Expert Igor Botan warns against Russia’s imperial ambitions in Moldova and Ukraine

Moldova and Ukraine’s alternative to the “Russian world” is the rapid movement towards the European Union, according to Igor Botan, a permanent expert of the project, expressed during a public debate on the topic of “The fate of empire peripheries. Quo vadis, Moldova?” organized by the IPN news agency.

Botan highlighted that after the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the fall of the Communist Bloc, the European Union made an offer to the Central European countries. However, Moldova, Ukraine, and South Caucasus countries remained in a gray zone that the EU treated as a common responsibility zone for some time. Russia never agreed with this, and after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the EU changed its attitude.

Botan explained that currently, the EU has approved the requests of Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia to become candidate states for accession to the EU. This means that the EU, in principle, agrees that these countries should leave the gray area. Botan added that keeping them in this zone generates negative consequences, such as the wars in August 2008 against Georgia and the war that started on February 24, 2022, against Ukraine.

According to Botan, in the published works of one of Vladimir Putin’s former advisors, there is talk of the fourth phase of the Russian Empire. The first phase began with Ivan III, the second phase was the Romanovs, the third was the Bolshevik-Communist, and the fourth targets the period of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is building the so-called “sustainable state.” Botan opined that the Russian president does not come with a fixed imperial idea like the Orthodox one of the Tsarist Empire, but he is connecting these three imperial links. Botan concluded that these actions have become the cause of the current situation in our region.


“We are directly targeted by the same ideology that says that now is the time similar to that in 1918 when, after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and the Civil War, Russia took back its territories. He believes that Russia was defeated in the Third World War, which was the Cold War, and now it is taking back its territories,” said Botan.

The debate on the fate of the empire peripheries is the seventh edition of the “Impact of the past on the processes of building trust and peace” project, supported by the German foundation “Hanns Seidel.” Botan’s opinion highlights the importance of Moldova and Ukraine’s movement towards the EU as an alternative to the Russian world.

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