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Moldova: Overview of Blog Coverage of the Protests

For all the attention given to the impact of social media on the protests in Moldova (earlier GV posts on that here and here), there were people both in and outside Moldova who felt that media coverage of the events was inadequate.

Mihai Moscovici wrote this on Twitter on Tuesday, when the rioting in Chisinau was at its height:

People in Moldova don't know about the anti-communist protest in capital. Public TV not covering the protest. Internet down in Moldova.

Kyiv-based blogger MoldovAnn wrote this on Wednesday morning:

[...] I am having a hard time finding good news sources on-line. The New York Times is reporting from Moscow, which to me means they don’t know squat either, their news is as much hearsay as the anything else. And since they have no facts to report, they published an article about the social networking aspects of the protests. Please. Give me some real news!!! [...]

MoldovAnn, like many others, relied to some extent on the information provided by contacts on the ground – and shared it on her blog:

[...] I talked to two friends in Chisinau yesterday – one in her office right in the center of town, in the heart of the protest area; the other at work on the edge of town. The first told me there were reports of injured protesters being transported away by ambulances. Both said the protesters are overwhelming young people. Traffic was blocked in the center, but a few blocks away was supposedly running normally. [...]

Lyndon of Scraps of Moscow, whose excellent updates on the situation and its coverage can be found under the “Grape Revolution” tag, also posted emails from a Chisinau friend; below is part of the first message:

[...] Protesters planned to reassemble in downtown Chisinau at 10am local time today (that is, about an hour ago). The latest news I have is from an email sent around by a friend of ours in Chisinau a few hours ago:

It is 7am in Chisinau and a fresh day is about to start.

A quick update on the night's events:

1. Parliament building is no longer in flames

2. The night in Chisinau's center was peaceful

3. The major local news networks either are not allowed to work by the Communist party or are actually getting some rest until the later in the morning

Thank you for sending me updates and news on Moldova from the international press. I find that the Western press has been very professional at capturing the reality on the ground and the reasons for why the youth are on the streets. As NY times put it – it is a generational clash – the youth (who voted mostly anti-communist, for lack of job opportunities in Moldova or even abroad this year in the context of the global crisis) and the older generation nostalgic after the “stability” offered by the current and former Communist governments.

[...]

One last note for this early morning – this is the FIRST Even large scale protest that turned into violence in Moldova since 1989, when the first large-scale meetings were taking place to support Moldova's independence and union with Romania.

Moldovans on the whole are a very peaceful nation, and would rather sit at the table with you over a home-made glass of wine [...] than take to the streets. [...] The opposition promised to continue the peaceful protests in the main square and have been asking now for families to join in in a sign of solidarity. The lady in the Parliament who was thought dead is actually well. So it seems that in spite of all the damage inflicted on the Parliament and the Presidency, thankfully no one has lost his/her life. [...]

Robert Amsterdam's blog, too, had a selection of messages from “colleagues” in Moldova's capital:

[...] Do you see what's going on here? I barely got home (I live in the center). God only knows where my son is, they're shutting down mobile communications. They're shooting, blood is being spilled. My God. The situation is out of control.

They're protesting the results of the voting. But there are more civil ways to do this. Today they threw the children out of the lyceums and universities to make revolution. The Romanian flag is already flying over the Parliament. The Presidentura [building where the President sits] has been ransacked. I don't know where the fool is holed up. These are children!!! [...]

Below are some more links to blog coverage of the protests.

Photos:

- April 7 photos from Chisinau – at Kosmopolito.

- More photos by LJ user le_trefle, posted in LiveJournal's md_community – and this observation (RUS):

[...] I was shocked by how, just 200 meters away, such different actions can be taking place. Across the street from the government building, they are calling for civility and calmness, while inside the parliament building, they are burning furniture, breaking windows and looting all they can. [...]

- Reuters photos – at LJ user drugoi‘s blog.

More “names” for the “revolution” in Moldova (in addition to Evgeni Morozov's “Twitter Revolution” and Lyndon's “Grape Revolution“:

- “Candle Revolution” – by gabrielaionita of Power&Politics Weblog:

[...] Demonstration of young people from Kishinev started as a viral message on the Internet. That stated on April 6 Day of National Mourning, and young people were called to light a candle in the Great Square of Chisinau. [...]

