“The Kremlin has invested 11,453 million euros in the election campaign for the November 2020 presidential election to make the socialist Igor Dodon the new president of Moldova and to consolidate the influence in Central Europe.” This is what the German newspaper BILD writes, which mentions that it came into possession of documents that prove these things. A German Ministry of Interior document available to BILD states that Russia’s “current activities” are “a serious threat.” The document obtained by BILD states that Russia is currently stealing sensitive data to conduct “influence operations and disinformation campaigns” before the September 26 elections in Germany. The newspaper writes about the scenarios of the Kremlin authorities in support of Dodon in the context in which they could be used by Russia in the federal elections in Germany. The Socialist Party issued a press release in which it described as “slanderous” the article of the BILD publication.
Kremlin has invested a total of 11.453 million euros to make Moldova’s new president Igor Dodon
BILD writes that the exclusive documents they obtained quantify Russia’s planned spending to influence the Moldovan elections, noting that the Kremlin has invested a total of 11.453 million euros to make Igor Dodon the new president of Moldova and to strengthen its influence in Central Europe.
Four million euros were planed as bribes for “friendly candidates” who had to politically implement the Kremlin interests in Moldova after the elections, 528,000 euros were to go to “media projects” of propaganda, 393,000 euros to foreign election observers who gave the country “a fair election” and half a million euros were allocated for “processing the result by the Electoral Commission” – the last ace up the Kremlin’s sleeve if they understood that their candidate was going to lose the election.
BILD writes that these data are contained in the secret documents that came into the possession of the German newspaper and which show the financial position of the Kremlin for influencing the elections in Moldova.
“ADOLF” project with Kremlin actors and scenarios to influence Moldovan elections
BILD writes that in July 2020, the secret service of Moldova identified numerous “projects” that the Kremlin is implementing or intends to implement to influence voters.
The “ADOLF” project. The plan was to create a “pro-Moldova” and a “pro-Sandu” – “anti-hero” who, with his “scandalous anti-Russian personality”, would bring sympathy for the pro-European camp. The declared “right-wing extremist” should “extremely criticize all candidates, except Maia Sandu”, both on social networks and on various TV channels. Four videos a month, in which (ADOLF) addresses the socialists (pro-Russians) and their voters, are to be produced over three months and distributed on Facebook. Kremlin-friendly people should be insulted as often as possible.
The goal: to create disgust for the pro-European camp
BILD journalists write that the Kremlin wanted to offer 10,000 euros a month for actors, camera crews, and production costs. The actor codenamed “ADOLF” is to receive 1,000 euros in remuneration.
On the other hand, Russia’s secret services were planning the “Boring Project”. Here, too, four videos on Facebook are to be generated over three months with the main person and the hope was that the person will be placed in national talk shows. A “well-known, pro-European” person should question moderately and politically the goals of pro-European parties and bring contradictions into discussions.
“He should criticize all politicians, but focus mainly on Maia Sandu,” the secret service said in its analysis.
“The conclusions will be that there is no point in going to the polls because none of the candidates kept their promises.” With his videos and appearances in talk shows, the person should have caused problems among the electorate of far-right parties (actually pro-Western, ed.), So as not to vote for Dodon’s counter-candidate in the second round.” The budget for this media project was 10,000 euros.
The “Creamy Moldova” project was to produce a prominent Telegram channel that would publish “80% news and 20% fake news” that would have shaken citizens’ confidence in politics and thus prevented them from voting. In its growth phase, the channel should transmit critical content regarding the Socialists, then “the political position would then change and demand a strong (socialist) leader who could get the country out of the crisis.”
The “Dependent Moldova” project was to be used as another Telegram channel to expose “the popular pro-Western Telegram channels as lacking independence and to bring to light the real motives of the authors.” For each Telegram channel, Russia’s secret service planned to hire a director (1,000 euros a month) and two journalists (400 euros a month each).
The “Zoo-Zeitung” project was to be a new weekly satire magazine depicting all eight presidential applicants as animals and “mocks the negative qualities of some candidates and the positive qualities of other candidates absurdly,” easy to understand by all people.
The “Maidan” project, named after the Independence Square in Kyiv, was intended to recruit many anti-Russian protesters in western Ukraine shortly before the November elections and organize bus trips to Moldova. However, at the last minute, Moldova’s secret service should have been informed about “upcoming coup plots” to artificially generate news of a planned pro-Western coup in Moldova. And this should have discouraged pro-Western voters from going to the polls and giving pro-Russian voters extra motivation.
In ten other projects, the Kremlin has planned influential actions, from YouTube channels to bomb threats during the vote count (if the Kremlin-backed candidate loses) to replace the ballots.
The publication also notes that “even if the Moldovan services managed to stop in time some of the influence operations in the summer of 2020”, the European secret services warn the BILD newspaper: “What we experienced in Moldova could be a plan for the next federal elections in Germany.” From the “projects” for Moldova, Russia shows “how the Kremlin can be creative when it comes to sabotaging democratic elections.”
In reply, the Socialist Party issued a statement in which it described the BILD article as “slanderous”.
”The Socialist Party of Moldova expresses its indignation at the slanderous inventions contained in an article in the German publication BILD, being distributed by several media sources that support Maia Sanda and the Action and Solidarity Party, under her control. (…) The Socialist Party categorically rejects these accusations and declares that the financing of Igor Dodon’s presidential campaign and the entire activity of the Socialist Party was and is carried out on a legal basis, in strict accordance with Moldovan law. The Socialist Party and its candidate, Igor Dodon, did not receive any foreign aid for the conduct of the election campaign,” it is mentioned in the Socialist Party note.
Maia Sandu, the candidate of the Action and Solidarity Party for the position of president, obtained the most votes in the second round of the presidential elections, organized on November 15, 2020, thus becoming the first woman president of Moldova. Maia Sandu accumulated 57.75% of the votes, and her opponent, the socialist Igor Dodon – 42.25%.