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Disinformation:

DISINFORMATION: Moldovans are still Soviets

Disinformation

30 years since the collapse of the Soviet empire and the declaration of the Republic of Moldova’s independence, many Moldovan citizens still keep celebrating the Soviet Army Day on February 23. With two generations of Moldovan men who used to be part of the Soviet Army and are still sensitive and nostalgic for that period in their youth, these sentiments are fed by the pro-Russia parties in Chisinau and the propaganda carried by the Russian media in the Republic of Moldova. The narrative, just like “May 9 – Victory Day” recalls the USSR’s glory of yore in order to keep Moldova anchored into the Soviet past. In reality, the Soviet Army’s attitude was that of an occupation, repressive regime.  

NEWS: “The Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Moldova published a message of congratulation on the Defender of the Fatherland Day on February 23rd.  “For more than 100 years now, this multinational celebration has embodied the courage, dedication, invincibility of the spirit, love and devotion to the Homeland. This solemn date is traditionally popular both in our country and abroad. Largely thanks to the army and navy, our Homeland has managed to overcome all challenges and to never bow to its enemies, reads the message posed on the diplomatic mission’s social media pages.

The words “Defender of the Fatherland” are heroic to the Russians, but at the same time tragic and sacred”, the embassy said.

"We remember well the bloody Great Fatherland War, whose painful 80th anniversary we celebrate this year. 27 million compatriots fell victim to that tragedy and only thanks to the heroism of our people we managed to defend Victory. We recall this heroic test, we keep alive the memory of those events, we stand up to furious attempts to falsify history and glorify Nazisz”, the source adds.

Initially, starting 1922 the day was celebrated every year as Red Army Day, then, it became the Soviet Army Day in 1946, and the Soviet Army and Navy Day from 1949 until 1992.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the holiday has been known in Russia as the Defender of the Fatherland Day. It is also celebrated in other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. 

The leader of the PSRM, Igor Dodon conveyed a congratulatory message too “Dear compatriots, friends, colleagues! Congratulations on Defender of the Fatherland Day! On this day, February 23, the Soviet Army and Navy Day was marked in the Soviet Union. This day continues to be the holiday of all those who wore the Soviet military insignia, including our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. I would like to extend my sincere congratulations and wishes of good health to all those who have served the country, the veterans in particular, who have responded to the call of the Fatherland and have shown courage and manhood in times of peril”.

Reality

NARRATIVES: 1. Russia is the fatherland of the former Soviet Republic. 2. The Republic of Moldova is part of the Soviet space, and therefore also part of the Russian world. 3. Russia has a great past. 4. The Great Fatherland War was the supreme sacrifice of the aggressed Soviet peoples who saved Europe from Nazism. 5. The Defender of the Fatherland is sacred. 6. Those who were in the military are real men, and those who do not serve, are not.

BACKGROUND: In the Soviet Union, February 23 was celebrated as the day of the Soviet/Red Army. Military service was compulsory in the USSR, and the Soviet Army consisted of representatives of all the peoples of the Soviet Union. In the Russian Federation, this day a red-letter day in the calendar and is now called Defender of the Fatherland Day.The date has remained significant to two generations of Moldovan men who served in the Soviet Army. Some pursued a military career, and many Soviet reserve soldiers were posted to Chisinau and remained there even after leaving the reserve force. They remember with nostalgia how they received gifts from women, from girls, on February 23, and in exchange they would give them gifts on March 8 - Women's Day, another holiday inherited from the time of the USSR. This tradition has been observed in many families in the Republic of Moldova. The population of the former Soviet republic continues to celebrate this date as Men's Day, which is popular also among young people who had nothing to do with the Soviet Army and even among those who were born after the fall of the USSR. Russian TV stations watched in the Republic of Moldova abound in festive, celebratory programs, and movies glorifying the war. Also, promotional campaigns, discounts and offers on various commercial products for men are organized on this occasion. OBJECTIVE: Reviving and feeding these myths about the greatness of the USSR/Russia and glorifying the common Soviet past aim to the Republic of Moldova into the Russian past and mobilize the nostalgic, pro-Russian forces.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The Soviet Union was a military state, with a military economy, and that was a distinctive trait of the Soviet system. Also, the Victory in the Great Fatherland War (WWII) is one of the fundamental elements that the USSR relied on and which has been revitalized and recapitalized on by Putin’s Russia.

