The Russian Cultural Centre will have to stop all activates in August, 2023 , Source: Onrej Bocek / Unsplash

Russian Cultural Centre in Bucharest suspended due to disinformation

Russian Cultural Centre in Bucharest suspended due to disinformation

The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the move to counter the centre’s repeated attempts to spread propaganda and excuse war crimes committed by the Russian Federation in Ukraine

Yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Romania announced that would suspend activity by the Russian Centre for Culture and Science in Bucharest. According to an official statement, the decision was provoked by the centre’s continued involvement in disinformation, propaganda and trying to excuse war crimes committed by the Russian Federation in Ukraine during the war.

Moreover, the statement from the Ministry notes that the centre was involved in spreading disinformation before the war in Ukraine began in February 2022. Yet, Romanian authorities have decided to finally act after an increasing number of hybrid attacks originating from Russia in the last year.  

Using official channels to spread disinformation

The decision by Romanian authorities echoed a report by EUvsDisinfo, a branch of the European External Action Service, published at the start of the month. The report identified different types of disinformation based on their aims, while also pointing out that many official Russian diplomatic channels were engaged in spreading false claims.

Romanian authorities cited repeated instances where the Centre deliberately engaged in actions of distorted presentation of reality and historical truth at the level of Romanian public opinion as the reason for suspending its activity.

These ‘slips’ as authorities called them, acquired new connotations of particular gravity after the Russian Federation launched the war of aggression against Ukraine. Additionally, authorities say that the Centre strayed from its natural goals of strengthening cultural ties and regrettably turned into a tool for propaganda, disinformation and excusing the war crimes of the Russian Federation in Ukraine.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu expanded on Romania’s firm disapproval of Russia’s constant attempts at hybrid attacks and disinformation through misdirection and premeditated manipulation of the facts, while appealing to the latter side to renounce such practices.

Suspend all activities by 20 August

On 21 February 2022, the Russian Ambassador to Romania, Valery Kuzmin, was summoned to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be notified of the decision of Romanian authorities to suspend operations of the Russian Center for Culture and Science in Bucharest.

The centre was originally set up in 2015, after an agreement between the two countries, as there is a Romanian Cultural Centre in Moscow. The full suspension of the centre’s activity, according to the Ministry, should happen no later than 20 August 2023.



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