Russian propaganda in Romania: narratives and agents of influence

In the current episode we have held a discussion with the Ulrainian journalist Marianna Prysiazhniuk, who follows attentively what is going on in the Republic of Moldova and Romania and CEO of the Romanian edition Razvan Gheorghe. The conversation is in English and Romanian, but you can find a translation of the main ideas expressed in Romanian in the credits.

– Russian propaganda in Romania is a long-standing problem, unlike in Ukraine. Here, Russia works at the state level, which is related to our being part of NATO and the EU. Diana Ciosoaca is an example of populism, and she has no support among the people.

– Romania should fight more actively against Russian propaganda because it has nothing to do with freedom of speech. We have a legal framework, and we have to apply it. Moreover, Russian propaganda is primarily the activity of Russian special services. One example is that the leader of the “AUR” party, Gheorghe Simion, met with a representative of the FSB in Chernivtsi during the Yanukovych era.

– In the case of Diana Sosoaca, her assistant met with the representative of Sputnik (in Moldova), Iurie Rosca, to appeal against Rosca’s entry ban to Romania. This suggests that Romanian intelligence services should be more active against Russian agents.

– The issue of the Bistroye channel and the issue of Romanian priests – all this is used in the Romanian information space. However, it still does not affect the level of support (for the Russian agenda) from the society.

– Tycoon Sebastian Ghitse supports “Romania TV”. Gitse fled the country and is now hiding in Serbia under the protection of Russian special services. By the way, “Romania TV” is banned in the Republic of Moldova. This is a very dangerous TV channel because it influences the older category of people and spreads the most radical narratives of Russian propaganda.

– “Antena 3” has ties with “Sputnik”, as evidenced by the fact that the Russian resource often quotes this particular TV channel. “Antena 3” is run by Dan Voiculescu, who had ties to the secret services during the time of dictator Ceausescu. However, Antena 3 is more trusted by the people because it spreads lies, mixing them with the truth.

– The most dangerous trend is that these channels are trying to sow enmity between Ukrainians and Romanians. For this purpose, they use the topic of the Bystroye Canal, religious issues, grain exports, etc.

– In the Republic of Moldova, the situation is more complicated because in a country that is not a member of NATO and the EU, hostile narratives are easier to spread, for example, by promoting “neutrality.” How can you remain “neutral” when a war occurs in your neighbouring country?

– We can improve the situation through two aspects. First, through the work of independent media in Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine. Secondly, Russian propaganda must be responded to at the level of the law, the law must be applied to them because Russia is consistently exploiting weaknesses. After one year (of a full-scale war), we behave as if nothing has happened. But it is very good that we are talking about this together, and we need to continue to do so because we have the same enemy.

Volodymyr Solovian

Projects Coordinator

Volodymyr is responsible for managing of the projects, events and proactive development of the New Geopolitics Research Network.

He is PhD in Philosophy and previously worked as Coordinator of the foreign policy projects at the Center for Army Conversion and Disarmament Studies.

Volodymyr has completed Master’s degree in Political Science at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv in 2016. He did an internship at the parliamentary Сommittee on the National Security and Defense in 2019.

Volodymyr is the author of researches and articles on information security, national resilience and security sector reforms in Ukraine. His experience covers a broad range of security policy issues in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region. Volodymyr was invited participant and speaker in numerous workshops and round tables devoted to relevant topics.

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April 2023
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