Disinformation has become an essential tool in trying to thwart the European path of these states, where Russian is widely spoken or understood, he said, alongside direct military intervention and the perpetuation of frozen conflicts.
“These propaganda narratives manage to penetrate the information ecosystems of the EaP [Eastern Partnership] states, with the public being ‘warned’ about the ‘lack of sustainability and stability’ of their Western partners,” said Tibrigan.
In Moldova, he said, the government and president actively disseminate pro-Kremlin propaganda, while authorities have not taken any measures to limit the influence of Russian-language social networks.
Notably during the pandemic, the Moldovan Orthodox Church, canonically subordinate to the Russian Patriarchy, has echoed the main Russian propaganda themes.
The Kremlin has earmarked 1.3 billion euros for media spending in 2020 is 1.3 billion euros, compared to the shoestring budget of the EU’s anti-propaganda unit, East Stratcom, of five million euros.
Of the Russian 1.3 billion, 325 million will go to state-controlled Russia Today, which broadcasts in roughly 100 countries around the world, Tibrigan said.
“And that’s just the visible part of the iceberg, given that we can’t estimate the exact value of the propaganda operations carried out by proxies or secret service entities.”