Hideous Forms of PAS Dictatorship

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To gag all the undesirables, the current regime continues to use methods that are far from European standards and democratic practices
Semyon ALBU, RTA: Just last month, in her pathetic speech on the occasion of Independence Day, Maia Sandu said that in today’s Moldova everyone can “freely think and speak out loud” as well as “freely criticize politicians when they are wrong”. These statements sounded like a joke and absolute fantasy for the current realities back then, and after yesterday’s expulsion of the Sputnik Moldova agency’s head, Vitaly Denisov, they sound frankly ridiculous and cynical. Yes, this media outlet has Russian “roots”. Yes, its editorial policies were clearly not in line with those of the current regime. But, isn’t it an exercise of free speech in the classical sense? However, this government’s policy is far from real democratic standards, as is evidenced not only by the fact of Denisov’s expulsion, but also by the circumstances of this case. The journalist was expelled from the country, so to speak, “on purpose”. Without any warning, the migration service officers showed up at his door, did not even let him collect his personal belongings and money, took him to the airport and sent him on the first flight with a ten-year ban on entry, although he had all the necessary permits to live and work. Very humane, very democratic. That said, the deportation order was issued on 8 September, but Denisov received it only on 13 September, so that, given the five-day appeal period, he had no chance to defend his rights. It is a direct violation of the law, but for PAS it has become a habit. The wording for the expulsion of the journalist was also extravagant – “presumably intends to carry out activities threatening the national security of Moldova”. “Presumably”! The presumption of innocence, an objective investigation, or an admission of guilt are something that PAS may never have heard of. The General Inspectorate for Migration of the Internal Ministry further clarified that the decision to deport had been taken due to Denisov’s interference in Moldova’s internal affairs, which endangered the country’s information security. The government spokesman firmly stated that the authorities would not allow fake news, and that Sputnik, in his opinion, had only promoted “information attacks, lies and disinformation”. We have realized long ago that all information that contradicts the general line of the party and casts doubt on the “outstanding” administrative abilities of the ruling elite is instantly declared in PAS’s Moldova as hostile (meaning Russian) propaganda. It is a very handy position, which allowed to crack down on media in a way that even Plahotniuc couldn’t imagine. When my colleagues and I, back in the early days of PAS, were describing how the country’s information field was taken under totalitarian control - and the basis for this were laid as early as autumn 2021, even before the war in Ukraine - many people thought that we were exaggerating and heating up. However, the reality has proved our gloomy predictions. Now we can hear Evgeniy Sinkevich, PAS deputy, freely saying that his party has media outlets to transmit its messages and that there is nothing wrong with it. And maybe, it wouldn’t be a big deal, if the rest of the media, which doesn’t promote “yellow ideas”, weren’t wiped out as well. Thus, the government continues its “crusade” against all undesirable media outlets that still express freedom of speech as if they were living in a European country rather than a totalitarian backwater. As you remember, at the end of last year, six popular opposition TV channels were shut down under an idiotic pretext, and online media were banned before and after that. Moldova’s Sputnik was one of the first victims of this repression, having been blocked back in February 2022. By the way, a week later the RTA portal was also unlawfully shut down. Sputnik is a very disturbing target for PAS. Despite all the blockings and obstacles, it is still a popular media outlet. Taking into account the mass “migration” of people for news in social networks and messengers, it continues to attract a solid audience, generating a lot of content, naturally, unpleasant for the ruling party. In addition, this media outlet comes from Russia, which immediately puts it in the status of a “red flag” amidst the general Russophobia and anti-Russian policy of the current regime. So, with regard to yesterday’s deportation, the authorities clearly combined business with pleasure. As part of the general crackdown on freedom of speech, we can expect further sanctions against this media outlet and its “colleagues”. There is nothing good in yesterday’s situation for us, citizens of Moldova. Firstly, the authorities could not refrain from another ostentatious “performance”, displaying a medieval attitude towards human beings even in the details. Secondly, the “yellows” did not hesitate to break the law again. Thirdly, they have again demonstratively piqued Russia, which, sooner or later, will have to respond more seriously than simply banning entry for a few of our politicians. Each such attack on Russia will complicate the restoration of relations with this country even more for those who will have to clean up the Augean stables after PAS. Unfortunately, the ruling party is completely out of touch with the society. It does not think about its image or responsibility for its actions, considering itself accountable only to Western supervisors, and not to the people of Moldova, whose interests it is supposed to represent. Considering itself under the protection of the West, it will continue to do wild things, tirelessly thieve, break the law, remove (not lethally, but soon we will see) all dissenters from Moldova. And it will completely subjugate freedom of speech, making this most important human right a fiction in our republic. The traditional info field is getting more and more yellow colors, and with the launch of the “Ministry of Truth” the authorities will start information cleansing on the web. It is still not clear how to fight this in the conditions of a timid opposition and “blind” Western partners.