RO-POAST! The Romania Review


Central Bucharest, from my Airbnb apartment.

Romania: Impressions

Long awaited RO-POAST is finally here!

As many of you know, I was in Romania early this June. Why Romania? It was nowhere near the top of my to-go list. As with Portugal, the adventure fell into my lap – one of my friends was getting married there. Moscow-Bucharest return flight with Aeroflot was $250, and the country itself is very cheap, so why not?

The wedding itself was excellently organized, certainly the best I have ever attended, and I got to meet many interesting people during my stay there.

A considerable part of my observations draw from in-depth discussions with DT, an Alt Righter who is partly based in Romania, as well as MP, a blog reader and investment banker – as well as the scion of a Romanian boyar family who repatriated after Communism.


Romania is a patchwork quilt of Balkan, Slavic, Mediterranean, and Turkish influences – in approximately that order – so exploring it is endlessly fascinating (e.g. did you know that Romanian was written in Cyrillic until 1860?). The people are friendly enough, the economy is doing well, and infrastructure has been massively upgraded in the past decade. On the other hand, the country remains quite dysfunctional in many ways – rather more so than Russia, in my admittedly brief experience.

This is an observation also made by the Alt Right expat Archie Munroe in his article Is Romania Part of the West?, which perhaps overstates the case but doesn’t seem to be implausible to me.

The Romanians


Bucharest Metro.

So I assume my readers are familiar with Le 56% Face meme that Europeans mock Americans with?

You realize that this applies to Romania more than the US as soon as you exit Arrivals at Henri Coandă Airport. Romania might well be the most phenotypically diverse nation in Europe (recent immigrants excluded). There is the stocky, brachycephalic Balkanoid type; the paler, higher cheekbone Slavic type; the swarthy, sleek Mediterranean type. There are also the Gypsies, who are furthermore not entirely discrete from the general population, since there has been interbreeding between the two groups. Consequently, you get startling throwbacks to all these ethnic archetypes, making any Romanian street or transport hub a veritable museum of European anthropology.

One amusing consequence is that I was often taken to be Romanian by other Romanians, at least before I opened my mouth. Although one might ascribe that to me being 1/4 quarter kebab, at least one acquaintance I made in our group had exactly the same experience, despite his classically North European visage. Romania: The true postracial society?


Bucharest Northern Railway Station.


Bucharest schoolchildren.


Although Gypsies officially account for 3.0% of the Romanian population, according to the last census in 2011, almost all Romanians with whom we had this conversation insisted that the real figure was at least 10%.


It will hardly surprise anyone that Gypsies constitute an underclass in Romania. During my short stay in Ploiesti, I was approached by a couple of Gypsy girl-children while withdrawing cash from the ATM. Although I did not understand Romanian, it was clear they were beseeching me for money… while slowly tiptoeing me and furtively glancing at the wallet in my pocket. I completed the withdrawal and briskly strode away.

The strippers in the night club our stag party visited in Ploesti were exclusively Gypsies. To their credit, they do an honest job.

The Romanians only have bad things to say about the Gypsies; for instance, in Transylvania, the female guide at the bear sanctuary that one of our groups visited said that the local Gypsies only steal, while getting government money and the best places to live in the mountains. (Then again, is it different anywhere else? I was talking with a white American in Romania, one of those BLM-supporting boomer types. I was amused to see that when the conversation drifted from American fascist police shooting innocent blacks to the Gypsy Question he abruptly transformed into a hardcore Nazi.)

As if to confirm her point, that same group later stopped to buy a basket of raspberries from some roadside Gypsies. Honest reward for a hard day’s work? Not really. It turned out the basket was half empty.


Living Standards

Romania has done very well for itself in the past two decades, and especially the past couple of years, when GDP growth approached a Chinese-like 7%.

Consequently, it has surged well ahead of Bulgaria, converged with Croatia, and even come close to Hungary – all economies that have conversely done pretty badly in the post-socialist transition.


