DISINFORMATION: In 2023, Romania is going to lose Transylvania

Britain's Prince Charles (R), the Prince of Wales greets local residents in Valea Crisului, Szeklerland, Transylvania, Romania, 02 June 2018
© EPA-EFE/EDIT KATAI   |   Britain's Prince Charles (R), the Prince of Wales greets local residents in Valea Crisului, Szeklerland, Transylvania, Romania, 02 June 2018

Charles III - King of Great Britain and Transylvania, Rares Bogdan – president, and Margareta - Queen

Romania's territorial integrity is threatened and only getting closer to Moscow could prevent the loss of Transylvania, according to a false narrative promoted by the independent senator Diana Sosoaca. In reality, Romania's territorial integrity is guaranteed by its NATO membership and the international legislation.

NEWS: “I have very bad news to give you all. This morning I was contacted by two people, who work in the system but are trying to save what they can. And I got the following message: don’t worry about the bill-x, that's not the real issue. The real problem is that this year Transylvania will be taken away from Romania. It seems that these two bills of mine, on the unification of Romania, have halted the action, so it stopped them, but the regionalization project is going on, AUR (Alliance for the Union of Romania) is playing the game of UDMR (Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians), regionalization will be established, and later, on the Kosovo model, it will be declared an autonomous region and Hungary will take it over. Moreover, Viktor Orban and Katalin Novak have stated that they are going to wait a bit, for now, but they will never give up their dream of taking over Transylvania. So, statements were made, including during the visits to Russia. Beware, if Russia gets angry, it will help them, together with the Americans, because the Americans are not far away either. Right? Why do you thing they set up a military base at Cincu? Think about it, it won’t hurt you! America collaborates very well with Viktor Orban. Viktor Orban paid three visits in one week: to Moscow, Brussels and Washington, where he arranged his whole plan. [...]

The problem is that several things have been hidden. The motion on agriculture was hidden, the issue of Ukrainian grains that are genetically modified and threaten the lives of our children has been hidden. [...] Pediatric hospitals are full of children with stomach and digestive disorders due to products made from Ukrainian grain crap. They are made with Monsanto, with I don't know what, filled with these disastrous pesticides.

Attention, there is another problem! You should know that Prince Charles did not come to Romania for nothing and he did not buy houses in Transylvania for nothing. There is also a plan to conquer Transylvania by naming Prince Charles king, including of the land of Transylvania. [...] There is another plan revealed to me by some gentlemen who attended your event [editor’s note  – of Professor Florin Shandru] at the Romanian Academy, where they were cursing the event, they, the great nationalists!; so they told me this: Mrs. Sosoaca, you must help us to re-establish royalty in Romania. And I said, in what sense? To instate Margaret as the Queen of Romania. So, I felt like throwing up. […]

Therefore, pay close attention to what they have in store for you. To me, the situation of Transylvania seems much worse, and the fact that Orban found help both from the Russians and in Brussels and Washington. Why isn't there a similar policy for Romania, to defend itself, to go and talk with the Russians, and with Brussels and Washington, from a position of verticality? Shouldn't we also talk to the Russians in this case, so that they stop helping Orban? However, our attitude to end all economic and diplomatic collaborations with Russia, with China, with Serbia….."

Transylvania, the eternal electoral spring for the Romanian nationalists

NARRATIVES: 1. By the end of 2023, Transylvania will have been annexed to Hungary. 2. Ukrainian cereals represent an attempt on the lives of children in Romania. 3. Under the pretense of regionalization, Charles III will also be proclaimed King of Transylvania. 4. Romania will become a monarchy again, and Princess Margareta, the custodian of the crown, will be proclaimed Queen. 5. The only power that can guarantee Romania's sovereignty and territorial integrity is Russia.

CONTEXT: The Romanian-Hungarian debate regarding the territorial status of Transylvania (former autonomous region of the Habsburg Empire) is, historically speaking, a recent one. It  started in mid 19th century with the emergence of national projects across the whole of Europe. Both sides claimed Transylvania, some having political arguments (Transylvania had been part of the medieval kingdom of Hungary), and the others demographic evidence, as the territory's majority population. For the most part, the conflict was a “frozen” one, interrupted only by three violent disputes: the armed conflict of 1848-1849, in which the Hungarians wanted the independence of Hungary (with Transylvania as part of it), and the Transylvanian Romanians supported the Habsburg regime in Vienna; the fights between Romania and Austria-Hungary, during the First World War, which continued with the Romanian intervention against the Bolshevik regime in Budapest in 1919; and the Romanian offensive, after the insurrection of August 23, 1944, alongside the Soviet troops, against the Horthyist occupation of northwestern Transylvania.

After the Second World War, the forced inclusion of the two states in the communist camp, as well as the principle of the integrity of the borders of the European states, put an end to the conflict between the two countries. After the fall of communism, several politicians and civil society representatives, both Romanian and Hungarian, brought the subject back into focus, with the aim of gathering electoral capital. For this reason, there have also been some controversial episodes, such as  the tragic interethnic violence in Targu-Mures, in March 1990,  or the recent conflict  related to the Valea Uzului heroes’ cemetery scandal.

On March 20th, Senator Sosoaca submitted to Parliament   a bill demanding the annexation of some territories belonging to Ukraine,  followed shortly by another one on  the union of Romania with the Republic of Moldova,   about which the Robert Lansing Institute think-tank said were the latest operation of the Russian military intelligence service, which Dana Sosoaca is said to be connected with.  The main arguments used by Sosoaca to publicly defend her bills included the thesis of a possible dismantling of Romania , as a result of the war in Ukraine, in fact a reformulation of one of Moscow’s favorite themes when trying to justify its aggression against Ukraine.  

