Igor Boțan: We need a policy of communication on problems related to European course

The government should work out a communication policy in which all the problems referring to the European course of Moldova that appear in society would be discussed in a very competent way. When we reach the climax (entry into EU), we will have other expectations, said Igor Boțan, the standing expert of IPN’s project Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”, referring to the instruments that can be used to address the nostalgia for the USSR that is typical of a part of Moldovan society.

In a public debate hosted by IPN, Igor Boțan said that after the fall of the Soviet Union, the expectations of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova were very big, but the people didn’t know what to do with the obtained freedom. “We, as society, probably didn’t understand what it meant to be an independent state, particularly an independent state that detached itself from a totalitarian regime... We should not forget that we obtained the independence together with two very dangerous conflicts for us – the Transnistrian separatism and the conflict in the south, deterioration of the economic relations with the former center. These things overlapped and we evidently had the first strong wave of nostalgia in 2001, when over 50% of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova voted for the Party of Communists that very ably exploited this nostalgia of the people for a relatively low living standard that at least created the impression of social  equality,” stated the expert.

Igor Boțan noted that to overcome the phenomenon of nostalgia, a future view that would channel people’ expectations is needed. Such a view has been formulated since 1994, when the agrarians came to power and said that it was the European integration. The subsequent governments supported the European integration as a development model. The independence came as a gift, but the people weren’t ready to accept it.

The expert said there are no chances for the Soviet Union to be restored as there is no ideology, but the current Russian elites aim to revive the empire as a new phase of the previous imperial states.

Igor Boțan considers the people regret the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but do not want this to be restored. “If a person lived in a particular context and a particular society, they have habits and live the life out of inertia. A part of us lived in that period after the dismemberment of the USSR, when we received that freedom and didn’t have practices and didn’t know what a proper judicial system was. But we in that society had national consensus on the European integration. This year, we were granted the EU candidate status and this is the process we need to undertake as society until we reach the climax. Reaching the climax will be our victory as society,” said Igor Boțan, noting there is chaos in such former Soviet states as Belarus and Russia and they are not an attractive space for Moldova.

The debate entitled “100 years of USSR and 31 years without USSR: Nostalgia for Chimeras. Sources, ways of promotion and effects of nostalgia” was the 258th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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