CHISINAU, March 12. /TASS/. The head of Moldova's General Police Commissariat, Viorel Cernauteanu, said on Sunday that Russian special services were involved in preparing actions to destabilize the situation during mass opposition demonstrations in Moldova.
"The police have operative information about the preparation by the intelligence services of the Russian Federation of actions to destabilize the situation in Moldova, which were planned for opposition protests, including today's," demonstrations said at a briefing before the rally, which was announced by the SOR opposition party, as well as a number of extra-parliamentary parties and movements.
According to him, ten groups consisting of five to ten people were formed in Moldova and had to undergo special training. Their activity was allegedly coordinated by a person who had arrived from the Russian Federation. Cernauteanu also says that 25 alleged participants were brought to the police, seven were detained later and were cooperating with the investigation at the moment.
The SOR party leaders earlier had assured that the action would be peaceful. On Saturday, however, the party accused the police of intimidating its activists. They reported that the party members received threatening phone calls with criminal charges in almost every district of the country. This week, police conducted another large-scale search at party cells, confiscating large sums of money.
Moldova has had a state of emergency for more than a year, which was imposed with the start of a special military operation in Ukraine. During this period, all mass events were banned and opposition TV channels were closed. Nevertheless, the Moldovan opposition has been holding rallies almost weekly since last summer. Periodically, during these actions, clashes with the police occur, who try to block the movement of the column in the city center.
The demonstrators accuse the authorities of failing to cope with rising prices, record inflation for the past 20 years, which amounted to 30% in 2022. They also criticize for confrontation with Russia and militarization. The rallies include slogans calling for the dissolution of parliament and the resignation of President Maia Sandu.
Plan to destabilize situation
In February, Sandu pointed to the danger of destabilization of the situation in the country and called on parliament to give additional powers to the security services. She said at the time that the country’s state authorities had confirmed information from Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky about the alleged risks of destabilization and the danger of seizing government buildings and hostages in Moldova. Kiev and Chisinau blamed Moscow for the destabilization attempts.
On February 14, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stressed that Chisinau's statements about "Russia's plan to destabilize the situation in Moldova" are unsubstantiated. According to her, it is obvious that the real goal of Kiev, which launched such disinformation, was "to drag Chisinau into a tough confrontation with Russia."