A new election campaign is underway in Moldova, the third in 2 years. The 2019 campaign was marked by efforts to overthrow the regime of the oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc. The one for the 2020 presidential elections was a confrontation between Igor Dodon, an exponent of the Moldovenist left, a trend that emerged since the very founding of the Republic of Moldova, and Maia Sandu, a new type of politician with a technocratic background and a pro-Western and anti-corruption discourse.
The current campaign can be described as a confrontation between three presidents, representing the main political forces in Moldova. The pro-European Action and Solidarity Party relies on the image of its founder, Maia Sandu, even if, officially, she is a neutral figure in this fight. However, a victory for the PAS would lead to the formation of a government able to implement the reforms promised in the campaign by the current head of state. On the other side there stand two former presidents of the Republic of Moldova, the Socialist Igor Dodon and the Communist Vladimir Voronin. The two overcame a decade of misunderstandings (Voronin considered Dodon a traitor) and united their parties in an electoral bloc that advocates a closer relationship with Russia. In essence, as in most of the elections that have taken place since Moldova gained independence, what we see today is a confrontation between the so-called "Eastern and Western vectors". Russia openly supports the Eastern vector; The West promises funding for the reforms promised by the Western vector.
The election campaign, like most campaigns in recent years, is marked by an abundance of fake news and disinformation, usually launched by the left wing and the media affiliated with the Socialists or the Kremlin. The authors of the false narratives, however, seem to be running out of new ideas: most of them have already been used in the election campaigns that have taken place since 2016.
Fake News & Disinformation
FAKE NEWS: Under the leadership of Maia Sandu, Moldovans are leaving, and Syrians are coming (Mariana Vasilache)
Maia Sandu grants Syrians the citizenship of the Republic of Moldova, while Moldovans are leaving the country, writes Komsomolskaya Pravda, which publishes a presidential decree granting citizenship to nine people. Thus, a narrative is resumed from the 2016 presidential elections when fake news was spread that 30 thousand Syrian refugees would be brought to the Republic of Moldova.
Maia Sandu has created an “anticorruption” structure in order to eliminate from public life and the administrative apparatus the politicians and officials that are inconvenient, according to a false narrative spread by Sputnik. The said structure - the Independent Anticorruption Advisory Committee – is allegedly controlled by the West.
Maia Sandu closed schools and laid off teachers, according to the Socialist Bogdan Țîrdea, one of the main promoters of disinformation in Chisinau. The narrative, which is contradicted by statistics, has been used before and is being reactivated now, in the context of the election campaign, in order to destabilize the party founded by Maia Sandu, PAS, which, according to opinion polls, is the favorite.
DISINFORMATION: A victory for the right wing in the election would spark mass protests in Moldova (Mariana Vasilache)
A potential victory of right-wing parties in the parliamentary election will spell economic and social disaster for the Republic of Moldova, leading to protests, Socialist leader, Igor Dodon, has said. The narrative has been disseminated and amplified by Ria Novosti press agency.
- While Moldovans are leaving the country, Maia Sandu grants Syrians the citizenship of the Republic of Moldova.
- Maia Sandu created a structure in parallel with state institutions, in order to eliminate the inconvenient opposition.
- The Independent Anticorruption Advisory Committee is under the control of the West, which seeks to undermine the institutions of the Republic of Moldova.
- Maia Sandu is guilty of closing schools in the Republic of Moldova, of reducing the number of pupils / students. Maia Sandu left teachers without jobs.
- Pro-Western parties will destabilize the Republic of Moldova if they win the election, and the country will face economic difficulties.
- Society is unhappy with pro-Western parties and protests will be staged.
Editorials & Analysis
Seven months after a complicated presidential election, the Republic of Moldova is again in the grip of election fever. This time around, the country will be hosting snap parliamentary elections, but the background, protagonists and stakes are mostly the same. The main battle will be pitting the center-right pro-Western Action and Solidarity Party (PAS), previously led by president Maia Sandu, against the center-left pro-Russian Party of Socialists (PSRM) led by the former president Igor Dodon.
The geopolitics of lending: Moscow’s concocted counteroffer to the EU’s financial assistance to Chișinău (Mădălin Necșuțu)
With the early parliamentary election in the Republic of Moldova around the corner, the political and economic chatter is again focusing on the benefits for Chișinău. The matter has again sparked a polemic: would it be better for the Republic of Moldova to head east or west? A persistent question which Moldovan politicians have been juggling with for three decades, while Moldova remains one of Europe’s poorest and most corrupt countries, with one of the largest shares of population migration.
Why two swords together can’t fit into the same sheath. The main reasons for the discord among unionist forces in Chisinau (Mădălin Necșuțu)
The unionist movement in the Republic of Moldova has always benefited from the contribution of some intellectuals and could count on the votes of about 10% of the electorate. This electorate has become increasingly fragmented in recent years, amid differences between unionists, who have split into competing parties. The centrifugal trend has worsened over time and it is very likely that not even for the snap elections of July 11 the unionist forces will be able to coagulate.
Demagog 2021 is the Veridica project for monitoring the election campaign for the early legislative elections in the Republic of Moldova. The Chisinau Bulletin is a weekly synthesis of the main fake news, disinformation and narratives used in the campaign, but also of the editorials and analyzes written by our team.
A project supported by the Canadian Embassy in Romania, Bulgaria and the Republic of Moldova