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DISINFORMATION: Romania and Europe will freeze next winter

Disinformation

Romania, just like the other European countries, will suffer terribly because of the gas price and Russia's decision to partially halt gas supplies to Europe, but this is only the fault of the European leaders, who punished Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine. The false narrative ignores the fact that Russia needs the Europeans’ money, and the latter have taken steps to avoid a major energy crisis.

NEWS: “The European Commission is preparing for a new assault in the fight with energy prices. And that as a tacit recognition of the failed restrictive policies and Ceausescu-like messages, of the “reduce consumption” type. In the middle of the fight with climate neutrality, the officials in Brussels forgot that we have to go through winter, which can be our new Stalingrad or Gazingrad. At the beginning of the summer, more precisely on July 26, 2022, the EU energy ministers reached a political agreement on a 15% reduction in the natural gas demand for this winter. Said and not done […] The increase in prices on the energy exchanges started this time last year.

Let's not forget that the first cap in Romania was established in December 2021, when the Crimean War had not yet started. Today, the central line of the propaganda blare is set to “It’s Putin’s fault”. A return to the winters of early feudalism is being prepared [...] The well-known financial analyst Petrișor Peiu has shown that the sanctions have strengthened the ruble by 25% and that Moscow's state budget has accumulated an extra 160 billion USD by increasing oil and gas prices. The risk of protests in the civilized countries increased by 50%, between the second and the third quarter, according to the latest Verisk report, quoted by Reuters [...] The social unrest index also increased, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, according to the report published on Friday.

Romania is not among the first hundred countries with a high risk of uprising. One more argument in favor of my opinion, formulated in the years of the “fierce young and beautiful youth”, that the new Securitate took the young people to the streets [...] At the end of the week, the officials in Brussels will meet again to take it around the bush. A maximum price for gas and electricity would be discussed. But that would go against the free market. Gazprom has already announced that it does not accept the formula. Putin is preparing the Gazingrad (a term launched yesterday on the Gold FM show) and we are rubbing our fists in the great global warming. From the cretinism of European leaders, we are plunging into a black feudalism. Energy prices are going up because the market has gone crazy. Politicians no longer control anything. Big investors are also rubbing their hands, but in joyful anticipation.

Reality

NARRATIVES: 1. Europe is in big trouble because it imposed sanctions on Russia and now it will freeze in winter 2. Putin shouldn’t be blamed for the war in Ukraine 3. Romania will be hit by a major energy crisis, which will lead to a people’s uprising.

LOCAL CONTEXT/ETHOS: With the cold season approaching, Russia is twisting the West’s arm to ease the sanctions it imposed in response to Ukraine’s invasion. The sanctions have had a strong impact on the Russian economy. Russia's central bank now expects the 1.8 trillion USD economy to contract by 4%-6% in 2022 , which is less than the 8%-10% contraction it forecast in April. Russia has been shut out of Western financial markets and is experiencing problems sourcing some products such as microchips, and many of its oligarchs and officials have also been subject to sanctions. Last month Russia defaulted on its foreign bonds for the first time since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

In parallel with its efforts to obtain the removal of sanctions - but also as part of them - Moscow seeks to keep the price of gas and oil very high worldwide, being one of the world's largest exporters of hydrocarbons. Among the measures taken by Moscow are interruptions of gas supplies under the pretext of maintenance or repair works on pipelines and limiting or even stopping gas sales to some customers (see, e.g., the French company Engie).

PURPOSE: To induce the idea that Europe is at Russia’s mercy and must yield in order to have gas for the winter.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: Russia premeditated the gas crisis and its invasion of Ukraine, preparing the ground already in 2021 not only militarily, by bringing troops to Ukraine's borders, but also through maneuvers because of which many European countries, including Romania, couldn’t stock up for the winter of 2021-2022, which also led to a significant increase in prices on international markets. The Kremlin continued to maintain this situation even after the outbreak of the war.

