ISW: Russia may try to destabilize Moldova again as its "agents" are already working
The aggressor country Russia is likely to try to sow political instability and division in Moldova again. In this way, it hopes to divert the international community's attention from the war in Ukraine.
This was pointed out by analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). They recalled how Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov threatened Moldova on November 30 with "repeating the fate of Ukraine," claiming that the West intends to use the country in a "hybrid war" against the Kremlin.
"Lavrov's threat may have emboldened some pro-Russian agents to try to sow political instability and division in Moldova," the report says.
For example, the pro-Russian head of Moldova's Gagauzia, Evghenia Guțul, said on December 1 that the state energy company Moldovagaz had blocked the region from receiving gas from a Turkish supplier, which the pro-Russian regional government had agreed to negotiate outside of state contracts.
According to her, the company sells gas at a higher price per cubic meter than its Turkish partner. She accused the Chisinau government of "ignoring Gagauzia's calls to provide its residents with cheap gas for the winter." However, the head of Moldovagaz, Vadim Ceban, said that the company has no physical or legal ability to block gas supplies at the Gagauz border and has not received the necessary documentation to switch natural gas suppliers to the region.
It is known that Moldovan President Maia Sandu rejected Guțul's request for a place in the Cabinet of Ministers on November 13 as she is a member of the banned Șor political party. Russia used this political force to promote pro-Russian interests and political instability in the country until the Constitutional Court banned it in June 2023. The head of the party, Ilan Shor, used it to incite protests in September 2020-June 2023, which was ultimately aimed at overthrowing the current government of Moldova.
In addition, on November 27, the leader of the Moldovan Party of Regions, Alexander Kalinin, was stripped of his citizenship because of his broad support for Russia's war against Ukraine, and on December 1, he announced attempts to recruit Moldovan volunteers to fight alongside Russian troops.
Therefore, the ISW suggested that the Kremlin, having conducted a campaign to destabilize Moldova in early 2023, may now try to resume these efforts to divert the international community's attention from the war in Ukraine.
As reported by OBOZ.UA, Moldovan President Maia Sandu thanked the Armed Forces of Ukraine for fighting the "Russian invasion." She noted that if Ukraine had not resisted Russia after the start of the full-scale invasion, Moldova "would have become the next on the list of occupation targets" of the Kremlin.