While some fear Russia, others view Moscow as a saviour as the conflict in Ukraine comes closer to Moldova’s borders.
Soviet hymns blasted from speakers in the centre of the Moldovan capital Chisinau on Monday, as the annual Victory Day march went ahead with a new war raging in Europe.
Celebrated by former Soviet states, the May 9 event honours Soviet soldiers who fought against Nazi Germany in the second world war.
“Today is a big holiday, we freed Europe. We as in us, the Soviet Union, in which I was born,” Sergei Izbas told Al Jazeera from under the city’s Triumphal Arc, adding that his mother used to bring him to Victory Day celebrations as a child.
Like many others, Izbas wore a military green cap with a red Soviet star.
He was with a woman wearing the same cap, matched with a big Soviet star buckle belt and a Louis Vuitton handbag.
“When I came back from the army, I threw away my Soviet cap in the trash,” said an elderly man, pointing his finger towards Izbas. “Why are you wearing that?”
Izbas rolled his eyes and asked if the man supported unification with Romania – the two countries used to be one until 1940 when Moldova split from Romania and joined the Soviet Union.
“Yes,” the man mumbled, saying he considers himself a Romanian living in Moldova.
Another woman ranted at the former soldier: “For Romania? You go to Romania.”
A hostile exchange that represents the frictions brewing in Moldovan society as war devastates Ukraine.