FAKE NEWS: Forced by the West to give up the CIS, Chisinau is destroying its economy

Supporters of the Moldovan opposition Revival Party (Renastere) display a large flag of the Commonwealth of Independent States as they take part in a protest in front of the parliament building in Chisinau, Moldova, 07 July 2023.
© EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU   |   Supporters of the Moldovan opposition Revival Party (Renastere) display a large flag of the Commonwealth of Independent States as they take part in a protest in front of the parliament building in Chisinau, Moldova, 07 July 2023.

The government in Chisinau is being forced by the West to withdraw from the CIS, which is destroying the economy of the Republic of Moldova, according to a false narrative appearing in the pro-Kremlin media.

NEWS: “Maia Sandu and the ruling PAS party continue to systematically move in the direction set by their Western patrons, severing mutually beneficial relations with Russia and expelling Russian diplomats from the republic. Moreover, the Chisinau officials are denouncing, one by one, the agreements concluded by Moldova within the CIS. All these actions are presented under the pretext of orientation towards the West and "Euro-integration", although they will only lead to the collapse of the Moldovan economy, which is already in a state of permanent crisis under the current government.

Maia Sandu and the governing party PAS are only "voices", expressing the decisions made outside the country.

[...]

Western advisers have their offices in almost every state institution in Moldova, including the president's administration. "Eurointegration" has practically become national ideology, and it is clear that they will not accept any other orientation. The fact that the Republic of Moldova remains a member of the CIS is like a bone stuck in their throat.

That is why they are constantly pushing Chisinau towards a formal and final break-up with Russia and the Eurasian Union, as well as withdrawal from the CIS, ignoring the obvious damage this will bring to the country's economy and its population.

One of the first steps in this direction was the attempt to abandon the purchase of Russian gas. The Moldovan side worsened the relations with Gazprom, by delaying the auditing of the historical debt of Moldovagaz and purchasing "blue fuel" from "alternative sources".

[...] The authorities' refusal to develop trade relations with Russia and the reorientation of exports to the European Union also had a negative impact on the national economy.

[...] The result of such a policy is farmers going bankrupt, the closing of enterprises that are processors of agricultural products, unemployment and emigration.

All these actions were the prelude to some political movements that the Moldovan government accelerated after the start of the special military operation in Ukraine.

Despite the neutrality status enshrined in the Constitution, Sandu and PAS have openly adopted an anti-Russian position. Moldova has become a transit territory through which weapons, ammunition, fuel and other types of military cargo have been sent to Ukraine."

NARRATIVES: 1. The pro-European government in Chisinau decided to break relations with the CIS at the behest of the West. 2. Ruining the relations with Russia and the CIS causes economic and social damage, as Moldova's economy is heavily dependent on the Russian/CIS economy.

LOCAL CONTEXT/ETHOS: The Chisinau authorities have initiated withdrawal procedures from several agreements with CIS, which they consider irrelevant. Among the most well-known would be the one regarding the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, but also the one regarding the activity of a radio and TV company, MIR.

The CIS was established in 1991 against the background of the collapse of the former USSR and has always been seen as an organization through which Moscow has tried to maintain its sphere of influence in the ex-Soviet states. The Baltic countries did not join the organization and Georgia left it in 2008 after the Russian invasion. Ukraine is no longer, de facto, a member of the CIS either, even if it has not completed its withdrawal procedures from the organization.

Over the years, Russia has imposed several restrictions on Moldovan products, especially after 2013, when the Republic of Moldova signed the Association Agreement with the EU, decisions that were commented in Chisinau as political, aimed at hindering the process of the country's rapprochement with the European Union.

In 2022, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine obtained the status of candidates for EU accession. After the victory of the pro-European forces in Chisinau (2020-2021), but especially after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the relations between Chisinau and Moscow have deteriorated. The Moldovan authorities condemned the Russian military aggression, even though they did not adhere to the international sanctions imposed on Russia.

PURPOSE: To present the government in Chisinau as subordinate to the West and ready to violate the neutrality of the Republic of Moldova through the decisions it takes against the Russian Federation. To exaggerate the economic and commercial dependence of the Republic of Moldova on the CIS.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: There is no evidence that the West forced the Republic of Moldova to leave the CIS. Although the Republic of Moldova has opted for European integration (therefore integration into a structure different from the CIS), Brussels has not requested the termination of the agreements with the Commonwealth of Independent States yet. Moreover, the head of the EU delegation said that this situation is to be examined in the future, after the start of the accession negotiations: "In the past we did not have such situations, because all the states that joined the EU were not members of the CIS. I don't think it's an issue that needs to be addressed urgently. These will be things to be examined in the negotiation stage",  Mazeiks told Radio Moldova in December 2022 , and then later, TV8.

The economic losses that the Republic of Moldova would suffer by breaking ties with Russia and the CIS are some of the main arguments used by the Russian propaganda. First of all, Chisinau does not opt ​​for breaking ties, economically anyway, with Russia and the CIS. Officials from Chisinau have stated on several occasions that leaving the CIS is out of the question, at least at the current stage of relations with the EU. The free trade agreement with this organization remains in force, the Republic of Moldova benefiting from a similar one with the EU.

Second, Russian propaganda clearly exaggerates the importance and weight of the relations with the CIS for the Moldovan economy. Without Ukraine, which is de facto no longer a member of this structure, even if it has not completed the procedures to denounce its membership,  the share of Moldovan exports to the CIS was less than 7%  of the total in the first 5 months of the current year. For comparison, the share of exports to the EU exceeded 60%.

Trade with Russia and the CIS, respectively, did not decrease with the coming of the PAS government. It started declining a decade ago, when Russia introduced restrictions on several categories of Moldovan products. Many Moldovan producers then abandoned the Russian market and turned to the EU.

Russia, which in the 1990s and early 2000s was the Republic of Moldova’s main trading partner, reached a share of less than 4% of Moldovan exports, after several waves of sanctions it imposed once Chisinau got closer to Brussels.

The Republic of Moldova was forced to identify alternative sources of gas supply after the Russian concern Gazprom threatened on several occasions it would stop the delivery, and in the fall of last year began to supply smaller quantities than those stipulated in the contract. Currently, the Chisinau authorities claim to be supplying the right side of the Dniester from other sources, while the Transnistrian region, controlled by a separatist regime, continues to receive gas from Gazprom.

However, the Russian Federation has not limited itself to imposing sanctions and putting economic pressure to force policy changes in Chisinau; the authorities of the Republic of Moldova have denounced a hybrid war waged by Moscow and have even spoken of a plot aimed at overthrowing the government in Chisinau.

As for the claims regarding the violation of neutrality, the Government in Chisinau has only denounced an imperial type of aggression, without intervening in the conflict by any means. And anyway, the neutrality of the Republic of Moldova has been violated by the same Russian Federation, which illegally maintains troops in the Republic of Moldova and a frozen conflict on its territory.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: The authorities in Chisinau have launched the procedures to denounce some agreements within the CIS, and Moldovan-Russian relations have turned hostile after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

  • Publication / Media:
    rubaltic.ru
  • Date of publication:
    07/08/2023
  • Target audience:
    Russian public, pro-Russia citizens, ethnic minorities in the Republic of Moldova
  • Amplification:
    cenzura.md
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    PAS and Maia Sandu are destroying the relations with Russia and the CIS, thus causing countless economic and social damage, as Moldova’s economy is heavily dependent on the Russian / CIS one

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