A burgundy car parks in front of a five-storey block of flats in a suburb of Chisinau and four young women who have just spent their day on the shores of a lake in the capital are descending from it. It’s a stifling August evening heat outside. One of them, Elena*, a plump blonde with blue eyes, looks at the grey block of flats, swallows as if chocked and looks out to a window from the fourth floor. Her heart starts pounding.
A police car parks next to it. Elena greets the two law enforcement officers, thanks them for coming and sets off for the entrance to the block. They reach the fourth floor. The bell rings. The door cracks. From the dark hall of the house, a baritone man’s voice pierces:
“What do you want?”
„I came to pick up the child,” Elena says faintly, feeling her knees softening and sweat dripping down her hot temples.
„I don’t want to give her the child!” the man retorts shortly.
“Sir, according to the meeting schedule, your time has expired, a policeman intervenes.
“Ok! The child now eats, and when he finishes, he will go downstairs, the man gives in, and quickly closes the door.
Elena froze. Then she turns to the police crew, who were already coming down the stairs: “Please, don’t go. Wait to take my child home. He won’t give it to me. I already know how this whole thing will end if you leave.” One of the men with epaulets looks at her tired and tells her that they have other calls and that „you are not the only issue for us”.
Left alone on the landing, Elena also goes out. She leans against the burgundy car, wrapping her hands around her chest, and she starts to wait. The three friends join her, encouraging her with a: ‘Everything will be fine!’. She smiles bitterly at them, in gratitude. Only she knows what will happen next.
Tick-tack! 10 minutes pass.
Tick-tack! Another 10 minutes pass.
Tick-tack! Another 10 minutes pass.
„Enough! The child has already eaten three times during this time „, Elena says to herself. Take a deep breath and dials a phone number.
It’s midnight. Vladimir *, a tall, thin boy, is leaning over a notebook, trying to solve a math exercise. He studies to become an accountant at a college in Chisinau. Roommates are home to the country side. The dormitory where he has been living for half a year seems asleep. Only from the next room you can hear noise and „tuseala” (party – in Russian). He puts one finger in his ear, then the other, alternating, trying to alleviate the noise. Nothing. He can’t concentrate.
A loud knock on the door startles him. He stops writing. He crouches in his chair and embraces his knees. He realizes very well who is knocking like „an outlaw.” It’s Jeka, the boy who, for half a year, since he has been living in the dormitory, has been teasing, humiliating, cursing and threatening him as „to his heart’s content”.
The knocks increase with Vladimir’s fear. This time, what else could he do to him, if he opens the door, the boy thinks? The moments of Jeka entering the room and throwing empty beer bottles under his bed lingered in his eyes; or when he took his food from the refrigerator; or when he walked down the corridor with a knife and ostentatiously displayed it in front of him; or when he pressed him to the wall and warned him, “I am watching you. I know you are the p ** ar k ** nii”.
He understands that if he doesn’t open the door, the supervisor will blame him for making noise, as it has happened many times. She doesn’t care about him either.
He got up from his chair. Takes a few steps. He staggers. He feels his breath jerk. He feels his heart beating like crazy. He feels his fear, which wanders freely through his soul and body. However, he finds a touch of courage and grabs the key from the lock. He twists it and opens the door.
At the other end of the line, the man answers Elena questioningly:
“What do you want?”
“The boy has eaten three times since then. Let him come down and we’ll go.”
“Is your podrug’ta there as well (your girlfriend – from Russian)?”
“Andrei, finish with this nonsense and bring the boy down”
A few minutes later, the man came down with a seven-year-old boy. The scandal started from the fact that Olessa’s car was not equipped with a child car seat, Elena remembers. „Well, your car still doesn’t have a child car seat. I will fasten him the belt”, the young woman reproached to her ex-husband.
For an hour, the two ex-spouses verbally assaulted each other. Then Andrei hit Elena. Olessea tried to intervene, but came to face the small pebble.
“K **cenaia lesbiana! You are inadequate and abnormal! Cheap prostitutes!”, the man burst out.
A police crew showed up. The same one who, a little earlier, had accompanied Elena to her ex-husband’s door. They all went to the police section together to testify and file a complaint.
Andrei was trying to convince the law enforcement officers that the two women deserved to be beaten, „because his ex-wife, with whom he has a seven-year-old son, is a lesbian and has an affair with Olessea”. When they heard this, Elena remembers, one of the policemen looked at them for a long time, then approached her.
