Why the elections in Moldova put the Kremlin in a critical position

The results of the first round of the presidential elections in Moldova were truly unexpected for the Kremlin. Indeed, instead of the Russian candidate in the personage of Igor Dodon, Moscow witnessed his actual loss in the first round, and his very vague prospects in the second.

In this regard, the internal political situation in Moldova has become heated over the past two days as a result of the struggle between pro-European and pro-Russian forces, both on the eve of the presidential elections in Moldova on November 1st, and their consequences.

Russia allocated significant financial and informational resources to support Igor Dodon and carried out full-scale interference in the electoral process through a complex of coordinated propaganda activities of the Russian Foreign Ministry in the capital and regions of Moldova. The Russian special services directed their efforts to strengthen the positions of controlled candidates for the presidency of the republic in Moldova, including by betting on the ethnic factor – the enclaves in Gagauzia and Taraclia and the so-called “Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic” (PMR).

Maia Sandu

In parallel, significant resources were directed to discredit pro-European and pro-Romanian candidates, amongst which the biggest threat to Moscow was, and remains the leader of the Action and Solidarity party, Maia Sandu (pictured).

The main goal of the Kremlin before and after the elections in Moldova is to maximize the position of local pro-Russian forces. After all, this direction further contributes to the process of so-called “federalization” and the distribution of powers of the central government in Moldova. Such a process will also accelerate the recognition of the “PMR” as a kind of sovereign entity, which may well be accepted into the union state of Russia and Belarus. This will significantly accelerate the split of Moldova into autonomous regions, the first of which will be Gagauzia and Taraclia.

For the current Russian agents in Moldova, the actual victory of Maia Sandu in the first round increases the need to discredit the pro-European and pro-Romanian forces, both through the participants in the electoral process and through the official representatives of Romania and the EU in the republic.

During the election campaign we could already see how Russian and pro-Russian propagandists used black PR techniques for their own purposes in Moldova. For example, after the memorial speeches of Romanian Ambassador D. Ionice and military attaché K. Ladaniuk dedicated to the memory of the Romanian soldiers who died during World War II, the Russian diplomatic side provoked a large-scale scandal with Moscow’s inherent narratives about “fascism”, which accompanied the entire election campaign.

These insinuations led to the fact that on October 26th the Romanian diplomatic mission in Moldova accused the Russian “colleagues” in manipulation and political cynicism, while the Moldovan presidential candidate, who is representing the pro-Romanian Unirea bloc, D. Chirtoaca accused Russia of trying to destabilise Moldova.

But if it was exclusively about the political component of the current electoral process in Moldova so far, then it is worth paying attention to the more dangerous component of this presidential race.

Today, there is a significant and often illegal presence on the territory of Moldova of agents of the Russian special services, who are the curators of Igor Dodon, and which carry out relevant work in the region of influence.

So, the unknown Russian-speaking persons were in the ranks of Igor Dodon’s guards during his pre-election visit to the Falesti region, some of whom had elements of racist symbols, in particular, the flag of the Confederation. Let us remind you that this particular symbol was copied one to one by the unrecognized “LPR” and it is possible that these persons were related to this illegal formation.

An additional threat is posed by the already former presidential candidate and leader of the political force “Our Party” Reno Usatii, who is rightfully considered the “third force” in Moldova. The danger of this person is not only that he takes a tough pro-Russian position and lobbies for the idea of federalisation of Moldova on the project of Moscow, but the “Belarusian scenario” can be realised through him in the republic, when the corrupt and weak Igor Dodon will be changed by some third party candidate.

Or, following the results of the second round of elections, the winner Maia Sandu will receive a large-scale protest of the pro-Russian “fifth column” of Moldova.

Regardless of who wins in the second round of elections, a large-scale destabilisation of Moldova may well take place, which is a consequence of Russia’s large-scale interference in the electoral process of the republic, and poses not only an immediate threat to the sovereignty of Moldova, but also to the national interests of Ukraine.

This article is re-published with the kind permission of Information Resistance, a non-governmental project whose main task is to counteract in the information field external threats arising for Ukraine in the main areas: military, economic and energy, as well as in information security.

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