About the relations of the Romanian citizens with some capitalist radio stations. In Securitatea, 41 (1978): 38-49, in Romanian. Article
Securitatea was a quarterly aimed at improving the training of Securitate operative personnel. Its articles were written by Securitate officers for Securitate officers and thus they touched upon practical problems faced during their specific mission of preventing and neutralising any actions that potentially threatened the communist regime. Among the many dangers that were outlined in the pages of the quarterly as undermining “state security” were foreign radio stations, and especially Radio Free Europe (RFE). The article chosen as a featured item of the collection presents under the title “Cu referire la relațiile cetățenilor români cu unele posturi de radio capitaliste” (About the relations of Romanian citizens with some capitalist radio stations) the perspective of the Securitate upon the activity of RFE and evaluates its contribution in providing an alternative source of information for Romanians. In the absence of underground publications, RFE represented the main source of alternative information in communist Romania. Thus, the Securitate regarded RFE and contacts between Romanian citizens and employees of the Romanian desk of this radio station as dangerous to the communist regime. Accordingly, the entire article focuses on revealing how RFE allegedly acts in order to undermine “state security.” Starting from the premise that RFE is the locus “of espionage, ideological diversion, and hostile propaganda,” the anonymous author traces the connection between this radio station and the American espionage machine, namely the CIA. The Central Intelligence Agency was credited with financing RFE and setting its agenda even after the American Congress officially took responsibility for financially supporting its functioning. The control of the CIA over RFE was underlined once again when discussing its organisation. The two management structures in the United States and Europe were allegedly infiltrated by CIA agents who engaged the radio station in their “ungentlemanly” war against communist countries and used it to collect information about them. As a result, the CIA used the microphone of RFE to proffer slanders and shamefully distort the realities of the communist countries, according to the Securitate’s interpretation of the broadcasting of news and other political programmes by this radio station. Even worse from the point of view of the Securitate was that people travelling abroad were an easy prey for “agents” working at the Romanian desk of RFE. After underlining the connection between its director, deputy director, and programme producers with the CIA, the article describes how they allegedly succeeded in manipulating Romanian tourists in order to collect valuable information about the country, its leadership, and the impact of its social and economic policies on the mood of the population. In other cases, they even managed to trick their “victims” and persuade them to emigrate. The narrative of blaming RFE for these “unpatriotic” deeds was an ideologically convenient explanation for the fact that the great majority of Romanians listened to and trusted RFE, in spite of the fact that this might have caused problems. At the same time, such a narrative was meant to highlight the vital role played by the Securitate as a guardian of the communist regime in Romania.
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- Marin, Manuela
- Petrescu, Cristina
Securitate. 1978. “Cu referire la relațiile cetățenilor români cu unele posturi de radio capitaliste” (About the relations of the Romanian citizens with some of the capitalist radio stations). Securitatea, 41: 38-49.
Petrescu, Dragoș, interview by Marin, Manuela, August 30, 2018. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection