The Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organised Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS) together with officers of the Internal Protection and Anti-Corruption Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (SPIA) and employees of the Security and Intelligence Service (SIS) announce that they have documented the actions of a person, “manifested by the spreading of war and intentional actions aimed at stirring up national, ethnic, racial or religious enmity, differentiation or disunity”. The media in ATU of Gagauzia report that the editor of the Gagauznews portal, Nicolai Kostirkin, is involved. The website was previously blocked at the request of SIS.
UPDATE: Newsmaker.md reports that the deputy of the People’s Meeting of Gagauzia, Victor Petrov, who allegedly has connections with the portal Gagauznews.md, confirmed that the man targeted by the investigation of law enforcement officers is Nicolai Kostirkin. In a commentary for Russia’s TASS agency, Victor Petrov said that the actions of law enforcement officers are “proof that the suppression of journalists in Moldova has begun”.
According to a PCCOCS press release, the investigation found that the suspect had systematically published and spread propagandistic material justifying Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. Prosecutors claimed that the person had systematically placed information and public speeches inciting hatred and war through communication channels managed and administered by him. The PCCOCS press release does not mention the name of the suspect.
Thus, on June 9, as part of the prosecution, searches were carried out at the home and personal car of the person concerned, and objects and other evidence relevant to the criminal case were found and seized.
The suspect was also taken to PCCOCS headquarters for hearings.
Further, prosecutors said that the necessary actions will be taken to establish the entire circle of perpetrators, “who systematically spread to the public through various media, social networks, communication channels tendentious and invented information, characterized as instigating war, with the aim of creating among the population of the Republic of Moldova an emotional climate conducive to armed conflict, including with the aim of generating dissension among the population, aimed at stirring up enmity, differentiation or national, ethnic or religious disunity.”
The local portal Gagauzinfo.md reports that the person in question is Nicolai Kostirkin, editor of the Gagauznews portal and author of the project “Случайный корреспондент” (Correspondent by chance).
The SIS ordered Gagauznews.md to be closed down on February 26, the same day it also requested the blocking of Sputnik.md, which it described as portals “promoting information inciting hatred and war under the state of emergency”.