Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube LinkedIn

Demagog - Chisinau Report (2021)

FAKE NEWS: Maia Sandu and PAS, illegally funded by the West

Maia
© EPA-EFE/JOHANNA GERON / POOL  |   Moldova's President Maia Sandu attends a meeting with European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels, Belgium, 18 January 2021.

Maia Sandu and PAS get massive cash injections from the European People’s Party (EPP), while taking part in this external funding operation are number of national parties affiliated to the EPP, according to a New Europe article promoted by the Socialists and their media outlets. The article contains inaccurate data, provides zero evidence and also picks up on a number of false narratives promoted by Kremlin-linked press institutions, as well as by pro-Russian forces in Chișinău.

NEWS: “New Europe also writes that, despite the fact that Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, 25% of its territory being outside the constitutional control of the authorities in Chișinău (the capital of the Republic of Moldova) and its geographic location being of little geopolitical significance, the country has recently become a new area of interest for the West.

New Europe has come into the possession of classified documents from the secret intelligence of an EU Member State, which reveal that the West is investing some 56 million Euro (55.895 million) to secure victory for the number one pro-Euro-Atlantic party in Moldova – the Action and Solidarity Party, whose member is also the newly elected president of Moldova, Maia Sandu – in the snap parliamentary election, which will take place in the Republic on July 11.

Journalists have been working hard for weeks to vet these documents and have managed to confirm their accuracy from an independent source working for the secret intelligence in their country, but also from a group of politicians, who’ve referred to the reasons for this massive, sometimes very open financial support. The role of the Republic of Moldova has increased in the context of the war in Eastern Ukraine and in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The West wants to permanently remove this country from Russia’s sphere of influence.

According to the classified documents obtained by New Europe, most of the money comes from two states: Germany and the United States. Other countries that have taken an active part in the funding campaign are Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Great Britain and Italy. The money is channeled via a number of instruments, as follows:

  1. Funding provided through non-governmental foundations;
  2. Funding provided within the same political family;
  3. Funding through government projects, both formal and informal;
  4. Private companies. Most of the money out of this amount of almost €56 million is used through “grey schemes”, in which “cash” plays a dominant role, a practice the West usually tries to fight against.

According to New Europe, the main coordinator of the “support for Moldova’s Euro-Atlantic future” operation is Germany. Berlin is actively involved in supporting the President of Moldova, Maia Sandu and PAS both politically, financially and logistically, using several instruments”, telegraph.md writes, quoting an article published by New Europe.

NARRATIVES: 1. Maia Sandu and PAS are being funded illegally and controlled by obscure forces in the West via political parties and NGOs. 2. Despite their fight against corruption, PAS are profoundly corrupt, worse than those whom they constantly accuse of being corrupt in Chișinău. 3. The United States and the EU have set out to take over the Republic of Moldova after the parliamentary election. 4. PAS and Maia Sandu are using the state’s administrative resources to serve their own political interests. 5. Maia Sandu and PAS control a wide network of influence including media outlets both at home and abroad, as well as a number of NGOs to pursue their political goals. 6. Moldovans in the Diaspora will be transported in large numbers to polling stations outside the country using Western cash injections.

BACKGROUND: This is the last week of campaign ahead of the early parliamentary election of July 11. Media outlets affiliated to left-wing parties and oligarchs in the Republic of Moldova, who want the country to remain in the same gray area, have joined forces.

They wage a concerted media war against Maia Sandu, who is by far the face of the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS).

In this context, the election will be extremely important for pro-Russian parties, and for some will actually decide their survival, in case a pro-European majority is secured in the Moldovan Parliament after July 11. Others, including certain politicians or controversial business people, might actually believe their very freedom is in play, given that one of the top priorities of PAS and MAIA Sandu is the fight against corruption. Therefore, tensions are running higher than in last year’s presidential race.

If they win, pro-European parties might for the first time control all the power – a majority in Parliament, the Government and the Presidency – a unique position which could radically alter the direction the Republic of Moldova could be heading to over the next years, towards the EU and taking on the path of reforms.

The New Europe article follows after the popular Germany daily Bild on June 22 carried an fiery article, warning that on September 26, at the parliamentary election in Germany, Russia could be employing tactics already the Moldovan testing ground”.

More specifically, the article reveals a number of secret operations aimed at manipulating, intoxicating and destabilizing the Republic of Moldova ahead of the presidential election in the autumn of 2020. Russia at the time supported Igor Dodon, hoping he would secure a second term as president.

