Anti-government protests in Moldova: In Russia’s sphere of influence by 2030?

Anti-government protests in Moldova: In Russia’s sphere of influence by 2030?

The protests in Moldova, organized by the opposition, are part of the hybrid war that Russia is waging on Moldova’s territory.

Anti-government protest in Chisinau.  Deputy Leader of the Shor Party speaks at a demonstration

Marina Tauber, deputy leader of Moldova’s Shor party, during an anti-government protest in Chisinau last Sunday, March 12 Photo: Aurel Obreja/ap

CHIşINăU taz | Organized by the pro-Russian opposition party Shor in Moldova weekly anti-government protests in the country. These rallies are taking place despite authorities warning people not to attend, saying they could lead to violence, involve outsiders and are aimed at a coup d’état. The protesters are demanding that the government pays in full for its heating and electricity bills during the winter months. Energy prices in Moldova have risen sharply since Russia has been supplying the country with just under half the amount of gas it used to.

At the same time, people are calling on the government to prevent a war in the country. The organizers of the protests point out that the Moldovan parliament’s condemnation of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and the pro-European orientation of the current government could mean that Russian troops could also invade Moldova. Paper pigeons on their chests, a symbol of peace, are often worn by the protesters, who also stage demonstrations in response to statements made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in early March. He had threatened Moldova with the same fate as Ukraine.

“Corrupt groups exploit low-income people who are susceptible to manipulation and misinformation,” President Maia Sandu told public broadcaster Moldova 1 in reference to the protests. They want to overthrow the government to seize power while avoiding corruption penalties. Already last autumn, pro-Russian forces around the opposition Shor party tried to destabilize the pro-European government with anti-government protests in the center of the capital Chişinău. Back then, they had paid poor people to protest. These demonstrations have been going on again since the beginning of February.

Russian hybrid war against Moldova

The actions are part of a hybrid war Russia is waging in Moldova aimed at causing a coup d’état to overthrow the current pro-European government and install a pro-Russian leadership. The Moldovan President spoke publicly about the plan in early February, after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky briefed the European Council on a new Russian diversionary tactic in Moldova – a plan that was intercepted by Ukrainian intelligence and turned over to Moldovan authorities.

Already in autumn, pro-Russian forces tried to destabilize the pro-EU government

At a protest last Sunday, the head of the National Police Inspectorate, Viorel Cerneautianu, said that Russian special forces were involved in the destabilization of Moldova. The aim was to “organize destabilizing actions and mass unrest”. 25 Moldovan and Russian citizens were registered by the police and seven were arrested. Individuals were promised up to $10,000 each for the “destabilization”.

Russia plans to bring Moldova under its influence by 2030. This emerges from a leaked document from the Kremlin’s presidential administration, which was published by an international group of journalists. The Shor Party and its demonstrations have an important role to play in this. Halving gas supplies should help destabilize the situation in the country. At the same time, the document states that it is particularly important to use misinformation and slander campaigns to prevent Moldova from joining the EU and NATO. By 2030, Russia wants to “achieve a negative attitude towards NATO in Moldovan society and in political circles”.

The Kremlin also wants to force Moldova to participate in Russian international projects such as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) initiated by Russia in 2002 and the Eurasian Union. The conflict in Transnistria is to be resolved by granting the enclave a special status. Regarding security policy goals, Russia wants to “create stable pro-Russian influence groups among Moldova’s political and economic elites.” In the area of ​​economy, Moscow plans to “maintain the previous delivery volume and the legal basis for Russian natural gas deliveries”.

President Sandu stated in her speech to the Moldovan Parliament on March 16 that the Republic member of the EU by 2030 shall be. “The Moldovans have chosen the European way. How quickly we get there depends on all of us.”

From Russian Gaby Coldewey

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