Price and effects of Independence. Comparative study (1877 vs. 1991. IPN debate

The Republic of Moldova will soon celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the declaring of its Independence. The experts invited to IPN’s public debate “Price and effects of Independence. Comparative study (1877 vs. 1991)” discussed the quality of independence in time, the accomplishments and problems of Moldovan society starting from its expectations 32 years ago and the future prospects of the Moldovan independent state.

According to Igor Boțan, the standing expert of IPN’s project, state independence implies political independence and sovereignty, which is lack of subordination and dependence of a nation, people on another country. From the viewpoint of international law, the independence of a state is associated with its recognition as an international law subject by other states with which diplomatic relations are established. From political viewpoint, the term “independence” is used to determine the capacity to manage the independent solving of all the internal problems based on a set of constitutional principles.

The expert said the independence in general means the capacity of the state to independently achieve the goals and objectives and solve related problem and also its freedom to choose one behavior or another. Article 1 of the Constitution of the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic provided that this was a socialist people’s state that expressed the interests of workers, peasants and intellectuals. Article 2 said the power belonged to the people that exercised it through deputies’ soviets. Article 6 noted that the Party of Communists was the managing and directing force of society and the nucleus of the political system, while Article 68 said the MSSR was a sovereign socialist state. But none of the components of the former Soviet state dared to speak about independence as they risked inevitable serious repression.

Doctor of history Virgiliu Pâslariuc, university professor, MP, said that one of the provisions of the Union Constitution that was at the basis of the compromise agreement between the former Soviet republics was that the union republics at a certain moment could use the right to self-determination and withdraw from the USSR. This solution evidently wasn’t used during the existence of the USSR, but a sovereignty parade was staged in the 1990s and that event activated that point in the union contract. Independence is something relative. In legal terms, it means that no factor from outside can interfere in particular decisions. But anyway, the independence degree was relative.

He noted that in the Republic of Moldova, even if there was a national liberation movement, there were processes triggered by Gorbachev who prepared the path for creating sovereign states. However, for elites, the dismemberment of the Soviet Union was more or less unexpected. “There were discussions that Moldova was condemned to that independence. Some considered the territory should form part of another state, while others wanted the old ties with the former empire to be kept. A lot of works were written and these said that the USSR didn’t resist in that competition with the Western states, the economy didn’t resist. The adventure in Afghanistan caused problems to the military sector and to the economy and this was felt inside. That’s why Gorbachev launched that centrifugal processes inside the USSR. Towards 1990-1991, the USSR lost its legitimacy within the socialist bloc and could no longer explain the reasons for remaining part of that state and the implosion occurred.

According to the historian, the major goal of a state is to ensure a security level for the citizens and particular prosperity, access to resources. If the state cannot ensure such things, problems start and society has the right to review things.

Doctor of history Ion Varta said the right to anytime leave the USSR was a kind of fiction and a desideratum that could not be achieved. Possibilities of profiting from the implosion of the Russian empire and returning home appeared first during World War I. That was actually the major national emancipation goal that evolved into a national liberation movement that successively achieved particular objectives of the time. During over a year, a party was founded in Bessarabia and this reflected the interests of the majority Romanian population in Bessarabia – the National Moldavian Party that aimed to remedy things as a result of that unjust pact of 1812. By the vote of the first democratic Parliament, that historical act occurred on March 27, 1918 and Moldova eastward the Prut returned home.

According to the historian, the USSR had a clever policy that was pursued through the Soviet occupation regime and everything that was Romanian was presented in a distorted way and that coherence that was shown by the Baltic states in their fight for independence didn’t exist probably due to this. “Nevertheless, the national emancipation movement in Moldova was admirable and it is regrettable when historians try to diminish the role of the people who decided to walk up to Chisinau to show their adherence to these desiderata. This freedom for captive nations meant a lot. Many people with dignity supported the independence desiderata. Owing to those people, it was possible to gain Independence in August 1991,” stated Ion Varta.

The public debate entitled “Price and effects of Independence. Comparative study (1877 vs. 1991)” was the 17th installment of IPN’s project “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” which is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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