Russia’s Opposition to U.S. Missile Defense in Romania

Moscow’s disinformation campaign is a form of psychological warfare intended to influence Romanian public opinion and ultimately government policy. Such PSYOPS are targeted squarely at Romania’s membership in NATO and the European Union, intertwining the factual with the fabricated, hoping to cause great anxiety among the populace. The narrative goes something like this: The West won the Cold War with the sacrifices of the East European patriots and nationalists. The God-fearing nationalists, however, were excluded from sharing in the fruits of the victory. Instead, the Godless internationalists are preferred by America and the West. In this way, Russia is trying now to turn the tables and attract those who perceive themselves abandoned by the West.

news_red1
By Nicholas Dima | June 2, 2016

rus oppostion

On Thursday May 12 the United States and Romania inaugurated the first American Missile Shield in Eastern Europe at a military base located in the village of Deveselu in southwest Romania. The project, under construction for a number of years, has elicited Russia’s angry protestations to a missile system on its doorstep. America did not budge but went ahead with the base as planned, and also started to build a similar one in Poland.  With Poland to the north, Romania at the Black Sea, and Georgia in the Caucasus region, they form NATO’s front line of defense in the region.

The event received widespread press coverage in Romania, internationally and in Russia, but Moscow’s point of view was different, as expected. AP, for example, mentioned that the U.S.-NATO defense system aims at “protecting Europe from ballistic missile threats,” whereas Moscow sees it as a new attempt at surrounding Russia militarily. In this context, Moscow stressed in the past that if Romania went ahead with the plan as intended, it would expose itself to deadly consequences. And further, if NATO proceeded with building a similar missile shield in Poland, Russia would deploy its own Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, the heavily militarized Russian territory between Poland and Lithuania. The Russian missiles have a range of about 300 miles and would threaten a large part of Poland. However, Warsaw officials were not impressed. They believe that Russia already has such missiles in Kaliningrad remaining from previous exercises.

The Washington Times reported, “While the Kremlin doesn’t view the NATO missile defense system as a threat to its nuclear forces in its current limited shape, it fears that the U.S.-led missile shield may eventually erode the deterrent potential of Russian nuclear forces when it grows more powerful in the future.”

According to Romania Libera, Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos, Defense Minister Mihnea Motoc, and other officials participated in the inaugural ceremonies in Deveselu. Other participants were the former prime minister of Norway and current NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg along with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work. The Romanian prime minister declared that Deveselu will be fully integrated in the overall NATO defense system before the July 8-9 NATO summit in Warsaw. The base was a former Romanian military installation. Transforming it into a modern facility cost the United States 800 million dollars. As for the missile base in Poland, Stoltenberg announced that the very next day (May 13) he would travel to Redzikowo, close to the Baltic Sea, to open the works on the Polish base.

According to AP, Stoltenberg stated at the opening ceremony that Deveselu is not directed against Russia adding that the interceptors are too few and too far from Russia to be able to intercept intercontinental missiles. Nevertheless, the retired Russian admiral Vladimir Komoyedov, chairman of the State Duma’s Defense Committee, declared for Interfax that the new American installations in Romania and Poland are a direct threat to Russia. “They are 1,000 percent aimed against us,” he declared. And according to AFP of May 13, President Putin warned that Russia would consider any measures in order to “end threats from American anti-missile systems that were recently activated in Romania.” Neither Poland, nor Romania budged. And both countries have strong reasons to fear Russia. The recent war in Ukraine was a wake-up call.

With a tragic sense of history at the hands of the Russians, Romania welcomes any opportunity to strengthen its national security. However, there are also dissenting voices and some of these voices sound very logical. Thus, it is hard to say whether such voices speak from the heart or they echo Moscow’s agenda.

Active News of May 9 reported that reserve Colonel Marin Neacsu claimed that the Romanian military would be used as cannon fodder for U.S. interests adding that Romania has become an annex of America to be used whenever and however needed. The colonel also accused Washington of using Romania’s aspiration of reuniting with Moldova just to challenge Russia without helping the Romanian national cause. By doing this, he continued, Romania would expose Moldova to increasing Russian threats without obtaining anything in return. One of his letters addressed ‘to the Romanian people’ was widely circulated on the Internet.

Another analysis posted recently on the Internet startles readers even more. It is entitled, Is there a plan to disband Romania? (Se Pregateste Pulverizarea Romaniei?) The analysis focuses on the last 25 years of transition that have ruined the old economy without replacing it with a new one leading to a ravaged Romanian socio-demographic fabric. Unfortunately, almost all the arguments used in the analysis are real. Yet, the analysis may very well be concocted in Moscow to disorient Romanians. Moscow does it all over Eastern Europe. It is an ongoing method of PSYOPS, or psychological operations.

According to the analysis (Stiri exerne.ro and http://gandeste.org), Romania gained nothing by joining NATO and the EU, which are both considered tools of the current process of globalization. On the contrary, Romania’s sovereignty is threatened. Morally, the West is compared to Sodom and Gomorrah, while the political leaders of Romania are considered corrupt puppets of the West. As a consequence, the analysis claims, Romania’s traditional military, industrial, agricultural, banking system and many other institutions have been completely ravaged. In only 25 years, the analysis continues, from a position of having no international debts, Bucharest has amassed some $150 billion in international debts.

The analysis is not signed, but retired Colonel Vasile Zarnescu provides commentary. He considers the analysis as a correct mirror of the “last 25 years of criminal transition.” In his conspiratorial view, some international circles have: purposely impoverished the people; compelled the youth to immigrate; and, encouraged a wave of third world migrants to replace the indigenous population. His concludes that the purpose is to promote globalization in order to control the world.

Moscow’s disinformation campaign is a form of psychological warfare intended to influence Romanian public opinion and ultimately government policy. Such PSYOPS are targeted squarely at Romania’s membership in NATO and the European Union, intertwining the factual with the fabricated, hoping to cause great anxiety among the populace. The narrative goes something like this: The West won the Cold War with the sacrifices of the East European patriots and nationalists. The God-fearing nationalists, however, were excluded from sharing in the fruits of the victory. Instead, the Godless internationalists are preferred by America and the West. In this way, Russia is trying now to turn the tables and attract those who perceive themselves abandoned by the West.


Nicholas Dima, Ph.D, is a former professor and author of numerous books and articles including the autobiographical memoir, Journey to Freedom, a description of the effects of communist dictatorship on a nation, a family and an individual. He currently lectures and is a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.

Related Articles