Last week, the senator brought up the “real” danger on Romania's borders, namely Hungary and its territorial claims over Transylvania, a much more sensitive subject, in the minds of Romanian nationalists, than Bessarabia or Northern Bucovina.

PURPOSE: To lower population's trust in authorities and international bodies of which Romania is a member, to use the fear of part of the population that Romania could disappear, if the great powers make a decision in this regard, to amplify Russian sentiments by portraying Moscow as the guarantor of Romania’s integrity as a state, to capitalize on a potential social uprising for electoral purposes.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The peace treaties signed at the end of the Second World War established the borders of the European states, recognized by the entire international community. Territorial claims on other countries can therefore only be settled by the agreement of the parties and populations of those territories. The idea of an armed conflict between Hungary and Romania is absurd, given that both states are partners, both in the EU and especially in the NATO military alliance. Since 1945, the modification of European borders has generally been done peacefully, through negotiations between the parties involved (the dismantling of the USSR, the unification of Germany, the dissolution of the Czechoslovak federation). However, there were exceptions - the Yugoslav conflicts, or some from the ex-Soviet space that led to de facto changes in the territories of the former republics (Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine), even if they were not recognized by the international community and still are disputed.

The evidence that Senator Sosoacă brings in support of her statement are pure fabrications. Viktor Orban did not tour the capitals of the world in a week, last time he went to Moscow was in February 2022 ,  to Washington in the spring of 2019, during the Trump administration, and to Brussels in February 2023 , just as neither the Hungarian president nor the prime minister have ever stated that they will not give up their dream of bringing Transylvania back under the Hungarian flag. The fact that, at various events, several Hungarian officials come wearing the insignia of Great Hungary are nothing but purely electoral moves, identical to those of the Romanian nationalist politicians who wear the map of Great Romania on the lapel of their jackets or display it as a profile photo on social media.

As further evidence to defend her theories, Diana Sosoaca uses, as usual, bits of truth seasoned with personal speculations: the Cincu military base in Brașov County is a NATO base, not an American one, and the soldiers stationed there are mostly French (about 700), another contingent being made up of Dutch, Belgian (approximately 150 in total) and obviously, Romanian soldiers. There are no members of the US armed forces at Cincu.

Bringing up the problems created by Ukrainian cereals is no surprise, since it has been one of the main topics of interest on the Romanian political-economic agenda for some time, but for completely different reasons. Their entry into the Eastern European market, initially only for transit, was exploited by the big traders in the area. Thus, suddenly, a huge amount of grain, entering the market duty-free, indeed led to a collapse in the price per ton, which caused considerable losses to farmers in the area. For this reason, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia banned the import of Ukrainian grains. Using this pretext, characters with visions closer to those of Moscow have insinuated, just like Senator Sosoaca, that Ukrainian cereals are contaminated with various substances that make them extremely harmful to the human body.

In reality, the cultivation of cereals in Ukraine is not subject to the rules of the European Union, and for this reason, Ukrainian farmers also use fertilizers that are not approved in the EU, for various reasons, from their origin to their quality. They are no more harmful to the human body than  some tomatoes helped to grow with chemical stimulants by Romanian vegetable growers,  for example. As for the Monsanto seeds, with the acquisition of the American giant by the German company Bayer, they are subject to European legislation and, despite the major scandals and controversies in which the company was involved in the past, at the moment they comply with the European standards, to which Diana Sosoaca suddenly feels so attached. The claim that children's hospitals are full of children with stomach or digestive disorders due to products made from Ukrainian grains is simply a lie. The activity of pediatric hospitals is normal at this moment, after a wave of respiratory virus infections caused by the transition from the cold to the warm season.

The fantastic hypothesis of the coronation of Charles III as King of Transylvania originally appeared as a mere joke in the pages of a humor magazine, mocking the eternal status as crown prince of the current British king. The joke was well received, and it was even taken up as real news even by the Spanish daily El Pais, in an article about the former King Michael I. Later it was slightly modified, this time, the editors of the magazine asking the British royal house to sends Prince Harry to be the king of Romania. Consequently, we will treat this topic as a joke made by Diana Sosoaca, hoping that she still has a sense of humor.

In total contradiction with what she had stated earlier, Diana Sosoaca also tackles in her speech the country's return to monarchy, this time the crown being entrusted to the Royal House of Romania. However, this cannot be done without a referendum to amend the Constitution, and although the percentage in favor of the monarchy among Romanians is increasing (37% in 2019, compared to 27% in 2013), the initiative would be rejected, still reflecting the desire of a minority. Furthermore, anonymizing and trivializing the sources the senator "cites" only adds to the ridiculousness of the theory.

Finally, Romania has not terminated diplomatic relations with any of the countries mentioned by Diana Sosoaca. Moreover, we still have the same economic relations with China and Serbia as before Moscow's aggression against Ukraine. Regarding Russia, as a member of the European Union, Romania has aligned itself with the economic sanctions imposed on it, and in military terms, as a NATO member, its reactions are only consistent with the policy of the alliance and consist in strengthening the deterrence and defense posture on its eastern flank.

Regarding the territorial guarantees that a possible rapprochement with Russia would provide us, we should only say that, for 200 years, from 1735 to 1944, Russia invaded the Romanian countries 12 times, seizing important pieces of its territory, not to mention the theft of the treasury, Communism, or the intense Russification of the population of Bessarabia. Romania's security and territorial integrity are currently guaranteed by its membership to NATO, considered the strongest military alliance in the world, with military and economic resources that far exceed those of Russia.

Tags: Hungary , Russia , Diana Șoșoacă , Romania
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