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Organized Online, Students Storm Gov't. Buildings In Moldova 199

Posted by timothy
from the no-emoticon-for-what-I-feel dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Reacting to allegedly fraudulent election procedures, students are storming the presidency and parliament of the small eastern European country of Moldova. It is reported that they used Twitter to organize. Currently twitter and blogs are being used to spread word of what is happening since all national news websites have been blocked. If the 1989 Romanian revolution was the first to be televised, is this the first to be led by twitter and social networks?" Jamie points out this interesting presentation (from March 2008) by Ethan Zuckerman about the realities of online activism, including how governments try to constrain it.
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Organized Online, Students Storm Gov't. Buildings In Moldova

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  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by KingAlanI (1270538) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:26AM (#27489063) Homepage Journal

    ...So Twitter is *occasionally* filled with useful material. :)

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:29AM (#27489111) Homepage

    will not be televised, but apparently it will be twittered.

    • by ionix5891 (1228718) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:38AM (#27489231)

      pitty any future historian who will have to dig thru all the LOLs to follow historical events

      • by snowraver1 (1052510) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:43AM (#27489303)
        Future researcher 1: We've almost decoded the ancient English language. FR2: Yes, we are very close. We just need a definition for this "LOL" word. FR1: Best I can tell, it seems to be a sign of mental retardation.
      • by curunir (98273) *

        The age of manual digging has long since past and future historians will have even more computing power at their disposal for investigating the past. We've begun to take for granted that what used to take a trip to the library and research skills to find is now as simple as CTRL+T, CTRL+K, search terms, ENTER (FF specific, but most browsers have an equivalent). 20 years from now, searches will incorporate far more AI-like characteristics to find what we're looking for. Future historians will simply set the

        • by ultranova (717540)

          20 years from now, searches will incorporate far more AI-like characteristics to find what we're looking for. Future historians will simply set the parameters of the search and a computer will be the one sifting through the massive number of inane tweets.

          So that's why it'll try to wipe off humanity. I always wondered why the supercomputers in B-grade science fiction always hate humanity with a passion far in excess of what their cold silicon hearts should be capable of, but now it all makes sense. I, for o

          • by eleuthero (812560)
            Most sci fi with a bent towards AI solves this--humans either become anti-social artistic hermaphrodites or artistic free love proponents. In both cases, there is usually some horrible crime committed by an outsider (or by someone trying to stage the impossible crime) that is solved by ... yet another outsider. The AI takes the place of common human government as well and is effectively given godlike authority, at least in terms of human respect for its decisions.
          • by curunir (98273) *

            Given strong AI, as would be necessary for your research scenario...

            I'm not sure what you mean by strong AI, but there really isn't much advancement in that field that's necessary for the searching methods I described. Google is already remarkably good at determining from the few search terms you enter which internet content is most similar to what you're looking for. And Bayesian filtering, once well trained, works quite well in filtering out spam. I see no reason why a historian couldn't use a thousand or

    • by QuincyDurant (943157) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:47AM (#27489363)

      The Soviet Union was crushed by fax machines. Twitter is just sort of a chickenshit fax machine for people who like to run their mouths.

      BTW, good for the students.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The Soviet Union was crushed by bad economic policies; everything else was a consequence, not a trigger. The collapse began before fax machines or copiers became common.

    • Well, you don't need a television, what with the Internet and all.

      Like this [liveleak.com].

  • Twitter (Score:5, Funny)

    by koterica (981373) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:30AM (#27489131) Journal
    Tomorrows CNN: "According to Twits from the Moldovian front...."

    Maybe after this, twitting will sound a little less stupid.

    Maybe.
  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:34AM (#27489175) Homepage

    I'm really surprised they managed to send so many messages without Twitter displaying the Fail Whale.

  • by Em Emalb (452530) <ememalb@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:36AM (#27489203) Homepage Journal

    People use communication tools available to them to organize and carry out tactics?

    Oh, it's because it's twitter it's a novelty.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by xlotlu (1395639)

      The story is their communist government cut down the communication tools. Cellphone coverage is off and all media "shutdown" early in the day. The radio / television employees all went home and the buildings are surrounded by the military.

      The story is they were left with the internet. Here's a good read [foreignpolicy.com].

  • Europe... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hkz (1266066) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:38AM (#27489225)

    From my time in Moldova with native students, all they want is to join up with the rest of Europe and get the show on the road. They're really frustrated at "the Man". There's the Romanians who don't want to reunite the countries (since Moldova is poorer), the Russians who keep feeding the border conflict with Transnistria (fascinating read about that tin pot narco/weapons state: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transnistria [wikipedia.org] ), there's the EU that doesn't even want to consider Moldova as long as there's an unsolved border conflict, there's the communists in power, and so on. Doesn't surprise me much that they're going the same way as the Orange Revolution in Ukraine -- which was much the same circumstances.

