The Kremlin is spending tens of millions of dollars on pro-Russian Moldovan politicians. About it writes the Washington Postwho studied the materials of Ukrainian intelligence. “Important stories” tell about the main facts of the investigation.
In the parliamentary elections in 2021, the Shor party took third place with 5.7% of the vote. “Some [Илан Шор] causes an allergic reaction, he is an unacceptable figure. But for others, he is a real idol and leader,” says an April 2021 report written by political technologists for the FSB.
Some [Илан Шор] causes an allergic reaction, he is an unacceptable figure. But for others, he is a real idol and leader.
Report of political technologists sent by the FSB to Moldova
According to Ukrainian intelligence documents, Kremlin-employed political technologists first traveled to Chisinau from Russia in March 2021 to covertly work with Shor’s party. They went to great lengths to keep their presence from being known. Political technologists bought prepaid SIM cards for disposable phones and hid the addresses of rented apartments – even from members of Shor’s party.
Political technologists recommended that the party erase as much information as possible about the politician’s “negative past” (WP assumes that this is about Shor’s criminal record) and try to whitewash his image on the Internet. They also advised offering “rewards” to journalists for deleting articles.
At the end of September, managerial control over the two main pro-Russian TV channels in Moldova was handed over to a close associate of Shor. This became the main platform for the politician to advance the agenda agreed with Moscow.
In addition, in 2020, when Shor had a conflict with the Moldovan authorities, the FSB helped him transfer one of his key assets – shares in the Chisinau airport – to a Russian businessman Andrey Goncharenko. Shor said he did not own a stake, but FSB documents from 2020 refer to the airport as “Shor’s asset.”
The Shor party was supposed to be positioned as a party of “concrete action”. Political strategists in reports for the FSB (available from WP) wrote that the party is considered populist and it “changes people’s lives for the better.” Shor denied ever receiving support from the Kremlin, including from the security services.
US Treasury October 26 imposed sanctions against several Russian or Moldovan organizations and individuals, including Shor, saying that he “coordinated with representatives of other oligarchs to create political unrest in Moldova” and “received Russia’s support”, and also worked in June with “Moscow-based structures to undermine” Moldova’s bid to join the European Union.