Valentin Constantinov: No dismemberment of empires occurred without wars

Some of the Moldovans’ nostalgia for the Soviet period derives from frustration. It goes to the feeling that they are no longer part of a strong state and are now part of a poorly developed state like the Republic of Moldova, historian Valentin Constantinov stated in a public debate hosted by IPN News Agency. According to the historian, the dismemberment of the USSR seemed to be the only case when an empire fell without large-scale wars but Vladimir Putin takes revenge after three decades.

Valeriu Constantinov said that propaganda has always played an important role in the state policy of Russia and the Soviet Union, creating the illusion of an external enemy and imbedding the feeling of superiority in the population.

“The creation of propaganda and ideology at state level started back in 1918, together with the red terror. Then the Bolsheviks said that within the red terror they will destroy their adversaries. They first spoke daily about extermination and shooting and then showed to the ordinary population how they shot their opoonents. At the same time, the opponents were diabolized.  In the Soviet Army, the propaganda aspects played a key role. Now Russia needs to design a new concept of imperialism. Putin said it clearly that he wants the empire to be restored as there are 25 million Russians in the Soviet space. For them this fact is a historical right. The people live with nostalgia that derives from frustration as they all their lives believed in a prosperous, free state that is now going to ruin,” said doctor habilitate of history Valeriu Constantinov.

According to him, the “liberation” narrative continues to be used by the Russian propaganda. Russia invokes the grandeur of the Soviet Union and the reconquering of the former territories in order to justify its military aggression against Ukraine.

“In the past, no dismemberment of empires occurred without wars. The dismemberment of the Soviet Union in 1991 seemed to be the only case of dismemberment without wars. But it wasn’t meant to be. The war in Ukraine started in 2014 and continues. I think the citizens of the Republic of Moldova now live much better than during the time of the Soviet Union. Things have changed significantly but, owing to propaganda, ideology and ignorance, nostalgic people continue existing,” stated the historian.

He noted that the war in Ukraine is the end result of the dismemberment of the Soviet Union and the nostalgia for the Soviet period is artificially maintained through the agency of propaganda.

“The chimera of nostalgia comes because the people lived in a state with 22 million square kilometers and almost 300 million people. Suddenly, the people found themselves in a small, unrecognized state and frustrations therefore appeared. The people had the feeling that they are the representatives of a large and powerful state. When Independence came, they didn’t know what to do with it,” said Valeriu Constantinov.

The public debate titled “Nostalgia for military grandeur of USSR as explanation for approval of current invasions” was the fifth installment of IPN’s series “100 years with USSR and 31 years without USSR: Nostalgia for Chimeras”, which is staged with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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