The Russian bombardments on Ukraine also alerted the authorities in Chisinau after, on several occasions, fragments of rockets fell on the territory of the Republic of Moldova. The incidents showed how vulnerable the Republic of Moldova is from a military point of view, without an anti-aircraft defense and with an army of only six thousand people. But the biggest danger to the security and stability of the state seems to come from elsewhere – from the informational space controlled by Russia and from some politicians who enjoy, openly or secretly, the support of Moscow.
The withdrawal by Lithuania of the License of the Russian television station Rain TV, brings to attention an older issue regarding the liberal Russian opposition: is it willing to abandon the imperialism at the core of the various autocrat Russian regimes? Lithuanian journalist Nikadem Szczygaowski writes that from the Tsarist era reformists to contestants of the Soviet system as Mihail Bulgakov to Putin opponents like Alexei Navalnîi, the support for the empire - described, euphemistically, as the "Russian world" - seems to remain the same.
Over the past year, the health of the former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is serving a six-year prison sentence, has been a major topic of political debate both inside and outside of Georgia. The opposition and Saakashvili's lawyers say he should be transferred to a European clinic to be treated for mental illness, personality deterioration and severe depression. The government claims that the former president is faking it. Finally, signals are coming from Brussels that if Mikheil Saakashvili dies in detention, Georgia's European future could be jeopardized.
After the liberation of the Crimean peninsula and the occupied territories in Donbas, anti-Russian foreign companies will be entitled to tear apart these territories, the Russian media writes, quoting Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. In fact, the Ukrainian leader spoke about projects designed to rebuild Ukraine, with the help of foreign companies. The president’s speech makes no mention of “Russophobia” or “tearing apart” Ukrainian territories, as the Russian propaganda claims.
The war launched by Russia in Ukraine also led to an intensification of the use of propaganda materials, fake news and disinformation targeting the Republic of Moldova. The goal was to discredit the West and undermine the values it promotes, but also to blame the pro-European government for the economic and social issues initially triggered by the Covid pandemic, then by the war.
“The accession of the Republic of Moldova to the EU, conditional on the legalization of LGBT marriages”, headlined national.ro, the topic being immediately taken up by pro-Kremlin news sites in the Republic of Moldova and Russia. In fact, it is not an obligation, but a recommendation from May of the European Parliament regarding the rights of the LGBT community. Moreover, the Republic of Moldova later obtained the status of candidate country without having to legalize marriages between people of the same sex.
On February 24, 2022, the free world woke up to a dystopia. It had believed in peace more than it did in the signs of war, and had invested Putin with its good faith, just as it had done with Hitler in the years leading up to World War II. Russia has reintroduced large-scale war into a post-modern, hedonist society whose instincts were weakened by peace and prosperity, thus restoring evil to a global standing. Prior to the launch of the invasion, Europe hadn’t seen an interstate conflict in over 75 years. Any counterfactual examination is obviously pointless, but still, the question remains: how could the West fail again to foresee the predictable advent of a totalitarian regime with fascist overtones and the start of a new war in Europe?
The decision of the four countries to leave the International Investment Bank (IIB), also known as the “Russian Spy Bank”, came within days of Russia invading Ukraine. The legal proceedings were cumbersome in certain countries, due to the financial risks such a move entailed. Set up in 1970, the Bank continues to operate today in Budapest, although key decisions are taken in Moscow.
A subjective interpretation of an editorial signed by the renowned American diplomat Henry Kissinger, recalling the narrative line promoted by Vladimir Putin prior to the start of the aggression against Ukraine, aims to justify the speech of the former Romanian Foreign Minister Andrei Marga, from mid-September, in which he says that Ukraine must cede territories to Russia, Romania, Hungary and Poland in order to obtain peace in the war with Russia. In reality, Kissinger detailed a diplomatic scenario imagined by him in spring, meant to provide a solution to reach peace following the Russian invasion of Ukraine
The Russian independent media writes that Russian special services have developed a new propensity for “preventing” terrorist attacks perpetrated by Ukrainian “nationalists”. Journalists also note that the Kremlin’s official channels are still followed by Russians in the European diaspora, although they have been banned at EU level.