But to what extent do the statistics stack up to what ordinary Romanians say?

On the way back to the airport, I got to chatting with my Uber driver, as any Fat Tony ought to do.

He told me that he makes 4,000 lei ($1,000) per month. That was a doubling of his previous salary working in a factory, where he got 2,000 lei ($500).He also said that 2,000 lei is about the average Romanian salary. (This anecdote more or less matches the statistics).

He said that typical 2 bedroom rent in Bucharest is around 250 Euros, so you can see that life there would be pretty tough for non-property owners.

He was pretty skeptical about Romania’s prospects, not even so much about the low wages as social attitudes. He felt that the older generations (his generation) were ruined by Communism, having become overly dependent on the state – while treating paying taxes as something purely optional (this is a legitimate observation).

Incidentally, he struck me as a libertarian sort of fellow, as Uber drivers in my experience often are. He even supported the LGBT protest and gay marriage (“why should the state dictate what individuals want to do?”).

The Uber driver’s pessimism is one that I met rather frequently, including from an academic economist who was in our party. He claimed that the government had “destroyed education” and that the country was in a “bubble” that would collapse sooner or later.

Still, n=1 anecdotes aren’t the be all and end all. Most people love to complain, after all.


The countryside generally struck me as having a sort of quiet prosperity, though it also seemed quite diskempt.

Since people try to avoid taxes, and the shadow economy is huge (32% of GDP according to recent IMF estimates), there is no shortage of decent looking properties in the Transylvanian countryside. These are a testament to the existence of considerable private wealth… surrounded by dirt sidewalks.


Though I’m quite skeptical that the above property would fetch anywhere close to 150,000 Euros, unless it comes with vast tracts of land. That’s thrice the price of a centrally located studio in Bucharest.


New church in Transylvania.

There are also plenty of churches, including new ones. I assume that this is mostly various private businessmen and rich people looking out for the long-term good of their soul (as in Russia).


Râșnov street.

That said, there were certainly scenes of considerable poverty as well, especially in some of the smaller towns we drove through.




We often saw cows and horses grazing on the country roads, even immediate outside sizable cities such as Ploiesti (population 225,000).

There were plenty of people selling food by the roadside.


Horse-pulled carts are a popular stereotype about Romania, and a correct one at that (even if much reduced relative to the 1990s). We saw an average of one such cart everyday in our travels.

As is typical of underdeveloped economies, there is a lot of wasteful use of labor.

For instance, the train station at Ploiesti had two WC’s about 200 meters apart, both of them staffed by a couple of middle-aged women who collected 0.5 lei for using the facilities.

I need also emphasize that I only really visited three regions of Romania: The capital Bucharest; Ploiesti, the center of Romania’s former oil industry; and the touristic part of Transylvania, which has a strong German/Hungarian cultural – and economic – legacy.


All of these regions are considerably above the Romanian average.

That said, bearing this in mind, I would make the following assessments about Romanian living standards:

  • They are far below “Western” living standards (duh).
  • Modestly (20%?) below Portuguese.
  • Approximately equal to Russian living standards. That said, Bucharest is not even in the same class as Moscow, while many of Russia’s “millioniki” are also superior.
  • Medium-sized (~100,000 people) Romanian and Russian towns seem to be about equal.
  • The Romanian – well, Transylvanian – countryside seems more prosperous than its Russian equivalent.


My impression was that prices were around 50% lower than in the USA/UK, as in Russia (Portugal is in between). This is again confirmed by statistics.

That said, gas prices were much more expensive than in Russia or the US, and almost as high as in the UK.


Romania has a reputation as the country with one of the world’s highest Internet speeds, and based on my admittedly limited experience at my Airbnb residence in Bucharest, that certainly seems plausible.


Ceausescu fantasized about making Romania a Great Power. But population equals power, and Romanian population growth was beginning to trail off by the 1960s as it entered a sharp fertility transition.


