“From the start, since the agreement on the founding of MIR company was signed, it has been evident that as a matter of fact, there can be no common information space for the former republics following the dismemberment of the Soviet empire. The Moldovan authorities realized this after a period of 30 years. Surely, better late than never. However, for comparison, we should remember that the Ukrainian authorities realized this at the very beginning, refraining from signing the given agreements...”
Denouncing of agreement on creation of MIR television and radio company
On April 19, 2023, the Government of the Republic of Moldova decided to denounce the agreement on the creation of the interstate television and radio broadcasting company MIR, which was signed in 1992, and the agreement on international law guarantees for the free and independent operation of MIR company, which was signed in 1993. When the mentioned agreements were signed, the pursued goal was to create a common information space of the interstate states. The signed documents hold interest through the angle of international law guarantees for MIR company:
- the company’s property and assets are immune to administrative, judicial intervention and to actions of executors;
- the company’s archives and documents and its head office are inviolable;
- the company’s property cannot be subject to searches, confiscated or placed under administrative sequestration;
- the company and its property are exempted from direct taxes and duties, except for payments for utilities and other services;
- the company is exempted from customs duties and if free from restrictions on the import and export of articles intended for use for purposes stipulated in the statutes of MIR;
- the company’s representatives, when fulfilling their official duties, benefit from impunity and cannot be arrested or detained, being outside the administrative and judicial jurisdiction;
- the official correspondence and documents of the company’s representatives are inviolable etc.
This way, we convince ourselves that MIR possessed all the guarantees to create a common information space controlled from one center. This assertion is confirmed by the fact that for 15 years, since February 2008, the post of president of the board of directors of MIR company has been held by Dmitry Peskov, deputy chief of staff of the Presidential Executive Office of the Russian Federation and press secretary of President Vladimir Putin. Before being employed in Putin’s administration, Peskov admitted that he shared the ideals of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who dreamed of the imperil expansion up to the Indian Ocean in which the Russian soldier would wash his boots.
In light of these circumstances, given the immunity enjoyed by MIR company and its representatives, and the ideals of the company’s administration, the reason for the Republic of Moldova’s withdrawal from the aforementioned agreements becomes clear: “The denouncing of our country’s participation in the operation of MIR company will contribute to...the protection of the national and regional audiovisual space so as to ensure information security”.
Lack of reasons for a common post-Soviet information space
Moldovan authorities’ arguments in favor of the denouncing of the agreements concerning MIR company are somehow incomplete. Surely, the arguments about the ensuring of information security, alongside the annual saving of approximately $200,000, which was spent on the financing for MIR company (about 40 million lei the past 20 years), are pertinent. However, we should not forget the key pint – the declared goal of the founding of MIR company was to create a common information space. Respectively, the big question is, does someone believe that creating a common post-Soviet information space was possible given that:
- immediately after the dissolution of the USSR, separatist conflicts were inspired and fueled in Georgia, Azerbaijan, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, with the aim of anchoring them and of subjugating them to the Russian Federation’s interests to restore the empire that collapsed. Respectively, none of the mentioned conflicts wasn’t and couldn’t be resolved with the involvement of Russia, which used them as pretexts for ensuring its military presence in the given states, followed by direct aggression, as it happened in the case of Georgia and Ukraine;
- the President of Russia openly announced his intention to infringe the territorial integrity of the ex-Soviet republics so as to reintroduce the so-called gifts of the Russian people into the composition of Russia. The inexistence in the USSR of a law on the procedure concerning the withdrawal of the union republics from the USSR is used as a pretext for implementing this courageous idea. In fact, such a law was adopted back on April 3, 1990, approximately a year and a half before the dissolution of the USSR;
- Russia attacked Ukraine in February 2022 and hundreds of thousands of people were killed or injured in this war so far, with thousands of localities and the vital infrastructure of the brotherly state being destroyed;
- not only the states in which separatist conflicts were inspired were under threat, but also one of the main partners of Russia within the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) – Kazakhstan, which reacted nervously when Putin’s intentions were made public. Moreover, the head of the Kazak state had to expound to Putin his view about the alleged gifts of the Russian people etc.
The aforementioned were invoked in order to note that there have never been preconditions for creating a common information space of the former Soviet republics. Furthermore, there are no reasons to assert that such a space can exist in the future. And it is clear why:
- Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia committed themselves to a difficult European integration process;
- the ex-Soviet states of Central Asia are trying to distance themselves from the embraces of the older brother, seeing the protection of the Organization of Turkic States or the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The latter even committed itself to secure the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Kazakhstan. Respectively, from geographical viewpoint, the PRC’s commitment makes Russia’s access to the borders of the other central Asian states for taking back the gifts of the Russian people somehow impossible;
- Azerbaijan, alongside Turkey, forms part of the project: a nation in two states, which meditates on the creation of a joint army;
- Armenia, after the 44-day war with Azerbaijan of 2020, is looking for other security solutions than those proposed by Russia, having recently refused to organize on its territory military exercises with the participation of states that are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). This is an indicator that the government of Nikol Pashinyan prefers to act accosting to the principle “May God defend me from my friends: I can defend myself from my enemies”;
- Belarus practically lost its sovereignty and independence, becoming fully dependent on Russia and its intentions. Things evolved up to a limit after which Belarus had to allow Russia to use its territory for attacking Ukraine and for storing tactical nuclear weapons on it, becoming this way the target for eventual preventive discouraging attacks.
