Iulian Chifu: Attempted murder of Plahotniuc. Mafia shot, political revenge or terrorist state attack?
At the end of last week, there was a shocking news about an arrest of a criminal gang who were supposed to perform the paid assassination of Vladimir Plahotniuc, the Evil oligarch, who captured the Moldovan state, as he is known - in different media channels - that mostly belong to the political class and became the perception of the majority in the Republic of Moldova. The hate is so great that no one hesitated to think about the substance and the enormity of the news, but started to make fun, mocking the news and covering it in a conspiracy theory of an arrangement to increase in polls or insulting the potential victim, showing sorrow that the attempt from April 7 failed and even saying that would have done it for free.
We do not comment here the degree of humanity and the faith of the Moldovan population in the Easter Fast, on the eve of Palm Sunday. In moments of forgiving our debtors, it is clear that Vladimir Plahotniuc has many enemies, he is feared and hated in abundance, mostly deserved, perhaps, but drawing the individual choice and the party one just by humor and emotion seems detached from the Middle Ages, the era when rationality, humanism, Enlightenment was not known. Even worse to assume to write an editorial on this subject.
Faithful to the promise to comment with relevant cold, including the bill of criminal elements, I took the risk of being associated with the subject and decided to look at this dossier. With convenient public information at the time of writing the editorial, and of course being interested in the relevant elements at the strategic level for Moldova.
Thus, what we know from the authorities is that an Ukrainian citizen known criminal leader, had received the order to execute the assassination of Mr. P. 17 persons were detained with the cooperation of Ukrainian and Moldovan intelligence: 8 in Moldova and 9 in Ukraine, obviously before executing the act. The murder cost was 200 000 dollars and the first installment had been paid, i.e. 100 000 dollars.
The attack was to take place at the building of Global Business Center, where Plahotniuc has the office, with the use of firearms, including grenade launchers with cumulative effect, targeting the building and the car of the victim. Further searches led to the detection of money, radios, weapons and objects for cloaking, including two pistols with silencers and four grenades. All the involved persons and those who ordered the assasinationare going to be identified. Now, there are several suspects, including a Moldovan citizen residing in the Russian Federation, and some are in Moldova, which are linked and have mutual interest.
Some things are worth noting in this operation of Ukrainian and Moldovan police: cooperation, leisurely proving all the facts with video evidence, spying, wiretaps, complete capture of the criminal group, identifying the clients. After evaluating the evidence presented to us it is clear that the Ukrainian and Moldovan services had infiltrated people in the group and could identify and thwart the full plan.
The most interesting thing - and most discussed - from the whole affair is the combination of criminal area, the reference to the client, the Moldovan citizen residing in the Russian Federation (unspecified) and hints to the Russian secret services. Even clear reference elements: „relationships, contacts of the heads of the criminal group (Ukraine) show that the fulfillment of the assassination was attended by representatives of the Russian special services”. Moreover, „those who were to implement the plans were about to return to Ukraine to discredit the Ukrainian authorities and worsen the relations between Moldova and its neighbor”.
However, in Moldova the concerned ones entered the country bypassing the border crossings between Ukraine and Moldova, so with full premeditation of everyone involved. However, this combination is interesting between criminal-mafia world, political revenge and terrorist state murder, conducted by the Russian secret services. It is known, especially since recently Moscow has reactivated political assassination and uses it widely, at the basis of the actions are GRU, military intelligence service, who acted also in Montenegro (missed) and Serbia (missed and still questionable), and in Kiev, a few times, and so on.
So, the big question is whether we are dealing with a mob attack, a shot of political revenge (or business) or directly with a state political assassination. This answer will come the hardest, because the latter option requires more substantial evidence than the participation of the Russian secret service at the assassination - planning and execution - although this would be sufficient and incriminating, once the collected data were not presented to their counterparts in Moldova. Let us see the testimony of those arrested, especially since it's harder now to wipe the traces by executing the concerned ones, a thing I would have expected if they returned to Ukraine after they had finished the job. Even those direct executors of the murder that had to be eliminated.
The business relevance puts things differently. $ 200,000 is a significant amount even for the murder of Plahotniuc, but not a big one. A business rival could easily pay more than that, not necessarily for the same quality of performers. So the amount seems to indicate a real and sensible cost of the operation, which focuses rather on intelligence services and state money, used parsimoniously under the cover of ordering an assassination by a rival. And the option of a mob murder ordered strictly for reasons of criminal rivalry seems underpaid at this level. Criminal structures either own resources for such actions or pay generously the performers of such activities by importing them from other areas. However, they prefer snipers and clean execution, not involving representatives of the criminal world, which are many, talk much and are dispensable.
That's why I think we are dealing with an implementation staged by structures of state secret intelligence services, with premeditated execution of those who would do the murder. The persons were dispensable, so I would have expected that, once returned to Ukraine, they would be killed. The amount used parsimoniously, the quality of executors - good, trained, dispensable, involved in the criminal world - indicates for me, rather, a state political assassination.
Therefore, we ask in conclusion: why would Vladimir Putin order the assassination of Plahotniuc? Could the order come from the lower levels, possibly from those who lost money in the Platon's laundry? Or from those who are still blocked there today? I think a FSB / GRU general could order such an assassination, if would have 1-2 billion dollars blocked in the laundry, with Platon in prison in Chisinau. And the rupture component Chisinau / Kiev following the arrival of assassins from Ukraine could easily justify the personal action as a state operation.
The fact is that we must acknowledge today's instruments of a hybrid war, when military instruments are combined with the informational ones and companies are attacked as a whole, not only the armies or states. Including the use of special operations and criminal world, mob and organized crime. Moreover, Chisinau should realize that it's at war, there is no forgiveness or patience and - especially - on the land are thrown all the instruments! Where comes the need for consistency of action or strategical orientation in Chisinau and state structures and political cohesion. Therefore I find guilty Dodon's loud nonsense with taken pro-Russian positions. You don't fight unarmed with the enemy who is about to pull the trigger.