Imagine this! The year 2044. Those who killed people on the Maidan are elected to the Verkhovna Rada. In Romania, this is a reality
The information bombs planted by the Kremlin in Romania (and in Moldova, which remains part of Russia’s “anti-Romanian front”) are exploding one after another. Emotions have not yet subsided from the scandalous statements of Romanian Senator Diana Șoșoacă, who proposed annexing Ukrainian territories when several more Kremlin “canned goods” have manifested themselves. Russia’s interests in Romania are pretty predictable today – to undermine support for Ukraine and confidence in European institutions and NATO. And, of course, manipulating the patriotic sentiments of citizens is the best way to do this. In this case, the Kremlin relies on pawns that have long been accustomed to pecking at Moscow’s hand.
And while in Ukrainian realities, firstly, the communists fulfilled Moscow’s tasks, and only then Yanukovych’s proxies… in Romanian reality, this role is still played by the servants of the regime of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was overthrown more than three decades ago. A new galaxy of ” friends of Russia” is also actively accomplishing the task, and they have already made their way into the Romanian parliament.
Can you imagine that in about 30 years, the Berkut officers (a particular unit that shot protesters during the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine in 2014) who killed Ukrainians on Euromaidan will be in parliament during some election? This is precisely the scenario that has already been realized in Romania today, and it has been realized with the support of Russia. Evidence of this – is on the surface.
The “AUR” (“Union for the Unification of Romanians”) party, which will be discussed below, entered parliament in 2020. No one in Ukraine might have noticed this if representatives of this party had not launched a clumsy anti-Ukrainian propaganda campaign in Romania, which has intensified in recent months.
But what does Ceauşescu, who was executed 33 years ago, have to do with this? Let’s start with a bit of history.
The dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena Ceausescu, were shot in the courtyard of a small house where a special tribunal was urgently organized on December 25, 1989. A series of shots still stick to those walls in the town of Târgoviște. Ceauşescu actually ruled the country from 1955 until his death sentence, and the extent of the abuse of the people in those days still remains a sensitive topic for Romanian society.
The place where the regime’s servants shot protesters in Bucharest is now called “zero kilometer of democracy.” By the way, it is there where the pro-Ukrainian demonstrations have been held since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale aggression against Ukraine.
The law on the lustration of Ceausescu’s henchmen, who held high positions, was adopted only in 2012, and discussions around this issue lasted more than 13 years. Finally, a time limit was introduced for associates of the Ceausescu regime to hold high positions. In fact, from the standpoint of the law, nothing prohibits these people from engaging in politics due to the passage of time. Meanwhile, nothing prohibits reminding about the past of the dictator’s associates and their connections, especially if they are now actively used against Ukraine’s national interests.
Here are just some personalities
Francisc Tobă, 69, is a former adviser to Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Năstase (big friend of the nazi Alexandr Dugin) of the Social Democratic Party (remember this name and do not confuse it with the same surname as Andrei Năstase from the Republic of Moldova). In 2020, Tobă became a member of the lower house of parliament from the “AUR” party, having been elected from the Brasov city district. After receiving the mandate, Tobă left the party and became an “independent”. According to the same scheme, through party lists, the Ukrainophobe Diana Șoșoacă (well-known to Glavkom readers) became an “independent” senator.
Romanian journalists claim that in the tragic days of the late 1980s, Tobă was one of those who committed crimes against the Revolution.
“Deputy Francis Tobă, elected on the “AUR” list and recently approved by the Romanian parliament, is one of those who were tried in the Sibiu Revolution case (the Romanian revolution that began in 1989 in the city of Timisoara and later spread throughout the country) for attempted capital murder and complicity in the crime of inhuman treatment,” Radio Europă Libera writes.
Francis Tobă was once in the team of Prime Minister Năstase, and he actively advocated rapprochement with Moscow. In addition, Prime Minister Nastase has developed friendly ties with the key ideologue of Russian fascism (“Russkiy mir”), Alexander Dugin.