The New Europe article might also be interpreted as an echo to the article carried by Bild, which this time accuses CDU, Angela Merkel’s Christian-Democratic Party, of getting directly involved in the election in the Republic of Moldova and of indirectly hijacking the country’s rule via politically subservient politicians.

Moreover, the article in New Europe might also serve to divert public attention away from last week’s revelations that transpired in the media in Chișinău about Russian consultants who’ve again come to Moldova, this time around keeping a lower profile, in order to help pro-Russian forces. In this respect, media outlets and social networks employ a number of manipulation tactics.

The New Europe article is signed Kassandra, the publication’s “deepest insider in Brussels”. Kassandra’s dream, according to New Europe, is “justice: to make this world a better place”.

The publication was at the center of a number of media scandals in Romania as well, back in 2013, revolving around the owner of the Intact media group, Dan Voiculescu, and his employees. New Europe defended Voiculescu in a number of articles criticizing the Romanian justice system, and issuing opinions which were subsequently promoted by Antena 3 TV station. The publication also interceded in favor of PSD members suspected of corruption.

Back then, Hotnews wrote that the Brussels-based New Europe weekly used to be printed by the Intact group in Bucharest, but the publication denied any connection with Dan Voiculescu.

“We printed the paper at Voiculescu’s press because the costs were lower, but that was before 2000”, New Europe editor, Basil Coronakis, said. “I spoke to Voiculescu, but there were another 7-8 MEPs present in the office when I got the article about Traian Băsescu to check the information, but he never influenced the article”, Coronakis went on to say.

PURPOSE: To discredit Maia Sandu and PAS ahead of the parliamentary election of July 11 in the Republic of Moldova.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The campaign aimed at smearing the image of the main pro-European parties is being orchestrated in the last week before the election, and is aimed at convincing a part of the 31% of undecided Moldovans not to vote for PAS by revealing the purported corruption rooted in this party.

It’s hard to believe PAS traditional voters will fall for this kind of last-minute election ruse, whereas undecided voters, on the other hand, might go for it. 

Furthermore, the article references classical narratives pro-Russian media usually spreads, which Veridica debunks on a weekly basis. The West is accused of exerting its control and influence in small and corrupt countries over which Russia actually holds sway, seeking to maintain the status quo.

The article doesn’t give any names, but merely quotes “several secret documents from the special services of an EU member”.

More to the point, it’s hard to understand, for instance, why the EPP would fund PAS via UDRM in Romania, and not via PNL, a party with which PAS enjoys closer cooperation, according to the scenario presented by New Europe. PNL is the biggest political faction in Romania with which PAS has good ties.

Besides, PAS has dismissed the allegations through the voice of its interim president, Igor Grosu.

“Regarding a fake piece of news published by privately controlled media groups and paid for by the Socialists regarding the funding of PAS, I have the following statement to make: it’s all baloney and lies paid with taxpayer money stolen by Dodon and his Socialists. PAS is the first party in the Republic Moldova to secure legal and transparent funding and which, from the first day it was founded, has been calling on Moldovan citizens to support us with small donations in order to engage in clean politics. We thank all the 1,404 people who’ve donated, including for the current campaign”, Grosu said.

A day after the article appeared in the media, PSRM organized a press conference where Socialist deputy Grigore Novac asked the Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate this alleged case of illegal funding.

The 56 million Euro is also highly excessive, considering that the entire campaign in Chișinău cost 1.4 million Euro, according to the weekly financial statements which political parties have to submit to the Central Electoral Commission under the law. It’s hard to believe that such amounts of money would pass unnoticed in the campaign. Moreover, PAS doesn’t organize concerts, unlike other parties.

PAS’s online advertising is much more discreet compared to the Electoral Bloc of Communists and Socialists (BECS), therefore the €56 million is hardly justified in terms of PAS’s presence on social media.

The article also provides a number of inaccuracies, claiming that 25% of the territory of the Republic of Moldova is represented by Transnistria, whereas in fact the separatist region accounts for only 11% of Moldovan territory. 


  • Publication / Media:
    New Europe
  • Language / Target audience:
    Undecided voters
  • Amplification:
    telegraph.md, paranteze.com, noi.md, Accent TV, Primul în Moldova
  • Key narrative:
    Maia Sandu and PAS are illegally funded by the West
Other articles
„Rusia, prietenul care la nevoie se cunoaște”

„Rusia, prietenul care la nevoie se cunoaște”

Rusia ajută Republica Moldova oriunde este nevoie – chiar și la deszăpezire în iarna care o să urmeze.

