The election season is now officially underway here in the Republic of Moldova. Which means that the propaganda mill is going full tilt.
Honestly, it mostly makes me laugh (but it also makes me a bit angry) when I read clickbait shit from the Jamestown Foundation like Russia Perfecting Its Elections Interference Toolkit in Moldova.
The headline sets you up to hear about some really dastardly deeds being perpetrated by Russia in Moldova, but the jock who wrote this sadly fails to deliver.
Sum Sum Summarytime
Paragraph 1 – Russia loves to shout and use military force as part of their one-two evil alliance with China to take over the world.
Paragraph 2 -Transnistria is just like Donbas (in eastern Ukraine), and Russia is waging war on Transnistrians in order to colonize them (?).
Paragraph 3 – Vladimir Putin said, “we’ll talk more after the elections” to the president of Moldova.
Here’s paragraph 4+5:
On January 22, Russia opened in Moscow’s centrally located Arbat neighborhood the “Official Representation of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic in the Russian Federation”.
The Russian ambassador to Moldova, Oleg Vasnetzov, misled the Moldovan government, claiming the “representation” was just a non-governmental organization (NGO) created to offer legal assistance to the breakaway region’s inhabitants.
First of all, the way this office is set up is as an NGO, so yes that’s true what Vasnetzov said.
Vasnetzov didn’t “mislead” anyone, he was telling the truth. He also told them that the purpose of the embassy slash information office is to liaise with PMR citizens in Russia, which is also true.
The NGO is the official representative of the PMR government. But designating an NGO as your official representative doesn’t magically transform it into an embassy.
The Russian diplomats’ explanation was contradicted by the Russian state-owned Sputnik Moldova propaganda news service. Sputnik duly reported that Transnistria opened in Moscow its “official representation,” which allegedly has diplomatic status in Russia.
Allegedly?? Allegedly, the embassy is also the intergalactic headquarters of the space CIA.
Also, a bit of the old “kettle calling the pot black” with that smear against Sputnik, eh? Methinks it takes one to know one ;)
TMZ Political Edition
It bears pointing out that renting office space in central Moscow is particularly expensive. Breakaway Transnistria is highly unlikely to be able to pay for these premises, so the funds must be coming from the Russian government.
Translation: Transnistria, ya basic.
Let’s have a look at where the “embassy” is located in the fancy part of town, shall we?
See that light blue building in the center? The PMR office is on the back, right-hand side of that building.
Here’s a street map to orient you:
The PMR office is where you see the “walking fingers” inside a circle. The photo used above was taken while standing on the street (yellow line) facing southwest towards the building.
Look, I hate to say it, but this is not a swanky part of town. It’s close by to some swanky parts, but this particular slice isn’t.
The PMR office is just one rented room in that building. They’re right next to a translation services office and a hair salon. Furthermore, the office is nowhere close to the street, and most of their view is blocked by the big office tower next door.
Right across the courtyard from the PMR office is a restaurant called “El Gauchito,” though.
Back to Boring Jamestown
At this point, I haven’t heard a word about how opening the PMR office in Moscow is somehow part of Russia’s “toolkit” to meddle in Moldova’s elections.
Will we ever get there? *sigh*
The Moldovan authorities hope Russia will not create obstacles to vote in the upcoming elections for the inhabitants of Transnistria who hold Moldovan passports. For this purpose, they opened 47 polling stations at the administrative border with the secessionist region. It is expected the voters from Transnistria may play a swing role, voting for the pro-Russian President Dodon.
Moldova wants to tell Russia to tell PMR not to “create obstacles” for people to go vote for a guy who is literally not running for office?
Seriously, how dumb is this author?
Igor Dodon is the president of Moldova. Already. Right now. He’s not running for office. His party is the Socialist Party. They are running for election.
And if Moldova is asking for Russia’s help, how is that Russian “interference”?
By helping [Dodon’s Socialists] win the votes of Moldovan citizens from the Russia-controlled Transnistrian region, which Moscow can easily manipulate, the incumbent Democratic Party could increase its chances of retaining power after the February elections.
If I understood this fever dream correctly, what this guy is trying to say is that Plahotniuc (head of the Democratic Party) is trying to strike a deal with the Socialists to go in against the pro-EU camp. And somehow this is what Russia wants, so it’s going to tell Pridnestrovie to send people to go vote for the Socialists who will vote for Dodon and this will help send weapons to eastern Ukraine.
Wait, because it gets even crazier:
If the [pro-EU] ACUM bloc comes to power, the [Pridnestrovian information office in Moscow] will likely be used to capitalize on Moscow’s experience of coordinating military and economic assistance to its proxies in Ukraine’s Donbas.
This could include organizing anti-Western and anti-ACUM protests in Moldova, recruiting “volunteers” for “hybrid”-style scenarios in Moldova, and providing a platform for coordination among Russian governmental, civilian and military agencies, together with the secessionist authorities of Transnistria.
Seriously, someone needs to check this guy’s meds.
Let’s go over a few things.
First of all, Pridnestrovie has had an information office slash “unofficial embassy” in Moscow before, and the world did not end. And it didn’t lead to guerrilla warfare, “volunteers”, or any other such nonsense.
There is a real embassy of “breakaway Somaliland” in Washington, DC, so unofficial embassies are kind of a common thing.
Secondly, Pridnestrovie already has extraordinarily well-established “governmental, civilian, and military” ties with Russia. Re-opening their office in Moscow isn’t going to move the needle on that.
Third, a golden plaque on your door (in English?) does not an embassy make.
Fourth, yes, Pridnestrovie can pay the rent on an office in Moscow, ffs.
Fifth, Russia neither controls nor “manipulates” Pridnestrovie. I know you won’t believe me when I say it, but I assure you it is nonetheless true. The Russian media is constantly complaining about it.
Sixth, nobody’s shooting anybody in Pridnestrovie, so lumping them in with what’s going on in Donbas is downright disingenuous. There’s no war in PMR, and Pridnestrovie does not officially recognize the two Donbas “breakaway republics.”
Seventh, do you know how bloodthirsty it sounds to accuse PMR of planning to cause foment and unrest (“hybrid scenarios”) inside Moldova when they have never once done it before? Moldova has never even accused PMR of doing something like that.
Good lord, where do they find these people?