Moldova took the unexpected step of declaring five Russian diplomats Persona Non Grata, including the Deputy Military Attache – a fairly significant move.
But wait, all is not as it seems.
First, it was the decision of the Moldovan Foreign Ministry and the step was opposed by the Moldovan President.
- Moldova president ‘outraged’ at decision to expel Russian diplomats, calls it ‘provocation’
- Russia Embassy in Moldova Studying Note Declaring 5 Diplomats Persona Non Grata when someone receives a notice of a PNG, they’re gone. Why is Russia studying the notification?
Why are the news reports so small and vague from RFE and Reuters?
- Moldova Expels Five Russian Diplomats
- Russian envoy to Moldova confirms expulsion of five diplomats Reuters
When we begin to dig into Moldova, itself, we see a President who is clearly pro-Russian, a government that is corrupt, and a Russian government clearly trying to both influence and manipulate Moldova.
Perhaps the best report comes from Al Jazeera:
Moldova expels five Russian diplomats
The Russian ambassador to Moldova confirms the expulsions, but neither side gives reasons behind the move.
Moldova’s foreign ministry has expelled five Russian diplomats, ordering Moscow to remove them in a move that outraged the country’s pro-Russian president.
The note about the decision was given to the Russian ambassador to Moldova Farit Mukhametshin on Monday afternoon, according to Artur Sarbu, Moldova’s foreign ministry aide, who did not explain the reason behind the expulsion.
Mukhametshin confirmed that he received the note, but declined to elaborate.
The move comes amid tensions between the country’s pro-Russian president and his West-leaning government.
It follows allegations that former Moldovan legislator Yury Bolbochan passed state secrets to the military attache of the Russian embassy, Alexander Grudin.
Bolbochan was arrested in March and charged with treason after a video was published of him meeting Grudin.
President condemns decision
The unnamed diplomats were given 72 hours to leave the country, according to Moldova’s President Igor Dodon, who condemned the decision.
“The government has taken an outrageous act toward the Russian Embassy,” he wrote on Facebook.
“I am deeply outraged of this unfriendly step by the representatives of the Moldovan diplomatic corps and I categorically condemn it.
“This was done most likely on orders from the West,” he said. “This crude step will not be left without negative consequences.”
Moldova has an East-West cultural, linguistic and political split, with Dodon, who was elected in November.
Dodon this year declared that he would be keen to cancel Moldova’s EU association agreement and reestablish a relationship with Moscow, a move condemned by the country’s pro-Western politicians.
Bottom line, there is an ongoing war between Russia and Moldova, which sucks in the EU, the US and others. It absolutely involves Transnistria and Romania and Ukraine…
Russia has been exposed on Moldova, and the President appears to be in Putin’s pocket, but the government is resisting Dodon.