Maia Sandu’s Speech. Prologue to a Total “Crackdown” in the Country

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Anton SVET
Yesterday’s briefing by Maia Sandu, in which she “synchronized” with the latest statements by Ukrainian officials on the subject of Russian aggression against Moldova, suggests that Ukraine’s military-strategic needs have aligned with the short-term political interests of our authorities. Kyiv has agreed to “play along” with the ruling party, giving it an excuse to suppress any dissent in the country, in return for repayment of services to its armed forces
Last week, Ukrainian officials actively hyped the threat of armed aggression by Russia against Moldova. Volodymyr Zelensky made a formal start in Brussels when he announced that Ukraine had handed over to the Moldovan secret services “a Russian intelligence plan for the destruction of Moldova”. According to him, Kyiv detected and told our authorities “who, how and when” intended to “destroy Moldova’s democracy and establish control over it”. It is typical that while Maia Sandu waited by order of the US embassy to do a government reshuffle, the security and information service reacted sensitively to Zelensky’s “bait”. The security service quickly confirmed that it had received information from its Ukrainian counterparts and identified “subversive activities aimed at destabilizing Moldova and disturbing public order”. This sensitivity proved to be quite natural given that, as it turned out later, it was about another political decision to strengthen the SIS with additional powers. The secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, also stood out over the weekend, warning of Russia’s alleged desire to make “a pressure point in Moldova to which we would have to pay maximum attention”. In his opinion, “Chechens” could have arrived in our country from among the rescuers sent by Russia to Turkey to deal with the earthquake damage. The contradictory statements were complemented by the video that appeared on the Internet of an attack by an overwater drone on the bridge in Zatoka, which was allegedly blown up, which, however, was not confirmed by the Russian Defense Ministry. Interestingly, the bridge has already resumed operation. The simulation of plans for an attack on Moldova, which, it should be recalled, was warned about as early as mid-December by the SIS director, is basically an information and psychological operation by Kyiv (possibly jointly with our leadership), with specific objectives in mind. And here, Ukraine’s military-strategic needs have coincided with the short-term political interests of the incumbent authorities. It is important for Kyiv to organize a bridgehead on the territory of its western neighbor to permanently supply its armed forces with everything they need. Today, Moldova and Romania have increased the supply and transit of fuel to the warring country tenfold, as well as ensuring the export of grain and other products, which guarantees the currency needed to buy military and other strategic goods. However, Moldova’s potential as a transit territory for the transfer of weapons and equipment is still not exploited to the full, although our infrastructure allows it. Chisinau airport regularly receives US and UK military aircraft. The public does not know what these planes carry and where they go afterwards. Meanwhile, the military airfield in Marculesti in the north of the country is only a few tens of kilometres from the border with Ukraine and is very close to the Russian equipment and armament depots in the Transdniestrian Colbasna. The port in Giurgiulesti could also be an important site for alternative supply to the south of Ukraine, especially in case the bridge in Zatoka is actually destroyed. Nor should we forget about the historically essential connection between the two countries by road and rail. All the more so as news of repair work on the railway lines appears often. For the first time in the last decade the position of the state railway enterprise is improving, the number of scandals around it has decreased many times and even the passenger service is developing. Apparently, the volume and cost of transport have increased significantly due to the specific nature of the cargo. Yesterday’s briefing by Maia Sandu actually reproduces Ukrainian narratives, accusing Russia of aggressive intentions towards Moldova. She foresees attempts to seize buildings by force by citizens of several foreign countries under the guise of anti-government protests. Obviously, the content of the President’s speech does not stand up to any criticism, and there is no documentary evidence of her words. That is why Maia Sandu’s statements were so fiercely criticized by the opposition, and not only by the part of the opposition that is suspected of having ties to Moscow. The bloc of communists and socialists demanded proof, pointing out that the President’s statements were “a provocation aimed at dragging Moldova into a military conflict, stirring up hysteria in society, intimidating the opposition and strengthening political repression of all dissenters inside the country”. Marina Tauber, vice-president of the Shor party, declared usurpation of power and violation of human rights. The Civic Congress party described Maia Sandu’s statements as the beginning of “police terror against the entire opposition”. This reaction was expected, because in her speech Sandu directly accused the opposition of acting as a cover for Russian aggression in Moldova. She promised to prosecute the authors of the takeover scenarios, i.e., any forces that would be involved in the protests. Under PAS rule, our country is rapidly transforming into an authoritarian police state and a hub for Ukraine’s weaponry. In this sense, appointing Dorin Recean, former head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who reformed the police in line with Western guidelines, is quite logical. Such a prime minister, as our elites seem to believe, would be able to prioritize security and the rule of law by crackdown on the opposition, dispersing all protests, and ousting the remnants of Russian influence (pro-Russian public associations, TV channels, and the media). There will be more pressure on Gagauzia and Transdniestria, and the “law on separatism”, which the president will sign in the coming days, will contribute a lot to this. Anyway, the new configuration of the authorities will lead Moldova towards a bright European future within the framework of the nationalistic and authoritarian “Baltic type” model. Maia Sandu sees the information and psychological operation carried out as a useful symbiosis that allows her to "tighten the screws" inside the country and eliminate any threats to her authoritarian rule by defeating the opposition and expressions of dissent. In fact, our leadership is being used covertly to solve the problem of supplying the Ukrainian armed forces through this transit territory, as if in return for solving Chisinau’s internal political problems. The propaganda game launched by Volodymyr Zelensky was precisely for this purpose. As a result, Dorin Recean will be focused on working out logistics and security of deliveries for Ukraine and rigidly suppress any opposition to them, Gagauzia or Transdniestria. This is why the US Embassy has been so insistent in promoting his candidacy. How such a policy corresponds to the constitutional status of neutrality, how it will be perceived by citizens, including on the left bank of the Dniester, and whether Russia will then retaliate, our leadership, as we see it, is not particularly interested.