PROPAGANDA OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION IN ROMANIA.
MODERN ASPECTS AGAINST THE BACKGROUND OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFLICTS ESCALATION1
Andriy VOLOSHYN, PhD
For the last three years the modern world has undergone significant changes mainly through active attempts to destruct the architecture of international relations that had developed in the past decades.
Comparing the present situation with events in the 1930-40s of the last century we can see certain analogies. To foment international conflicts countries used the ideology of superiority or a particular race (Nazism) or a particular state (imperialism – Italy, Turkey, USSR). All these pseudoscientific ideas find their place in the modern world – ”Russkiy Mir”, the Russian Empire, various forms of Islamic states.
To realize these goals all proponents of such ideas put specific goals, including:
– undermining the EU through the destabilization of some of its members, deterioration or complication of the situation for their citizens (the creation of uncontrolled streams of refugees from Asia and Africa, the intensification of radical Islamic movements, etc);
– support of radical and populist parties and movements to bring them to power and further destruction of the economic pillars of sustainable development of individual countries and the EU as a whole;
– through propaganda that is designed to promote moods of uncertainty among citizens of NATO in the ability of the Alliance to protect them in case of a real war and to demoralize population by showing illustrative examples of the war.
Now all this is called ”hybrid warfare”, but no one pays attention to the fact that it already was used in practice by the Soviet Union and, to some extent, helped to achieve positive results. Here are two examples.
On January 7, 1918 the Bolsheviks established Ukrainian Soviet Republic in Eastern part of the Ukrainian National Republic and proclaimed the city of Kharkiv its capital. On January 11, 1918 the newly formed state was recognized by the Russian Federation and began preparations for the invasion of the Ukrainian National Republic together with the Russian Bolsheviks2. As a result on February 8, 1918 the Bolsheviks captured Kyiv and the Ukrainian National Republic ceased to exist. During the fighting they actively used such elements:
defamation of existing Ukrainian government through allegations of their corruptibility to West (France, UK), collaboration with former enemies in World War I (the Germans), inability to restore order etc.;
while shelling Kiev the Bolsheviks actively spread rumors that it was done by the British artillery to extend anti-Western moods among the people of Kiev;
provoking of uprisings among the poorest and acts of disobedience among pro-Russian citizens.
On December 1, 1939 the so-called Finnish Democratic Republic (FDR) was set up in Finland with the support of Soviet troops. It was recognized by the Soviet Union the next day. Accordingly, FDR turned to the Soviet Union for military aid1. This caused the Soviet-Finnish War, during which the USSR in order to justify their aggression used the following propaganda:
the war is not against Finland and its people, but against its government supported by Britain, France and Germany and against global imperialism;
bombardment of Helsinki was presented as delivery of bread to the hungry proletariat of Finland;
population of Finland suffers not from the aggression of the USSR but the refusal of the Finnish authorities to transfer to the Soviet Union the territory that it needs.
Comparing these examples with what Russia is nowadays doing in Ukraine, Georgia or Moldova shows that it is using the already proven stencil.
As for the actions of weakening the EU and NATO, the Kremlin actually uses the practice of Comintern agents who did the same as pro-Russian politicians do in the West at present.
Given the important geostrategic location of Romania, Russia also has some plans for it. Romania has certain features that Russia is actively trying to use:
significant ethnic diversity in the country, some of them have separatist moods;
support by the official Russian authorities for Lipovans and Rusins. Russia considers them as a part of ”Russkiy mir” and tries to use them as ”fifth column”;
the presence in Romania of certain politicians and businessmen who have common interests with Russia;
the presence of the Romanians who are dissatisfied with the country’s membership in the EU and NATO.
Accordingly Russia uses against Romania active action to extend its influence, namely:
PROPAGANDA OF RUSSIAN POLICY AND INVOLVEMENT IN OVERT OR COVERT COOPERATION OF THE ROMANIANS WITH RUSSIA THROUGH SOCIAL NETWORKS
Embassy of the Russian Federation in Romania is actively involved in creation and support of various pro or anti-Western societies in Facebook in order to expand and strengthen Russia’s position in the country, to undermine internal situation and encourage exit of Romania from the EU and NATO. One of the responsible persons for this activity is the second secretary of the Russian embassy in Bucharest Paul Alekseyenko2, who is actually the organizer and curator of about 20 active groups on Facebook, which counts from 130 to 47,000 participants.
The main activities of these groups are:
dissemination of opinions among the Romanians that the EU and NATO did not bring anything useful to citizens of the country;
collecting data on the Romanian citizens who are dissatisfied with domestic and foreign policy of the government;
promotion of ideas and values of ”Russkiy mir”;promotion of the Russian army and goals implemented by Russia with its help while waging war in other countries, dissemination of opinion in Romanian society about invincibility of the Russian Federation.
IMPLEMENTATION OF VISUAL PROPAGANDA
THAT JUSTIFIES THE ACTIONS OF MODERN RUSSIA
The main activity in this direction is assigned to the Russian Embassy in Bucharest that according to the open sources focuses on the following issues:
– organizing of various festive events;
– organizing of pro-Russian exhibitions.
One of the examples of the latter was an exhibition in Bucharest held between April, 19 and May, 9 called ”Syria. Chronicle of War in photos” (Siria. Cronica în fotografii a unui război). The exhibition was attended by six Russian journalists that actually had represented the Russian media in the occupied territories of Donbass1 and created a positive image for the Kremlin during the occupation of the Crimea.
The main goal of this event was promotion of Russia’s activity in Syria (ie support for the leadership of Russia and Syria on armed confrontation with opposition). Thus the exhibition focused on the fact that the opposition destroyed Christian churches (especially the Orthodox) and opposed the legitimate government.
In view of these facts we can conclude that Russian lobby in Romania already has a very significant resource of impact on its internal and external policies and helps to openly spread Russian propaganda in its territory to destroy the EU and NATO.
Particular attention should be paid to Russian attempts to impact on the national organization of Romania, which Russia considers as an object of ”Russkiy mir”, including Ruthenians and Lipovans.
They are also supervised by the Russian Embassy and the Consulate General of Russia in Constanta and get an adequate funding.
In this case Russia sponsors cultural events in Romania and visits of delegations from the national organizations in Moscow that are openly declared on the website of the Russian Embassy and the Consulate General of Russia in Constanta.
Accordingly, we can see that after all these activities the idea of ”Russkiy mir” is actively introduced in public life of Romania.
Analyzing the current situation it is safe to say that in order to achieve its goals Moscow actively uses the European democratic values that Romania is implementing as a member of the EU. This may explain its weak opposition to Russian influence even if it threatens Romanian national security.
1 Fotocronici din Siria http://www.crlr.ro/mероприятии-орлр–„fotocronici-din-siria”-a164.html
1 Финляндская Демократическая Республика, https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Финляндская_Демократическая _ Республика
2 Павел Алексеєнко, https://www.facebook.com/mr.pavel.alekseenko/groups?lst=100002220211803%3A176 6839005%3A1482844985
1 This article is a text selection of the Paper that has been presented at GeoPolitica Club Café, Siret, May 27
Member of the advisory group of the National Institute for Strategic Studies of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine, Lviv
2 Штурм Києва войсками Муравева, https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Штурм_Киева_войсками_Муравьёва