Almost none of Romania’s celebrity intellectuals have yet been translated into English (presumably, the fact that most of them – Eminescu, Iorga, Eliade, Cioran, Țuțea – are reactionaries or fascists of some stripe or another played a role in that). Hopefully, this may yet change, at least with respect to Țuțea.
This post features a short introduction to Țuțea’s thought by the journalist Craig Willy [Twitter; 2011 interview], followed by a translation of his impressions of Russians. Perhaps there may be more to come. In the meantime, you can follow Craig’s translations of Țuțea’s quotes on Twitter.
Obviously, I largely disagree with Țuțea’s characterizations about Russians. The USSR existed to serve its own Bolshevik ideology, not the Russian people; and the Gaullist dream of a Europe from the Atlantic to Vladivostok has faded away, even though the Marxism now is largely cultural, and mostly on the western side of the continent (one wonders what Țuțea would have made of SJWs). However, as Craig points out, it was a very reasonable assessment in the context of that time, and remains useful in showing how sovok behavior was perceived and associated with Russians amongst nationalist East European intellectuals – a matter of not inconsiderable importance now that the entire region is trending right.
Craig Willy: Țuțea 101
Petre Țuțea was a Romanian anti-communist dissident, patriot, and Christian philosopher. Following the rise of the communist regime in 1948, he was imprisoned for a total of 13 years. Țuțea was closely surveilled and prevented from publishing even when he was let free. He managed to outlive communism, only passing away in 1991, at the age of 89. Between the revolution and his death, Țuțea became a popular speaker, known for his gloriously frank, rambling discussions. You can get a sense of his way of being by the stories of his “Socratic” trolling of his captors and of his way of speaking in this video dialogue with his friend, the nihilist philosopher Emil Cioran.
A collection of 322 sayings from Țuțea’s conversations [download] was published shortly after his death, a book which was recently re-released by the highbrow publisher Humanitas, and which appears prominently in Romanian bookstores today. Țuțea is disconcertingly frank, on equality, nationalism, anti-Semitism, totalitarianism, and many other topics. His words testify to the intensity of his Christian faith, a kind of mental transformation, which gave him the strength to tell the truth despite living under a system founded on lies. While everyone else submitted or went into exile, Țuțea could live by his own timeless ethic, based on Plato, Aristotle, and the Bible, rather than the changing fashions of the day.
The following is Țuțea’s entry on “Russians.” Note that this would have been spoken between 1989 and 1991. Romania’s orientation towards Russia has tended to fluctuate with geopolitics. The Romanian people are culturally very “Eastern” and, like many Orthodox nations, are actually moderately pro-Russian by sentiment. The young, Westernized liberal elite is however very anti-Russian and the Romanian government, typically run by crooked, often brutal sovok-types, will do just about anything to enjoy security and gibs from the United States and the European Union.
A Russian diplomat tried to explain to me that Moscow draws its roots from Rome. I told him that this is not possible, because any Romans would have frozen solid in Moscow. I was always very hostile to the Russians, because they were hostile to us. I remember being told, in a conversation among diplomats, that the Russians are a messianic people. I told them that this was not the case: the Russians are a populous nation with a messianic audacity, who also took on Byzantium, considering themselves to be the heirs of Byzantine splendor.
The Russians have an undefinable kind of humanity. I have been in Moscow and I cannot not say that they are tyrannical individuals, although they have practiced tyranny. On the other hand, I don’t think I have met any Russian who was normal; that I can only explain through the fact they probably interbred with Tartars.
What do the Russians think? That Hitler was put down, but that they are vaccinated? They entered territory full of mines: in the planetary area of the Anglo-Saxon interests, of those merchants. If you get in the way of an Anglo-Saxon car, that means war. And what do the Ruskies think? That they would tolerate you staying in their way? They have learned, the Anglo-Saxons, to be the masters of the world – and the Ruskies say nyet! So you know what . . . let’s fight!
I once compared Russians to cows who make 25 kilos of milk per day and then defecate in the jug.
The Russians are just as imperialist as Hitler’s Germany. But they do not say it openly. The Russians are more perfidious. When they occupy you, they also declare you that you agree, they say that you are progressive. But when you fight back, they say you are fascist and reactionary. The Russians are more politically skilled than the Germans. Proof of this is that they managed to make this great red lie, this shame which is Bolshevism, into a global superpower, and to impose Bolshevism’s status as a superpower on the United States.
A Russian asked me, years ago: Mister Țuțea, how do you explain that we Russians offer our hand to Europe and they systematically refuse? Very simple, you have a mental cancer, which is called the Marxist-Leninist ideological cancer. Throw this cancer into the garbage and Europe will not only salute you, it will recognize you as an equal partner. And then Europe will stretch from the Atlantic to Vladivostok and America will be the second Albania…
The Russian is contraindicated to thinking just as syphilis is to the nervous system. I made this statement – which I later retracted (so as to not have people believe that I was talking about all Russians, the great Russian people) – referring to Gorbachev. Because he said: the economic situation of the Union – so after 70 years of Marxism-Leninism – is catastrophic. Period. And then he opted for Leninism! So, for the corpse in the Red Square, who created this disaster…