The “solemn demonstrations” were organized by the Russian Task Force on the occasion of the recruitment of a new group of children from the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova into the ranks of the “Junarmia” Public Movement in Russia. The announcement was made on 2 June in a press release, published on the official page of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.
“Junarmia” is a youth organization supported and funded by the Russian Government through the Ministry of Defence. The initiative to create it belongs to Russian Defence Minister Sergei Sşoigu himself. The official objectives of “Junarmia”, also announced on their website, are to instill the values of patriotism, military, history, but also to preserve the memory of Russia’s past military operations and campaigns. On the other hand, international experts and analysts assert that “Junarmia” is a construction of Russian propaganda tools and qualifies the organization as a Russian equivalent of Hitler’s Youth and a modern form of Soviet Komsomol and pioneers.
With a reaction to the “solemn demonstrations” organized by GOTR came the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova:
“The act in question is part of a number of other defiant actions of the Russian Task Force, whose station and activity on the territory of the Republic of Moldova, without the consent and against its expressly expressed will, constitutes a violation of the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and permanent neutrality of the Republic of Moldova and is incompatible with the norms of international law. GOTR’s actions are all the more reprehensible, as they represent repeated attempts to involve underage children in a conflict zone in military-tinged activities”.
The Foreign Ministry in Chisinau reconfirmed in this context the Moldovan authorities’ approach regarding the need for the complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops, with their weapons and ammunition from the territory of the Republic of Moldova, in accordance with their commitments and relevant international documents. At the same time, the Foreign Ministry reiterated the position of the Republic of Moldova on the need to transform the current operation to maintain peace on the Dniester into a multinational civilian mission with an international mandate, as it will effectively contribute to building trust and creating an atmosphere conducive to finding a peaceful solution to the Transnistrian conflict based on the parameters established in OSCE documents adopted including with the support of the Russian Federation.
It is just that, as expected from a pro-Russian president, the MFAEI statement didn’t enjoy the support of the presidential institution. It is no secret that both the Chicu Government and the head of state Igor Dodon do nothing that would somehow upset the Russians. He would risk losing Kremlin support. This is why the part of the Foreign Ministry’s statement about the need for the complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops, with their weapons and ammunition from the territory of the Republic of Moldova, upset President Dodon the most.
Furthermore, the MFAEI Declaration generated scandal and heated discussion within the PSRM-PDM Coalition. The representatives of the MFAEI state that this is a technical problem that will be resolved shortly and the position of Moldovan diplomacy remains the same.
It is also no coincidence that shortly after the Presidency scandal, provoked by the MFAEI statement, the telegram channels operated by SIS (Intelligence and Security Service), as well as the pro-Socialist ones, left attacks and assumptions that the Foreign Office was acting in dissonance with the directions established by the governing coalition.
“We have spoken several times that the work of the Foreign Ministry in Chisinau is ineffective or even more, the institution has its own, anti-state agenda and which contradicts the common agenda. On the eve of the departure to Moscow of the Supreme Commander of the National Army, the esteemed Igor Nikolaevich, along with the soldiers of the Guard of Honor, the Foreign Ministry harshly attacked the “Russian occupiers”, showed them the fist of the Mamaliga, threatening Russia. MAIE actually behaved not as a diplomatic institution that would address a strategic partner, but as an enemy institution addressing an unfriendly state,” writes one of the Telegram channels.
Igor Dodon has reason to be nervous. However, after this declaration, which is also strictly in line with the official position of the Republic of Moldova on display in all international for, it will have to explain to Kremlin. And in the context of several compromising images, made public in recent times, the explanations given to Vladimir Putin could be long and not necessarily credible. It is not known how Putin will react to What Dodon’s claims that he shouted at the iconic adviser to Kremlin leader Dmitry Kozak and that he would make Putin’s notes.
While the president of the country is clearly preparing for the eventual meeting with Vladimir Putin, the latest report by “Promo-LEX” shows that the authorities of the Russian Federation continue to have a decisive influence on events in Transnistria, and the rights of the inhabitants of the Transnistrian region, especially those with regard to freedom and security, the right not to be subjected to torture and ill-treatment, freedom of expression and association, movement, the right to education, the right to property, etc., continue to be violated.
“However, the behavior of the authorities of the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, and the Tiraspol administration has not changed during 2019, and the challenges and serious systemic problems to human rights have been preserved, without any attempt to seek and find viable solutions to guarantee and respect fundamental human rights in this territory of the Republic of Moldova,” the report’s authors say.
The same source pointed out that the authorities of the Russian Federation continue to have a decisive influence on events in this territory, as a result of the political, military and economic support offered unconditionally to the Tiraspol administration, contrary to bilateral and international commitments and in particular its status as mediator in the process of solving the Transnistrian problem. At the same time, the numerous findings of the European Court of Human Rights in the 16 judgments in 34 Transnistrian cases, handed down in 2019, oblige the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, and relevant international organizations to speed up and streamline discussions on finding solutions to guarantee fundamental rights for all the inhabitants of the Transnistrian region and the Security Zone. For the first time, in two judgments, the Strasbourg Court condemned both the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Moldova, acknowledging their responsibility for human rights violations on the left of the Dniester.
We recall that the decision of the head of state to participate in the pandemic at the parade on 24 June, together with 75 soldiers of the Guard of Honour, was harshly criticized by both the opposition and civil society. And the pictures published on the evening of the soldiers’ departure to Moscow have aroused a wave of discontent. The head of the state was accused of inconsistency. Former Finance Minister Veaceslav Negruța referred to Igor Dodon’s statements of 12 June that “Moldovans do not listen to the doctors’ advice, they climb into minibusses as in the sprat bank, 40 on top of each other”. “June 14: 75 young people in the same enclosed space and also like “sprats” in a tube, based on a doctor’s order, contrary to doctors’ advice, contrary to the prohibitions ordered,” Negruța wrote on the Facebook page.
Moreover, the scandal has also been escalated by the fact that at the parade in 24 Moscow, Moldovan soldiers will parade commonly with soldiers from the separatist areas of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, territories occupied by the military aggression of the Russian Federation, as well as other CIS countries (Community of Independent States).
DA Platform Deputy Iurie Renita proposed to Igor Dodon to go to Moscow with the 2000 soldiers of the former 14th Army of Transnistria. Renita said the move was a political challenge that was compromising the National Army. Political analyst Ion Tăbîrță had stated that President Igor Dodon’s decision to go to Moscow during the pandemic, accompanied by the Moldovan military, would be electorally motivated.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin’s preparations to commemorate the 75th anniversary of victory in World War II was a long effort. There were fireworks to celebrate the capture of European capitals by the Red Army, selective publication of historical archives at the highest level to “prove” that Poland had begun World War II. Disinformation campaigns have reinforced the Kremlin’s determination to define itself as the only resistance force against fascism – now and throughout history. Therefore, the celebration of victory in the Second World War is framed in antagonistic terms: anyone who refuses to accept uncritically pro-Kremlin narratives is accused of fascism and historical revisionism.
From the Kremlin’s perspective, history is not an academic discipline, but a tool for fulfilling political ambitions. According to a recent study from the Stockholm Free World Forum, “History is used by Russian political leadership as a tool to create legitimacy at home and frame its behavior on the international stage. It is a policy that has consequences both domestically and abroad.”
There’s a lot at stake for the Kremlin. Russian journalist Andrei Arkhangelsky wrote earlier this year: “In addition to the traditional fight against “history forgers,” the Kremlin also has internal objectives. Before the parliamentary elections and 2024, it needs strengthening society. However, the only way is to engage the population in a marathon “against” – this time not really a real opponent, but against a history”.