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Romania 2023: Top FAKE NEWS & DISINFORMATIONS debunked by Veridica

Members of the movement named 'New Right Association' hold placards during a protest against foreign workers from outside the European Union, held in front of the Ministry of Labor and Social Solidarity, in Bucharest, Romania, 17 November 2023.
© EPA-EFE/Robert Ghement   |   Members of the movement named 'New Right Association' hold placards during a protest against foreign workers from outside the European Union, held in front of the Ministry of Labor and Social Solidarity, in Bucharest, Romania, 17 November 2023.

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The colonization of Romania (either by the West or by Asians), the war in Ukraine, conspiracy theories related to the "sanitary dictatorship" and climate change generated most of the disinformation and fake news that appeared in Romania in 2023. Towards the end of the year, following the conflict between the Israeli army and the terrorist organization Hamas, anti-Semitism experienced a strong return in the Romanian media, and along with it a series of false narratives related to the Jews (re)emerged. In some cases, the sources of the false narratives were Romanian, but most of the time they were narratives taken over and/or adapted to the local specificities, narratives whose sources were external actors, Russia in particular, certain marginal political trends from the West (the area of ​​alt-right, the radical left) or conspiracy circles.

The false narratives were promoted in Romania on/by various media channels, such as Activenews, Solidnews, Național, Ortodoxinfo, etc., and through some television and radio stations. The Internet and social media were used both to amplify false narratives and, in many cases, as direct sources of such narratives.

Among those who launched/took over/amplified such false narratives are a number of usually controversial characters in the media or who claim to be part of the journalistic world (Ion Cristoiu, Iosefina Pascal, etc.), people who are or used to be involved in politics (Diana Șoșoacă, George Simion, Adrian Severin, Mihai Lască) or some who are operating in the vaguely defined area of ​​influencing, such as Dan Diaconu, Gheorghe Piperea, etc.

Top 5 narratives

Romania has become a Western colony, and the decisions concerning our country are made exclusively in Brussels and Washington, aiming at the physical and moral destruction of the country. The narrative, which has been circulating in the domestic media since the 90s of the last century, has its roots in the anti-capitalist propaganda before the Revolution of 1989 and is used by the followers of the sovereignist trend or by those nostalgic for communism, being also fueled by Russian propaganda or discourses of other sovereigntists in the region, such as the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. With the aim of undermining trust in bodies such as the EU or NATO, the narrative is used mainly for electoral purposes, but also to justify Russia's brutal actions in the Eastern European space, in states such as the Republic of Moldova or Georgia, which it tries to protect from the "aggression of the West".

A plan to destroy Romania's future, which is in full swing, aims either at the psychological manipulation of children or at separating them from their families. The narrative gained momentum with the adoption, by Parliament, of legislation that aimed at the exact opposite, i.e. the prevention of the separation of children from their families, and was exploited electorally by extremist political parties, as well as by NGOs eager to affirm themselves and attract financing. At the same time, the ultra-religious media accuses the "LGBT propaganda" to which students in Romania are allegedly exposed and the pressure exerted by the European Union for the adoption of gender identity in schools, a fact that would lead to the  sexual mutilation of Romanian children.  

The world has begun to understand the truth about the war in Ukraine, and  popular support for Kyiv has diminished . The narrative uses the "fatigue" felt in the Western world related to the humanitarian and financial effort in support of Ukraine, generalizing individual opinions and amplifying Kremlin propaganda messages, even though the Russian invasion is still strongly condemned, both officially and by the general population.

The world occult continued the plan to instate a health dictatorship through vaccination, aiming to inoculate the population with control and manipulation devices, capable of triggering a series of serious ailments and even mental disorders in the human body. Conspiracy theories related to the health and vaccination system, amplified by the Covid19 pandemic, are currently revived and spread on a large scale, associated with any vaccine or medical procedure, instilling the idea that the world occult will keep declaring pandemics  through the World Health Organization.

As Veridica predicted as early as 2022 , false narratives challenging climate change have gained momentum. Many of them are framed in a metanarrative regarding the existence of an occult plan to enslave the population of the planet. Identity and digital currencies, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions or the introduction of insects into food, are tools by which humanity will be imprisoned in large camps, without the possibility of traveling further than a few kilometers from home. At the same time, non-compliance with the rules imposed by the globalist elites will lead to the gradual restriction of individual rights, up to physical obliteration. According to these theories, in the future   people will have to pay to be able to breathe  and  will no longer be able to buy food without a digital passport .

Top 5 FAKE NEWS

Having become a mere Western colony, Romania will be forced to go to war against Russia, either de by the personal ambitions of President Klaus Iohannis , or  by the governing coalition that receives orders from Brussels , or simply by the state policy imposed by the American masters of the country  The narrative appeared some time before the start of the war in Ukraine, and has been circulated, in different forms, in the domestic public space. In principle, it interprets the increase in Romania's defensive capabilities as acts of aggression and provocation towards Russia, but it also accuses secret agreements at the governmental level, either with Ukraine, or with Poland, or with the USA or NATO.

