This week, the Republic of Moldova Armed Forces conducted a "large military exercise" emphatically named "Northern Shield 2015." Five hundred soldiers were mobilized for this exercise, which sounds trivial compared to the drills that NATO and Russian forces usually partake in. Nevertheless, the term "large" is not out of place here, considering that the entire Moldavian Army is merely 6000 strong.
Even the separatist forces in Transnistria, which are currently the greatest threat the Moldovan military faces, have a slightly stronger army. To say nothing about the Russian forces still stationed on Moldavian territory, despite the Moldovan government repeatedly demanding their retreat.
Chișinău's political and military elite generally seem to understand that very few people care about what they want, so they tend to do absolutely nothing to prepare for possible armed conflicts because they know any battle would be instantly lost. Earlier this week, however, Moldova's Ministry of Defence released a promotional video, apparently filmed during their latest military exercise.
The video shows the 500 brave Moldavians fighting a band of hooligans armed with sticks. The "battle" takes place in the middle of a field near Balti, a city located in the northern part of the country. While armored vehicles drive by tearing apart barricades of used car tires in the background, the Moldavian troops are seen approaching a group of wedding guests who seem to threaten them by engaging in local folk dance.
That's where the big twist comes in: Something seems to be bulging under the bride's wedding dress. She's not hiding a baby—she's hiding an AK-47! Apparently, drunken assault rifle-wielding brides are a serious threat to Moldova's national security.Related: The VICE Guide to the Balkans:
I called Republic of Moldova's Armed Forces spokeswoman, Major Ala Diaconu to ask if the exercise was inspired by Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, as the Moldavian press has suggested. She laughed and said no, the exercise's scenario is old and has been used many times in the past. According to Major Diaconu, the purpose of the drill was to underline the co-operation between the Moldavian Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. "Alternative scenarios involving rebel attacks and earthquake relief have also been taken into consideration," she added.
The exercise was attended by Moldova's Prime Minister, Kirill Gaburich, who showed up in uniform. According to an official press release, "the Prime Minister was pleased with the high level of the troops' military training."