NARRATIVES: 1. Romanians’ children are taken away from their families and made available to the global cabal. 2. State-owned enterprises in key economic fields will be sold to Western corporations. 3. Romanians will no longer be able to move freely and will be forced to live in a confined area dictated by occult forces. 4. Patriots risk being arrested, whereas the measures prepared by global elites encroach on the freedom of speech.
BACKGROUND: The first years of democracy in the wake of the anti-communist revolution of December 1989 were marked by slogans that would determine the transition of Romanian society towards a market economy. “We won’t sell our country” and “We don’t think, we just work” are some of the ideas that many claim to have been devised by members of the former Securitate, the communist secret police. These slogans hampered the economic development of the country, while a number of former Securitate officers and politicians defrauded Romania’s economy in the 1990s. In the 33 years that have passed since the revolution, these two catchphrases have antagonized Romanian society to the extent we witnessed the rise of extremist nationalist movements that foster a primitive and very toxic strand of patriotism and which challenge Romania’s accession to the Euro-Atlantic community and international bodies governing Western societies, in particular the European Union and NATO. The ideology of these movements revolves around several narratives, from a mystified exaggeration of the role played by the Romanian people in world history to conspiracy theories fueled by disinformation and fake news. Many of these narratives originate in Russian propaganda, and are in part designed to serve Moscow’s purpose of posing at odds with the decadent, immoral and prowling West (to reinforce its own image), while at the same time undermining Western values (which it considers the main threat to Putin’s regime, fixated on keeping the Russian people away from these values) and democratic countries, which the Kremlin regards as geopolitical opponents. At the same times, such narratives also paint the political reality of most liberal democracies, where they have been taken over by various factions (whether populists or extremists on either side of the political spectrum), so-called opinion-makers or influencers, as well as by certain media outlets (online publications in particular), etc.
After the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Romanian online publications were flooded with Eurosceptic and anti-NATO narratives, many of which have been debunked by Veridica, such as Romanians’ willingness to leave the EU and NATO, because the European Union wants to poison the population, assassinate patriots and drag the country into war. The draft laws submitted to Parliament’s debate right now served as a pretext to stage a rally attended by members and supporters of the Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR), a party officially opposing the poor governance in Bucharest, but which in fact upholds absurd claims, rooted in fake news and outlandish manipulations, constantly rolled out in the public sphere by the party leadership.
PURPOSE: To erode societal confidence in the authorities and the entire political class, to demonize the West, to promote sovereigntist and anti-Western rhetoric and to reinforce the party’s notoriety through self-victimization in order to gain voter approval.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The four laws which AUR claims to contribute to Romania losing its assets and sovereignty are merely pieces of legislation that seek to modernize and update the way the state functions, with a view to streamlining several areas of activity. Therefore, PL-x 145/2023 is a bill that introduces a number of standards designed to prevent children getting separated from their families as a result of several economic, social or educational factors. The bill was announced by the Government in order to help children develop, not take them away from their families. The draft law seeks to create a network of services that should address disenfranchised families (affected by poverty, lacking social assistance and basic education or living in inadequate housing, etc.), whereby to alleviate their predicament by focusing first and foremost on children’s immediate needs. At the same time, the draft law also stipulates the creation of the National Children’s Register, a computer system subordinated to the National Authority for the Protection of Children’s Rights and Protection, which AUR claims to be the first step whereby the government will monitor Romanian children to later take them away from their families. In fact, the Children’s Register is a database that will log all children who risk getting separated from their families. In theory, the system is already operational at local level, and is expected to be centralized and improved nationwide. The independent Senator Diana Șoșoacă has also promoted a similar narrative in the past, claiming that occult Western forces will take Romanian children away from their families, in the wake of the adoption of a bill that regulates, among other things, the format and content of identification documents.
PL-x 143 is an item of legislation meant to improve the management of companies with a majority state capital by implementing various principles of corporate governance principles and applying them to state-owned companies. Among other things, it impacts the status of different state institutions that play a key role in the activity of these companies, with respect to boosting their economic results and profit so as to reflect the management of similar private companies operating in the same fields. At the same time, the bill also bars a number of officials (members of Parliament, government officials, mayors, etc.) from holding leading positions in state-owned companies and stipulates the creation of the Agency for Monitoring and Assessing the Performance of State-Owned Enterprises, an institution subordinated to the Government with a role in setting management policies for state-owned companies, monitoring the implementation of standard regulations and monitoring, assessing and, when necessary, sanctioning their application. With respect to the privatization of several companies in key areas of activity, the law introduces a separate chapter (V1) which only regulates the ways the state’s stake in these public enterprises can be reduced, which doesn’t necessarily mean this is bound to happen. What AUR leaders purposefully fail to mention is the fact that, under the same chapter, the law equally regulates how the state can expand its stake in companies with a majority state capital, including through buying shares on capital markets. Finally, a potential listing of minority share packages on the stock exchange or passing the majority share package into private hands would result in capitalization, modernization and a boost of economic growth. Last but not least, the participation of private entities in state-owned companies would certainly make them more transparent while also signaling any irregularities reported at internal level. Just like the previous bill, this narrative has also been publicized by Diana Șoșoacă, who warned in autumn 2022 that Hidroelectrica, like many of Romania’s other assets, will fall into foreign hands.
Pl-x 47 is a draft law concerning sustainable urban mobility. Its sole purpose is to align Romanian legislation to the entire framework of European legislation in the field. Furthermore, the enactment of legislation on sustainable urban mobility is one of the milestones stipulated in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which the Romanian government has committed to fulfill. AUR claims the bill would eventually turn cities into prisons, a narrative part of the climate change denial rhetoric, which Veridica cautioned its readers about over a year ago. The implementation of the “15-minute city” urban concept by no means entails the infringement of Romanians’ free movement. On the contrary, it spells a great deal of benefits, from more leisure time to healthy living, clean air, quality green areas and more vibrant community interactions. For instance, an urban area observing this concept will be more ready to accommodate the development of local businesses, which AUR patriots urges Romanians to support.
Lastly, Pl-x 144 seeks to provide additions and amendments to a number of articles in the law on bailiffs by introducing new provisions regulation the attributes, rights and obligations related to their office. With no apparent connection to the “selling of Romania”, the said draft law was one of the legislative initiatives the nationalist opposition challenged the most, just for the sake of doing it and without any real knowledge of its content. What is clear, at the end of this protest, is the contradiction in terms between the previous statements of AUR leaders, who accused post-1989 governments of having (already!) sold the country to foreigners, and their commitment, announced publicly last weekend, to oppose the selling of Romania in the future.