The West is gradually yielding to Russia, admitting its mistakes, and as a result, Russia has been invited to reconnect to the international payment system , while the majority of humanity approves of its aggression against Ukraine. In reality, faced with difficulties in exporting products not subject to Western sanctions, Russia is the one demanding reconnection to SWIFT, refusing to be part of the Black Sea grain agreement until this request is resolved. The majority support that Moscow enjoys among the global population is nothing more than a subjective interpretation of some statistical data that takes into account the official positions of the states, not the opinion of their populations.

Vaccines continue to affect the health of mankind, the anti-Covid19 vaccines cause mental illnesses in those vaccinated, while reducing the life of men by 24 years, going as far as death  caused by myocarditis   , and on the other hand, through the flu and measles vaccines,  control and manipulation devices  or  biological weapons designed to keep the growth of the population under control  are implanted in human bodies. The narrative is usually forcibly associated with other causes, such as individual freedom or the fight against censorship. The antivaxxer rhetoric uses their arguments by distorting them and adding personal considerations and alleged scientific data that are taken out of context, erroneous or simply invented.

The education of children in Romania will cause serious dysfunctions in their further development, after the alignment of the education system with Western standards, devoid of reference to Christian values. Thus, children will no longer know what gender they are and what species they belong to, although the program invoked by the defenders of Orthodox values ​​was intended exclusively for teachers and had absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter taught in class. At the same time, say the Romanian conservatives, the LGBT agenda imposed by the European Union forces students to watch films that spread propaganda for suicide and homosexuality , and the argument brought in favor of the narrative is the viewing of a film, awarded at Cannes, which talks about the friendship between two teenage boys, whose bond is tested by age-specific challenges. The narrative has been part of the Russian propaganda arsenal for years, being an attempt to discredit the European cultural space. Thus, the EU is presented as "Gayropa", a space in antithesis to that of traditional, Christian, Orthodox values, which Russia would represent.

The fight against climate change is actually aimed at enslaving humanity, and society is rapidly moving towards a feudal social system, with people “tied to the land and totally dependent on a master” The narrative is based on the fear that the fight against climate change will impoverish the population, who will not be able to afford the costs of producing "green" energy. There is also the fear that a strong campaign to combat the effects of global warming led by governments could undermine people's economic freedoms, and the state would become too powerful in relation to civil society. At the same time, there are economic interests and businesses from polluting activities behind it, also Russia's attempt to build a parallel geopolitical reality, in which "global warming" is actually a pretext for the Western powers to seize the resources of other states, and the "green" agenda of the European Union aims to dismantle Russia and divide its resources among Western countries.

Top 5 DISINFORMATIONS

The separation of children from their families and the completion of the "sale of Romania" to occult forces was the pretext of a rally organized by the extremist AUR party in the spring. The nationalists accused several bills under debate in Parliament back then   , which would have taken away Romanians' children and sold the country's last resources to foreigners. In fact, the four laws that the AUR claims would contribute to the loss of Romania's assets and sovereignty are nothing more than normative acts aimed at modernizing and updating the way the state operates, in order to render several fields of activity more efficient. The contradiction between the previous positions of the AUR leaders, who accused all the post-December governments of having (already!) sold the country to foreigners, and the commitment made to refuse its sale in the future, remained unclear.

Hungary was going to annex Transylvania this year, and the only salvation was the rapprochement  with Russia , according to the  independent senator Diana Şoşoacă. This outcome was allegedly postponed by a legislative initiative of the politician close to Moscow, by means of which she proposed the annexation of some territories belonging to Ukraine , although the connection between the two issues was not fully clarified. The alarming information had been revealed by "two people who work in the system but are trying to save what they can." The scenario was based on three non-existent visits by the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, to Moscow, Brussels and Washington, where he would have arranged the whole plan in just one week. The absurdity of the narrative was spiced up with the information that the current king of Great Britain, Charles III, would have been crowned king of Transylvania and, simultaneously, Romania would have become a monarchy again, by proclaiming Princess Margareta, the Custodian of the Crown, as Queen.

The European Union also dictates Romania’s aid policy,   forbidding it to help Syria, a country heavily affected by the February 6 earthquake . The disinformation was launched by Adrian Severin, a former Romanian foreign minister and MEP, caught while accepting bribes for influence peddling and sentenced to prison for this. With strong Muscovite affinities, after his release he began to consistently promote sovereignist and anti-Western theses, similar to those that appear in the narratives spread by the Kremlin. In reality, both the EU and Romania have offered aid to Syria, worth tens of millions of euros, although initially the Syrian government refused to open the country's borders for the transit of humanitarian convoys, due to the desire of officials in Damascus not to allow the aid to also reach the territories under the control of anti-government rebels.

Romania must carry out an isolationist policy in order to succeed in economic recovery, according to a sovereignist narrative that urged  Romanians to stop buying Western products, not to get employed by corporations and to no longer participate in the democratic process, as allegedly Japan did to become an economic power after World War II. The example of Japan, however, is simply a gross fake, and the catastrophic results of sovereignism and isolationism are shown by the failure of states that have chosen this path. Furthermore, the whole plea for liberation from the "foreign yoke" is actually one for giving up democracy, as the end of the article makes clear, which is why the analysis of the narrative obviously needs no further comment.

