It is truly astonishing just how many US/EU-funded propaganda outlets there are in Moldova and how much crap they spew out every single day.
One of the most “respected” of these, and the one that gets the majority of “airtime” in the national and international press, is Promo-LEX. They’ve got some lawyers on staff, so the whole operation has a real veneer of legitimacy and authority.
But when Promo-LEX isn’t busy telling people in Moldova how to live according to the Enlightened European Way™, they love nothing more than disparaging Pridnestrovie. And just like Ion Iovcev, they don’t care what the story is so long as it makes PMR look bad.
Case in point is the tragically hilarious story of Alex Rjavitin (link in Romanian).
Note: The young man’s name is Alexander Rjavitin, but Promo-LEX insists on calling him Alexandru (the Romanian equivalent) because they’re racist, so I’ve just split the difference and said “Alex” throughout this article.
I remember when this first came out because it struck me as really odd.
Alex Rjavitin was enrolled in a paramilitary unit on the Left Bank of the Dniester River [PMR]. In August 2015, he managed to escape, making grave accusations of abuse and violations of his human rights.
He swam across the Dniester River and walked for three days to Chisinau, wearing his military uniform and a pair of flip-flops because he could no longer support the hazing to which he had been subjected.
First of all, he was a conscript in the regular army in PMR. Promo-LEX likes to call it “an illegal paramilitary organization” because, obviously, nothing PMR does is ever considered legitimate.
Secondly, the Dniester River is pretty slow-moving and not that wide, so I can easily see someone swimming across it in August. But why in the world did he spend three days walking to Chisinau? And why was he wearing flip-flops instead of regular shoes or his Army boots?
There’s a bus going from PMR to Chisinau probably every 15 minutes during the day, and you can flag it down on the side of the road. I’ve seen people do it all the time. And once aboard, you can pay in either Moldovan or PMR currency. So why didn’t he hop on a bus?
And where did he sleep during those three nights? Did nobody ever stop to talk to him? And why didn’t they offer to help him or at least tell him where he could catch a bus, especially when he supposedly “kept asking people” how to get to Chisinau?
We’ll never know…
Bizarrely, Rjavitin said he’d “never been to Moldova” (something that Promo-LEX, obviously, didn’t want to comment on), but he chose to go to Chisinau despite the fact that he doesn’t know anyone there and has no family there.
Once in Chisinau, he somehow got hooked up with Promo-LEX right away and told them some rather frightening stories about how he had been hazed, including one time where a superior officer allegedly took a hot coin (placed in a fire?) and put it on his arm, burning him. Not that he has a scar or anything.
Obviously, hazing isn’t good, and some of the stories about disgustingly dirty latrines at the barracks were obviously unpleasant, but I found it a little incredulous just how trusting they were that every word he said was true, including stories of how his unit was apparently “preparing for war” with Ukraine, a country with 42 million inhabitants (PMR has less than 500 thousand).
But Promo-LEX didn’t care about any of that. In fact, they took him in and gave him everything he could ever want:
Now set up in Chisinau, Alex Rjavitin was given assistance by Promo-LEX, including helping him get Moldovan citizenship, an ID card, and other required documents.
All this despite the fact that he still doesn’t speak one word of the state language (Moldovan/Romanian).
Moldovan law specifically requires foreigners who want to become a citizen to get a certificate verifying that they do speak the state language. But since Moldova still irrationally clings onto the idea that Pridnestrovie is Moldova, he wasn’t considered a foreigner.
Promo-LEX then worked with their fellow propagandists over at Radio Free Europe to produce a video (link goes to YouTube) wherein he tells his story.
Bizarrely, in the video, they send him to the Moldovan military museum in Chisinau, which he apparently really liked. And the boy really does like flip-flops because he wears them throughout the video.
Also, rather weirdly, he admits that he’s working illegally in Chisinau despite having all the necessary papers to get a legal job.
Promo-LEX then had some of their lawyers contact the prosecutor’s office to try and open a criminal charge against the people who had hazed Rjavitin, but the boy “couldn’t identify” them.
And all was fine until December 18, 2019, when Rjavitin, against Promo-LEX’s advice, decided to go visit his family members in PMR. But then Rjavitin “disappeared.”
He disappeared around 8:00 pm. Based on conversations his family members had with a third party, we presume that he has been kidnapped by the military under command of the authorities in Tiraspol and is now being held in solitary confinement in a military brig.
Quite a presumption!
Promo-LEX then got the Moldovan “Reintegration” Minister involved (this was during the Sandu-Nastase administration), who sent an official inquiry to Tiraspol asking to visit Rjavitin who was “behind bars” in either a military brig or a civilian prison.
Well, bad news for Promo-LEX. Rjavitin was neither kidnapped nor placed in any kind of solitary confinement or anything else.
In fact, here he is (link goes to YouTube):
Yes, that’s right. Despite enjoying the “good life” in Chisinau for four years, he’s now back in the PMR army to serve out the remaining nine months of military service.
Even if you can’t understand what’s being said, you can see in the 2017 video that he looks worse than he does in the 2020 video.
Obviously, some people are going to want to believe he was telling the truth in 2017 but lying now. That’s certainly Promo-LEX’s position.
Rjavitin himself said this:
Journalists came to me the first night [I was in Chisinau] and they already knew everything about how I ran away.
He then said that his comments to the [Moldovan] media had been true but taken out of context.
But what do the authorities in Tiraspol say?
Well, first of all, Rjavitin deserted in 2015 when the PMR president was Yevgeny Shavchuk, who later himself fled across the Dniester River (albeit with a boat) and hid out in Chisinau after being investigated for corruption.
The current PMR president, Krasnoselsky, has publicly admitted that some soldiers in the army were being hazed and that some of the old barracks, toilets, and kitchens were seriously outdated.
That’s why he’s instilled new anti-hazing policies, ordered the construction of new barracks, gotten the army to upgrade the food, and liberalized the duty requirements for conscripts.
For instance, conscripts now serve only during the daytime and return to their homes at 6:00 pm, and if a soldier is a university student, they can modify their army training schedule to accommodate their classes.
That’s real talk – no inflamed rhetoric, no hyperbole, and no wild, over-the-top accusations. And Rjavitin now sleeps at home with his family, apparently safe and sound.