According to a NYT article:

In many ways, the struggle in Romania echoes the political drama playing out in other parts of the world, where leaders touting a populist agenda tapped into deep public dissatisfaction to take power, only to then push an agenda aimed more at sustaining their power than solving problems.

In Romania, the architect of the Social Democrats platform was the all-powerful party boss, Liviu Dragnea.

In the aftermath of the party’s 2016 victory, Mr. Dragnea followed a well-trodden path, promising generous social welfare programs while engaging in conspiracy-theory rhetoric.

From the outset, there were concerns that he would follow the example of other populist leaders, such as Viktor Orban in Hungary, and lead his party to use democratic means to build an “illiberal democracy,” a kind of soft authoritarianism where the essential organs of the state are compromised. [...]

The Social Democrats turned to a familiar playbook to push back. They accused their opponents of being part of a dark conspiracy, some linking it to the Hungarian-born philanthropist George Soros, who often serves as an all-purpose boogeyman for populists worldwide.

It seems a bit unusual for a center-left party to play the Soros conspiracy-theory card nowadays. What things specifically have the Romanian Social Democrats blamed on Soros?

N.B. I found myself a 2017 story that Romanian TV ran that Soros paid for protesters including children and dogs (yes dogs) to protest against the government, which seems to have been Social Democrat at the time. But it's not entirely clear who originated that story. I'm guessing there might be a not entirely unique phenomenon over there where some of the press tries to please a certain part of the political spectrum (politicians and voters) with unsubstantiated stories that politicians themselves would be reluctant to openly express...


2 Answers 2


As one of the protesters allegedly payed by Soros, I have heard about these allegations and they were never developed. Actually many simply dismissed this as a way to use a scapegoat for all the problems the Government is facing.

Is is a good chance that Romania TV is behind this story (or at least acted as a catalyst for spreading it) since the most influential owner was Sebastian Ghita, a PSD MP.

This article tries to provide more insight into why actually PSD leader chose Soros as a scapegoat, by linking to the Israeli consultants that helped the party to win the elections (translated from Romanian):

In Romania, the anti-Soros campaign seems to be motivated by the need of PSD leader Liviu Dragnea to find a scapegoat to justify the government's failures and the fierce fight against DNA and civil society. In fact, it's more than that. An array of business interests of Israeli advisers who have gravitated and gravitate around the PSD and other political actors, the criminal problems they have, in Romania and abroad, but also the war that some of them are waging with Soros, shows another kind of motivation. Beny Steinmetz's name could explain a lot, especially as Dragnea seems increasingly connected to the Israeli chain.

  • As a personal note referring to "center-left party to play the Soros conspiracy-theory card nowadays". PSD does not seem to have a coherent ideology as its leadership is by far the most incompetent the party has observed. Its leaders are poorly educated, with few open door in EU and US and very signs that they want reformation. Virtually all members that argued for reformation were quickly dismissed and there is little hope they will recover until the next elections (local and parliamentary).
    – Alexei
    Commented Nov 30, 2019 at 13:22

Soro's initiatives and philanthropy in Europe were generally focused on the free exchange of ideas, open and free elections, and individual liberties, and against authoritarian societies.

According to Waldemar A. Nielsen, an authority on American philanthropy, "[Soros] has undertaken ... nothing less than to open up the once-closed communist societies of Eastern Europe to a free flow of ideas and scientific knowledge from the outside world." From 1979, as an advocate of 'open societies', Soros financially supported dissidents including Poland's Solidarity movement, Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and Andrei Sakharov in the Soviet Union. In 1984, he founded his first Open Society Institute in Hungary with a budget of $3 million.

Wikipedia: George Soros (political involvement)

Dragnea is a classic autocrat. He has multiple convictions for election fraud, and for fraud and abuse of offices he has held. It would make sense that a person and a party pushing for concentration of authoritarian powers would set up someone who has been influential in opposing that as an evil boogeyman.

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