After the aforementioned, a somehow rhetorical question arises: did someone watch programs of MIR company in which: a) Russia’s aggression against Ukraine was condemned; b) the causes of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Russia’s involvement and role were covered correctly and impartially; c) showed the military clashes in a chain between Tajikistan and Kirgizstan; d) presented the rigging of the elections in Russia, Belarus and other post-Soviet republics with authoritarian regimes in which the governments are not replaced during a quarter or a third of a century; e) emphasized the continuous amendment of the constitutions for endlessly extending the mandates of the dictatorial regimes, etc.? It is hard to imagine that MIR broadcasts programs in which the given subjects are covered. But this actually means propaganda by omission when the events and phenomena of great public interest are intentionally overlooked.
There haven’t been any programs of MIR company centering on problems similar to the mentioned ones. That’s why it is evident that the common information space for the whole post-Soviet space is simply senseless. In fact, such a space can include only Russia and Belars – two authoritarian dictatorial regimes in which the government hasn’t been replaced for 25 years. The Republic of Moldova cannot be interested in forming part of the so-called common information space and in even financially contributing to keeping it. Those who are nostalgic for the Soviet esthetics and myths can watch the products of MIR company through the Internet.
Necessity of combating hypocrisy...
There is one more argument in favor of denouncing the agreements on MIR company - a moral one. It is simply immoral, real hypocrisy on the part of the company called MIR (‘Peace’ in Russian) not to broadly cover, all over the supposed common space, such subjects as:
- the detention, arrest and sentencing to long jail terms of Russian citizens who support peace and protest against the war that is being waged by their country on Ukraine, for the simple posting of the word Peace or its equivalent – No to war!;
- the punishment of children in Russia by separation from their parents who simply expressed their empathy with fellows from Ukraine, who are killed as a result of Russian bombardments;
- the series of UN resolutions that were adopted by the votes of approximately ¾ of the member states, by which Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has been condemned since 2014, when Crimea was annexed, up to now;
- the resolutions of international institutions by which Russia is recognized as a terrorist state;
- the decision by the International Criminal Court in the Hague to start to prosecute Putin for the war crimes related to the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine, etc.
In fact, the word MIR (Peace) in Russia was banned, while MIR company, in a strange way, continues work. This way, ahead of the Labor Day celebrated on May 1, the press secretary of President Putin, Dmitry Peskov, was directly asked by journalists if the traditional slogan May, Work, Peace! can be now used in the context of the war in Ukraine. The high-ranking official, who was a fan of Zhirinovsky, avoided providing a clear response, invoking the legal framework: “the slogans must be agreed beforehand with the local authorities. In accordance with our legislation, applications must be submitted and all the parameters can be clarified with the local authorities”. This response hides a truth – peace cannot ensure the confiscation of the gifts of the Russian people or the Russian soldier’s access to the banks of the Indian Ocean for washing his boots. The goal of the Putinist regime was formulated directly – to gather together the supposed Russian land, as Peter the Great did.
In the aforementioned circumstances, we are witness to a strange situation. On the one hand, the use of the word peace is practically banned in Russia and the citizens of this country are punished for posting this word. On the other hand, the representative of the Russian imperial movement in the Republic of Moldova expresses his indignation at the Republic of Moldova’s decision to denounce the agreements on MIR company, which in a strange way do not contribute to the promotion of peace and condemnation of war. This shows that the authorities acted correctly when they decided to bring the manifestation of hypocrisy to an end.
MIR company has pursued policies to misinform the population through omissions or the deliberate refusal to cover events and phenomena that are really important for societies in the states of the former USSR and also by direct manipulation. The only reason for the existence in the Republic of Moldova of the branch of MIR company was the fuelling of nostalgia for the late USSR by idealizing the Soviet past and ignoring the crimes committed by the Communist regime: tens of millions of people killed during the civil war; forced collectivization instead of offering of land to the peasants; industrialization on account of the majority population, peasantry, which represented approximately 80% and which was subject to the Holodomor; political repression and creation of The Gulag Archipelago; friendship between the Communist and Nazi regimes, which led to the division of Eastern Europe between the two tyrants, which later led to the start of World War II, etc.
From the start, since the agreement on the founding of MIR company was signed, it has been evident that as a matter of fact, there can be no common information space for the former republics following the dismemberment of the Soviet empire. The Moldovan authorities realized this after a period of 30 years. Surely, better late than never. However, for comparison, we should remember that the Ukrainian authorities realized this at the very beginning, refraining from signing of the given agreements.