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Romania Strikes GOLD: Nationalists Break Through with 9% of Vote in Parliamentary Elections
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George Simion, leader of AUR, wearing a characteristic Romanian peasant shirt.

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Over a century after Marx, a specter is indeed haunting Europe: the specter of nationalism.

For the latest proof, we turn to Romania where a new nationalist party has burst into parliament with 9% of the vote. Romanian liberals, who very much form a minority sensibility in the country, are in shock at the nationalists’ surprise breakthrough. Indeed, it seems few people saw it coming: prior to the elections, AUR was barely noticed even by the popular nationalist website Incorect Politic. Much as France is an important indicator of trends in Western Europe, so Romania with its almost 20 million inhabitants is significant for Eastern Europe and in particular the Balkans.

This party is called the Alliance for Romanian Unity, whose acronym AUR means GOLD in Romanian. The organization, led by the 34-year-old street activist George Simion and the traditionalist journalist Claudiu Târziu, has managed to strike a balance between uniting a diverse of coalition of right-wing supporters and presenting a reassuring image to the general public. This coalition includes nationalists, Orthodox Christians, philosophical Rightists, and opponents of the anti-COVID lockdowns in Romania.

AUR’s logo is indicative: a map of Romania, the eastern border suggestively superimposed by the stars of the European Union. The message? We are a responsible, pro-European party – important given how many Romanians work in the EU or have benefited from EU funds – and we wish the neighboring country of Moldova to rejoin Romania. Indeed, the recent centennial of Romanian unity, the nation was fully unified in 1919 in the wake of the First World War, was widely celebrated throughout the country. Reunification with Moldova, a poor country of 2 million souls, then seems natural to Romanians, even if the goal is rarely actively pursued.

Why did AUR break through?

It is not completely clear why AUR was able to break through while remaining under the radar for much of the media. George Simion, who has been active in public causes for many years, had crisscrossed the country visiting localities since July in the “Golden Caravan,” a sleek bus. Attention was also brought by party member Diana Șoșoacă’s street protests against lockdown measures. The party also evidently did well on social media. Simion’s Facebook page now has 428,500 likes and 617,500 followers. AUR voters are young (45% between 18 and 35) and less educated (8% university graduates).

The “Golden Caravan.”
The “Golden Caravan.”

The previous parliamentary elections had seen the breakthrough of the liberal-globalist Union to Save Romania (USR, analogous to the Macronist tendency in France), who had done particularly well with educated Romanians abroad, on an anti-corruption platform. In 2016, USR received 8.9% of the vote and they have more than consolidated their position by winning 15.4% in 2020. This time however, many have been surprised to learn that AUR also did well in the diaspora, seemingly from the hundreds of thousands of Romanians abroad working in farming, construction, and other blue-collar work. Indeed, the “AUR in Germany” Facebook group has over 17,500 members and AUR was competitive with, or even received more votes than, USR in many cities in Belgium.

Search interest for “AUR” in Romania.
Search interest for “AUR” in Romania.

Romanians abroad are generally politically rather inert. Many rise through the ranks of their new homes however (e.g., among countless cases, the current French minister of sports, Roxana Mărăcineanu) and diaspora networks, liberal or conservative, are eager to use their considerable resources to influence and do good in the home country. Empty Catholic churches in the West are sometimes converted into Orthodox ones. One such well-frequented church I visited in a Western country proudly displayed pictures of Ion Moța and Vasile Marin on the walls, two celebrated members of the Iron Guard, a fascist group, who died fighting atheistic socialism in the Spanish Civil War.

Many AUR organizers seem to have been part of the Coalition for the Family (CPF), a group which had managed to initiate a civic referendum to make gay marriage unconstitutional. The referendum was held in 2018 with 93.4% of votes in favor of the reform. However, the result was void because turnout was a measly 21.1%, partly because progressives called for a boycott and because of Romanians’ evident disinterest.

The failed referendum however evidently served as a milestone in the successful reorganization of the Romanian Right.

Personally, I’ve long thought that there was a considerable electoral niche for nationalism in Romania, unfulfilled since the decline of Vadim Tudor’s Great Romania Party in the 2000s. Tudor had managed to reach the second round of the presidential elections in 2000, receiving 33.2% of the vote.[1]Vadim Tudor once declared: “Romania is to be governed with a machine gun!” This is gives a sense of the economic and social chaos of 1990s Romania, where standards of living stagnated for a decade at the same abysmal level as under communism. On one occasion, police were sent to contain 15,000 miners marching against the government: many of the police were captured and the prefect of Valcea county was taken hostage and beaten. AUR was able to be the one to capitalize upon this latent demand.

Christians and Traditionalists

Traditionalist journalist and AUR co-leader Claudiu Târziu.
Traditionalist journalist and AUR co-leader Claudiu Târziu.

As mentioned, the party combines diverse elements. Alongside Simion is Claudiu Târziu, 47, a journalist who runs the Christian news site ROST. The site has sympathetic coverage of Romania’s historic Christian fascist movement, the Iron Guard, and documents the activism of Romanian Jewish groups, such as the Élie Wiesel Institute and the Federation of the Jewish Community.

In recent years, such groups have put pressure to remove the name of anti-communist dissident Petre Țuțea from city streets (because of ultimately quite mild and balanced comments of his on the Jews) and to censor the writings of leading Romanian intellectuals Mircea Eliade and Emil Cioran (who early in their careers had supported the Iron Guard). This year, Romanian MP and Jewish Federation leader Silviu Vexler successfully passed a law to deprive anti-communist dissidents (and their relatives!) from receiving special state pensions if they had been members of the Iron Guard.

Romanian philosopher Sorin Lavric.
Romanian philosopher Sorin Lavric.

Several university professors openly support AUR, notably the philosopher Sorin Lavric, who now serves as the party’s president in the Romanian Senate. The mild-mannered Lavric is widely known as a genteel and wry moralist. In a recent video, Lavric explains that he “entered politics out of disgust and despair” and because of “a suffocating ideology due to which one can no longer breathe intellectually in this country.”

Liberal activists are now poring over everything Lavric has ever said and done in an effort to demonize him. One online campaign calls for his resignation for writing that a gynecological exam is “the most odious situation in which the feminine element can fall.” Literally no other context is provided. The campaign has already received over 20,000 signatures.

The movement is also supported by other prominent Romanian personalities, such as the actor Mircea Diaconu, who starred in the amusing 2002 film Filantropica (he has previously served as a Member of the European Parliament for the Socialist party, where he was not noted for support for nationalist causes).

Ideology and program: Family, nation, belief and freedom

An Orthodox Romanian wedding ceremony.
An Orthodox Romanian wedding ceremony.

The party program indicates that “AUR’s doctrine is based on four pillars: family, nation, belief, and freedom.” The emphasis is on the unity and solidarity of all ethnic Romanians across borders. This includes not only reunification with Moldova, but also a tightening of ties with the Romanian diaspora, scattered across Western Europe in particular:

[I]t would be impiety to limit the nation to the natives left within the borders. The Romanian nation is where the Romanian language, the Christian faith, and the memory of a common past unite contemporaries. We are an organic whole within a matrix in which the main binders are language, faith and ethnicity. Where these three features are called into question, there the Romanian nation loses its meaning.