    Totally OT: Moldova has the BEST wine and the CRAZIEST Nightclubs. Gotta believe me on that one ;-)

    • How many more countries are going to sprout out in that area? I already went broke replacing all my atlases when the USSR broke up, Yugoslavia broke up and reorged a couple of times, then Kosovo went independent... sheesh! I wish there was an atlas with a bunch of scrapbook-style cutouts for the most likely countries to secede next :)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by harry666t (1062422)
        Ultimate solution to this, and a handful of other problems:

        1. Buy a geographical atlas, with no countries marked at all,
        2. Write "world" on it,
        3. Tell everyone else to do the same.
        • Solves a handful of problems and creates many more. Pass.

        • 4. What if they don't take any notice?
        • by msouth (10321)

          2. Write "world" on it,

          Yeah, well, there's gonna be a lot of people writing almost the same thing, but with slight but meaningful variations:

          "world--finally the whole thing is up for grabs"
          "world--mine"

          Also, when you're trying to bring about the One World Government you're supposed to do it in secret with Bilderbergers and Rothschildren and stuff.

          (Note that I completely left out this version:

          "world--thanks, Obama, for bankrupting the last barrier to a crushingly Socialist one-world government where the only

          • by ultranova (717540)

            "world--thanks, Obama, for bankrupting the last barrier to a crushingly Socialist one-world government where the only group willing to rise up and take back power are the Islamofascists"

            Just out of curiosity: what barrier was that? I thought it was capitalism that went bankrupt, and rather spectacularly at that...

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by msouth (10321)

              Just out of curiosity: what barrier was that? I thought it was capitalism that went bankrupt

              To anyone who understands anything about economics, this statement, honestly, looks like a troll. It's like reading someone saying "I thought Windows was better? Isn't that what 95% of businesses use?" or something like that. Yes, there are many, many people who thought (and perhaps still think, although OS X and even linux have made tremendous inroads into the public consciousness now), for example, that it was "

              • by ultranova (717540)

                Do you want to keep going?

                Please do. Your ranting is quite amusing, in a way. It doesn't actually answer my question ("what barrier did Obama bankrupt?"), but it's amusing nonetheless.

                But I suppose I can't really blame you. Times like these must be very difficult for libertarianists. You merely react the same way most people do when their favourite ideology or religion is being contradicted by reality: you shout louder.

                I wish you luck in battling whatever demons of altruism you were really answering to. We

        • Yeah, but will it be the "World Republic Of Free Nations", or the "World Islamic Caliphate", or "The Kingdom of Our Lord Christ The Savior", or ...?

          Unless and until you figure that one out, it's not going to work.

          • Duh, let go of one barrier and people will instantly come up with another.

            I think it's time for the mankind to realize that changing the world will never help anybody. If you want change, change yourself.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Doesn't surprise me much that they're going the same way as the Orange Revolution in Ukraine

      What - you mean financed and organised by the US government?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dunkelfalke (91624)

        You can also see how fucked Ukraine is now. The government is not functioning, the presidend and the prime minister (former best buddies and orange revolution heroes) are now bitter enemies.

        • Frankly, Ukraine was fucked before the Orange Revolution, and everyone knew it, too. It wouldn't have been any better if it didn't happen. It just happens to be a state in turmoil; largely precipitated by the east/west divide, with eastern regions being mostly Russian-speaking and self-identifying as ethnically Russian, and western regions being mostly Ukrainian-speaking and self-identifying as ethnically Ukrainian. And yet Ukraine pretends to be a single nation-state with a single state language. Of course

    • Re:Europe... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Cyberax (705495) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:11AM (#27489719)

      Russians work as peacekeepers in Transnistria.

      Also, you should try to read Wiki article you're quoting:
      ======
      On August 31, 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the Moldavian SSR adopted Moldovan as the only official language, with Russian retained only for secondary purposes, returned Moldovan to the Latin alphabet, and declared a shared Moldova-Romanian linguistic identity. As plans for major cultural changes in Moldova were made public, tensions rose further. Ethnic minorities felt threatened by the prospects of removing Russian as the de facto official language, the possible future reunification of Moldova and Romania and the ethnocentric rhetoric of the Popular Front. The Yedinstvo (Unity) Movement, established by the Slavic population of Moldova, pressed for the equal status given to both Russian and Moldovan.[73]
      Soviet symbols are still used in Transnistria

      The nationalist Popular Front won the first free parliamentary elections in the Moldavian SSR in the spring of 1990[citation needed], and its agenda started slowly to be implemented.
      =======

      That pattern was repeated several times during the USSR collapse (in Georgia and Armenia). Russian peacekeepers were able to stop these conflicts before they turned into full-scale civil wars.