The USSR was built by means of a string of land robberies, which is evidence of its expansionist and militarist nature. On the eve of the Second World War, after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on August 23rd, 1939, the USSR occupied Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bessarabia, Bukovina, and the territories in East Poland. After the war, the USSR imposed itself as a world superpower and occupied most of Eastern Europe, where it installed communist regimes loyal to Moscow, and turned them into its satellites.

The Soviet Army invaded and occupied the current territory of the Republic of Moldova, first as a result of a secret deal between the USSR and Nazi Germany, and then by occupying it during the Second World War. Along with the occupation of Bessarabia – presented by the propaganda as ‘liberation’ – 150 thousand ethnic Romanians in Bessarabia, Romania and Transdniestria got enlisted into the Red Army and sent to serve as cannon fodder in the frontline, to die for a country that had occupied them. After the war, the Soviet totalitarian regime instated a reign of terror in the Soviet Republic of Moldova, using arrests, deportations, and planned famine. Historians say that the real number of victims stands in the vicinity of one million. The Soviet Army helped organize Moldovans’ deportations. During the largest wave of deportations in Bessarabia in 1949, known as Operation South, more than 35,000 people were picked up from all regions and deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan. The operation involved party activists, employees of the USSR Ministry of State Security, as well as officers and soldiers of the Soviet Army.

Against the background of national renaissance and state independence events in the former Soviet republics of the late 1980s, early 1990s, Soviet troops and tanks were involved in stifling protests in Tbilisi (April 1989), Baku (January 1990), Vilnius (January 1991), which resulted in human casualties. In the Republic of Moldova, the 14th Army stationed in the Transnistrian region were involved in the 1992 Transnistrian War, and part of it is still illegally stationed on the left bank of the Dniester, where significant amounts of ammunition continue to be stored. Also, after the conclusion of the 1992 Moldova-Russia Ceasefire Agreement, in addition to the Russian troops in the peacekeeping mission in the security zone, about 700 soldiers from the Operational Group of Russian Forces (GOTR) are illegally stationed in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova, which regularly conducts military exercises with Transnistrian separatist forces.

  • Publication / Media:
    Sputnik.md, Igor Dodon's Facebook account
  • Date of publication:
    23/02/2021
  • Language / Target audience:
    Russian-speaking, USSR nostalgic, PSRM voters
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin, PSRM
  • Key narrative:
    The Red Army wrote a glorious page in Moldova's history
Mariana Vasilache

26 Feb 2021
Mariana Vasilache

14 minutes read
  • NARRATIVES: 1. Russia is the fatherland of the former Soviet Republic. 2. The Republic of Moldova is part of the Soviet space, and therefore also part of the Russian world. 3. Russia has a great past. 4. The Great Fatherland War was the supreme sacrifice of the aggressed Soviet peoples who saved Europe from Nazism. 5. The Defender of the Fatherland is sacred. 6. Those who were in the military are real men, and those who do not serve, are not.
  • OBJECTIVE: Reviving and feeding these myths about the greatness of the USSR/Russia and glorifying the common Soviet past aim to the Republic of Moldova into the Russian past and mobilize the nostalgic, pro-Russian forces.
  • Armata Sovietică a fost o forță invadatoare, de ocupaţie, a actualului teritoriu al Republicii Moldova mai întâi în urma înțelegerii secrete dintre URSS cu Germania nazistă, ulterior prin ocuparea acestuia în timpul celui de-al Doilea Război Mondial. Odată cu ocuparea Basarabiei – prezentată de propagandă drept „eliberare” – 150 de mii de români basarabeni, bucovineni şi transnistreni au fost înrolaţi în Armata Roşie şi trimişi în calitate de „carne de tun” pe linia întâi a frontului, să moară pentru o ţară care i-a ocupat.
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