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Moldova: How can we get back to the future?

Article by Mihaela Ajder

July 18, 2018

Moldova: How can we get back to the future?

The evolution of the illiberal/conservative discourse in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is similar to what is happening in the rest of Europe: a rise of xenophobia, nationalism, radical groups and political parties becoming popular and winning seats in parliaments. One perspective on these trends is that these form part of a natural historical dynamic, when after a massive advancement or progress in any area there comes a time of ‘reaction’. The illiberal backlash can be seen as a general reaction in Europe to the advancement of human rights and democratic values, the liberal agenda at large. Any society at any time has a diversity of opinions and attitudes, either openly expressed or supported tacitly but the key question in a time of an illiberal backlash is “Why these groups, parties, politicians are getting popular? Why do citizens support them?” Having radical opinions or attitudes is nothing new or rare, and spreading them in a democratic society is also acceptable. The danger emerges when these radical, and sometimes unacceptable opinions, become a criminal behaviour supported by a large part of the population, often in the context of weak rule of law, poor legislation and where the state or factions within it support such activates.

Background

The Republic of Moldova is emerging from centuries of political dependence and dominance first from the Turkish Empire, Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, historically being part of Romanian state for centuries. Given this longstanding domination, it is understandable that independence and self-determination are two very important concepts in the process of re-establishing Moldovan national identity. An identity rooted in part in by language and religion the ‘lost old days ways of living’. In this context there is clearly a risk that all the ‘new ways’, alongside external pressure for international standards in human rights, democracy, or EU accession requirements – when framed as “western” concepts & values – could be perceived as another attempt to be conquered and assimilated, which of course feels like a threat to quite a number of people who are thinking in terms of a re-emerging nation.

Civilizational crash 

The situation in Moldova today is deeply polarized. High levels of emigration among working-age Moldovans leaves a permanent population skewed towards both the young and old, with a challenging relationship to a more progressive diaspora. Trust in the Government and Judiciary is undermined by corruption, with the idea of European values compromised by the actions of the current ‘pro-European’ Alliance Government. The Media is highly politicized and dependent on political patrons. The Moldovan Orthodox Church is deeply intertwined with state institutions and is authoritarian in outlook. Sexism[1] and homophobia are rampant across society, with the latter in particular used by politicians such as President Dodon and former President Voronin to win support. While the nation is still dealing with social division caused by the Transnistria conflict. Human Rights Defenders and independent journalists may still be persecuted. In all a challenging time for the promotion of liberal values and an encouraging one for the conservative reaction.

Illiberal civil society in the Republic of Moldova: identifying the groups

The resistance to liberalism in Moldova is not homogenous in form. So it is important to examine some of the key players and contributors. This research divides them into three notable categories: the far right, conservative groups and the Church.

Far right and ‘ultras’ groups

  • Noua Dreapta (the New Right) – a radical group operating in Moldova.[2] It has been inspired, supported and led by a similar organisation in Romania.[3] The group is pro-Romanian Christian nationalistic in outlook, a ‘unionist’ group supporting a political union between Moldova and Romania. It is xenophobic and homophobic and actively promotes concepts of the ‘traditional family’ and ‘normality’.
  • Occupy Paedophilia – a radical group of vigilantes operating in Moldova, inspired by a group based in Russia and with similar copycat groups in Ukraine and Kazakhstan.[4] In Moldova the group it is led by Stanislav Ghibadulin, the main suspect in several administrative and criminal investigations regarding the Occupy Paedophilia gang’s homophobic activity, as reported by GENDERDOC-M and other human rights groups.[5] The members of his groups are often teenagers or underage persons, operating in a small gang of around 8-10 people that allegedly go after ‘paedophiles’, in reality, a gay bashing group with a homophobic agenda. ‘Occupy’ members pose as gay or bisexual men who wish to meet their peers. The groups set up meetings with their future victims to entrap them, and humiliate, beat, sexually assault or torture them before posting a video of the encounter online. At least seven videos of this kind were posted in Moldova. At least three criminal investigations were initiated following victims’ complaints but despite years of their extremist activity in Moldova no one has been successfully jailed for their crimes. Emboldened by their own impunity these extremists have continued and escalated their attacks against Moldovan LGBT rights activists and gay men, moving from verbal threats and insults to physical assaults.