      Also, Transnistria's reputation as a drug haven is exaggerated.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by richlv (778496)

        "russian peacekeepers". mwahaha.
        really, cut that crap. being occupied by russia for a good 50 years, and seeing what happens at it's borders after the period (georgia, anybody ?) we know quite well what their peacekeeping means.

        we also have seen the financing from russia working to keep up such local "movements". stop. we don't want to be occupied by you anymore, we don't want to be deported to siberia, we don't want to suffer from your atrocities anymore. try to understand that, work hard, and maybe, maybe

      • by KiloByte (825081)

        Please, don't use the words "Russians" and "peacekeepers" in the same sentence. I've got enough "peace doves" to draw in school while dad at constant military retraining kept learning the best ways to "defensively" attack Denmark.

        And putting Soviet symbols anywhere above Nazi ones is bending the history. Per-year, Soviets were as bad or worse as Nazis, and we had occupying us (central and eastern Europe) for 50 years while Nazis did barely 5.

        • by Cyberax (705495)

          "I've got enough "peace doves" to draw in school while dad at constant military retraining kept learning the best ways to "defensively" attack Denmark."

          That's what military does. Be sure that US army is training to 'preemptively' attack China and other countries.

          Comparing Soviet and Nazi occupations is just insane. It's way beyond bending of history.

          • by KiloByte (825081)

            Comparing Soviet and Nazi occupations is just insane. It's way beyond bending of history.

            I see you haven't lived in a country occupied by Soviets.

          • Comparing Soviet and Nazi occupations is just insane. It's way beyond bending of history.

            Really? Why? Stalin killed far more people than Hitler. The difference between Stalin and Hitler was the target of the genocide. Hitler decimated Jews, Gypsies, and other undesired races, while Stalin decimated people accused of being bourgeois by the millions, performed ethnic cleansing and ethnic relocation to avoid separatism, oppressed and killed a huge number of religious people, performed genocide through engineered famines such as Holodomor...
            In short:
            Hitler: The German people is superior, and we wil

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gr8dude (832945)

        "Russian peacekeepers"....

        Russia's presence in that area makes the problem persist. The reasons they're there is not to keep peace, but to maintain a conflict.

        They need it because it is to their benefit to keep some troops here and there, "just in case".

        • by Cyberax (705495)

          Yep, it would be much better to let Georgia wipe out and ethnically cleanse Ossetia and Abkhazia. After all, Georgia can't be bad, right?

          Maybe NATO also should have helped Serbia to maintain its territorial integrity instead of helping Kosovo to secede.

          Russian peacekeepers more or less stopped local conflicts, but they can't solve underlying problems.

          • by gr8dude (832945)

            Do you think the problem would occur if those lands weren't forcefully populated with non-natives in the first place?

            I don't know if you've ever been to Moldova, but the Russians here live an easy and safe life, like everybody else. There is no discrimination, nobody kicks nobody's butt in the street for the fact that they are "!moldovan", etc.

            I've never been to Georgia, but if they are like us, I think that "prevent ethnical cleansing" is just a pretext to keep troops there.

            • by Cyberax (705495)

              "I don't know if you've ever been to Moldova, but the Russians here live an easy and safe life, like everybody else. There is no discrimination, nobody kicks nobody's butt in the street for the fact that they are "!moldovan", etc."

              Yes, I've been to Moldova. There's little discrimination there, you're right.

              That's why Moldovan conflict is the only one which can still be resolved peacefully.

              "I think that "prevent ethnical cleansing" is just a pretext to keep troops there."

              There are no troops in Georgia. There

              • Do you think the problem would occur if those lands weren't forcefully populated with non-natives in the first place?

                Why didn't you answer this?

                There are no troops in Georgia. There are troops in Abkhazia and Ossetia. Read Wiki about conflicts between them and Georgia.

                You've got to be kidding. Abkhazia is not part of Georgia?

                Is Chechnya part of Russia?

    • by vertinox (846076)

      And don't forget that Transnistria has official relations with the Kremlim much like South Ossetia does.

      Igor Smirnov [wikipedia.org] (the head of Transnistria) just recently had a cordial meeting with the Russian President.

    • Re:Europe... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:54PM (#27491561)
      Most Romanians want to reunite with Moldova(and I'm talking here about 99.9%), there are thousands of Moldavians in every major University in Romania, in mine too, we speak the same language and share the same culture and history. We even offered to enter the EU together with Moldova as a single country, which we wore before the USSR ripped it away.

