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Disinformation:

DISINFORMATION: Russia is the innocent victim of Romanians’ Russophobia

Disinformation

The Romanians betrayed the Russians in the wars in which they were allies, attacked them unjustifiably, and now, also out of Russophobia, they want to hand over to the Americans the Black Sea coast, according to disinformation taken over in the Republic of Moldova.

NEWS: “[...] The independent Romanian kingdom, created in 1878 due to Russian will and Russian blood, would not give up the role of “Orthodox power” in the Ottomans’ side and immediately became part of the German and Austrian plots against St. Petersburg. In the First World War, Bucharest (unlike, for example, the ungrateful Bulgaria) nevertheless joined the Entente, but the Romanians fought terribly: they were defeated, they lost their capital - and, as a result, Russia had to significantly expand the first line to save its ally that was nothing but trouble ... When, by signing the shameful Peace Treaty of Brest, the Bolsheviks withdrew Russia from the war, the Romanians signed, with the Germans and their allies, the equally shameful Treaty of Bucharest. And they immediately stabbed Russia in the back, taking over Bessarabia, which is what we now call Moldova.

[...]

It hasn’t been always like that. For example, in the summer of 2003, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Romanian counterpart Ion Iliescu signed an agreement “On friendly and cooperative relations”. The relations between Moscow and Washington were already complicated then, and Iliescu is an absolute Atlanticist and a rather particular character, if we think, for example, of his role in overthrowing his former boss (Ceausescu) and establishing his own regime in the country (accusations of crimes against humanity as a result of those events have been brought against the former president since 2019, but things have been dragging on). However, the former president did not encourage Russophobia in the country - he did not think it was necessary.

[...]

In our case, Basescu violated the holy of holies - the Great War for the Defense of the Fatherland, stating once that in Antonescu's place he would have done the same, that is, he would have attacked the USSR in alliance with Hitler for the sake of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. For those words, he was criticized not only in Moscow, but also by many Jewish organizations (Antonescu was an active participant in the Holocaust), but Basescu did not care too much about Jewish organizations either."

Reality

NARRATIVES: 1. Romania gained its independence thanks to Russia, but betrayed it immediately. 2. Romania betrayed Russia in the First World War. 3. Romania attacked the USSR in World War II. 4. Romanians’ Russophobia is irrational and inexplicable. 5. Ion Iliescu was a pro-Westerner who understood the importance of a close relationship with Russia. 6. Romania pursues an anti-Russian policy established by Traian Basescu. 7. Romania is ready to give away its Black Sea coast to the United States.

LOCAL CONTEXT / ETHOS: Russia and, before it, the USSR, has constantly carried out a disinformation campaign against Romania, the main topic being related to the Romanian territories beyond the Prut, which Russian propaganda claims are inhabited by a distinct people, who speaks a different language. On the other hand, Russia has sought to present itself as a friend of Romania, but also as a victim of repeated aggressions over time, each time keeping quiet though about its role and the real causes of the conflict.

After the founding of modern Romania, Russia / USSR annexed Romanian territories, staged mass persecutions of Romanians, imposed the communist regime, confiscated the Romanian Treasury, etc.

Against this complicated background, anti-Russian sentiments were predominant among Romanians.

Russian propaganda is still very much active in Romania, either through its own channels (Sputnik) or  making use of camouflaged narratives . The goal is to destabilize Romania, undermine people’s trust in and support for NATO and the EU, but also to gradually change the population’s perception of Russia.

Romania’s particular case aside, Russia is also victim playing in the Black Sea region, despite being an aggressor state - it has attacked two independent countries in less than 15 years (Georgia and Ukraine) and maintains the frozen conflict in Transnistria

PURPOSE: Russia playing the victim, and turning from an aggressor state into the aggressed one. To undermine the image of Romania (especially in the ex-Soviet space) but also of the Romanians’ support for Bucharest’s Euro-Atlantic partnerships.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The tensions between Romania and Russia after the 1877-1878 War of Independence were generated by the behavior of the latter who, although Bucharest had been its ally and had had an important contribution to winning the war, annexed southern Bessarabia.

In the First World War, Russia was the one that, against the background of the Bolshevik revolution, came out of the conflict, leaving Romania alone on the eastern front and thus forcing it to conclude the Treaty of Bucharest. With the disintegration of the Tsarist Empire, Bessarabia proclaimed its independence and decided on its own to unite with Romania.

The official reason for Romania’s entry into World War II was the recovery of Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia, seized by the USSR as a result of its pact with Nazi Germany.

Ion Iliescu was not an “absolute Atlanticist”; on the contrary, he was known as a Russophile (he studied in Moscow), and Romania was among the last states in the Eastern Bloc to opt for Euro-Atlantic integration, after the states of the Visegrad group and the Baltic Republics.

Traian Băsescu did not have anti-Semitic slips, he just pleaded for a Romanian desideratum regarding the union, which does not mean, however, that he should not have firmly delimited himself from Marshal Antonescu, who, indeed, was a war criminal.

Romania has never said that it will cede its exit to the Black Sea to the United States, but only that it wants an increased American presence on its territory. Bucharest's reasons are related to security and the threat posed by Russia.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: The material observes Russia's classic disinformation patterns and uses real elements to build such disinformation - Romania really suffered drastic defeats in the First World War and the Peace of Bucharest was disadvantageous, in the Second World War it fought on the part of Nazi Germany, it pursues a pro-American policy, the perception of Russia is generally negative, etc.

  • Publication / Media:
    Vzglead
  • Date of publication:
    10/11/2021
  • Amplification:
    mejdurecie.md
  • Key narrative:
    Russia is the innocent victim of Romanians’ Russophobia
Cătălin Gomboș

18 Nov 2021
Cătălin Gomboș

11 minutes read
  • The Romanians betrayed the Russians in the wars in which they were allies, attacked them unjustifiably, and now, also out of Russophobia, they want to hand over to the Americans the Black Sea coast, according to disinformation taken over in the Republic of Moldova.
  • NARRATIVES: 1. Romania gained its independence thanks to Russia, but betrayed it immediately. 2. Romania betrayed Russia in the First World War. 3. Romania attacked the USSR in World War II. 4. Romanians’ Russophobia is irrational and inexplicable. 5. Ion Iliescu was a pro-Westerner who understood the importance of a close relationship with Russia. 6. Romania pursues an anti-Russian policy established by Traian Basescu. 7. Romania is ready to give away its Black Sea coast to the United States.
  • PURPOSE: Russia playing the victim, and turning from an aggressor state into the aggressed one. To undermine the image of Romania (especially in the ex-Soviet space) but also of the Romanians’ support for Bucharest’s Euro-Atlantic partnerships.
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