Igor Boțan: To better understand how Union of 1918 occurred, we should analyze circumstances in which this occurred

The circumstantial factor cannot be denied when the subject of the Union of 1918 is discussed, the permanent expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan stated in a public debate titled “Great Union of 1918: lessons for past, present and future”.

According to him, to better understand what happened in that historical period, we must analyze all the circumstances of those developments. The abdication of the tsar created favorable conditions and meant a rupture for the population of Bessarabia. The political power no longer emanated from God. As Russia didn’t have a Constitution, the population from here was free from oath. It was dependent on elites, while the elites were those that played a very important role then.

Igor Boțan noted that after the Bolshevik putsch in Russia, the Parliament of Bessarabia – the People’s Council – was much more motivated to adopt decisions and the decisions could be only the natural ones. The circumstances were nice, favorable as the effort that came from the Bessarabian intellectuality and from the other Romanian provinces led to that return to normality.

After the dissolution of the Russian Constituent Assembly, any legitimacy of the Bolshevik power was open to question. “A number of curious things happened meanwhile. Romania was somehow allied to the Entente even if it was in particular phases. Ukraine signed that agreement of Breast with the Central Powers and we can realize why: because the Russian Constituent Assembly was dissolved. The Central Powers recognized the independence of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the declaring of the independence of former province Bessarabia followed in a natural way. As I said, the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly meant the start of the civil war in Russia as, immediately after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, the protest mounted by workers was suppressed in blood on the streets of Saint Petersburg,” stated Igor Boțan.

The project’s permanent expert noted that the circumstances matter a lot and Ukraine was already on the Central Power’s side. The tsar and his family were shot dead on July 17, 1918 and this meant that the relationship between God and the power, which annexed Bessarabia in 1812, was fully destroyed. So, Bessarabia normally returned to the homeland and the event of December 1, 1918 helped fulfill the centuries-old dream for the Romanians to live in a unified state.

The public debate entitled “Great Union of 1918: lessons for past, present and future” was the 24th 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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