      Let me put this clear for you: Romania and Moldova used to be the same country until WWII, The Republic Moldova is just a part of the historic region of Romania called Moldova(since 1359), a big part of it still lies in Romania. The USSR performed ethnic and cultural clensing there, the comunists even went so far as to trying to forbid the teaching of the Romanian language.

      Since before the ellections, Romanian citizens woren't allowed to enter Moldova, and now Moldovan citizens that are currently in Romania aren't allow to go back into their own country !

      There is probably going to be a millitary intervention this night, since the students even assaulted the national television while the president was there in the studio.

      In Romania we went trough something simillar in 1989, it started in the city I'm studying in, Timisoara. A simillar student protest ended in the millitary shooting in the mass of students and killing not only students but everyone who was on the streets. It was a real horror show troughout the country.

      If something simillar happens in Moldova I can only hope it's going to come to a millitary intervention from Romania or NATO. The revolution in Romania ended with over one thousand dead and thousands wounded, most of which wore students. I really hope other countries won't just stand by and let the same thing happen again. It's only come so far because romanian officialls allways wore big cowards afraid to say anything that would upset their Moldavian counterparts, or anyone else for that matter. If they won't do anything this time eyther, we're going to start protesting in the same manner.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by T.E.D. (34228)

      there's the communists in power, and so on. Doesn't surprise me much that they're going the same way as the Orange Revolution in Ukraine ... Totally OT: Moldova has the BEST wine and the CRAZIEST Nightclubs.

      So they party like it's 1984?

    • Except that the "orange revolution" was (no conspiracy theory but a fact) set-up by the US government, including many of the protesters that stood there in the cold being payed be the CIA.
      As soon as the act was over, they kicked their "so-beloved" president again, because nobody liked him, except the US.
      I think you can read about it on Wikipedia somewhere.

  • As told in a lot of reports. But the government can't do much when suddenly it's stormed from everywhere, and after days and days of riots, some cop say: "hey I saw a blog that calls for this demonstration that was more like an angry mob !" I even think they didn't manage to close one of those blog. Also the election of 2004 in Spain, which happened three days after the Madrid train bombing, was won by the socialists, even though national TV was continually broadcasting that the ETA made those bombing (the
    • by erroneus (253617)

      Sounds like a plan to me.

      It isn't the government that needs to be stormed though... it is the Federal Reserve Bank.

      People hear so much about the government borrowing money to give to businesses and lower banks, but where does it come from? The Federal Reserve? People would have you think it is coming from China and other foreign investors, but when THEY aren't investing, where are those dollars coming from? Ah yes, the Federal Reserve... the private bank that has exclusive right to print and distribute c

      • by VShael (62735)

        I can't say that the money supply would be any better off in the hands of Congress

        Maybe you can't, but a lot of smart people pointed that out. (The Founders) Mind you, they weren't talking about a congress full of corrupt incomptent idiots... or maybe they were, and they still thought it was better than bankers.

    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

      But the government can't do much when suddenly it's stormed from everywhere,

      You believe that do you? This is an armed and violent attack on the government. The government can deploy troops with heavy caliber machine guns with armor piercing rounds. Those rounds will go through two or more people. Bring in tanks from the rear. Now you have a squeeze play, with the rioters trapped between machine guns in the front and machine guns on tanks advancing towards them in the back. Lets not forget white phosphorous

      • by b100dian (771163)
        Several thousands moldovans it's like 50% of the country's young people atm. It's like millions in New York.

        If you do that, you will lose the survivors too (they will move to Romania, Ucraina or other countries).

        Again, if you do that, the elders will still replace you. And you will die in pain.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @10:59AM (#27489525)

    Alright, we've got to overthrow those assholes running this country. And we've got to do it in 140 characters or less. So I want everyone to

  • Moldova is on my short list of places I want to visit in this world before I die. I'm happy to go places that aren't exactly tourist-ready but any place where "students are storming the presidency and parliament" is just too unstable to contemplate.

    Cross Moldova off the list for now. Maybe in a couple of years, though.

    • by gr8dude (832945)

      Actually things are not that bad, this event is uncommon and it doesn't fit into the pattern.

      Let me know when you're here :-)

      • In truth, it will probably be at least a couple of years before I can make the trip. Even then, I'll probably limit myself to Chisinau for the jazz festival. With that in mind, I'll try to remember to drop you a line before I come.

  • I remember that the support groups for the Republic Windows sit down strike [wikipedia.org] used a twitter feed to organize. I also remember that face to face meetings were more important. Tweets are good for flash mobs because they can notify many people very quickly. However, for any mass action to be sustained, you need serious planning and logistical support. Activism can never be coordinated solely over minuscule text messages.
  • Read up on the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minitel [wikipedia.org]
    They where using 'online' to co ordinate national strikes back in the 1980's

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