„Is it true what your husband says?” Are you a lesbian?
„You, those of a different orientation, must all be gathered in one room, the omon must be called (special purpose police detachment – from Russian) and beaten until you come to your senses or you become normal people,” the young woman recounts the dialogue with the law enforcement officer.
Republic of Moldova – ranked 36th out of 49 countries
The most discriminated people in the Republic of Moldova remain those in the LGBTI community, it is attested in the social cohesion and reconciliation exercise (SCORE), organized in 2018 by the United Nations. Figures show that 85% of respondents would prefer LGBTI people to leave their communities.
At the same time, the preliminary data of „Study on the perception of respect for human rights in the Republic of Moldova”, 2021 edition, conducted by the Ombudsman Office, shows that sexual minorities are among the groups of people whose rights are least respected in our country – in proportion of 19.4%.
Even at the international level, Moldova does not occupy a good rank in terms of respecting the rights and equality of LGBTI people. According to a ranking made by ILGA Europe, Moldova is ranked 36th out of 49 countries in the European region.
In the study „Perceptions on human rights in Moldova”, the representatives of the LGBTI community mention that their right to physical and mental integrity is the most breached one. „Society condemns them, blames them, threatens them and, in some situations, they are assaulted. Aggression situations are most frequently faced by gays, while society is more tolerant of lesbians”, remark the authors of the study. The interviewed experts stated that there are some explanations for the homophobic attitude, such as the prison culture outside the detention places, the shameful attitude towards sex, but also the image of women as sexual objects, promoted in porn movies, which diminishes aggression towards lesbians.., but emphasizes sexual harassment and objectification.
„In our society, everything related to sexuality is taboo. If sex were not taboo, homosexuality would not be taboo either. At least, not so loud. But where it is taboo, there is a lot of frustration. When the person has frustrations related to sex life and some sexual behaviours, these frustrations will automatically be redirected to the LGBTI community, which is associated with some sexual practices”, considers Angelica Frolov, coordinator of the LGBTI Rights Lobby and Advocacy Programme at GENDERDOC-M.
In the threshold stands a tall and vigorous boy who smells of alcohol. To Vladimir’s amazement, it’s not Jeka. „It was easy, this time,” he says to himself.
“What do you want to show by wearing pink hair?” the young man from the doorway asks, staring at him.
„Thank you for the compliment,” Vladimir replies.
He gets to close the door, but the boy in the doorway blocks it with his foot. Vladimir felt finished. „Of course I am afraid. He’s like a mountain, and I can’t even kill a fly. Soon he’ll hit me in the nose and he’s going to kill me.”
It did not happen. He leaned against the door again, without looking into the eyes of the one who kept calling him ‘p ** ar’, until one of the students who had gathered in the corridor took the aggressor a step back. Vladimir used that few seconds and locked the door, twisting the key in the lock.
He waited a few more moments in the dark. He couldn’t get to his bed. Fear had completely paralyzed him. ‘Wow, you gave him a lesson. Let him know that the place of the p**rilor is not here. Did I tell you we had one wearing the boots reversed in the hallway? ‘ The laughter and insults in the corridor could be heard by him.
He nestled in his bed and began to cry. He remembered bits of life similar to the one he had just experienced. He says he has never hurt anyone, but he still doesn’t understand: Who and what do they have against his pink or blue hair? Who and what do they have against his sexual orientation?
Into the „Study on perceptions and attitudes towards equality in the Republic of Moldova”, carried out in 2018 by Equality Council, LGBTI people were given more grades. This group of people is perceived as abnormal by 40% of the general population, a fact found in group discussions. „More than half of the general population believes that LGBTI people should be deprived of the following rights: to adopt a child (71%), to get married (66%) and to organize public events (66%). Most Roma respondents believe that homosexual relationships should be punished (73%) „, the study states.
Elena comes from a dynasty of pedagogues, which marked her as well. „When I was little, I loved playing the ‘teacher’ game. I was very severe „, the young woman laughs.
After graduating from high school, she knew exactly where she would submit her documents. „I didn’t even think about which faculty to choose. I went to „Ion Creanga” Public Pedagogical University. In the summer of that year, Elena fell in love with a boy from the neighbouring entrance – Andrei. He was 14 years older, and this „flattered me enormously.”
