According to a Russian publication, the opposition in Chisinau has joined forces and is organizing massive protests against the pro-Western government, which is ready to destroy the country and have it “swallowed” by Romania. In reality, the still uncoagulated pro-Russian opposition is marked by increasingly visible disagreements, protests are far from massive, and the participants are paid to attend.
NEWS: “In the Republic of Moldova, for several weeks in a row, rallies have been held with the participation of thousands of people demanding the resignation of President Maia Sandu and the Government. The actions of the pro-Western government have caused the highest inflation in Europe, led to extremely high utility prices for the majority of the population, and the virtual destruction of the relations with Russia, the main supplier of energy. Even the representatives of the opposition are ready to forget their differences and present a united front, because they understand that Maia Sandu's team has been leading the country towards disaster.
The protest movement will continue to grow, but it will only be able to achieve real successes if the opposition has the ability to unite for the sake of the common goal.
The worst scenario for Moldova will be if the government tries to distract the population with an attack on Transnistria, which Kyiv has been provoking for a long time. This will mean the expansion of military actions on the territory of the republic, which may lead to the disintegration of the country and its annexation by Romania. It seems that Maia Sandu and the PAS officials would have nothing against this scenario”.
NARRATIVES: 1. The opposition in the Republic of Moldova presents a united front against the pro-European government, organizing massive protests. 2. The current government in Chisinau, by supporting Ukraine, will lead to the disintegration of the country and its union with Romania.
CONTEXT/LOCAL ETHOS: Several protest actions have been organized in the Republic of Moldova over the last months against the background of the increasing inflation, which affected especially the prices of energy resources and food products. The protests have intensified in the fall, and since September 18, so-called non-stop protests have been taking place. In fact, several hundreds of small tents have been set up in the center of Chisinau, and tens or sometimes hundreds of people organize so-called “flash-mobs”. The larger protests, which according to the police are attended by several thousand people or, according to the organizers, several tens of thousands, take place on Sundays, since September 18.
The protests held over the last weeks have been organized by the Shor Party, established and led by the oligarch-politician Ilan Shor, considered to be the mastermind behind the large-scale bank fraud of 2014. A court of first instance sentenced him to 7 years and six months in prison, but his case is now dragging on at the Court of Appeal. In the meantime, he was the mayor of Orhei, and since 2019 he has been a member of parliament, even though he fled the Republic of Moldova and has been hiding in Israel since June 2019.
The protests organized by the Shor party intensified after the deputy president of the party, Marina Tauber, a close relative of Ilan Shor’s, was arrested and detained, but also following searches at several activists of the party, in a case concerning the illegal financing of the party .
The protests are presented by some Russian media outlets as massive and large-scale, and the Shor Party, with 6 deputies out of 101, as the main opposition force.
PURPOSE: To present the protests organized by the Shor Party as a massive action, widely supported by the opposition and society, against the pro-European government.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: In fact, the “massive protests" take place on Sundays, for 2-3 hours, and the rest of the time several dozen protesters are “on duty” in tents set up in the center of Chisinau, on the sidewalk between the Presidency and the Parliament. It is true that on Sunday, October 9, the organizers announced an extension to the road. The press has repeatedly written that many protesters are brought by special transports and paid by the Shor Party. Ziarul de Gardă has published an investigation showing how three reporters of the institution infiltrated the protesters and received money (approximately 20 euros each) to participate in a protest action. They were also offered 200 dollars for two nights in tents.
The coagulation of the opposition around the protest movement did not succeed either, as the Russian press claims. Even though the use of party insignia was avoided, other major parties did not join the protests organized by the Shor Party, regarded as “toxic”. What's more, in the last few days the disagreements inside the Bloc of Communists and Socialists, the main opposition force, have become increasingly visible. After several exchanges of words between the representatives of the parties, the Communists published a statement last week accusing the former leader of the PSRM, Igor Dodon, of corruption and betrayal. In response , the Socialists accuse the Communists of dividing the opposition and warn that they will make public the real reasons for such behavior.
Other messages conveyed in the article, blaming the government in Chisinau for the increase in prices, for providing assistance to Ukraine and for intending to put the Republic of Moldova “on a silver platter” for Romania to take are also theses often promoted by Russian propaganda with the aim of eroding the Moldovan citizen’s trust in the government of the Republic of Moldova, but also to show it as a potential danger for Russia.
GRAIN OF TRUTH: Anti-government protests are taking place in the Republic of Moldova