It's twenty years since Romanian was declared the official language of the Moldovan state, regaining its place after 45 years of disuse under Soviet rule.
Unfortunately, however, the aggressive Russification of Moldova, though held at bay during the 1990s, was resumed under communist rule.
Today in Chisinau you will be addressed by shop assistants in Russian. You will order your taxis in Russian and your business meetings are likely to be conducted in that language. You will go to Patria and watch an English-language film overdubbed into Russian by a man with husky voice. If you want to read a lifestyle magazine, a whole range are available to you (in Russian). If you want to sit through a communist party conference (I don't advise it) you will need to sit through hours and hours of meaningless speeches, once again in Russian. If you want to be cool and prove how smart you are, you will need to speak Russian.
It's all got to stop. The appropriate position for the Russian language in Moldova is as one of two foreign languages that every Moldovan citizen should learn at school (the other being English). It should also be protected and honoured as the mother-language of the 5.6% of the population who identify themselves as Russian. But that's it.
Moldova has grown up. It's now 18 years old and has been through a rite of democratic passage in 2009. Russian speakers have had twenty years to learn the language, and time is now up. No more should Moldovans extend the courtesy of using Russian with people who have not bothered to learn the national language. No more should Moldovans be content with a state of affairs in which they have to use a foreign language in so many aspects of their lives.
Moldovans should be confident and proud in using their own language. Remember this is not a peasant language as some would claim, but a direct descendent of Latin. It is the language of Eminescu, Caragiale and Vieru.
Parliament should adopt new laws to protect the language. These would, for example,require the use of the language in official situations and in publicity. It also urgently needs to look at Moldova's media space and find ways of encouraging more Romanian language programming and written content. Finally, ethnic minorities need to be encouraged to learn the language, so that the national language, and not Russian, becomes the 'language of inter-ethnic communication.
NB: Please don't get me wrong. Russian is a beautiful language and I mean no disrespect to its speakers. However its cultural influence in foreign countries such as Moldova needs to be restricted so that those countries can rediscover and redevelop their own languages and culture.