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Figure of the Week: 51

April 24, 2018

Sputnik wants Moldovans to believe they are turning up their noses at EU citizenship, and it’s distorting statistics to push this falsehood.

Russia’s pro-Kremlin news agency published a story on its Moldovan website claiming that the number of Moldovan citizens applying for Romanian citizenship – open to all Moldovans with Romanian ancestry – is “steadily falling.”

The story, which ran with the headline “Incredible: number of Moldovans who obtained Romanian citizenship in 2016,” said only 51 Moldovan citizens had been granted Romanian passports in 2016.

To give an appearance of legitimacy to its claim, Sputnik provided a screenshot of a Eurostat table detailing the acquisition of citizenship from EU member states by country. And indeed, the highlighted figure for Moldovans who received a Romanian passport is 51.

What Sputnik failed to clarify, however, is that this figure refers only to Moldovan citizens residing in Romania, since the figures cited by Eurostat are provided by the EU member states where the applications were submitted, not by Moldova.

Sputnik’s false claim was debunked by the Moldovan myth-busting initiative Stop Fals.

In reality, official statistics from the Romanian National Citizenship Authority — the state body overseeing all citizenship applications internationally — show that 61,206 Moldovan citizens were granted Romanian citizenship in 2016.

This is up from 45,507 for the previous year and fewer than the 68,626 Moldovans who became Romanian citizens in 2017.

So the numbers are in fact steadily growing, not falling.

“Incredible” indeed!

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