Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube LinkedIn

Disinformation:

DISINFORMATION: Political forces supporting Maia Sandu are fortifying the blockade on Transnistria

Disinformation

Transnistria is currently under a blockade imposed by the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, behind which are the political allies of president Maia Sandu. The narratives about the worsening situation in Transnistria are not uncommon, and some of them actually caution against a possible conflict in the region. But this time, the Russian State Duma is behind the disinformation.

NEWS: “The State Duma of the Russian Federation expresses its profound concern with the worsening situation around Transnistria, with a direct impact on the rights and interests of citizens of the Russian Federation which poses threats to their security and welfare.

The internal political crisis triggered after the presidential election in the Republic of Moldova, adding to the overt interference from Romania, the USA and other Western powers, has not been resolved and is getting worse with the early parliamentary election of July 11 drawing near. Political forces that support president Maia Sandu are using every opportunity to fortify the blockade on Transnistria and hamper the negotiation process, in order to destroy the peacekeeping mechanism in the region, which has proved its efficiency”, reads a declaration cited by a large number of media outlets in Russia and the Republic of Moldova, including in Transnistria.

Moreover, Ukraine is being accused, jointly with the Republic of Moldova, of trying to isolate the separatist region.

The official newspaper of the Council of the Russian Federation quotes the first vice-president of the Russian State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots, Konstantin Zatulin, who claims that “Russia at the time prevented the Transnistrian conflict from escalating, and for 30 years now there has been no bloodshed on the banks of the Dniester, because our military, few as they are, guard the area”.

Reality

NARRATIVES: 1. The West is interfering with the domestic affairs of the Republic of Moldova. 2. Maia Sandu and the political forces who support her want to impose an economic blockade on Transnistria. 3. Russia is keeping the peace in the region.

BACKGROUND: With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the region of Transnistria in the former Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova proclaimed its independence, one of the main reasons invoked being “the threat of Romanianization” of the newly-founded Republic of Moldova. In 1992, an armed conflict broke out in the region, killing several hundred people on both sides, with experts claiming the Russian army deployed to the region of Transnistria had fought on the side of Tiraspol.

Although Russia has repeatedly reiterated its commitment to withdrawing its troops and ammunition from the region, a cache totaling over 20,000 tons of weapons and a large military unit still exist on the left bank of the Dniester. Russian troops operate as peacekeepers as part of an international mission set up in the wake of the armed conflict. Negotiations in the so-called “5+2” format created following 2005 barely make any headway, and neither side has yet tackled a political resolution to the conflict.

Chișinău wants the region to be granted a special status, while Tiraspol, in turn, insists on the international community recognizing its independence. All these years, the Russian Federation has been financially and politically supporting the breakaway region.

The Russian State Duma published the declaration as the campaign for the early parliamentary election in the Republic of Moldova is in full swing. Some messages echo the rhetoric of the main candidates, such as the Electoral Bloc of Communists and Socialists, the number one opponent of pro-European parties, which has a standing cooperation agreement with “Edinaya Rossiya” (United Russia) ruling party in Moscow.

In recent years, Transnistria has become a major election stake, considering that the local authorities have allowed citizens to vote in polling stations specially created for them by the Government in Chișinău. The voting process was the subject of controversy, given that voters were taken to polling stations in an organized manner and most of the votes cast favored the oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc. After he fled the country, voters in Transnistria then supported the Socialist president at the time, Igor Dodon. The current campaign has also brought to light a scandal regarding the number of polling stations in Transnistria.

Transnistria has also been the object of a series of fake news and disinformation, some of which discuss the imminence of a war in the region. Veridica has debunked some of them here, here and here.

PURPOSE: To depict Maia Sandu and her political allies (most notably PAS, a party founded by the incumbent president), but also Kiev authorities, as instigators of a possible escalation of the conflict in Transnistria. To create a climate of fear amongst voters with respect to the consequences of a victory of right-wing parties in the election. To delegitimize the West and Romania, Maia Sandu’s top external partners, and the upcoming partners of a possible PAS Cabinet. To rewrite history, by reinventing an oversized role for Russia in the regulation of the Transnistrian conflict and keeping the peace in the region.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: After Maia Sandu was elected president, Chișinău did not change its official position with regard to the peaceful resolution of the Transnistrian conflict.

On the very day the Russian State Duma accused Chișinău authorities of imposing a blockade on the region, the Government in Chișinău extended the terms of the simplified border crossing protocol on the Moldovan-Ukrainian border for economic operators from Transnistria, registered and unregistered. In addition, Moldova also extended the effects of a decree concerning the transportation of petrol products to Transnistria, which favors Tiraspol.

Russia is overplaying its role as peacekeeper, but in 2002, a former Speaker of the State Duma, Gennadiy Seleznyov, admitted to having started the conflict in 1992 in order to prevent the unification of Moldova with Romania. In 2012, a member of the Russian peacekeeping corps killed a young man at a security checkpoint.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: Chișinău and Kiev created several security checkpoints on the Transnistrian border, which attracted criticism from Tiraspol.