The central project is clear: “The assumption of reunification with the Republic of Moldova as a national and priority project in the the national and European security strategy, regional development, and in the consolidation of NATO’s eastern flank.” Indeed, seven of AUR’s 40 new members of parliament and 14 senators are of Moldovan origin (or as Romanians sometimes say, “Bessarabian”).

The program has tremendous emphasis on demographic renewal and the family. The situation is indeed dire: “Demographic decline is probably the most critical problem that we face today. Romania has the second-fastest growing diaspora of any country in the world, after Syria.” The party wants to support families, raise fertility, and reduce emigration. Indeed, while Romania’s fertility rate is a respectable, by European standards, 1.7, the population has fallen from 23.5 million in 1990 to 19.2 million today. The brain drain of doctors and engineers has been catastrophic for the country and the EU forecasts the population will further decline to 15.5 million by 2050.

AUR argues that the family is the fundamental building block of society: “Just as an organism can be kept alive only if it preserves the health of its cells, so a nation has no chance of survival unless it cultivates its classic pattern of the ordinary family.” The party furthermore considers that “gender ideology is a theoretical aberration which stems from the current offices of neo-Marxist activists.”

A novelty in Romanian (and global?) politics: a transsexual Gypsy prostitute has sought political office for the first time. This monument of Bioleninism has also protested in favor of the #BLM movement.
A novelty in Romanian (and global?) politics: a transsexual Gypsy prostitute has sought political office for the first time. This monument of Bioleninism has also protested in favor of the #BLM movement.

AUR’s advocacy for a renewal of Romanian families and natality is logically paired with opposition to the current continuous Afro-Islamic settlement of Europe. The party wants to actually enforce Article 3 of the Romanian Constitution, which states “No foreign populations may be displaced or colonized on the territory of the Romanian State.” This stands as a sharp rebuttal to the EU’s plans for forced resettlement of migrants in eastern Europe. More generally, the party is “clearly against the colonization of Europe with foreign populations.”

Much of AUR’s program reads as a sophisticated traditionalist philosophical critique of demoliberalism, in the lineage of Plato and Evola. The party rejects “anthropocentrism” and argues for “a spiritual vision, categorically opposed to the flat view of vulgar materialism.” It supports “the natural pursuit of well-being by each person, but we reject the idolatry of money, considering material gain a means, not an end in itself.”

The program defines freedom as follows:

If the family, the homeland and the faith give us an identity by belonging to organic entities that only the malicious deny, then freedom is what gives dignity to this identity. Freedom is the identity of the spirit in action, that is, the act of affirming the beliefs that the three previous units (family, homeland, faith) instill in us. Without the freedom to manifest them in any circumstance, family, homeland and faith remain hollow words.

AUR opposes egalitarianism:

Our alliance openly opposes any form of contemporary Marxism. Currents of political correctness, gender ideology, egalitarianism or multiculturalism are camouflaged forms of the neo-Marxist wound. No dialogue can be linked to those who, under the false pretense of combating discrimination, end up destroying the hierarchies and values that centuries of tradition have raised with patience and love.

And affirms the reality of human nature:

AUR affirms the hierarchy of values and a priori rejects any leveling in the name of equality. Our conception is elitist, not populist and not demagogic. We believe in the verticality of values, not in the horizontal lack of values. We believe in a human nature given at creation, whose basic features cannot be changed by social engineers.

The party opposes “Socialist Euro-Federalism” and advocates for a conservative “Europe of Nations”:

Romania’s path can only have one direction: Europe. But a Europe in which the classical values (truth, goodness, beauty), accompanied by the three cultural paradigms that make up its matrix (Greek philosophy, Roman law, and Christianity), which need not be invented now.

In terms of much practical policy, AUR’s positions are not clear as of yet. Upon election, the party leaders have held to a conciliatory, “reassuring” discourse. In an hour-long discussion on national television channel TVR1, policy was barely broached at all, AUR’s newly-elected officials apparently mainly wanting to appear approachable and human. The interviewer was by no means hostile.

Simion says he wants to put competent experts in charge of the country, not politicians, such as Florian Colceag as minister of education. Colceag, an AUR supporter, not a member, is a famous trainer of gifted youth and a researcher in environmental economics.

The party wants to reduce abortion, but this should remain an individual choice. Upon being interviewed on television, newly-elected MPs sagely wore COVID masks. In contrast with other right-wing populist movements, AUR has demanded protections for Romania’s forests, homes for brown bears and much other wildlife, which have long been plagued by illegal logging.

Time will tell what comes of AUR. New political movements are notoriously fractious after all, particularly at the margins. But political nationalism is also in general much more viable in eastern Europe. Nationalists currently govern in neighboring Hungary and Bulgaria after all.

These latest elections suggest that Romania is undergoing the same trends of subcultural and political fragmentation as France. Romanian politics also used to be governed by two extraordinarily vacuous big-tent parties. Liberal Romanians broke through politically in 2016 with USR. Now, the time has come for nationalists to be represented.

Ironically, the nationalist breakthrough owes a lot to the liberals’ discrediting of Romania’s traditional party of government, the Social-Democratic Party (PSD, in fact, a party made up of former Communist apparatchiks mainly dedicated to small-time pork and machine politics). The Social-Democrats’ reputation never recovered from their attempt to essentially legalize corruption in 2017 and the massive protests against this that ensued. PSD has declined from a whopping 58.6% of the vote in 2012 to a mere 28.9% in 2020 (although still the largest party). It seems likely that many younger rural voters who would have naturally voted PSD instead opted for AUR. Political alienation continues to be overwhelming: turnout has fallen to a shockingly low 33.2%. As ever, liberalism is nothing if not entropic.

Note

[1] Vadim Tudor once declared: “Romania is to be governed with a machine gun!” This is gives a sense of the economic and social chaos of 1990s Romania, where standards of living stagnated for a decade at the same abysmal level as under communism. On one occasion, police were sent to contain 15,000 miners marching against the government: many of the police were captured and the prefect of Valcea county was taken hostage and beaten.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: European Right, Nationalism, Romania 
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  1. What exactly is their position on the Romany and the Hungarians in Transylvania?

  2. ariadna says:

    Let’s hope tbhagt the leader’s last name is not prophetic. (Târziu= “late” in Romanian)

  3. Whoever wrote their party program did well. It is a master class in how nationalist movements should define their bedrock.

    Looking forward their participation in the convention of pan-European nationalists.

