Nicolae Enciu: In Bessarabia, after 1940, attempts were made to annihilate all achievements of interwar period

After the Union of 1918, Bessarabia saw considerable economic, cultural and sociopolitical progress, historian Nicolae Enciu stated in a public debate hosted by IPN. In particular, according to the historian, after the Great Union, the Bessarabians were given the opportunity to participate in the election of representative bodies and the agrarian reform was started.

Historian Nicolae Enciu said that during a short period of 22 years, when Bessarabia was part of the Romanian state, the territory between the Prut and the Nistru Rivers was protected from red terror and witnessed robust economic, social and cultural development. Bessarabia developed in a European spirit and the democratic values were promoted there.

There are two types of modernization, including socioeconomic modernization. There is Western-style modernization, liberal modernization. This type of modernization occurs naturally. Examples of this are the UK, France, all Western European countries, in which the state intervenes, but not decisively. The state intervenes only to ensure strategic objectives. In Soviet-style modernization, the state intervenes decisively, and private initiative is not only ignored, but is even punished. Western-style modernization was attempted in Bessarabia, as part of Romania, between 1918-1940. During a very limited period of time, Bessarabia and Romania as a whole evolved not in isolation, but in a European context. The economic, social processes that were taking place in Europe at that time influenced Romania and Bessarabia as well,” said Nicolae Enciu, a habilitated doctor of history.

According to the historian, the agrarian reform in Bessarabia was an essential element of European-style modernization. The landed peasants had the opportunity to improve their means of cultivating the land, to increase their agricultural production, to export their products and to adapt to the European market.

“An essential example was the radical agrarian reform proclaimed by the People’s Council, even during the functioning of the People’s Council, and was later taken over by the Romanian Parliament. The agrarian reform led to the education of a segment of the population in the entrepreneurial spirit in the agrarian sphere. The Bessarabian peasants managed to improve their land cultivating means. Land cultivation means imported by the Romanian state from Europe started to appear. Tractors, reapers, threshing machines began to be used and the peasants with these managed to increase their production per hectare. In the interwar period, due to the agrarian reform Bessarabia maintained the first places in Romania in terms of agricultural production,” explained the historian.

According to him, all the reforms done in the interwar period were annihilated after 1940, when, following secret agreements between Stalin and Hitler, Bessarabia was included into the Soviet sphere of influence.

“Social and economic policies in Bessarabia began to be applied only after 1918. Unfortunately, 1940 abruptly interrupted this process in order to impose a different, Soviet-style modernization type. During already the first Soviet census, which took place under Khrushchev in 1959, it was paradoxical that in the new Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic there was a new social structure, based on the working class, peasantry and intelligentsia. After 1940, attempts were made to completely annihilate the achievements of the interwar period,” said Nicolae Enciu.

The public debate entitled “Consequences of the Union and of the “Reunion-Vossoedinenie”. Comparative analysis. Part I” was the 33rd installment of IPN’s project “Impact of the past on confidence and peace building processes”, which is carried out with the support of the German Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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