Russia Manipulates Bulgarians in Moldova Ahead of Key Elections

Russia | June 16, 2024, Sunday // 09:33|  views

Russia is attempting to divide the Moldovan people by manipulating various ethnic regions, including those with Bulgarian populations. James Rubin, the US Special Envoy and Coordinator of the Center for Global Engagement at the State Department, revealed this in an interview with Club Z. During a telephone briefing with journalists in Brussels, Rubin responded to questions about Russia's influence on ethnic minorities in Moldova, particularly in light of the upcoming October 20 presidential election and the referendum on joining the EU.

Rubin noted that while President Maia Sandu has worked hard to protect the rights of all Moldovans, Russia is exploiting ethnic differences to create divisions. He explained that this is a typical Russian tactic, using disinformation to exaggerate issues affecting specific ethnic groups or to falsely claim that certain groups are being looked down upon.

Despite these efforts, the US believes that Moldovans are wise enough not to be swayed by such tactics. The current government in Chisinau is focused on uniting people and pursuing a future within the EU, rather than creating divisions.

Rubin expressed hope that Russia's attempts to use ethnic divides would have minimal impact. Earlier, the governments of the United States, Canada, and Great Britain issued a joint statement condemning Russia's interference in Moldova's election process.

The statement highlighted that Russian actors are planning to influence the presidential election and incite protests if a pro-Russian candidate does not win. They are also attempting to foster negative perceptions of Western governments and Moldova's current leadership. Russian stakeholders are actively using disinformation and propaganda online, on air, and on the streets to undermine President Maia Sandu's character and intentions and to allege election irregularities.

Additionally, employees of the Russian state broadcaster RT are providing direct support to the fugitive oligarch Ilan Shor, who has been sanctioned by the US, Canada, and Great Britain for actions aimed at destabilizing the elections.

There are between 79,520 and 300,000 Bulgarians in Moldova. According to the 2004 census, 79,520 people (2.02%) were identified as ethnic Bulgarians in Moldova.

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Tags: Rubin, Russia, moldova, Bulgarians

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