European genealogy tree of Moldova. IPN debate

Last week, the European Commission recommended opening accession negotiations with the Republic of Moldova. This is a very important event in this intricate and complex integration process and it is not at all accidental that it generated a new impulse in the discussions about “if”, “why”, “how”, “when”, “in what conditions” the Republic of Moldova will join the EU. As regards the necessity of Moldova joining the EU, a number of arguments for and against have been formulated so far, including economic, social, political, geopolitical, security ones. Fewer historical reasons are yet circulated in the public space, like the relations between this territory and this society with Europe along centuries and millenniums, the rights and obligations that derived from these relations for the Republic of Moldova to claim the full-fledged membership of the EU that today represents the European continue to a great extent. These and other historical aspects were discussed by experts invited to IPN’s public debate “European genealogy tree of Moldova”.

The permanent expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan said that gynecology is an auxiliary, applied historical science that deals with the family relations of people, the history of communities, the origin of individuals, the establishment of family ties, compiling of generational lists and family trees. Genealogy is tied to heraldry, diplomacy and many other historical sciences. Figuratively, this term is used to mean the examination of the evolution a phenomenon in stages when, against general chronology, the relationship between particular characteristic features can be traced.

“The genealogy tree is a schematic, often stylized representation of family ties in the form of a symbolic ‘tree’ at whose ‘roots’ there is the ancestor, on the trunk there are the representatives of the main line, by age, of the clan or community and on the ‘branches’ there are different lines of descendants,” explained Igor Boțan.

According to him, geographically, Europe is a part of the world in the northern hemisphere of the Earth, washed by the Atlantic Ocean in the West, by the Arctic Ocean in the North, with an area of about 10.3 million square meters. Approximately 750 million people live in Europe and it is therefore the most populated part of the world after Asia, Africa, and America. In Europe, there are 50 countries.

“Europe is often called the old continent as that part of the world was familiar to the Europeans in the Middle Ages, before Christopher Columbus in 1492 discovered America. Eurasia and Africa were known long before, while America was called the New World as everything was different there – the places, rivers, animals, birds, plants and the people with specific features. Culturally, America became an extension of Europe and the Old World and the New World derive from here,” stated the expert, noting that the cultural inheritance of Europe is based primarily on the civilization of antique Greece, the Romania Empire and Middle East Christianity and the European civilization is therefore Judeo-Christian.

Igor Boțan said that conventionally, Europe is divided into four parts – Western, Eastern, Northern, and Southern. The countries that have exits to warm seas usually form part of Southern Europe; those that have exits to the Baltic Sea and the North Sea form part of Northern Europe, etc. Moldova and Romania conventionally form part of Eastern Europe.

Moldova State University rector Igor Sharov, a doctor of history, said that it is impossible to speak about the history of the Republic of Moldova without speaking about the history of the Romanian space in general. Any attempt of the kind leads to an extreme and to perspectives that are related to the past – either the period after 1812 or the invention of clichés, prototypes of the history after 1945.

“As Stalin said, history is too important to be left to the historians. From this perspective, we often draw attention to particular things that were invented in the period after 1944. I refer to our genealogy chart and start from the perspective that it is impossible to delimit a history of the Republic of Moldova regardless of the periods we treat – either the period of nomadism and migration or the period of division of the Indo-European languages; either the period of formation of Romanic languages or the period of tries with Greece, with Rome or a black period for which there is insufficient information. But even during these periods, attempts were made to prove the viability of the idea of the affiliation of this space of the Republic of Moldova not to a Romanian context, but to an Eastern context,” stated the doctor of history.

According to him, the geographical affiliation to a particular space, through maps, was one of the main ideological predilections to which the people didn’t pay attention. Namely because of this, when they today speak about the location of the Republic of Moldova in a Romanian space, on the map of Europe, this is a very important thing. “Covering the path of our history, the genealogy tree of our Romanian space, of historical Moldova, we see that it is a very tumultuous period. We had contacts with many cultures and each of them left an imprint on our traditions, culture, language, etc. The tendencies often throw us towards an extreme to show that we formed part of one nation – we remember the phrase “Soviet history” – and these today have different repercussions that are not far from those invented in Soviet laboratories. Europe is our only path and we should not mandatorily justify it from historical viewpoint,” stated the rector.

Igor Sharov also said that a number of attempts were made to separate the Romanian space, historical Moldova, from the historical truth. An example is that of 1812 – the annexation of Bessarabia to Russia. More exactly, between 1812 and 1828, the history of this region was treated in a general context, as a component part of historical Moldova. The Romanian language is spoken by the inhabitants of this region and this was also said by Russian historians. In 1828, six works entitled “Old History of Bessarabia” appeared to attempt to show that the name Bessarabia comes from the name of Slavic tribe Bessi that had stayed on these territories in the sixth-fifth centuries Before the Common Era. This was nothing but invention of a scheme that has nothing to do with history.

The doctor of history noted that at the initial phase, since 1813 until 1828, the autonomous unit Bessarabia was kept as part of the Russian Empire, but in 1828, as a result of the Russo-Turkish war, Russia no longer had interest in pursuing its benefactor policy and switched over to the policy of use of force. The final point was in 1871 when Bessarabia was turned into a simple Russian province. “This is an ordinary example of how history was created in laboratories, in a rather primitive way, as you will not find any reference to sources in the given works,” explained Igor Sharov.

Journalist Alecu Reniță, a member of Moldova’s First Parliament, said that if the Moldovan citizens had wanted to know the own history, they would have learned it as things are extremely known, primarily at the level of experts, historians, specialists. “We are integral part of Europe and there are volumes, archives, a lot of documents showing this. We are an integral part of the Romanian space, but a part of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova or those who formed part of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, about 35-40% of them, remain victims of an ideology that seriously distorted the national history,” stated Alecu Reniță.

According to him, this genealogy tree had a very vigorous branch – historical Moldova – which always formed part of this tree of the Romanian culture. “That’s why we are part of Europe. We are part of the Romanian space and our entire history is tied to these spaces that are very important for our national being. Evidently, another history than the real one was cultivated and, in this context, the left side of the Prut remained anchored, as it was said, since 1828, but actually since 1812 we were included  in the Russian world, according to the current terminology. And they needed to invent Slavic roots to us, another culture so that we were different from those from the right side of the Prut,” said the journalist.

He also said that these long efforts made in this part of the Romanian space regrettably produced very toxic results as Moldova is prevented from developing and the people are kept tied to false theories that have nothing to do with our origins and culture. “I think that from this rather political viewpoint, we should help Moldovan society to come swifter closer to the historical truths, to what happened in 1812 or in 1940. If we know the real history, we will not have political, ethnic confrontations as, in general, this part of the Romanian nation that remained on the left side of the Prut, is not hostile to Europe or to the Romanian nation. It was simply educated in a hostile spirit and we can prove this even after 1859, when the Chancellery in St. Petersburg tried hard to erect a “Berlin wall” when they felt that a modern Romanian state was being built on the right side of the Prut, so that the Moldovans never considered that they were part of that modern Romania that appeared after 1859,” stated Alecu Reniță.

The public debate entitled “European genealogy tree of Moldova” was the 22nd 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.

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