The Communists implemented Decree 770 in October 1966, barring abortions in all but a few exceptional cases. This produced a fertility spike, if one that faded away with time; still, population growth remained firmly positive, peaking at 20.1 million by 2011.

Then the fertility rate collapsed, as in the rest of the ex-Communist world.

Decree 770 was repealed in 1989. Despite the Romanians being a religious people, MP noted that religion is “shallow” – as in Russia – and that Romanians as a people are the sort who want to be left alone by the state – so the chances of abortion becoming criminalized again are near zero. This syncs with my own thinking. After all, in Poland, access to abortion was associated with the “godless” Communist regime, and immediately banned upon its overthrow; in Romania, it was precisely the opposite. Still, it’s worth repeating that in modern times, abortion doesn’t seem to have a major effect on demographics – the current TFR of Romania is 1.7 children per woman, vs. 1.5 for Poland (up from 1.3 during 2000-2015).

The Romanian population peaked at 23.2 million in 1990, but had declined to just 20.1 million by 2011, and an estimated 19.7 million today.

Only 1.1 million of that decline can be attributed to natural decrease. The rest accrued to emigration; there are an estimated 3.4 million Romanian emigrants.

I was independently told by several Romanians, without any prompting on my part, that Romania has the world’s second highest numbers of emigrants after Syria.

This obviously means that this particular statistic – which appears to be true – has been getting a lot of play in the Romanian media.

This emigration has disproportionately affected the well-educated. For instance, half of Romania’s doctors (!) left between 2009-2015, primarily to other EU countries.

This is something that I often encountered myself. Here was the pattern amongst the wedding guests, who represented a cross-slice of the more prosperous parts of provincial Romanian society:

  • The elderly were in Romania.
  • Large percentage (well more than half) of the middle-aged were working in the EU, e.g. one of them painted and restored icons in Italy.
  • Almost all the young people worked abroad (a significant part directly for the EU).

The one thing that Romania doesn’t have a problem with is refugees. I was told that 200 Syrians were settled there under an EU directive, but before a few months were out, all but three of them had departed for greener pastures to the west.

This must also explain why Romania has been lackluster about supporting Visegrad in its struggle with the EU on immigration questions. This is simply not a problem that Romania will have for the foreseeable future… though the reasons why are hardly flattering to it.



Transylvanian highway.

Around Bucharest, and Transylvania, the roads are quite good, probably thanks in large part to EU funding (Romania has one of the highest rates of EU subsidies as a percentage of GDP).

The quality of the drivers is worse than in the US or Portugal (which in turn are worse than in most of Western Europe), and about equal to Russian ones. However, there are of course regional variations (I heard that both roads and drivers are worse in the relatively impoverished area bordering Moldova).

To my surprise, seatbelt enforcement is not yet universal; a couple of our taxi/Uber drivers did not wear them, whereas this is hardly ever encountered in Russia these days.

During my stay in Bucharest, I saw a sports car holding some youthful yobs blasting loud music speed down the main thoroughfare and physically nudge an old Dacia with a couple of pensioners.


Preparing to drive from Brașov to Ploiesti.

Although it’s not any sort of automotive powerhouse, Romania does produce its own cars – more than enough to satisfy internal demand, and as many, in per capita terms, as Poland.

Automobile Dacia is its fourth largest company.



The (newly upgraded) Henri Coandă International Airport is functional but unremarkable. There is still no metro line there, which is inconvenient (though this will soon be remedied); there are also no rail communications to nearby Ploesti.

Admittedly, this is not such a major problem in the age of ubiquitous Uber (which is about as cheap in Romania as Yandex Taxi/Uber are in Russia).



Ploiesti Sud.

The rail infrastructure is old and creaky, but presumably reliable – and extremely cheap. A first-class rail ticket from Ploiesti to Bucharest (60 km) cost me 7.20 lei for first-class (less than $2).


The double-decker train.


Bucuresti Nord.

