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Demagog - Chisinau Report (2021)

FAKE NEWS: Moldovans, cannon fodder in the West’s war against Russia

Dodon
©EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU  |   Former president of Moldova Igor Dodon delivers a speech after a march with the slogan "We love Moldova" in downtown Chisinau, Moldova, 04 July 2021.

The West plans on using Moldova against Russia, and its citizens will become cannon fodder, says former president Igor Dodon in a wide interview for Ria Novosti. The Russian news agency basically provides Dodon with a platform for disinformation and spreading fake news, most of which have already been disseminated over the course of the election campaign, both by the local media affiliated to the Socialists, as well as by the pro-government Russian state media: the situation is out of control, the country’s president is responsible for the political crisis and the social and economic chaos, the West is interfering in the domestic affairs of Moldova and plans to rig the election, etc.

NEWS: “The former president of the Republic of Moldova, PSRM leader and co-president of the Electoral Bloc of Communists and Socialists, Igor Dodon, has talked to RIA Novosti about the West’s plans to use Moldova against Russia, arguing why the country’s citizens should launch street protests shortly after the snap parliamentary election and why the coming to power of right-wing parties will negatively impact relations with the Russian Federation. Dodon also discussed how the election might be rigged”, Telegraph.mid writes, publishing the full interview of the PSRM leader.

In this interview, Igor Dodon says “the biggest risk for the election to get rigged is in the West, in the Diaspora”, accusing once again Western ambassadors, particular the United States ambassador, of interfering in the election process in the Republic of Moldova and claiming the West wants to drag Russia into a new regional conflict. “The West is unhappy with the fact that Moldova doesn’t fit their general regional agenda. And their regional agenda is anti-Russian. We can see that Romania and Ukraine also have a harsh anti-Russian agenda. Only Moldova, due to the fact that we’ve preserved a more balanced position, doesn’t fit the profile. Hence the task to create a Parliamentary majority in Moldova that will follow the West’s instructions to the letter in terms of the geopolitical fight against Russia. As to what will actually happen – whether we’ll see a statement or Moldova joining the regime of sanctions against Russia, or, worst-case scenario, stirring up trouble in Transnistria, we don’t know yet. I believe they will launch an all-out war”. According to Igor Dodon, Moldovan citizens will be used as cannon fodder in this geopolitical battle. “It all boils down to the color of the new Government. If it’s yellow, then we’ll have a harsh anti-Russian rhetoric and a pro-Western orientation in all sectors: the economy, society, security, our values and traditions. If we make the Government, we will seek a strategic partnership with Russia”.  

Igor Dodon also accused Moldovan NGOs of having external funding sources and that state structures employ foreign agents: “We must seriously and particularly deal with the country’s security. State structures are filled with foreign agents. We need a special law regulating the activity of NGOs, advisors, the funding of the presidential administration from external sources. They have virtually admitted it, and it is simply unacceptable. We must learn from the experience of Russian and Western states, which have specifically limited the possibility of external interference in domestic policy. In this respect, Hungary’s experience is very telling”.

NARRATIVES: 1. There’s a risk the election might be rigged in polling stations in Europe. 2. The West wants to make Moldova a part of its anti-Russian campaign, and Moldovan citizens will be used as cannon fodder in this battle. 3. A Parliament majority is expected to be created in Moldova which will follow the West’s instructions, and Chişinău will join the regime of anti-Russian sanctions or worse, stir up trouble in Transnistria. 4. NGOs funded from external sources should be regulated by law, according to Russia’s example. 5. The situation is out of control, and Maia Sandu is to blame for the political crisis and social and economic mayhem.

BACKGROUND: The Republic of Moldova has entered the last week of the election campaign for the early parliamentary election of July 11. This ballot was prompted by the resignation of Prime Minister Ion Chicu on December 23, 2020, one day before the leader of PAS, Maia Sandu, a pro-European politician currently riding a wave of popularity among Moldovans and enjoying the trust of Moldova’s external partners, took over as the country’s new president. A few months into her term in office, she managed to establish a dialogue with Brussels and even secure a substantial financial assistance for Chişinău, which will be used to deal with the economic fallout of COVID-19. Moreover, Maia Sandu helped secure deliveries of vaccines to the Republic of Moldova, a country’s whose healthcare system was seriously affected by the COVID pandemic. The Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) which she founded is favorite to win the election according to the latest opinion polls. PAS officials hope to secure the majority of seats in the new Parliament in order to make up a Cabinet. Their number one opponent is the Bloc of Communists and Socialists, now led by the former presidents Vladimir Voronin and Igor Dodon. The PSRM-PCRM electoral bloc built their election campaign on a series of false narratives regarding the danger of Moldova disappearing as a state should pro-European parties take power. In this case, the West would allegedly take control of the country via NGOs and officials with Romanian citizenship, the Transnistrian conflict will escalate while food and fuel prices will soar. The narratives are targeted primarily against PAS and Maia Sandu. Apart from PSRM-controlled media, the Russian state media also frequently supports the Socialists’ position in wide interviews, news and commentaries about the election in the Republic of Moldova.

