DISINFORMATION: Moldova is leaving the CIS at the behest of the West

Russian President Vladimir Putin (3d-R) and CIS heads of state tour the State Russian Museum during an informal summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in St. Petersburg, Russia,. 27 December 2022
© EPA-EFE/ALEXEI DANICHEV/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL   |   Russian President Vladimir Putin (3d-R) and CIS heads of state tour the State Russian Museum during an informal summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in St. Petersburg, Russia,. 27 December 2022

Disinformation

According to a false narrative carried by the Russian media, the decision to denounce the agreement on the participation in the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly was imposed by the West.

NEWS: Back in February, Moldova recalled its representative in the Secretariat of the CIS Inteparliamentary Assembly, Ion Lipciu. That decision was rushed by Europe. The head of the EU Delegation, Jais Mazeiks, has stated that the CIS agreements are not compatible with Chișinău’s commitments to the EU.

After Maia Sandu came to power, the country’s representatives stopped attending the CIS summits, but they couldn’t afford to make radical statements. But after Moldova (as Ukraine’s trailer) got the status of EU candidate country, the processes were sped up.

This year, the country’s state budget does not provide for payments for CIS member subscriptions.

[...]

[...] The CIS countries account for more than 13% of the Republic of Moldova’s trade. The country imports at low prices from the CIS 74.3% fertilizers, 65.4% lumber, 51.8% mineral products, 48.2% metals, and, until recently 100% cheap gas and electricity.

Also, Moldova exports to the CIS 59% of the total of fruit and nuts, and 92% of all pharmaceutical products. 163,000 Moldovans work in Russia alone, who in 2021 transferred to Moldova some 200 million dollars.

According to opinion polls, approximately 70% of Moldovans are against breaking the economic, diplomatic and cultural ties with Russia. Also, 55% believe that leaving the CIS would be a wrong decision.

Reality

NARRATIVES: The EU forced Chisinău to leave the CIS. 2. The majority of the population opposes the withdrawal from the CIS, which is a vital economic partner for the Republic of Moldova.

LOCAL CONTEXT/ETHOS: The president of the parliament in Chisinău, Igor Grosu, announced on May 15 the start of the procedure  for the withdrawal of the Republic of Moldova from the Agreement on the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States  (IPA CIS).

“Being part of the CIS has not protected us from an energy blackmail in the middle of winter, from threats and hostile statements targeting the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova. Being part of the CIS has not protected the member states from military attacks, war and illegal occupations of sovereign territories. After a founding member of the CIS, the Russian Federation, barbarically attacked another founding state, Ukraine, by occupying its territories and killing its citizens, this organization can no longer be called a Commonwealth”, Grosu explained the decision of the Chisinău authorities. 

CSI was established in 1991, against the background of the collapse of the former USSR and has always been regarded as an organization by means of which Moscow has tried to maintain its influence on the former Soviet states. The Baltic Countries did not join the organization, and Georgia left it in 2008, after the Russian invasion. Ukraine is no longer a de facto member either, although it has not finalized the procedure for the withdrawal from this organization.

Chisinău authorities announced some time ago that they would examine the denouncing of agreements within the CIS that did not benefit the Republic of Moldova. Recently, Parliament has denounced the agreement   on the participation of the Republic of Moldova in the activity of the CIS radio and TV company,  “MIR”.

Along the years, Russia has imposed several restrictions on Moldovan products, in particularly since 2013, when the Republic of Moldova signed the EU Association Agreement, decisions that have been described in Chisianu as being political and meant to prevent the Republic of Moldova from getting closer to the European community.

In 2022, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine got the status of EU candidate country. After the victory of the pro-European forces in Chisinău (2020-2021), and especially after the Russian invasion in Ukraine, the relations between Chisinău and Moscow have deteriorated. Moldovan authorities have condemned the Russian military aggression, even if they have not joined the international sanctions imposed on Russia.

PURPOSE: To present the Chisinău Government as one subordinated to the West and its decisions as being made against the Russian Federation. To overestimate Moldova’s economic and commercial dependence on the CIS.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: There is no evidence that the West told the Republic of Moldova to leave the CIS. The head of the EU Delegation has repeatedly stated that this situation is to be examined in the future, after the start of the accession negotiations, so right now the Moldova’s CSI membership is not being discussed. “ In the past, we weren’t faced with such situations, because all the states that joined the EU had not been members of the CIS. I don’t think that it’s an issue that needs to be addressed right now. These are things that are to be discussed in the negotiations stage”,  Mazeiks told Radio Moldova in December 2022 .

The statement according to which the Government of the Republic of Moldova has not allocated funds for the subscriptions to be paid as member of the CIS organizations is also false. In fact, some   9 billion lei (450,000 Euro) have been allocated from the budget  precisely for that, the largest share of the amount (some 300 thousand Euro), going to the CIS IPA. 

It’s not clear what survey the publication refers to when it claims that 55% of Moldovans are against the withdrawal from the CIS. The latest sociological research, conducted by iData, show that 41.2% of the respondents stood against the withdrawal from the CIS, and 40.6% were in favor of such a decision.

The article focuses on several categories of products there are mainly exported to the CIS states, but this is just a fraction from the total of Moldovan exports. Statistical data show that in 2022, Ukraine excepted,  the share of exports in the CIS was approximately 7% of the total, which is four times smaller than that of exports to Romania.

Then, withdrawing from the Agreement on Participation in the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly does not mean denouncing the free trade agreement, which means it does not prevent the further continuation and development of trade exchanges between the Republic of Moldova and the CIS.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: Chisinău has announced it is preparing to denounce several CIS agreements.

Tags: Republica Moldova , Russia , EU , CIS
  • Publication / Media:
    politnavigator.net
  • Date of publication:
    15/05/2023
  • Target audience:
    Eurosceptics, promoters of the integration of the Republic of Moldova into the Eurasian space
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    The EU forced Chisinău to leave the CIS
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