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DISINFORMATION: Igor Dodon took a bribe to give money to the poor

Disinformation

Igor Dodon has taken a bribe to give money to the people, while the pro-European government is raising salaries at their expense. The narrative was launched in Chisinau to downplay corruption and undermine the pro-European government, whose priorities include the fight against corruption and the reform of the judiciary.

NEWS: The Socialist MP Bogdan Țîrdea wrote on his Telegram account that “Dodon was giving people real money, while Sandu was just sweet talking them”.  “We want the kuliok back. The Kuliokars take from the rich to give salaries to the people. The good people take from people to give salaries to the rich”, the Socialist deputy commented in reply to a satire about the “kuliok” episode, involving the ex-president Igor Dodon.

Reality

NARRATIVES: 1. Igor Dodon did not take the money from Plahotniuc for himself and his party, but to give it to the poor. 2. Igor Dodon is not corrupt, he is an “outlaw”, and the money bag case is not one of corruption, but of charity. 3. Maia Sandu and PAS use the money taken from the population to make the privileged even richer.

CONTEXT: In 2019, when the oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc fled the Republic of Moldova, footage showing him negotiating with the former president Igor Dodon a PDM-PSRM governing coalition surfaced. In the recording, Plahotniuc is offering Igor Dodon a black bag, which presumably contains a large sum of money. According to the footage, filmed at the PDM headquarters, Igor Dodon tells Plahotniuc to send the bag of money to Cornel (Furculiță, PSRM member) to pay the salaries of his party members. In the footage, Igor Dodon also says that he receives money for the party, also from the Russian Federation, on a monthly basis. The case, dubbed by the press "kuliok" (bag), triggered a real scandal in society, but the Prosecutor's Office refused to investigate and closed the case claiming it did not discover “the elements of a criminal offense” and that “the contents of the bag and the author of the video recording” were impossible to establish.

At that time, Vlad Plahotniuc was extensively controlling the country, being extremely influential in politics, business and the media. Plahotniuc was also credited with important relations in the judicial and administrative systems. After Vlad Plahotniuc fled the country, his network was largely taken over by Igor Dodon and his allies, who for several months were allied with Maia Sandu and PAS before forcing them to leave power. Dodon's image became associated with corruption, and this is one of the main reasons why the former president was crushed in the presidential election and later the party he led, the Socialist Party, lost the parliamentary election. Maia Sandu and PAS, who won the election, came to power with an anti-corruption speech and launched a string of reforms, including of the judiciary.

As regards the narrative that “the good people” take money from the population to give “salaries to the rich”, the author refers to the pay rises for civil servants, as of 2022, decided by the PAS government, including for the six judges of the Constitutional Court (who will get about 30 thousand Moldovan lei per month, which is about 1,500 euros). These increases have been extensively covered by the Chisinau media, especially the one affiliated with PSRM, a salary increase being seen as a negative thing. At the same time, in this context, an attempt was made to associate the judges of the Constitutional Court with the Action and Solidarity Party. The press did not mention, however, that these are only six judges, who represent the highest court and who must guarantee the supremacy of the Constitution. High salaries,   of  40 thousand to  150 thousand lei, are also received by other state representatives, heads of regulatory institutions and state agencies, such as the NBM, CNPF, ANRE, ASP, ANRCETI, but also the directors of some state-owned enterprises, MoldATSA, Moldtelecom, Termoelectrica, Radiocomunicaţii and others.

Bogdan Țîrdea is one of the most visible propagandists in the Socialist camp, being known especially for his virulent attacks and numerous disinformation and fake news about civil society in the Republic of Moldova - in fact a number of NGOs that have constantly advocated, over time, for the reform of the country, transparency, the rule of law, etc., thus harming the interests of the corruption networks in the political and business area.

PURPOSE: The narratives aim to trivialize the "kuliok" case and the idea of ​​corruption in general, but also to clear the image of Igor Dodon who would not have taken money for personal or group benefits but for the people. At the same time, the Socialist MP is trying to minimize this serious case of corruption and shift the attention to the PAS government, which has increased the salaries of civil servants, including the 6 judges of the Constitutional Court.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The "Kuliok" case is a serious case of corruption, which has been denounced by politicians and civil society. The footage, filmed at the PDM headquarters and most likely leaked by Vladimir Plahotniuc himself, clearly shows that Igor Dodon is taking the money. He says he will use it for PSRM salaries, not to "give it to the people", as Bogdan Țîrdea claims. Even if this money was "given to the people", it is a case of corruption anyway, and the money offered by the fugitive oligarch Plahotniuc also comes from obscure sources.

The increase in the salaries of the judges of the Constitutional Court (but also in other incomes) has been done in a transparent way and is also related to the efforts of reform and fight against corruption, given that the institution has been targeted over time by suspicions of corruption. There are many suspicions at the level of many institutions, and one of the causes of corruption over time has been the low level of pay. The beneficiaries of corruption in the Republic of Moldova are exactly the “rich” – characters from the business or criminal environment, who get benefits by bribing officials or by appointing their closed ones to key positions; the rich are not those who live on the salaries that have been raised.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: Judges’ salaries have been raised  by the PAS government.

  • Publication / Media:
    Bogdan Țîrdea’s Telegram page
  • Date of publication:
    04/01/2022
  • Target audience:
    Voters who favor social policies but do not support corruption, PSRM supporters, voters disappointed with the PAS government.
  • Political affiliation:
    PSRM
  • Key narrative:
    Igor Dodon took a bribe to give money to the poor
Mariana Vasilache

07 Jan 2022
Mariana Vasilache

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14 minutes read
  • Igor Dodon has taken a bribe to give money to the people, while the pro-European government is raising salaries at their expense. The narrative was launched in Chisinau to downplay corruption and undermine the pro-European government, whose priorities include the fight against corruption and the reform of the judiciary.
  • NARRATIVES: 1. Igor Dodon did not take the money from Plahotniuc for himself and his party, but to give it to the poor. 2. Igor Dodon is not corrupt, he is an “outlaw”, and the money bag case is not one of corruption, but of charity. 3. Maia Sandu and PAS use the money taken from the population to make the privileged even richer.
  • PURPOSE: The narratives aim to trivialize the "kuliok" case and the idea of corruption in general, but also to clear the image of Igor Dodon who would not have taken money for personal or group benefits but for the people. At the same time, the Socialist MP is trying to minimize this serious case of corruption and shift the attention to the PAS government, which has increased the salaries of civil servants, including the 6 judges of the Constitutional Court.
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