Together with the war in Ukraine, the map of the world will change, doctor of history Ion Valer Xenofontov, university lecturer and author of two books about the Soviet-Afghan war (1979-1989), said in a public debate hosted by IPN.
“Big strategic changes will be made with the involvement of the big powers and a reassessment of the past will be necessary. Many problems, frustrations, revanchist elements appear namely due to the historical roots,” stated the historian.
He noted that the empires look for foreign enemies to justify their existence when they are strangled by internal economic problems, while Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine proves this one more time.
“The Russian Federation is in a major economic crisis and, together with this endemic crisis, particular foreign level actions were evident. It is proven by history that the empires attack when a crisis appears inside, primarily an economic one. The citizen needs to eat and if the minimum subsistence level cannot be ensured, an attack is planned. This is how empires act,” noted Ion Valer Xenofontov.
Russia attacked tactically the energy infrastructure and thwarted economic processes in order to bring Ukraine to its knees. “Ukraine is a leading global grain supplier. Russia attacked where there are coal mines and energy resources. Indisputably, it was an economic stake. The Ukrainians are hardworking people and are in demand on the world labor market. The economic precondition is essential,” stated the historian.
According to him, Russia, as the USSR did in the war against Afghanistan, underestimates the opponent, including the nation.
“At the initial stage of the war in Afghanistan, emphasis was placed on the Soviet military’s participation in Asian countries. It was considered that the physical and linguistic aspects will lead to a swift ending in the war in Afghanistan. Things at the scene turned upside down as relatives, friends met there. The Soviets became terrified when they studied the reports. That’s why they decided to ‘pump’ human resources from the European zone, including Moldovans,” he stated.
The historian reminded that the Soviet-Afghan war for the Moldovans was a form of leaving the USSR and they asserted themselves primarily as drivers, but the officers in Afghanistan were of Russian and Ukrainian nationalities.
“The Soviet state is a closed state that didn’t allow the population to go abroad. One way or another, the Moldovans found themselves in a new space. They got onto a time machine. Afghanistan looked like in the XIVth century. The Moldovans felt frustrated as there were nice shops in the USSR, but they were empty at the final stage. In Afghanistan, there were shacks, but they were full of all kinds of goods. This was an extraordinary contrast,” said Ion Valer Xenofontov.
The historian added that those who now fight in Ukraine on behalf of Russia will be marked by this war and it will be very hard for them to return to the life before the war. They need to think what they will do after the war. “The preparation for peace is more painful than the participation in war. Not accidentally, a wave of soldiers after the terrorist attacks of September 11 in the U.S. wanted to leave for Afghanistan to experience the same moments. This phenomenon represents a danger for post-war society,” stated the doctor of history.
The debate entitled “Common roots of USSR’s war against Afghanistan and of Russia’s war against Ukraine” was the second installment of the series “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany. The first installment of the project was held last week under the theme “Common roots of World War II and of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine”. The video recording can be seen here.