A year later, Elena announced to her parents that she was moving in with him. „My mother is very modern and told me to go, if I wanted. But my father was worried. He was very afraid. Andrei did not have a stable job. In the end, seeing that he couldn’t get through to me, he said to me: “Okay, try it!”.
The next two years were a „beautiful” relationship, Elena describes it. Quarrels broke out from time to time, but the young woman considered them „normal, because I had no experience of meeting other boys.” Then, when she announced him that she was pregnant and that they would have a baby, everything changed. „He was disappointed when I showed him the pregnancy test. He just said, “We need to get married.” I was even more disappointed. He hadn’t enjoyed the news at all.”
The birth of the little boy brought even more quarrels, and the relationship between the two spouses „started to squeak considerably”, Elena says. The man went to work abroad, and the young mother was left to cope alone with raising the child, as well as with postnatal depression. She was only 20 at the time. „I cried for a year without interruption. I didn’t wear make-up or comb my hair.”
In her final year of college, Elena managed to get a job at a high school in the capital. The husband sent her money, but it was only enough for the boy’s needs. „They simply hired me. The salary was not great, almost miserable, but I was happy that I would be able to practice and get on my way to financial independence. And when I sent the child to the kindergarten, it was even easier for me.”
In the fall of 2018, Elena started talking more and more often with one of her 12th grade students, with whom she had befriended. „There were messages strictly related to the subject I was teaching. […] I knew Olessea was from the LGBTI community. She used to come to my house with her girlfriend. And “I woke up one day that I was actually looking forward to her messages. I didn’t tell anyone how I felt. I understood it was something, but I didn’t understand what. I have never had such feelings with any man. I don’t even know how to explain „, says the young woman.
It had occurred to her that he might be of a different sexual orientation, and she shuddered when some past events seemed to come together and take shape: when, at the age of seven, she kissed a girl— „The incidents were so minor for me then, that I did not attribute it to the orientation. How many children do not do this to test?”; when she began to dislike Andrei’s presence – „She could not even have sex with him. She wasn’t attracted to him. I felt nothing awoke in me”; when she thought more and more of Olessea – …
After Olessa’s prom, Elena started dating the former student, and soon told Andrei that she wanted a divorce. „He guessed who it was, like my family, by the way, asking me briefly, ‘It’s Olessea, isn’t it?’ It was probably in my eyes. „
After a heavy beating and dragging her hair through the house, threatened with death and driven with a car that was driving on the street at over 150 kilometres per hour, called ‘dirty lesbian’, ‘stupid prostitute’, making her feel „like the last garbage ”, Elena took the child and they moved into a rented apartment with her girlfriend.
Vladimir was born into a simple family in a small provincial town in central Moldova. He dedicated his free time to piano lessons – „I sang for eight years”, and to volunteering – „I registered in several organizations as a volunteer, including in Chisinau. I love informing young people and organizing trainings”. He would spend his summers with his grandparents with his younger brother, Anatol. „Greens for rabbits and removing the weeds from the garden. Taking baths and picking cherries”, Vladimir chuckles with pleasure, when he remembers the sunny days.
He was never attracted to girls. He had a classmate who, around the sixth or seventh grade, began to make him constant love statements. For him, however, these gestures were quite burdensome. „I didn’t even know how to behave and what to do. I didn’t like the girl at all, but I didn’t want to upset her either. „
Also, in that period he realized that he was part of the 5-7% of the population who had a different sexual orientation. „I always noticed that I liked boys and that girls didn’t attract me at all and I thought it was absolutely normal. One day I saw on TV about the march of LGBTI people. I searched for more information and realized that I was part of their group. I thought, ‘So what’s happening to me is called being gay?’ But I [also] found out [that] that these people are being persecuted in Moldova.”
At first. he was scared. Then he calmed down, telling to himself, ‘If no one has paid attention to everything I’ve been doing so far, then everything is OK.’ He was kind of wrong about that. In the ninth grade, after dyeing his hair blue – „that’s part of my personality” – he was harassed by colleagues in the parallel class for a year.
„They will suffer to suicide, but they will not involve adults”
Almost 87% of students in the Republic of Moldova are affected by bullying, according to a study conducted for the first time, in 2019, by UNICEF. The emotional abuse of colleagues leaves traces comparable to those of sexual and physical abuse.
