CHISINAU, March 29 (Itar-Tass) — A scandal has broken out in Moldova around the country's nation flag after the municipal authorities of Balta, the second largest city here passed a decision to re-introduce "the medieval banner of the founder of Moldovan statehood, Stefan the Great."
The bluish-red banner with the coat of arms showing the head of a bison against the background of a shield has been hoisted at the building of the Balta mayoralty and on other public offices alongside Moldova's official tricolor.
The initiative to exhibit the banner "symoblizing Moldovan statehood" came from the opposition Communist Party. Earlier, the municipalities of another four towns where the Communists have the majority of seats endorsed similar proposals.
Representatives of the liberalist ruling Alianta pentru Integrare Europeana /the Alliance for European Integration/ voted against it, sizing up the opposition's proposal as an infraction on the law on the state flag that will be challenged in the courtroom.
The National Commission for Blazonry issued a statement Thursday calling the use of the historical flag in Balta "a sacrilege against the national flag and an instigation for its abolition."
"The politicians try to pass off the bluish-red banner for the medieval one but it is not in reality," the commission said in its conclusions.
Parliament of the then Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic established the blue-yellow-red tricolor identical with the Romanian national flag in 1990. Somewhat later, the proponents of Moldova's reunification with the ethnically and historically closely related Romania prompted the authorities to borrow the Romanian national anthem.
Population of the predominantly Slavic part of Moldavia located along the southeast bank of the River Dniester responded by founding the Dniester Republic that has not received official recognition to date.
The Dniester government made the greenish-red banner of Soviet Moldavia the official flag of the young republic.
In 1994, the proponents of Moldova's own statehood, the one that would be separate from Romania, came to power in Chisinau. They replaced the Romanian anthem with the original Moldovan one, and added the national emblem as a component part of the flag.
However, the echoes of the Dniester conflict that broke out in 1992 can be felt even today and Moldova remains divided.