DISINFORMATION: Chișinău’s war-mongering stirs up concern in Bucharest

'Piranha-3 H' transporters are displayed during the official ceremony of receiving 'Piranha-3 H' transporters military vehicles at the Military Camp 142 in Chisinau, Moldova, 12 January 2023.
© EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU   |   'Piranha-3 H' transporters are displayed during the official ceremony of receiving 'Piranha-3 H' transporters military vehicles at the Military Camp 142 in Chisinau, Moldova, 12 January 2023.

Disinformation

“Romania is worried by Moldova’s war-mongering”, reads a recent false narrative promoted by Russian propaganda and shared by media institutions in Chișinău. The author, a former communist MP, also interposes several false theses, designed to undermine the solidity of Chișinău-Bucharest relations. In fact, Romania remains the top supporter of the Republic of Moldova in the EU, as well as a major trade partner, and irrespective of which political party takes power, it is the first country to support the Republic of Moldova in times of crisis.

NEWS: One might think Romanian politicians have a hard time sleeping at night, planning the annexation of the Republic of Moldova and using the favorable international context and even some (rather unconvincing) historical arguments to achieve this. But that’s not exactly the case.

Romanians are concerned that Moldovan authorities, after failing to manage economic and energy security issues, want to hold onto power by promoting Russophobic sentiment and capitalizing on the “brotherly” relations between Moldova and Romania.

This concern has prompted Armand Goșu, a Romanian expert on Russia, to come to this unexpected conclusion in an article for Revista 22: “Romania is expected to team up with Hungary, playing to Russia’s tune”.

Meanwhile, Moldovan officials have started to talk about the need to fortify and endow the army and about reconsidering the country’s neutrality status, which is incapable of providing the much-needed security in the current context”.

Reality

NARRATIVE: The Republic of Moldova is becoming a burden for Romania, which is troubled by Chișinău’s belligerent attitudes.

BACKGROUND: The Republic of Moldova and Romania have nurtured special ties in the last 30 years, even if relations underwent some periods of difficulty, particularly when the Party of Communists was in power in Chișinău. Bucharest and Chișinău have politicians, intellectuals as well as some citizens who call for the reunification of the two countries, a topic that has not been raised for debate officially. Romania was the first country to recognize the independence of the Republic of Moldova, and at present is a staunch supporter of this country’s European integration.

Nevertheless, Russian-language and pro-Kremlin media in the Republic of Moldova, in addition to pro-Russian politicians, describe Romania as a revanchist state and unification as a “an imminent threat”. The narrative first and foremost addresses ethnic minorities, as well as the so-called Moldovenists (many of whom are ex-Soviet apparatchiks or associates of these). The top narratives used to strike fear among them are the myth of “the Romanian gendarme” and the West’s moral decline, also in connection with the European integration of the Republic of Moldova.

The commentary on ng.ru, written by a former communist deputy, appears to do away with propaganda narratives about unification and the militarization of the Republic of Moldova by NATO and Romania with a view to involving the country in a war against Russia, as well as many other articles about Romania’s plans to annex the Republic of Moldova and even some parts of Ukraine.

PURPOSE: This new narrative seems to tackle a far more important topic for Russian propaganda, namely the West growing weary of helping Ukraine. The purpose, in this case, is to depict the Moldovan Government as increasingly bellicose, one that has lost control of the country, pushing it into insolation. At the same time, Russian-speaking audiences are told that Russia’s “enemies” are falling out, their numbers grow thin and Ukraine and other countries that support it (Moldova, in particular) are abandoned by their international partners.

WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: First of all, the Republic of Moldova and the Moldovan Government never had any military intentions or pro-war attitudes. Chișinău has condemned the military intervention in Ukraine, and subsequently started to refer to the need to fortify the country’s military capabilities, but it never mentioned renouncing the country’s neutrality. From the point of view of Chișinău, the Republic of Moldova needs a modern and well-equipped army, which doesn’t mean the country will give up its neutrality, as president Maia Sandu told the public TV broadcaster in late December.

The Republic of Moldova has developed closer ties with Romania in the last year, considering Bucharest has helped Chișinău manage the flow of Ukrainian refugees, has delivered electricity to this country last autumn after Russia cut its natural gas deliveries and destroyed Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. Romania has used diplomatic channels to help the Republic of Moldova obtain EU candidate status, and was one of the countries that helped create an international platform whereby the Republic of Moldova received external assistance worth 1.4 billion EUR.

“I wanted to come to Chișinău, at the end of this year, to convey a strong message of support to all citizens of the Republic of Moldova. Romania stands with you and is ready to provide support and solutions to help Moldova cope with its challenges”, Romania’s Foreign Minister, Bogdan Aurescu, said on the sidelines of his visit to the Republic of Moldova at the end of December.

Finally, the quote by Romanian expert Armand Goșu, namely that “Romania is expected to team up with Hungary, playing to Russia’s tune”, is taken out of context. Armand Goșu was in fact referring to Romania’s relations with Ukraine, a remark that certainly had nothing to do with the Republic of Moldova or Romania’s relations with this country.

Tags: the union of the Republic of Moldova with Romania , War in Ukraine
  • Publication / Media:
    ng.ru
  • Date of publication:
    15/01/2023
  • Amplification:
    mybusiness.md, enews.md
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    The Republic of Moldova is becoming a burden for Romania, which is troubled by Chișinău’s belligerent attitudes.
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