It is worth noting that these two groups hold significantly different geo-political outlooks, one looking to Romania and the other to Russia, however, they share a common narrative around the ‘traditional’ (male dominated, heterosexual) family and hatred of LGBTI rights.

Conservative pressure groups

  • Stop Ham – an informal group operating in the Republic of Moldova, playing the role of societal police and acting in situations where the ‘police are missing or not taking action’. Led by a couple of people, one of them Alexander Ciolac.[6] This group has been inspired and supported by a similar ‘Stop Ham’ group in Russia.[7] Their agenda in Moldova has ranged from combating bad or illegal parking and other similar social nuisance focused campaigns to protesting against the advertisement of certain products for women, such as stockings, on the grounds of ‘immorality. They have been active in promoting a Conservative vision around issues of gender and sexuality.  They have undertaken a lawsuit against a local human rights NGO and its managers, for displaying pictures on homosexual relationships within a public photo exhibition (a picture of a Swedish author with 2 homosexuals in their bedroom, provided by Civil Rights Defenders, Swedish NGO operating in Moldova). Their Facebook page is liked by 79,600 people.
  • Moldova Crestina – a fundamentalist Christian protestant group,[8]whose agenda involves ‘pro-life’ campaigning and opposition to comprehensive sex education, instead advocating in favour of abstinence and against contraception, as well as supporting gay ‘conversion therapy’.[9] They also questioned and opposed laws preventing domestic violence against children and opposed the anti-discrimination law. They invited Scott Lively, President of US Christian Conservative organisation the Abiding Truth Ministries and founder of International evangelical campaign group Watchmen on the Walls, to speak about “the danger” of an AD legislation, addressing the Parliament, Government and larger audience. [10] Similarly they invited anti-gay psychologist Paul Cameron to speak about the ‘danger’ of homosexuality.[11] Their Facebook page has gathered 39,000 likes despite Protestants only forming a small section of the Moldovan population.
  • ProFamilia – an NGO affiliated to Moldova Crestina and headed by Pastor Vasile Filat. They also invited the UK based lawyer Alex Spak and Miss Ukraine 2007 Lika Roman, now an expert in diplomacy and international relations, to speak about “New European policies on Diversity and Equality and their consequences for society and culture”.[12] They also called on the Mayor of Chisinau to ban Gay Pride Parades in the city.[13] Vitalie Marian, who is both a member of Moldova Crestina and Deputy President of the Pro Familia published on his website in 2011 a list containing the names of eight public figures (the Moldova’s Ombudsman, six members of the Council of the National Radio-TV Institution and a law lecturer at a law university in Moldova), along with their photo and quotations of their public previous declarations on LGBT issues. He did this to publicise who had ever publically expressed opinions favourable to the LGBT community and their rights, exposing them as ‘the gay supporters’. Taking into account the general outcry against the LGBT community and their rights in the context of the Anti-Defamation Law ADL adoption, this was an attempt to create a blacklist.  After being sued and losing the case nationally, Vitalie Marian filed a complaint to the ECtHR with support from the Christian Conservative legal group the European Centre for Law and Justice, claiming a freedom of speech violation.[14]
  • Anti-abortion Initiative-founded by Valery Ghiletki, a Moldovan Politician, Baptist priest and member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,[15], where he chairs the Committee on the Election of Judges to the European Court of Human Rights and sits on the Equality and Non-Discrimination Committee. This group cooperates closely with Vasile Filat from Moldova Crestina.
  • Veterans of the (1979-89) Afghanistan War- a paramilitary group. This group has been involved in mass protests on a range of different topics, such as the anti-discrimination law and other issues on LGBT rights. They were involved in a 2008 attack on a bus of LGBT protestors, where the police failed to intervene to protect the LGBT group.
  • The Moldovan Orthodox Lawyers Movement – a group with 21,000 likes on Facebook and an active website hosting a mix of conspiracy theories and extreme headlines such as ‘Blasphemy: Unity in Satan’ lambasting a June meeting between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church) and the Pope.[16]

Moldovan Orthodox Church

The Moldovan Orthodox Church (MOC- the Metropolis of Chișinău and All Moldova), a self-governing part of the Russian Orthodox Church, is the dominant religious institution in the country with huge influence. As an institution it has used its influence to crack down on rival religious groups, challenge the advance of LGBT rights and secular sex education/pushed life skills course out of school curricula and been seen to support political figures that back its agenda.

