President Sandu reveals Russian plot to destabilise Moldova

President Sandu reveals Russian plot to destabilise Moldova
President Maia Sandu urged MPs to give prosecutors and the intelligence service (SIS) additional powers. /
By Iulian Ernst in Bucharest February 14, 2023

President Maia Sandu revealed plans to destabilise Moldova, set out in a Russian document received from Ukraine, at a press conference held on February 13. Sandu urged lawmakers to give prosecutors and the intelligence service (SIS) more instruments to efficiently tackle the risks and challenges.

Sandu has already appointed Dorin Recean, her former security advisor and secretary of the national security council, as prime minister. 

“The plan for the next period involves actions with the involvement of diversionists with military training, camouflaged in civilian clothes, who will undertake violent actions, attacks on some state buildings and hostage taking. Through violent actions masked by opposition protests, the change of power in Chisinau would be pursued,” Sandu said.

The president added that the plan involves the use of people from outside the country for “violent actions”. The documents sent by the Ukrainian side contain instructions on entering Moldova for citizens of Russia, Belarus, Serbia and Montenegro.

Officials in Chisinau were already on high alert after Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier in February that the West “has got its sights” on Moldova as a country that might “follow Ukraine’s path” by turning into an “anti-Russia”. 

Moldova, a small country on Ukraine’s western border, is seen as vulnerable to a potential escalation of the war in Ukraine. Part of its territory, the Transnistria region, has been controlled for decades by Russia-backed separatists. 

Officials in Moscow were angered by recent comments from Moldovan President Maia Sandu hinting that the country might consider Nato membership. Two influential Russian lawmakers previously warned on January 24 that Moldova considering Nato membership “may lead to its destruction”. Moscow’s fierce opposition to Ukraine joining Nato was one of the reasons for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

Despite the threat, Sandu assured citizens that the state institutions are working to prevent challenges and keep the situation under control.

But the president also asked the parliament to adopt, as soon as possible, draft laws that would provide the Prosecutor's Office and the SIS with tools to combat risks and threats to the country's security more effectively. 

The first challenges are expected on February 19, when street protests have already been announced by a coalition of pro-Russian and anti-government entities, including the Shor Party.

The Shor Party has organised regular protests for several months, criticising the government over high inflation and falling living standards in one of Europe's poorest countries. 

The For people association held a press conference in Chisinau and asked the government to pay in full for the utility bills received by the population during the winter season.

Civic activist Maia Laguta stated that "if the government does not accept the request for payment of compensation, it should be taken down".

The leader of the Shor Party, Marina Tauber, urged fellow citizens to gather at the parliament on February 19 and demand compensation from the authorities.