NARRATIVES: 1. The authorities of the Republic of Moldova are violating freedom of expression. 2 The Republic of Moldova is ruled by an anti-Russian government.
LOCAL CONTEXT / ETHOS: The Republic of Moldova is the most vulnerable and exposed country in Central and Eastern Europe to Russian propaganda, according to the study “Disinformation Resilience in Central and Eastern Europe”, conducted in 2018. The study analyzed the extent to which 14 monitored states were vulnerable to Russian propaganda, based on three indicators: population exposure to Kremlin-backed media, quality of systemic responses, vulnerability to digital warfare.
Most of the top televisions are those that broadcast Russian programs, and a large part of the online press favors the Kremlin; at the same time, there are several important categories of the population prone to be manipulated, the study's authors state.
The study finds that in the Republic of Moldova there are three large groups that are more likely to be manipulated through the media than the rest of the population. These are Russian-speaking ethnic minorities, which account for almost 20% of the population; some active parishioners of the Moldovan Orthodox Church, who obey the Russian Orthodox Church; and the elderly, who account for over 700,000 people and whose average level of education is lower than the rest of the population.
Internal monitoring reports also found that Russian TV programs rebroadcast in the Republic of Moldova were used as propaganda tools.
In 2018, Parliament passed a law banning the broadcasting of certain categories of programs such as news, political debates and military broadcasts from states that had not ratified the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, including the Russian Federation. However, the provisions were annulled in 2020 by a parliamentary majority led by the pro-Russia Party of Socialists.
Parliament passed a similar law on June 2, in an attempt to reduce disinformation in the context of the war in Ukraine.
PURPOSE: To inoculate the idea that the Republic of Moldova is led by a pro-European dictatorial, anti-Russian regime.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The purpose of the law is to prevent manipulation, disinformation and propaganda disseminated by Russian media outlets, most of which are controlled by the Kremlin and which intensified along with the Russian military intervention in Ukraine. It does not refer explicitly to Russia, but to a category of states that have not ratified the relevant European Convention that established certain standards in the audiovisual field.
Another fake often promoted by the Russian press is about Chisinau's military aggression against the Transnistrian region in 1992, which had declared its independence in 1990, which was in fact an armed conflict in which the Russian army was involved backing the separatist regime, including in Tighina (Bender).
The statement about the signing of military agreements between the Republic of Moldova and Romania is an exaggeration and is part of a more complex message of the Kremlin and Russian propaganda about the military support that the Republic of Moldova is allegedly receiving or would receive from the West and its preparation for involvement in the war in Ukraine against Russia. The Republic of Moldova has signed several agreements in the military field both with Romania and with other states, which do not contravene the country's military neutrality status. The Republic of Moldova and Romania signed a cooperation protocol in military education during the joint meeting of the two governments on February 11, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Grain of truth: The Parliament of the Republic of Moldova has adopted a law banning the broadcasting of several categories of programs from radio and TV stations in a number of states, including Russia.