Former president of the Republic of Moldova, Socialist Igor Dodon, was arrested because he wanted to prevent the Republic of Moldova from entering the conflict in Ukraine, media outlets in Chișinău and Moscow claim. In fact, Dodon was detained as part of official investigations into the illegal funding of Dodon’s party, which were launched a few years ago.
NEWS: “Political expert Semyon Uralov claims Maia Sandu is purging the opposition in order to destroy the local elites who are resisting the country’s involvement in the war”, politnavigator.net writes.
“The desire to take up arms, the provocations in Transnistria – they all paint a dangerous and grim-looking scenario. Apart from the economic crisis and the skyrocketing prices, the energy crisis and the prospective food crisis, there are increasingly clear signs that Moldova might collapse altogether.
And despite assurances from Western diplomats that Moldova cannot risk becoming “the next Ukraine”, we can see that Moldovan authorities are not just incapable of preventing evil, but are actually drawing fire.
And the result is very likely to be similar to the one in Ukraine – the collapse of the state”, mejdurecie.md writes.
NARRATIVE: Igor Dodon is the victim of an international conspiracy, aimed at dragging the Republic of Moldova into a war against Russia.
BACKGROUND: The former pro-Russian president of the Republic of Moldova and ex-president of the Party of Socialists, Igor Dodon was put on pre-trial arrest on May 24, suspected of corruption, unjust enrichment, illegal party funding and treason. On May 26, the court ordered Dodon be placed under house arrest for 30 days, but the prosecutors appealed the ruling, demanding Dodojn be kept in isolation.
Igor Dodon is a highly controversial figure in the Republic of Moldova: he entered politics during the communist regime. In 2011, he betrayed his mentor, former president Vladimir Voronin, and left the Party of Communists along with part of its members and moved to the Party of Socialists. A decade later, the two joined forces again in the legislative election, which they lost.
In 2016, Igor Dodon won the presidential election, backed from the shadows by the controversial business tycoon and politician, Vlad Plahotniuc, as the media controlled by the Moldovan oligarch has shown.
The investigation targeting Igor Dodon, known as the `The Bag Case`, draws on a number of video recordings in which the former president appears to negotiate with Vlad Plahotniuc with a view to forging a political alliance in Parliament in June 2019. The two also discussed plans to federalize the Republic of Moldova, as per the Kremlin’s requests (which is what the treason charge is most likely based upon). At one point, Plahotniuc hands Dodon a black bag, allegedly filled with money, and Dodon asks Plahotniuc to give it instead to an individual named Cornel (most likely Cornel Furculiță, one of Dodon’s close associates), who was supposed to “pay the salaries” (which is what the illegal party financing charge rests on).
Dodon however did not ally himself with Plahotniuc, although apparently they came to an understanding. Subsequently he said the video had been doctored or taken out of context, and that in fact he tricked Plahotniuc in order to build a coalition against him.
The footage of Dodon receiving the black bag was published in May, 2020. At the time, the Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation, which it subsequently closed. A tribunal however rolled back the decision two weeks ago, and the investigation has been reopened. Last Tuesday, prosecutors ordered searches at several properties owned by Igor Dodon directly or indirectly. Prosecutors claim to have discovered luxury items and tens of thousands of Euro in cash, including in an envelope bearing the party logo.
After sustaining two consecutive defeats in the presidential and parliamentary elections, Igor Dodon stepped down from the party helm and renounced his MP seat in exchange for being appointed honorary president of the Party of Socialists and the chairman of an organization that promotes Moldovan-Russian relations.
PURPOSE: 1. To turn the inquiry targeting Igor Dodon into a geopolitical trial in order to boost the visibility and public rating of the former president. 2. To amplify concerns at society level regarding the Republic of Moldova’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.
Public inquiries into these allegations have been conducted in the past as well, although with no clear-cut results, considering many voices suspected the Prosecutor General, Alexandr Stoianoglo (who got suspended in autumn 2021) toed the party line. Stoianoglo is now one step away from being sacked.
The issue of Moldova’s possible involvement in a war against Russia has been often amplified by politicians and news agencies. However, the narrative has no sound basis, considering that the Republic of Moldova is a neutral state, and the citizens would never rally behind such a decision. Moreover, the Moldovan army is too weak to make a stand in case of a military operation.