Academic journal article The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies

Moldovia: The Transformation of Post-Soviet Society: Philosophical and Political Considerations

Academic journal article The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies

Moldovia: The Transformation of Post-Soviet Society: Philosophical and Political Considerations

Article excerpt

The turbulence of the final years of the former Soviet Union had dramatic consequences for every region of that great colonial empire. The promise of a democratic system modeled not on the Leninist but rather on the Jeffersonian concept of democracy electrified millions of Soviet citizens who accepted the reality of Gorbachev's reforms. The transformation first seen elsewhere in the USSR came late to the south-western republic of Moldova and was not evident until the appointment of Petru Lucinsky as First Secretary of the Moldovan Communist Party. Hailed as a Moldovan Gorbachev, Lucinsky arrived too late to satisfy the escalating demands for a democratic transformation of this remote region of the USSR. Consequently, in that small nation's first free elections it was the Popular Front which assumed power and Mircea Snegur, a former communist who had joined the Popular Front, became president.

The Snegur presidency ended with his defeat in the December, 1996 elections and his replacement by the former Communist Party leader Petru Lucinsky. Spanning half a decade, the Snegur administration record offers an excellent picture of the limits of the democratic transformation not only of Moldova but also of the former Soviet Union itself. In order to gauge the accomplishments as well as the shortcomings of the transformation of this former Soviet republic, it is necessary to consider both Moldovan developments as well as the theoretical parameters that enable us to determine the existence or absence of democratic government. Therefore, let us first outline the philosophical foundations of the democratic state.

Philosophical Basis of Democracy

The effort to transform Moldova illustates an ancient drama. This is a drama which recapitulates the timeless struggle between liberty and power that began with the origins of politics and the beginning of organized human associaton. This struggle involves the first questions of political meaning, both as process and end. The lessons of the twentieth century demonstrate that this distinction is ultimately false, for we now know that that no process or method can be disassociated from its end, or rather, that no end can be rendered as distinct from the moral substance of its means. Substance and procedure - end and means - are inextricably bound, and in those instances wherein they are treated as somehow both distinct and separate, the end is reified in such a way that anything can be permitted at the level of the unmediated means. Under such delusions, we lose our fear of terror if our higher end is the sort of paradise promised by the USSR's early Bolshevik elites.

The collapse of the Soviet Union set in motion this century's greatest transformation of political authority. Consequently, the question of right and its relationship to ordinary politics is more vital today than it was to us even in 1789. Although the metaphor of Scylla and Charybdis is often overused to the point of cliche, it is aptly employed in describing Europe's precarious, perilous journey between unacceptable ends since the conclusion of the First World War. Menaced by the hideous monster of fascism from one side and the cruel indifference of the abysmal vortex of Stalinism on the other, the good European has had to carefully read the course of the narrow current that safely conveys the well piloted ship of the polity through the dual horrors of totalitarianism. In the West the tradition of human right has played an important part in widening the breadth of the safer course; but in the East the monster of totalitarian held entire nations in its grasp with catastrophic results. Developments during and after World War Two, coupled with the enduring consequences of the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939, gave tremendous breadth to the political hold of leftist totalitarianism.1 Moldova, in particular, fell victim to the USSR's militarily imposed political philosophy and, as a consequence, the nation's cultural identity was all but destroyed? …

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