In the presidential elections of 2020, there were a number of speculative messages that influenced the public sphere and the electoral behavior of voters, Dionis Cenușa, a political scientist, researcher at the Institute of Political Sciences at Liebig-Justus University in Giessen, Germany, said in IPN’s public debate “Why information resilience is needed and how it can be ensured”.
According to the researcher, one of the examples is represented by the idea that was implanted, including by the Russian language press in Moldova and Russia, about the “colored revolutions” and the fact that Moldova can face such a phenomenon if the victory is challenged by the participants in elections. This conspiracy generated a kind of mobilization in favor of a candidate and against another candidate.
Dionis Cenușa noted those who were behind false information about the “colored revolutions” claim that the Republic of Moldova and other states in the post-Soviet area are manipulated from outside, from the West. “This means that if Igor Dodon had won, the Republic of Moldova would have been placed in front of a colored revolution. By disseminating this false idea, the goal was probably to mobilize the pro-Russian voters or the voters of Igor Dodon against the other candidate. This is a conspiracy aimed at misleading the voter, importing fears from other regions and countries, for example Belarus or Kirgizstan,” he stated, noting the conspiracies about the rigging of elections against the pro-reform and pro-Western candidates mobilized more the voters from the diaspora rather than those from home.
The another development, the researcher said the attacks launched on civil society by particular parties, saying civil society safeguards foreign interests, represent attempts to fix the idea that civil society is not legitimate, that what it promotes is not in Moldova’s interests, that it promotes foreign interests and all those who are associated with these opinion leaders represent President-elect Maia Sandu, while those who gravitate around civil society that is now defamed are also discredited.
Dionis Cenușa said in reality, on the one hand, this represents diminution of the power to convince the public by diminishing the importance of civil society as an independent political player. On the other hand, this is transfer of negative image to others who make reference to the opinions of civil society. “The intention of those who attack civil society is to reduce its importance in the process of taking decisions or adopting public policies, to diminish the role that civil society should play in a classical society. “
According to the expert, this situation points to the vulnerability of information resilience, when the state looks and can do nothing to protect the players that promote the idea of democratic institution. No one can defend civil society as the state didn’t devise instruments for the purpose. The only thing that can be done is to go to court to protect the dignity of civil society.
The public debate “Why information resilience is needed and how it can be ensured” was the 159th installment of the series “Developing political culture through public debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.