NEWS: “The events in Armenia and the victory of American billionaire Soros’s protégée in the Moldovan presidential election have again faced Russia with “wretched questions”. Is Western support truly disinterested? Where do we draw the line between charity and human rights protection, and interfering with the internal affairs of other states in order to capture them and make them serve private interests?”
The article seeks to promote the idea that, after managing to install Nikol Pashinyan in Armenia and Maia Sandu in the Republic of Moldova, George Soros is now targeting other ex-Soviet republics, from Belarus to states in the Caucasus and Central Asia, in an attempt to “besiege Russia”.
NARRATIVES: 1. Russia is a citadel under siege. 2. Soros organized and continues to organize “color revolutions” in ex-Soviet space, and these revolutions are hostile to Russia. 3. Pro-European regimes in ex-Soviet space are under the control of the NGO network working for George Soros. 4. Countries are being turned into colonies governed by exterior forces after Soros’s supporters come to power, which is what happened in the Republic of Moldova.
BACKGROUND: Peaceful protests in ex-Soviet space over the years have included “the Rose Revolution” in Georgia in 2003, “the Tulip Revolution” in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 and “the Orange Revolution” of 2004 in Ukraine. These protests, fueled by people’s growing demand for reforms in the face of social and economic backwardness in these countries, also had specific triggers in each country. The protests in Tbilisi in November 2003 forced the then president, Eduard Shevardnadze, a former Foreign Minister of the USSR, to step down. The “Tulip Revolution” in Kyrgyzstan began after the second ballot of the parliamentary election of March 13, 2005, which was fraudulently won by candidates supporting the authoritarian leader Asker Akaey, who had been in power since 1990. In Ukraine, protests which came to be known as “the Orange Revolution” broke out concurrently with reports of fraud in the presidential election won by Viktor Yanukovych. Protesters managed to secure a re-run of the election, which this time was won by Viktor Yushchenko, the opposition leader who had survived a poisoning attempt. The Kremlin released a generic description of these movements as “color revolutions”, regarding them as a double threat. First of all, once pro-Western opposition forces would take power, Russia’s influence on its former satellites would diminish. While closer relations with the West were a real aspiration of the populations of these countries, who had opted for pro-Western politicians in free elections, Moscow considered it a form of aggression from the West, who is entering a territory under Russia’s traditional sphere of influence. Secondly, the Kremlin feared that a success of pro-Western (and pro-democratic) forces might have echoes in Russia as well, thus posing a direct threat to its power. As a result, it unleashed a process of repression and demonization of civil society, which it sees as instrumental to the promotion of certain ideas and principles. As a funder of civil society, Soros was a convenient target (having a single label is far more efficient). Besides, the fact that the Hungarian-born billionaire is also a Jew and operates on financial markets has generated stereotypes, biased opinions and conspiracy theories perpetuated in the former Russian World ever since the tsarist period.
One of the narratives referring to color revolutions, the danger of civil society and George Soros depicts Russia as a citadel under siege trying to defend traditional values like family and faith.
PURPOSE: The narratives are designed to discredit civil society and reformist, pro-democratic and pro-Western governments in ex-Soviet space.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The quest for prosperous and democratic societies based on the rule of law is real and reflects the interests of the population as a whole, while authoritarian regimes seek to perpetuate the power of restricted groups with private interests to the detriment of the larger population. As an economic and social model, Western space (the EU being in the immediate vicinity of ex-Soviet space) has proved to be far more successful, clear evidence of which being the huge gaps promoted (and deepened) ever since the Soviet period. The Russian Federation has never been the target of protests (which invalidates the narrative about Russia being a citadel under siege), but rather societies themselves. Similarly, pro-Western political forces elevated themselves not through anti-Russian rhetoric, but through pro-reformist discourse. Conversely, the destabilizing factor in ex-Soviet space turned out to be the Russian Federation, which generated and fueled a series of conflicts, some of them frozen, in countries like the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Russia also acted as an aggressor state (Georgia, Ukraine) or was directly involved in the conflict by dispatching its military (Republic of Moldova).
Maia Sandu became the president of the Republic of Moldova after grabbing a landslide victory in the election organized by the regime led by the former pro-Russian president, Igor Dodon. The fact that Dodon held the reins of power and enjoyed the support of Russian media and most of the PSRM-linked media institutions in the Republic of Moldova, played to his advantage. There is no evidence of an intervention from the USA or the EU in the election and voting process in Moldova.
In Armenia, the peaceful protests of hundreds of thousands of people came in response to the attempt of the former president Serzh Sargsyan, to secure the office of Prime Minister after holding two mandates as president. Armenian citizens saw this move as Sargysan’s attempt at staying power by securing a new term in office, this time as Prime Minister. Sargysan resigned under mounting public pressure, and one of the leaders of the protest movement, Nikol Pashinyan, was elected Prime Minister. Pashinyan himself is now facing growing public criticism for Armenia losing the recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh.