Fear and Loathing

After my wife and I enjoyed a lovely day in Transnistria last month, I told the Unsleeping Eye to increase its attention on this country that “doesn’t exist.”

So, you can imagine my horror when I saw this story being reported by Agerpress, the official state media of Romania.

My translation:

The Use of the Latin Alphabet to Write the “Moldovan Language” Is Punishable by a 50 Euro Fine in Transnistria.

Just using the Latin alphabet to write the so-called “Moldovan language” (Romanian written in Cyrillic) could be punishable by a fine of more than 50 euros in Transnistria, where the right to an education has been placed under numerous restrictions when it comes to writing using the Latin alphabet.

This is what was stated in a recent report by Promo-LEX, a non-governmental organization in Chisinau.

What?? I thought all that kind of bullshit was long over.

Agerpress simply rewrote this article published by the Moldovan newspaper Independent but the wording is almost identical.

Basically, you dare to write Romanian using Latin letters, and you’ve got to pay 50 euros or more. Not good!

Both Agerpress and Independent got their information from Promo-LEX, so let’s see what they have to say.

My translation:

50€ Fine for Using the Latin Alphabet

The right to an education is facing numerous restrictions in the region, especially concerning the use of the Latin alphabet. Thus, simply using the Latin alphabet to write the “Moldovan” language could be punishable by a fine of over 50 euros.

Well, seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? Write Romanian using the Latin alphabet instead of Cyrillic, and you have to pay 50 euros or more.

But the Promo-LEX press release that I just quoted links to their full report. Keep in mind, they wrote both the long report as well as the PR blurb.

But when you look inside, there’s nothing about the 50 euro fine. Nothing! The number 50 doesn’t even exist in this document. So, what in the fuck are they talking about?

You have to dig down to page 12 of their report to find where this made-up number came from. My translation:

According to local legislation [in Transnistria], the written form of Romanian is only permitted using the Cyrillic alphabet. Using the Latin alphabet is forbidden and could be punishable by a fine.

Could be? And what’s the amount of that fine? The Promo-LEX report doesn’t say. But in its footnotes, it links to a Transnistrian government website that has their laws concerning all civil offenses.

To read the MNR laws, you have to download a Word document, and then the whole thing is in Russian, and it’s extremely long and written in legal terminology, so it’s pretty obvious that no one is ever going to take the trouble to look through it.

But guess what? I don’t give up so easily!

The relevant portion in this enormous document is Section 5.28, and it basically says that anyone, whether an individual or an organization, who breaks the laws concerning the use of languages in Transnistria must pay a fine.

Here’s the exact wording on that fine:

влечет наложение административного штрафа в размере 
до 50 (пятидесяти) РУ МЗП.

Now, I realize most of my readers don’t speak Russian, but you can, at least, see the number 50 there. But what does it say, exactly?

It says “Violations are punishable by an administrative fine of up to 50 (fifty) RU MZP.” Wait a second! Even I know that “RU MZP”, whatever that is, is not Euros.

It turns out that MZP is the Russian acronym for the minimum wage and RU probably refers to Russia. So, what they’re saying here is that violations are punishable by up to 50 times the Russian minimum wage.

Currently, the Russian minimum wage is 45 rubles, which is around $0.75 USD or 3 Romanian lei or €0.63.

Therefore, 50 times the Russian minimum wage, is, at most, €31.50 euro. Not fifty, and not “more than fifty” as was quoted in all of the articles.

What the fuck?

Following the Puppet Strings

Let’s review. The Romanian government’s official press organ, Agerpress, repeated a story nearly word-for-word from a Moldovan newspaper. This story was then picked up and repeated across the Romanian media landscape.

Now, I have no idea who owns the Moldovan newspaper Independent because it’s not listed on their website and they don’t print a paper edition. When you click on “About Us” at the top of their website, you just see some horseshit about how they are dedicated to publishing “verified information”.

But if you do some checking around, you’ll find that Independent is owned by a man named Alexandru Cozer via a shell company. Who is Mr. Cozer? Why, he’s one of the founders of the “Truth and Dignity” Platform, otherwise known as the pro-EU and pro-Romania wing of the Moldovan political scene.

Propagandists at work

Now, how about Promo-LEX? Who are they?

