t have textbooks, and qualified teachers,” Fiodor Angheli says. He considers the Government should develop a special program for 1-20 years ahead and to allocate special funds to have the minorities study the state language. “Unless such measures are undertaken, in 10-15 years we’re going to have a big problem in our small country,” Fiodor Angheli warns. “The graduates of national schools, especially the ones living in villages do not speak Russian, while the graduates of ethnic schools do not speak Romanian. The lack of a language to communicate will lead to many clashes,” the former ambassador thinks. He is certain that namely Romanian should become a means of inter-ethnic communication, as Russian was once. “The language is the element cementing a people, and our people should be united,” Angheli says.

Born on 24 October 1935 in Gaidar village, Ceadar-Lunga district, Fiodor Angheli graduated the “M. Lomonosov” University and the Communist Party High School from Moscow. He was a correspondent for the newspapers “Novosti” (1967-1972) and “Pravda” (1974-1979) in Bucharest. He worked in the foreign relations section of the Communist Party in Chisinau (1972-1974). He was the general director of the state news agency “Moldpress” (1983-1990) and later the head of the “Itar-Tass” bureau in Moldova (1990-1994). He was parliamentarian from 1994 to 1998 and Moldova’s ambassador to Turkey, Egypt and Kuwait in Ankara (1998-2001).

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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 25 febrero 2009 :  21:54:47  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Moldavie: la Gagaouzie, toujours en quête de reconnaissance et d’autonomie

Propos recueillis par Mehdi Chebana
Le Courrier des Balkans
Lundi 9 février 2009

Le 22 septembre 2008, les députés de l’Assemblée populaire de Gagaouzie ont officiellement reconnu l’indépendance de l’Abkhazie et de l’Ossétie du sud. Pourtant, ce territoire autonome du sud de la Moldavie a renoncé à ses propres velléités indépendantistes. La Gagaouzie veut seulement défendre sa langue et sa culture. Elle souhaite plus d’autonomie et de reconnaissance. Entretien avec Mihail Formuzal, «Bashkan» (gouverneur) de Gagaouzie, au siège du gouvernement de Comrat, autour d’un café turc préparé «à la mode gagaouze».

Le Courrier des Balkans (CdB): Pourquoi, selon vous, les députés gagaouzes ont-ils reconnu l’indépendance de l’Abkhazie et de l’Ossétie du Sud en septembre dernier?

Mihail Formuzal (MF): Il ne faut pas regarder ce vote comme un sursaut indépendantiste de notre part, mais plutôt comme le geste de solidarité d’un petit peuple envers un autre. Vous savez, toutes les deux semaines, dans le monde, une langue ou un peuple disparaît. C’est dur. Le peuple gagaouze est très sensible à ce qui arrive aux autres mais considère que les problèmes ne peuvent pas se régler par les tanks et les fusils.

CdB: Pourquoi vous a-t-on si peu entendu dans les médias à l’époque?

MF: J’ai bien tenté de défendre nos idées mais la presse moldave a fait barrage. Pourtant, croyez moi, j’ai beaucoup parlé à ce moment là. Par exemple, j’ai rencontré, à Londres, deux députés européens avec qui j’ai pu longuement discuter de nos positions.

CdB: Jusqu’à très récemment, il existait en Gagaouzie de fortes velléités indépendantistes. Aujourd’hui, la situation semble pacifiée sur votre territoire, alors que la Transnistrie entretient toujours des relations extrêmement tendues avec les autorités de Chisinàu. Comment l’expliquez-vous?

MF: Nous sommes un petit peuple et nous ne pouvons pas aspirer à des changements de frontières. Les Gagaouzes font en sorte d’être un modèle pour les autres petits peuples et tentent de créer un modèle politique sui generis. En 1994, la Moldavie a voté une loi sur le statut du Gagauz-Yéri. Mircea Snegur, alors Président de la République, a officiellement reconnu l’autonomie de notre territoire au sein de la Moldavie. Il a été élu homme politique européen de l’année pour cela. La loi était très bonne telle qu’elle était au départ. Le problème, c’est que, progressivement, le pouvoir central de Chisinàu a commencé à y apporter toute une série d’amendements et a même supprimé des articles entiers du texte de départ. Cela a créé des tensions en Gagaouzie jusqu’en 2002, année où les autorités de Chisinàu ont organisé un véritable putsch pour renverser Dumitru Croitoru, le gouverneur d’alors. Cela n’a pas été très correct de leur part. Et pourtant, mon peuple a réussi à surmonter cette épreuve sans combattre, sans bain de sang.

CdB: Les relations entre Chisinàu et Comrat se sont-elles améliorées depuis cet épisode?

