The Romanian version of RT as well as Russian Kaleidoscope both suggest that Romania’s press is not independent, and that it serves only Western interests.
Event: On 26 August, the Romanian-language edition of RT—an anti-Western, pro-Kremlin website—published an article titled “What to write and what not to write.” The same column appeared on 29 August in the monthly journal Russian Kaleidoscope, also in Romanian. In it, author Corneliu Vlad argues that Romanian and Western mainstream media target Russia but ignore the Eurasian reality. To support his thesis, Vlad analyzes Romanian media covered two stories: Brexit and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), noting that with the addition of India and Pakistan, the SCO will comprise 45 percent of the world’s population, 19 percent of its GDP and 60 percent of its land mass.
Vlad argues that Romania’s media gave ample publicity to the Brexit story while intentionally ignoring SCO’s expansion. That lack of interest, he says, has continued even though Romania and Russia now share a common maritime border in the Black Sea.
“What is delivered by mass media to the Romanian public in their own country is limited to anti-Russian indictments, expired templates and especially omissions. Puppeteers who pull strings through the Romanian media usually spin just a couple of names, always in the same context: What will Putin do, what did Rogozin declare, what is Dugin thinking about?” he claimed, adding that this practice of ignoring Russia is equivalent to the Romanian expression “steal your own cap.”
The false fact or narrative: The article suggests Romanian media outlets are not independent, and that the new geopolitical situation in the Black Sea is not presented realistically.
Reality on the ground: Many anti-Western, pro-Russian “independent” portals deliver Kremlin propaganda to the Romanian public in the Romanian language, including well-known RT and Sputnik Moldova. The author neglects to say that Romania and Russia have become Black Sea neighbors because of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Techniques: Conspiracy theories, lack of proof; ridicule, discrediting and diminution.
Analysis and impact: The article is part of a longer series that appears regularly in Romanian-language, pro-Russian websites. The goal is to spread the idea that Romania has no independent press, and that the country’s mainstream media only serves US and Western interests.
Description of sources: RT in Romania is a pro-Kremlin portal. At last count, the article got 2,264 clicks. Russian Kaleidoscope is a monthly journal edited by the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Bucharest.