IT TAKES NATIONAL REFERENDUM TO DETERMINE RUSSIAN LANGUAGE STATUS IN MOLDOVA: PRESIDENT

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CHISINAU, September 30 (RIA Novosti's Vladimir Novosadyuk) - Will Moldova upgrade Russian to an official language status? A national referendum alone can settle the matter-and a referendum cannot be held before the Transdniestria issue comes to a final settlement, Moldova's President Vladimir Voronin said to a news conference.

"An official status of the Russian language demands a relevant amendment in Moldova's Constitution. Now, amending the Constitution will set a precedent-it will not offer any guarantees against certain people eventually coming up to insist on more constitutional amendments on the issue. The Russian language will so get back to its previous status. The matter will come as permanent social detonator to throw the community into a confrontation. That is what makes a referendum necessary. All Moldovan citizens, whether from the right Dniester bank or the left, are to speak up. That is the only way to settle the issue with social upheavals avoided," reasoned the President.

He does not see whatever barriers to bilingualism now. "Moldova has many schools, and new ones are being built. They have Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Gagauz and other tuition languages at the disposal of the many citizens of this multiethnic country. In Moldova, people are free to speak whatever language they prefer," President Voronin pointed out.

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