The Internet caught fire last week with the fake news that the world's billionaires, led by Elon Musk, would celebrate Halloween in Romania. From the joy of the traders along the entire Rucăr - Bran corridor, to the currency dealers’ hope for some lucrative combinations and culminating in the raging of a delicate senator filled with authentic, countryside orthodox sentiments, we all had our own expectations from, reactions to and opinions about the (pseudo)event.
While the Kremlin backs the criminal opposition in Chișinău, which is trying to destabilize the Republic of Moldova in order to take power and discard any criminal investigation against itself, Russian propaganda touts the protests staged by Shor Party, the anti-Western statements of the former Socialist party and criticizes the current head of state, Maia Sandu. Veridica has reviewed the main narratives advocated by the Russian government media with respect to the Republic of Moldova.
Alex Jones, one of the best known American conspiracy theorists, was sentenced to pay nearly 1 billion USD after claiming for years the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting never actually took place and was actually staged. The sentence represents a landmark for combating the increasingly toxic phenomenon of fake news. The battle might have been won, but the war wages on.
Many Russians who have fled Putin’s partial mobilization have ended up in Georgia, and their presence in this country is creating demographic, economic, political and, obviously, social problems. Besides, Tbilisi authorities cannot be sure whether each of these migrants is a fugitive or if they are agents on Moscow’s payroll. All that is generating a national security predicament that must be managed in due time while the country is trying to maintain its European track, after failing to secure the EU candidate status this year.
In the first half of 2022, Turkey seemed to be trying to tone down its aggressive policies in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Yet all these efforts were but a ruse. In fact, Ankara never renounced key elements underlying its aggressive strategy. It has recently actually dialed up its aggression in relations with Tripoli, which can further deteriorate the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
A genuine taboo of international relations, which responsible leaders always sought to avoid in times of crises, the nuclear “button” has become commonplace in Russian rhetoric in recent years. Drawing on his crude professional experience, which is based on operative textbooks and a number of heroic legends fabricated by Soviet propaganda, Putin is confident that restraint is but a sign of fear. Lacking in any sense of intellectual finesse, the Russian leader has managed to trivialize the nuclear threat, which proves he doesn’t always have a good understanding of the terms he uses.
Despite causing heavy criticism and dissatisfaction with their response to the Covid-19 pandemic, taxes, and other issues, Prime Minister of Latvia Krišjānis Kariņš, and his party “New Unity” will most likely form the new government following the parliamentary elections held on October the 1st. However, the elections did significantly alter the landscape of Latvian politics.
Pakistan has recently faced one of the biggest natural disasters in the country’s history. Tens of millions of people were affected by the far-reaching floods caused by the massive rainfall reported in this year’s monsoon season. Islamabad claims the intensity of this disaster is a result of climate change. This launches a new warning against the devastating effects of this phenomenon.
French President Emmanuel Macron's project for a “European Political Community” is back in the spotlight after months of not much talk about it. It is known that the project also targets partner states outside the EU, but it is not at all clear what it means for the countries that want to join the EU; there are fears that, through the formation of the Community, accession could be postponed indefinitely, that the executive in Brussels will support the French proposal.
The internal stability of the Republic of Moldova is threatened by pro-Russian politicians who are trying to stir the pot by capitalizing on the numerous crises facing this country. The most vocal of them are politicians who’ve had run-ins with the law, such as Ilan Shor, the mastermind behind the “billion-dollar theft”, as well as former Socialist leader Igor Dodon, indicted on five distinct charges. Aware of their schemes, Moscow uses energy exports as blackmail.
The relationship between Turkey and Greece is once again marked by tension, and Ankara's tough statements have made some observers wonder if this time there will be military confrontations. However, the current crisis seems to be related to the efforts made by the regime in Ankara to divert attention from domestic problems rather than to the old rivalry between the two countries.
The Republic of Moldova has increasingly distanced itself from Russia since the pro-European forces came to power in Chisinau following the early parliamentary elections of July 2021. The new government has taken a series of measures to reduce Moscow's influence and the dependence on it and sought, at the same time, to get in line, as much as possible, with the Western stands.
The Republic of Moldova could face a number of serious challenges this autumn, given that Russia wants to bring this country back into its orbit. At domestic level, Moscow is expected to use any leverage it has in the separatist region of Transnistria and in Găgăuzia. Adding to these pressure points will be the country’s energy concerns.
Most Ukrainians believe their country will win the war against Russia, reads a recent survey carried out by the International Republican Institute. The study also reveals that Ukrainians continue to argue in favor of Euro-Atlantic integration, although their perception of NATO reported fluctuations due to delays or readiness to provide military assistance, and they remain critical of their elected officials, despite the war.
Găgăuzia is perhaps the most pro-Russian region in the Republic of Moldova. A breakaway region since the early 90s, Găgăuzia eventually recognized Chișinău’s sovereignty, although it wants to break with this country in the event of a unification with Romania or even EU accession.