More on the candles – here:

Cezar Maroti [writes] this [on Twitter]: “In Moldova apparently almost 200.000 dead people voted for the Communists. The protesters were right to declare today a mourning day.”

- “Orphans’ Revolution” – by Dumitru Minzarari:

[...] Now the communists and their Eastern “partners” are building a huge media myth to discredit the pure ideals of Moldovan youth willing nothing more than freedom and respect for their rights. Their protests were labeled the “Orphans’ Revolution” because under the Communist government close to a third of Moldovan citizens (their parents) went abroad to earn money for a living. [...]

A couple posts on Natalia Morari, who is believed to be one of the organizers of the protests:

- OpenDemocracy.net posts a background on Morari and translates from her blog – here.

According to OpenDemocracy.net, “no one in the capital Chisinau knows where [Morari] is. Her mobile phone is switched off.” However, according to Morari's husband (RUS), Russian journalist Ilya Barabanov (LJ user barabanch), she is currently “in a safe place” – while Moldova's interior ministry was “lying” when it announced that Morari had been detained.

- Russian youth opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky urges “American and European leaders” to “speak up in support of peaceful solution in Moldova and call both sides to refrain from violence”:

[...] The governement is now in control of Chisinau and accuses the opposition of attempting a coup. Communist President Vladimir Voronin may now use the protests to crack down on the civil and political activists and the arrests are already said to have begun. Organizers of the Monday action, like youth leader Natalia Morar, deny the accusations and explain that they tried to prevent violence. However, the government doesn’t seem to be listening. If the crackdown continues, the whole democratic opposition in Moldova may be beheaded and the already threatened democracy effectively destroyed. [...]

Miscellaneous blog links:

- Updates and analysis at Nicu Popescu's Neighbourhood (part of EUobserver Blogs)

- Ari Rusila of BalkanPerspective (part of Blogactiv.eu) writes about “some possible consequences” of what's happened in Moldova:

[...] Moldova’s parliament will select a new President as [Vladimir Voronin] is not eligible according law to be reselected anymore. However he probably will get new influential post – maybe PM or Speaker of Parliament – so his policy will continue. This means no to NATO, no to reunification with Romania, some but not full cooperation with EU, continuing decline of GUUAM (cooperation body supported by US energy giants and military-industrial-complex) and frozen situation with separatist regions. [...]

- A Russian take (RUS) on the same issue – by LJ user misssing-link (Yuri Tyurin):

What's happening in Moldova [is good]. If Voronin stays in power, he'll lose international support in any case, and Russia will begin to get closer to him and simultaneously blackmail him with [the possibility of an Orange Revolution scenario], forcing him into recognition of [Transnistria]. [...]

Some “dark humor” inspired by the protests:

- Evgeni Morozov:

Here is also some dark Twitter humor: “Protests in Moldova “explode, thanks to Twitter”. To say thanks, authorities will only imprison 140 characters at a time”.

- LJ user vsm_md (RUS):

To one of today's news items – “Today, protesters in Chisinau stormed the building of Moldova's presidential administration and raised the European Union's flag over it” – I'd like to add this: “Somewhat later, the European Union showed up and took its flag down.”

  • http://www.politicalmoldova.wordpress.com Dumitru

    In fact things are even more ugly, and more hard to believe. There are increasing number of facts suggesting the authorities have just sent their security people in the crowd and instigated the violence, starting to throw stones, and provoking the angry crowd of youngsters. Police deliberately instigated the protesters by attacking them in front of the Presidency and Parliament, and then leaving the buildings like “inviting” them inside. Vlad Filat, the leader of the one of the opposition parties that is accused by Communist President Voronin of organizing the protests have stated in a yesterday press conference that his PLDM party has got video and photo footages, proving that youngsters from the PPCD parties, who lost elections, and which is an ally to Communist party, were in the front rows of the crow throwing stones. Look at the pictures in that post (English) showing how EU flag is raised/taken down by youngesters, while police is few steps away. http://savemoldova.blogspot.com/2009/04/comunist-conspiracy.html

    Now, police dressed in civilian just attack small groups of youngsters, beat them up, arrest, and move to unidentified locations. They refuse to recognize that fact, and they don’t tell their parents where the kids are transported to. Here is a video footage from You Tube (from yesterday) showing proof of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wln9vCkZFE8.

