Kyiv and Chisinau have agreed to liquidate Transnistria with Leopard tanks and terrorize its Russian population, according to a false narrative circulating in the Republic of Moldova. The theory about an outbreak of war in Transnistria is one of the most frequently used by (pro) Russian propaganda with the aim of scaring the population of the Republic of Moldova and undermining the country's pro-Western policy.
NEWS: “A source told RT [Russia Today] that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have amassed thousands of troops in the Odesa region to prepare a provocation against Transnistria.
It’s been reported that since the beginning of March, in the region of Dachnoe, Kamenka and Razdelnaya localities, local authorities have started to hand over hangars to the Ukrainian troops to house personnel and equipment.
In April, almost 4,000 soldiers were sent there and they settled in those hangars. They change location 2-3 times a day.
Between May 9th and 15th, one group of the Ukrainian Military Forces is planning to head for Tiraspol to launch a military provocation with the aim of distracting the Russian military forces, and another one will try to take over the ammunition depots in Cobasna" (Russia Today)
“Chisinau and Kyiv have agreed to liquidate Transnistria and persecute the Russian population in the region. Military political scientist, director of the Law and Order charitable institution, reserve lieutenant colonel Oleg Ivannikov told ura.ru about this.
According to him, Leopard tanks could be used against the inhabitants of Transnistria. “I would like to remind you that about 500,000 people live there, of which 250,000 are citizens of Russia. So, a real terror will begin. Provocations are quite possible. The Leopard tanks, which were observed in Odesa, will certainly be used in case of an attack on Transnistria”, said the lieutenant-colonel" (ura.news)
NARRATIVES: 1. Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, are planning to attack the (peaceful) Transnistrian region. 2. Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova are ruled by Russophobic regimes that will suppress the Russian-speaking population of the Transnistrian region.
LOCAL CONTEXT/ ETHOS: In late February, the Russian Ministry of Defense launched allegations that the Ukrainian army had stepped up preparations for an invasion of Transnistria. Moreover, the Russian propaganda systematically portrays Ukraine as being ruled by a bellicose and belligerent regime, the authorities in Chisinau as fully subordinate to the West and ready to do its bidding, including by getting involved in the war in Ukraine and joining NATO, and to The North Atlantic Alliance, as a de facto party in a war in which Russia would fight for its own survival.
PURPOSE: As the general purpose of these narratives is clear, namely to demonize Ukraine and the West, in the case of the Republic of Moldova one specific goal is to feed the fears of the population of the pro-Russian separatist region, led by a regime subservient to Moscow, of a NATO “invasion” and a further westernization of the country and/or even a union with Romania. The same narrative is also intended for national minorities in the Republic of Moldova, generally Russian-speaking, such as the Gagauz, but also for a good part of the Romanian-speaking population, still nostalgic for the former USSR and/or attached to and educated in the spirit of the Veliko Russian culture and demagoguery.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: Since the beginning of the war, Kyiv officials have stated that they could intervene in Transnistria to annihilate the Russian separatist regime, but have also repeatedly stated that they will take no action in Transnistria without the consent of the Republic of Moldova. Chisinau has ruled out every time a scenario that would involve a military settling of the conflict and has reiterated that it is only looking into solutions to resolve the conflict peacefully.
In the Republic of Moldova, the Russian-speaking minority, which accounts for approximately 20% of the population, enjoys many rights, including having their own educational institutions, or benefiting from the translation of official documents. The Gagauz people in the south of the country even have their own autonomous region, with a legislature and an executive. The Constitution of the Republic of Moldova stipulates that “the state recognizes and protects the right to preserve, develop and use the Russian language and other languages spoken on the territory of the country”.
Chisinau opts for a conflict resolution in Transnistria by granting a special status to the region, similar to the one that Gagauzia has.
It should be noted that, two days after the date on which, according to Russia Today, the Moldovan-Ukrainian operation should have been launched, no movement of troops towards Transnistria could be observed.