PURPOSE: To compromise pro-European parties (especially PAS) and weaken voter confidence in democratic institutions, to block Moldova’s pro-European track.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The EU is the number one economic and development partner of the Republic of Moldova, accounting for approximately 70% of Moldovan exports. Brussels has invested hundreds of millions of Euro in the democratic and economic development of the Republic of Moldova. Furthermore, it provided crucial support to its medical system during the COVID pandemic (medical equipment and free vaccines), including via Romania. In return, the European Union only asked for the observance of the legislation in force, the reform of the judiciary and eliminating the influence of certain characters over state institutions. Neither the EU nor NATO or any other member state has ever raised the question of a war against Russia or attacking Transnistria. Russia is currently the subject of sanctions in response to the occupation and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine and for supporting pro-Russian separatists in Donbass. As regards Transnistria, Russia has frozen the conflict on the ground, supporting the separatist government and refusing to withdraw its troops, contrary to the requests of repeated governments in Chișinău.

Igor Dodon is trying to blame Maia Sandu for the precarious social and economic situation and the political turmoil in the Republic of Moldova, including for the latest price hikes. In fact, Prime Minister Ion Chicu, who resigned, is a close associate of Igor Dodon, a former presidential advisor, having been appointed Prime Minister by Dodon himself. Following Chicu’s resignation, the Republic of Moldova is now being led by an interim Prime Minister, Aureliu Ciocoi, a former Minister for Foreign Affairs, who is part of the outgoing cabinet. Basically, the entire Government and all state institutions are being led by people close to Dodon. They are the de facto leaders of the country, in charge of the economic, social and health situation in the Republic of Moldova, not Maia Sandu, as Igor Dodon suggests. The presidency holds no executive powers. Even though it resigned, the Government still has duties to perform and is represented by people close to PSRM.

As regards the possible rigging of the election in the West, which Igor Dodon alluded to, it should be mentioned that the electoral authority (the Secretary of the Central Electoral Commission is Maxim Lebedinschi, brother to Socialist deputy Adrian Lebedinschi), refused to open 190 polling stations abroad, which is the number recommended by the Foreign Ministry and consistent with the rulings of courts of law. Initially, CEC set up 139 stations, a number it increased to 147 and later to 150. Igor Dodon has provided no evidence for the intention to rig the voting process in EU countries currently home to communities of Moldovan citizens. Dodon’s statements follow as large numbers of Moldovans in the Diaspora, particularly in Western countries, have been voting in recent elections, the majority of them for pro-European parties. The accusation that “the biggest risk for the election to get rigged is in the West, in the Diaspora”, is false, aimed at undermining the vote of citizens working in Europe. Moreover, PAS deputy Sergiu Litvinenco has signaled several issues that might hinder the voting process in the Diaspora, including the failure to delegate members to electoral bureaus on behalf of PSRM and Shor Party, or the reduced number of CEC representatives deployed to polling stations abroad.

Carte recomandata
  • Publication / Media:
    RIA NOVOSTI, Telegraph.md
  • Language / Target audience:
    PSRM voters
  • Amplification:
    Russian media, PSRM-linked media
  • Political affiliation:
    the Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    The new Parliament majority in Moldova will follow the West’s instructions
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  • The West plans on using Moldova against Russia, and its citizens will become cannon fodder, says former president Igor Dodon in a wide interview for Ria Novosti. The Russian news agency basically provides Dodon with a platform for disinformation and spreading fake news, most of which have already been disseminated over the course of the election campaign, both by the local media affiliated to the Socialists, as well as by the pro-government Russian state media: the situation is out of control, the country’s president is responsible for the political crisis and the social and economic chaos, the West is interfering in the domestic affairs of Moldova and plans to rig the election, etc.
  • NARRATIVES: 1. There’s a risk the election might be rigged in polling stations in Europe. 2. The West wants to make Moldova a part of its anti-Russian campaign, and Moldovan citizens will be used as cannon fodder in this battle. 3. A Parliament majority is expected to be created in Moldova which will follow the West’s instructions, and Chişinău will join the regime of anti-Russian sanctions or worse, stir up trouble in Transnistria. 4. NGOs funded from external sources should be regulated by law, according to Russia’s example. 5. The situation is out of control, and Maia Sandu is to blame for the political crisis and social and economic mayhem.
  • PURPOSE: To compromise pro-European parties (especially PAS) and weaken voter confidence in democratic institutions, to block Moldova’s pro-European track.
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