    Finally, there are rumors that Russian FSB security service officers are in Chisinau, helping communist to deal with protesters (they have the experience), Russian MFA stated on their web-page that the “elections results in Moldova are in the interest of Moldovan and Russian people”, while Minister Lavrov stated to the media “he does not see a reason why there should be another round of elections”. Now how nice is that when another country is basically stating such things, isn’t this an infringement on our sovereignty? Finally, the secessionist Transdniester “Minister of Defense” stated that they are ready to send troops to Chisinau, if Moldovan Communist government will ask – these troops are Russian anyway, and are they going to shoot teenagers on the street? There have already been automatic gunfire heard especially during the night, and I found rubber bullets on the street. It is believed there are casualties among young protesters, but autorities are hiding it, to not angry the population.

    See the video of a car in the center of Chisinau (http://videonews.ro/action/viewvideo/9361/Serviciile-secrete-transnistrene-au-intrat-in-Chisinau/), which has in front Moldovan registration plate, and in the back Transdniester registration plate. They have told journalists they are from the Tiraspol security service press office (why this is strange, the plate numbers are rather an indicator that the allegations pointing out Moldovan communists are assisted by Russian and Transdniester (in fact also Russian) security services might be not that far from truth. In fact we got a pro-Russian Communist government in Moldova that rigged the elections, and now is being helped by the Russian government to crash on protests and keep them in power, because they are “in the interest of the Russian people”.

    • DANA

      Yes! This is the truth about protests in Moldova. God bless us and please help!!!!

  • moldovahelp

    To Ziarul de Garda came signs that some women detained by police during protests have been sexually abused.

    Police detained the young, who have opposed propunerelor resistance to cooperate with police were subjected to physical abuse, and sexual violence. This was confirmed by one of the medical workers who examined some of the young during those days in the comisariatele police.

    Commissioner General to the police we were told that girls are not held and does not know about such cases.

    However, two of Ziarul de Garda reporterele were threatened with sexual abuse by reckoning by the forces of order in the incident of April 8 from behind the Government of Moldova.

    I wanna call all Ornanizatioons!!!Please help us!!!!!!
    We need your support.Everybody is afraid.Please get involve in this situation. The President Voronin is like Hitler and Stalin.
    Please God do something for us!!!!!!!

  • moldovahelp

    We, the members of the Central Electoral Commission, Mihai Buşuleac, Vasile Gafton, Nicolae Gârbu, have signed the proceedings of the Central Electoral Commission regarding the final results of the parliamentary elections for the seventeenth legislature which took place in the Republic of Moldova on April 5 2009, considering the following reticences::

    1. Although the final results arise from the proceedings made by the lower electoral structures, we maintain reticence towards the correctness of some figures:

    a) the electoral lists have been made out by the local public administrative structures. A big blame concerning the inaccuracy of these lists goes to the Central Electoral Commission which, at the beginning of the electoral period, has rendered to the secretaries of the district councils CDs which included personal data of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova received from the Ministry of Information Technology, personal data which have been used in elaborating the electoral lists.

    b) there has been subsequently proven that these CDs contained false data such as:

    - the electoral lists included people who died fifteen or twenty years ago;

    -the electoral lists included persons who have never resided or do not reside at the addresses mentioned in these lists;

    2. The litigations received by the Central Electoral Commission confirmed these frauds with the owners of those houses complaining to the Central Electoral Commission that when coming to voting they noticed that the electoral lists included people with the addresses of the owners to whom they did not conclude an agreement on house permits and residence permits.

    3. The incertitudes above-mentioned are objectively confirmed by the fact that On 11 April 2009 the electoral contestant “the Communist Party of the Republic of Moldova” disputed on at the Appeal Court Chisinau the decision reached by the Central Electoral Commission no. 2501/ 8 April 2009 according to which all electoral contestants were granted access to the electoral lists including the possibility to obtain copies of them.

    4. On 4 April and 5 April the radio broadcaster “EU TV”, which enjoys national coverage, by intendedly violating the provisions of the Article 47 Paragraph 14 of the Election Code, produced electoral abusive turbulence by favouring electoral contestants therefore putting the other electoral contestants in disadvantage.

    5. During the electoral period, the electoral contestant the “Communist Party of the Republic of Moldova” has fully used the state administrative resources, which had affected the results of the elections.

    Members of the Central Electoral Commission,

    Mihai Buşuleac, Vasile Gafton, Nicolae Gârbu

    See the truth!!!!!!

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