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In The Russian Bell Jar

Muscovites are not necessarily well-informed of events in Moldova.
Muscovites are not necessarily well-informed of events in Moldova.
It so happens that among my acquaintances in Moscow there are a lot of journalists. My six years living in Moscow, two and a half of them working as a journalist, didn't pass without a trace, despite the efforts of Russia's secret services to burn all my bridges once and for all.

Moreover, it so happens that most of my friends work in respectable media outlets, the ones that are as free as possible considering the current situation in that country. I'm not talking about state-run Channel One television or Rossiya television, but rather about "Novaya gazeta," Ekho Moskvy, and -- excellent media outlets and good, professional journalists. I follow the work of most of them not just out of curiosity, but because I know how professionally they work.

Natalia Morari is blogging for RFE/RL's Moldovan Service
But all of these excellent friends and qualified journalists have one big problem. When the conversation turns to the political situation in Moldova -- whether it is about the April events or the failure to elect Zinaida Greceanii president or the repeat elections set for July 29 -- they are simply overwhelmed by the many cliches and myths that are flooding out of the analytical programs on NIT or the columns of "Moldova Suverana."

"Where did you get that from?" I usually ask. "That's complete nonsense!"

"I read it somewhere on one of the Moldovan sites," invariably comes the answer. And when you push further, it usually turns out that the sites in question are "Komsomolskaya pravda" in Moldova, the portal OMEGA, or the Moldovan section of RIA Novosti, all of which are controlled by you-know-who.

And then you begin to understand where all these horrors in their heads are coming from -- they simply have no alternatives, since there is not a single normal, Russian-language information resource about Moldova.

And it is hard for me to explain that RFE/RL's Moldova Service or Vocea Basarabiei already long ago refuted what they are saying or that Unimedia has published documents that prove exactly the opposite. They simply don't understand and we end up at a dead end: They don't speak the language, but they have to write their stories.

So they return once again to the site of "Komsomolskaya pravda," reread the latest news, acquaint themselves with the "independent expert opinions," and then write their articles, which are perfectly fine in and of themselves but which don't bear any relation to the real situation in Moldova. But the reality that has been created by the Russian media is perfectly OK with the Communist Party.

So life goes on.