    • Replies: @Magic Dirt Resident
  4. ariadna says:
    @Brooklyn Dave

    I assume “Romany” is the politically correct term for gypsies, although they call themselves gypsies, unaware that they are hurting their own feelings.
    What is the position of the Brooklyn Jews on blacks moving into their neighborhood?
    Your reflex concern for minorities is touching

    • Replies: @Brooklyn Dave
  5. @Brooklyn Dave

    AUR does not need to state their position on Hungarians; as long as they behave they are welcome to stay, otherwise they are free to leave. They have a country of their own. It is called Hungary.
    By Romany you mean Gypsies?

  6. Vadim Tudor never said that “Romania is to be governed with a machine gun!”
    I guess in 10 years you will believe everything NY Times wrote about Trump too.

    • Replies: @Guillaume Durocher
  7. Excellent article. In the case of Moldova rejoining the motherland (without Transnistria), the fate of the Budjak region, which is south of the Nistru river, and currently belongs to Ukraine (Odessa Oblast) would be interesting.

    https://www.fpri.org/article/2015/04/a-quarrel-in-a-far-away-country-the-rise-of-a-budzhak-peoples-republic/

    “Budzhak was a Ukrainian administrative region in its own right known as the Izmail Oblast before it was absorbed into the Odessa region in February 1954.[11] Its multi-ethnic population includes Ukrainians (40 percent), Bulgarians (21 percent), Russians (20 percent), Moldovans (13 percent), and Gagauz (4 percent). Unsurprisingly, Budzhak is replete with ethnic enclaves. There are Russian ones throughout, and others across its west and southwest: Bulgarians and Gagauz in Bolgrad and Tatarbunar; Russians, Moldovans, Bulgarians and Gagauz in Chilia; Bulgarians in Artsyz; Bulgarians and Moldovans in Izmail and Saratsky; and Moldovans, Gagauz and Bulgarians in Reni.”

    PS: One can very much hope that the Open Society foundation will encourage transgenderism among the Romanian Gypsy communities which have been for too long marginalized and deprived from the benefits of modernity.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
  8. Kouroi says:

    Every peasant in Romania wishes to be a “boier”, so the elitism/meritocratic/platonic ideal mentioned by AUR is touching, but really not realistic. One can see the meritocratic principle in full swing in the hollowed US. I am touched by its ultimately anti-democratic nature, which is my pet peeve.

    On a different note “No foreign populations may be displaced or colonized on the territory of the Romanian State.” harks back at the 1860s, when the acceptance of the union between Wallachia and Moldavia by the Austrians was conditioned by the acceptance by the new country (Romanian United Principalities) of a huge influx of Galician Jews, among other things. Poor Moldavia was littered every 40 kms or so, from North to south with a Jewish settlement located where the couches had stops…

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
  9. Andrei says:

    AUR is a clown show just like every other “nationalist” party in Europe. The only reason they got the vote is because they were the only party not on board with the virus hysteria agenda. 10% of people in Romania are so sick of masks and lockdowns they’re willing to vote for anyone challenging it. Or rather 3,3 %, because the voter turnout was around 33%.

    • Replies: @Yevardian
    , @Petermx
  10. Very interesting and informative (Sorin Lavric!). Thanks a lot, Guillaume Durocher. I know some Romanians who are working in Germany and Switzerland, by the way.

  11. Yevardian says:
    @Andrei

    I assume you’re Romanian, don’t know if you’re an expat, the lockdown and mask stuff has been so laxly enforced (if at all) that it’s a regular joke in Romania.

    AUR is a clown show just like every other “nationalist” party in Europe.

    Well, it’s leagues ahead of Vadim Tudor’s idiocy anyway, if anything his personality (he spent most of his time talking absolute bile about the Hungarian minority, or the non-existent Jews in the country, rather than about Moldova) has been a key reason why a nationalist party never took off in the country unlike most of the rest of E. Europe. Although it’s also true that Romanians are probably the least jingoistic of all peoples in the region.

    There’s nothing cool about the Iron Guard either, Codreanu was also a nasty imbecile. I suppose their reputation hasn’t been completely buried because they were actually crushed some time before WWII, and the Marshall who took over the country, Ion Antonescu, actually persecuted them, with Hitler’s blessing.

    • Replies: @Andrei
  12. Andrei says:
    @Yevardian

    Pretty much every explicitly nationalist party Romania’s had throughout history has been terrible, either because their ideology was too disconnected from reality or because they simply never got close to wielding real power. Ironically the most successful nationalist politician Romania had was Ceausescu. And they got him in the end as well.

    With AUR there’s 2 things that can happen: either they are some sort of controlled opposition, in which case they’ll just fade away at the opportune time, or if they actually become a threat to the status quo, the system will use some tentacle/institution like the CNCD (Romania’s PC inquisition) or the DNA (anti-corruption) to silence them.

  13. Mr. XYZ says:
    @Simple Pseudonym

    AUR does not need to state their position on Hungarians; as long as they behave they are welcome to stay, otherwise they are free to leave. They have a country of their own. It is called Hungary.

    What about Szekely Land autonomy?

    By Romany you mean Gypsies?

    Yes, he probably does.

  14. Mr. XYZ says:
    @Kouroi

    Why did Austria want to get rid of some of its Galician Jews? And why did Galician Jews want to leave Austria for even more backward Romania?

    • Replies: @Alligator
  15. Mr. XYZ says:
    @HyperDupont

    Excellent article. In the case of Moldova rejoining the motherland (without Transnistria), the fate of the Budjak region, which is south of the Nistru river, and currently belongs to Ukraine (Odessa Oblast) would be interesting.

    The Budjak would remain Ukrainian in this scenario and Transnistria should become Ukrainian in this scenario.

  16. Fascinating article. The Romanians have progressed well since we, the Phanariotes, controlled the commanding heights of that ethnos and its society. Although, it seems the governing elite is quite small and fragile, so Greek overlordship it probably still necessary. They have attractive women when they have clawed their way out of poverty and learn to dress, brush their teeth and apply makeup properly.

    • Replies: @Svevlad
  17. Alligator says:

    Look at this Jewish double team of Durocher and Mr.XYZ: “The Know-it-All” (as always with these guys) ! 😀

  18. @Simple Pseudonym

    The source for the quote is footage of Tudor in this documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=6030&v=uUbN6DXJwFg

    • Replies: @Simple Pseudonym
  19. Alligator says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    Austria did it because the Jews asked for it. They were asking to be allowed to move to a literally new country to rip off, under protection! “Backward” is good for someone coming from above, with money, even today. But you know it well, Jew!

  20. Alligator says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    Yes. why not give to the “Szekely” (less then half a million people landlocked in the mountains, and not really Hungarians) autonomy and then respect the constitution which forbids ethnics parties? Since 1990 the Hungarian ethnic party is a arbiter in Romanian politics. Because so said the JEWS.

  21. Alligator says:

    Censor me all you want, it becomes all the more clearer – and I will tell it – that you are nothing than just a bunch of creepy Jews, with that most creepy of all Jews, Ron Unz, in front of the parade! 😀

    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
    • Troll: Hugo Silva, Polistra
  22. Marcali says:
    @Simple Pseudonym

    The Hungarians indeed have a country, about half of present day Rumania belongs to it.

