Moldova between Ukraine and Russia. IPN debate


A cruel war has been waged in our neighborhood for a year and a half. Even if it does not affect us to the extent to which it affects the Ukrainians, this war created a multitude of problems to Moldovans at different levels. Each person copes how they can when looking for practical, concrete solutions to these problems, depending on their capacities and resources. However, volens-nolens, initially, together and separately, they are put in the situation to solve a general problem. It is the problem of the moral choice that everyone should make for oneself: who is the aggressor and who is the victim? On whose side they are? Should they mandatorily be on someone’s side? How moral is it to adopt a “neutral” position? Experts invited to IPN’s public debate: “Moldova between Ukraine and Russia” discussed the choice of the Republic of Moldova and its people in this confrontation for death and life between Ukraine and Russia, between these two nations that until recently had been so close.

The permanent expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan said the morals are a set of ideas accepted in society about good and bad, about the norms of conduct that result from this idea. The notion of morals refers to the daily norms of conduct. The morals are descriptive and show personal or social values, a code of conduct or social standards. They do not give objective assessments about good and bad, but depict only what is considered good or bad.

“Ethics are the moral philosophy, a branch of philosophy that studies moral problems. The word “ethics” is usually used as a synonym for the world “morality” and refers to the moral principles and traditions of particular groups and individuals. The ethics are rather normative and depict what is really good or bad, what can be valuable, independent from the values or customs of any nation or culture,” noted the expert.

According to him, politics is considered part of the ethics that refer to the management of the state for ensuring its internal security and wellbeing and international cooperation. The expert quoted from Herbert Spencer’s “Political Ethics”. The roots of ethics are in the morals existing in the animal world given that the man is a political animal, as Aristotle asserted. The roots of morals are in instincts – of survival and of development of the own species. “Don’t kill your mates” is the main principle in the moral world of animals. “Yours” are the individuals from the own species or members of “your” group. The ritual follows when you attack opponents from the own species. The ritual bans the attack from behind, without warning and without trying to peacefully solve the conflict. It is banned using a weapon or a lethal technique in the case of animals with fangs, claws, venom, etc. It is banned killing the one who surrenders. But the victory belongs to the one who defends oneself.

MP Oazu Nantoi, who heads the parliamentary Friendship Group with Ukraine, said that the current regime in Russia is personalized dictatorship, with an ideology. The Russian World ideology is a kind of packing for the same fascist, xenophobe ideology. The publication of a Russian news agency of April 2022 says how Russia should behave towards Ukraine and clearly stipulates the goal of genocide of the Ukrainian people and the liquidation of the Ukrainian state. This is nothing but a manifestation of Russian fascism.

“There is one more moment. It is banal, but we need to repeat that the Russian Federation is the only state that does not recognize and defies our sovereignty, territorial integrity and the unilaterally proclaimed status of neutrality. Troops of the Russian Federation stay illegally on the territory of the Republic of Moldova. The Russian Federation broke all the commitments to pull out its troops from Moldova’s territory,” stated the MP.

He is firmly convinced that if Ukraine hadn’t resisted this frontal attack staged by Russia, Russia would have occupied the Republic of Moldova and the Russian tanks would have stopped on the bank of the Prut, in the best case, as it happened on June 28, 1940. “The Russian Federation does not recognize us as a state, out right to existence and would have occupied us if it had had the possibility.”

Oazu Nantoi referred also to the Transnistrian settlement talks in the 5+2 format, in which Russia and Ukraine acted as mediators. According to him, initially, even if there were nuances, the two states had common positions. The situation started yet to change after the annexation of Crimea, after Russia lunched the idea of “Transnistrization” of Ukraine on the pretext of resolving the conflict with occupied territories in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. The situation changed radically after February 24, 2022, when Moldova and Ukraine found themselves on the same side of the barricade.

“Russia brings what it brings, while Ukraine defends its freedom, human rights, the democratic future on the European continent and in the Republic of Moldova in particular. This influences the current special relations between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, given the modest possibilities of the Republic of Moldova and the unilaterally proclaimed status of neutrality that does not solve any problem, but anyway imposes particular limits,” stated Oazu Nantoi.

Writer Mircea Ciobanu, book editor and journalist, said that all the revanchist policies always claim to be “for justice”. In this case, ethics favorable to the Russian Federation would have the motivation of “defending territories lost in the past”. In the case of Moldova, things became much simpler as earlier there were illusions that the current ruling party will show to the Socialists who had been in power that relations of good neighborhood and of cooperation with Moscow can be established, namely based on principles of equality, not based on the principle of obedience. The date of February 24, 2002 made things much clearer. “We were put in front of a choice on the very first day of war and this choice was almost imposed on us.”

Mircea Ciobanu made reference to the revanchist speeches made by the Russian leader before the war and on February 24. The goal was to recover territories of the former Russian Empire and also territories from Russia’s sphere of influence, which were lost together with the enlargement of NATO.

According to the writer, Moldova chose the path to the civilized world, to the EU, to cooperation with civilized countries from the traditional European space, which is a world that ensured freedom and cooperation after two bloody wars. Moldova didn’t hesitate in expressing its support for Ukraine also in order to keep its integrity. It was not only an ethical, ethnical choice, but also an absolutely rational choice for keeping its existence.

The public debate entitled “Moldova between Ukraine and Russia” was the 290th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.