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Demagog - Chisinau Report (2021)

FAKE NEWS: Maia Sandu is not really fighting corruption

Maia
©EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU  |   Maia Sandu, leader of the Party of Action and Solidarity deliver a speech during a protest in front of the National Opera in Chisinau, Moldova, 16 August 2020. Protesters accuse the government of incompetence and corruption, also demanded the resignation of the current president and government.

Maia Sandu does not have any important achievements in the fight against corruption during the first 6 months of her term because, in fact, she does not want to fight the phenomenon. This false narrative is promoted by the Kremlin channel, Sputnik, which in the context of the election campaign in the Republic of Moldova tries to undermine the anti-corruption discourse and manipulates information by ignoring the principle of separation of powers.

NEWS: “Luca Filat, the son of Vladimir Filat, is the only victim of the fight against corruption announced with bells and whistles by President Maia Sandu at the beginning of her term. In the activity report on the first six months of office, presented on Thursday by the head of state, Maia Sandu ticks two achievements in this regard. First: the signing of the Decree setting up the Independent Anticorruption Advisory Committee and the second: the British Government’s decision to return to Moldova the amount of 458 thousand pounds, confiscated from Luca Filat […] Here is the picture: all those who have been publicly accused by Maia Sandu and / or by law enforcement agencies in our country or abroad of being corrupt, of having embezzled public money, of stealing from the state and its citizens (including Vladimir Filat, Vladimir Plahotniuc, Veaceslav Platon, Ilan Shor, Renato Usatii) are at large, some are involved in politics and are even preparing to co-govern, after the elections, alongside PAS, Maia Sandu's party. So, given all that, to brag about catching Luca Filat, who is not even one of the ‘grand’ corrupt, but a rich kid, who took advantage of his fathers’ “hard-won” millions is totally frivolous […] For the sake of truth, we must admit that Maia Sandu did not have the necessary tools to do anything in the first 6 months of her term: Parliament was dissolved, and the Government is outgoing. What can a head of state do in these conditions? Obviously, not much.  It's just that Maia Sandu is also to blame for this situation, because she dissolved Parliament and, in this way, blocked the activity of the Government”.

NARRATIVES: 1. Maia Sandu only mimics the fight against corruption and has no major achievement in this field. 2. The grand corrupt and oligarchs responsible for stealing the billion are at large thanks to Maia Sandu, and she will rule with some of them after the elections. 3. Maia Sandu is to blame for the fact that those who stole the billion are at large, because she dissolved Parliament.

CONTEXT: Maia Sandu won the November 2020 presidential election against the Socialist Igor Dodon thanks to a message emphasizing the fight against corruption and the need to reform the justice system and release state institutions from the influence of corrupt politicians. This message has been taken over by the party founded by Maia Sandu, PAS, in the campaign for the parliamentary elections due on July 11, 2021. On the other hand, the leader of the Socialists, Igor Dodon, lost the presidential seat being associated with corruption networks - the “kuliok” case is notorious, a black bag which it is supposed to have contained money to finance the party, which he received from the oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc, suspected of being involved in the one-billion-dollar theft from the Moldovan banking sector, an example of how the state was kidnapped by oligarchic networks. Also, PSRM forged an alliance for Parliament with the Shor Party, whose fugitive leader Ilan Shor was sentenced by a court of first instance to 7 and a half years in prison in the billion-dollar case, and as well as with defecting deputies affiliated to Vlad Plahotniuc.

Despite these obvious associations between the Socialists and criminal oligarchs, a series of narratives have been launched in the presidential election campaign in an attempt to associate Maia Sandu with the oligarchs, the current president being presented as an ally and agent of theirs.

PURPOSE:  The narratives aim to undermine the anti-corruption discourse of Maia Sandu and PAS by presenting it as false and merely election driven.  At the same time, the idea is being induced that there are underground links between Maia Sandu and the oligarchs involved in the theft of the billion.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The head of state is not part of the judiciary and cannot be involved in the management of corruption cases in the Republic of Moldova, according to the principle of separation of powers in the state. Maia Sandu has called on the Prosecutor's Office and judges to show progress in big cases, such as the stealing of one billion dollars from the banking system of the Republic of Moldova, or the money-laundering cases known as the Russian Laundromat, in which many were involved, including judges.  

The government, whether interim or in full power, cannot prosecute cases and imprison corrupt people involved in stealing billions or money laundering either. This is the job of the Prosecutor's Office and the judiciary. The justice reform, requested including by the development partners of the Republic of Moldova, does entail Parliament amending laws, but they are to be applied by the judiciary, not by the Government, which is an executive body. The investigation of such cases is not Parliament’s responsibility, so the way they go has nothing to do with the dissolution of the legislature.

As regards Luca Filat, he came to the attention of the British authorities because he had access to very large sums of money without being able to justify them. His money was confiscated following an action by the British judiciary, unrelated to that of the Republic of Moldova, and the return of the money could be due to the increased credibility of the Republic of Moldova abroad after since Maia Sandu took over the presidential office.


  • Publication / Media:
    sputnik.md
  • Language / Target audience:
    the PSRM and the undecided electorate
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    Maia Sandu is not really fighting corruption
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  • Maia Sandu does not have any important achievements in the fight against corruption during the first 6 months of her term because, in fact, she does not want to fight the phenomenon. This false narrative is promoted by the Kremlin channel, Sputnik, which in the context of the election campaign in the Republic of Moldova tries to undermine the anti-corruption discourse and manipulates information by ignoring the principle of separation of powers.
  • NARRATIVES: 1. Maia Sandu only mimics the fight against corruption and has no major achievement in this field. 2. The grand corrupt and oligarchs responsible for stealing the billion are at large thanks to Maia Sandu, and she will rule with some of them after the elections. 3. Maia Sandu is to blame for the fact that those who stole the billion are at large, because she dissolved Parliament.
  • PURPOSE: The narratives aim to undermine the anti-corruption discourse of Maia Sandu and PAS by presenting it as false and merely election driven. At the same time, the idea is being induced that there are underground links between Maia Sandu and the oligarchs involved in the theft of the billion.
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