  23. @Beavertales

    To me it reads like Vox Day wrote that program. The emphasis on family, nation, and Christianity is his calling card. Also, the definition of “Europe” as Greek philosophy, Roman law, and Christianity is one of his ideas.

  24. @Marcali

    The Hungarians had barely arrived from Asia 1000 years ago. The Romanians and their ancestors have owned Transylvania for more than 5000 years when the Hungarians first crossed the Urals.
    Hungarians don’t even speak a European language, 20% of them are genetically Asians.

    • Agree: ariadna
    • Replies: @anon
    , @RadicalCenter
    , @Marcali
  25. @Mr. XYZ

    At the last census only a few thousands declared themselves Szekelies.
    There are more Gypsies in Hungary (almost 9-10% of the total population) than there are Szekelies in the so called Szekely Land. Do you also support independence for Hungarian Gypsies?

  26. @Guillaume Durocher

    ” Romania can only be ruled only with the machine gun” Yeah, but why did he said that? What was he talking about? What was the context? Probably he was talking about coruption. This kind of retoric is not something unsual for a writer and a poet, which he was.

    You should know that Recorder is the Romanian version of TYT. This says it all.

  27. Petermx says:
    @Andrei

    I view the traditional European parties not just as “clown shows” but much worse. Maybe you are a Moldovan opposed to reunification.

  28. anon[313] • Disclaimer says:
    @Simple Pseudonym

    Genetics says a people are mostly the descendants of whatever groups have been there before, largely because numerous female inhabitants are usually impregnated by any males who do come as successful invaders. Magyars have a non-IE language but are thoroughly central European by genes. To base claims on linguistics would only give Romanians a few hundred year head start, at best, on Magyars in the region.

    The only real claim is who can hold on to their lands, by conquest or even, as Jews do, by trickery. And dissident right admiration for the Iron Guard notwithstanding, no country in Europe switched sides so many times in the 20th century, growing in territory with each shift, as feckless Romania.

    It’s not over until it’s over, and it’s never over. I would not completely discount the possibility that beautiful Transylvania will some day return to its cultural home: Central, not Eastern, Europe.

    And of course, a French writer ignores all such matters. Linguistics!

    • Replies: @Simple Pseudonym
  29. @Simple Pseudonym

    Seems that you are largely correct, sir.

    And perhaps even more than central Asian, Hungarians are often a substantial minority Jewish — more often than any other people outside israel and boca raton:

    https://m.jpost.com/diaspora/dna-study-reveals-130000-hungarians-are-at-least-50-percent-jewish-598498

    The proportion of Hungarians testing as 10% and 25% Ashkenazi Jewish was surprising.

  30. Svevlad says:
    @Agathoklis

    Phanar and it’s consequences have been a disaster for the Balkan race

  31. @anon

    If you want to talk about genes than do some research about shovel-shaped incisors. You will find out something about the Hungarians; something you clearly refuse to believe.

    Transylvania belonged to the ancestors of the Romanians for almost 6000 years. If you want to see some of them than go to Rome and take a look at the Column of Trajan. Poor Hungarians claim that they found the whole region uninhabited. Imagine that! Central Europe uninhabited!

    The Hungarians have never been a majority in Transylvania since they crossed the Urals and arrived in this part of Europe. According to the last census in Transylvania there are now 70.62% Romanians and 17.92% Hungarians. If they wanna fight for Transylvania, and i see that they are doing so, the only way they can win is just like you said – by trickery, like the Jews.

    In WW1 Hungary fought on the Triple Alliance side, then soon run to the Soviets; Hungary had the first Soviet Governmant outside USSR (until the Romanian Army kicked them out). Then again, in WW2, went back to the Germans and then again to USSR. So how many times did they switched sides?

  32. Andrei says:

    If Hungarians want Transylvania, there’s a simple way to do so: have 5 children each, like Viktor Orban. If they all do this, in a few generations, not just Transylvania, but Romania as a whole will be theirs. Hungary will stretch all the way to the Black Sea.

  33. ariadna says:

    If the Hungarians renounced their claims to that piece of land dab smack in the middle of Romania called Transylvania on the argument of a Hungarian-speaking minority living there (absent any valid historical argument) and the Romanians could set aside their long-held anti-Magyar animosity, they could make an anti-EU front to reckon with. It will never happen.
    Joke illustrating attitudes:
    Tourist from Bucharest visiting Cluj to a local:
    Excuse me sir, can you tell me where the train station is?
    Local (Hungarian ethnic): I don’t know.
    After the tourist departs another local asks: Istvan, why didn’t you tell him?
    Istvan: F•ck him! They claim they have been here for 2,000 years and he doesn’t know where
    the train station is?!

  34. Marcali says:
    @Simple Pseudonym

    What is the connection between language and statehood formation in Transylvania? The half of Rumania obtained through services rendered to the British Empire.

  35. Some interesting comments on the weakness of nationalist parties in Romania. A couple of ideas:

    (1) No immigration problems, which are the main issue around which right-wing populists consolidate in the West (and Russia, for that matter). In fact, major emigration problem.

    (2) Troublesome minorities, sure. But disdain for Gypsies and opposition to Hungarian claims is cross-partisan, anyway.

    (3) The PSD “appropriated” many nationalist talking points.

    (4) Little revanchist/revisionist sentiment. All things considered, Romania had a very successful 20C, by EE standards. Of the “lost territories” of Transylvania, Bukovina, and Bessarabia, it ended up with two out of three. Didn’t lose much in the way of demographic potential, either, almost tripling its population relative to 1914. There’s also a fair chance it will end up eventually getting Moldova anyway. Most Romanians support it (again making an explicitly nationalist party redundant), so does now a modest majority of Moldovans who are Gagauz.

    • Replies: @Bit Def
  36. Yevardian says:
    @Marcali

    Hungarians have been a decided minority in most of Transylvania/Erdely except Szekely-land and the border area around Oredea/Nagyvarod since at least the Ottoman invasions, and possibly they never were more than a plurality there.
    Although it is true, Romania came out of WW1 with exceptional territorial gains, considering their very poor performance throughout the war.
    In WW2, again Romania managed to regain the lands Hungary took in the ‘Vienna Awards’ since their hatred of Hungary allowed for quite an enthusiastic declaration of war against the Axis, even after the Romanian army was destroyed at Stalingrad and Soviet troops were occupying the country. It’s true that Ceasescu was by far the worst of all Communist dictators except Albania’s Hoxha, but the Russians can only be indirectly blamed for him.
    What Romanian can forget that the cobbler-turned-dictator and his ‘master chemist’ wife were given royal reception by the British Queen and Ronald Reagan, disgusting!

    • Replies: @ariadna
  37. @Brooklyn Dave

    Honestly I cannot find much on either. Gypsies are widely recognized as a social problem by Romanians, but there does not seem to be much political campaigning in this area. AUR is opposed to the ethnic Hungarian party (UDMR) which effectively acts as a kingmaker in Romanian parliamentary politics (almost always finding a deal with the new ruling party in exchange for pork). AUR says it is opposed to the “ghettoization” of Hungarians in Romania.

