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I’ve just read a piece of news that angered me a great deal as it smelled fake, but as I looked into it, I did not find the clear rebuttal I expected. It’s based on an obscure survey question that had not been reported in the media and now is fodder for fake news sites. The title is based on an 80s Italian song which roughly means “rogue nostalgia”, combined with the Romanian spelling of the word that stands for “rogue”, which, in the latter language stands for an insult, meaning “scoundrel, villain, miscreant”. 

There is no question that there are many Romanians nostalgic for communism, such as this teacher, but as far as I know, they are very far from being a majority. So when I saw on Facebook (fb-survey) a quote from the blog “in defence of communism” (idc-rom) that 60+% of Romanians regret communism, I knew it’s a mistake.

The actual results (inscop-17mai, survey-pdf, also in the screenshot) paint a completely different picture, with the vast majority of respondents stating that “things are complicated” which is neither negative, nor positive.

Anul acesta se împlinesc 30 de ani de la căderea comunismului, instaurat în 1947. În opinia dvs., regimul comunist (This year we celebrate 30 years since the fall of communism, imposed in 1947. In your opinion, the communist regime) ..?

  1. 27.2% A facut mai mult bine Romaniei (Did Romania more good)
  2. 29.6% A facut mai mult rau Romaniei (Did Romania more bad)
  3. 34.3% Lucrurile sunt mai complicate. Comunismul din anii 50 este una, cel din vremea lui Ceausescu este cu totul altceva. (Things are more complicated. ‘50s communism is much different from Ceausescu’s.)
  4. 8.9% NS/NR (Don’t know/No answer)

The third option is a very weird (i.e., poorly phrased) one. In most surveys I’ve seen, the questions asked tend to be mutually exclusive as to allow a clear picture of views and opinions to emerge, but this one allows for “it’s complicated”, much like a Facebook relationship status, which is another way of really expressing the non-committal choice of option 4, without having to choose one of the clearly differentiated first two options. As such, its inclusion in the survey is highly questionable.

Furthermore, the 3rd option is also a “loaded question”, in that it presents the subject with a readily formulated opinion, which must be considered as correct when answering, rather than seeking to reflect or learn what the subject thinks. The separation of the communist era in only two major “sub-eras” is absurd and unsupported by any historian. It is only Ceausescu himself and his hagiographers who made this distinction (at least, prior to this survey), calling Ceausescu’s time “epoca de aur” or the golden era. One could also use the eras used by communist planners, the 5 years between the PCR (communist party) congresses, aka “cincinale” (cf Romanian), or eras based on the “reign” of the “General Secretary” of PCR (the de facto ruler of the country), etc. There were similar excesses and abuses throughout the entire communist epoch in Romania and arguably the repression was much stronger in the earlier years, when the Romanian elite who did not manage to leave the country was incarcerated, tortured and murdered by the newly empowered Stalinist regime.

Other similarly arbitrary distinctions one could make are pre- and post-1974, or pre/post Zalmoxe 1978. It’s as silly to expect everyone to embrace these as it is the pre/post Ceausescu division. It’s almost as bad as the article in Economist aiming to show that Romania has a large Roma (Gipsy) minority while trying to show the Hungarian Roma (Gypsy) minority being smaller than it is.

What’s unusual is that Hotnews (hn-inscop) and possibly other news sites haven’t covered this last question at all, which is why I did not remember reading about it. It makes me wonder, what other surveys have been similarly misreported or under-reported and whether such fake news sites are sponsored by Putin’s Russia (hn-inscop2, hn-inscop3).

Anyhow, what’s clear from this survey is that a relative majority of people, almost a third, clearly think that communism was overall bad for the country, while a “light minority” (meaning not very far from the majority) thinks that the communism was overall positive. The vast majority, more than a third, are easily confused, afraid to answer or don’t know.

To me, the way this unreported news is twisted and “transformed” into fake news supporting false “facts” which are then used by what is likely Russian-inspired and supported communist propaganda is bad, but the fact that nobody is covering it is worse. And the fact that whoever is doing this is hiding under a “direct democracy” label, while clearly being pro-Marxist (which is anything but democratic) serves to smear and make direct-democracy unpopular, when it likely is the best way forward for Western democracies and an antidote to populism.

Sources / More info: idc-rom, inscop-17mai, survey-pdf, hn-inscop, fb-survey, hn-inscop2, hn-inscop3

Thank you for reading (mulţam fain pentru cetire)! Publicat Thursday, June 27, 2019 . Similar articles under the following categories (poţi găsi articole similare sub următoarele categorii): (Subscribe), (Subscribe), (Subscribe) . Dacă ţi-a plăcut articolul, PinIt-uieste-l, ReddIt-eaza-l, stumble-uieste-l altora, trimite-l pe WhatsApp yMess şi consideră abonarea la fluxul RSS sau prin email. Ma poti de asemenea gasi pe Google. Trackback poateputea fi trimis prin URL-ul de sub Comentarii.
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