May 9 syndrome and short memory of people massacred at Fântâna Albă. Op-Ed by Anatol Țăranu




Today, these people and their descendants are left in ignorance of the historical truth at the mercy of Russian propaganda and they sincerely believe that on May 9 they were truly liberated. In reality, those who call on the Moldovans on May 9 to celebrate the liberation, are actually preparing for them another bloodbath and the yoke of a new occupation by the former invading empire...


Anatol Țăranu

May 9 is approaching and the streets of Chisinau will once again be studded with columns of the descendants of the “liberators”, defiantly wearing the Colorado ribbons with which the Russian aggressors invading Ukraine are adorned. Russia is the only country in the world that, on the anniversary of the capitulation of Hitler’s fascism, does not mourn the millions of victims of World War II, but celebrates it and “wishes to repeat it”. At a time when the world, after the victory over fascism, institutionalized security as much as possible, carried out denazification and reflected on all the horrors of war, the Kremlin regime pumped as much hatred as possible into its citizens and militarized itself.

A rewritten mythological history of Victory

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the attempt to democratize and modernize Russian society broadly failed, and the dependence of the Russian economy on the export of raw materials increased, accentuating technological laziness. As Russia’s slipping to the level of raw material annex within the international economy could not be prevented, the Kremlin regime, in order to survive politically, had nothing left at hand but to make the country a world power at virtual and symbolic levels. In this way, the Russians were offered the idea of rebuilding the empire, which eventually turned into a temptation for a humiliated and confused population, to whom the authorities could offer nothing but participation in mythologized greatness. It is no wonder that imperial pride today rules the masses in Russian society, all the more so because these masses themselves are subject to humiliation and extortion in everyday relations with the state. For most Russians, the resentment at the humiliated self is replaced by acceptance of external aggression, and most of them accept this substitute.

In the same way, in order to master the minds of Russians, in Putin’s Russia the victory over Hitlerism was monopolized and a mythological history rewritten in the Kremlin’s interest was constructed. Consequently, the Russian mainstream perceived 1991 not as liberation from the curse of the imperial mind and terrible Soviet terror, but as a loss of the “great victorious country” for which most Russians still mourn. In full agreement with this Russian collective mindset, Putin called the collapse of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the twentieth century” even though, in reality, this alleged tragedy culminated in the liberation of dozens of peoples from Moscow’s colonial yoke.

Answer to Yevtushenko’s famous question

The delusional transformation of the meaning of Victory over fascism into an argument justifying the Russian aggression in Ukraine has become a real blasphemy to which the Kremlin regime resorted. Just as from a symbol of grief and memory, the ribbon of St. George became a symbol of fratricidal war, a distinctive sign of the Russian occupier. Russian propaganda created in the imagination of many people a virtual continuation of the Great Patriotic War in the form of the war in Ukraine, where the Ukrainians took the place of “fascists” and the murderous villains of Bucha appear as liberating heroes. In this vein, Victory Day on May 9 has changed its sign to the opposite: now it brings not peace, but sword and war, and the answer to Yevtushenko’s famous question whether the “Russians want war” is already affirmative.

In these new historical conditions, there is a need for responsible awareness of the symbolic day of May 9, which has also become a victim of this gigantic falsification engineered by the propaganda of Moscow’s imperialist revenge. As a result, even the innocent ribbon of St. George became a symbol not only and not so much of military glory and gratitude to heroes, but of specific political preferences related to aggressive and revanchist imperialism, while in post-Soviet countries - to loyalty to Moscow not to its own state. In the Republic of Moldova too, the symbolism of the ribbon of St. George degenerated into the image of the Colorado potato beetle, progressively turning into the insignia of the anti-national fifth column.

Not one but two “Victory Marches”

But the pro-Kremlin forces in the Republic of Moldova do not want to give up. They continue to defy both common sense and national security. Recently, in Balti, a group of Socialists headed by Socialists’ leader, Dodon, provocatively wearing the Colorado ribbon on their chests, marched to the tank where they laid flowers. The PSRM’s chairman reminded that 2024 marks 80 years since what he called the liberation of Moldova from fascist occupation. “I’m convinced that this year we must organize two Victory Marches - on May 9 and on August 24, on the anniversary of the liberation of Chisinau following the Iasi-Chisinau operation,” concluded Igor Dodon.

There is no doubt that the Dodonist march on May 9 this year too will be perfectly synchronized with the imperialist celebration in Moscow on the same day. Just as May 9 this year in Chisinau will have a precise electoral connotation for promoting Moscow’s candidate and, by cumulation, the pro-imperial fifth column in the presidential election of the Republic of Moldova. And the message that this march of Soviet nostalgics and the Russian agents in Moldova will send to Moldovan society was explicitly formulated by Dodon himself and sounds in the original like this “ours are already near”.

“Fântâna Albă”, a forgotten “Katyn” of our nation

Dodon’s Colorado performance in Balti anticipated by only a few days the anniversary of one of the most tragic events in the history of our nation – the Fântâna Albă massacre on April 1, 1941. On that Easter day, 3,000 Romanian-Moldovans dressed in festive clothes, with priests in front of them, carrying icons and flags, left for the border with Romania that was newly inaugurated by the Soviets, trying to save themselves from the oppression of the Russian-Soviet occupier. Most of those 3,000 Romanians from Bukovina died on April 1, 1941, being shot by machine guns of the “liberators” simply because they wanted to leave the territory occupied by the Red Army and return to the motherland from which they had been forcibly detached in June 1940.

Very few people in Chisinau on April 1 remembered the Fântâna Albă event – this true Katyn of our nation. Instead, in Balti, the pro-Moscow Socialists made a dress rehearsal for May 9. Moldovan governments should learn from Russians the value of history in the process of building national identity through state policies. Otherwise, how it is explained the fact that a large number of Moldovan citizens, in the absence of robust and systemic state policies of national emancipation, still believe and affirm that “it was better with the Russians”. And this perception persists in the collective memory despite the reality when thousands of our compatriots were mercilessly machine-gunned by the Russian-Soviet occupier, as it happened in Fântâna Albă, hundreds of thousands died starved by the occupying regime, other hundreds of thousands were deported with no way back to Siberia, and millions of Romanian-Moldovans were mancurtized by ferocious policies of denationalization.

Ideas and resources for knowing the truth

Today, these people and their descendants are left in ignorance of the historical truth at the mercy of Russian propaganda and they sincerely believe that on May 9 they were truly liberated. In reality, those who call on the Moldovans on May 9 to celebrate the liberation, are actually preparing for them another bloodbath and the yoke of a new occupation by the former invading empire.

And the lesson for the pro-European governments resides in the need to realize the imperative not only to restrict the dissemination of Russian propaganda, but also to develop ideas and resources that can imprint the knowledge of the truth about our authentic national interest on the collective consciousness of Moldovan society.

Anatol Țăranu
doctor of history, political commentator

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.