That said, the country’s rail arteries leave much to be desired. I was idly thinking of taking a train from Ploiesti to Budapest, but reconsidered after learning that it would take 14 hours.

As in most of the rest of Eastern Europe, there is no such thing as high-speed rail in Romania.

Bucharest Metro


The Bucharest Metro seems to work well, but it’s a rather modest and uninspiring system.

Trains run about once every 5-8 minutes, at least outside rush hour; the design consists of gray concrete slabs, but without the futuristic-bunker chic of Washington D.C.’s system.


Metro map.





Politics & Nationalism

The Romanian protests have conveniently been in the news of late (August 2018), so this would be of particular relevance at this time.

I owe my basic understanding of the Romanian political compass to DT (the quotes here are his).

(1) On the one side, you have the Social Democrats (PSD), who got 36% in the last elections – “vaguely conservative/welfarist/popular/welfarist”. They have a strong reputation for corruption, but “know the rhetoric and (legitimate) gibs policies that people like.”

They are also supported by the traditionalist Orthodox church.

(2) On the other side, you the “liberal elites, anti-corruption office (DNA), secret services (illegally/selectively giving evidence to DNA), EU-German-Soros-funded NGOs”.

Although the liberals may have legitimate concerns about corruption, they have also “adopted much of the worst Western snobbishness, social values, and alienation from their people.”

The alliance between the DNA and the secret services is known as “binomiul” (the binomial), which came to play a prominent part in Romanian politics during the last liberal-conservative government before the EU accession.

Here is how one French identitarian writer describes the standoff:

… The theme of a struggle between the democratically elected bodies against the “binomial” (the secret services and anti-corruption floor) – that’s to say, a sort of colonial prefecture instituted by Washington D.C. and Brussels to limit the sovereignty of the Romanian people until it “politically matures” – has also proved to be very strong.

In between these two forces, you have the ethnic Magyar minority party, which always gets into government regardless of who is in power – and gets amply rewarded for it.

Hardcore nationalism is all but dead – the only exception was in 2000, when Vadim Tudor got 33% of the vote in the second round; however, this was an artifact of the traumatic 1990s, and his party collapsed after his death in the late 2000s.

At the present time, nationalist parties are minor league.

However, DT notes that while Romania is not “terribly interesting” from a nationalist perspective, there might be a strong potential for a nationalist party to emerge, and – perhaps in an alliance with PSD – “Visegradize” the country.

That said, while formal nationalist movements are weak, it should be noted that most Romanians are implicitly nationalist.



Bucharest Metro.

Slogans such as “Basarabia e România” and “Antonescu erou national” can often be found graffitied on walls and sidewalks.

My impression from conversations is that opinion about Antonescu is split about 50/50, which is not bad for a dictator who led them to defeat. But it’s not that surprising. The Italians are cool with Mussolini – Berlusconi and Caesar Salvini have both quoted him. Franco’s tomb sees tens of thousands of pilgrims. It is only the Germans who are the exception to the rule; honoring the Great Leaders of yore is otherwise quite normal.


At the museum & gift shop in Cetatea Râșnov. Crimea belongs to… Romania? 

Although it’s not, of course a topic that normal people go on about, it seemed to be that there is a fairly wide consensus that Moldova is a “fake and gay” country (to use Thorfinnsson’s scientific terminology).

Pretty much everyone is okay with annexing reunifying with Moldova… so long as it doesn’t hurt the economy too much, anyway.

In all fairness, I don’t even see how they’re wrong on Moldova.

Moldova’s color revolution was called the “Twitter Revolution.” Ponder on that for a moment. Then an amount of money equivalent to one eighth of their GDP was stolen by a Jewish businessman, who promptly absconded to Israel.

It is indeed hard to imagine a country that is more fake and gay than Moldova.

Incidentally, Romanian nationalists even have a serious lobby group at Brussels shilling for the cause in the form of the European Centre for Romanian Unity.