Religious intolerance towards other cults 

There are a number of examples of the Moldovan Orthodox Church using its influence to restrict the rights of minority religions. In the early days of Moldovan independence the Metropolis of Bessarabia, an Orthodox Church under Romanian Patriarchate, had its registration process denied by state institutions, as the result of influence and opposition of the dominant Moldovan Orthodox Church, a case resolved only after a ECtHR decision in favour of the Bessarabian church after a decade of delays.  Similarly, in 2005 the Spiritual Organisation of Muslims, led by Talgat Masaev had its official registration denied due to pressure from the Church and again this situation required intervention from the European Court in 2009 to force the authorities to facilitate registration.[17] In a high profile incident in 2009 a protest led by Protoiereu (senior priest) Anatolie Cibric, the Moldovan Christians’ Orthodox Association Fericita Maică Matrona and other protesters from Sfânta Paraschiva church, pulled down a publically displayed Hannukah candle and replaced it with a wooden cross.[18] When the protestant Seventh-Day Adventist Church attempted to have its own public action dedicated to Bible study a number of Orthodox priests prevented them from unfolding the event by occupying the designated space and urging local authorities to prevent Protestant displays in Central Square of an Orthodox country.[19]

 Opposition to the Anti-Discrimination Law

During the contentious debates over the passage of the EU backed Anti-Discrimination Law (ADL) in 2013 the leader of the Moldovan church Metropolitan Vladimir spoke in the Moldovan Parliament and referred to the sexual orientation criteria as unacceptable in the law, claiming the Christian population in RM is 98 % and cannot be equated with the 2% of homosexuals.[20] He also issued a public address to the state authorities and then President, demanding the modification of the law and withdrawal of the homosexuality criteria.[21] Similarly, Bishop Marchel spoke against the ADL in a press conference and threatened the MPs who voted for it with excommunication from the church if they failed to take sexual orientation out of the text of the law.[22]

After the adoption of the ADL, further pressure was organised by regular church goers speaking in a press conference and handing Metropolitan Vladimir a signed petition urging him to take action on the matter,[23] and threatened Vladimir with protests. On May 19 2013, at the Great National Assembly Square in Chisinau Metropolitan, Vladimir read the Church Synod declaration, which demanded the annulment of the ADL in within a month, otherwise threatening that the Church would continue to protest.  This was the decision that Synod of the church agreed earlier.

An interesting evolution is the coalition of the Orthodox and some Protestant Churches against the ADL and Pride events, given that the Orthodox Church does not otherwise normally recognise these churches, calling them ‘sects’ and putting them under continued pressure. Hate became the perfect glue for old enemies.  Also, the anti-Pride protests gathered together Christians, neo-Nazis, and far- right groups.[24] All these groups have found a common enemy in the LGBT community and are militating against their rights. This is, in fact, the best illustration of the de facto values and principles that these apparently different groups share.

School curricula influenced by the Church

The life skills course was pulled out of school curricula under the huge pressure of the church because of a chapter on homosexual couples. Sexual education is still missing in schools thanks to the opposition of the Orthodox Church, while information about the Holocaust is also still missing in the schools’ curricula, an issue often suppressed by the Moldovan state thanks to hostile attitudes of the church. Gender stereotyping in textbooks and school occupational practices continue. Christian Orthodox Religion is taught in schools and most of the time by priests. Making religion a Mandatory course in school has been used as a tool for re-entering the political arena by Valeriu Pasat, ex-director of the Moldovan Secret Service, who proposed an attempted referendum on this issue.[25]

