Iulian CHIFU // Espionage as political occupation and the SIS caveat
Espionage, one of the oldest occupations in the world, is the prerogative of professionals. What do you do when it combines with treason, with financial interests and even political projects to support the interests of a foreign state by a politician or public official who has access to sensitive information that would otherwise have to use to benefit their own state?
The Post-Soviet space is a favorite region of action of the Russian secret service. To the point where the internal information service of the Russian FSB, successor of the more famous KGB, is in charge of the entire post-Soviet space, and not the Russian foreign intelligence, the SVR. To them are added GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, extremely aggressive and present lately on all meridians. All these services have an important operational component, which means that they conduct important aggressive operations in targeted areas.
As the new independent states were not born either with their own armed forces or intelligence services, the Russian secret services roam peaceful all this space. Moreover, when these instruments of State began to be formed and operate, there were still based military and intelligence officers who came from the former Soviet structures and had colleagues, friends, comrades, superiors in Russian services. Hence the total domination of these national services of the new States of the FSB and GRU, more, sometimes even the appointment of heads of national services was made from or with the approval of Moscow (see the SBU case during Yanukovych's time).
The major element of the rift was the colored revolutions or wars of national liberation. If Georgia has developed capabilities of intelligence major after taking over the power in Tbilisi by Mihail Saakashvili after the Rose Revolution of 2003, in Ukraine things got more difficult and with several ups and downs, starting with the Kravchuk nationalist's administration who launched the idea of standalone and started to build up the Kuchma administration, who wanted an Intensified dialogue with NATO and to remake the security sector reform with the Alliance, with more or fewer achievements, and continuing with Viktor Yushcenko and the orange Revolution. The succession of regimes roundtrip has not helped to a structure for completely independent information in Kiev, this being born, slowly, after the annexation of Crimea and military aggression in eastern Ukraine and after the security system reform initiated then. So it's difficult.
A similar story has had and has the SIS of Moldova. The creation of the MSN in origin was far from being a detachment of Russian structures, but rather a post-Soviet continuity. Since the establishment of SIS, the independence or the dependence of the intelligence service from its Russian counterparts have followed the trends of independence or dependence of Moldova to Russia at the political level. The steps were difficult and there were ups and downs. What we can say is that the nationalist independence (Moldovan, it's true) Vladimir Voronin was one of those who really supported such a separation, after 2003, but things were not linear under his leadership. After 2009, there were more substantial steps performed by the security sector reform and twinning programs, but here the steps were rather modest and shy.
Today we can look carefully and relatively confident the institution, along with its removal from the subordination of the pro-Russian president who was to come, Igor Dodon, and its placement under the Government and Parliament. But neither here the enhancing guidance does not seem complete. A few things are worth mentioning, starting with radicalization of Islam and expulsions, to arrest of foreign fighters from the theater in Eastern Ukraine, up to prevent some separatist movements and intercepting special documents by going to the Russian soldiers that crossed the Chisinau Airport, en route to Tiraspol, in all these cases have been taken important steps by the SIS.
However major points of support the optimism of independent development of of an information service come from the contribution to service the famous deal of money laundering of 22 billion dollars through banks in Moldova - not prevention, but support for knowledge and further testing those involved . Lately, we had the case of a spy traitors registered.
On 17 March, the prosecutors of the Prosecutor's Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Causes jointly with the officers of security and intelligence arrested in the act a citizen of Moldova, who held public positions for a long time, including the deputy in the Moldovan Parliament, Iurie Bolboceanu. The arrest in flagrant happened when transmitting information of national interest to Alexandr Grudin, the aid to Russian military attaché.
The investigation conducted over seven months proved recruitment, training and deployment of crimes under Art. 337 and Art. 338 of the Criminal Code of Moldova - "High Treason" and "Espionage" as well as the entire modus operandi. We will not go into details here. The fact is that the arrest measure and public exposure, with all possible data and evidence, proved on the one hand the decision of the responsible institutions to intervene and the ability to do it professionally, with all available evidence. And here is worth paying attention and interpretation the gesture to conduct and exposure of such a case.
The fact that Russia spies in Moldova is a common thing. It romps in this space with all the tools in sight. From blind exploitation to placing its representatives in decision-making positions. The fact that today we have an exposed case indicates that limits have been exceeded long ago and that there are Chisinau's firm decision to fight back. Bolboceanu is only a tool, a functional element in the huge machine of Russian services in Chisinau. Some are in public positions, others in high dignity of the state up to the highest level. Here we are dealing with formulas of information delivery versus money in a form of conspiracy, professional. But at the level of espionage made by politicians and decision makers, others received cash bricks almost in sight, in public places, directly from diplomatic representatives. "To what do I owe this pleasure today?" greet such a high and titrated politician the official from the Russian embassy who delivered him the package with money, according to citizens who unwittingly assisted to this process.
Then, another time, this game was not sanctioned. The payment with envelopes and bricks of money (dollars, euros, but never rubles or MDL) is a one current and in sight, and no one does not notify of the enormity of payment by foreign citizens of some political leaders with major powers in state institutions. Should we be surprised then by the security level of the Republic of Moldova and the penetration of institutions by services of third countries? Especially Russia?
Moldova is not the only target. There, a few days ago the Security Service of Ukraine detained nine people, who are said to be members of the network information of the Russian military intelligence service, GRU, according to the head of the director of Security Service of Ukraine, Alexander Tkachuk, a network consisting of former and current soldiers. Their goal was to penetrate the strategically important targets in the southern regions of Ukraine for collecting information and carrying out sabotage and terrorist attacks. GRU agents network coordinator was a woman from Odessa, public servant, trained in the GRU information center in Crimea. Four GRU agents are arrested. The rest are "under the control" of SBU.
Also in the US an investigation aims, this time, the component of agents of influence around the future President Trump and from his administration area. All to establish clearly which actions are legitimate and which ones are falling under the paid services by the Russian services.
The SIS action the other day constitutes a very serious warning of credible discouraging, released by SIS and Moldovan authorities. It was a case, it may be others, up to the highest level. Anyone in politics who is dealing with espionage for money and treason, on the grounds that Moldova must be dragged into the depths of Siberia, into a new future of the Russian Empire, should know that Moldova is serious state and that spies and traitors will pay. Up to the highest level. Notice to the amateurs! And all those who have to search in theit consciousness the moments when they gave information and received money, possibly in places where they were already filmed and where there are witnesses who are exposed and deserve to lose their functions and clogging jails. Regardless of where in the hierarchy of decision and mandate that they have.