Established in December 2017, the European Centre for Romanian Unity brings the reunification project to the heart of EU policy making. A politically independent non-profit organisation, ECRU campaigns for a peaceful and democratic reunification of Romania and the Republic of Moldova based on a shared history, language and culture, strongly anchored in EU values, democratic principles and the rule of law.

From 1947 to 1989, what is today the Republic of Moldova found itself under the illegal occupation of the Soviet Union. The history of Moldova between 1947 and 1989 is one of famine, deportations, russification, human rights breaches and communist oppression.

In Moldova, the collapse of the communist regime in 1989 started with citizens asking the authorities to acknowledge their Romanian identity.

The growing trend of reunification in Romania and Moldova is peaceful in nature and democratic in spirit and method. … ECRU does not associate itself with any extremist, revisionist or ultra-nationalist views.

Sure you don’t, buddies. (Not that there’s anything with that).

These social media savvy nationalists dress smart, hobnob with “respectable” politicians and journalists, and – critically – couch Romanian nationalism in the language of democracy and human rights.

This is a lesson that many nationalists might want to take lessons from.


World War I monument near Predeal railway station.

World War 1 – the Great War – is central to Romanian national memory. All medium-sized Romanian towns seem to have a prominent memorial to it.

At the Sinaia Monastery near Peleș Castle, the western wall has a scene with Carol I – the first King of independent Romania – leaning against a broken column, symbolizing the “lost” territories of Transylvania, Bukovina, and Bessarabia.

Despite Romania’s trials and tribulations during the Great War, in which it lost 8% of its population – the third highest figure after Serbia and the Ottoman Empire – it ended the war by snapping victory from the jaws of defeat, restoring all three of those columns by seizing Bukovina and Transylvania from the hapless Hungarians after the war in the west came to a formal close – and later pressuring the short-lived Moldavian Democratic Republic into a union with Romania.

(Russia, of course, did the opposite, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory).

I noted that many Romanians wear the national dress. Any Russian who casually wears the kosovorotka would be considered at least slightly weird. Apparently not so much in Romania.


This is because, unlike the Putlerreich, Romania is a true national state. Looking after the interests and ethnic identity of ethnic Romanians abroad is written into their Constitution.

The Communist period is viewed very negatively. I would estimate that Ceausescu has a 10% approval rating.

That said, they are not that Russophobic.

While Romanians are certainly not Bulgarians or Croats, their opinions on Russia – 47% favorable to 45% unfavorable – are comparable to those of Slovaks, Croats, and Slovenians. They are also better disposed to Russia than the Hungarians, for all the ridiculous talk of Orban as a Putin puppet. (Latvians are false friends; remove ethnic Russians, and their numbers would be comparable to those of Western Europeans. But Western Europeans dislike Russia for things like “persecuting” gays, which Latvians couldn’t care less about).


One of the latest Eurobarometer polls. Romanians are basically neutral on Russia, unlike most of Western Europe, Poland, Czechia, and the Baltics. 

In another poll, some 52% of Romanians said they view “a strong Russia” as being necessary to “balance the influence of the West.” Considering Romanians have very strong pro-NATO views, which are universal across the political spectrum, these are remarkable numbers (only 49% of far more NATO-skeptical Czechs think likewise). 65% of Romanians think Russia has an obligation to protect Orthodox Christians outside its borders (equivalent to Greece), and 74% of Romanians even think it has an obligation to protect ethnic Russians outside its borders (equivalent to Russia itself, and indeed one might say – given the daily shellings of Russians in the Donbass – a shameful indictment of the Russian people themselves).

I don’t have a hard time believing these numbers. While I certainly don’t want to give away the impression that Romanians are Russophiles – they are certainly not – they’re not really Russophobes either, at least on average. I encountered approximately zero Russophobia during my stay. For comparison, I have encountered plenty of Russophobia during my (thankfully limited) experiences with Latvians, and considerable Russophobia from Poles (though in their case, this was also balanced out by considerable Russophilia).

