Igor Boțan: Moldova must learn history lessons and choose European integration

Moldova has been either part of, or in the vicinity of empires for so many centuries that our country must already understand its historical course, draw conclusions and make the right choice, which is European integration, believes the political pundit Igor Boțan.

“We had been squeezed between three empires for centuries. All these influences and claims of the empires to establish their domination have over time led to the establishment of areas of influence that resurfaced after the Yalta and Potsdam conferences and which have reappeared in the recent letters from Russian President Vladimir Putin to NATO and the United Nates. Claims are once again at the forefront, and the Republic of Moldova has felt this once again after signing the Association Agreement with the EU. We’ve seen all kinds of obstacles put before us since”, said Igor Boțan during an IPN debate discussing the fate of empires, old and new.

The expert drew a parallel between the empires of the past and the modern ones. “After the Roman Empire came a succession of entities: the Eastern and Western Roman Empires, then came the barbarians, the Germanic tribes that conquered Europe and Rome, proclaiming the Holy Roman Empire that lasted a thousand years. And if we look at the European Union today, we can see that at its core the first 15 states that now form the EU once had imperial aspirations. If you look at all these things, you come to the conclusion that there is a pattern, and the attitude towards these empires needs to be rethought. After the advent of capitalism and the emergence of nation states, we need to choose the coordinate system we are aiming for, taking into account what influenced us and how it influenced us. And here I can think of no one else but Giscard d’Estaing, who drafted the constitution of the European Union and acknowledged that our European civilization is Judeo-Christian in nature. And this is the benchmark for us in this coordinate system”, said the pundit.

Igor Boțan mentioned the inappropriate policy of the Russian president promoted on the international arena. “At the moment, according to Vladimir Putin, Russia is claiming its return to the spheres of influence, and those who advise it, the propagandists, are telling us even clearer things. They suggest to us that the stage of ‘Putin’s eternal state’ has come, which means the fourth imperial phase, succeeding the Soviet one. What has Russia to offer other than its natural resources and nuclear weapons? And in this situation Putin conveys the message: Either you love us or we will make you fear us. With such a message sent out to everybody, I believe that Russia has very big problems. And in such a situation, we can ask ourselves: Do we want a closer relationship? Why can’t Russia do what the former British Empire did and build a Commonwealth in which everybody can prosper economically, commercially, culturally, without separatist pressures and regimes?”

Igor Boțan noted that the world is now living in a new era, the technological one, where there are three main players: the US, the EU and China. “The Russian Federation is claiming its right to become a pole of the multipolar world, demanding a return to its sphere of influence, based on the fact that it is a military superpower - something that will now start to be challenged after what we see in Ukraine”.

The debate was the 248th installment of the “Political Culture” Series, run by IPN with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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