And this is not the only evidence of the AUR’s ties to the Kremlin. Tobă is not a unique example. Other still-alive associates of dictator Ceausescu are also actively used by the Kremlin. Another interesting person is Romanian Senator Nicolae Roman, who was also elected to the ȚAUR” list.
In 1989, Nicolae Roman served as a captain in a mechanized regiment of the Romanian army în Timișoara, where the first demonstrations began and the first blood was shed. Nicolae Roman’s name still appears on the list of criminals who committed violence against protesters during the 1989 Revolution in the documents of the Revolutionary Memorial.
According to the Romanian media outlet Podul.ro, Nicolae Roman called Russia’s aggression a “so-called conflict” and promoted the Kremlin’s narrative that a “special operation” was underway in Ukraine.
Friends of the Nazi Dugin
Dugin’s visits to Bucharest were organized by another member of the “AUR” team, Călin Georgescu, whom “AUR” leader Gheorghe Simion presented in 2020 as the party’s future prime ministerial candidate.
Another influential figure close to the AUR party is Dan Voiculescu, who also rose to prominence despite showing himself in a very negative light during the Revolution. Glavkom has already reported about Voiculescu’s schemes in the media and flirting with Russian propaganda. To recap, Dan Voiculescu owns the “Antena 3/CNN” TV channel and founded the Intact media fund (I wonder why this post still has accreditation to Ukraine battle zones).
According to prosecutors from the DIICOT (Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism) and the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), which were made public in 2000, Voiculescu embezzled between $150 million and $300 million during the anti-communist Revolution in Romania in December 1989 and the first months of 1990. He used this money to found his companies in 1991. Voiculescu was sentenced to 10 years in prison for embezzling public funds but did only a few years. Nowadays, his TV channel, along with “Romania TV”, which exists on the money of the fugitive oligarch Sebastian Giță, hiding in Serbia, acts as a media “shield” for “AUR”.
Another prominent Simion team member is Ovidiu Hurduzeu, a contributor to the propaganda resource “Sputnik”. However, one detail in Hurduzeu’s biography is worth focusing on. Previously, Hurduzeu was listed as the vice president of the “United Romania party”, founded by the oligarch mentioned above, Sebastian Ghiță, owner of the “Romania TV”.
Romanian media call Hurduzeu an ideologist of the “AUR” party and one of the most toxic characters in the ultranationalist camp. For example, Hurduzeu called for the “de-ideologization” of young people participating in Erasmus student exchange programs, claimed that the European Union was “a camp worse than the USSR”, spread conspiracy theories against vaccination, and said that Bill Gates wanted “to steal the sun from humanity”.
It was right on oligarch Ghița’s Romania TV channel when it was claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “does not want peace” and that Ukraine was “oppressing” Romanian Orthodox priests under the guise of fighting the Moscow Patriarchate etc. In the first days of the full-scale invasion, this TV channel spread fake news that Ukraine like was shelling itself instead of calling the aggressor. Reporters from Romania TV have been trying to harass activists during pro-Ukrainian rallies in Bucharest until now. This list can be continued for a long while.
Bytheway. You can read the article about Russian propaganda in Romania, the link is here. And share it to inform others!
Who is Gheorghe Simion?
“I am the ‘Viktor Orban’ for Romania because AUR and Fidesz (the Hungarian ruling party) have the same ideology,” says Gheorghe Simion, leader of the “AUR” party.
Viktor Orban and his ideology are well known. It is also well known how Russian propaganda uses Orban as an “example” abroad so that the leaders of certain countries (Moldova, for example) look up to the “wise Hungarian” and crawl to the Kremlin to beg for cheap gas. Will Simion identify himself with Orban similarly when the latter does fall under the USA’s sanctions?
The dubious ties between the “AUR” party and its leader Simion are also well known. Still, this political activity seems especially interesting in the context of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. On ultra-nationalist (in Romanian terms – anti-European) slogans, Simion and the “AUR” party entered parliament in 2020, forging a protest electorate from anti-Waxer groups.
