Virgiliu Bîrlădeanu: Society should be attentive so as not to allow authoritarian-totalitarian deviations

Any authoritarian-totalitarian regime ultimately causes violence, war, horrors, expansion and the people should be very attentive so as not to allow such deviations in their societies, the head of the Contemporary History Section of the Institute of History of the Moldova State University Virgiliu Bîrlădeanu, doctor of history, university lecturer, stated in a public debate hosted by IPN.

According to the historian, the 20th century is described as the century of extremes, of mass manipulation technologies that enabled a leader to obtain unlimited power over the masses and to establish a totalitarian regime that would claim absolute control over the people. “It was a failure for the nations involved in those utopias,” he stated.

Virgiliu Bîrlădeanu said the historians noticed that the processes didn’t go right in Russia starting with the middle of the 1990s. According to Umberto Eco’s list of criteria for identifying an authoritarian-totalitarian regime, the current regime in Russia is 90-95% compliant with this list. This became evident together with the coming to power of the incumbent President of Russia.

In connection with the discussed theme, the historian said that the first wave of deportations of 1941 actually represented repression. Most of the male intellectuals from the current territory of the Republic of Moldova were taken to correction, Stalinist camps called Gulags, where 90% of these died. “The political repression and the repression in the form of famine, confessional repression against religious minorities were similar in nature. These all characterize an authoritarian-totalitarian regime. The trauma suffered as a result of that repression by our people continues to have an impact,” he stated.

The lecturer noted that among the common methods and practices applied by the Communist and Nazi regimes is the violence used in an attempt to impose control over all the sections of society, including the personal life, the right to life and other rights that were flagrantly violated. This shows that violence is the main instrument of these regimes.

According to Virgiliu Bîrlădeanu, historian Stéphane Courtois for the first time introduced the notions of race genocide and class genocide. Both of the regimes aimed to exterminate particular categories of people according to such a model. “In the case of communism, the most active part of society, the intellectuality, was annihilated, exterminated. There was a tendency to turn society into an amorphous mass of people that would obey the totalitarian regimes.

“In Nazi Germany, there were repressed not only those who were considered foreign from ethical or racial viewpoint, but also the confessional minorities, the people who had views and political principles different from those of the totalitarian regime. Violence and totalitarian control were essential for these regimes”.

The public debate entitled “What do Fascism, Nazism and Stalinism have in common?” was the ninth installment of IPN’s project “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.

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