NARRATIVES: 1. Russia is the fatherland of the former Soviet Republic. 2. The Republic of Moldova is part of the Soviet space, and therefore also part of the Russian world. 3. Russia has a great past. 4. The Great Fatherland War was the supreme sacrifice of the aggressed Soviet peoples who saved Europe from Nazism. 5. The Defender of the Fatherland is sacred. 6. Those who were in the military are real men, and those who do not serve, are not.
BACKGROUND: In the Soviet Union, February 23 was celebrated as the day of the Soviet/Red Army. Military service was compulsory in the USSR, and the Soviet Army consisted of representatives of all the peoples of the Soviet Union. In the Russian Federation, this day a red-letter day in the calendar and is now called Defender of the Fatherland Day.The date has remained significant to two generations of Moldovan men who served in the Soviet Army. Some pursued a military career, and many Soviet reserve soldiers were posted to Chisinau and remained there even after leaving the reserve force. They remember with nostalgia how they received gifts from women, from girls, on February 23, and in exchange they would give them gifts on March 8 - Women's Day, another holiday inherited from the time of the USSR. This tradition has been observed in many families in the Republic of Moldova. The population of the former Soviet republic continues to celebrate this date as Men's Day, which is popular also among young people who had nothing to do with the Soviet Army and even among those who were born after the fall of the USSR. Russian TV stations watched in the Republic of Moldova abound in festive, celebratory programs, and movies glorifying the war. Also, promotional campaigns, discounts and offers on various commercial products for men are organized on this occasion. OBJECTIVE: Reviving and feeding these myths about the greatness of the USSR/Russia and glorifying the common Soviet past aim to the Republic of Moldova into the Russian past and mobilize the nostalgic, pro-Russian forces.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The Soviet Union was a military state, with a military economy, and that was a distinctive trait of the Soviet system. Also, the Victory in the Great Fatherland War (WWII) is one of the fundamental elements that the USSR relied on and which has been revitalized and recapitalized on by Putin’s Russia.
The USSR was built by means of a string of land robberies, which is evidence of its expansionist and militarist nature. On the eve of the Second World War, after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on August 23rd, 1939, the USSR occupied Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bessarabia, Bukovina, and the territories in East Poland. After the war, the USSR imposed itself as a world superpower and occupied most of Eastern Europe, where it installed communist regimes loyal to Moscow, and turned them into its satellites.
The Soviet Army invaded and occupied the current territory of the Republic of Moldova, first as a result of a secret deal between the USSR and Nazi Germany, and then by occupying it during the Second World War. Along with the occupation of Bessarabia – presented by the propaganda as ‘liberation’ – 150 thousand ethnic Romanians in Bessarabia, Romania and Transdniestria got enlisted into the Red Army and sent to serve as cannon fodder in the frontline, to die for a country that had occupied them. After the war, the Soviet totalitarian regime instated a reign of terror in the Soviet Republic of Moldova, using arrests, deportations, and planned famine. Historians say that the real number of victims stands in the vicinity of one million. The Soviet Army helped organize Moldovans’ deportations. During the largest wave of deportations in Bessarabia in 1949, known as Operation South, more than 35,000 people were picked up from all regions and deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan. The operation involved party activists, employees of the USSR Ministry of State Security, as well as officers and soldiers of the Soviet Army.
Against the background of national renaissance and state independence events in the former Soviet republics of the late 1980s, early 1990s, Soviet troops and tanks were involved in stifling protests in Tbilisi (April 1989), Baku (January 1990), Vilnius (January 1991), which resulted in human casualties. In the Republic of Moldova, the 14th Army stationed in the Transnistrian region were involved in the 1992 Transnistrian War, and part of it is still illegally stationed on the left bank of the Dniester, where significant amounts of ammunition continue to be stored. Also, after the conclusion of the 1992 Moldova-Russia Ceasefire Agreement, in addition to the Russian troops in the peacekeeping mission in the security zone, about 700 soldiers from the Operational Group of Russian Forces (GOTR) are illegally stationed in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova, which regularly conducts military exercises with Transnistrian separatist forces.