Igor Boțan: Kremlin’s mistakes in relation to Ukraine are total

The number of those nostalgic for the USSR has remained rather constant since 2009, at about 40 percent, and also in more recent times, with the annexation of territories of Georgia and Ukraine, noted the political pundit Igor Boțan during an IPN.

Commenting on the fact that polls show the Church among the institutions that Moldovans trust the most, the pundit remarked the “cautious” and reserved stance of the Moldovan Orthodox clergy towards  Russia’s war in Ukraine, as compared to the zeal shown by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, who has blessed the war.

Igor Boțan noted that the Moldovan Church even sympathized with the Ukrainian refugees. “It is reprehensible that the Church did not condemn the war. But I noticed that it pleaded for helping refugees, for stopping the war and for peace. At the same time, this plea for peace is rather odd: calling for peace when Russia occupied part of Ukraine’s territory means actually supporting the position of Russia, which seeks negotiations so that it can legitimize this annexation”.

The pundit emphasized that “here comes the big problem: we all want peace - a return to the status before the aggression. But this phrase is missing from the appeal of the Moldovan Church. This is why I have all the sympathy for parishes that call things out. Let us not forget that one of the capital sins is that committed by Cain against his brother Abel, whom he murdered... And my personal opinion is that our Church, sadly, has omitted this: Cain’s sin cannot be forgiven”.

Igor Boțan believes that it is early to talk about end-of-war scenarios, as proposed by other panelists, but it is quite appropriate to make some findings: “Russian strategists were all wrong when they underestimated the Ukrainians - they have proven to be a nation that values freedom, being ready to defend its sovereignty and independence. The second fatal thing: the attitude towards the West, the two letters addressed to NATO and the United States from December 15 of last year - it’s been a year since then, by the way – telling them to hit the road and return to where they were before 1997. It indicated that the Russians totally do not understand what NATO is and what it is capable of. We saw that after Ukraine withstood the first phase, NATO delivered to Ukraine weapons that it has used to fight on and with which defeat can be prevented. But no more than this”.

As for the third mistake of the Kremlin strategists, it targets the population of democratic countries. “We have seen an avalanche of propaganda materials saying that Westerners, the so-called ‘golden billion’, have become weak and boneless from so much indulgence and wealth, and will not withstand the pressure of a country coming down hard on them”. The waves of paid-for protests against gas and electricity price hikes have subsided, with people understanding where bad things come from, the expert suggested.

The public debate entitled “Evolution of Russo-Ukrainian war and its influence on the phenomenon of nostalgia for the USSR” was the ninth installment of IPN’s project “100 years of USSR and 31 years without USSR: Nostalgia for Chimeras”, which is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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