„Teenagers have a very big problem with personal development”, explains Angelica Frolov. „Any psychologist will say that this is the most complicated age. It is very important for teenagers to be accepted by others, to be part of a group. Group cohesion is so strong and is a very pronounced feature of this period that they will suffer to suicide, but will not involve adults. Plus, during this period, empathy, risk analysis is not developed. All this develops only after the age of 25. For them, life is still a game. There is no death for them. That’s why bullying, which will always exist, happens. „
It is not the students who are responsible for stopping this phenomenon, says Frolov, but the adults, that is, the teachers, because “teenagers really can’t control their emotions. The hormonal background, especially in boys, testosterone can oscillate from too low to too high. Someone said that if a man had these leaps, his heart would not resist, he would die. Teachers certainly notice this, but they don’t get involved – they are not informed, they don’t know, but they don’t want to know either. They have to do trivial, routine things: check the notebooks, cook at home, do some extra work to survive, because salaries are very low”.
For Vladimir, the ninth grade period was the darkest year of his life. „I was loved by the teachers – I was smart, I was educated, and that made them even more irritated. They would go out on the corridor, in the break, and, as they would see me, they would begin to shout: ‘Hey, p***rasule, how are you?’
Vladimir would say nothing. He would keep quiet and pretend to be busy and that he could not hear. „I tried to get out of the room as soon as possible during the break, so as not to meet them. If I didn’t succeed, I would stay in class. „
He did not turn to anyone for help and did not file a complaint, just as no colleague or teacher tried to help. „I don’t think any teacher cared about what was happening to me. Plus, if I made a complaint, I would automatically attract attention and many questions would arise. I learned to be as cautious and discreet as possible „, explains Vladimir.
At the end of the ninth grade, Vladimir also left the church choir in which he had been singing for a few years. „I was the only young man who sang with many old women. I really liked it. But when the priest saw me with dyed hair, he asked me, ‘What did you do, did you drop zelionka (brilliant green – from Russian) in your head?’ I understood that I did not behave in an ecclesiastical manner. Then one day, at the end of the service, the priest gave a sermon in which he told Christians that gays are a cancer and we must get rid of them. At that moment, I realized that I didn’t want to sing anymore.”
„Hate speech – a tool often used by politicians”
The discriminatory attitude towards the LGBTI community is also fuelled by the speeches of some politicians and religious figures, it is mentioned in „Joint UN common country analysis for the Republic of Moldova”.
Discriminatory and offensive messages intensify especially during election campaigns and events to promote their rights, note the authors of a Promo-LEX report, an organization that promotes democracy and human rights. It’s just that the number of hate speeches in election campaigns are growing not only in relation to the LGBTI community, but also to other vulnerable groups, including politicians, says Alexandru Postica, one of the authors.
„Hate speech is a tool often used by politicians to manipulate public opinion. Every party is trying to stand out. Many times, they find a taboo subject in society and, therefore, try to discuss something that people do not really accept, such as the LGBTI community and their public activities „, explains Postica.
A recent graduate, Vladimir decided to continue his studies in Chisinau. Before moving to the capital, he tried, quite veiledly, to tell his mother about his gender identity. Although she suspected that her son was different, the young man said. „My gestures are very feminine. For example, when my father returns from abroad, I try to control them as much as I can, so as not to give in. When I was delegated, within an organization, to hold a training in my city, I chose to talk about the LGBTI community and how discriminated against these people are. Then my mother, finding out about the content of the seminar, asked me if I was gay. I did not deny it. „
The acknowledgment caused anger, pain and tears to the face of the woman, also an accountant. She locked herself in the bathroom for three days and cried, says Vladimir. When she came out, she warned him: ‘Never tell me more about this. I don’t care what you do, but I don’t want to know. Don’t tell your father. He’s going to kill you. Otherwise, everything will be as before ‘.
„Were these words painful to me?” […] I love her very much. I’m afraid I’ll lose her. I don’t want to upset her and I avoided talking about it. I realized that it is better for both of us not to open the parentheses. „
After acknowledging his sexual orientation to his mother, part of what the literature calls coming out, Vladimir felt better, because „I spoke out and it was no longer a burden to hide my true identity from my mother.” But he would still face homophobia from other family members, but also from people around him.
„When I made my coming out to my mother, my brother overheard the conversation and, for a while, tried to harass me, but it didn’t work out, because I ignored him. I pretended not to see, not to hear. Once, he told me I was going to hell. Another time, I came home from school and saw a check on my desk that said, ‘Are you p**ar?’. Then I went to him and asked:
– Tolea, what is this?
– Are you gay?
– Yes! And what?
