Anatol Țăranu: Better life will eliminate any nostalgia for the past

The real values should be propagated and the fact that the notion of propaganda has reprovable connotations in our country is not commendable, Doctor of History Anatol Țăranu, ex-Ambassador of Moldova to Russia, stated in a public debate hosted by IPN.

Asked by the moderator what should society, the scientific community, the political class do to root out Soviet nostalgia in society, the historian said nostalgia is the result of decades-long propaganda that left an imprint on collective mentality. But it would be wrong to say that pro-Soviet nostalgia is due only to propaganda. Large sections of the population and even whole generations remember that relatively good material situation that existed at a certain stage of the USSR and was in contradiction with what societies in the post-Soviet states obtained in the 1990s.

According to the speaker, nostalgia can be combated by the same methods that generate this nostalgia. “We need positive propaganda of non-Soviet values. It happened so that the notion of propaganda acquired a pejorative connotation in our country. The values should be yet propagated. But collective mentality can be changed primarily by improving the living conditions and offering an economic and social model that can outstrip the Soviet one. This is the cardinal solution for overcoming Soviet nostalgia, which is absent in most of the post-Soviet states,” said
Anatol Țăranu.

There is relative welfare and false equality in that society but it excludes the categorical division between profoundly disadvantaged categories and the “new well-off people” who appeared overnight in the post-Soviet states. “Social cleavages are an element that fuels pro-Soviet nostalgia. From this viewpoint, we need to do assiduous work. The results cannot be immediate”.

As to the factors that can change the system of principles and values, the speaker said the historical community in Moldova supports the positions of the Romanian historiography and is part of that historiography, being in contradiction with what is called post-Soviet nostalgia.

“Even if there are “nostalgic people” among us, most of the historians have pro-European stances and support the idea of European integration… The problem is the guild of historians in the Republic of Moldova is marginalized, including financially, by the state itself. I said this earlier also at IPN. For example, the area of contemporary history at the Institute of History, which writes the national history, does not envision institutionalized remuneration. I have a high-ranking post at the Institute but I’m paid 2,000 lei a month.”

As national historiography, which furnishes “raw material” for positive propaganda, is ignored, palpable results cannot be expected, said the historian.

The public debate entitled “Who started World War II and why? Propaganda myths as a source of nostalgia for the USSR” was the sixth installment of the series of debates “100 years of USSR and 31 years without USSR: Nostalgia for Chimeras”. The project is implemented by IPN News Agency with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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