Moldova: In the shadow of Putin’s war | DW Documentary


The people of Moldova have been living in fear since the Russian attack on the Ukraine. Their nation could be next on Moscow’s list. Russian politicians and propagandists issue outright threats, even including the prospect of an invasion.

It’s a danger also recognized by Maia Sandu, the country’s pro-European President: „We’re seeing military activities close to the borders of the Republic of Moldova. This is a dramatic situation for our neighbors. For us, it’s extremely threatening.”

The concern is justified. Since 1992, Moscow has controlled the breakaway region of Transnistria in eastern Moldova and stationed troops there. The situation in Moldova was recently exacerbated when Vladimir Putin revoked a decree guaranteeing the nation’s sovereignty. The Moldovan government stepped down on 10 February; three days later, Maia Sandu announced the emergence of specific Russian plans to destabilize Moldova, including acts of sabotage and violence including attacks on government offices and hostage-taking.

Moldova is also living in the shadow of the war. More than a year ago, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many Moldovans prepared to leave their country: „We were afraid, we had our cases packed and ready,” says Elena Cernei, who lives close the Ukrainian border. More than 600,000 Ukrainian refugees arrived in the Republic of Moldova last year, gas and electricity prices exploded, inflation rose to more than 30 per cent – immense challenges for the poorest nation in Europe with a population of just 2.6 million. Entrepreneur Anatolie Dicusar is struggling to keep his business going; he’s turned his factory into a clothing warehouse for refugees. The blogger and musician Vova Karmanov stopped making music; instead, he films reportages about the conflicts in post-Soviet regions. President Maia Sandu fights tirelessly for democracy and freedom. Moldova attained official EU candidate status on 24 June 2022.

But society is increasingly split over the war in Ukraine thanks to Russian propaganda. This film by Irene Langemann charts the personal fates of protagonists as well as the societal and political developments in the Republic of Moldova since the start of the all-out Russian war on Ukraine – and seeks answers to the question: Will the country survive this ordeal?

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