– Get ready, there will be even more!
– Are you declaring war on me? It’s just funny. What does being gay have to do with our relationship? Something has changed? Did I do something to you? Hello, Tolea, it’s still me! ‘
Following the discussion, the brother calmed down and did not tease him. „It’s OK now that I’m gay, I think. When I introduced him my boyfriend and he shook hands with him this winter, he told me we were looking fine together.”
Now Anatol admits that he realized that his brother was gay, because he behaved differently, and that he was not too surprised when he heard the conversation between Vladimir and their mother. But at the time he was just a teenager and didn’t know much about such people. „Sexual orientation is a taboo subject in our country, so all I knew was that if you’re gay, that’s a bad thing, and you automatically have to start witch hunting.”
After reading more on this subject, Anatol came to accept his brother. Moreover, he even had his own revelations. „Our society reacts sickly even when you are not gay, but you are different. For example, I am a weather-beaten young man and in winter I walk with fewer clothes. Automatically, everyone looks at me as weird, even though I’m not. I just can’t stand warm clothes „, says Anatol laughing.
„Opinions about the disclosure of sexual orientation and among the LGBTI community continue to differ. Some believe that they have the right to privacy and not to be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation, and society must accept / respect them without certain conditions, especially if they provide public services, the „Study on the perception of respect for human rights in the Republic of Moldova”, 2021 edition, drawn up by the Ombudsman Office says.
„Others, however, believe that the Moldovan society is not prepared for this and so LGBTI community representatives should be more cautious and not disclose their sexual orientation when it is not appropriate, thus causing negative reactions or changing attitudes towards them.”, is attested in the same study.
Elena’s divorce was shaky. Andrei kept accusing her, referring to the boy – ‘You want to make him my little girl!’, And during the court hearings „he shouted at everyone in the room that his wife was a lesbian.”
The man’s remarks didn’t impress the judge. After a trial that lasted more than half a year, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the magistrate dissolved the marriage between Elena and Andrei and, „in accordance with the principle of the best interests of the children,” ruled that the boy should live with his mother.
„It did not come as a surprise that [Andrei] would lose,” says Doina Ioana Straisteanu, Elena’s lawyer, „because he had nothing but her orientation, which he kept showed during the trial, and that is nonsense. It’s like saying that [a woman] can’t be a mother because she’s blonde. There was no evidence that the mother would not be able to care for the child. The Department of Social Assistance and Family Protection is present in such disputes and comes with an opinion: checking the living conditions of both parents. And the opinion is very helpful to the magistrate, in order to decide where to establish the domicile of the child. „
„My client has no hatred for the LGBTI community,” says Victor Ceban, the lawyer who represented Andrei in the divorce trial, noting that, indeed, Elena’s sexual orientation did not play any role in the judge’s decision and that the legislation does not even regulate such matters. „It doesn’t matter if she was a lesbian or not. She did not remain faithful during her marriage. She was supposed to tell her husband about it, but she was doing it in secret. And she needs to understand that through deception, she can cause psychological trauma to her husband.”
The decision of the first instance brought even more tension between Elena and Andrei. Disagreeing with the dissolution of the marriage, the man filed an Appeal. Until the court of appeal ruled, he kept calling his ex-wife, offending and threatening her.
The fight at the end of the summer, in front of the block of flats, after which they all got the police station, was the last, because, in a short time, Elena obtained a protection ordinance for three months. „We finally had peace and quiet. It was a dream. The boy saw Andrei through my parents.”
The woman had tried to obtain protection a year earlier, when they were in the divorce trial, but was refused, „on the grounds that there is no proven violence.” Then she had to settle for the fact that Andrei was sanctioned based on art. 354 Contravention Code – Not too serious hooliganism, for disturbing public order, swearing, threatening with violence – actions committed in the presence of the child.
„It’s not easy to prove hate crimes”
Even though hatred and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity decreased by about 30% compared to 2018, the LGBTI group remains in the top of the most affected groups, against which some of the most aggressive and violent speeches were recorded, is attested in the same study of Promo-LEX.
An explanation for this phenomenon could be the fact that in the Republic of Moldova there is no effective remedy for crimes and hate speech against LGBTI people, the respective cases being perceived as hooliganism or robbery, without taking into account the reason for hatred based on prejudice, explains Angelica Frolov.
