Igor Boțan: If Moldova and Ukraine do not join EU, these will remain potential victims of Russian aggression

The Republic of Moldova and Ukraine should be engaged in a serious European integration process or they will always be potential victims of the Russian aggression, said expert Igor Boțan. “If the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine receive the accession candidate country status, I think the population of Transnistria will radically change its attitude to the European integration prospects of the Republic of Moldova that have been ephemeral with the associated country status. Until then, we live in the reality in which one third of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova consider that the Russo-Ukrainian war is a special military operation that can be justified. These are the consequences of hybrid warfare,” he stated.

In a public debate staged by IPN News Agency, the expert said the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine have experienced the hybrid war since 2014, when Crimea was annexed and the so-called “soldiers” invaded Donbas. “Eight years ago, Ukraine defended its sovereignty and integrity and has continued to defend them. In the period, the propaganda machine surely instilled the attitude we see in Russia in people’s minds. In the Republic of Moldova, we all discussed the problem of invasion of the information sphere by politically-controlled TV channels,” said the expert.

In the same connection, Igor Boțan said the Russo-Ukrainian war that is harshly condemned by the UN General Assembly is a military aggression prepared many years ago. In 2020, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the victory in the great patriotic war, as they call it in Russia, President Vladimir Putin published an article in the U.S. magazine The National Interest in which he actually justified what happened when the Nazis came to power in Germany. According to Putin, Germany was humiliated after World War I and now those assertions can be treated in a different light. Also, Vladimir Putin named Ukraine anti-Russia and this way paved the way for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Things started to be planned in 2005, when there was proclaimed the so-called “sovereign democracy” that supported the idea that Russian has another development path than Western democracy.

In particular, the expert spoke about Russia’s losses in this war noting that it lost one of the most important things – the status of energy superpower that can influence the fates of the world. What happened can accelerate the Green Revolution. Russia also loses value as a military superpower and as a player on the weaponry market as it turned out that its military industrial complex works badly. Also, the plan to build the Russian World will be ruined if Ukraine manages to stop this war and to become engaged in the process of joining the EU.

Asked what potential Moldova has in the context of this war, the expert said the Republic of Moldova was given a good chance to eliminate the propaganda machine owing to the submission of an application to join the EU. “The good side is that the EU welcomed the filing of applications for membership by the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia. We don’t know how long it takes, but it is very important to obtain the accession candidate status. If we obtain it, we will have the light at the end of the tunnel.  Many things depend on how the Russo-Ukrainian war ends. The following of the path to European integration can change many things and a lot of baits can appear for Russia, and also Transnistria, to change the attitude to neutrality. It is important to become engaged and to find the best solutions with the assistance of the development partners. The EU should change its attitude to Moldova, Ukraine and Russia and this started already to take place,” stated Igor Boțan.

The public debate entitled “What are the reasons and character of Russo-Ukrainian war? What do they tell the Republic of Moldova about?” was the 247th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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