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A secret document reveals Russia’s ten-year plan to destabilize Moldova

A secret document reveals Russia’s ten-year plan to destabilize Moldova

(CNN) – A secret plan drafted by Russia’s security service, the FSB, elaborates options for destabilizing Moldova, including supporting pro-Russian groups, using the Orthodox Church and threatening to cut off natural gas supplies.

The document appears to have been drawn up to thwart Moldova’s tendency toward the West, which includes closer ties with NATO and an application to join the European Union. He repeatedly pointed out the importance of preventing Moldova from joining NATO.

The plan was first obtained and reported by a host of media outlets, including VSquare, Frontstory, RISE Moldova, Expressen in Sweden, the Dossier Center for Investigative Journalism, Yahoo News and Delfi.

CNN viewed the full document, which appears to have been written in 2021 by the FSB’s Directorate for Cross-Border Cooperation. Its title is “Strategic Objectives of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Moldova”.

The document outlines a 10-year strategy to place Moldova, a former Soviet republic sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, within Russia’s sphere of influence.

The plan includes making Moldova dependent on Russian gas imports and fomenting social unrest, as well as trying to block Moldova’s efforts to gain influence in the breakaway, pro-Russian region of Transnistria, where about 1,500 Russian soldiers are stationed.

The five-page document is divided into several headings with short, medium and long term goals. Among the immediate goals were “support for the Moldovan political forces calling for constructive relations with the Russian Federation” and “neutralizing the initiatives of the Republic of Moldova aimed at eliminating the Russian military presence in Transnistria”.

Medium-term goals include “opposing Romania’s expansionist policy in the Republic of Moldova” and “opposing cooperation between the Republic of Moldova and NATO”.

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The FSB document sets long-term goals that include “creating stable pro-Russian influence groups in Moldova’s political and economic elites” and “forming a negative attitude towards NATO”.

Asked about the document on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We do not know anything about the existence of such a plan. I do not rule out that this could be something else.” forged. Russia has always been and remains open to building good-neighborly and mutually beneficial relations, including with Moldova.

Peskov added: “We are very sorry that the current leadership of Moldova is witnessing an unjustified and unfounded bias against Moscow.”

Relations between Russia and Moldova

Russia accused Ukraine of planning to invade and seize Transnistria, which borders southwestern Ukraine. Russia’s Defense Ministry said last month that Ukrainians had been collecting weapons in several border villages. Moldova and Ukraine rejected these allegations.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin revoked a 2012 decree endorsing Moldova’s sovereignty, saying the move was to “guarantee Russia’s national interests in connection with the profound changes taking place in international relations.”

In recent weeks, Moldovan authorities have arrested several suspected pro-Russian activists, as well as a suspected member of the Wagner private military company who attempted to enter the country.

There were also several protests organized by a pro-Russian party in the capital Chisinau.

Ukraine and the United States have warned of Russian efforts to destabilize the Moldovan government. Last Friday, the White House said that “Russian actors, some with existing ties to Russian intelligence, are seeking to organize and use protests in Moldova as a basis for fomenting a fabricated insurrection against the Moldovan government.”

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The Russian strategy in itself is not surprising, Western intelligence officials say, but it may have accelerated as the Moldovan government ramped up efforts to cooperate more closely with the United States and European countries.

Moldova’s current president, Maia Sandu, replaced Igor Dodon, who is close to the Kremlin, in late 2020. The pro-Western Islamic Party of Malaysia won parliamentary elections the following year.

The pro-Russian Shore party held weekly rallies this year in the capital Chisinau, drawing thousands of people to protest against high energy prices. The party arranged transportation for the attendees.

The party is led by Ilan Shor, a businessman with ties to Russia who is accused of stealing billions of dollars from Moldovan banks in 2014. He was later convicted of fraud but has denied any wrongdoing.

The US Treasury sanctioned Shore, his wife, and the party in October 2022, saying that “Shor worked with Russian individuals to create a political coalition to gain control of the Moldovan Parliament, which would support various laws in favor of the Russian Federation.”

It is currently believed that Shor is in Israel.

Moldova and the West

The United States promised budgetary support to the Moldovan government to help it cope with high energy prices. Gas fees have risen dramatically over the past year as a result of the conflict in Ukraine.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly was in Chisinau on Thursday. “Few societies understand the covert tactics of malign Russian activity more than Moldova and Georgia,” he said, adding that “the UK will not stand by as Moscow brazenly undermines its democracy, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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Cleverly announce more financial support for Moldova to deal with high energy prices.

Marina Tauber, one of Shor’s leaders, told CNN Sweden’s Expressen that the party demanded that the government cover citizens’ energy bills during the winter months. He denied that Russia was helping to organize or finance the protests.

Expressen correspondent Matthias Karlsson, who is in Chisinau, told CNN that the latest protest organized by Shor on Friday last week led to some arrests. He said that among the media who attended the event was a reporter for the Russian state media, Sputnik.

Russian officials have repeatedly stressed the importance of a Moldovan government friendly to Moscow, as well as the importance of the Transnistrian region.

Shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February last year, the then commander of Russia’s Central Military District, Major General Rustam Minikaev, said that one of the goals of the so-called “special military operation” was to create a corridor across from the south. Ukraine to Transnistria region.

– The association that originally reported the document also includes the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) and Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR); Frontstory and Kiev Independent.