MEANS AND WAYS OF RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA
IN MOLDOVA – TARDIVE RESPONSES1
Brief. Russian state-sponsored media outlets serve as an outstanding vehicle for Russian influence in the ex-Soviet states, but are particularly powerful in fragmented societies. Because its multifarious effects, foreign Russian media actively contribute to a long-standing and sophisticated hybrid warfare that impacts domestic politics, cultural policies, defense and security priorities that matter to the regular citizens and elites. This sort of omnipresence is definitely not about Tolstoy-fans or Soviet-era film-lovers; it is about how Russia projects itself abroad through weaponized bits of information, how it defines its targeted audiences, defends its local proxies, enabling to these aims a rather sophisticated network of media outlets, business entities, corrupted politicians and opinion formatters. In 2016, Moscow was able to secure the election of a vocal pro-Kremlin President in the Republic of Moldova, demonstrating a resolute will and effective capability to reach out to its clients, pro-Kremlin voters, local oligarchs, its loyal Russian-speaking communities and leftist political groupings. The tour of force that followed swift has also demonstrated a skillful plan to beef up these proxies with regards to the upcoming elections in 2018. These means and ways of its solid presence can be explained, to some extent, by weak and fragmented democratic parties, but also by seemingly late or inconsistent response of the Western actors, unable to anticipate and confront the perils that emerge from a Russian state that has a plan, and this plan is being implemented. The article makes a short overview of the local web of actors that serve Russian interests in Moldova, and the foreign policy narratives that are being actively exploited.
1 The Paper has been presented to the Black Sea and Balkans Security Forum (Constanta – June 8-9), organized by the New Strategy Center (NSC), Institutul Diplomatic Român (IDR), co-sponsored by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Director executiv – IDIS „Viitorul”, Republica Moldova