By George Damian
Ukrainian hackers have revealed – from a pro-Russian activist’s computer operating in Minsk – a 7-page plan for creating an online shock group, with the mission of spreading pro-Russian propagandistic theses in the Republic of Moldova.
Most likely, the plan (which dates since the year 2015, additional details can be found here http://moldnova.eu/ro/planul-fabricii-de-trolli-prorusi-de-la-chisinau-directiile-propagandei-moscovite-in-republica-moldova-13390.html/) has not been launched as it had been exactly proposed. (In fact, the objectives would have been impossible to reach — the goal being to create a community of around 200 bloggers in Kishinev who would spread messages in an organized manner.) Who knows the online-publishing environment in Moldova knows very well that there simply aren’t 200 people who could create, write, and maintain every political blog, making it attractive and updating it permanently in Moldova. The Kishinev blogosphere is extremely small – as size as well as influence – reflecting the space where it exists, i.e., Moldova. Establishing an unrealistic objective, in fact, shows that the authors of the 2015 propaganda plan do not know very well the realities in Moldova.
A major weakness of the plan at stake consists in ignoring linguistic factors. The plan doesn’t mention in which language the intended messages will be transmitted and seems to start from the assumption that the primary language will be Russian – another error given that political debates in Kishinev are overwhelmingly in Romanian. Last but not least, we need to notice the quasi-military dimension of the plan: instructing a troop to respond to the orders of a center coordinated according to a fixed set of ideological theses – another proof that the authors, despite their displayed biographies (a historian, a journalist, and a blogger) do not understand the Western-like online publishing realm or that they imagine it to be overall similar to the Russian one.
If on the one hand it is noticed the fact that not even in the year 2015 the 200 expected bloggers did not make their appearance, the ideological set, though, from the mentioned planned is as present as possible in the public space, in Kishinev. Important is the fact that the current relays for transmitting the pro-Moscow propagandistic these have been included in the 2015 plan: Igor Dodod (elected president in the meantime) and the Party of the Socialist; Our Party, whose president is Renato Usatîi; the Young Guard organization; the Metropolis Church of Moldova; the authorities, and the civil society in the Gagauz region.
It is worth listing the propagandistic theses of the mentioned project:
Romania wishes to assimilate and destroy the Moldavian political and cultural identity; during the period in which they were part of Romania, Moldavians lacked any rights. Moldova was closer to the Russian Orthodox Church than the Romanian one, which was subjugated by the Turks. In the modern era, more differences than similarities arise between the two nations. During World War II, Romania was Nazi Germany’s ally, while Soviet Moldova was anti-fascist.
Gagauzia is a „powder barrel” for pro-Romanian Moldova, an autonomous region that voted in a referendum for a Eurasian integration. The precedents of Crimean and Donbas demonstrate what a government that leads the country into the European Union might be.
Transdniestria will tighten relations with Kishinev only if there will be a stable pro-Russian government.
The status of the Russian language: a platform needs to be created, a platform which will act toward declaring the Russian language as an official language of the Republic of Moldova.
The Ukrainian example: what happened in Ukraine after the state coup in Kiev and the areas closer to Europe, with the results known by everybody.
Moldova should be a social state. The corruption scandal should eliminate the Party of the Communists; meanwhile, all political forces with a social orientation obey the Party of the Socialists.
According to official data, circa 500,000 Moldavians work in Russia, they could become agents of influence.
In essence, they wished to paint of picture in which the Republic of Moldova is a besieged state by a neighbor avid for power, Romania, with whom does not share any historical, linguistic or cultural affinity. Other theses worth mention here are: The counter-example of the disaster in Ukraine, for which the EU is to blame; the possibility of a similar evolution in the Gagauz region and Transdniestria; the approach, at all costs, of the Republic of Moldova to the economic and cultural space controlled by Russia. The propagandistic theses mentioned above equally contain threats and rewards, which constrain a single-way road – toward the East – under the leadership of the Party of the Socialists.
Each one of the theses can be easily dismantled. However, this is not what it is critical, what matters is to assure a high frequency of transmission of these messages to a broader population. As I mentioned, most likely, the 2015 plan was not applied as they wanted to, but the enumerated theses here are still available up to this day for the pro-Russia propaganda hold in Kishinev.
George Damian is a member of the LARICS Council of Experts.