Vladimir Putin and his regime seem to be woefully forgetting Europe’s shared history, in a mistake playing out on the world stage every day. It seems Putin is taking a page out of Adolf Hitler’s book: invading neighbouring, independent nations in order to unite a former empire, saying “we’ll simply stop” at the confines of that country’s border. But we know that is not the truth. Tyrants like Putin and Hitler can never stop at just one. Ukraine in 2022 cannot become Poland of 1939: an appeasement chess piece in a tyrant’s imperialist game.
As Russia sets its eyes on Odesa and a potential surge through the western coastline, could Moldova be next on the Kremlin’s wish list? Sitting immediately to the west of the Ukraine, Moldova was a part of the Soviet Union before gaining its independence in 1991. With many of its citizens still identifying with their former Russian heritage, resistance to an invasion might prove difficult to bulk up. However, this past March, the small nation applied to become a member of the European Union, signifying a desire to align themselves with their western neighbours, rather than their former colonizers.
The United Nation’s Secretary General, António Guterres traveled to Moldova on May 9-10 to report on the ongoing humanitarian crises hemorrhaging into the countries across Eastern Europe and the globe.
Guterres spoke of the generosity Moldavans showed by taking in over 460,000 Ukrainian refugees since the Russian onslaught started just under three months ago, despite being one of the poorest countries in Europe. “The most fragile of Ukraine’s neighbours, Moldova is by far the country that has received the most refugees, as a proportion of its own population,” said the Secretary General. “The impact of the war in Ukraine across the region and the world is profound and far-reaching. The consequences of escalation are too frightening to contemplate.”
Of the near half-million refugees in Moldova, some 95% are being hosted by Moldavan families. Is it not heartbreaking to think that these same people, who opened their homes to Ukrainians, could become refugees themselves? All of this strife was caused entirely by the Kremlin’s dreams of expansion—a recurring nightmare for the rest of Europe.
Today, unlike at the start of WW2, we as Europeans have the resources to be able to reach out to our leaders and make our voices heard on the Moldova question. We know the answer. SARFAN community, let’s step up to stop this repetition of history before it is too late.