Bodies and individuals active within the church illiberal agenda 

While Moldova’s major churches are deeply institutionally conservative in their approach and doctrine there are a number of groups and individuals associated with the church that is active in pushing it to be more proactive on these social issues. These include the Moldovan Christians’ Orthodox association Fericita Maică Matrona[26] and the ASCOR Chisinau- Association of Romanian Christian Orthodox Students in Moldova whose leading member Octavian Racu has built a public profile,[27] both groups which have mobilised on LGBT, anti-abortion and other reproductive rights issues. There is also Pro-Ortodoxia, whose President Ghenadie Valuta is a vocal orthodox priest who has directly challenged Metropolitan Vladimir to take a tougher line on LGBT rights issues. [28] His spat with the church leadership that includes allegations he was involved in a leak of photos linking Metropolitan Vladimir, who is supposed to be celibate, to holidaying with Nelli Tcaciuc,[29] has led to Valuta facing a ban from preaching within the church.[30]Despite official church rules preventing priest from explicit political campaigning Valuta has openly backed President Dodon’s election campaign by donating 50,000 lei.[31]

Conclusions

Small, underdeveloped countries such as Moldova with little or no tradition in democracy have become the stage for the battle over the liberal agenda, a platform for fringe and extreme figures from larger countries such as Americans Paul Cameron and Scott Lively. This year a host of such figures will be attending the World Congress of Families in Chisinau that will be held on 14-16th of September 2018, under the patronage of the President of Moldova. To support the event President Dodon has met with the president of the International Fund for Orthodox Nations Unity, Valeri Alexeev, with financial support coming from a range of donors, including the Moldovan First Lady’s Fund.

The Congress is focused on protection of the “traditional family” and Christian values. Unfortunately, most of the time, the pursuers of these goals understand achieving them by attacking everything else that falls outside of this definition. So liberal perspective and attitudes continue to be under a great threat in Moldova, especially with this ‘heavy duty’ artillery being involved, such as conservative, traditionalist church and struggling with democracy state actors or institutions. [32]

In his announcement of the event, the President has made a number of comments regarding the LGBT community and Pride Parades, stating his condemnation of the latest pride parade, criticising state authorities and the police for protecting the LGBT protestors, and restricting and arresting the counter-demonstrators. The President stated his major objective is the preservation of the traditional family and has accused the Government and the Parliamentary majority of “promoting draft laws and values that do not belong to us”.[33] He mentioned that not only would Patriarch Kyrill of the Russian Orthodox Church be present at the event on his personal invitation, but also a high Vatican representative. So this event, an export of American fundamentalism, is providing a platform the local Orthodox Church and its Russian colleagues to further project their fundamentalist message to the Moldovan population.

The main actors of the illiberal society are the sections of the state and Moldovan Orthodox Church under the Russian Patriarchate, plus some vocal fundamentalist Protestant churches. Many of the other groups without such affiliations are smaller and have little political influence-. Politicians abusing their Parliamentary mandates for personal gain, using scapegoating and ‘divide and rule’ strategies within Moldovan society, supported by a high level of corruption, the lack of efficient and independent justice system and almost no free media. This, of course, includes the current notionally pro-European Governing coalition, the alliance of Liberal, Democratic and Liberal-Democratic Parties. While declaratively promoting the standards and values of liberalism, mostly driven by external political demand such as from the EU, the main target is financial support that comes with such agreements. A most notorious example of the government’s attitude was the 2014 corruption scandal of one billion dollars (equivalent to 12% of Moldovan GDP) that was stolen from three Moldovan banks, where there was seen to be close ties between members of the government and led to the eventual imprisonment of former Prime Minister Vlad Filat.[34]

The church is the greatest ally or even counterpart of the state where there is no clear separation of the state and church institutions in Moldova. For example, the Orthodox doctrine is taught in public schools during the ‘optional course’ on Religion, have turned out to be largely mandatory, with massive enrolment being largely done at the schools’ authority’s initiative and participation.

Following the collapse of the Soviet system the bubble burst and all the censored and tabooed issues broke in, while accurate, scientific and up to date information and education is missing. So the issues are associated with something foreign to our societies, which only appeared to be here after the fall of the wall, so had to be “imported” artificially. As a result – the denial of acknowledgment of the state of affairs in the country on a number of issues and resistance in accepting the new models and patterns is generally the reaction of the population. It includes aggressive and violent attempts to defend the outlook that used to be the pillar and guideline in the past. This is true too for some of the liberal civil society actors and individuals that struggle with their own homophobic, nationalistic, xenophobic or other illiberal attitudes.

