The Moldavian disinformation triangle: Russia – China - Turkey

Russia, China and Turkey help the people from Moldova during the pandemic and EU only says it will help, but the accounts are empty. „Where is the money, Petrică?”, the pro-Russian president Igor Dodon ironically asked, during a show „The President answers”, referring to the EU help – a way to make fun of the head of the EU delegation at Kishinev, Peter Michalko, who announced that EU provides unconditional support to the R. of Moldova in the fight against COVID-19. Romania helps, but it’s already too late. In addition, „Romania does not have the potential of USA, China, Russia or even Hungary”. These are the narratives the pro-Russian governance from Kishinev is trying to implant in the minds of the people from Moldova during the pandemic.

At Kishinev, Russia and China are advertised „together” by the President Igor Dodon. The pictures posted at Dodon on April 19th, 2020 are iconic, at night-time, from the Airport in Kishinev, where a Russian plane had landed with protection equipment from China – the medical equipment procured (not donated) from China. In the pictures, the President of the Republic of Moldova appears in the background of the plane with the Russian flag, flanked by the Russia and China Ambassadors.

The Moldavian president Igor Dodon welcoming the Chinese medical materials during the coronavirus pandemic. Source: Dodon

A day before, Sputnik Moldova and the press servient to Dodon was making the headlines that „Russia will offer a plane free of charge to transport certain humanitarian relief to Moldova”.

Part of the equipment was procured by the Government from Kishinev and the other part was procured from the sources donated by several companies from the Republic of Moldova, natural persons from the country and from diaspora, international organizations, including UNICEF. The pro-governmental press from Kishinev presented the shipment as „humanitarian relief” from China, brought to Kishinev with a free plane offered by Russia.

But the investigative journalists from the Republic of Moldova discovered that the Russian aircraft had been loaded with 59 tons of fuel paid by the company Lukoil Moldova, that, in exchange, will be exempted by paying the taxes to the state budget by the deposition of the Exceptional status Commission no. 24 from April 29: ,,Costs for the supply of the An 124 aircraft with Jet A fuel amounting to 59 tons, while receiving the humanitarian relief for the fight against COVID-19 given by the Government of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Moldova on April 19th, 2020, covered by S.R.L. Lukoil Moldova, are deducted for fiscal purposes in determining the tax income”.

The people from the Republic of Moldova have paid MD lei 55.14 per piece of Chinese visor, meaning 3$ (in total 600,000 $), the acquisition being carried out, according to MP Igor Munteanu, through a company „lead by a Socialist Party counsellor”. Munteanu called the relief for Moldova offered by China as „propaganda”. All this while in the Republic of Moldova there is an active company (Santino Service SRL) that manufactures and sells visors on the local market by MD lei 6 a piece, the equivalent of 0.33$. The company has a manufacturing capacity of 5,000 units per day and… it exports visors for doctors in different countries of the world.

At the beginning of April, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Ion Chicu, was announcing, on a serious tone, on TV, about the world deficit of protection screens (visors) for the doctors. He presented the acquisition contract for 200,000 visors from China as a great success of the Government.

On the other hand, on April 14th, 2020, the company Ryanair posted on Facebook images with a plane that is loaded on the airport in Kishinev with medical protection equipment, destined for the „hospitals and personnel from the region Mazovia from Polland”.

The lot of medical equipment exported was produced by a company based in the town Bălți, the Republic of Moldova. This while the doctors from Moldova were calling on Facebook the lack of protection equipment and the fact that they need to wash their disposable robes and goggles. Moldova is the first (at world level) in the top of countries with most doctors infected with COVID-19 – almost 30% of the total number of confirmed being infected with the virus.

On April 23rd, a batch of medical equipment reached Kishinev from Turkey, and Igor Dodon did not hesitate to assume the merits. According to Sputnik Moldova, the help from Turkey was delivered based on certain „personal agreements” between Dodon and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

On the other side, Putin and Erdoğan’s partner from Kishinev, Igor Dodon, criticize EU for not sending relief to the people from Moldova, but only bragging about it.

In mid-April 2020, the EC decided to provide a new emergency macro-financial assistance to the Republic of Moldova amounting to EUR 100 million. The head of the EU Delegation in Kishinev, Peter Michalko, stated that EU provides this unconditional support, the money following to be allotted to Moldova besides other EUR 87 million recently approved to cover the immediate needs and to get over the long-term consequences caused by COVID-19.

But Dodon declared that EU is helping the Republic of Moldova only by „nice statements”.

The EU Ambassador felt the need to make a public statement: „It is regrettable when there are statements trying to shed a negative light upon the EU, especially when the support from EU is very extensive and far more appreciable than from the others. We will never determine the humanitarian support”, stated Peter Michalko.

On April 30th, 2020, 42 doctors and medical nurses from Romania went to the Republic of Moldova, in a support mission for doctors in the fight against COVOD-19. They were accommodated in students’ homes with a joint toilet, and according to the former health Minister, Ala Nemerenco, the authorities from the Republic of Moldova were opposed to organizing a welcoming ceremony (with the attendance of the Romanian Minister of Exterior) for the Romanian doctors in open areas from the centre of the Kishinev: „They insist only on closed areas – for no one to see them, for the event not to seem very festive. After a lot of demands, arguments, they decided upon that small square in front of the Clinical Republican Hospital”, says Nemerenco.

But Igor Dodon condescended to salute the Romanian doctors only the next day, through a Facebook message, following the outrage of the netizens: „We are grateful for this timely humanitarian relief, amounting to EUR 3.5 million, representing 500 thousand masks, 50 thousand overalls and an important set of medication. Also, the most valuable help for us during these times are the Romanian doctors that came to Kishinev yesterday to help us in the fight against Covid-19”, Dodon wrote.

In exchange, those in Dodon’s entourage were quick to offend Romania again. The socialist representative Bogdan Țîrdea criticized Romania for being late and for bringing only „a few boxes and masks” „at the end of the quarantine”, the help being brought with „with ostentation and photo shoots”. The socialist city counsellor Nicolae Pascaru said, in the context of the Romanian help, that „Romania does not have the potential of the USA, China, Russia or Hungary”.

The diplomatic relations between the Republic of Moldova and the People’s Republic of China were established shortly after Moldova was declared independent from the USSR. On January 30th, 1992, China opened its Embassy from Kishinev. Two years later, in March 1996, Moldova opened its Embassy in Beijing. The first Ambassador of Moldova in China was Vasilii Șova, currently a counsellor of the President Igor Dodon.

On November 20th, 2019, Igor Dodon met with the President of China Hyway Group Limited, to discuss about building the Kishinev ring road.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 crisis occurred. Dodon forgot about the promised „sites”, but he is reorienting the economy towards Chinese and Turkish offers in the expense of the money that might come, as grants against reforms and cheap loans, from the EU, USA, IMF and BM.


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