Moldovan-Ukrainian and Moldovan-Russian relations in time and before war. IPN debate

Moldovan society needs to better understand the past so as to realize if, to what extent and how history influences the present and will influence our future, with regard to the most important aspects. The war in our neighborhood is now the most important and most worrisome aspect of our life to which we are looking for solutions – how to keep the danger to which the whole region is now exposed away. The experts invited to IPN’s public debateMoldovan-Ukrainian and Moldovan-Russian relations in time and before the war between the two states” discussed the most important events in Moldova’s relations with the two belligerent states, the conclusions and solutions possible in the current security crisis.

Igor Boțan, the standing expert of IPN’s project, said that the history of mankind represents the development of human society in general and particular constructs that manifested themselves in the history of all the nations. The global historical process starts together with the appearance of human society and, depending on common distinctive features, is divided conventionally into chronological periods that are also called socioeconomic formations.

“It is absolutely normal to know the history of countries. However, when we speak about the history of mankind, we must realize that the complexity and interaction between societies and states count a lot. Therefore, the history of mankind is somehow a projection onto national history. The task of human history as science is namely to make those interconnections known,” stated the expert. In this regard, he noted that it is necessary to know Moldova’s relations with the Russian Federation and Ukraine and the relations between the last two states in time and during the contemporary period.

Political commentator Anatol Țăranu, Doctor of Philosophy in History, said that history is a very contradictory science. Each generation writes its own history. History is about what mankind experienced during its existence. History can be divided into two large parts – real history, which is what humanity experienced, and written history, which is the one that is interpreted mainly by historians and that actually remains in collective memory. Written history is historiography or the actual writing of history. From this viewpoint, we should realize that the historians are those who cause all the problems in this life for the simple reason that they interpret in the last instance what later becomes imprinted in collective mentality,” explained Anatol Țăranu.

According to him, there is often a wide discrepancy between what written history writes and the reality. Historiography is more precise if it is based more on concrete data based on which history is written. Everything starts from documents that are the basis of any writing of history, oral narratives, tradition, including physical monuments, etc. “If we refer to the Moldovan-Russian relationship that is centuries long, I must say that this relationship in historiography suffered essential changes, from white to black and later to a multitude of colors that depict this relationship in a polychromic formula,” said Moldova’s ex-Ambassador to the Russian Federation.

Anatol Țăranu considers the Moldovan-Russian relationship was marked by three large events. The first event is the signing of the Treaty of Bucharest of May 16, 1812 as a result of which Bessarabia was separated from the Principality of Moldavia and was annexed by Russia. The problem of Bessarabia started from here. The second event is that of 1918, when Bessarabia separated itself from the Tsarist Empire. “Another event is that of 1940, when Bessarabia was again detached from the national context and was annexed by a foreign empire, this time the Soviet one. Besides these three events, I would add one more event, the one of 1992, which left a deep imprint and was influenced by the Moldovan-Russian relationship in a decisive way. The events of 1992 continue to influence the development course of the Republic of Moldova,” stated the Doctor of Philosophy in History.

Valentin Constantinov, Doctor Habilitate of Historical Sciences, said the Moldovan-Russian and Moldovan-Ukrainian relations can be merged into one concept if we follow the ideology of the Russian state. “We now overlook a very important element: the ideological tradition, concept, the Russian leaders’ attitude to foreign countries, to the space. I would like to speak about a crucial moment in the constitution of the Russian political ideology. When Muscovite Russia or Muscovy, after getting rid of the Tatar-Mongol yoke during a short period of time, of not even 100 years, it launched the hypothesis that Moscow is the third Rome, while the fourth Rome will never exist,” said the historian.

According to him, during 500 consecutive years, all the Russian sovereigns promoted the same line, the same concept – “Moscow, the third Rome!” Respectively, it was a combination of the religious factor and the political one as the Orthodox needed an emperor – one in heaven and another one on Earth. This ideology perfectly meets the expectations of the faithful.

Valentin Constantinov noted that the quality of the empire that claims to be “the third Rome” is a problem. “Any empire in time promoted two fundamental components – economic development and the cultural model. But none of these two components were typical of “the third Rome”. They had this ideology, this political-religious dogma, but didn’t have support for it,” said the historian.

The public debate entitled “Moldovan-Ukrainian and Moldovan-Russian relations in time and before the war between the two states?” was the 245th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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