Illiberal messages, and in some cases the groups supporting them, are thriving in Moldova thanks to a context created by corrupted authorities of different sorts, that are discrediting the idea of democracy/liberalism in the attempt to hold on to their power. They have managed to achieve this by playing on people’s fears and anxieties, and some post-totalitarian submissive mentality or on hopes and dreams of ancient rules and order.

The current players in the Moldovan political landscape are:

  • State authorities – seen as corrupt
  • Church – traditionally controlling and holding the power to heavily influence both state and people
  • People – traditionally heavily oppressed and struggling to survive
  • Human Rights defenders and liberal civil society – ´watch dogs´ and agents of change, following the democratic and human rights based model
  • Illiberal groups and civil society – pursuers of the ‘old good times’ idea, who are impeding the social evolution to modernity and are dragging it back to a ‘middle ages’ societal model
  • International bodies/structures willing to impact RM evolution in democratic/liberal direction
  • International bodies/structures willing to impact RM evolution into the conservative direction

After the collapse of USSR, the Republic of Moldova exited one totalitarian regime and has not truly established a new one, torn between east and west, conservative and liberal. Taking into the account the long -established conservative and totalitarian tradition in this territory, huge pressure from a number of highly influential actors, such as Orthodox Church, Russia’s political interest in the country, the traditionalist mentality of the general public, the chances for the instalment of a liberal society in the near future is very small, even with the efforts of the international community and local supporters.

On the other hand, the Diaspora is becoming more and more of a voice, especially in the context of election procedures, whose active involvement was triggered by the manipulations of votes during last Parliamentary elections and the annulment of the last Mayoral election in Chisinau. Also, there is a part of the local population who is fed up with government corruption and financial scandals, a difficult financial existence and separation from family members working abroad to make a living. The last decade has been tough on the population: the 8 years of harsh communist government during the 2000s has been followed by a pro-European government famous for its corruption and deepening economic crises. The situation has all the signs of a revolution but requires a lot of strength and resistance from the citizens, and substantial support from international partners to address the situation.

Recommendations

The role of Diasporas and migrant workers in influencing social attitudes

There is scope to build on the influence of those who have traveled, studied (especially the social sciences) or who have worked abroad, who are more receptive to liberal values after having witnessed and experienced the benefits of it while overseas. Similarly, young people who speak English/other foreign language and are curious to learn about other cultures and societies, developing their own personal experiences. Part of a strategy for improving understanding of more liberal approaches should include more cultural and educational opportunities abroad, and not only for intellectual elites.

Working with liberal civil society

Local civil society: only a part of it is concerned with the liberal agenda, is divided upon particular topics; in competition for resources from international donors, and which somewhat reinforce the perception of liberalism as a foreign import.

There is a further need for the:

  • Education of general society and state officials on democracy and liberalism
  • Sharing best practices and how best to cope with challenges
  • Creation of a robust democratic system with check and balances that doesn’t allow easy misuse/abuse of this system
  • Exploration of opportunities for dialog with illiberal groups through well-regulated UN and EU forums, with religious or cultural groups willing do so – a grouping that does not include many organisations identified in this essay.
  • International support to be bottom up, both financial and capacity building: money and expertise should go straight to the people, local organisations and public administration who have demonstrated that they are implementing the democratic and Human Rights based approach.

Ending of any partnerships with the corrupted and compromised government and support new generations of leaders and initiatives committed to the country and the people’s benefit, with proven formation and supporters of democracy and a human rights-based approach.

About the author: Mihaela Ajder is an independent expert working for defending the human rights of people in R. Moldova for more than 10 years now. Specialization in non-discrimination and social justice. Born in Moldova in 1975 she graduated from State University of Moldova in 1999, with a degree from the Journalism and Communication Science Department. She has been involved in Moldovan civil society since 2000 working with human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Winrock International, Human Rights Information Center (CIDO), HomoDiversus. In her activity held positions as a volunteer, program coordinator, consultant and expert in Diversity and Non-Discrimination, including as Executive Director.

