The West is forcing Moldova to follow the path of Ukraine, while Russia does not interfere in the internal affairs of its partners, according to a fake narrative launched by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The West – the Bogeyman, Russia – a fair international partner
NEWS: The West wants to see Moldova as the second Ukraine, and the current government in Chisinau is playing this role, the Russian deputy foreign minister Mihail Galuzin said.
“Absolutely irresponsibly and narrow-mindedly, the West sees Moldova as the second Ukraine and, unfortunately, the current government in Chisinau is playing this role and is actively participating, he told Russia-24.
Moreover, according to Galuzin, there is no escalation or tension with the people of Moldova, and there can be no such thing. “These are not our methods. We don't interfere in someone's internal affairs”, the diplomat stressed.
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister noted that the overwhelming majority of Moldovan citizens are against the narrow and hostile policy towards Russia that their government promotes.
“The only thing left is to count on the fact that the authorities in Chisinau will examine the reality in the cold light of day and will not follow the policy of worsening relations with Russia in favor of the West, which promotes an anti-Russian policy, taking instead the path of a healthy and pragmatic collaboration with our country, to which Moldova is linked by centuries-old relations and strong economic ties”, concluded Galuzin.
NARRATIVES: 1. The pro-European government in Chisinau promotes an anti-Russian policy at the behest of the West. 2. Unlike the West, Russia does not interfere in the internal affairs of its partners. 3. The Republic of Moldova is dependent on the trade relations with Russia.
CONTEXT/LOCAL ETHOS: The Republic of Moldova, which has oscillated between East and West during its more than 30 years of independence, since 2021 has been governed by pro-European forces, led by President Maia Sandu and the Action and Solidarity Party. The government in Chisinau condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and partially, though unofficially, aligned itself with much of the sanctions imposed by the international community on the aggressor state, which has affected the relations between Chisinau and Moscow.
The Russian authorities have launched more or less veiled criticisms and threats against Chisinau, which officially claims that it wants to maintain fair relations with the Russian Federation.
One of the biggest differences between the two states concerns the separatist region in the east of the Republic of Moldova, supported de facto by Russia, which maintains troops to the left of the Dniester which it refuses to withdraw despite Chisinau's requests.
Since the beginning of the war, Russian propaganda has launched several narratives designed to inculcate the idea that the authorities in Chisinau are servile to the West and ready to get involved in the war in Ukraine on the side of Kyiv, even though they have denied any intention to join the military operations, including with the aim of taking control of the Transnistrian region.
PURPOSE: To justify the invasion of Ukraine by presenting the West as a force promoting an anti-Russian policy which it also imposes on the states in the region. To present Russia as a fair international partner that respects the sovereignty, independence and decisions of other states.
Evidence of Russia's involvement in the internal affairs of the Republic of Moldova
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: Russian propaganda has been talking since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine about the intention of Kyiv and the West to have Chisinau get involved in the war, a thesis that has been proven to be false. Chisinau has rejected any participation in military actions, including those aimed at taking control of the Transnistrian region and removing the Russian forces from the region, as Kyiv had suggested. Moreover, the Republic of Moldova, with its insignificant military capabilities, would not make any relevant contribution to Ukraine's war effort, for the West or Kyiv to be interested in involving it in military operations.
Russia's involvement in the internal affairs of the Republic of Moldova was clear enough to cause the United States impose, in October 2022, sanctions on individuals and entities from the two countries. The list includes the fugitive oligarch/politician Ilan Shor, sentenced to 15 years in prison for participating in the big bank robbery of 2014, Russian businessmen and political strategists affiliated with Moldovan politicians, including the former president Igor Dodon. They would have tried to keep the Republic of Moldova in the sphere of Russian influence, getting involved in the parliamentary elections in 2021, and a year later, organizing protests aimed at overthrowing the pro-European government. In late May, the US imposed sanctions on seven other political strategists, connected to the Russian secret services who are believed to have recently tried to destabilize the situation in the Republic of Moldova. The European Union, but also other countries, such as Norway, Great Britain and Canada, have also adopted sanctions.
Since 2020, RISE Moldova has published a series of investigations which have revealed Igor Dodon’s strong connections with representatives of the Russian services, from which he also received money. The latest in the series of articles, published in March 2023, refers to the document that the international press also wrote about, regarding a Russian plan to bring the Republic of Moldova under its umbrella by 2030.
Moscow has also used economic levers to keep the Republic of Moldova in its sphere of influence and prevent its rapprochement with the European Union, including by imposing embargoes. The economic sanctions, however, turned against Russia, given that Moldovan producers redirected their exports to other markets, especially the EU. Russia's share of Moldovan exports fell from over 60% in the early 2000s to just over 4% in 2022. Russia has also lost its monopoly on gas supplies, dispelling yet another false propaganda narrative about the irreplaceable role of the Russian market for the trade of the Republic of Moldova.