WHO STANDS TO BENEFIT: Moscow, Tiraspol, the Electoral Bloc of Communists and Socialists (BECS)

OFFICIAL REACTIONS: “Today, the State Duma adopted a declaration accusing the authorities in the Republic of Moldova of trying to isolate the region of Transnistria. Here are two examples that prove exactly the opposite. The authorities in the Republic of Moldova are making efforts to maintain dialogue and ensure the continuation of the process aimed at securing a long-term political resolution of the Transnistrian conflict”, interim Prime Minister Aureliu Ciocoi said after adopting the two government decrees whereby the authorities extended the effects of certain decisions that favored Tiraspol.

A project supported by the Canadian Embassy in Romania, Bulgaria, and the Republic of Moldova

  • Publication / Media:
    www.pnp.ru
  • Date of publication:
    16/06/2021
  • Language / Target audience:
    Russian citizens, inhabitants on the left bank of the Dniester, pro-Russian voters on the right-bank of the Dniester
  • Amplification:
    Russian media in the Republic of Moldova, particularly in Transnistria
  • Political affiliation:
    the Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    Political forces supporting Maia Sandu are fortifying the blockade on Transnistria
Cornel Ciobanu

18 Jun 2021
Cornel Ciobanu

13 minutes read
  • Transnistria is currently under a blockade imposed by the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, behind which are the political allies of president Maia Sandu. The narratives about the worsening situation in Transnistria are not uncommon, and some of them actually caution against a possible conflict in the region. But this time, the Russian State Duma is behind the disinformation.
  • NARRATIVES: 1. The West is interfering with the domestic affairs of the Republic of Moldova. 2. Maia Sandu and the political forces who support her want to impose an economic blockade on Transnistria. 3. Russia is keeping the peace in the region.
  • PURPOSE: To depict Maia Sandu and her political allies (most notably PAS, a party founded by the incumbent president), but also Kiev authorities, as instigators of a possible escalation of the conflict in Transnistria. To create a climate of fear amongst voters with respect to the consequences of a victory of right-wing parties in the election. To delegitimize the West and Romania, Maia Sandu’s top external partners, and the upcoming partners of a possible PAS Cabinet. To rewrite history, by reinventing an oversized role for Russia in the regulation of the Transnistrian conflict and keeping the peace in the region.
DISINFORMATION: Inclusive and health policies are forms of totalitarianism
DISINFORMATION: Inclusive and health policies are forms of totalitarianism

Vaccination, tolerance of LGBTQ+ people, digitalization – all these translate into the establishment of a totalitarian regime, according to a Russian historian who stands against vaccination and supports the theory that “ultra-globalists” want to control humanity through the pandemic. The narratives are part of a campaign aimed at undermining Western democracies by hijacking the values that underlie them, such as democracy and freedom. At the same time, it seeks to create confusion about the difference between political concepts and fundamental freedoms and health-care measures.

Mariana Vasilache
Mariana Vasilache
15 Oct 2021
DISINFORMATION: Delivery of Russian gas to Hungary will lead to the collapse of Ukraine, which will become “another Afghanistan”
DISINFORMATION: Delivery of Russian gas to Hungary will lead to the collapse of Ukraine, which will become “another Afghanistan”

In the context of signing an agreement on gas deliveries from Russia to Hungary, bypassing the Ukrainian gas pipeline system, the Russian government-controlled media outlets have begun to promote “apocalyptic” messages about the future of the Ukrainian state. According to such disinformation messages, Ukraine might collapse because of Kiev's “phony” Western partners.

Marin Gherman
Marin Gherman
05 Oct 2021
DISINFORMATION: The Istanbul Convention – a blow to orthodoxy and traditional values
DISINFORMATION: The Istanbul Convention – a blow to orthodoxy and traditional values

The Republic of Moldova’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention is a blow to orthodoxy and traditional values, says the former Moldovan president and the current Socialist leader, Igor Dodon, whose opinion has been largely disseminated by the media in the Republic of Moldova, particularly outlets affiliated to his party. This is not the first time Igor Dodon makes such statements regarding this document, which was submitted for ratification two years ago by a government under his control, made up largely by his advisers.

Cornel Ciobanu
Cornel Ciobanu
04 Oct 2021
DISINFORMATION – Romania lost its sovereignty and national dignity, but Liviu Dragnea can restore them
DISINFORMATION – Romania lost its sovereignty and national dignity, but Liviu Dragnea can restore them

Romania may regain its sovereignty and national dignity with the help of politicians such as former PSD leader, Liviu Dragnea. The narrative is promoted by Sputnik, which picks up on an article written by a Romanian journalist in China. It is part of the older meta-narrative promoting sovereigntism and hostility towards the West.

Mădălin Necșuțu
Mădălin Necșuțu
23 Sep 2021