Over the past several weeks there has been a significant uptick of heated rhetoric and disinformation directed at Moldova. It has gotten worse over the past two weeks and became even more worrying over this weekend. Since last year I have been warning about Moldova being a target. After Putin’s puppet, Dodon lost the election in 2020, Russia began an aggressive disinformation campaign toward Moldova and the Sandu government. Last fall, Russia weaponized energy putting pressure on Moldova along with other European countries, in particular Germany. Since Russia launched their brutal war crimes campaign on Ukraine the threat toward Moldova has increased. At the center of this is Russian-occupied Transnistria (the West recognizes Transnistria as belonging to Moldova) which hosts Russian troops and could be used as a launchpad for Russia’s operations against Odesa and southern Ukraine.
Russia uses the presence of their troops in Transnistria to put pressure on Moldova and run destabilizing operations against Moldova. The situation is very similar to Russia’s occupation of Donbas and it was no surprise that shortly after Putin signed his illegal decree in February to recognize Donbas as Russian territory the Kremlin puppets in Transnistria requested the same recognition.
Over the past few weeks, the attacks on the Moldovan government in Russian media and the propaganda by Russian propagandists have been escalating. It feels very similar to the months leading up to the launch of Putin’s brutal campaign in Ukraine. This took an alarming turn over the weekend when Russian media reported that Russia may soon recognize the independence of Transnistria (Pridnestrovie) in the near future. Hours after Putin signed the decree recognizing Donbas there were reports that Russian tanks rolled into Donbas. A few days later Russia officially launched their war against Ukraine.
The following are several alarming developments that were reported in Russian media over the weekend.
Here comes Russia’s pretext for protecting Russian speakers which they have used for other invasions
-On April 22, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that the goal of the "second phase of the special operation" in Ukraine is to control the south of Ukraine, which will make it possible to gain access to Transnistria, "where there are also facts of oppression of the Russian-speaking population."
Russia calls President Sandu a “nazi” and announces that the recognition of Transnistria may come shortly to “uproot nazism.” Same pretext as Ukraine
From Moscow Times- Russian edition
The Russian authorities may recognize the independence of Pridnestrovie in the near future, said Viktor Vodolatsky, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs.
According to him, Pridnestrovie actually considers itself a part of Russia and wants to repeat the fate of South Ossetia, the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. Earlier, the authorities of these regions announced their desire to join the Russian Federation.
Vodolatsky said that Moldovan President Maia Sandu and “her Romanian curators” allegedly want to implement the Ukrainian scenario in Transnistria and unleash a war.
The deputy called Sanda herself a Nazi, since St. George ribbons were recently banned in the country, and now Russia needs to “uproot Nazism” in Moldova.
Pridnestrovians are our citizens. They understand that only together with Russia they themselves, their children and grandchildren can continue to live in safety and peace. All this nationalism, Nazism, which has taken root next to us, should simply be destroyed, uprooted and forgotten about for many years.
Viktor Vodolatsky added that the Pridnestrovians "are in isolation" and it is necessary to create a "corridor" to Russia.
Earlier, the acting commander of the Central Military District, Rustam Minnekaev , announced that, as part of the “second phase” of hostilities in Ukraine, the Russian army should establish full control over southern Ukraine in order to secure access to Transnistria. There, according to him, there are facts of oppression of the Russian-speaking population.
“ Apparently, we are now at war with the whole world, as it was in the Great Patriotic War, the whole of Europe, the whole world was against us. And now it’s the same, they never liked Russia ,” the officer said.
This conspiracy I found particularly alarming and it took me a bit to trace back the disinformation that I was seeing on social media to its source.
All day I was seeing Russian disinfo accounts spreading insanity of Romanian troops infiltrating Moldova and preparing to disguise themselves in Moldovan military uniforms to start a war. I couldn’t understand where this troubling insanity was coming from and finally found the interview where this “insider information” was revealed. It is even worse than I thought. The person who revealed this information is terrorist Igor Girkin aka Igor Strelkov, a Russian intelligence officer, who played a key role in the annexation of Crimea and occupation operations in Donbas.
The following is his interview printed in Russian media outlet Moskovsky Komsomolets
Strelkov was put in his place about the "annexation of Moldova"According to Strelkov, in all headquarters, a significant part of the Moldovan officers were replaced by officers of the Romanian army (in all key positions), and in the commandant companies of military units that perform the functions of the military police, the personnel were completely replaced by Romanians.
