Accusations of Treason: Moldovan Politicians Linked to Șor Group Form Moscow Bloc

Several politicians from the Republic of Moldova, affiliated with the Șor group, face accusations of "treason" by Andrei Spînu, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development, as well as the vice-president of PAS.

These allegations arise subsequent to the announcement by leaders of the "Renaștere", "Șansă", "Forța de Alternativă și de Salvare a Moldovei", "Victorie" parties, and the former "Șor" party, regarding the establishment of the "Victory" political bloc in Moscow on Sunday.

Fugitive Ilan Șor, sentenced to 15-year prison for involvement in the "bank fraud" case, disclosed that the bloc's inauguration in Moscow was deliberate, providing a platform for the Moldovan political opposition to express itself freely, unhindered by the Chișinău government. He outlined the bloc's agenda, advocating an anti-European stance and fostering closer ties with "traditional partners" such as Russia, the CIS, and the Kremlin-dominated Eurasian Economic Union. Additionally, Ilan Șor, evading Moldovan judicial proceedings, declared his leadership of the Bloc's Executive Committee, with Marina Tauber, an independent deputy stripped of parliamentary immunity and under criminal investigation for justice system interference, serving as the Executive Committee's secretary. Evghenia Guțul, governor of Gagauzia, embroiled in a criminal investigation regarding the illegal financing of the Șor group, assumes the role of executive secretary of the Bloc's National Political Council. Notable attendees at the Bloc's launch event included Dmitrii Constantinov, president of the People's Assembly of Gagauzia, Alexei Lungu, leader of the "Șansă" party, Natalia Parasca, president of the "Renaștere" Party, and Vasile Bolea, an unaffiliated deputy.

Journalist Mihail Sirkeli from Comrat asserts that the establishment of this political bloc constitutes a continuation of the Kremlin's efforts to destabilise the Republic of Moldova. He remarks, "This aligns perfectly with what we already know. It's an attempt to destabilise the Republic of Moldova, utilising Gagauzia for that purpose. Their objective is to destabilise the Republic of Moldova. They provoke the authorities of the Republic of Moldova to take forceful actions. They escalate the situation so that upon their return, they might be somehow arrested or persecuted. Instead of considering how to integrate Gagauzia into our European future, the collective future of all citizens of the Republic of Moldova, they sow division within society and the community. They exploit Gagauzia against the independence and European trajectory of the Republic of Moldova," underscoring concerns about the divisive impact of such actions.

Former Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration Vlad Kulminski expresses certainty that the new political entity is doomed to fail. He emphasises, "In Moscow, people and parties have gathered who are ready to resort to destabilising the situation, and the composition of this bloc is very interesting. We can see there people and parties who will promote the Russian world in the Republic of Moldova, who would be ready to drag the Republic of Moldova into the war zone."

Recalling events of the past two years, there have been numerous accusations against Ilan Șor and his party, alleging illegal financing from Russia. These accusations aim to disrupt the European integration process of the Republic of Moldova and reintroduce it into the Kremlin's sphere of influence. Notably, in October 2022, the US Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions under the Magnitsky Act against Ilan Șor and his former party, among others, for election interference favouring the Russian Federation. Subsequent sanctions by other nations followed suit.

In June 2023, responding to a government petition, the Constitutional Court declared the "Șor" Party unconstitutional, leading to the introduction of electoral restrictions for certain representatives. Despite this, Ilan Șor established or absorbed several political entities participating in last fall's local elections. The "Șansă" Party, for instance, faced exclusion from the electoral race on the final campaign day, accused of voter bribery funded by Russia.

Concurrently, law enforcement authorities conducted numerous raids and searches at the premises of the former "Șor" Party and its affiliates, seizing significant sums of unaccounted funds. Furthermore, two deputies aligned with the "Renaștere" Party, suspected of ties to Ilan Șor, were detained last fall on charges of political corruption.

Ilan Șor, who departed Moldova in June 2019 alongside oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, has recently resettled in Moscow following a brief stint in Israel. Sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the 2014 large-scale bank fraud case, Ilan Șor opposes Moldova's accession to the European Union. The "Renaștere" Party initiated a signature collection campaign last year in favour of joining the Eurasian Union, spearheaded by Moscow.

Translation by IUrie Tataru

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