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).
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.
If after the Cernobil disaster silence was followed by disinformation and conspiracy theories, now the infodemic – an abundance of false and fake info – is making people no longer trust the media and the authorities.