The FSB, Russia’s security service, has developed a covert plan that outlines specific methods for destabilizing Moldova, including funding pro-Russian organizations, using the Orthodox Church, and threatening to cut off the natural gas supply.
The plan, which includes tighter ties with NATO and an application to join the EU, appears to have been created to counter Moldova’s shift toward the West. It emphasizes how crucial it is to keep Moldova from joining NATO over and time again.
A group of media outlets, including VSquare and Frontstory, RISE Moldova, Expressen in Sweden, the Dossier Centre for Investigative Journalism, Yahoo News, and Delfi, were involved in its acquisition and initial disclosure.
The associated press obtained a copy of the whole paper, which appears to have been authored by the FSB’s Directorate for Cross-Border Cooperation in 2021. It is titled “Russian Federation Strategy Objectives in the Republic of Moldova.”
The book lays out a 10-year plan to push Moldova, a former Soviet republic situated between Ukraine and Romania, into Russia’s orbit.
Making Moldova dependent on Russian gas supplies, inciting civil unrest, and trying to thwart Moldova’s attempts to acquire influence in the pro-Russian breakaway province of Transnistria, where 1,500 Russian militaries are stationed, are all part of the plan.
The five-page report is broken up into several headings with short-, medium-, and long-term objectives. Two of the immediate goals are “support for Moldovan political parties promoting cordial relations with the Russian Federation” and “neutralization of the actions of the Republic of Moldova aimed at reducing the Russian military presence in Transnistria.”
The “resistance to Romania’s expansionist agenda in the Republic of Moldova” and “opposition to cooperation between the Republic of Moldova and NATO” are two medium-term objectives.
The FSB document outlines long-term objectives such as “forming a hostile attitude against NATO” and “creating stable pro-Russian networks of influence among the Moldovan political and economic elites.”
When asked about the memo on Thursday, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, responded, “We are not aware of such a proposal. I am not certain that this is not another forgery. Including Moldova, Russia has always been and continues to be open to establishing excellent neighborly relations.
“We are very unhappy that the current government of Moldova is going through utterly false and unjustifiable prejudices against Moscow,” Peskov continued.
Russia claims that Ukraine has plans to invade and annex Transnistria, which is located just southwest of its borders. In some border communities, the Russian defense ministry reported last month, the Ukrainians were stockpiling armor. Both Moldova and Ukraine have rejected the assertion.
A 2012 decree that supported Moldova’s sovereignty was revoked last month, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said the action was taken to “secure the national interests of Russia in conjunction with the significant changes taking place in international relations.”
The Moldovan police have recently detained several alleged pro-Russian activists as well as an alleged Wagner private military firm operator who attempted to enter the nation.
A pro-Russian party has also planned several protests in the nation’s capital, Chisinau.
Both Ukraine and the US have issued warnings about Russian attempts to topple the government of Moldova. A fabricated revolt against the Moldovan government is being stoked by Russian players, some of whom have recent ties to Russian intelligence, according to a statement made by the White House last Friday.
The Russian policy, according to Western intelligence sources, is not particularly remarkable in and of itself, but it may have intensified as the Moldovan government ramps up efforts to work more closely with the US and European states.
Igor Dodon, who had ties to the Kremlin, was succeeded as president of Moldova by Maia Sandu in late 2020. The following year, the pro-Western PAS party won the legislative elections.
This year, the pro-Russian Shor party has staged weekly rallies in the Moldovan city of Chisinau, drawing thousands of people to voice their disapproval of the country’s high energy costs. Transportation for guests has been arranged by the event.
Ilan Shor, a Russian-connected businessman suspected of stealing billions of dollars from Moldovan banks in 2014, is the party’s leader. He was eventually found guilty of fraud but has maintained his innocence.
Shor, his wife, and the party were all sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in October 2022 because they “worked with Russian individuals to create a political alliance to control Moldova’s parliament, which would then support several pieces of legislation in the interests of the Russian Federation.”
Israel is where Shor is presently believed to be.
The US has promised to help the Moldovan government balance its budget to help it deal with high energy prices. The Ukraine crisis has caused gas prices to soar over the past year.
On Thursday, James Cleverly, the UK’s foreign secretary, visited Chisinau. Few societies are more familiar with the shady methods used by Russian malign activity than Moldova and Georgia, he claimed, adding that “the UK will not stand by while Moscow flagrantly undercuts their democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”
shrewdly offered further financial aid to help Moldova deal with high energy prices.
Marina Tauber, one of Shor’s leaders, told the associated press’s Swedish affiliate Expressen that the party was requesting that the government reimburse people’s winter heating expenditures. She denied that Moscow was assisting in the organization or funding of the protests.
A few people were arrested as a result of the most recent protest, which Shor planned on Friday of last week, according to Expressen writer Mattias Carlsson, who is currently in Chisinau. A reporter from the Russian state-run website Sputnik was one of the journalists present at the event, he claimed.
Russian authorities have repeatedly emphasized the importance of a Moscow-friendly Moldovan administration, as well as the Transnistria area.
Maj. Gen. Rustam Minnekaev, who was in charge of Russia’s Central Military District at the time of the invasion of Ukraine in February of last year, declared that one goal of the alleged “special military operation” was to create a corridor from southern Ukraine to the Transnistria region.