6 May 1990. The Flowers Bridge - a gate opened to a new world
15:31 | 05.05.2021 Category:
The Flowers Bridge at the Prut river took place on 6 May 1990. This event naturally fit into the context of the popular far-reaching actions held in Moldova during 1989-1991.
After two years of protests and claims, the first parliament was elected based on a democratic ballot. At the first stage, in that parliament, there was a majority which was implementing the claims of the national liberation movement. On 27 April, the tricolor was approved as state flag. With the support of the aforementioned majority, Mircea Snegur was elected parliament speaker – the highest state office at that time. The Romanian TV channels were first ever broadcast in Moldova. There was a positive state of spirit in the society for the fall of the last ‘’Berlin wall’’ in Europe.
The People’s Front of Moldova (FPM) came up with the idea of a greater openness between the two banks of the Prut river. As a first step, FPM proposed the organization of a Flowers Bridge titled, Let us cover the Prut of our tears with flowers. There were conditions for organizing such an event on the right bank of the Prut river as well. Let us not forget that, in 1944, more than half a million of Bessarabians took refuge to Romania. At that time, there were hundreds of thousands of relatives, who had occasion to meet after almost half a century.
Beyond the huge enthusiasm which was dominating in Chisinau, there were people warning about the serious consequences – a thing from which the forces which disliked the events from Moldova could took advantage. A group of culture people, led by Grigore Vieru, managed to persuade the leader of the Communist Party of Moldova (PCM), Petru Lucinschi, to coordinate the action with Moscow. Let us not forget that, at that moment, the Prut river was state border of the Soviet Union and the border guards had to have to the agreement of the central Soviet command.
The Flowers Bridge took place on 6 May 1990. Early in the morning, thousands of buses and private cars set out to the Prut river from various regions of Moldova. The Chisinau-Ungheni train was overcrowded. Residents from settlements on the Prut river’s bank, with holidays clothes on them, were arriving to destination points with tricolor flags in their hands.
On this occasion, the residents of Romania on the concerned day were allowed to cross the Prut river to the Soviet Moldova without passport and visa between 13:00 and 19:00. Eight border crossing point were set up along the 700-km-long border at the Prut river to this end.
At 12:00, the official hour of Bucharest, which became official hour of Chisinau as well, a group of priests officiated a religious service, after which the bells of all churches from the left and right sides of Prut river rang together for the first time following decades. Afterwards, the waters of the Prut river received an offer of flowers from the northern settlements on Romania’s map, in Miorcani, along the entire river; the flowers were donated by those present in a symbolic gesture.
The most touching moment was the crossing of the Prut river by Romanian citizens. Tens of thousands of close relatives met. Music shows and folk dances were presented; people remembered the past and made new friends.
The then Minister of Culture and Cults, Ion Ungureanu, was telling that ‘’tens of thousands of Romanians from both banks of Prut gushed out as a river. Romanians to the West of the Prut river were the first to enter the USSR without permission.’’ For his part, a former prime minister of Moldova, Mircea Druc, said that all which he was interested in at that moments was ‘’the perplexed sight of the Soviet border guards, who were completely confused and puzzled. They have never seen anything like this before!’’
An official delegation of Moldova was guest of the Iasi municipality. The delegation members visited more historical, cultural and religious buildings and places and made a tour of the city.
A lot of people perfectly understood that any provocation, any incident could subsequently serve as pretext for the preservation of a rigid border at the Prut river. On 6 May evening, the TVR station broadcast a comprehensive and stirring feature report, shot from helicopter. Along those 700 km of state border, on both banks of Prut, hundreds of thousands of people experienced astral moments, moments which they never hoped before. And the most important thing: the border closed at 19:00. All Romanian citizens peacefully returned home and border guards reported no incident.
More than three decades have passed since the Flowers Bridge. The war in the eastern districts came in Moldova. Afterwards, the poverty came and an unexpected return to power of the forces which did not want changes and for which even the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was a ‘’traitor.’’ There are also people who presently speak about the Flowers Bridge as about something trivial and useless. And only a few people understood that, in those times, a gate opened for us, one which led us towards a new way. How we took advantage of that huge chance is already another story, with a distance of three decades covered.
Chisinau, 5 May /MOLDPRES/ -