Staunton, Oct. 9 – Chisinau’s decision to arrest Aleksandr Stoyanoglu, the ethnic Gagauz who had been serving as prosecutor general of Moldova, has sparked protests in his own home region and other cities in the republic and warnings that this move could result in the appearance of a Moldovan counterpart to the Donbass in Ukraine.
Residents in Komrat, the largest Gagauz city, went into the streets and demanded that Stoyanoglu not only be released but restored to his position. They said that there was no justification for what Chisinau had done and that more protests are ahead (gagauzinfo.md/top1/62448-chto-esche-nuzhno-chtoby-mamalyga-vzorvalas-v-komrate-trebuyut-osvobozhdeniya-aleksandra-stoyanoglo.html).
Many Gagauz said this arrest was “the last drop” which was certain to push them and others in Moldova into the streets to protest the current government (gagauzinfo.md/top1/62448-chto-esche-nuzhno-chtoby-mamalyga-vzorvalas-v-komrate-trebuyut-osvobozhdeniya-aleksandra-stoyanoglo.html).
And Irina Vlakh, the pro-Russian head of Gagauzia said that the arrest showed that despite the trappings of democracy, Moldova has become a dictatorship. Some people elsewhere in Moldova and even some former Moldovan officials agreed (fondsk.ru/news/2021/10/09/moldova-riskuet-poluchit-svoj-donbass-gagauzia-protestuet-54643.html).
Dorin Chirtoaca, the former pro-European mayor of Chisinau, warned Moldovan President Maia Sandu that she was putting the country at risk of having “a second Donbass in Moldova” by her arrest of Stoyanoglu (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=418244542992387&id=100044205350839).
Also denouncing the move was Renato Rusaty, the former mayor Belts, the city sometimes referred to as “the northern capital of Moldova.” People there also staged protests against Sandu’s actions (ehomd.info/2021/10/08/usatyj-prizval-storonnikov-vyjti-na-protesty-v-zashhitu-genprokurora/).
There have also been smaller protests in other cities, including the capital.
(For background on the Gagauz issue and the way Moscow has used it before against the Moldovan government, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2021/08/chisinaus-policies-turning-gagauzia.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2016/07/russia-and-gagauz-expanding-ties-at.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2015/09/moscow-mulls-mobilizing-transdniestria.html.)