Maia Sandu and PAS intend to give away Moldova’s natural resources to Western powers, allowing them to buy farmland at very low prices, sputnik.md writes, even though neither the president of the Republic of Moldova nor the party she founded have so far made any comments in this respect. The narrative is linked to the liberalization of the land market in Ukraine, a decision which was also the target of fake news disseminated by the Russian and pro-Russian media.
NEWS: “Maia Sandu didn’t say what the true purpose of her sudden entry into Moldovan politics is. Why would she give up a cozy position as counselor to the Executive Director of the World Bank in Washington, USA, and choose to settle in our lands? To rid us of corruption? I’m afraid this is but her purported goal. Behind this smokescreen, it is my humble opinion that Maia Sandu seeks to pursue other projects, which will deepen the poverty we’re struggling with. Not to mention freedom, as we will see ourselves robbed of our last ounce of freedom.
One of the projects Maia Sandu seeks to implement is to strip our country dry of its natural resources. First and foremost, of its extremely valuable farmland. I’ve heard people saying time and again that Westerners don’t need Moldovan lands, because they are relatively small in size, and that Moldova itself is but a stretch of land worth nothing. Nonsense! If you compare the price of a hectare of farmland in the West (which costs from a few dozen to hundreds of thousands of Euro) to the price of our farmland (which costs a thousand Euro, but these are extremely fertile soils, farther away from urban centers, which are sold for pennies), you’ll see that the Republic of Moldova is a genuine cash cow for multinationals, a country worth plundering. Like Romania, for instance.
[…] After in 2014 the West organized the Maidan protests for Ukrainians, which peaked with a coup that divided the country and triggered a civil war that wages on to this day and which has left Ukraine in ruins. After making this great and once rich country reliant on Western loans, it is now blackmailing them. It’s now asking Ukrainians, currently trapped in a war that is swiftly emptying their coffins, to trade off their land – their fertile, rich steppe land.
[…] My concern is that, shortly after pro-European parties win the election in Chișinău, the same thing will happen to the Republic of Moldova as well: foreigners will be given the right to buy farmland. In fact, they have already bought large surfaces via straw buyers. As part of the next phase, they will make their properties official and become landowners in their own right. This is why Maia Sandu chose a political career. This is why she’s making everything in her power to take control of the whole country. And that’s not merely the half of it”.
NARRATIVES: 1. Maia Sandu and PAS want to give away Moldova’s natural resources to the West. 2. The resources will be transferred by means of liberalizing the land market. 3. Moldova will follow the same scenario as Ukraine, where the West has changed the regime by means of the Euromaidan protests, installing new leaders that would liberalize the land market. 4. Maia Sandu doesn’t actually care about the fight against corruption.
BACKGROUND: In the context of the election campaign in Chișinău, a new disinformation and fake news campaign is trying to spread public fear over the consequences of a possible victory of right-wing parties. According to the false narratives, these would range from a severe economic crisis and social unrest to as far as war in Transnistria, a conflict with Russia and the disappearance of Moldova as a state. One recurring theme over the course of the election campaign concerned the West’s plans to take total control of the Republic of Moldova. Seen as the face of PAS, the party with the highest chances of winning the election according to opinion polls, Maia Sandu has been a constant target of fake news and disinformation. The campaign is being orchestrated especially by pro-Russian parties (the Bloc of Communists and Socialists in particular), their affiliated media, but also Russian state media, which owns a significant share of the Moldovan media market.
The narrative about the danger of the West seizing Moldova’s resources and “riches” is one of the oldest in ex-Soviet and Socialist space. It surfaced shortly after the collapse of communism in the discourse of parties that succeeded the communists or that owned up to the legacy of the former communist parties (in Romania, one of the slogans at the start of the 90s was “we won’t sell our country”). Moscow, pro-Russian politicians from various countries and sovereigntists have again picked up on this narrative for a few years. Right now, Ukraine is targeted by a disinformation campaign, debunked by Veridica, about the danger of liberalizing the land market.
PURPOSE: To manipulate voters by inducing fear about a potential victory of the right wing. To discredit Maia Sandu and PAS. To undermine public confidence in Western states, which represent the main source of funding and market for the Republic of Moldova, also in the so-called “Western array” of development.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The narratives are mere speculation. There’s no evidence, no statement about a possible surrender of Moldova’s resources. A potential liberalization of the land market would spell benefits, given that farming in the Republic of Moldova is, to a great extent, a form of subsistence. Streamlining agricultural processes would boost production and increase its quality, hence translating into higher revenues for the state by means of higher taxes. It would bring about an infusion of capital and know how. The possibility that certain goods (farmland, for instance) might be purchased by foreign nationals doesn’t mean the landlords will be forced to sell (they will certainly do it if it pays dividends), or that foreigners would come rushing to invest in Moldova. The revolution in Ukraine was the result of an internal process, not an external intervention, and the spark that ignited it was the refusal of Viktor Yanukovych, faced with mounting pressure from Russia, to sign the Association Agreement with the EU; the protesters’ agenda didn’t include the land reform. In turn, Maia Sandu said and did nothing to suggest that she’s not seriously invested in the fight against corruption. To claim the opposite, therefore, is nothing but guesswork.