Nicolae Enciu: After Great Union of 1918, Bessarabia witnessed significant progress


After the Great Union of 1918, Bessarabia saw significant economic, cultural and sociopolitical progress, doctor of history Nicolae Enciu stated in a public debate hosted by IPN. According to the historian, after the Great Union, the people from Bessarabia were given the possibility of taking part in the election of the representative bodies, the principle of political multipartitism being also ensured. The situation changed suddenly after Bessarabia was taken over by the Soviet Union following a secret agreement reached by Stalin and Hitler in 1940.

According to Nicolae Enciu, the 22 years during which Bessarabia had been part of the Romanian state represented a period of glory and economic, social, cultural and political progress, with a number of reforms, including the agrarian and electoral ones, being started. During 22 years, Bessarabia had been protected from the red terror, deportations and famine that were witnessed after the Soviets occupied this territory.

The historian noted that the year 1940 was marked by the Soviet ultimatum that led to the concession of Bessarabia by Romania. The odious Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact contained an additional secret protocol by which the USSR and Nazi Germany divided the spheres of influence, from the UK up to the Black Sea. Article 3 mentioned the interest of the Soviet side in Bessarabia and the political disinterest of Germany in southeastern Europe.

“In 1940, as a result of agreements between Stalin’s Soviet Union and Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Bessarabia was given to the Soviet Union. It wasn’t the choice of the population living here. It was a division between two dictatorial states. A military aggression by the USSR against Romania was staged in 1940. It was shown that the USSR had sufficient troops on the border with Romania to materialize what was stipulated in the secret part of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. The ideology of Bolsheviks was and remains inhuman as it does not recognize the right to existence of all the people who live in the given area. Those who didn’t have a place in the society imagined by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin were simply exterminated and deported, as it happened during the first year of Soviet occupation, in June 1941,” explained the historian.

After Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina were occupied by the Soviets, the native population started to be persecuted. During the first wave of deportations that started on the night of June 13, 1941, tens of thousands of families were taken by force by trains to Siberia and Kazakhstan. Those who formed part of a party in interwar Romania were deported or exterminated. The so-called landlords, police officers and officers of the tsarist army who livered here, officers of the Romanian army, traders, mayors were also deported. The Soviets resorted to nationalization and this generated discontent among the population. Romania was then in a very difficult conjuncture and decided to concede Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union, related Nicolae Enciu.

The debate titled “The Bessarabians’ civilizational drama of 1940-1941” was the fifth installment of the series “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes”. The project is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.