False
True
FAKE NEWS: If PAS wins the election, Moldova will be sold off to foreigners

FAKE NEWS: If PAS wins the election, Moldova will be sold off to foreigners

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.

Zero hour for the Republic of Moldova: the battle of the three presidents

Zero hour for the Republic of Moldova: the battle of the three presidents

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.

7 minutes read
  • Maia Sandu and PAS get massive cash injections from the European People’s Party (EPP), while taking part in this external funding operation are number of national parties affiliated to the EPP, according to a New Europe article promoted by the Socialists and their media outlets. The article contains inaccurate data, provides zero evidence and also picks up on a number of false narratives promoted by Kremlin-linked press institutions, as well as by pro-Russian forces in Chișinău.
  • NARRATIVES: 1. Maia Sandu and PAS are being funded illegally and controlled by obscure forces in the West via political parties and NGOs. 2. Despite their fight against corruption, PAS are profoundly corrupt, worse than those whom they constantly accuse of being corrupt in Chișinău. 3. The United States and the EU have set out to take over the Republic of Moldova after the parliamentary election. 4. PAS and Maia Sandu are using the state’s administrative resources to serve their own political interests. 5. Maia Sandu and PAS control a wide network of influence including media outlets both at home and abroad, as well as a number of NGOs to pursue their political goals. 6. Moldovans in the Diaspora will be transported in large numbers to polling stations outside the country using Western cash injections.
  • PURPOSE: To discredit Maia Sandu and PAS ahead of the parliamentary election of July 11 in the Republic of Moldova.
How Russia lost the parliamentary election in the Republic of Moldova and the pro-Europeans’ tribulations of success
How Russia lost the parliamentary election in the Republic of Moldova and the pro-Europeans’ tribulations of success

Not even the most optimistic supporters of the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) were expecting a landslide victory in the early parliamentary election. PAS didn’t just face left-wing parties, represented by the Electoral Bloc of Communists and Socialists, but Russia itself, which tried to lend the latter a helping hand. Yet its victory is only the beginning: the real challenge for PAS lies ahead.

Mădălin Necșuțu
Mădălin Necșuțu
13 Jul 2021
FAKE NEWS: The right-wing bought votes in the Diaspora
FAKE NEWS: The right-wing bought votes in the Diaspora

The alleged election fraud, including bribe-giving, was one of the hot topics in the Republic of Moldova on election day. While media outlets siding with pro-European parties revealed alleged cases of bribe reported on the left bank of the Dniester, the pro-Socialist press focused on offenses reported abroad. One the main “arguments” about influencing voters in the Diaspora was a short video filmed by a young girl queuing outside a polling station in Frankfurt, Germany. In the background one can hear a few people talking and laughing, mentioning 50 Euro. A large number of press institutions affiliated to the Socialists carried the piece of news, suggesting the video is evidence that voters got bribed. The person who shot the video subsequently said it was all a joke, and that the media made erroneous assumptions.

Cornel Ciobanu
Cornel Ciobanu
12 Jul 2021
DEMAGOG 2021. The Chisinau Report, No. 5: Radio Yerevan
DEMAGOG 2021. The Chisinau Report, No. 5: Radio Yerevan

disinformation, manipulative stories and fake news continued to flood the media as usual. Maia Sandu, PAS and the West were again the favorite targets of disinformation and fake narratives. Fake news authors were pretty much unimaginative, as they have been over the course of the entire campaign, resorting to narratives they used before, both in the current campaign, as well as in previous ones: a victory for the right-wing would spell disaster for the country

Cătălin Gomboș
Cătălin Gomboș
10 Jul 2021
Lenin wrapped in plastic, the girl in the coffin and brawling politicians – the highlights of the election campaign in the Republic of Moldova
Lenin wrapped in plastic, the girl in the coffin and brawling politicians – the highlights of the election campaign in the Republic of Moldova

Much like most other election campaigns in the Republic of Moldova, this summer’s campaign for the parliamentary election of July 11 was ridden with disputes which, at times, went way beyond the limits of common decency. We’ve seen controversial figures getting the spotlight, a great deal of disinformation, and we’ve had our fair share of extraordinary and laughable moments. Foreign policy was, once again, a major topic of debate. Less than 30 years since Moldova proclaimed its independence, it’s still unclear whether the country is headed West or East. Another recurring theme in this campaign was the fight against corruption, which has been discussed for years, without seemingly rooting out the weed of corruption that has spread to the point of nearly suffocating the whole country. Veridica has reviewed some of the topics, episodes and characters that grabbed the headlines during this election campaign.

Cornel Ciobanu
Cornel Ciobanu
09 Jul 2021