    • Replies: @Andrei
    , @Brooklyn Dave
  38. @Simple Pseudonym

    I tried to provide some context, but please enlighten me then on why he said it.

    • Replies: @Simple Pseudonym
  39. Andrei says:
    @Guillaume Durocher

    There is no ghettoization of Hungarians. In fact the opposite is the problem for Hungarian nationalists. Hungarians assimilate all too well, in urban areas there are tons of interethnic marriages and most of the time the resulting children identify as Romanian (as it’s both practically and psychologically easier to side with the majority).

    This is one of the reasons why heavily Hungarian-majority cities in 1920 like Oradea and Cluj now have clear Romanian majorities. In 1920 of the top 10 cities in Transylvania none had a Romanian majority, whereas now they all have Romanian majorities, and except for Targu Mures, Hungarians aren’t even close in the rest.

    As for gypsies, ironically they aren’t the issue they used to be (the worst was arguably the 1980s and 90s). There are several reasons: a lot of them (including the more energetic/criminal-prone among them) are now in the West, there is more welfare, thus they don’t need to resort to petty crime as much, there are simple jobs like cashiers that they can perform, and also a lot of them have been pushed (through various legal schemes by local politicians) from the cities back into the countryside, where they form enclaves which don’t really bother Romanians. Better nutrition has likely helped their IQ and looks somewhat as well, though I’m not 100% on this one. But theoretically, the Flynn effect should work on them as well.

  40. @Andrei

    Very interesting and informative, thank you!

  41. @Guillaume Durocher

    During the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Transylvania most Romanians lived in the rural areas.
    Even though they were the majority, they didn’t have the same rights as the Szekelies, the Hungarians or the Saxons did. They were second hand citizens. In the Saxon towns the Romanians were allowed to enter only if they paid a special tax, but under no circumstance they were allowed to walk on the pavement (they had to walk on the road) or spend the night there. The Hungarians even passed laws forbidding Romanians to give Romanian names to their children or to use stone or mortar when building their houses.

    The ghettoization exists in the areas were the Hungarians are the majority (Harghita&Covasna). There the Romanians are very much discriminated against and they could even get in trouble if they speak Romanian.

  42. @Guillaume Durocher

    I don’t know why he said it. Most probably it was a figure of speech. He was a christian and he was the kind of guy who loved children and animals (I believe he raised almost 10 dogs). He wouldn’t have hurt a fly. Not even his worst enemies expected him to shoot anybody if he would have had the chance to do it. But he had a big mouth and the ones who hated him knew how the exploit this weakness of his.

  43. Seraphim says:
    @Guillaume Durocher

    An occurrence that is generally glossed over, was the policy of forced Magyarisation undertaken by the Hungarians in Transylvania after its annexation to the Kingdom of Hungary in 1867 (the only period when Transylvania ‘belonged’ to Hungary), which resulted in a growing opposition from the absolute Romanian majority which militated for the autonomy of Transylvania, and in the growing ‘nationalist’ drive to unite with the Romanian ‘Old’ Kingdom of all the Romanians of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a desire expressed since the Revolution of 1848 and fulfilled at the end of WW1. The parents of both Corneliu Codreanu and Ion Moța have been Romanian Orthodox ‘irredentist’ fighters from Transylvania and Bukovina.
    The Magyars in Transylvania became overnight from an oppressing minority, an ‘oppressed, discriminated’ minority by a ‘xenophobic, racist, antisemitic’ Romania, agitating with fervor for the revision of the ‘System of Versailles’, therefore attracting the sympathies and support of the Nazis, Italian Fascists and Catholics. One shouldn’t be surprised that this anti-Romanian and anti-Orthodox animus animated the Soros’ ‘open society’ NGOs and his payees (even among Romanian oh-so-‘European’ intellectuals).

  44. yuri says:

    today Romania is fragmented and over-influenced by amerikan politics/NATO

    • Replies: @Romanian
  45. @Marcali

    Your maths are badly off. The current Romanian state has 238 thousand km2. Of these, 54 thousand km2 have been part of the Austrian Empire. Of these, 43 thousand km2 have been claimed by Horthy.

    I get all my new from lewd Twitter and Reddit account, so I haven’t even heard of AUR before elections. OK, I might have watched TV for 10 minutes a week, and there would have been no way I would have seen news about AUR. In retrospect, the current fury of the press seems to suggest a pre-elections media embargo.

    Therefore I cannot comment on AUR in particular. However, I am part of a generation who had the right to vote since forever, and therefore understood votes don’t change the actual direction of the country. Part of that cynicism is caused by the continuous creation and destruction of protest parties. It’s impossible to protest from within the system, just as it is immaterial if you are doing from outside.

    In fact, it’s worse. In 2000, all the protolibs voted to reelect to old former-Stalinist Ion Iliescu, because the alternative was the Evil Vadim Tudor. Last night, AUR was left out of parliamentary leadership roles. So now, the USR scum got even more power, despite their modest 15% in elections.

  46. @Simple Pseudonym

    Vadim did say those words. You missed an opportunity to provide some excuses.

    Vadim said almost anything that could be imagined. Maybe the biggest disappointment is how much of an American and neoprotestant simp he was after 9/11.

  47. @ariadna

    In this department blacks are not too inquisitive to delve further into this topic. It’s only when Leroy has a problem with Moishe the Landlord that he will start going off on Jews. As far as physical altercations, Leroy & Co. usually go after Hasidim (because they stick out like sore thumbs) for some concrete interaction gone bad. The larger Jewish community to them are just “white folks’ just as to many Jews (probably more than who care to admit) the world consists of Jews & Goys. Very very few blacks – a few academics here and there — are really hip to the nature or history of Jews & Blacks in America. It would do Blacks well to read some Kevin MacDonald on this subject instead of feasting at the table of Ronald Macdonald. Ariadna your snarky attitude didn’t go unnoticed, but I pray that the Bogoroditsa smiles on you anyway during this holy season.

    • Replies: @Polistra
    , @ariadna
  48. @Guillaume Durocher

    Thank you Guillaume. I feel privileged to receive a reply from you. I do enjoy your articles -on this site and elsewhere. I really didn’t know what the situation was concerning Hungarians in Romania. Yes, Gypsies are quite the treat wherever they wind up. We have them here in New York, but they are lost in the vibrancy of so many other groups. The only thing I can say about them from a long ago interaction is that you would not want them in your bar if you owned one.

  49. @Simple Pseudonym

    I purposely use that word to distinguish them from the Irish travelers – not so many in US (more of them in England).Romany means to me the folks that came from India and wound up in Europe. The Irish gypsies have nothing to do with India – they were Irish people who were kicked off the land back when the English landlords ran the place. They just continued a roving lifestyle being a pain in the ass to many wherever they went. In Ireland they are also called tinkers (not pc but who gives a sh*t).

