Last Updated:

Moldova Chaos: President Sandu Says Russia Using Foreign Saboteurs To Destabilise Nation

Moldova President Maia Sandu has alleged that there is a plot by Moscow to use external agents to overthrow the government and bring it under Moscow's thumb.

Written By
sagar kar

Image: AP

Moldovan President Maia Sandu has alleged that there is a plot by Moscow to use external agents to overthrow the government and bring the nation under Russian control, thereby preventing its aspirations to join the European Union. This claim was supported by Moldovan intelligence officials after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had announced that his country had discovered Russian secret service plans to destroy Moldova.

President Sandu stated that the plan involves the use of individuals with military training, disguised as civilians, who will carry out violent actions such as attacking government buildings and taking hostages, with the goal of overthrowing the constitutional order and replacing the legitimate power in Chisinau (Moldova's capital) with an illegitimate one that would put Moldova at the disposal of Russia.

“The Kremlin’s attempts to bring violence to our country will not succeed,” she said, as per a report from Associated Press. Moldova, a former Soviet republic with a population of 2.6 million, has been striving to develop closer relationships with Western countries in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In June of last year, Moldova received European Union candidate status alongside Ukraine. In recent months, Moldova has faced numerous difficulties, including a serious energy crisis due to a decrease in gas supplies from Russia, high inflation, and several missile-related incidents.

On Friday, Moldovan authorities confirmed that another missile from the Ukrainian conflict entered their airspace. President Sandu stated that Russia intends to use Moldova in their war against Ukraine, without providing further explanation. Intelligence services have reportedly obtained information that contains instructions on how citizens from Russia, Belarus, Serbia, and Montenegro should enter Moldova.

Moldova's president attempts to assure population

“I assure you that the state institutions are working to prevent these challenges and keep the situation under control,” Moldova's president said. She added that the country's intelligence and security service, as well as the prosecutor's office, need to be provided with the necessary tools to combat the security threats to the country. 

The President's announcement follows the resignation of the Prime Minister. The US State Department has said that Russia has been supporting destabilisation campaigns in Moldova and weaponising corruption to achieve its goals.

The frozen conflict in Moldova

Moldova, for a long time, has also been struggling with the frozen conflict in Transnistria. The conflict in Transnistria, a breakaway territory located in Eastern Europe between Moldova and Ukraine, has its roots in the Soviet period and the post-Soviet era, according to Marius Vahl, who wrote about it in the Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics. The conflict has been fueled by historical and cultural tensions between the local Slavic-speaking population and the Moldovan-speaking population. 

The conflict in Transnistria can be traced back to the Soviet period, when the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was established within the Soviet Union. The region had a predominantly Slavic-speaking population, who favored close ties with Russia, and a smaller Moldovan-speaking population, who favoured greater autonomy and closer ties with Romania. This led to tensions between the two communities, which only increased as the Soviet Union began to collapse in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

As the Soviet Union began to dissolve, the Moldovan government sought to reassert its control over the region, sparking a conflict with the separatist forces in Transnistria. The conflict, which lasted from 1990 to 1992, resulted in the de facto independence of Transnistria, with Russia providing support to the separatist forces. Since then, the conflict has remained unresolved, with both Moldova and Transnistria claiming sovereignty over the territory. 

The current state of the conflict in Transnistria remains unresolved, with the territory enjoying limited international recognition. Efforts to resolve the conflict, including through negotiations and mediations, have been unsuccessful, and the region remains politically and economically isolated.

During the initial days of the Ukraine invasion, the fear was that Russia wants a landbridge to Transnistria, that will cut off Ukraine's access to the sea, making it a land locked nation. However, Russian military's performance made several people question if that goal is even realistic. As of now, it is too soon to tell if Russia wants the landbridge or not, or to be more precise, if Russia is willing to sacrifice the lives and capital necessary, to create, so to say, that landbridge. It is also not clear if the chaos in Moldova has something to do with Russia grandstrategic goals. 

First Published: