Igor Boțan: Phenomena that occurred in USSR before World War II were typical also for MASSR


The events that took place in the USSR before World War II were typical also for the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (MASSR), which formed part of Ukraine and included 582,000 people, 31.6% of whom were Moldovans, 45.5% were Ukrainians, 9% were Russians, 7% were Jews, while a smaller percentage were Germans, expert Igor Boțan stated in a public debate hosted by IPN. According to the permanent expert of IPN’s project, the specialists and historians should conduct research free from ideological bias and should shed light on the phenomena and events that took place on the territory of the Republic of Moldova “because we cannot justify the crimes by saying that something was yet done and something was yet built”.

Igor Boțan noted that when the famine was discussed in one of the previous debates hosted by IPN, the work of famous Russian sociologist Pitirim Sorokin was invoked.  A victim of famine, Sorokin, being helped by Russian physiologist Vladimir Behterev, explained why the famine became such an efficient instrument in the repression applied by the Bolshevik and then by the Stalinist regime, saying that famine destroys the people’s will to resist. “The people turn into a vegetable that, in order to satisfy this nutritional biological need, can resort to the most horrible and unimaginable things and this instrument was intentionally used as there are documents showing that the Bolshevik elites had food packages, while the others, who were to be destroyed, were consciously subject to the famine,” stated Igor Boțan.

“On October 24, 1929, the stock exchange on the Wall Street collapsed and Stalin then resorted to forced industrialization. This way, thousands of plants in the United States were dismembered and brought to Soviet Russia to support the industrialization. Money was needed and this could be taken only from peasants by robbing them. The Holodomor in Ukraine followed and this affected also the people from the MASSR. For the Americans, things became clear when they realized that the Bolsheviks were robbing the churches and the own population. These were methods by which Soviet industrialization, the equipment of the army and the preparations for the world revolution were ensured.

“The Russian Federation that has been waging an aggressive war on Ukraine has a so-called “doctrine” according to which only the evolution of the Empire matters. The Soviet period, with all the crimes, was only a kind of ring in this chain of imperial development of Russia. The chain started from Ivan III, after whom the Romanovs, the second chain, came. The third chain was the Bolsheviks who committed crimes, but who, in the view of Russia ideologists, took the Empire to a level that is still longed for in the fourth chain of the eternal state of Putin, as the former adviser to this says. These things are worrisome. This war, this ‘collection of Russia land’ form part of this ideology,” concluded Igor Boțan.

The public debate entitled “Stalinist repression in MASSR and memory of victims of totalitarian communist regime” was the 25th installment of IPN’s project “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” which is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.