A poll conducted this April, amid Russia’s war against Ukraine, shows that 41% of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova want the Soviet Union to be restored, while 33% consider that Vladimir Putin “liberates and denazifies” Ukraine. An even larger number of Moldovan citizens, 55%, in full concordance with Putin’s propaganda narrative, believe that the Russians and Ukrainians are the same nation. According to the same survey, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko remain among the most popular foreign leaders in the Republic of Moldova, being trusted by 37% and, respectively, 36% of the respondents. Also, 62% of those polled trust slightly or do not trust at all the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. The poll was carried out during April 4-18 and covered a sample of 1,109 respondents from 93 localities. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3%.
What does it happen in minds of Moldova citizens?
During the months after the given poll was conducted, the figures evolved to a more critical attitude of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, but not to the extent of a radical change. The question about the perceptions of the Moldovans when the Republic of Moldova itself faces a major risk that the war will cross Ukraine’s borders remains always topical. The war in Ukraine and the threats caused by it to the security of states for now do not serve as a pretext for the Moldovans to change their attitude to NATO even if this international political-military alliance is the most powerful guarantor of military security for its members. With stubbornness that can be applied elsewhere, the Moldovans continue to stick to the formal status of neutrality of the Republic of Moldova, which does not defend and does not guarantee anything.
Living standards are maintained artificially and deliberately
This state of things concerning the value scale of the geopolitical perceptions of the Moldovan citizens speaks not only about the massive influence of Russian propaganda in the Moldovan information sphere. In reality, the situation is much more serious and does not amount only to measures to protect the information space from noxious influences from outside. The fundamental problem resides in the quality of information and the efficiency of the communication channels that are available to the citizens at internal level and create immunity to propaganda chimeras from the past and the present. Namely in this regard, the independent Moldovan state fails lamentably, continuing as a weird if not shameful clone of the former Soviet republic nostalgic for the dismembered Soviet empire.
There is close interdependence between the living conditions of the population and nostalgias for the Soviet lifestyle, which was characterized by broad social equalitarianism even if the material level of existence was reduced. The lower is the material level of particular social sections of the population, the more powerful is the seduction of the Soviet past and the more manipulable are the people. For the poor people, the concern about a piece of bread turns into an absolute preoccupation and they this way easily fall prey to different manipulations. Russia’s hybrid war for restoring the empire envisions also a very powerful information war in whose arsenal the call for the practices of the Soviet past occupy a special place. The objective interest of imperial Moscow in maintaining poverty in the states that the Kremlin’s propaganda claims as an inalienable part of the so-called historical Russia derives from here. The interminable commercial, energy and other kinds of wars that Putin’s Russia wages against many of the former Soviet republics, in particular against the Republic of Moldova, can be explained this way.
NATO and EU as development model
Unlike the population of Moldova eastward the Prut, most of the Romanian nationals westward the Prut chose the example of NATO and the European Union as a development model, increasing more than five times their economic potential during 30 years. Instead, the Republic of Moldova, being unable during these independence years to overcome the separation from its natural Romanian ethnical, cultural and historical space, keeping the excessive political, economic and cultural orientation to the former master, condemned itself this way to stagnation and degradation, which manifests itself first of all by economic underdevelopment, under the mark at the start of the independence period. Today, the population of the Republic of Moldova is not only the poorest across Europe but also is not at all sure that it will not become the next victim of the Russian military aggression after Ukraine.
The assumption of the development course by accession to the European Union became a historical civilizational choice for the Republic of Moldova. But this strategic choice alone does not guarantee the irreversibility of the European development course. Moldovan society remains profoundly divided inside by the identity criterion and, so, by the chosen civilizational model. The inheritance of Soviet mentality that materialized in particular through the anti-Romania Moldovenism concept, continues to contaminate the unity of Moldovan society and paves the way for the restoration of the status of colony of the Russian empire under reconstruction. The restoration of the national unity by politically reediting the Union historical act of 1918 and the return by Moldova eastward the Prut to its national reunified state Romania is the safest way of fully abandoning the empire by the Republic of Moldova and of fully assuming the European civilizational model.
Only under perfectly democratic procedures
In the current conditions, the national Romanian reintegration cannot be effected outside perfectly democratic procedures. This envisions the holding of a constitutional referendum in which most of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova would vote for the Union with Romania and this vote would be later confirmed by a majority of votes in Parliament in Chisinau. The results of the given parliamentary procedures in Bucharest do not generate any doubt when there is an overwhelming positive option of the Romanians westward the Prut for the Union. Only if these democratic legal provisions are respected, the Union act will be accepted and welcomed by the international community.
Nevertheless, there is currently no constitutional majorly for the Union in Moldovan society, the Romanian national conscience being assumed by approximately 40% of the Romanian Moldovans in the Republic of Moldova. It’s true that we witness an increase in the number of supporters of the Union among the national minorities, but the democratic Union with Romania will become possible only when there is a dominant Romanian identity in Moldovan society and such domination is yet to be achieved. For hastening this process, governmental policies to build the Romanian identity in the Republic of Moldova are needed. This leads to the imperative necessity of a political force with assumed Romanian national identity taking part in governance. The Romanians, the citizens of the Republic of Moldova and the supporters of the Union national ideal, have the mission to provide candidates for seats of MP in the next parliamentary elections for forming an assumed unionist group that would take part in governance and would promote Romanian identity policies in Moldovan society.
Almost half of citizens are not represented in Parliament
The fact that 40% of the Romanian Moldovans – supporters of the Union – are currently not represented in Parliament by a unionist political program affects the democratic representatives of Moldovan parliamentarianism. But we must admit that this political inconvenience is primarily due not to the unionist voters, but to the political aspirations to represent the unionist option in the Moldovan Parliament. Without formulating detailed criticism of the alleged unionist political leaders for the lamentable electoral failure, which they fully deserve, we will insist only on the multiply proven by Moldovan electoral practices impossibility of the national ideal of the Union being achieved by a separate political party. The union cannot be effected by a part or even by several political parties in a bloc. It should be the political opera of the unionist force in general, embodied at electoral political level by a National List conceived and formed not by the will and political sympathies of the leaders, but by the political activism of the masses expressed by a national Congress. Only in this case, the unionist project in the Republic of Moldova will overcome the state of stagnation, turning into a rescuing political option for the national and European future of Moldova eastward the Prut.
IPN publishes in the Op-Ed rubric opinion pieces submitted by authors not affiliated with our editorial board. The opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily coincide with the opinions of our editorial board.