During the Soviet period, most people in Moldova were systematically registered as having Moldovan ethnicity.
Mihai Ciubotaru is a writer and a professor of French. He lived in Chisinau. His parents were born in an area which was then part of Romania. However, it later became part of the Soviet Union, and is now in present-day Moldova. Mr Ciubotaru and his parents had all been registered by the Soviet authorities as ethnically Moldovan.
In 2002 Mr Ciubotaru applied to have his identity changed from “Moldovan” to “Romanian”. His request was rejected, both by the State authority and the courts. The reason was that Mr Ciubotaru’s parents had not been registered as ethnic Romanians. According to the authorities, Mr Ciubotaru had no way to challenge these records, and register a different identity.