What is the context? Moldova’s pro-European President Maia Sandu said on Monday that according to the findings of both Moldovan and Ukrainian intelligence services, Russia is planning to carry out a pro-Russian coup to reverse the country’s pro-European direction. Moldova last year became a candidate country, along with Ukraine, to join the European Union and has been trying to break away from Russia’s sphere of influence and integrate into Europe since the election of Maia Sandu as president in 2020.
Monday’s announcement was preceded last week by the resignation of the Moldovan government, which has long been under (pro)Russian pressure, for example in the form of Russian-organised demonstrations and sharp gas price increases. President Sandu immediately appointed a new, also pro-EU government, which will be chaired by the current National Security Adviser Dorin Recean.
This is far from the first case of significant Russian interference for Moldova. For example, the 2020 presidential election, which was eventually won by the current president Sandu, was preceded by a large-scale Russian campaign in support of her pro-Russian opponent and then-president Igor Dodon, for whom the Kremlin, according to leaked documents, had earmarked over €11 million (CZK 261 million).
How can disinterest in Moldova further endanger Europe and the Czech Republic? The possible lack of interest by European states to provide Moldova with sufficient political support and the resulting success of the planned coup, which would reverse Moldova’s pro-Western orientation, could be used by Russia to further its military aggression against Ukraine, with which Moldova shares a border. Equally, success would motivate Russia to further destabilising activities, particularly against the former Eastern Bloc states and therefore the Czech Republic.
What should the Czech Republic do? As was the case, for example, with Prime Minister Petro Fiala’s trip to Kiev in March, the Czech government should organise a joint trip to Moldova with other EU countries to express support for the government against the planned pro-Russian coup. For example, a delegation of several EU foreign ministers could go to Chisinau.