  50. ariadna says:
    @Yevardian

    He was not a cobbler. He was a cobbler apprentice. He never got to finish his apprenticeship because he was imprisoned for attacking in a sudden fury fit) and almost killing his teacher/employer.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  51. Seraphim says:
    @ariadna

    Ceausescu was a Party apparatchik from his youth. His ‘teacher/employer’, the shoemaker Alexandru Săndulescu was an active member in the then-illegal Communist Party. He was rather an ‘apprentice politician’, on the run in the time of ‘illegality’.

  52. Romanian says: • Website
    @Andrei

    They are ghettoized wherever they are so concentrated that one can get by in life without ever interacting with Romanians, thereby obviating the need to ever learn to speak fluent Romanian. Rural Harghita and Covasna are examples. Then, not speaking the language of the majority and being in a region that was also geographically difficult until the modern day (which is how the enclave survived demographically until urbanization trends and Communist policies made the cities more Romanian), they are also not as well integrated in the national economy. People harp on crossborder trade and investment, but the first and largest form of trade and investment is cross-community within the same nation. What company would base its investment in Romania in the one place where not only do the potential employees not speak Romanian, but there is an underlying ethnic tension in interactions, as Romanians themselves feel snubbed by standoffish Hungarians, while Hungarians feel humiliated by their poor Romanian language skills (since is Romanian is taught alongside other foreign languages in school, as a foreign language)? This is why Hungarians from Transylvania routinely work anywhere in Romania, including Craiova in the South (as I have discovered), but Hungarians from the center of the country either stay there or move to Hungary. Even though they are right next to one of the most productive areas of the country, the Renault factories producing Dacias and all of their local supplier base in nearby Brasov county, not to mention Cluj and other areas. And this is one of the reasons why Har-Cov is so poor compared to the rest of the historical region, even comparable to the poorer areas in Moldova, a region bereft of infrastructure, the prior Habsburg development advantages, the connectivity to international neighbors for trade (the Republic of Moldova has an economy the size of Iasi City, with its 300 thousand people, and Ukraine is also much poorer than Romania). This is why I also predict that the completion of the highway from Targu Mures to Cluj and with one and later two connections to Hungary will not change things much – the gap will remain, even though the area will still grow economically.

    • Replies: @Andrei
  53. Romanian says: • Website
    @yuri

    I would say that, on the contrary, Romania is a model in the region for how few actual regional divisions there are. Sure, the narcissism of small differences still reigns and jokes about the varieties of Romanians abound, but we have never had regional or separatist parties in our entire history, not just the post-Communist one. Every Romanian party is well represented in every region, even though there are political affinities like the South and the East for the so-called socialists, the West for the so-called liberals, rural vs urban etc. UDMR is the exception but, even, there, its ties to Romanian parties are so great that, when it risked not getting 5% in the European Parliament elections, the social-democrats used their machine politics to get Romanians and Gypsies in other regions to vote for them. You say counties with a few dozen Hungarians send thousands of votes to UDMR. It is astounding how little traction autonomist and separatist discourse have achieved (I mean the Romanian one), much of it sponsored from abroad by our allies as much as our enemies (if not more). There is a visceral feeling in even the most educated Romanians against such talk and the traitor intellectuals are a small, if vocal minority. For instance, the President of the Romanian Academy is a model of benign nationalist sentiment (the Romanian version of cuckservatism).

    • Replies: @Guillaume Durocher
  54. Polistra says:
    @Brooklyn Dave

    Agreed. And since a very large number of Leroys actually rent from the Public Housing Authority (or their baby mamas do) even fewer have much occasion to learn about, or care about, what they consider just another irritating tribe of honkies.

  55. ariadna says:
    @Brooklyn Dave

    Who is “Bogoroditsa”? Or is that a snarky, anti-semitic question? Whatever it is, have it smile on you.
    I largely agree with your description of the often dyspareunic relationship between jews and blacks in the US. I asked you initially because it seemed funny that a ‘Brooklyn Dave’ would so typically– pardon my bigotry– jump to the defense of yet another minority “oppressed by white Christians” in a far-off land.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  56. Andrei says:
    @Romanian

    You’re confusing “ghetto” with “enclave”. They’re both forms of segregation, but one is voluntary and one is not.

    • Replies: @Romanian
  57. Romanian says: • Website
    @Andrei

    Point taken. But that means that all current uses of the word ghetto, outside of some third world examples like unclean castes in India, are inappropriate. The US ghetto, the European ones in the no-go areas etc. As for the Hungarians, isn’t it a form of ghettoization if your own local leaders promote policies that “keep you on the (vote) farm” by lowering mobility? It is obvious that, aside from going to Hungary, there is no other mobility option if you, as an adult, can’t speak passable Romanian. Or maybe it’s enclavization again, and the word ghetto is a pejorative reflecting my own bias against what is happening. I was surprised recently to learn that the Hungarian government is funding Romanian language courses for Hungarians in the middle of Romania, as a means of increasing their prosperity.

  58. Seraphim says:
    @ariadna

    ‘Bogoroditsa’ is the Slavonic/Russian translation of ‘Theotokos’, ‘Dei Genitrix’, ‘Gottesgebärerin’, the ‘God Bearer’, one of the titles of the Virgin Mary, along with ‘Mother of God’/Mētēr tou Theou/Mater Dei/Materi Bozhiia, Bogomateri, “Evervirgin/Aeiparthenos/Prisnodeva” and ‘All Holy/Panaghia/Presvetaia/.
    It cannot be any tinge of ‘antisemitism’ because Jews execrate Mary as much as they execrate the Christ. But sadly, what is generally understood by ‘white Christians’, the Protestants of all shades, have a rather disparaging view of her.

    • Replies: @ariadna
    , @ariadna
  59. @Romanian

    Is there Romanian autonomist sentiment in Transylvania? It seems this more-liberal region has more dynamic cities (Cluj, Brașov, Sibiu..). Cioran, a Transylvanian, already commented on the cultural differences between his region and the “old kingdom,” considering it “the Prussia of Romania.”

    • Replies: @Romanian
    , @Romanian
  60. Romanian says: • Website
    @Guillaume Durocher

    There are some grumblings from local media figures, but I do not pay them much attention for various reasons.

    [MORE]

    They emphasize the idea that Transylvania having more control over its affairs would be more prosperous. There is a claim of better governance there in the now, which is not sufficiently warranted to justify the hypothesis that some sort of autonomy would lead to much better outcomes as opposed to the likely costs and heartaches. In my opinion, this is another instance of the narcissism of small differences. There are just as many corruption scandals, instances of ill spent money and so on. What there is, in fact, is another degree of the West to East shift in governance quality to related to the historical Ostsiedlung, patterns of earlier urbanization, higher literacy, higher prosperity with investment in culture. The first printed Romanian texts came from Transylvania. But it is gradual, just like Western Romania seamlessly crosses over into Eastern Hungary in economic terms. Basically, it is all a function of historical distance from Germany, moderated by terrain and pre-existing infrastructure (which is why the Carpathians were a political border for so long, in many ways, including Transylvania not becoming integrated in the Ottoman Empire like South and East Romania, but also like Eastern Hungary, or not getting ripped to shreds by mongols).

