Nov 17, 2023

This study monitoring and mapping anti-EU narratives is unprecedented in the region. The results so far show that the main goal of the anti-EU propaganda is to discredit the European integration process in Moldova and not so much to discredit the European Union itself. Given the electoral context, the aim is likely to discourage pro-European voters from participating in the elections. By far the most popular narrative is that the government is not truly European and uses the discourse of EU membership to mask its incompetence, corruption and anti-democratic or even dictatorial tendencies. The fertile ground for this narrative is involuntarily maintained by the government itself, which tries to monopolise the pro-European discourse.

The exclusive association of the idea of European integration with a single political force risks reducing support for the EU when the ruling party’s rating falls, and recent polls seem to confirm this trend. The most popular narrative aimed directly at the EU is internal division among member countries, with an emphasis on the lack of consensus on support for Ukraine. It is a very valuable topic for Russian propaganda because it can feed several messages simultaneously: that there are dissensions both between member countries, and between member countries and EU institutions; that Europeans are tired of helping Ukraine; that Ukraine is not grateful for the help; that Moldova is more subservient to the EU than even some EU members; that Moldova should also ban the import of Ukrainian grain and stop supporting Kyiv.

In general, monitored sources tend to exploit the current topics of the week, and agendasetting efforts are relatively rare. At the same time, the ranking of narratives and sub-narratives remains relatively stable from week to week, and current events are always framed in the same main narratives, which indicates that there is nevertheless a coordinated, planned effort to promote concrete messages.

The report can be accessed here.

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