Promo-LEX Association is a non-governmental organization that aims to advance democracy in the Republic of Moldova, including in the Transnistrian region, by promoting and defending human rights, monitoring the democratic processes, and strengthening civil society.

Well, that sounds okay, doesn’t it? I think so. But wait! Here is a partial list of their donors:

  • American Bar Association/Rule of Law Initiative, Moldova with USAID funding;
  • Embassy of the United States Chisinau, Moldova;
  • Balkan Trust for Democracy/ A Project of the German Marshall Fund;
  • National Endowment for Democracy;
  • Open Society Institute – Budapest;
  • Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation / A Project of the German Marshall Fund;
  • United States Agency for International Development;
  • British Embassy in Chisinau.

The “Open Society” is, of course, George Soros’s organization, the one that was caught red-handed breaking the law in Moldova to try and steer the country in a pro-EU direction.

Soros, personally, is paranoid and batshit crazy, firmly convinced that Russia has plans to invade and annex Transnistria.

The National Endowment for Democracy is a U.S. government agency, the same one that believes that meddling in foreign elections is automatically pro-democracy because the U.S. is the incarnation of democracy.

USAID, meanwhile, has also engaged in provoking unrest and interference to destabilize and topple governments that it doesn’t like.

And the German Marshall Fund is convinced that Russia is the evil genius behind every problem in the world. They fund the Alliance for Securing Democracy, which specifically exists to “track” all of Russia’s activity, particularly online.

They also set up “Hamilton 68”, which supposedly tracks Russian bots, except that their definition of who is a Russian bot is extremely problematic.

Add in the U.S. and British Embassy, and it’s clear to see that Promo-LEX is funded by a whole host of entities that actively loathe, fear, and hate Russia, and want to see Transnistria obliterated.

UPDATE: After writing this article, I discovered that this story has now been picked up and amplified by the English-language Balkan Insight, a publication financed by many of the same entities as Promo-LEX.

An Obvious Lie

The Promo-LEX press release and their full-length report do not say the same things.

In the report, they say that violation of the language laws in MNR could be punishable by a fine of up to 50 times the minimum wage, but in their press release, they say it’s a guaranteed fine of more than 50 euros.

Potentially paying maybe up to 31 euros is a hell of a lot different than an automatic fine that starts at 50 euros and goes up from there.

Furthermore, it’s pretty obvious that Promo-LEX couldn’t find a single person or institution who has had to pay that fine. Otherwise, they would’ve included it in their report.

There’s only the potential of being fined, but they hyped it up because it sounds scary and believable to a Romanian, British, and American audience.

Further Craziness

Even weirder, the Promo-LEX report also states that there are eight different schools in Transnistria which legally use the Latin alphabet to write the Romanian language. Eight! And they’re in all the biggest cities inside MNR.

The truth isn’t as exciting as a lie

These schools have existed for decades, and nothing has changed about their situation whatsoever except that one school’s rent went up by 8% this year. Wow, so evil.

Of course, as I already wrote about, the OSCE (which is also a donor to Promo-LEX) regularly visits these schools and performs independent inspections. And they, too, are saying it’s perfectly legal and acceptable for these schools to operate in MNR, all of which teach in Romanian and use the Latin alphabet.

Christ, what a piece of propaganda! Of course, this kind of thing isn’t restricted just to Romania and Moldova. Over in the United States, The Atlantic just did the exact same move, reporting quotes out of context to serve an anti-Russian agenda.

Folks, I know nobody wants to believe it, not after years of calling the place a Soviet Disneyland and much worse, but Transnistria is not what you think it is.

Is the Moldovan Nistrian Republic some kind of paradise? Don’t be ridiculous. But they’ve suffered decades of one-sided propaganda, and as a result, their image is utterly ruined for most people.

Based on what I’ve seen with my own eyes, I’m starting to really think that none of us have an accurate understanding of what life is actually like over there. But since 150,000 Romanian speakers live in MNR, I just can’t ignore the situation.

One thought on “Fear and Loathing

  1. If the German Marshall Fund is convinced that Russia is the evil genius behind every problem in the world they’re right, so do we the Romanians, Polish etc. and was so during the modern history of Europe.


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