    Why I think autonomist talk exists and persists, despite the inexistent traction at higher level and among the normies:
    – Firstly, a change of tactics from Hungary and its “agents” (some of whom are useful idiots) once they realized that autonomy for Szekely Land would be highly unlikely. Afterwards, there was a switch to the multicultural blend of Transylvania, a unique Transylvanian identity that earlier Hungarians local leadership sought to preserve and which Romania betrayed by allegedly not adhering to its covenant in Alba Iulia with the minorities (which Romanians insist consisted of political representation, and cultural, educational and administrative rights in their own language wherever present beyond a certain percentage, not of autonomy). That Transylvania is unique is true, but heavy magyarization policies starting in the mid 19th century (aimed at everybody, including Germans) show the lie of it. Including policies that were quickly resumed after the Diktat of Vienna, when Northern Transylvania was awarded by our ally, Nazi Germany, to our ally, Hungary.
    – So, now, Romanian think tanks and the MFA speak of attempts by Hungary to create a situation of co-sovereignty in Transylvania (or de-sovereignization of Romania) not just through cultural and economic involvement, which is not per se objectionable to the milksops in Bucharest, but done without consultation, agreement and approval from the national authorities as if it were not the territory of another sovereign. One interesting example is the Kos Karoly Plan (a turn of the century Hungarian supremacist, respectable enough in my eyes, but now being whitewashed into a flaming liberal for multiethnic Transylvania), which became the umbrella strategy for economic involvement in Romania. Another example are the quite frequent unannounced visits by high ranking Hungarian officials to the region, without prior notification or coordination with Bucharest, as well as their declarations. A good article on this can be found here
    https://larics.ro/dan-dungaciu-ce-inseamna-de-suveranizarea-romaniei-in-transilvania-o-clarificare-pentru-presa-de-la-budapesta/
    Whatever faults anyone might find with it, remember that this is an internal group of the Romanian Academy, so they are likely representative of what is being said inside Romanian institutions.
    – The money pumped by Hungary buys a lot of goodwill. Ever since some of the more vociferous protests of the Romanian government, the Romanian minority in the central region has also benefited from agricultural investment etc.
    – The persistent idea that governance is MUCH better in Transylvania than elsewhere, attributing its better fortunes to their own merits rather than a privileged geographical position closer to Western markets, the heavy German/Austrian investment that prefers the area due also to the largest still extant network of German language schools from the former Ostsiedlung (a German businessman told me this and my own boss grew up as the only Romanian in a German school and became fluent as a result) and the Romanian state’s prioritization of this area for investment in highways and in railways, it being the logical thing to do. There is an up to date map here of highways under construction in Romania http://www.130km.ro/harta.html The Northern Black portions are now being bid on and will soon enter construction as well. The future European railway corridor is another example. One of the most persistent national conspiracy theories is that Hungary (along with Germany and Austria) sabotage efforts aimed at cross-Carpathian infrastructure tying the historical regions together, in order to effect an eventual dismemberment of the country. The Moldovans have expressed very high frustration at the prioritization of Transylvania for infrastructure, especially since connecting the regions via highways is especially difficult. In Moldova, there is the road with the highest number of fatalities in Romania because of how crowded it is.
    – Local resentment at the high number of Moldovans (from Romanian Moldova, but also the Republic) moving in because of the low unemployment, higher economic growth etc. Cluj and other areas are some of the hottest and unaffordable real estate markets in Romania. And Cluj had, for a brief while, higher rents than Bucharest, a city officially 6-7 times its size. Transylvania, the whole of it, is becoming more Romanian because of its economic growth, which will happen even to the majority Hungarian counties as they become better connected. An autonomous or federal subject Transylvania is basically Canada, and can impose a sort of binationalism which, in Canada, led to an overrepresentation of the French among the elites (being the more likely bilinguals) and the reversal of Anglicization trends in cities like Montreal.
    – The usual douchebaggery between neighboring regions, just like neighboring cities and neighboring villages