As I have often argued, Western Russophobia has a strong ideological/religious element to it; they hate Russians not because of Communism, but because they betrayed its “ideals” (or in Double Horseshoe Theory terms: “Stalinism is not true Marxism, and that’s terrible”).

Many Balts (especially Latvians) have what might only be described as a deep racial antipathy to Russians.

Romanian Russophobia is far more… “practical” – they associate Communism with Russian occupation (although this is an association muted by Ceausescu’s independent streak), and for breaking off Moldova.

Russia can’t accommodate the West except by joining up to its GloboHomo religion, nor can Russia accommodate the Balts except by… I don’t know, ceasing to exist?

However, so far as simpler folks such as Romanians are concerned, whose grievances are easy for the Russian mind to understand, powerful deals can be worked out. For instance, more strenuous efforts to disassociate Russia from (Latvian-imposed) Communism – which Russia needs to do for its own sake, anyway; and a partition of the fake and gay country of Moldova – Romania gets historical Bessarabia, Russia gets Transnistria.

That said, although the average Romanian is an implicit nationalist, trends amongst young people – especially the highly educated, geographically mobile types – are rather concerning.

Central Bucharest is a very SWPL/yuppie sort of city, full of hipsters, Priuses, and bike rental stations. Young Romanians also have very good English language knowledge, at any rate for an East European country (probably in large part because they don’t dub foreign films). Now this would all be fine – SWPL culture is a genuinely attractive, civilized culture – if it didn’t also come packed with ideological thermite.

As DT once observed:

My experiences in that country are really very congruent: very diverse phenotypes, as much as half-Turkish, extremely corrupt, low-trust, basic health & safety problems, with all the young émigrés idealizing the West and believing all will be well if only their stupid parents would adopt in their hearts the “Soros-Kalergi agenda.” The nice parts of Romania are those which were built by the Saxons and, to a lesser extent, the Hungarians, in Transylvania. …

The nice thing about Romania’s “backwardness” is that there is no degeneracy. Apolitical people talk about race/gay/Jews like normal, non-brainwashed people do. Very refreshing. All of their celebrated intellectuals – Eminescu, Iorga, Eliade, Cioran, Tutea . . . – were reactionary and/or fascist. The youth are also very Americanized – good and bad, the average educated one thinks it is very cool to watch John Oliver.

As in the rest of Eastern Europe, sentiments that now only predominate in Bucharest’s gay pride parades will steadily be seeping their way into society at large.

Intellectual Life


Whenever I am in a foreign country, I make sure to check out a couple of bookshops – especially their bestseller stacks – to get a finger on what the intelligentsia is thinking.



Recommended books. Some familiar titles in the second photograph.


Viktor Suvorov really appears to be in vogue. Not surprising that this conspiracy theory enjoys popularity in Romania.


Mircea Eliade.


I bought this history book by Neagu Djuvara, which was recommended to me by the macro-economist.


Mikhail Zygar’s All the Kremlin’s Men appears to have been translated. 


Ion Pacepa.


Orlando Figes, Timothy Snyder… Anne Applebaum’s Gulag (which strenuously doesn’t notice who disproportionately ran them) was also featured. Basically, liberalism.txt on Russia.


Cioran and Tutea.


Cărturești is a landmark bookstore in Bucharest – and for good aesthetic reasons, as you can see below.





Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules of Life is prominently featured as a bestseller. Somehow I don’t see that happening in a Western bookstore frequented by hipsters and SJWs.


The Martian? Meh. I am more impressed that this relatively obscure book by Brandon Sanderson has been translated!


Again, I don’t see Yukio Mishima being prominently featured at a bookshop’s front end in any Western capital.


Or Karl May, for that matter.


Street book vendor in Bucharest.


Attitudes & Bureaucracy

In a number of amusing (if inconvenient) ways, Romania reminded me of Russia… approximately a decade ago.

First observation: Romanians still clap when the aircraft lands, which is common in countries where people have only recently started flying. Russians stopped doing that about a decade ago.


