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The protests organized by the Shor Party in the Moldovan capital, announced as actions aimed at criticizing the leadership for social or economic policies, are actually a resilience test for Maia Sandu's regime and an attempt to attract the angry layers of society into a scenario of destabilization of the country.
There is no doubt that these protests are being carried out on Kremlin's orders, which is thus trying to transform the pseudo-revolt by exploiting a nostalgic part of citizens into a more radical movement, where the "polite green men" will not be delayed in appearing in the localities of the Republic of Moldova.
The protests in Chisinau and Balti are practically synchronized with the adoption of the law on foreign agents in Georgia - another inspiration from dictator Vladimir Putin - and suggest the beginning of a new stage in the realization of the plan to rebuild the Russian empire.
What is Moscow seeking and how could things evolve?
One of the phases of conventional and especially hybrid warfare is destabilizing the situation with the help of useful idiots - nostalgic for Soviet times, summer gangs, and professional criminals - who have the role of accentuating certain social-economic problems in society and blaming authorities for all the troubles.
If the pseudo-protests - which are actually a smoke screen for subsequent activities - manage to mobilize a critical mass of people, the next step is implemented: acts of sabotage from the loyal political forces of Russia and the local agent network under cover.
Politicians from the socialist-communist opposition in Parliament are natural allies of the Shor protesters, although they advance requirements of another level, to create the impression that they have nothing in common with the party of a fraudster. If Ilan Shor wants the government to fully pay the natural gas bills and cancel tariff increases, the bloc of former presidents Igor Dodon and Vladimir Voronin insist on the political-military neutrality of Moldova and its distancing from NATO.
At the same time, Russian agents in Moldova are preparing the ground for a possible armed insurgency, following the scenario implemented in Ukraine in 2014. They print propaganda materials, develop instructions for capturing public institutions, identify weaknesses in state security and defense, create weapon depots, recruit potential combatants.
Some of these actions have already been reported by the Intelligence and Security Service.
Threats from Russia
Against the backdrop of these events, threats from officials from the Russian Federation have intensified. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov openly stated that Moldova faces the same fate as Ukraine because of the "anti-Russian policy" of the Chisinau government - a first in world diplomatic art.
And President Vladimir Putin has suggested, in a more veiled way, that "approaching NATO and supporting sanctions against Russia is a declaration of war" and that Moscow "will respond."
Moreover, Ukrainian authorities, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, have warned Moldovan officials that the Russian Federation has a separate plan for the neighboring country, aimed at overthrowing the legitimately elected government, either through early elections, a coup, or military occupation of the territory and the installation of a puppet government.
Former advisor to Zelensky, Oleksii Arestovych, described in great detail the dangers facing Moldova, including the creation of a land corridor to Transnistria and the activation of the Russian contingent in the Transnistrian region for a possible invasion across the Nistru River. According to Arestovych, the involvement of Moldova in a war would send a (false) signal that the West is not capable, and Ukraine would be forced to dilute its military forces by transferring troops to a new front line.
Thus, Arestovych confirmed a hypothesis of the Russian economist Andrey Illarionov, a Kremlin critic, who spoke in an interview about the phase in which Moldova becomes a target of Russian aggression.
Moreover, the aggressor would rely on an emotional reaction from Romania in case of an escalation of the situation in the neighboring state, hoping that this would lead to mistakes, which would challenge cohesion in NATO.
If Moldova were occupied by Russian troops, Moscow could attack western Ukraine, cutting it off from the supply of Western weapons, which is crucial for Ukrainian forces, according to Illarionov.
A similar version of this scenario was reported by Mikhailo Podolyak, an active advisor to the President of Ukraine, who also made recommendations to the Moldovan government. He emphasized, in particular, the need to immediately expel all Russian spies, most of whom hide behind diplomatic status, to arrest local agents suspected of subversive actions, including protest organizers, and to intensify monitoring of "influencers" who manipulate public opinion. He also recommended blocking the administrative demarcation line with Transnistria.
Previously, the investigative journalism organization RISE Moldova published evidence of Russian secret services' involvement in destabilizing activities in Moldova, with the direct participation of FSB and GRU officers in missions to influence elections. In Russia, the Dossier investigative center uncovered a similar plan for Belarus, confirming that Russia is conducting a large-scale operation to restore the empire within the former USSR borders.
The authorities of the Republic of Moldova had a calm reaction to the information provided by Ukraine and maintained a public discourse condemning the invasion and maintaining their neutral state status. The government in Chisinau received financial assistance from the EU to cope with inflation and to compensate for part of the gas and electricity bills sent to consumers.
On the other hand, Moldova refused to send weapons to Ukraine but received non-lethal military equipment from NATO for its own army. Recently, the police confiscated millions of lei from protest sponsors, caught paying for participation in marches and picketing public institutions, and the SIS expelled foreign citizens caught in "unfriendly acts" and accused local residents of espionage.
It remains to be seen whether these measures are sufficient and whether the offensive Ukraine is preparing will be successful. It is certain that a direct military aggression against the Republic of Moldova - without any provocation or reason - would be pure madness. The invasion of the neighboring country (now a reality) also sounded insane, and it became clear that Putin relied more on audacity and luck than on the real strength of his weapons.
"Fortis fortuna adiuvat" - fortune favors the brave (even if they are foolish), and the Russians traditionally have high hopes for luck.
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