    Why I think the talk will just stay that way:
    – Transylvanians are overrepresented among Romanian political and business elites. The current mayor of Cluj was the former Prime Minister. The current President is from Sibiu. Including the very many minorities (not just Hungarian) who hold or have held power at the level of the Romanian state. There are three types of elites – those who are satisfied with the status quo (most in Romania), those who want a bigger stage for their careers and their egos (the EU federalists) and those who want to amplify their power by having a smaller pond in which they will be the bigger fish (the autonomists, who are in the extreme minority, and the decentralists, who are quite numerous but want to see a lot more financial power devolved at local and county levels, not to have their own Parliaments and Presidents). This latter group is made up of local elites, but not just ethnic elites, also the “local barons” who have increased their power within the national parties (Liviu Dragnea is a Southern local baron transplanted to national politics). You can tell the local barons by having a grip on machine politics at city and commune level, by having business interests in construction, agriculture, animal rearing, tourism, and by either being uneducated, or being educated in fields like agronomy, engineering, oil etc. UDMR has failed at securing autonomy because it has steadily been absorbed into Romanian national politics as a near constant governing partner. They are local elites who have become national elites. UDMR gained the richest Romanian ministry in the current coalition government (the Ministry for Development).
    – UDMR is seen as a fifth column for Hungary, with its leader flying to Budapest for talks with Orban right after the recent elections. However, under the surface, there is resentment at Budapest throwing its weight around and thinking its money makes them their boss. The money may be icing on the cake, but the cake is provided by the Romanian state, especially in the poor Hungarian areas, which are heavy net tax recipients. An indication of this was the former UDMR leader, Marko Bela (apparently on the outs with Orban), writing an op-ed in the Hungarian press (in Hungary) in which he warned that they should take their minds off of Transylvania and seek a better economic partnership with Romania through real cooperation with Bucharest. Writing this article is a sort of third rail, because every Hungarian liberal I have met is resentful at Fidesz’s electoral strength through its vote farms in the surrounding countries, especially Romania. UDMR will get more inducements, including symbolic gestures like the recent abandonment of the initiative to make the 4th of June (Trianon) a national holiday in Romania.
    – Romanians talk shit about each other, especially in public (I admire Bulgaria for how it presents itself to Europe like its shit does not stink – you will not catch Bulgarian euro-parliamentarians proposing Art. 7 sanctions against their own country like one Romanian liberal did). But there is an essential, atavistic, ethnic solidarity that sadly does not translate into real elite rearing and policy making but does make for excellent survival reflexes. Getting the country torn asunder will make even Romanian liberals cross-eyed, though they will start by saying that adding another layer of bureaucracy is not the way, Romania needs top down reform through central institutions, the “provinces” are too underdeveloped and immature as polities etc etc. All true, but all excuses for a visceral dread of getting torn apart which was learned the hard way.
    – Resentment at the Hungarians. Essentially, the big mouthed Moldovans and Wallachians don’t really care about the Hungarians as long as the country is safe and the perceived insults are minimized. The quiet, unflappable and diligent Transylvanians, while admiring the Hungarians as their former overlords (but even more for the Austrians), have a deep distrust of them as a group (not as individuals). They still remember how they could not have churches in town, how 1848 saw the last vestiges of serfdom removed, how their ancestors could not build stone houses and were sold with the land, and how their grandfathers got beat up and renamed Istvan after the Diktate of Vienna. To this day, aside from the Gypsies, the weirdest names in Romania are found in Transylvania, where a habit was formed to give people awful and old fashioned names that could not be magyarized – Romeliu, Flavius, Ieronim, Decebal, Traian. Sure, they are a minority, but still much more common than elsewhere. Moving the passions of Balkans politics to provincial level through autonomy in this complicated area is stupid beyond belief. They would have terrorist groups in a few years. It is bad enough for the state to keep finding Hungarian wannabe paramilitaries training in Romania. Imagine when our guys get in on the action, especially, since, by Communist design (and military pragmatism concerning the vulnerable East and West), the Hungarian regions are surrounded by military bases which today host our special forces. Therefore, the region is also full of military retirees. No region in Romania has quite the same volatile mix as Transylvania. Of course, it is not at Balkans level, but it has been, to the surprise of many, a very quiet country. Another Romanian conspiracy theory is that Romania was slated for the same dismemberment as Yugoslavia after 1989 but had better diplomacy in the end.
    – Every time the autonomist thing picks up steam, something happens to crap on it and remind people of the past. One example is the trend of former Hungarian noblemen claiming back land from the Romanian state which was never confiscated by the Communists, but by the Kingdom during a period of agrarian reform. Romania has very generous and open ended policies regarding full restitution of property to all legitimate descendants (much better than Hungary ever had), but there is some sort of loop hole or unaddressed issue whereby these people are getting back property which their ancestors had already been compensated for. Romania had two big precommunist agricultural reforms (expropriation for distribution to landless peasants) – one during the union of Wallachia and Moldova, in 1863-1864 aimed at church land (Romania only gained a Patriarchate in the 1920s and a quarter of the arable land of the country belonged to Greek controlled churches). The second was in 1921 (actually the year of land distribution, the reform had been in the making since before the war and the unification) and was aimed at all big landowning families, the Royal Family and the subjects of foreign princes. In Transylvania, that meant Hungarian landowners, many of them noble. The peasants that received property were three quarters Romanian, one quarter Hungarian, about half a million families in total. The Hungarian noblemen took the state to international court and Romania was forced in Paris to pay 100 tonnes of gold over what had already been paid, following which the case would be considered closed. An article is here
    https://adevarul.ro/locale/alba-iulia/afacerea-necurata-optantilor-unguri-ardeal-fost-tarata-romania-procese-internationale-grofi-conti-detinut-proprietati-aici-1_5571aad6cfbe376e35f61f6f/index.html
    Now, after Communism, somehow, the descendants of the Hungarian landowners are claiming back the land, rather than the peasants from whom the Communists took it in the first place. Imagine the headlines in the national media – “the grof returns”, grof being the local version of graf and is basically an obscenity to Romanian ears (it resembles the sound the pig makes, which might not be an accident; in our irreverent streak, the word sleahta, which has common roots with the Polish slazchta nobility, means a group of rogues and ne’er-do-wells). It’s probably somewhat like “massa” sounds to American Blacks and how they use it.
    – Aside from the great starfish itself, Bucharest, Transylvania (or rather, its cities) is the big skimmer of the national cream, is the big beneficiary of whatever infrastructure investment the government manages to get right. The country’s talent, workers and ideas that do not go abroad go there. While people are always upset with the slow pace of things (but let’s remember our economy is at least 8 times bigger than it was in 1992, with 16% less population), the status quo is pretty good to a lot of people in the elite categories. Why risk it for something you don’t even truly believe in?

    Hope it illuminates more than it obscures. Sorry for the long post.

  61. Romanian says: • Website
    @Guillaume Durocher

    As for Prussia, I never really understood Cioran there. If anything, we would be Habsburg and look towards Austria. Sure, by comparison to the Balkans, many people look positively Prussian. But I think I am not mistaken in saying that Austria represented, at least through its own propaganda, a softer and more liberal germanism than the Prussian militarism that was later pegged as the spiritual ancestor of the Nazis (finished reading Iron Kingdom recently). The main difference was, of course, in how society was structured. The really old Prussianism was based on the East-Elbian Junckers like Bismarck, big conservative landowners who begat a military elite and a certain ethos. We did not have that in Transylvania, the Germans were a quite small and mostly urban minority, and, if some resemblance could be found in the big landowners there, like the guys I mentioned in my other post, it certainly did not apply to the Romanians. Some things definitely rubbed off on them but I think Cioran was just tooting his own horn by appealing to the epitome of efficiency as contrasted to Balkan slovenliness. Vienna was the good cop in the Austro-Hungarian “buddy act”, especially the idea of the rich, sophisticated, urban, refined Vienna as a model, as well as its role as an enlightened arbiter to which the Romanians could appeal for rights and for emancipation. To this day, there is a Habsburg nostalgia and idealization among many people I spoke with. We were always too intimate with the Hungarians to view them in the same way.
    As for the region’s liberalism, it comes with the older pattern of urbanization. The components of Romania were not just under different imperial influences and sometimes bootheels, but literally also under different social hierarchies and patterns of social relations. The cities you cited (and more beside them) are also much closer, in geographic and in real terms, to the economic dynamo of Central Europe and always have been. The real question is why the Royals never thought to move the capital to Alba Iulia or Brasov (Kronstadt in German, from its latin name, Corona, literally Crown). Maybe they did not have time. Had they moved the capital, the pattern would be even more striking without Bucharest in the South at its current size (attained during Communism).

  62. Bit Def says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    You seem quite interested in Romania lately…just a remarque.

    Speaking about the Republic of Moldova, the idea of its unification with Romania frightens me a bit. It will be so expensive, that it will bankrupt and destabilize us to oblivion, and put us on a collision course with Russia. I am almost sorry that the Kozak plan did not work out…we could have left the past completely behind and dealt with other, more pressing issues. Now, we are prisoners to a chimera, impossible to achieve. No great power, relevant in the area, will agree to that,unless Russia backs down, which I doubt. And all these, because Traian Basescu, the worst and most corrupt president imaginable, sensed an opportunity for votes, and a way of being ever more subservient to the Americans. Emotionally, I would like an unification to happen, but the consequences of inheriting a depopulated land full of hostile ethnic minorities will be dire. In a way, I hope Russia wins this one, with non-military means hopefully, and we can all forget about it. If it will end up in the EU, will be even more frustrating, because EU will not like and support our nationalist fantasies.

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