NARRATIVES: 1. There is no Russian propaganda in the Republic of Moldova. 2. The Government in Chisinău establishes the Patriot center for combatting disinformation in order to falsify key information.
PURPOSE: The narratives are aimed to discredit the authorities’ intention to combat Russian propaganda and disinformation in the Republic of Moldova. Also, the author of the statements accuses Maia Sandu of trying to falsify reality.
CONTEXT: On May 29, the president of the Republic of Moldova announced the setting up in Chisinău of a national center for information defence which will be named “Patriot” and whose aim will be to identify, assess and combat disinformation and also to carry reliable information and ensure a dialogue with the citizens. She drew attention to the fact that the Kremlin’s hybrid attacks have intensified along with Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine and said that the lies broadcast on TV and the internet have become the most dangerous weapons used to attack the Republic of Moldova.
The Republic of Moldova is very vulnerable information wise and provides fertile ground for Russian propaganda, because a large part of the population mainly relies on information from Russian sources. Experts had warned for years about the country’s vulnerability in terms of information, as for 30 years the informational space of the country was dominated by TV and radio stations rebroadcasting from the Russian Federation and media holdings owned by corrupt politicians. They are much more than the Romanian stations, although most of the population of the Republic of Moldova is natively Romanian-speaking (but almost all ethnic Romanians also speak Russian). Even if, against the background of the Russian war of aggression, authorities have banned the rebroadcasting of Russian news and have even suspended the licenses of several stations owned by pro-Russia parties that were rebroadcasting Russian shows, the Kremlin’s propaganda is still very powerful. ful P
The impact of Russian disinformation on national security can be seen in the support of the Moldovan population for the Russian Federation’s aggressive actions in Ukraine, which stands at more than 20 percent in polls. These citizens are accepting the fake news and ideas propagated by the Russian Federation.
The Russian and pro-Russian narratives are disseminated in the Republic of Moldova by people interested in maintaining the Russian vector. One of the Kremlin’s supporters and promoters of Russian propaganda is the former president of Moldova, Igor Dodon, the leader of the Party of Socialists, exposed by investigative journalists as having connections with the FSB.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The Republic of Moldova has for years been the target of false narratives launched by the Russian Federation and their local supporters. Over the past years, the Veridica team has debunked hundreds of materials containing such narratives. To say that the Republic of Moldova is not a target for the Russian propaganda (or of disinformation and fake news) is not just obviously false, but outright hilarious.
Moreover, the disinformation campaigns have intensified against the background of the war in Ukraine (some of the promoted narratives are those about renouncing neutrality and pushing the Republic of Moldova into the war in Ukraine, starting a conflict in Transnistria, the West controlling the state, imposing an oppressive dictatorial regime, etc.) In fact, the Republic of Moldova is the target of Russia’s hybrid war, repeatedly denounced by the authorities in Chisinău. One of the characteristics of hybrid war is the use of information as weapons, that is why combatting disinformation is a necessary defense measure.
A provision regarding information security was introduced in the Code of audio-visual media services in the Republic of Moldova (2019), by means of which news programs and other shows rebroadcast from Russia were removed from the grid, as Russia had not ratified the Convention on Transfrontier Television. Shortly after the new provision came into force, the Party of Socialists and Short Party coalition removed the provision, so all news programs and shows from the Russian Federation returned into the Republic of Moldova’s media space.
After the war started, the notion of disinformation was introduced into the law, as well as provisions banning informative, informative-analytical, military and political shows from the Russian Federation, all the audio-visual programs which, irrespective of their origin, justify wars of aggression, deny war crimes and crimes against humanity and incite hatred. The Russian propaganda is still very much present in the online medium – which is not regulated, but a major source of information – and in particular on social media.
Igor Dodon’s accusations regarding the creation of a Ministry of Truth make us thing of truth and reality relativisation techniques - the Russian propaganda becomes truth in the former president’s statement, the attempt to combat efforts to debunk this propaganda or to tell the truth becomes an instrument in the hand of the state presented as oppressive; in fact, the truth becomes the lie. It’s a discourse typical of the orwellian universe Dodon pretends to denounce.