Uncertainty linked to the official language of the Republic of Moldova, 31 years after this country proclaimed its independence, reflects just how hard defining and accepting a national identity has been. The country’s inability to settle linguistic disputes and break away from “Moldovenism”, a Soviet construct, is one of Chișinău’s many failures: after 31 years of independence, the country is still unable to fully control its territory and to ensure its energy and military security.
Europe is facing the most severe drought in the last 500 years, but it is not the only continent affected by this phenomenon. The global scale of drought is yet another consequence of climate change. Water – the element that is vital for survival and key to industry and agriculture – has become increasingly disputed globally, its shortage producing economic, humanitarian and security crises.
The European track of the Republic of Moldova involves a break with its recent past, when the country was virtually at the mercy of highly influential oligarchs, who used their political leverage and media influence to create a genuine kleptocracy. One solution would be to apply the model employed by Ukraine, a country that passed a anti-oligarchic law.
In recent years, Ukraine has taken a series of measures to secure its information space, affected both by Russian manipulation and disinformation campaigns, and by the influence of some oligarchs pursuing their own interests. The measures include a law aimed at taking the media away from the control of oligarchs. The effect has been more state control over the media, and the question arises whether it is a temporary situation, justified by the war, or a regression of Ukrainian democracy.
Ayman al-Zawahiri was the ideologue of the Al-Qaida network, whose leadership he took over after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Al-Zawahiri was one of the most prominent terrorist leaders killed in the past two decades, but his death is unlikely to have a significant impact the jihadist movement.
The war in Ukraine brought back into focus an issue that had been known for a long time: Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. First, the possibility of European sanctions was raised, then Moscow reduced supplies, which caused panic in some Western capitals. What can Europeans do to escape Russian blackmail and how much should they fear the coming winter?
Over the past two decades, Moldovan wines have become one of the key elements in the geopolitical war between Chisinau and Moscow, but also a symbol of Moldova's attempt to escape the Russian influence.
The security context and the political will in Chisinau were the main valid arguments used by Romanian diplomacy in supporting the Republic of Moldova on its European path. The Republic of Moldova managed, in less than four months, from March 3rd till June 23rd, to shift from the status of country that officially applied for EU membership to that of candidate country. By comparison, the Western Balkan states received a clear European perspective from Brussels 19 years after the EU Thessaloniki Summit in 2003.
A country of strategic importance but not indispensable, involved in the war effort despite keeping its distance, Romania cannot congratulate itself enough in official discourse for having long foreseen the aggressive plans of Putin’s Russia. As usual, Romanian officials contend themselves with the dangerous illusion that nothing should be changed in their approach to the territory that separates Bucharest from Moscow.
The regional context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has inevitably led to a change in NATO's Strategic Concept. Accents have changed, and Russia has turned from a strategic partner of NATO into a “direct threat” to the security of the member states of the Alliance, as well as to some of their neighbors, including the Republic of Moldova.
Georgia was once considered the most reformist and pro-Western country in the former Soviet Union, with the exception of the Baltic republics. However, the last decade was marked by a slowdown in reforms and a rapprochement with Moscow, and the result was that Georgia did not receive the EU candidate status along with the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
Last week’s announcement that the Republic of Moldova had received the status of EU candidate country is going to be a game changer for Chisinau, but it will also bring new challenges.
Respected and hated. Saw a lot of flowers, but was also cursed and even blown up. That’s the fate of the Monument of Victory in Riga which is, probably, going to be demolished as a consequence of Russia’s large scale invasion of Ukraine. Hundreds of other Soviet era monuments may soon follow
Turkey is threatening with a new offensive in Syria, invoking the danger of Kurdish terrorism. This danger appears to be low in Mardin, near the Kurdish-Syrian border, which confirms expert analyses according to which the Erdoğan regime is in fact trying to divert attention from the economic crisis it is facing.
The appointment of the new head of the Intelligence and Security Service of the Republic of Moldova (SIS), Alexandru Musteață, on June 2, is a genuine test for the government in Chișinău, an opportunity to prove its commitment to implement reforms in the field of defense and national security.
In the months that have passed since the start of Russia’s massive attack against Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky has turned out to be a remarkable leader. He didn’t flee, didn’t betray the people who put him in office, said no to illicit dealings and didn’t trade off the sovereignty of his country. The Russians tried to reach him during the first hours of the invasion. Is Moscow afraid of president Zelensky and the ideas he stood up for even before the war broke out?
Igor Dodon is undoubtedly the product of the profiteering political class of the Republic of Moldova. Tutored by the former Communist President Vladimir Voronin and the fugitive oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, Dodon has been described as a prototype of the duality of the Moldovan politician, interested only in making lots of money and capable of any kind of internal or external political betrayal. Detained for corruption and treason, Dodon is now complaining that he is the victim of political persecution.