The cozy collaboration ended when Adolf Hitler launched a sneak attack on Russia in June 1941. The reeling Soviets suddenly became an ally of the West. "Communazi" became banished jargon. The Reds had switched sides again. During the 50 years of Cold War following WWII, however, communists used the same anti-Western and anti-American propaganda tropes Hitler used, with a more pernicious and long-lasting effect.
Much of al-Qaida's anti-American propaganda builds on Soviet anti-American agitprop spread throughout the Middle East and developing world by communist cadres. Sexual sensationalism, control of Hollywood and Wall Street by evil capitalists, and cowboy militarism crop up in al-Qaida's list of American faults and were included in both communist and Nazi anti-American bilge.
The careful revolutions of 1989 and the subsequent end of the Cold War freed most of Eastern Europe from the Soviet empire, but the "communazi" collaboration in the Hitler-Stalin Pact left a few territorial disputes that still have geostrategic implications.
Moldova is an example. Based on an understanding of "spheres of influence" hammered out by the Soviet and German foreign ministries, one Hitler-Stalin pact protocol gave a slice of Romania to the Soviet Union. That slice became the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR). Post-Cold War, the SSR became the nation of Moldova.
Many Moldovans see themselves as ethnically Romanian. However, a separatist, pro-Russian "statelet," Transdniestr, exists within Moldova, and ethnic Russians living in it are "protected" by Russian troops.
A majority of Moldovans believe Russia prefers this fractured situation. Through Transdniestr, Moscow extends its "sphere of influence" and can disrupt Moldova and vex Romania. Moscow does not like the fact Romania joined NATO. Moscow routinely accuses Romania of making trouble in Moldova and notes Romania annexed the region from Russia after World War I. Modern Moldova remains in a bind.
Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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