Journalist, documentary filmmaker and nonfiction writer. He has been working in television and radio for over 25 years, as a presenter and producer of various TV formats. He is a producer at TVR. He was a project manager at Radio Romania Chisinau, a station launched in 2011. The most recent documentary is War and Peace in Ukraine (2019); the latest published book is Matryoshka of Liars: Fake news, manipulation, populism (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2018). He has received several national and international awards, most recently the Gold Medal from the United Nations Correspondents Association for the documentary Exodus: A Syrian Tragedy (2015). He was awarded The National Order of Faithful Service in the rank of Knight (2014).
On February 24, 2022, the free world woke up to a dystopia. It had believed in peace more than it did in the signs of war, and had invested Putin with its good faith, just as it had done with Hitler in the years leading up to World War II. Russia has reintroduced large-scale war into a post-modern, hedonist society whose instincts were weakened by peace and prosperity, thus restoring evil to a global standing. Prior to the launch of the invasion, Europe hadn’t seen an interstate conflict in over 75 years. Any counterfactual examination is obviously pointless, but still, the question remains: how could the West fail again to foresee the predictable advent of a totalitarian regime with fascist overtones and the start of a new war in Europe?
The decision of the four countries to leave the International Investment Bank (IIB), also known as the “Russian Spy Bank”, came within days of Russia invading Ukraine. The legal proceedings were cumbersome in certain countries, due to the financial risks such a move entailed. Set up in 1970, the Bank continues to operate today in Budapest, although key decisions are taken in Moscow.
Crimean Tatars were the first victims of Russian aggression in Ukraine and continue to be persecuted by Moscow, according to Kiev's Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Japarova. In an interview with Veridica, Japarova, who coordinates the strategy of the Crimea Platform and is responsible, among other things, for public diplomacy and the relationship with international organizations, explained how Russia violates the Geneva Conventions and why its crimes in Ukraine can be considered a genocide.
Putin's Russia is becoming more and more like Stalin's Russia, according to journalist Andrei Soldatov, one of the most respected experts on the Russian secret services. In an interview with Veridica and TVR, Soldatov explained how Putin corrupted Russian society, why the FSB is the successor to the Soviet KGB, what the methods and mentality of intelligence officers are, and how they came to believe and trust him also convince Putin that a war in Ukraine was necessary.
Syria remains a country ravaged by conflict and a deep humanitarian crisis, a place of conflicting interests of multiple state and non-state actors, says the Chargé d'Affaires of the European Union to Syria, Dan Stoenescu*. In an interview for TVR and Veridica, Dan Stoenescu explained that, although it doesn’t recognize the Assad regime, the EU keeps communication channels open in order to provide assistance to the Syrian people. The EU official also spoke about the link between the war in Syria and the one in Ukraine.
Vladimir Soloviov is a Russian journalist based in the Republic of Moldova. He writes for Kommersant. Veridica spoke with Mr. Soloviov in Chisinau about the political developments in the Republic of Moldova, Russia’s imperial claims and the war in Ukraine, but also about the almost non-existent relationship between Russia and Romania.
Historian Mark Galeotti, who specializes in Russian history and politics and one of the Western experts who followed Vladimir Putin before he became president, believes that the Kremlin leader is primarily responsible for the strategic mistakes made by the Russian army in Ukraine. Professor Galeotti also spoke about the nature of power in Russia and the links between the state, oligarchs, secret services and organized crime.
Andrey Kurkov is one of the most important contemporary Ukrainian writers. He writes in Russian, but has been described as an "enemy of Russian culture." In an interview with Veridica, Andrey Kurkov spoke about Russia's return to the monarchy under "Tsar" Vladimir Putin, the decoupling - at least temporarily - from Russian culture, but also about Moscow's war against his country.
Ukrainians expect anything from Russia and know that if it attacks them again, they will have to defend themselves, not wait for help from elsewhere, according to the a.i. charge d’affaires of Ukraine in Bucharest, Păun Rohovei. In an interview granted to Veridica and Breaking Fake News, the diplomat warned that a new invasion would be extremely costly for Moscow.
The crisis in Ukraine is also marked by an increased output of false narratives meant to discredit NATO and undermine confidence in it. Romania has also been the target of such narratives – claiming that it’s preparing for war, mobilizing its reservists, has a weak army, equipped with outdated equipment, etc. Veridica talked to the head of the Information and Public Relations Department of the Ministry of National Defense, Brigadier General Constantin Spînu, about the efforts made by the army to fight back the disinformation that targets it.
The coronavirus pandemic was accompanied by a genuine wave of fake news, the second in merely a decade. The false narratives in this wave are repurposed and updated: the disinformation they spread are disguised to come across as local topics and concerns. The Kremlin has thus adjusted its strategy for spreading disinformation to Romanians’ notorious Russophobia.
The chess great spoke with Veridica about his fight for democracy and human rights, the new type of totalitarianism in Russia and what the West should do to stop Putin. Garry Kasparov told us that he is not worried that the regime is trying to eliminate him from textbooks because, in the long run, it is not the dictators who write history. He also said that there is no point in fearing that he will be assassinated because “If someone like Putin decides that you are next on the list, it doesn’t matter if you have protection or not. You go.”
The massive disinformation campaign carried by Moscow in the West, in the former satellites of the Soviet Empire and also on its own territory, has its Achille’s heel: it is limited to a number of themes or narratives.
The key moments in the recent history of post-communist Romania are unclear. The files of the Revolution, of miners’ raids and the conflict in Târgu Mureș have been classified and reopened periodically. The files have been moved from the military to the civil prosecutor's offices, and the other way round, evidence has disappeared, witnesses have died (some under suspicious conditions) or left the country. Media's efforts to investigate these events have always been marred by monstruous disinformation.