Quick Hit: Russian plans "coup d'etat" in Moldova
President Sandu confirmed Ukrainian Intelligence of Russia's intent to violently overthrow the government
Today, President Sandu held a press conference discussing the security situation in Moldova, and revealing intelligence provided by Ukraine and confirmed by Moldovan Security Services (SIS), that Russia was planning violent actions to overthrow the constitutional order in Moldova.
It is worth printing the President’s Statement in full (transcription accessed via ZdG):
"Discussions regarding the security of our country have appeared in the public space in recent days. President Zelenski's statements about the Russian Federation's plans to destabilize the Republic of Moldova were confirmed by our institutions.
Russia's plan to undertake subversive actions on the territory of our state is not a new one. Attempts to destabilize the situation and undermine the state also existed last fall, but they did not achieve their goal thanks to the prompt interventions of our security and public order institutions. Between October and December, the police and the Intelligence and Security Service intervened in several cases of organized criminal elements and stopped attempts at violence.
In the autumn, the focus was on the energy crisis, which was to cause major discontent among the population and lead to violent protests. 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, attack on some state buildings and take hostages.
Through violent actions, masked under protests of the so-called opposition, the change of power in Chisinau would be forced.
The documents received from our Ukrainian partners demonstrate a good documentation of the locations and logistical aspects for the organization of these subversive activities. Also, the plan involves the use of people from outside the country for violent actions.
For example, the materials contain instructions on the rules of entry into the Republic of Moldova for citizens of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus, Serbia and Montenegro.
I assure you that the state institutions are working to prevent these challenges and keep the situation under control.
In carrying out the plan, the authors rely on several internal forces, but especially on criminal groups such as the Şor formation and all its derivatives, on some veterans, former employees of the law enforcement, and on several people known for their connections with Plahotniuc .
As I mentioned earlier, the purpose of these actions is to overthrow the constitutional order, to change the legitimate power from Chisinau to an illegitimate one, which would put our country at the disposal of Russia, in order to stop the European integration process, but also so that Moldova can be used by Russia in its war against Ukraine.
To prevent this scenario, I ask all state institutions to show maximum vigilance.
The Parliament of the Republic of Moldova must adopt, as soon as possible, the draft laws that will provide the SIS and the prosecutor's office with the necessary tools to combat more effectively the risks to the country's security. All those who participate in these actions directed against the state of the Republic of Moldova - external elements, members of political parties and criminal groups, and all those who protect them, must be held accountable.
The safety of citizens and the security of the country is our primary concern and we will continue to do everything necessary to protect our state and citizens, peace and public order. I want to ask you to remain vigilant, to be careful and to believe the official information, because the most aggressive form of attack is the informational attack.
The Kremlin's attempts to bring violence to our country will not succeed. Let's keep calm. Let's believe in the Republic of Moldova",
What We Know
Recall, President Zelenskyy recently stated in Brussels:
“Recently, I spoke with the President of Moldova, Ms. Sandu, and informed her of what our intelligence had managed to intercept: a detailed Russian plan to destroy the political situation in Moldova. A Russian document that shows who, when and as a result of what actions is going to break Moldova, the democratic order of this country and establish their control over it,”
Beyond the statements of the Presidents of Moldova and Ukraine, and confirmations from SIS, very little information about the timeline of the planned operation or its specific objectives are known. Oleksiy Miacheslavovych, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, recently stated that experienced Chechen fighters have recently entered Turkey under the guise of an earthquake rescue response team. He asserted that this team is actually bound for Chisinau to take place in the potential coup. He noted:
“We are monitoring this situation very carefully so that these “rescuers” do not end up in Chisinau. We know their last names, first names and patronymics,”
Given what few details we have, the emerging plot bears a stark similarity to the attempted 2016 coup in Montenegro. Assumed to be a GRU operation, Russian, Serbian and Montenegrin citizens were arrested for planning armed attacks against government buildings. The attacks were to be timed with local opposition protests and result in their rise to power. This coup (or alleged coup as the cases have in some cases been thrown out of court) failed due to the intervention of security services.
Is is possible that Moldova Authorities are making this information public with the strategy of dissuading the plotters, and local collaborators, from moving forward with their plans.
Response from the Opposition
Marina Tauber, representing the Shor Party denied that the party was backed by Russia or any other government. She called on all opposition parties to come together in a joint protest this Sunday. She taunted the President saying that she feels “her end has come,” implying that the government is making up stories for political gain.
Similarly, the Block of Communists and Socialists denied that there was any threat to Moldova and accused the government of creating “provocations” in order for Moldova to get dragged into the war. They said that if any hard evidence exists it should be made public (knowing full well that this is not how intelligence works).
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov also commented on the information, and the potential involvement of his troops, saying:
“…If there is an order from the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, we are ready to go even to America, we will leave Moldova far behind. And any such order is not discussed, but carried out. We have all the necessary forces, means and equipment to bring it to life,”
To Be Continued…
In addition to these sudden revelations of a critical security threat to Moldova, this week will likely see Prime Minister Designate Dorin Recean present his cabinet to Parliament for a vote of confidence. Already rumors are flying around about who is in and who is out. We’ll cover more of this as the week goes on - most likely in Quick Hit articles like this as the news is developing fast.
One thing to consider is how many of the talking points about the resignation of Prime Minister Gavrilita and the appointment of Dorin Recean were about “security.” At this point is seems hard to imagine that these stories are not at least partially intertwined. The composition of the cabinet of ministers will likely shine more light on the direction the new government plans to go. Stay tuned.
Thank you David for your prompt reporting on these very newsworthy topics. I for one really appreciate your articles. It’s so hard to find good detailed information about Moldova news in traditional media outlets.
This is so disturbing. Hopefully this subterfuge can be thwarted before the legitimate government is threatened any further.