Analyses

How Russian propaganda used the speech of the Aur leader on the partition of Ukraine: “The gravediggers will be there to claim their pound of flesh”

Claudiu Târziu
© EPA-EFE/TIAGO PETINGA   |   Claudiu Tarziu, of the Alliance for the Union of Romanians, delivers a speech in the last day of the V Chega National Convention, in Santarem, Portugal, 29 January 2023.

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The Russian state media and the Telegram channels under Moscow’s control have publicized the statement of the chairman of the National Council of AUR, Claudiu Târziu, regarding the need for the annexation of Romanian territories in Ukraine, in order to justify Russia’s “special military operation”. “All that was and is the property of the Romanian nation must be returned within the borders of the same state”, Târziu said, referring to Northern Bukovina, southern Bessarabia, Hertsa region and Transcarpathia.

Moskovski Komsomolets (The Moscow Komsomolets) writes that Romania is seriously considering a possible withdrawal from NATO to ensure the reunification of the Romanian nation. “Another state has started considering the annexation of territories from Ukraine – Romania”. At the same time, the publication mentions Claudiu Târziu’s statement about establishing cooperation relations with Russia: “I am ready to pitch in and make that happen, but only when Russia proves this is something it wants too”.

Russian propaganda: Some regions will gladly break with Ukraine, protesting Zelenskyy’s policies

The “Voennoe obozrenie” (The Military Observer) takes advantage of this topic to manipulate public opinion, writing that, for some time, Kyiv media has recognized that the risk of more Ukrainian territories being annexed is high. “The Ukrainian borderlands will gladly break with Ukraine. This is a statement conveyed to Zelenskyy and his policy of fighting to the last Ukrainian standing. This idea led up to the collapse of the country”, the publication writes, citing “Ukrainian sources”. In fact, the “Ukrainian sources” are the “Legitimny” Telegram channel, funded by Moscow as well. The channel wrote that those regions that will break with Ukraine will also “get rid of their debt and other problems”.

The Tinkoff news portal writes that first Hungary, then Romania officially lodged territorial claims towards Ukraine. “Warsaw’s time will come to declare its claims regarding Galicia”, the publication writes, adding that Kyiv’s Western allies are not to be trusted.

A number of publications in Russia have described Claudiu Târziu’s statement as the official position of Romania with respect to Ukraine, illustrating Russian propaganda narratives launched since the start of the full-scale invasion

Some propaganda narratives have also reached the Ukrainian public sphere

“Romania lays claims to a part of Ukraine”, Moscow newspapers write, publishing on the Russian social media Vkontakte Claudiu Târziu’s speech. “DNR-Pravda”, the online news agency in the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, affiliated to the Pravda state-owned newspaper, informs the public in occupied territories of Ukraine that Romania and Hungary await Kyiv’s defeat in the war against Russia in order to reclaim their historical territories. “Everyone in Europe awaits the defeat of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The gravediggers [of Ukraine] will be there to claim their pound of flesh”, the publication writes. 

Another pro-Kremlin publication, EurAsia Daily, writes that, to Romania, NATO is one of the empires that Bucharest needs to deal with in order to take back its historical provinces. The article also cites AUR president George Simion, who criticized talks on security topics between Kyiv and Bucharest, saying they “are not aligned with Romania’s national interests”.

Some newspapers in Ukraine have also commented Târziu’s statement, which echoes Russian propaganda. UA-Reporter from Transcarpathia picked up on a news item carried by Russian media, writing that “the neighbors have joined the chorus of territorial claims to Ukraine”, whereas “Apostrophe”, a publication based on Kyiv, pointed out that not only Hungarian, but also Romanian political leaders are in favor of annexing Ukrainian territories.

Conversely, high-profile newspapers in Ukraine stressed this is an instance of a nationalist leader promoting narratives that resemble those fostered by the Russian Federation, not the official standpoint of a ruling party. “Nationalists from Romania and Hungary want to unite with the Russian Federation”, “Fokus” writes.  

According to several false narratives debunked by Veridica over 2022-2023, Ukraine is a state invented by the USSR, and Russia has a historical claim to divide it. Russian propaganda tried to convince public opinion that Ukraine is entirely the product of the Soviet era, created by historical Russia. On more than one occasion, Vladimir Putin has accused Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin for offering national republics the right to leave the USSR.

EBOOK> Razboi si propaganda: O cronologie a conflictului ruso-ucrainean

EBOOK>Razboiul lui Putin cu lumea libera: Propaganda, dezinformare, fake news

Marin Gherman

Marin Gherman




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