RTA regular author Dorin Mocanu notes that Moldova has not learnt to take an unbiased look at its history. The author considers the situation catastrophic in which inhabitants of the poorest country in Europe are not united by the idea of a bright future, but are looking for someone to blame for the events of the past.
When someone claims that the Moldovan people have had a difficult, tough and bloody history, he is absolutely right. All the countries of Eastern Europe can boast of a difficult history. However, Germany, Austria and Japan have no less tough and problematic past: but in these countries, unlike Moldova, the attitude to the events of the past does not threaten to divide the country.
But this risk is real in Moldova.
As the experience of modern times shows, the complicated history in some post-Soviet states is one of the main factors of the split in society and inevitably calls into question the integrity of these countries. The Republic of Moldova is just an example of a fragmented and divided state with strong separatist tendencies. According to some experts, the division in the Moldovan society has reached such limits, when the only thing that unites all citizens of Moldova is a life together in one territory. An important reason for this state of affairs lies in the lack of a common understanding of the fateful pages of history for the Moldovan state.
For example, not the first, but a good example was the situation of the Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu. Calling the events of 1992 “civil war”, the Moldovan diplomat literally whipped up the Moldovan society: as a result, everyone saw how deeply and uncompromisingly divided Moldovan society is in assessing even such relatively recent events.
In this sense, Mr. Popescu’s statements or further steps are not really that important. The important thing now is to establish and realize to what extent the Republic of Moldova and its citizens are ready to give up aggression against literally ‘thy neighbour’, and hence to the political settlement of the Transdniestrian conflict? Hardly even a little, given that they cannot get rid of the ghosts of Russophobia, eternal habit to find out ‘who fought with whom’ and stigmatize the dissenters and threaten to punish all who are ‘not with us’.
Talking about Moldova’s attitude to modern Russia in general, the Moldovan version of Russophobia has always looked the most ridiculous and unnatural, especially against the background of neighboring Ukraine and the Baltic countries. In the early 90’s it seemed that this chauvinism and nationalist animosity in the Moldovan society should have sunk into oblivion after the extremely sobering events of 1992. However, in practice, the ideas of Russia’s sacral guilt in the current sad state of the Moldovan statehood are alive and grow comfortably even under the ‘compromise’ and ‘non-geopolitical’ government of Maia Sandu and Igor Dodon.
On July 6, Moldova held mourning events on the occasion of the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Stalin’s Repressions, and nationwide mourning was declared throughout the country. The commemoration in Balti was marred by the conflict between the clergy of the Moldovan metropolis of the Russian Orthodox Church and representatives of the Association of Victims of Political Repression who wished to hold a prayer with the priests of the Bessarabian metropolis of the Romanian Orthodox Church. A significant part of Moldovan society, including the victims of those deportations, has a well-established association between Stalin, Moscow and the Russian Orthodox Church. This connection is a classic example of how hatred for other countries and people sprouts from scraps of associations and misconceptions.
The topic of deportations from Bessarabia is almost the main indicator of divide in society. The tragic events of that period are most sensitive for the pro-Romanian segment of Moldovan society, as the ancestors of these people were key functionaries in Bessarabia under the Romanian administration until 1940. But representatives of other national groups have little understanding of the tragedy, which the modern Moldovan elites feel about this historical period. For Transdniestria, which was an autonomous republic until 1940, the issue of deportations is not relevant at all, since this region has not been affected by any waves of Bessarabian repression.
The most fundamental question for Moldova is the attitude to the events of 1941-1945. The attitude to the Great Patriotic War in the post-Soviet space has long been an element of the ‘friend or foe’ ideological identification system. Until now, Moldova shares the conventional wisdom on the Great Patriotic War, but the other part of society, whose ancestors endured hardships and took part in military events on the side of Royal Romania, increasingly make their statements and actively promote an alternative view of history.
The case in the village Stoicani (Soroca district, Moldova) was widely publicized where a monument to the 78 Romanian soldiers, who died in 1941, was unveiled on 2 July with the Romanian flag and anthem in the background. The inscription on the monument reads:
“Here on the Romanian territory of Stoicani the soldiers are buried who crossed the Prut river in 1941 to liberate Bessarabia from the Soviet invasion. These 78 soldiers, who rest in eternal sleep in this cemetery, shed blood for peace, freedom and national values of our descendants. Eternal memory.”
It should be understood that the theme of Stalin’s repressions is a little less provocative for Moscow, where the attitude to Stalin’s personality and legacy is ambiguous. However, the Kremlin does not turn a blind eye to this problem – it will just suffice to mention the theme of the Holodomor that was relevant in the first Orange revolution in Kyiv, or the large-scale process of decommunization in modern Ukraine.
Another thing is the narratives about the Great Patriotic War – Moscow despises another point of view and ultimately considers it as Russophobia. Therefore, the Kremlin rightly assessed as an act of Russophobia the monument to the Romanians-liberators of 1941: this is how this event will be recorded in the reports of intelligence services and diplomats. Most likely, this story for Moldova won’t turn back anything good.
Oddly enough, the current ‘moratorium’ on geopolitics plays a cruel joke with Chisinau: no one condemns such events and steps, and even the pro-Russian Party of Socialists, which in the past severely criticized unionism and spoke from pro-Moldovan positions, is silent. As a result, the problem develops into the traditional ignoring and conscious unwillingness of the state to give the Moldovan society a clear understanding and a specific version of what these or other periods of history mean. The country is not at peace with itself, and this leads only to the fact that all the answers come ‘from outside’: from the folders storing up evidence of the Moldovan Russophobia and graciously collecting the pro-Romanian events in Chisinau.
Sooner or later, this situation can finally and irrevocably divide the current community of people living on Moldovan territory into two camps. And then today’s hatred of Stalin, Royal Romania, Russian soldiers in Transdniestria, ‘Tiraspol separatists’ and ‘NATO occupiers’ will grow into a concrete hatred of their neighbor.
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