Youth radicalisation in Romania – How far-right actors target Romanian youth ahead of the 2024 elections

2024 marks the biggest electoral year yet for Romania, with European, local, parliamentary and presidential polls scheduled to take place on the background of significant domestic and global challenges, with the potential to further destabilise and polarise society. The rise of far-right and right-wing populists, correlated with a surge of disinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas war, has reached an otherwise politically overlooked segment of the population – young people. Feeling unrepresented and severed from the political discourse, Romanian youth is at significant risk of radicalisation, being particularly vulnerable to extremist voices that aim to capitalise on their frustrations and disengagement, while leveraging their preferred channels of information and communication with increasing efficiency. Social media and youth susceptibility to online echo chambers and influencers provide pathway for manipulation by malicious actors whose political agenda aligns – more often than not – with the Kremlin’s (anti-EU, anti-NATO, anti-Ukraine, pro-Russia).

Security Cooperation in the Wider Black Sea Region. Bridging the Differences.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has triggered a seismic shift in the European security landscape, compelling NATO and the European Union to reassess and adapt their strategic priorities. The designation of the Black Sea as an area of key security concern by NATO reflects the urgent need for a comprehensive response to Russia’s unprovoked aggression. While the Southeastern flank is now receiving increased attention, the Black Sea region faces challenges in achieving the same level of intra-NATO and regional security cooperation seen in the Baltic Sea. 

Resilience of the disinformation ecosystem: how pro-Russian voices adjust when banned by Facebook. Case study: Diana Sosoaca

Despite the rise of TikTok and discussions about “freer” platforms such as MeWe or Telegram, Facebook remains the main platform for political debates in Romania. Facebook is also the platform for initiating radicalization. Radical channels on Facebook work to attract people with moderate opinions or those who are not politically socialized online, radicalize them, and then try to transfer them to other platforms.

In this – apparently favourable – environment, Diana Șoșoacă, far-right MP and outspoken Kremlin supporter, has experienced a spectacular drop in audience, from 22 million monthly views to mere thousands in just a few months.

Selective silence. Discussions around instability in the Republic of Moldova in the Romanian far right and anti-Ukraine environment

Ever since the beginning of the war, the far right has had to appease two constituencies. The more traditional far right had been historically opposed to Russia’s foreign policy: anti-communism and by extension opposition to Russia is the founding myth of the Romanian far-right. This goes way back to Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, leader of the interwar fascist movement The Iron Guard and Ion Antonescu, interwar prime-minister allied with Hitler. The far-right will often justify their deeds (including hate and war crimes) by the need to resist Soviet / Russian influence. Also, the vast majority of Romanians do not sympathise with Russia[1] so every effort to recruit followers from the mainstream needs to account for that.