Experts: Disinformation is key element of hybrid warfare

Disinformation is the key element of Russia’s hybrid war against Moldova and will pose a challenge in the context of the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2024 and 2025. Such an opinion is shared by Moldovan and Romanian experts who noted that Russian propaganda is maintained in the information space of the Republic of Moldova and is meant to bring the country back into the Russian sphere of influence, IPN reports.

Political pundit Mihai Isac said that together with the development of artificial intelligence, disinformation has expanded. Propaganda is manifested also through fake video images that are designed to tarnish the image of President Maia Sandu.

“In the last parliamentary elections in Serbia, artificial intelligence played an active role in propaganda for the ruling party, the current leader in Belgrade being a good ally of President Putin. We already see sectoral applications of this type of propaganda. The Republic of Moldova, unfortunately, has always been a testing ground for new propaganda information technologies. Regrettably, even in 2024 there are still people who believe in the myth of the gas bucket at the price of 10 lei. We also have propaganda through deepfakes. President Maia Sandu was the heroine of such videos. There are unsuspecting people who fall into the trap of these deepfakes. And it’s not only about people from the Republic of Moldova, but also about those from the diaspora,” Mihai Isac stated in the program “Emphasis on Today” on TVR Moldova.

In the same connection, Romanian university professor Radu Carp said the decision by the official Chisinau to close down several TV stations is a judicious one given that propaganda represents a danger to national security.

“Information is also about human rights, but also about the security of a state. The state can take such measures if it turns out that these TV channels do not contribute to information, but contribute to disinformation. I think when this decision was taken, they weighed the two aspects and decided that disinformation is much broader than information,” he stated.

Ion Tăbîrță, director of the Information and Documentation Center on NATO in Chisinau, said that disinformation remained the only lever Russia can apply against Moldova.

“We seek to reduce disinformation, but Russian narratives are present in the public space in Moldova anyway. Disinformation is one of the key elements of the hybrid war that the Russian Federation is now waging against the Republic of Moldova. Lately, Russia has lost some of its levers of influence over Moldova, such as energy or economic leverage. Disinformation is Russia’s only lever that remained here. It comes directly from Moscow or through our politicians who promote Russian narratives, thus promoting Russia’s geopolitical interests. The major goal of hybrid warfare is for Russia to return and maintain Moldova in its sphere of influence. The Russian mass media are present in the information space of the Republic of Moldova, and this is what Russia makes full use of in its hybrid war,” explained Ion Tăbîrță.

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