MF: Mon prédécesseur, qui était communiste, disait que tout allait bien. Ce n’est pas mon opinion. Cela fait deux ans que je suis gouverneur de Gagouzie et j’ai pu observer que de nombreux problèmes subsistaient. Tout d’abord, Chisinàu ne nous aide pas à mettre en valeur la culture gagaouze. Nous n’avons jamais reçu de subvention, ne serait-ce que pour publier des livres dans notre langue ou promouvoir le gagaouze à l’école ou à la crèche. Il n’existe aucun établissement scolaire où l’on enseigne uniquement en gagaouze. Ce que nous voulons avant tout, c’est que notre langue ne disparaisse pas. Nous souhaitons également que les autorités de Chisinàu lancent une vraie décentralisation à l’échelle de tout le pays. Un peu comme la France l’a fait avec succès. Cela nous permettrait d’acquérir plus de pouvoir et de responsabilité. Et puis, comme je vous le disais précédemment, la loi de 1994 régissant notre entité administrative a perdu de sa valeur. Nous n’avons pas le droit d’avoir des partis politiques exerçant seulement en Gagaouzie. Du coup, lors des élections locales, les candidats gagaouzes doivent se présenter en indépendant ou alors monter à Chisinàu pour obtenir le soutien d’un parti politique pour se présenter sous ses couleurs. Enfin, il existe un profond déséquilibre entre la représentation des minorités au sein de l’administration gagaouze et le nombre de gagaouzes représentés au niveau national. Ici, en Gagaouzie, notre ministre local des finances est moldave comme ses homologues de la santé ou de la justice. De même, le responsable de l’administration fiscale est bulgare. Mais à Chisinàu, pas un ministre ou un député gagaouze. Pas de Gagaouze non plus dans les structures de décisions des grands partis politique du pays.

CdB: Le gouverneur de Gagaouzie est tout de même membre du gouvernement moldave…

MF: Sur le papier, oui, le gouverneur de Gagaouzie est membre du gouvernement. Mais dans les faits, il ne décide de rien, il ne dispose que d’une seule voix… Certains gouverneurs ont bien tenté, par le passé, de s’opposer à certains projets, mais cela n’a rien changé. Ce que nous voulons, c’est donc une meilleure représentation dans les structures politiques et gouvernementales. Nous constituons tout de même 4,5% de la population moldave. On pourrait commencer par faire élire quatre ou cinq députés gagaouzes, ici en Gagaouzie, afin qu’ils entrent au Parlement de Chisinàu.

CdB: Comment vous positionnez-vous par rapport à la querelle linguistique en Moldavie?

MF: Pour être franc, cette querelle ne nous regarde pas. On nous dit de parler russe, on parle russe. On nous dit de passer au roumain ou au moldave, on s’exécute. Le principal, c’est que nous puissions continuer de parler librement le gagaouze. Vous savez, notre peuple a toujours été conduit par d’autres nations. Nous avons beaucoup appris à leur contact et elles nous ont permis de développer un goût certain pour les langues étrangères. Mes grands-parents parlaient très bien le roumain et le russe. Et puis, cela fait des siècles que Bulgares, Ukrainiens, Roumains et Gagaouzes vivent en bonne intelligence sur notre territoire. C’est une richesse culturelle unique. Maintenant, il est vrai qu’après des décennies de russifications, nous développons aujourd’hui l’enseignement du roumain dans nos établissements scolaires. Mais beaucoup reste à faire. On aimerait envoyer nos étudiants apprendre le roumain en Roumanie mais nous sommes assez peu soutenus sur ce point. L’idéal serait également que 20% de nos étudiants puissent aller apprendre dans les universités de Pologne, de Russie ou de Bulgarie.

CdB: Quels liens les Gagaouzes ont-ils gardé avec la Turquie?

MF: Tout d’abord, je voudrais préciser qu’il existe de nombreuses hypothèses sur nos origines. Et l’on ne sait toujours pas aujourd’hui laquelle est la bonne. Peut-être ne le saurons nous jamais. Ce qui et sûr, c’est que les Gagaouzes parlent une langue très proche du turc et qu’ils étaient autrefois de bons paysans, de bons éleveurs mais aussi de bons combattants puisqu’ils ont longtemps protégé le Sud-Ouest de l’Empire russe. Pour en revenir aux Turcs, ils nous aident dans tous les domaines et ne nous demandent rien en échange. Sur le plan économique, Istanbul subventionne de nombreux projets de développement sur notre territoire. Cette année encore, ils ont investi 5 millions de dollars dans un projet d’alimentation en eau à Ceadâr-Lunga [1]. De même, les liens culturels sont très forts. Certaines de nos villes sont jumelées avec des villes turques, comme notre capitale, Comrat, avec la ville d’Isparta située à l’ouest de la Turquie. Une majorité de Turcs a déjà entendu parler de notre petit peuple que ce soit à travers les médias locaux, les festivals ou d’autres projets culturels. Toutefois, s’il est vrai que nous sommes un petit peuple, nous avons des liens avec d’autres pays que la Turquie. Nous travaillons notamment avec la Roumanie, la Biélorussie, la Russie, l’Ukraine et même la France. Enfin, en matière de diplomatie, c’est bien Chisinàu qui garde la main, malgré l’autonomie dont nous bénéficions. Ainsi, quand des personnalités turques viennent en Moldavie, elles sont d’abord reçues à Chisinàu et passent ensuite, assez fréquemment, il est vrai, à Comrat.

CdB: Qu’attendez-vous des élections législatives du 5 avril prochain?

MF: Pas grand-chose ! (rires). Non, sérieusement, j’espère que ces élections permettront de donner l’impulsion démocratique dont le pays a besoin pour résoudre ses problèmes économiques. J’espère aussi qu’elles permettront de lancer la décentralisation dont je vous parlais précédemment. Enfin, je souhaite que les jeunes Moldaves qui sont partis à l’étranger reviennent pour construire l’avenir de leur pays.

Nota: Mihail Formuzal a répondu en russe à cet entretien que nous avons mené en roumain. Traduction du russe au roumain: Vitalie Cucu.

[1] Mihail Formuzal était maire de Ceadâr-Lunga avant d’être élu gouverneur de Gagaouzie il y a deux ans.

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