Fact Check: Video Is NOT Proof That Romanian President Asked For Military Support To Disperse Peaceful Protests In Moldova

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Video Is NOT Proof That Romanian President Asked For Military Support To Disperse Peaceful Protests In Moldova Old & Baseless

Is a video circulating on TikTok in February 2024 proof that the president of Romania "requested military support to disperse peaceful protests" in Moldova? No, that's not true: The video appeared in January 2016. It features Moldovan politician Alexandr Kalinin appealing to Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene in Moldova's political turmoil and social unrest. According to Kalinin, Moldova's government had sought military support from the Security Service of Ukraine and the president of Romania to suppress anti-government protests taking place at that time. There is no proof such a request took place. Since then, Kalinin was sanctioned, had his citizenship removed and was placed under investigation for openly supporting Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by @sorinasular on February 21, 2024, with the caption (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff):

I ask Vladimir Putin for help to save the Republic of Moldova. The president of Romania asked for military support to disperse the peaceful protests.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:


(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Fri Feb 23 07:50:14 2024 UTC)

The person speaks in Russian, but the TikTok account provides no additional information about his identity or the subject of his speech. Although there are Romanian subtitles generated automatically, some of them are not coherent.

A reverse image search on Yandex (archived here) showed that this video was also posted on YouTube in 2017 and 2022 (archived here) and that the speaker was Moldovan politician Alexandr Kalinin. According to reports in the Romanian and Moldovan press (archived here and here), the video was recorded in 2016, and Kalinin, who at that time was the president of the Congress of the Moldovan Diaspora in the Russian Federation, was addressing Putin.

According to the videos posted on YouTube, he did not say that "the president of Romania asked for military support to disperse peaceful protests." His precise words were (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff):

I want to address the president of Russia. Moldova has experienced a difficult historical moment. The political elite, neither the constitutional parliament nor the constitutional cabinet of ministers, are concerned only with one thing -- retaining power. A few days ago, they turned to the Security Service of Ukraine and to the president of Romania requesting military support to brutally suppress peaceful protests. This speaks only of one thing: Those in power are willing to shed blood. Authorities are ready to destroy their own nation.

In September 2015, protests erupted in the Moldovan capital of Chișinău against the country's corruption and socio-economic situation (archived here). In 2016, protests persisted in reaction to the newly inaugurated government and prime minister, led by both pro-European and pro-Russian opposition factions (archived here).

Kalinin's message was deemed "an aberration" by political analyst Anatol Ţăranu, former ambassador of Moldova to Russia, who said a call to the president of a foreign state to defend the nation of another sovereign state "should not even be commented on" (archived here).

Since the war in Ukraine started, Kalinin has openly supported Russia's invasion and published on social media dozens of videos, like this one to announce he organized support campaigns for the Russian military and pro-Russian military groups in the occupied Ukrainian territories.

In February 2023, during Kalinin's leadership of the Party of Regions of Moldova, he came under criminal investigation in a case related to war propaganda, as reported by Radio Free Europe Moldova citing the Prosecutor's Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases (archived here). In the same year, Kalinin found himself listed on both the European Union sanctions lists (archived here) as well as the Canadian ones (archived here), accused of collaboration with the Kremlin and providing support to the Russian army. In November 2023, President Maia Sandu signed a decree (archived here) to withdraw Kalinin's Moldovan citizenship, based on the article of the Citizenship Law that states that citizenship can be revoked to a person who "has committed particularly serious acts, which cause essential damage to the state."

Lead Stories has asked the Romanian presidential administration if there were any calls from the Moldovan government for military intervention in the 2015-16 protests. We will update this article accordingly once there is a response.

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  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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