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FAKE NEWS: Maia Sandu is preparing a wave of arrests, with support from the West

Maia Sandu
©EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU  |   Moldova's new President Maia Sandu walks to review the honour guard in front of presidential building after her inauguration ceremony i​n Chisinau, Moldova, 24 December 2020.

Maia Sandu has created an “anticorruption” structure in order to eliminate from public life and the administrative apparatus the politicians and officials that are inconvenient, according to a false narrative spread by Sputnik. The said structure - the Independent Anticorruption Advisory Committee – is allegedly controlled by the West.  

NEWS:  “[…] Maia Sandu has created a structure parallel with the state institutions in charge of fighting corruption, a structure that is aimed at controlling, directing and, maybe, in the future, even replacing these state institutions. This was acknowledged by Maia Sandu herself in her short speech at the press conference on presenting the membership of the Committee.”

“This group will investigate the cases of grand corruption in the Republic of Moldova and will present to us, the population, information about these cases of corruption. We hope that this information will be useful to the law enforcement agencies in the Republic of Moldova, which are in charge of investigating cases of grand corruption. Unfortunately, the state institutions that are supposed to prevent and fight corruption are moving very slowly, much more slowly than the corrupt groups that are stealing this country”, Sandu said.
[…] Maia Sandu said that she will fight grand corruption, that is among high officials, politicians, grand dignitaries.

All right. But here is what the head of the Committee, James Wasserstrom, tells us himself.

He has told how the Committee will operate in Moldova. According to Wasserstrom, Moldova is the third country to set up such a body. Wasserstrom says that previously “we (i.e. they, not us - n.n.) conducted such operations first in Afghanistan, later in Ukraine and here we are now with the third mission.”And what happened in Afghanistan and Ukraine after “they” fought corruption? Have Afghanistan or Ukraine become less corrupt? Like hell they did! They remained just as corrupt. The result is different, and this is the real goal: Ukraine has become totally dependent on the US and its Western partners. This is not the case with Afghanistan because Americans’ plans didn’t work there. But Moldova has every chance of becoming as dependent on the US and the West as Ukraine, while remaining just as corrupt.So, the fight against the grand corruption that Maia Sandu has decided to carry out using US and EU money and commissioners is nothing but the establishment of NGO-like or other structures, in parallel with state institutions, which, under the guise of the fight against corruption, will be working to compromise the activity of state institutions, to control them and direct their activity. And the ultimate goal is to sort the grand dignitaries, officials, politicians, party and opinion leaders not by how upright or corrupt they may be, but according to a different criterion, namely the one that shows how obedient, docile and servile they are to the West. That’s it!”

NARRATIVES: 1. Maia Sandu created a structure in parallel with state institutions, in order to eliminate the inconvenient opposition. 2. The Independent Anticorruption Advisory Committee is under the control of the West, which seeks to undermine the institutions of the Republic of Moldova.

LOCAL CONTEXT / ETHOS: The fight against corruption has for years been one of the key promises made by Maia Sandu, who practically built her political career with this type of speech, during the period when she participated in the protests against the regime controlled by the oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, who had got full control over the justice system as well.  The anti-corruption discourse also played an important role in Maia Sandu's victory in the 2020 presidential elections, given that her counter-candidate, the then-president Igor Dodon, had also started to be associated with the phenomenon of corruption, being accused of taking over part of Vladimir Plahotniuc's networks, as well as of receiving bribe directly from him (the famous episode with the "kuliokul", in which Dodon appears on a recording receiving money).

The Republic of Moldova is one of the most corrupt countries in Europe (according to the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index for 2020, only Ukraine and Russia are more corrupt), the grand corrupt usually managing to avoid the rigors of the law. Justice reform and the fight against corruption is also one of the key requirements of the Western partners of the Republic of Moldova and is closely linked to the financial assistance that the country receives.

Currently, an electoral campaign is underway in the Republic of Moldova for early parliamentary elections, and the main pro-European party is the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS), founded by Maia Sandu against the background of anti-corruption protests , and which took over her discourse. In the context of the election campaign, the pro-Russian Socialists and Communists, who are supported by Moscow, have launched a wave of attacks against Maia Sandu, one of the main claims being that she is manipulated by the West and intends to bring the entire Republic of Moldova under its control. The Russian media is quite present on the Moldovan market, so it is used as a campaign tool.

PURPOSE: To undermine PAS’s chances of winning the elections in the Republic of Moldova by associating it with the image of Maia Sandu and creating a climate of fear.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The Independent Anticorruption Advisory Committee is not a parallel structure with state institutions; as its name suggests, its role is advisory. It does not have the possibility to investigate cases, to order arrests, interceptions, etc., it only issues recommendations. There is no relationship of subordination to the Presidency, as the Committee is an independent body. The Committee is made up of six independent experts recognized for their expertise, 3 of whom are from the Republic of Moldova - which excludes the possibility of being controlled by the West.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: Maia Sandu signed a decree on the setting up of the Independent Anticorruption Advisory Committee.

A project supported by the Canadian Embassy in Romania, Bulgaria and the Republic of Moldova


  • Publication / Media:
    sputnik.md
  • Date of publication:
    07/06/2021
  • Language / Target audience:
    Undecided voters, left voters (for mobilization)
  • Political affiliation:
    the Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    Maia Sandu is preparing a wave of arrests, with support from the West
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  • Maia Sandu has created an “anticorruption” structure in order to eliminate from public life and the administrative apparatus the politicians and officials that are inconvenient, according to a false narrative spread by Sputnik. The said structure - the Independent Anticorruption Advisory Committee – is allegedly controlled by the West.
  • NARRATIVES: 1. Maia Sandu created a structure in parallel with state institutions, in order to eliminate the inconvenient opposition. 2. The Independent Anticorruption Advisory Committee is under the control of the West, which seeks to undermine the institutions of the Republic of Moldova.
  • PURPOSE: To undermine PAS’s chances of winning the elections in the Republic of Moldova by associating it with the image of Maia Sandu and creating a climate of fear.
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