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How Churchill and Stalin carved up Eastern Europe and why it matters today...

Winston Churchill's infamous “naughty document” does exist and is on display in the UK as of April 2019. Written in October 1944 during a late night, whiskey-fuelled meeting in the Kremlin, Churchill and Stalin attempted to “make a nominal agreement” on how Russia and the West should share Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Romania when Hitler was eventually defeated.

If you:

- Believe half of Europe chose to be communist and part of or close to the USSR for half a century;

- Believe Eastern Europe is to blame for being economically behind the rest of the continent;

- Regard Eastern European expats (yes, expats, not immigrants) with fear, contempt and prejudice;

- Struggle to understand the political situation in Moldova;

- Wonder why there are two Romanian states today instead of one;

- Ignorantly or maliciously use phrases such as “the Moldovan people” or the “Moldovan language”;

- Fail to see why the Eastern neighbourhood is not only part of Europe but also essential to its survival and long term security;

Remember that:

- It was decisions made by the USSR with the approval of the Western world that plunged half of our continent into the complete and utter darkness of communism;

- Eastern European countries pleaded for help against USSR and the political regimes it established by force but their pleas were ignored;

- Abandoning the Eastern Neighbourhood now (by only demonstrating shallow engagement and no real commitment to its EU integration) is repeating the mistakes made at the end of WWII;

- The dream of “never again” upon which the EU was founded will never be achieved as long as we keep making the same mistakes;

- The fight for the reunification of Moldova and Romania is a crucial stepping stone to fullfilling that “never again” European dream;

- The very existence of the Republic of Moldova today is a consequence of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and not an act of free will on behalf of its population;

- Injustice somewhere is injustice everywhere;

- Europe goes beyond the Prut river, beyond the Danube, beyond the Bug river;

- We are all Europeans and our best chance to thrive resides in working together, knowing our history and teaching it truthfully to the next generations, as painful and dark as it may be… not in order to point fingers at each other and open old wounds but in order to avoid making the same mistakes.

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