NARRATIVES: 1. Zelensky is blackmailing Romania for aid in the war with Russia. 2. Ceausescu was an international pacifist, not a local dictator.
LOCAL CONTEXT / ETHOS: The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, delivered a speech in the Romanian Parliament on Monday in which he thanked Bucharest for helping the Ukrainian refugees and invited Romania to the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.
He stressed that Ukraine needed everyone's help, both militarily and as political support in Brussels, in its bid to join the European Union structures.
In turn, Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca said after Zelensky's speech that Romania would keep on welcoming the Ukrainian refugees with open arms and help them with everything they needed, and in turn called on Ukraine to take equal care of the Romanian community in Ukraine.
He recalled that about 30,000 Ukrainian children had already been placed in educational institutions in their mother tongue in several schools and high schools in Romania.
PURPOSE: To have Romanians think bad of Ukraine, against the background of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALES: Josefina Pascal was intensely promoted before the war by the Kremlin's mouthpiece, Sputnik, and since Russia launched the large-scale invasion of Ukraine, she has been one of the voices spreading false anti-Ukrainian narratives in Romania This time, Josefina Pascal is tendentiously trying to alter the meaning of Zelensky’s speech . She says that Zelensky “conditions” the observance of the rights of the Romanian community in Ukraine on Romania's help in the war. A careful reading of the Ukrainian president's speech does not in any way support Pascal's thesis.
Instead, attributing potential blackmail connotations, on Ukraine’s part, to the issue of Romanians’ rights in Ukraine is made in a manner typical of the Russian propaganda metanarrative, which says that Ukraine should not be supported by Romania in any way, because it does not respect the rights of Romanians in Ukraine, in particular the access to education in their mother tongue. This thesis was defended even before the war and is still promoted by Russian propaganda in Romania.
In fact, Zelensky promised that immediately after the war, Romania and Ukraine would discuss a new legal framework that would mutually protect the Romanian and Ukrainian minorities in a comprehensive manner.
“As soon as the situation allows, I want to launch a dialogue with you on a new all-encompassing agreement that guarantees the absolute protection and comprehensive development of our national minorities - the Ukrainian community in Romania and the Romanian community in Ukraine.”
In an analysis for presshub.ro, the specialist in Russian disinformation and propaganda Nicolae Tibrigan recalls a revisionist speech by Putin addressed to Romania, Hungary and Poland whom he told to join Russia and claim territories in Ukraine:
“Then, both before and after the Great Patriotic War (WWII), Stalin incorporated into the Soviet Union and transferred to Ukraine several territories that had previously belonged to Poland, Romania, and Hungary. In the process, he offered Poland some of what was traditionally German land as compensation, and in 1954, Khrushchev took Crimea from Russia for some reason and also gave it to Ukraine. In fact, this is how the territory of modern Ukraine was formed”, Putin said.
These are the directions that Russian propaganda is currently going in when it comes to feeding nationalist theses in Romania.
As for the parallel with Nicolae Ceausescu, Zelensky wanted to make an analogy between Ceausescu's dictatorship, which the Romanians could no longer bear, and Russia’s dictatorial behavior towards Ukraine, in the sense that Moscow wants to decide for Kyiv what course to follow. Obviously, one that does not entail joining the European Union or NATO, under the pretext that this threatens Moscow’s security and its very existence.
Attempting to ridicule Zelensky's metaphor is once again an attempt to tendentiously reinterpret the Kyiv leader's message and to glorify dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, another metanarrative of Russian propaganda in Romania, especially for some of the elderly and the nostalgic for the past. GRAIN OF TRUTH: In the last decades, Ukraine has pursued a policy of closing down minority schools on its territory.