The prosperity of an eastern Chinese province is due to Xi Jinping, following the implementation of a program designed by the current leader in Beijing. Based on a made-up story, the narrative attempts to explain the Chinese economic success, ostensibly to warn of a  danger to Western civilization . The story abounds in temporal inconsistencies, such as that concerning the TikTok founder Zhang Yiming, presented as a product of Xi Jinping's flawless education system. In fact, Zhang Yiming had already left Fujian province for some time when Xi allegedly began his grand program. Likewise, Xi Jinping's "brilliant" strategy is beginning to backfire, so that after two decades of solid economic growth, China's development is suffering a sharp slowdown. Beijing is beginning to lose manufacturing industries to competitors such as Vietnam, and its economic threat to the West remains only at "possible with extremely low probability" status.

The 5 most bizarre narratives

The rapprochement between Romania and the Republic of Moldova and “Romanianism” are a hybrid attack by the West on Russia’s interests , according to a false narrative promoted by a Telegram channel, part of the Sputnik network. This tries to justify a "right" of Russia to decide the policies of the Republic of Moldova. In fact, on the "a thief crying stop thief" principle,  Russia, the "heir" of the Soviet theories of Moldovanism, leads an often hostile policy towards the Republic of Moldova, manifested by supporting the separatist region of Transnistria and  imposing embargoes on Moldovan products destined for the Russian market, and started a  hybrid war against Chisinău , while Romania is the first state to recognize the independence of the Republic of Moldova, and its sovereignty and territorial integrity have never been questioned by Romanian officials. Moreover, throughout the 30 years of independence of the Republic of Moldova, Romania has been one of its most important supporters, both in moments of crisis that have arisen over the years (economic, energy, sanitary crises, natural disasters) as well as in terms of  broader European integration efforts .

A secret treaty from 1999 obliges Romania to receive 3 million Jews in the event of Israel’s disappearance , according to a well-known Russophile, quoted by an anti-Semitic publication. The narrative promotes a type of conspiracy theory inspired from the former communist political police – the Securitate - typical of the 1990s Romanian Intelligence Office, which claims the absurdity of a situation where one state signs an arrangement that has as its object an action after its own dissolution, and the other feels obliged to comply with a contract with a non-existent partner at the time when it should be implemented.

Ukraine has attacked Romania with sea mines , so NATO should go to war with Kyiv under Article 5, according to independent senator Diana Sosoacă, extremely well known for her anti-Ukrainian positions and closeness to Russia. In fact, the mine that Soșoacă was referring to was one from the Second World War, and the mines placed by Ukraine near its coasts are only intended to protect its own territory. The paradox of the narrative is extremely obvious. On the one hand, Russian-influenced propaganda accuses the West of dragging Romania into war, but on the other hand, it calls on the North Atlantic Alliance to start a full-scale war.

Romania will be dismantled by a future Polish-Ukrainian state , and then Ukraine will also be torn into pieces and lose territories, according to the same Diana Șoșoacă. The narrative fits both the meta-narrative promoted by the Kremlin regarding the artificial nature of the Ukrainian state, and the one that exposes the assault of occult external forces on Romanians and Romania. In fact, Sosoacă interpreted in her own way a statement by the Polish President Andrzej Duda, from the beginning of April 2023, when he reinforced Poland's commitment to fully support Ukraine in its defense war, stating that “there will be no more borders” between Poland and Ukraine. Poland is one of the favorite targets of Russian propaganda because it is the most vocal of all of Ukraine's neighbors about fighting Russian aggression and supporting Kyiv's defensive efforts. At the same time, the only source of information indicated by Senator Șoșoacă to defend her statements is the "viewpoints" expressed in the discussions held at the headquarters of the Russian embassy in Bucharest, which she visits regularly.

Global warming does not exist,  and extreme temperatures for long periods of time are normal in Romania , states one of the narratives used by the climate change deniers. Also used by the Russian propaganda, with the aim of diverting public opinion’s attention from the invasion of Ukraine and the expansionist policies of the Kremlin, the narrative is not based on official data, measurements or statistics, but only on the nostalgia of childhood lived under communism, fueled by vague memories of some hot summers. In fact, Romania's climate has changed considerably compared to the 80s, with heat waves that last for weeks, less frequent and less quantitative precipitation, and more extreme phenomena.

A proof is also the fact that most records of cold weather are from 70-80 years ago, while many heat records have been broken in the last 20 years. Statistics show that the average annual temperature in Romania increased by 2.41 degrees Celsius in the last 60 years. At the same time, for the period 2001-2030, compared to 1961-1990, the average annual warming is between 0.7 and 1.1 degrees. The average temperature in Romania in the 20th century was approximately 10.6 degrees, and after 2007, it increased to values ​​between 11.23 degrees in 2013 and 12.14 in 2019.

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Cezar Manu

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