Rusia a avut mereu oamenii săi printre reprezentanții clasei politice și administrației de la Chișinău. Unii nici nu au încercat să-și ascundă relația cu Moscova, alții par să-și fi jucat foarte bine rolul, plasându-se în fruntea unor mișcări naționale și proeuropene, ceea ce, probabil, i-a permis Rusiei să controleze anumite procese politice din interior. Veridica îi amintește, în acest al doilea episod, pe cei care au menținut Republica Moldova în siajul Moscovei pentru o bună parte din ultimele două decenii.
Crimean Tatars were the first victims of Russian aggression in Ukraine and continue to be persecuted by Moscow, according to Kiev's Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Japarova. In an interview with Veridica, Japarova, who coordinates the strategy of the Crimea Platform and is responsible, among other things, for public diplomacy and the relationship with international organizations, explained how Russia violates the Geneva Conventions and why its crimes in Ukraine can be considered a genocide.
The Government in the Republic of Moldova has been accused of having given in, once again, to the blackmail of Russia and Transnistria when it accepted to deliver all Russian gas imports to Tiraspol in exchange for electricity. As a matter of fact, for the time being Chișinău authorities don’t have too many alternatives at their disposal in terms of electricity and natural gas supplies, and any projects already launched with a view to diversifying Moldova’s energy sources need time to be implemented.
The authorities in Chisinau are reselling to the EU, at higher prices, part of the natural gas supplied by Gazprom, according to a false narrative in the Russian media. In reality, Chisinau supplies Transnistria with all the gas it currently buys from Gazprom and uses other sources for the consumers on the right bank of the Dniester.
As pro-Europeans in Sofia are confident that Bulgaria will switch to the Euro in 2024 pro-Russian parties claim the adoption of the EU single currency will only bring economic instability. Debates and heated exchanges on this topic might become part of the political landscape in the next two years. Disinformation is bound to be part of the picture.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has displaced a huge number of Ukrainian refugees. Millions of people fled Ukraine, heading to other European countries, although many chose to relocate to some of the country’s safer areas. Russia has been trying to turn this crisis to its advantage. In EU countries, it has been promoting false narratives designed to generate public hostility towards Ukrainian refugees. In the case of Ukrainians relocated at national level, Russian propaganda sought to focus on fueling public unrest and internal tensions.
Originally developed as surveillance aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – commonly known as drones – underwent a number of transformations, from aircraft used to carry out tactical airstrikes to weapons included in the arsenal of modern warfare, the same as artillery and aviation. Drones play a key role in the war in Ukraine as well, where in recent weeks they have been primarily used as instruments of terror.
With its sovereignty at the mercy of the great Western powers, Romania is now turning itself into a doormat for Kyiv and dismissed its Minister of Defense, Vasile Dâncu, just because he spoke of peace, according to the former Prime Minister, Viorica Dăncilă. The narrative very much resembles Russia's, according to which Ukraine - the country under attack - is the one that does not want peace. Viorica Dăncilă has also promoted the false narrative that Ukraine undermines Romania’s agriculture and, implicitly, its economy.
Turkey has bombed Kurdish positions in Iraq and Syria in response to the bomb attack in Istanbul, warning this is just the beginning. A wider operation in Syria would help the Erdoğan regime draw attention away from the country’s economic troubles. Besides, it might also be a first step towards solving the refugee crisis. Russia, a country involved in the Syrian conflict, could turn a blind eye to Ankara’s moves because it is interested in exporting natural gas via pipelines transiting Turkey.
According to the ruling of the International Court of Justice, Russia was not involved in the downing of aircraft MH17, which was transiting the airspace of Donbas in 2014, pro-Kremlin media writes. In fact, the Dutch tribunal has recognized Russia’s involvement in this crime against civilians.
The war in Ukraine is not going well for Russia and the regime of Vladimir Putin, who threw his country into the affair. Although Putin forced all his people to say in February 2022 that Ukraine must be destroyed, the final decision was his and he will answer for it, alone or with others. And that’s why many Western and Russian analysts started wondering whether Putin's “reign” is coming to an end and who might succeed him.