Thus, in the first six months of the war, Russia earned  about 158 ​​billion euros from the sale of hydrocarbons, while spending about 100 billion dollars on the war in Ukraine. The EU imported 54% of these hydrocarbons, worth approximately 85 billion euros. Fossil fuel exports have contributed an estimated 43 billion Euro to Russia's federal budget since the invasion began, helping to finance the war crimes in Ukraine.

The largest importer of fossil fuels was the EU (85.1 billion euros), followed by China (34.9 billion euros), Turkey (0.7 billion euros), India (6.6 billion euros), Japan (2.5 billion euros), Egypt (2.3 billion euros) and South Korea (2 billion euros).

So, today's situation suits Russia. Moscow has every interest that the EU does not impose new sanctions or reduce the volume of gas it buys from it, being a market that imports almost 150% more than China, the second largest importer of Russian gas, which it buys at a ridiculous price compared to the EU anyway.

Russia is trying to play hard and says it will stop gas supplies  to Europe if the West does not lift the sanctions against it, and its propaganda, including the one disseminated in Romania, is trying to popularize such narratives.

However, the reduction of exports to Europe has not had the expected impact. On July 26, 2022, the EU energy ministers reached a political agreement on a 15% reduction in natural gas consumption for this winter. This reduction is voluntary, but could become mandatory if a security of supply alert is triggered. Many European countries have diversified their sources of natural gas (France, for example, has increased imports from Algeria and liquefied gas from the United States) and are still looking for new suppliers (Bulgaria wants to bring gas from Azerbaijan). Also, several countries have replenished their stocks for the winter and their underground storage facilities are almost full.

Germany, the country most dependent on Russian gas, said on August 28 that it was replenishing its gas stocks faster than expected, despite sharp cuts in supplies from Russia, and should reach the October target earlier. A target of reaching 85 percent of gas storage capacity by October “should be reached by early September”, with current levels at 82 percent, Germany's Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said. In addition to that, a program to transition to a carbon-neutral economy has been launched in the EU for several years now, which involves the development of alternative, non-polluting energy sources; they already provide for part of the existing energy needs.

As far as the Romanians are concerned, this “gas trump card” that Russia is trying to play, does not affect them very much, nor would they have any reason to revolt. The warehouses where natural gas is stored are now almost 76% full in Romania. Also, the reserve stands at 2.3 billion cubic meters, which is more than last year, the Minister of Energy, Virgil Popescu, told a TV station. He also said that in November the storage level will exceed 80%, and the authorities will manage to keep things under control in winter. Moreover, Romania has over 80% own gas production, so its dependence on Russia is one of the lowest in Europe.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: Russia is threatening Europe with the gas supply.

Tags: Russia , Energy , Gazprom , EU , Romania , War in Ukraine
  • Publication / Media:
    România liberă
  • Date of publication:
    06/09/2022
  • Target audience:
    Pro-Russians, nationalists, Eurosceptic
  • Amplification:
    Radiogoldfm.ro, ziuanews.ro
  • Key narrative:
    Romania and Europe will freeze next winter
Mădălin Necșuțu

08 Sep 2022

Updated at: 09 Sep 2022 15:29:39
Mădălin Necșuțu

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40 minutes read
  • Romania, just like the other European countries, will suffer terribly because of the gas price and Russia's decision to partially halt gas supplies to Europe, but this is only the fault of the European leaders, who punished Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine. The false narrative ignores the fact that Russia needs the Europeans’ money, and the latter have taken steps to avoid a major energy crisis.
  • NARRATIVES: 1. Europe is in big trouble because it imposed sanctions on Russia and now it will freeze in winter 2. Putin shouldn’t be blamed for the war in Ukraine 3. Romania will be hit by a major energy crisis, which will lead to a people’s uprising.
  • PURPOSE: To induce the idea that Europe is at Russia’s mercy and must yield in order to have gas for the winter.
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