EU: On the brink of collapse

Narrative

The anti-EU media campaign maintains its narrative that the EU, the European External Action Service specifically, accuses Russia of disinformation. According to pro-Russian media, which is citing the spokesperson of the Russian MFA, it is an immoral attempt to mask EU issues associated with the spread of coronavirus.

Another widespread narrative tackles the supposition that the EU labour market will collapse. It will turn out in no job offers for Moldovan migrant workers. The narrative warns that the EU economy is in a deplorable state and no recovery is expected in the future.


“An immoral attempt”: Zakharova on the accusations about Russia’s disinformation on COVID-19
Source: Sputnik.md


Life after coronavirus: No jobs in Europe, Moldovan citizens will have to make room
Source: Kp.md

Dissemination

Pro-Russian media

The pro-Russian media seized the opportunity to capitalize its efforts on defaming the EU and thus bringing to the forefront a moral and humane Russia. For instance, the pro-Russian newspaper, Kp.md (Комсомольская Правда [Komsomol’skaya Pravda]) published an article aimed to discredit the performance of the former pro-European government which purchased medical supplies of allegedly low quality. The narrative is set to put in a bad light the image of the EU and of the pro-European parties.


Moldovan doctors amid the COVID-19 epidemic refuse to wear broken gloves: “Let the members of the previous government wear them”
Source: Kp.md

State actors

The messages of the state actors with regard to the EU have a contextual value, generally. Even though they follow a diplomatic protocol, it is the language nuances that suggest the preferences. Thus, in his Facebook post, the prime-minister of the country thanked the EU for the financial aid which was to arrive:

“Good news from the European Union, too! After the IMF and the Russian Federation and (our inherent destination) – the European Union decided to allocate to the budget of the Republic of Moldova an important financial support of 100 million EURO.”


Source: Facebook

However, we can sense the “necessity” to mention the help from the IMF and the Russian Federation first – to indicate who reacts on time and suggest that the EU decision-making is a long and often late process.

In the context of the anti-EU propaganda, Moldovan prime-minister managed to stand out by a blunt Facebook post that targeted the humanitarian aid provided by Romania – Moldova’s best friend in the EU. He mocked Romania’s allegedly poor performance in tackling coronavirus and mentioned irrelevant issues in this regard such as the fact that Romania is one of the most corrupt EU states.


Source: Facebook

In a more local perspective, anti-opposition narratives integrate anti-EU messages. Thus, pro-Socialist loyal commentator, Bogdan Țîrdea, disregards EU financial support:

“I want to ask citizens: have you seen this (financial) help? Me neither. I have seen the help from China and Russia. The EU has given us 0! More than that, the EU has blocked Moldova from receiving financial aid during the epidemic, even though Moldova has complied with all the conditions.”


Source: Facebook

Additionally, the same loyal commentator explained why the pro-European parties opposed signing the contract for a suspicious Russian credit that the current pro-Russian government had negotiated. He cited the Russia Today article on the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs explanation that the EU simply does not allow its member states accept help from Russia.


Target group

Anti-EU messages can be listed in Russian (mostly) and Romanian. It can be inferred that these are directed to a pro-Russian audience, supporters of the Socialist, pro-Russian and anti-Western parties. Specifically, some articles target migrant workers who, as a matter of fact, relied on the EU’s job market. To a certain extent, we can assume that it targets the undecided specter of the audience and tries to shape new views.

Disproof

The European Union is the top financial donor of the Eastern Partnership which Moldova is part of. The Republic of Moldova received over €87 million to support immediate and short-term needs. Thus, EU projects in Moldova have been working to provide gloves and masks for vulnerable people and medical staff, as well as sterilizers for equipment across the country.