The party positions itself as a nationalist, pro-Romanian “unionist” political force. In practice, this means that the rhetoric of Simion’s associates is directed against the European Union while hiding behind the “restoration” of Romanian sovereignty. This is what, by a strange coincidence, Russian propaganda also aimed to do in Romanian-speaking information space.
And by an equally “strange” coincidence, Russian propagandists from Sputnik are simultaneously running for office on the lists of Simion’s party. Interestingly, the notorious Diana Șoșoacă also used to be a member of this party and has repeatedly advocated Romania’s withdrawal from the EU. It was Șoșoacă who promoted and is still promoting Roexit (the Romanian modification of the Brexit acronym) in Romania.
By the way, Șoșoacă made a scandalous visit to the Russian embassy in late March (and not only then) together with the MP mentioned earlier, Francis Tobă and Mihai Lasca (another MP who entered parliament on the “AUR” list), as well as Dumitru Coarne (MP from PSD, where from the former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase). During this visit, the MPs allegedly apologized to the Russian embassy for Romania’s position on the war in Ukraine. They promised to “resolve the situation,” which they were not authorized to do.
Gheorghe Simion himself has repeatedly accused Ukraine of environmental provocations in the Danube Delta and demanded that it stop helping Ukrainian refugees. The odious politician is also advocating for the ban on Ukrainian exports through Romania. (Interestingly, the environmental issue was also used by anti-Ukrainian forces in Moldova).
Simion’s style is to play with the patriotic sentiments of voters. Therefore, he positions himself as a “unionist” (the idea of uniting Romania and Moldova, which have supporters in both countries). But in reality, Simion opposes the pro-European government of Moldova, calls to stop supporting Chisinau for, and rather “unite” with Russia. At least, his allies and associates have been promoting Russia’s interests all these years, not the rapprochement between Romania and Moldova, which is what “uniria” is supposed to be about (and it is evident for both counties that only the EU integration of the RM could implement “Unirea” aspirations).
His method is also to involve his sympathizers in anti-government protests through social tensions: earlier because of the Covid-19 pandemic, now because of the crisis provoked by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. All of this is the same methodology used by the pro-Russian party “Shor” in Moldova, causing destabilization of the country.
In this context, the information released by former Moldovan Defense Minister Anatol Salaru is also exciting. In an interview, he stated that Gheorghe Simion met with a Russian special services (FSB) employee in Chernivtsi in 2011. Simion has been banned from entering Moldova since 2015, and Ukraine banned him in 2021, and this ban will remain in force until 2024. However, even without this high-profile accusation, which caused an explosion in the Romanian information space, there are more than enough facts to understand whose interests Simion and his party are really promoting in Romania.
And by the way, the parallels with Moldova are not accidental. Suspicious groups in Chisinau are also, oddly enough, associated with Dugin and, at first glance, imitate the line of rapprochement with Romania. Still, in reality, their mission is to undermine the country from the inside and clear the way for the “Russkiy mir” (obviously, by discrediting Romania).
Instead of conclusions
First, Russia follows similar patterns in different countries. Kremlin technologies take on various features only where they touch the domestic political kitchen. But at the very beginning, we observe the same themes and parasitism on them: ethnic groups, religious freedoms, environmental movements, socio-economic agenda, “anti-globalization” conspiracy theories, the instrumentalization of hostility towards vulnerable groups, including LGBT people, etc. And most importantly, – the exploitation of odious representatives of former clans for political (for political corruption purposes) purposes, capitalizing on the deep grudges of former politicians who ended up in the dustbin of history.
Second, as in Ukraine, Russia relies on corrupt connections and its “friends.” On the other hand, the motives of these “friends” themselves are also interesting: perhaps it is money, maybe it is the last chance to stay in active politics or to have at least some recognition, or perhaps it is a folder with compromising material that is gathering dust on a shelf somewhere in the tovarisch major office.
And the most exciting thing is that all these people seem to believe that no one in Ukraine notices their openly hostile activities. But the end can be unpredictable, especially in Romania. And the Romanian Revolution 33 years ago has already shown the world the lesson.
Marianna Prysiazhniuk, StopFake