Rustam Minnikhanov, the ruler of Russia’s Tatarstan Republic, is not allowed to enter Moldova. On April 17, when he and his group arrived at the airport in Chisinau, they were denied entry into Moldova.
Following indications from Ukrainian intelligence that Russia intends to destabilize Moldova, Chisinau has recently adopted a harder stance toward Moscow.
Minnikhanov was rumored to be going to Moldova to vote for the pro-Russian candidate in the autonomous republic of Gagauzia at the end of April.
“Supporting a candidate in our country’s local elections is not a good reason, and the authorities have requested that the Russian officials refrain from meddling in our country’s internal affairs,” reads a statement from the Border Police.
Minnikhanov stated that he was traveling to Comrat, in the autonomous territory of Gagauzia, at the deputy’s invitation from the fraction of the Bloc of Communists and Socialists, Alexandr Suhodolski, to take part in a congress.
Elections for the position of governor (bashkan) will take place in the pro-Russian province of Gagauzia in the Moldova on April 30.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented on the ban, saying: “It is an unfriendly gesture not only against Tatarstan and Gagauzia but also against Russia.”
The Border Police, cited by Publika.md on the evening of April 17, reported that a total of 46 persons had their entry into Moldova revoked in the previous 24 hours.
The people could not justify the reason for their journeys, according to the Border Police, who also claimed that they had given conflicting explanations for why they were there.
Prior to the Shor Party-organized public rallies on March 12, Moldovan police claimed to have thwarted a second destabilization operation by Russian agents. It is believed that more foreign agents are getting involved in the Chisinau street protests.
Moldova, a small republic with a pro-EU president and administration, has declined to join international sanctions against Russia but has been granted EU admission candidate status for 2022. More recently, the neutrality contained in the Moldovan constitution has been openly discussed by President Maia Sandu and Prime Minister Dorin Recean.
When asked about her country’s future admission to Nato, Sandu added that the nation is currently determining if a constitutional amendment will be required in order to join “a larger alliance”.