Also, according to him, on the territory of Moldova, warehouses of military uniforms and footwear, NATO army rations and other auxiliary military equipment are being hastily created and filled from outside. The weapon is not imported. Girkin's sources suggest that this is not necessary: when the Romanian army occupies Moldova, it will "come with everything of its own." Mobilization of Moldovans, in all likelihood, is also not planned.
The statements of the former Minister of Defense of the DPR, specifically for MK, were commented by the director of the International Institute of Recent States, political scientist Alexei Martynov .
“It is clear that these statements by Girkin are just a way to remind yourself of a loved one who was completely forgotten against the backdrop of a special operation in Ukraine,” the expert believes. “There is absolutely nothing behind them. We have been hearing these tales from Transnistria for 30 years. Although a Romanian plane flew past there for the last time, probably back in 1992 ...
- Is the annexation of Moldova by Romania such an incredible scenario?
- Why is it Romania?
- They want to unite for a long time, that's a good reason.
- To unite and send troops is a big difference. With all due respect to Romania, this is not Erdogan's Turkey, which, on the sly against the backdrop of this whole situation around Ukraine, goes and takes its own in Iraq. This is not India, which is now taking Punjab, and not China, which, perhaps, will also soon go to take away its own type of Taiwan ...
- Sandu is a citizen of Romania.
- So what? Half of the governments there have Romanian citizenship. 7 of the nine constitutional judges are Romanian citizens. 70-80% of MPs have Romanian passports. Why send Romanian troops into Moldova if it is already tightly integrated with Romania. Exactly as far as Romania needs it.
- And what will happen if the Russian Federation recognizes Pridnestrovie?
- To recognize Pridnestrovie is to automatically push Moldova into Romania. This formula is already 20 years old. In order for Moldova to become Romania, no Romanian troops need to be brought in.
- But maybe Chisinau is afraid that it is the Russian Federation that can send troops?
- What for? In Transnistria, there are already 1,800 Russian soldiers, plus military depots, which are still full. If there is an Ossetian scenario - an attack on peacekeepers, then the conversation is different. But I don't think this will happen.
In order to send troops, you need some reason. There are no such grounds for Moldova. Nothing threatens Moldova, except for Ukrainian refugees, who have already smashed Chisinau. Romania is now run by an ethnic German who knows how to count money. And in principle, they do not need any annexations or unifications. Unification is a serious subsidence in incomes, living standards of the population. Everything they need from Moldova, they already have. Romania is, by the way, a NATO country.
This is the same story as that the Poles will now take the Lviv region. If they don't, no one will let them.
Sergey Markov, Putin’s close adviser and political scientist, continues spreading Romania disinformation via a Facebook post earlier today.
“A military attack on Transnistria should begin in the near future. The Romanian army is already deployed in Moldova. Group expansion is underway. Soon there will be military provocations and then an attack. Romania with the support of NATO and with the participation of the Ukrainian army plans to seize Transnestria and carry out mass political repression against all supporters of Russia. This will put Russia in a very difficult position. After the military operation, Romania plans an enshlus in Moldova.”
Markov’s statement came shortly after a series of explosions that targeted the Ministry of State Security building in Tiraspol, Transnistrian. From RIA Novosti “As a result of the incident, windows were broken in neighboring buildings. No casualties have been reported. Eyewitnesses report that next to the building are several objects that look like tubes from grenade launchers.” Of course Russian correspondent from Russian state media outlet Ria Novosti was on the scene to capture it all.
Weeks before the start of Russia’s war they orchestrated a series of attacks to provide a pretext for their invasion due to the “dire situation” in Eastern Ukraine. Of course, it was Russian intelligence operatives who were committing all the attacks in Donbas. It feels like Russia is setting up a similar scenario with Transnistria.
Another interesting thing happened hours after the initial explosions in Tiraspol. Reports began circulating on Russian social media of another series of explostion in the city of Parcani. These social media posts were reporting this 2nd attack citing Russian media reports. I checked all Russian media outlets and couldn’t find a thing on this incident.
My final thoughts on this.
Breaking news over the weekend reported Russia’s “new” objectives in Ukraine, which include gaining full control of southern and eastern Ukraine. It really isn’t new because this has been Russia’s military strategy for over a decade and what they attempted to achieve during the 2014 invasion of Ukraine. One of the main reasons is to control the ports and have significant presence in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. Gaining control over Moldova plays into this strategy and why we must pay close attention.