NARRATIVE: The pro-European government in Chișinău undermines traditional values, following the West’s instructions.
BACKGROUND: In 2017, the Republic of Moldova signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, also known as “the Istanbul Convention”. At the end of December, 2019, the government led by Ion Chicu (a former advisor of Igor Dodon, just like many other ministers in his cabinet), proposed the ratification of the Convention. Subsequently, Igor Dodon, who at the time was president of the Republic of Molodva, announced he would not allow it, claiming that the aforementioned Convention would allegedly grant additional rights to sexual minorities.
Dodon and the Socialist Party have always posed as champions and promotors of orthodoxy and “traditional values”. Conversely, the Metropolitanate of Moldova, which is directly subordinated to Moscow, and its leaders have directly or indirectly supported him in election campaigns. This was particularly transparent in the campaign for the presidential election of 2016, when a group of priests led by bishop Marchel, urged citizens not to vote for Maia Sandu, claiming she represented a threat for the Church. The Church is the institution that currently enjoys the highest level of confidence at societal level, according to opinion polls.
The Republic of Moldova, a country with a relatively conservative society, hosted events both in support and against the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. Friday, October 1, MPs from the Action and Solidarity Party, which holds majority in Parliament and is closely tied to president Maia Sandu, adopted the document ratifying the Convention upon its being presented in Parliament, while representatives of the Bloc of Communists and Socialists left the session as a sign of protest.
A report drafted by the Ministry of Labor, Social Welfare and Family concerning domestic violence and violence against women reveals that in recent years the number of complaints filed with the Police reporting acts of domestic violence has doubled, from a little over 6,500 in 2012, to nearly 13,000 in 2020.
PURPOSE: To describe the pro-European government as the promoter of certain decisions that go against the best interests of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: Adopted on May 11, 2011, the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is aimed at protecting women against all forms of violence and eliminate gender discrimination. Signatory states pledge to provide a legislative framework and eliminate the habit and possibility of discriminating against people based on any criteria, including sexual orientation. Overall, the Convention merely highlights the need to ensure equal rights, protection and access to due trial for all people, which are all principles included in the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova as well.
Considering that in several European countries the ratification of the Convention has stirred skepticism and criticism, the Council of Europe published a leaflet debunking a number of false narratives regarding this document, including the idea that the Convention sanctions same-sex marriages.
Referring to the ratification of the Convention, Igor Dodon gives the example of states such as Russia and Azerbaijan, who announced their refusal to sign the document, or Turkey, who announced it would withdraw from the Convention. In fact, these are all singular, problematic cases of countries with authoritarian regimes that try to secure legitimacy by appealing to the so-called traditional values. All these countries report high levels of gender-related violence, including in its extreme forms – the murdering of women. In 2017, Russia, for instance, cut back nominal sentences for domestic violence. According to a UN Women report published in 2014, 40% of women in Turkey have been victims of domestic violence. A similar situation was reported in Azerbaijan, according to another international document.
GRAIN OF TRUTH: A number of Istanbul Convention signatory states have expressed reluctance over ratifying the document.
WHO STANDS TO BENEFIT: The Bloc of Communists and Socialists, by reiterating support for “traditional values”; Moscow, by strengthening the resistance of certain states against the values promoted by Western civilization.