Moscow is disappointed, but not surprised by the measure taken by the Romanian authorities to suspend the activities of the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Bucharest, said the spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zaharova, citing an “anti-Russian hysteria that including the European Union”. She also rejects accusations that the institute was a “propaganda tool”.
“The decision of the Romanian authorities to suspend the activities of the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Bucharest is, to put it mildly, disappointing, although against the background of the anti-Russian hysteria that gripped the European Union, it certainly cannot be called a ‘surprise'”, said Zaharova in a statement posted on the Facebook page of the Russian Embassy in Bucharest.
Russian MFA’s spokeswoman insisted that the activities of the Russian Science and Culture Center were “aimed at strengthening cultural and humanitarian ties” between Russia and Romania, and rejected the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ accusations that the institute “deliberately engaged in actions to distort the reality”.
“We categorically reject the accusation that this – the Russian Center of Science and Culture – is a “propaganda tool”. Although, of course, I’m sorry, I forgot. The Goethe Institute or the British Council represent a “soft power”. And Rossotrudnichestvo or the Confucius Institute represents “propaganda”. We caught up. A clear gradation. An obvious division. No, it doesn’t work and it won’t work this way,” Zaharova said.
Zaharova claims that Russia, and more recently China, are the targets of negative campaigns and tries to score points for the Romanian authorities when the propaganda becomes harmful.
“I have a question for the Romanian authorities – what is wrong with this? Propaganda in the sense of understanding the word “promotion”? When was it ever bad? Propaganda is bad when it is a combination of states and independent media. When through the independent press some bodies (state or non-state), suppressing the independent essence of journalism, begin to promote a single point of view, suppressing everything else. In this sense, propaganda is unacceptable. Advertising as an element of propaganda is what “represents” the economy, public relations and strategic communication. These are all elements of promoting information about something that would be useful and interesting for the public to know about, or sometimes simply profitable. We need to draw clear boundaries. We are used to everything related to us, Russia (and now China) being twisted to give it a negative connotation. Everything they have is fine.”
Zakharova insists that Moscow is trying to present foreign audiences with “objective information about life in modern Russia.” “Bucharest’s approach will not go unanswered. I’m sure they understand that clearly. All the more strange is the desire of the Romanian authorities to eliminate one of the few remaining communication channels”, concludes Zaharova.