On May 9, 2019 Moldova celebrated another victory day over fascist Germany. The event, which was supposed to serve as a lesson for all mankind, today is increasingly becoming an occasion for discussions and speculation of unscrupulous politicians who rethink the content and meaning of victory to their advantage.
It would seem that the debate over the tragic events of the middle of the last century is rather the lot of the major powers such as the United States, the European Union and Russia. However, in recent years, there has been a clear reassessment of the period of hostilities even at a lower regional level. Once a significant date for the entire post-Soviet space May 9 gradually becomes a tool used to identify ‘friend or foe’. The main May day loses its sacred meaning in favor of more tolerant and neutral forms of perception of the war at the state level.
For example, in Ukraine since 2015, the state decided to celebrate the Victory Day over Nazism in the Second World War of 1939-1945. Thus, Kyiv decided to at least dissociate itself from the Day of Victory in the Great Patriotic War that is traditionally celebrated by the Russian Federation. Moldovan authorities went the other way: the legislation was supplemented with the wording that on May 9, besides the Victory Day, the country will also celebrate Europe Day.
Both in Ukraine and Moldova such measures are not accidental. The authorities understand that public opinion on this date is divided, and each of these states has veterans and descendants of soldiers who fought on the side of different parties to the conflict. However, the desire for “consolidation and reconciliation of society” often reveals a banal desire to promote their own political agendas. Therefore, attempts of Chisinau to regulate the Victory Day evidently only increase fragmentation in the society, which was clearly unprepared for such a rapid, imposed and artificial change of historical references.
This is particularly obvious in Moldova, where the main political forces celebrated the 9th of May quite differently. Socialists traditionally tried to align with Moscow and arrange the holiday in the most traditional way: with multi-thousand Immortal Regiment and 75-meter St.George Ribbon. This event found a lively response among the masses of the population.
The Democratic Party, in its turn, organized its ‘mix’ in the center of Chisinau – “Peace and Prosperity for Moldova”, as always, ‘muddying the water’ and mixing both Victory Day and Europe Day in one story.
Representatives of the ACUM bloc laid flowers to the tomb of the unknown soldier and the memorial of German soldiers who fell on the territory of Moldova, saying that they came to the Eternity memorial after “visited the cemetery of Romanian heroes”. The Liberal Party at all said that celebrates the Independence Day of Romania, proclaimed on May 9, 1877.
Such diversified positions in the context of May 9 indicate a deep disunity in the society and Moldovan elites. The holiday was more overshadowed by the fact that the fragmentation on linguistic, identity and historical basis deprives the Moldovan state and its citizens of a further homogeneous view of the future and a clear focus towards one vector of movement. The holiday also became a clear reflection of the existing political mess in the country, showing how far ideological views and attitudes of leading political forces are even in relation to one specific historical date. Not to mention that the celebration, as usual in Moldova, again had hidden and not so hidden forms of political campaigning.
In this context, it is interesting to draw attention to the situation in Transdniestria. The unrecognized republic on the one hand is inextricably linked with the general regional context and its neighbors, and on the other continues to maintain the tradition of a large celebration of the Victory Day, which today seems common only to Russia and Belarus. As usual, Tiraspol had a military parade, the Immortal Regiment, as well as a series of events on the territory of the Operational Group of Russian Troops. It is obvious that Chisinau hardly likes this situation in the breakaway region, because it sets a tempting example for a large part of the Moldovan population that is still nostalgic for the Soviet times and its inherent attributes – which, of course, include the celebration of the Victory.
Pridnestrovie here, apparently, shows some initiative, which has yet remained without the reaction of Chisinau – although such experience can be continued. I’m talking about the joint march of Immortal Regiment, organized by the administrations of Bicioc and Gura-Bicului villages, which involved residents of the right bank village in commemorative events in the territory of the ‘TMR’. It is easy to guess why the population of the Moldovan village agreed to join in such an event with the neighbors: what Chisinau offers today on May 9 does not fit into their viewpoint and ideas about this date.
Next year the residents of other settlements of Moldova, and possibly Ukraine, may decide to participate in events on the left bank of the Dniester. Such a step will be an even more powerful signal that the people and authorities go separate ways, and the population does not accept the forced attempts of the Moldovan state to reformat the sacred holiday for many in favor of the temporary political situation.
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