[1] As part of Moldova’s UN Universal Period Review on Human Rights in2016  the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women reiterated its concern about the persistence of patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society and the persistent stereotyping of older women and women with disabilities. The Committee was concerned that, although the Republic of Moldova was a secular State, religious institutions often perpetuated traditional gender roles in the family and in society and influenced State policies with an impact on human rights. It urged the State to ensure that local authorities promoted policies based on gender equality principles, without interference from religious institutions. It also urged the Republic of Moldova to develop a comprehensive strategy across all sectors, targeted at women and men, girls and boys, to overcome patriarchal and gender-based stereotypical attitudes.  See: https://www.crin.org/en/library/publications/republic-moldova-childrens-rights-references-universal-periodic-review

[2] Website of the New Right group https://nouadreapta.md/

[3] Website of the Romanian New Right https://www.nouadreapta.org/

[4] Information about Tesak, a Russian neo-Nazi activist, white power skinhead and the leader of the far-right youth group Format 18 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxim_Martsinkevich

[5] EuropaLibera, Moldova in the ILGA-Europe report on respect for the rights of sexual minorities, May 2016 https://www.europalibera.org/a/27728603.html

[6] About Alexander Ciolac, StopHam Moldova Coordinator,  https://www.facebook.com/alecsandr.ce,  StopHam Moldova and StopHam Bukharest Facebook pages https://www.facebook.com/stopham.md/?ref=br_rs and https://www.facebook.com/stopbadbucuresti/

[7] Russian Stopham (StopXam) Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/StopXamTv/ ,

[8] Website of Moldova Crestina group, https://moldovacrestina.md/

[9] Pastor Vasile Filat, LGBT Rescue Strategy, Moldova Crestina, July 2018, https://moldovacrestina.md/strategia-de-salvare-a-oamenilor-lgbt-pastor-vasile-filat/

[10] Gay Rights at Center Stage in Battle over Moldova Antidiscrimination Bill, RFE/RL, March 2014 https://www.rferl.org/a/gay_rights_take_center_stage_in_moldova/2337579.html. Also see: Cathy Kristofferson, First Pride ever in Moldova- Huge Scott Lively Fail, Oblogdee, May 2013, https://oblogdee.blog/2013/05/19/first-pride-ever-in-moldova-huge-scott-lively-fail/

[11] Paul Cameron in Moldova, October 2011 https://paper-bird.net/2011/10/25/paul-cameron-in-moldova/

Also see: Sociologist Paul Cameron says in a press conference: Promoting homosexual rights leads to increased acceptance of homosexuality among young people. Empirical evidence, October 2011, https://bit.ly/2mjkKEu

[12] Invitation to the conference, April 2010, http://comunicate.md/index.php?task=articles&action=view&article_id=3047

[13] Pro-Family, Open Letter to the Mayor of Chisinau regarding the prohibition of the parade of homosexuals in Chişinău, April 2010 http://comunicate.md/index.php?task=articles&action=view&article_id=3021

[14] Marian Vitalie, Marian Vitalie Case: A Violation Of Freedom Of Expression In Moldova, ECLJ, July 2014 https://eclj.org/free-speech/echr/the-case-of-marian-vitalie-a-violation-of-freedom-of-expression-in-moldova

[15] Information about Valeriu GHILETCHI on PACE website: http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/AssemblyList/MP-Details-EN.asp?MemberID=4055 See also Parliament in Chişinău could restrict abortion. Will there be EU and US conditions?, March 2012

http://www.teologie.net/2012/03/06/parlamentul-restrictii-avort/  and The Moldovan Political Church https://www.zdg.md/editia-print/politic/biserica-politica-din-moldova-2

[16] Moldovan Orthodox Lawyers Movement, People are often unconscious of the psychological, emotional, and spiritual dangers of the sects, July 2018  https://www.aparatorul.md/oamenii-deseori-sunt-inconstienti-de-pericolele-psihologice/

[17] European Court of Human Rights – Case of Masaev v. Moldova, 12 May 2009.

http://www.legislationline.org/documents/id/15778

[18] Moldovan Orthodox Church: Jews to blame for menorah incident, December 2009 https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3824287,00.html and Orthodox Believers To Not Impede Hanukah Celebration, If Menorah Is Installed Not In Center Of Chisinau, November 2010, http://www.infotag.md/reports-en/767265/ and The strategic activity program of the Association, Toaca. http://toaca.md/?&page=AsociatiaFericitaMaicaMatrona

[19] Image: Anti-Adventist protest in Moldova, Europe, August 2009 https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-anti-adventist-protest-moldova-europe-image10563972

