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Moldova: “Grape Revolution” / “Twitter Revolution”

Peaceful protests that took place in Moldova's capital Chisinau on Monday, following the victory of the ruling Communist Party in the April 5 election, turned violent on Tuesday, as protesters stormed and set fire to the parliament building.

Lyndon of Scraps of Moscow has been posting updates and translations of the blog, Twitter and media coverage of the situation in Moldova: in this comprehensive and insightful post, Lyndon links to some 30 different sources, and there is more relevant content to be found on his blog, tagged “Grape Revolution” (“If the protesters manage to hold out and dig in downtown, we'll be searching for a name – perhaps it could be the Grape Revolution, or the Wine Revolution, in a nod to Moldova's most famous non-human export.”).

Nosemonkey's EUtopia and Julien Frisch have more links to coverage of the protests. Here's one observation from Nosemonkey's EUtopia:

[...] But with both internet and phone networks down in Moldova itself, reliable information is hard to come by. The major Western television news networks are – so far – silent on events in this small, largely ignored country, and so (as so often) Google News is your best source for press reports. It’s all strangely reminiscent of the early stages of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution four and a half years ago, where the attention of the Western press was similarly slow to turn to the East, and information was similarly confused and confusing. [...]

Mihai Moscovici and kosmopolit are among those who have been posting regular English-language updates on Twitter; the latter also has two blog posts by a Chisinau-based guest-blogger – here and here.

While it's too early to speak of the outcome of the post-election uprising, one thing is sure: the impact of social media on facilitation and coverage of the protests in Moldova – which is known as “the poorest country in Europe” – has been outstanding.

Evgeni Morozov wrote this on Foreign Policy's net.effect blog, in a post titled “Moldova's Twitter Revolution”:

[...] Will we remember the events that are now unfolding in Chisinau not by the color of the flags but by the social-networking technology used?

If you asked me about the prospects of a Twitter-driven revolution in a low-tech country like Moldova a week ago, my answer would probably be a qualified “no”. Today, however, I am no longer as certain. If you bothered to check the most popular discussions on Twitter in the last 48 hours, you may have stumbled upon a weird threat of posts marked with a tag “#pman” (it's currently listed in Twitter's “Trending Topics” along with “Apple Store”, Eminem, and Easter).

No, “pman” is not short for “pacman”; it stands for “Piata Marii Adunari Nationale”, which is Romanian name for the biggest square in Chisinau, Moldova's capital. [...]

[...]

Ever since yesterday's announcement that Moldova's communists have won enough votes to form a government in Sunday's elections, Moldova's progressive youth took to the streets in angry protests. As behooves any political protest by young people today, they also turned to Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness about the planned protests and flashmobs. [...]

[...]

The related posts on Twitter are being posted at a record-breaking rate – I've been watching the Twitter stream for the last 20 minutes – and I see almost 200 new Twitter messages marked with “pman” (virtually all of them in Romanian, with only one or two in English). In the last few hours there have also emerged several “smart” aggregators of posts on the subject, like this one – they have to contextualize what exactly is happening — and this one for YouTube videos. Many blog posts are also being updated in real-time – minute by minute – check this one. There are also a plenty of videos on YouTube and photos, including those uploaded to Facebook. [...]

Andy of Siberian Light quoted from Morozov's post and made this comment about Twitter – “the latest darling of the Revolutionati”:

[...] Twitter is certainly how I found out about today’s protests. But I do wonder how much Twitter has really been used to generate the protests. More likely, I think, it’s been used (and used brilliantly) to get the word out to people outside of Moldova, and to make the world sit up and take notice. [...]

Rotterdam-based “networking enthusiast” Cezar Maroti believes it is somewhat misleading to label the events in Moldova as “Twitter Revolution” only. On Twitter, he wrote, here and here:

There are only 71 Twitter users in Moldova http://ow.ly/2idK This cannot have been orchestrated through twitter! [...]

***

We DON'T have a Twitter Revolution in Moldova. It's a Social Network Rev. Other SNs are also used: Y!mess Youtube Flickr Facebook [...]

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