The Republic of Moldova wants to give Transnistria to Ukraine in exchange for a part of the region of Odessa. Kyiv might thus get its hands on the munition warehouse Russia is currently controlling in Transnistria, according to a false narrative disseminated by the Russian media. In fact, a territory exchange was never in the cards. As regards the munition storehouse, the Republic of Moldova has for many years asking that the munition be transferred to Russia and that this country withdraw from its territory.
Putin's Russia is becoming more and more like Stalin's Russia, according to journalist Andrei Soldatov, one of the most respected experts on the Russian secret services. In an interview with Veridica and TVR, Soldatov explained how Putin corrupted Russian society, why the FSB is the successor to the Soviet KGB, what the methods and mentality of intelligence officers are, and how they came to believe and trust him also convince Putin that a war in Ukraine was necessary.
For the Baltic States and NATO, the best outcome of the war in Ukraine would be a complete defeat of Russia, according to the president of the Baltic Security Foundation, Olevs Nikers. However, Nikers feels that the most likely scenario for the end of the war would be a peace agreement, which means that the Baltic states and the Western world will be forced to deal with Russia on the long run.
American soldiers from the well-known 101st Airborne Division have been deployed in Romania also with the aim of attacking the separatist Transnistrian region, in particular the power plant in this region, a controversial Russian political scientist claims. The false narrative was taken over by Politnavigator, a Kremlin-affiliated website.
The latest developments in Chisinau suggest that the Republic of Moldova seems to have become the target of a hybrid war launched by the Russian Federation to topple the current pro-European power and bring that state back into Moscow's sphere of influence. The authorities in Chisinau are forced to face an unprecedented energy crisis, successive increases in the prices of the most important products and services, but also protests organized by parties believed to be backed by the secret services in Moscow. Adding to these challenges is the deepening security crisis as a result of the war in Ukraine, particularly the missile and drone attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure in recent weeks.
Poland's conservative government is increasingly critical to Germany, by virtue of a "historical" conflict that is largely imaginary. Anti-German sentiments are sometimes mixed with anti-EU ones, and even Russia, Poland's traditional enemy, is viewed more leniently. Could this be a first sign that a Polexit is being prepared?
Belarus and Russia are forced to create a joint military group to defend themselves against a potential NATO aggression, fascist provocations by Poland and terrorist actions by Ukraine, according to propaganda narratives carried by the two countries’ media. In reality, Belarus is not targeted by any foreign power, but it has allowed Russia to use its territory for the aggression against Ukraine.
Syria remains a country ravaged by conflict and a deep humanitarian crisis, a place of conflicting interests of multiple state and non-state actors, says the Chargé d'Affaires of the European Union to Syria, Dan Stoenescu*. In an interview for TVR and Veridica, Dan Stoenescu explained that, although it doesn’t recognize the Assad regime, the EU keeps communication channels open in order to provide assistance to the Syrian people. The EU official also spoke about the link between the war in Syria and the one in Ukraine.
While the Kremlin backs the criminal opposition in Chișinău, which is trying to destabilize the Republic of Moldova in order to take power and discard any criminal investigation against itself, Russian propaganda touts the protests staged by Shor Party, the anti-Western statements of the former Socialist party and criticizes the current head of state, Maia Sandu. Veridica has reviewed the main narratives advocated by the Russian government media with respect to the Republic of Moldova.
Romania intends to annex the Republic of Moldova, including Transnistria and part of the territory of Ukraine, which includes Odesa, but Russia will not allow this, writes a pro-Kremlin publication in an article entitled “Russia will take Moldova along with Iași”. The narratives are false given that, on the one hand, Romania has no territorial claims, and on the other hand, Russia is now mired in Ukraine and does not have the force to change the borders of the states to its liking.
Many Russians who have fled Putin’s partial mobilization have ended up in Georgia, and their presence in this country is creating demographic, economic, political and, obviously, social problems. Besides, Tbilisi authorities cannot be sure whether each of these migrants is a fugitive or if they are agents on Moscow’s payroll. All that is generating a national security predicament that must be managed in due time while the country is trying to maintain its European track, after failing to secure the EU candidate status this year.