„Discrimination is punishable by a fine. Hate crime is criminally punishable, but as robbery and hooliganism. Prosecutors say they have no legal basis. In fact, they are lazy and better classify it as hooliganism, because this is clear and they do not not need to gather additional evidence. And it’s not easy to prove hate crimes. However, if it turns out to be motivated by prejudice, murder or speech, then the punishment will be harsher. And you have to work harder.”
Things changed radically at the beginning of this year, after the Court of Appeal returned the request to Andrei, on the grounds that „it did not remove, within the established term, the indicated shortcomings”. „He calmed down automatically,” Elena recalls. „It was a sudden change in him. He no longer harassed, offended or threatened me. He went abroad to work. When he comes, he just calls to meet the boy. That’s all. What I’m telling you now seems to be part of a long nightmare. But some fights did not end here. „
Elena did not turn her sexual orientation into a secret. The first to find out was a woman whose child she baptized. Then she told his parents. Her mother, divorced from her biological father, realized earlier that her daughter had a relationship with Olessea, because “she had never seen such a friendship between girls. She understood that I was happy and did not blame me for anything. Only my father warned me that he didn’t want to know anything about my partner or see us together. He loves me, but without things like that. „
She had to manage things at work too, after several gossips inside the teaching staff came to her ears. She confronted them directly in the teachers’ room, then went to the deputy director, a psychologist. „In the 12th grade, Olessea turned to her for help and she revealed to her that she was in love with me. When the deputy director told me that, I said, ‘Huuu! Good that the principal doesn’t know. ‘ But she smiled and said that the principal knows everything. „
She explained the situation to the boy directly. „I have always told the truth: that I am fine now, that I am in a relationship with a woman, that I do not reconcile with his father, but that this will not influence in any way his relations with his father. He understands. He loves me and Olessea.”
The two women spend their weekends sometimes with one’s family, sometimes with the other’s family. „Our parents are waiting for us.”
At college, Vladimir found himself alone confronting his problems and that he had to deal with them all alone. He started looking for information about the gay community in the Republic of Moldova and registered on social networks dedicated to homosexuals.
After the incident in the dormitory, the young man did not stay there for another day. He packed his things and took shelter, for a while, with a friend. Then he moved into an apartment. In the meantime, he met Peter. They have been together for a year and have a discreet relationship.
Vladimir’s pink or grey or green hair continues to attract attention, and there are still those who look at him provocatively, including college teachers. He also hears whispers behind him, but he has learned, as a form of defence, to ignore them.
„I don’t know if I’m doing well, approaching things this way, but our country is quite homophobic. I had the opportunity to continue my studies at a university in another state, starting with September 1st. I think I will feel free and comfortable there and I will not feel persecuted. I have this vision, that people will not care how you dress or what colour your hair is”, says the young man serenely.
„I had a great winter holiday with my family who returned from Sweden for the holidays. My mother didn’t ask me anything, whether or not I was with someone or how I felt. I, in turn, said nothing. Dad doesn’t even suspect, and Grandpa even less. And, look, we are a happy family „, Vladimir laughs meaningfully.
„The easiest thing is to manipulate people’s fears”
For five years, a bill is covering in dust on the deputies’ table which would cover several gaps in the legislation on hate crimes and hate speeches, including introducing into the Criminal Code the concept of „reason for prejudice”.
„For example, someone beat someone else,” Nadezhda Hriptievschi, a lawyer at the Centre for Legal Resources of Moldova explains, “but maybe this someone beat a person because that person was Roma or gay, or had disabilities. A person is a victim of characteristics that you cannot change. You cannot change that you are Roma or that you are gay, or that you are a politician who believes in democracy. These are essential things. Plus, we have art. 346 of the Criminal Code, which sanctions any other actions that are aimed at inciting national, racial or religious enmity or disunion. The new bill better defines this article, because it is not only about inciting national enmity, but also about inciting acts of violence on the grounds of prejudice. „
Hriptievschi argues that these new provisions are needed not only to sanction but also to prevent. „Hate and psychological harassment speech, they are so serious that if you do not have good preventive actions, they can become part of reality and can lead to very serious consequences, both for the people who are the target of these speeches and for the whole society. […] We do not stop them and we see that, in every election campaign, the same targets appear. […] The hardest thing is to create a good political programme and the easiest is to manipulate using people’s fears”, the expert concludes.
* Modified first name, to protect the identity of the characters.
.Publishing – Nicolae Cușchevici
Illustrations – Diana Roșcovan