How Moldova is being molded into another Ukraine

“The pressure from Russia on Moldova is enormous, and Moscow has deployed its entire arsenal of hybrid war”, says Mircea Geoană, NATO Deputy Secretary General. “Russia wants to seize power in Moldova using bandits rather than tanks”, — Mikhail Podolyak, Advisor to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine echoes him. So what is happening in Moldova? Absolutely nothing. Protests against curtailing of funding in the social sphere and growth of utility tariffs. An ordinary political struggle. It’s just that friends of Ukraine and NATO have become the object of criticism. 

When Moldovans protest against tariffs, it is the hand of the Kremlin. After all, these are all gas issues, and gas that can be purchased is of two kinds – either a democratic (from the EU), or a dictatorial one. The democratic gas is more expensive; it is liquefied and sent by ships from the United States. The dictatorial gas flows through the pipe, but it’s still a dictatorial one. And the price for it is higher than ever, even though not in a monetary equivalent. It is, for instance, measured in refusing to join NATO, where the Moldovans, like the Ukrainians, must join as a matter of urgency. After all, the money that pro-Moscow governments are willing to spend on all kinds of subsidies and grants, could be spent on the army, ‘cause there is a threat that  Moscow could attack. It does not matter that the reason for Moscow’s aggressive actions lies precisely in creating NATO infrastructures in neighbouring countries. This is the Kremlin’s narrative. 

The struggle with the Kremlin narratives is astounding in its manipulativeness. At first glance, it is a matter of promoting certain propaganda theses formulated in certain think tanks of the new KGB and distributed in the media through controlled publications and by controlled journalists. Here is just one «but»: if the authorities of a country unfriendly to Moscow give rise to criticism, this reason, of course, will not remain out of sight of the Kremlin propagandists. That means it would surely be picked up by the Russian media. Not because these theses are written in some Jesuit center for manipulating the information, but because they are taken for granted. As the Moldovans are dissatisfied with rising prices – they are definitely not clapping their hands to that.

It therefore turns out that any criticism of the authorities, approved by Washington, Brussels, and now Kiev, becomes the Kremlin’s narrative. Just because the Moscow propagandists aren’t blind either. For instance, the military expenditures are rising at the expense of health care and education. If you’re unhappy with that, you’re a Putin’s agent spreading the narrative, for without Putin, there is no way you figure that out by yourself. 

Here is Moldovan President Maia Sandu explaining the unpopularity of her course to join NATO by the Kremlin’s information counteraction: “Due to the influence of Russia’s propaganda, joining NATO has no support. Kremlin propaganda has completely destroyed support for this step in the society”, she says. That is, it’s not free Moldovan people who make an independent decision on participation in military-political blocs, but they only think either according to the party line or being influenced by the narrative of the enemy. That’s freedom of speech. 

Our country has been through all this a long time ago. The war has become an end result of this path, which is inevitable where civil rights and freedoms are replaced by geopolitical interests, and local political actors become proxy offices for the advancement of interests of the foreign others.  And it doesn’t matter if Moscow is behind these centers, or Brussels, Washington, or aliens from planet Niburu, for a foreign interest will always be foreign. 

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