[20] HE Metropolitan Vladimir, against the Anti-Discrimination Act: “The Metropolitan does not want, but our whole society, April 2016, http://ortodox.md/ips-mitropolit-vladimir-impotriva-legii-antidiscriminare-nu-doreste-mitropolitul-dar-intreaga-noastra-societate/

[21] Addressing the Synod of the Moldovan Orthodox Church to the top authorities of the country, amending the Anti-Discrimination Act, May 2013, http://ortodox.md/adresarea-sinodului-bisericii-ortodoxe-din-moldova-catre-autoritatile-de-varf-ale-tarii-pentru-modificarea-legii-anti-discriminare/

[22] Bishop Marchel: Politicians who voted anti-discrimination law risk being excluded from the Church, May 2013, http://ortodox.md/episcop-marchel-politicienii-care-au-votat-legea-antidiscriminare-risca-sa-fie-exclusi-din-biserica/

[23] Certain explanations from the Metropolitan, September 2013

http://ortodox.md/cer-explicatii-de-la-mitropolit/

[24] The gay parade was stopped, May 2008, http://logos.md/2008/05/13/parada-gay-lor-a-fost-oprita/

[25] The Secular State Initiative Group seeks the annulment of the decision on the registration of the initiative group for the Republican referendum

http://www.civic.md/stiri-ong/9454-grupului-de-iniiativ-pentru-promovarea-statului-secular-solicit-anularea-hotrarii-cu-privire-la-inregistrarea-grupului-de-iniiativ-pentru-desfurarea-referendumului-republican.html

[26] The strategic activity program of The Association of Moldovan Orthodox Christians “Blessed Mother Matron”http://toaca.md/?&page=AsociatiaFericitaMaicaMatrona  See also:

http://toaca.md/?&page=aboutus

[27] National Appeal for Teaching Religion at schools, November 2009.  https://octavianracu.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/apel-national-pentru-predarea-religiei-in-scoala/

[28] Ghenadie Valuţa is publicly apologizing to Metropolitan Vladimir, July 2014,http://www.realitatea.md/ghenadie-valuta-aduce-scuze-publice-mitropolitului-vladimir-ce-pacate-a-facut_6720.html

Priest Ghenadie Valuţa: We were shocked and traumatized by the actions of the LGBT march, May 2018, https://adevarul.ro/moldova/social/preotul-ghenadie-valuta-ramas-socati-traumatizati-actiunile-fortelor-ordine-marsul-lgbt-1_5b055ee2df52022f7552f72a/index.html

[29]Robert Coalson Moldovan Newspaper Threatened Over Orthodox Metropolitan’s Vacation Pics, RFE/RL, September 2014,  https://www.rferl.org/a/moldovan-newspaper-threatened-metropolitan-vladimir/26581497.html

[30] After being banned from office, priest Ghenadie Valuta says the decision is revenge for the appearance of some pictures in the press, with the metropolitan in the company of a woman at sea – VIDEO, Pro TV, September 2015, http://protv.md/stiri/actualitate/dupa-ce-i-a-fost-interzis-sa-oficieze-slujbe-preotul-ghenadie—1119481.html

[31] Priest Ghenadie Valuţa sponsored the socialist leader’s campaign with nearly 50,000 lei: Personal money, from three couples, wedding, November 2016, https://unimedia.info/stiri/preotul-ghenadie-valuta-a-sponsorizat-campania-liderului-socialistilor-cu-aproape-50-000-de-lei-sunt-bani-personali–de-la-trei-cumatrii–nunta-123858.html

[32] The 2018 World Congress of Families will be held in Chisinau under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Moldova , November 2017, http://www.presedinte.md/rom/presa/congresul-mondial-al-familiilor-din-anul-2018-se-va-desfasura-la-chisinau-sub-egida-presedintelui-republicii-moldova

[33] VIDEO. Dodon Announces World Family Congress in Chisinau: There will be participants from over 50 countries, May 2018,  http://agora.md/stiri/45721/video–dodon-anunta-un-congres-mondial-al-familiei-la-chisinau-vor-fi-participanti-din-peste-50-de-tari

[34]Tim Whewell, The great Moldovan bank robbery, BBC News, June 2015, https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33166383

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