NARRATIVES: 1. The economy of the Republic of Moldova and its external trade depend very much on maintaining good relations with Belarus. 2. The Republic of Moldova would have a lot to lose if it joined the regime of sanctions imposed on Minsk in response to serious violations of human rights and democratic standards.
BACKGROUND: There are numerous left-wing politicians in the Republic of Moldova who support and speak highly of Alexander Lukashenko’s dictatorship in Minsk. Among them is also the leader of the Party of Socialists in the Republic of Moldova – PSRM (of which Petru Burduja is also a member), former president Igor Dodon, an advocate of strengthening relations with Moscow and bringing the Republic of Moldova closer to the Eurasian Union. In early May, Dodon paid a visit to Minsk, accompanied by Parliament Speaker, Zinaida Greaceanyi (PSRM). During his meeting with president Alexander Lukashenko, Igor Dodon praised the way Minsk authorities repressed the street protests that followed the election of August, 2020, seeing as an example worthy of following by the Republic of Moldova as well.
In April, 2009, Chișinău also saw a series of violent protests following accusations over defrauding the parliamentary election. At the time, the Police made hundreds of arrests. People claimed they were tortured while being detained, and the communist regime, with Vladimir Voronin acting as president and Zinaida Greceanyi as Prime Minister, accused external forces, Romania first and foremost, of instigating protesters. Following the early parliamentary election, the Communist Party lost the power.
Igor Dodon, who was first deputy Prime Minister back in 2009, has now forged an election alliance with the Communist Party led by Voronin ahead of the July 11 early parliamentary election. In 2011, Dodon “betrayed” Voronin by switching sides to the Party of Socialists, together with Zinaida Greceanyi. One of the main messages promoted by the new alliance is that the Republic of Moldova risks losing its sovereignty and ending up under Western control.
PURPOSE: To generate unrest in the Republic of Moldova over the possible adoption of sanctions by Moldova against Belarus. (indirectly) To reiterate support for the Minsk regime, something which Igor Dodon has expressed on a number of occasions and which suits the Kremlin.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: In fact, the share of Moldova’s trade with Belarus accounts for a little over 2% of total trade.
Economic expert with the “Viitorul” Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS), Veaceslav Ioniță, made public a study on this topic, which shows that the Republic of Moldova does not rely on imports from Belarus, while in terms of exports to Belarus, only wine products have a larger share, accounting for 20% of Moldova’s total exports.
GRAIN OF TRUTH: Belarus is Moldova’s 9th-largest trade partner, with a 2% share of total trade.
WHO STANDS TO BENEFIT: The Party of Socialists, Moscow, the regime in Minsk.
OFFICIAL REACTIONS: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration in Chișinău issued a press release on May 24, after the diversion of the Ryanair flight traveling from Athens to Vilnius and the arrest of opposition journalist Roman Protasevich, encouraging members of the international community to abide by the standards and principles of international law.