The FSB of the Russian Federation is working to overthrow the government in Moldova through the hands of the pro-Russian politician Shor – WP

Russian political technologists, under the control of the FSB, have been cleaning up Shor’s image before the elections and are overseeing the work of his party, which is behind the anti-government protests in Moldova.

The FSB of the Russian Federation is working to overthrow the government in Moldova through the hands of the pro-Russian politician Shor / screenshot
The FSB of the Russian Federation is working to overthrow the government in Moldova through the hands of the pro-Russian politician Shor / screenshot

The Russian Federal Security Service is working to overthrow the pro-Western government of Moldova, spending millions of dollars to reorient the country. Ilan Shor, a businessman and politician who has left the country, plays a key role in this.

This is reported by The Washington Post with reference to classified materials obtained by Ukrainian intelligence and Moldovan, Russian and Ukrainian officials.

How the Russian Federation “rocks the boat” using Ilan Shor 

Documents reviewed by journalists show that the FSB funneled tens of millions of dollars from some of Russia’s largest state-owned companies to fund a network of pro-Russian Moldovan politicians. The goal is to reorient the country towards Moscow.

One of the Kremlin-funded politicians is Ilan Shor. He was a prominent Moldovan businessman, the owner of a bank, a chain of shops, an airport in Chisinau and other assets. In 2015, he became mayor of the Moldovan city of Orhei, but two years later he was found guilty of stealing $1 billion from the Moldovan banking system. In 2019, he left for Israel, from where he continued to lead his party, which in 2021 took 3rd place in the parliamentary elections.  

Although Shor himself denied that he had ever received support from Moscow, including from the special services, and claimed that his political force is “an absolutely independent party that defends only the position of Moldovan citizens,” intercepted messages confirm that the functioning of the party is supervised by the Russians. 

Kremlin-hired political technologists arrived in Chisinau from Russia in March 2021 to covertly work with Shor’s party, according to documents obtained by Ukrainian intelligence. According to the plans of the FSB, Shor’s party was to be positioned as a party of “concrete action”, populist “in the truest sense of the word”, a party that “changes people’s lives for the better.”

Russian political technologists were also cleaning up Shor’s image. These efforts have included the removal of journalistic material about Shore for a fee, as well as support in the event that the content of the material is challenged in court as “defamation”. Also, the Russian special services provided Shor with assistance with his business, overseeing the transfer of his stake in the Chisinau airport to Russian businessman Andrey Goncharenko.

Last month, thousands of people protested in Chisinau, demanding the resignation of pro-Western President Maia Sandu. Shor’s political force was behind the action. Moldova detained 24 people, including members of Shor’s party, in connection with alleged illegal financing of demonstrations. The country’s prosecutor said at the time that investigators had seized 20 black bags stuffed with 3.5 million lei (about $181,000) in cash. At the time, Shor’s party said the arrests were “pressure” from the authorities to disrupt anti-government protests.

At the end of September, Shor’s ally gained control of the two main pro-Russian TV channels in Moldova. This provided Shor with a platform to advance the agenda agreed with Moscow. 

On October 26, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on several Russian and Moldovan organizations and individuals, including Shor. It was reported that Shor “coordinated with representatives of other oligarchs to create political unrest in Moldova” and “received the support of Russia.” It is also indicated that in June, Shor cooperated with structures based in Moscow to prevent Moldova from filing an application for EU membership. Shor himself reacted to the imposition of sanctions, calling them a “victory” and a signal that the country’s President Sandu “really got scared of the protests and understands that her days are numbered.” 

According to WP, Moldovan and US officials fear that the Kremlin’s efforts to overthrow the government in Moldova will intensify if the Russian Federation suffers new losses in Ukraine. Also, US and Moldovan officials believe that the protests organized by Shor’s fans could intensify with the onset of winter, and the country’s energy crisis could be used to topple the government.

Previous Russian influence operations in Moldova 

According to documents seen by WP journalists, since 2016, FSB operations in Moldova have been led by Dmitry Milyutin, a general in the security service who holds the position of deputy head of the Department of Operational Information. 

For most of his tenure, Milyutin worked through Igor Chaika, a Russian businessman who is the son of Russia’s former prosecutor general, according to officials. Chaika is an ambassador for the Kremlin-affiliated business association Delovaya Rossiya in Moldova. It has also been included in a new package of US sanctions. The US Treasury claims that it “together with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov developed detailed plans to undermine the position of Moldovan President Maia Sandu and return Moldova to Russia’s sphere of influence.”

In addition, it is alleged that the Russian government used “Chaika’s companies as a cover to funnel money to collaborating political parties in Moldova.” Recht goes, in particular, about bribes and falsifications in elections. According to Ukrainian intelligence documents, Milyutin spoke with Chaika more than 6,000 times between December 2020 and June 2022. The publication’s source in the Ukrainian law enforcement agency noted that the FSB used Chaika “as a wallet.” 

Until recently, documents show, the FSB’s key figure in Moldova was Igor Dodon, who heads the country’s Socialist Party and served as President of Moldova between 2016 and 2020. 

Chaika also maintained a close relationship with Dodon, including doing business in Russia with his younger brother. In 2020, Dodon lost the election after getting bogged down in a string of corruption scandals. In particular, a video leaked to the network in which Dodon admitted that he received funding from the Kremlin, including from Gazprom. In the video, he said he needed between $800,000 and $1 million a month to cover his party’s “running expenses”.

In response to the loss of Dodon, whom Moldovan political technologists in reports for the FSB called a man with an “irreparably damaged reputation”, the Russian special services developed a new plan.

The FSB strategy, dated November 2020, called for the use of the Socialists as the largest party in parliament, together with Shor’s party, to maintain Russia’s influence. In particular, through the transfer of control over the security service and intelligence from the president to parliament. However, the Socialists lost the elections and the plan was not implemented. Then Moscow stepped up the search for a political replacement for Dodon. Shore became them.

Energy Crisis in Moldova

Gazprom has cut supplies to Moldova by 30% this month and is threatening further cuts in November. In addition, gas prices in Moldova increased 5 times this year. Electricity bills account for more than 60% of the spending of the average person in a country of 2.5 million. 

There are also serious risks for the country’s power supply system. Ukraine supplied 30% of electricity to Moldova, but because of the bombing of Ukrainian power plants, Moldova had to turn to Romania instead.

“Every bomb that falls on a Ukrainian power plant is a bomb that falls on the Moldovan electricity supply,” Moldovan Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said.

Another 70% of Moldova’s electricity comes from a power plant located in Russian-controlled Transnistria. The Russian enclave also cut supplies, citing a reduction in gas supplies from Gazprom. 

Ilan Shor actively claims that the country’s government is to blame for the growing economic crisis. Allegedly, only good relations with Moscow are the basis for obtaining normal gas prices.

(C)UNIAN 2022

2 comments

    • Moldova doesn’t have any troops unfortunately.
      It looks like Moldova has their own version of Yanukobytch. Do the filthy Moskali really believe Moldovans would vote for a thief that stole a billion from them and ran off to Israel?

      Liked by 4 people

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