City administration of Ploiesti, a city of 225,000 people. Monumental structures to the bureaucracy seems to be a universal to commie regimes.

Many apparently trivial things require passports. I was required to provide my passport for my Airbnb booking in Bucharest, to buy or sell Romanian lei (with trivial sums involved), and once to even make a small purchase at an electronics hardware store. Russia hardly has anything to write home in this department, but I don’t think you need a passport to acquire rubles, and I certainly haven’t ever had to show my passport to buy anything but alcohol. In fairness, as I have pointed out, the Anglos are pretty much the only people who manage to do bureaucracy right.

People don’t like giving change. I had issues with sellers being unhappy at getting paid with 100 lei ($25) or even 50 lei ($12.50) notes. This sort of thing stopped being an issue in Russia around the mid-2000s. In the provinces, people also don’t like accepting credit cards – and not just for minor purchases. I was told that the inn we stayed at, which required a considerable payment for booking 50 odd people – that’s a few hundreds of dollars in addition to the individual charges – required it in cash. This goes some ways to explaining why Romania has one of the largest shadow economies and one of the lowest revenues as a share of GDP of any EU country.



There are a great deal of intrusive advertisements. Not as much as in 1990s Russia, but a lot more than in Russia today. It is rather annoying.




Entrance to History Department of the University of Bucharest.

Graffiti is everywhere – including on “serious buildings”, such as the the entrance to the History Department of the University of Bucharest. I suspect this is common to all “southern” countries.

Another observation I have to make is that there seems to be quite a bit of incompetence. Speaking of that particular inn, they had assured us that each guest would have their own room, but in the end I had to share it with two other people – thankfully from our own party, but still, not exactly what we had expected. But the €30 price remained the same as if we had paid for single rooms. In terms of comfort, this basically made our room a hostel – and you can get hostel rooms in central New York for cheaper prices. Another example: I booked a car via Cronoscar, Romania’s best known car rental company, in advance via the Internet. When we came to pick it up in Ploiesti, they said they had no record of it and plainly wanted us to shove us off, before I produced the email with my booking via my cell phone. This, at least, forced them to scrounge up a replacement car, although a different (and more expensive) model. But if I hadn’t had that email on my cell phone, I assume our travel plans for that day would have been ruined.



Transparency International: Global Corruption Barometer 2016.  Bribery rates in Europe as proxied by opinion polls.

MP told me that corruption is not prevalent at lower levels – while people paid bribes to policemen in the 1990s, this is not the case today. He found it hard to imagine someone paying off prosecutors and judges for a more lenient sentence, which is something that is not exactly unheard of in Russia. The higher up politicians do get rich as a matter of course, and illegitimately, but not at the level of the Kremlin elites.

My impression syncs with the results of many opinion polls and other formal data. Romania is much more corrupt than the average EU country, but less so than Russia.




Biserica Nașterea Maicii Domnului din Suceava in Bucharest. (This version of the church was built in 1850-52)

Opinion polls consistently show that Romanians are some of the most religious Europeans (e.g. only 1% of them identified as atheists in a recent PEW survey, relative to 5% of Bulgars, 7% of Poles, 15% of Russians, and 72% of Czechs). This seems to be backed up church attendance figures. In Russia, only old women regularly attend church; in Romania, I got the impression that so, too, did middle-aged men.

However, as I mentioned above, my interlocutor MP insisted that religion in Romania is shallow, and actually seemed to have the impression that Russia was a more religious country. I certainly do not think that that is the case, but nonetheless, this did cause me to readjust my prior conceptions about Romanian religiosity. It might be very wide, but as in Russia, it is in very large part an expression of national identity, as opposed to being a genuine spiritual phenomenon, as I think is the case in the United States, the Islamic world, and (to an extent) Poland.


As with phenotypes, cuisine, and architecture, the Romanian language is also a hybrid. It has a Latinate structure, but with considerable Slavic vocabulary borrowings (ranging from 5% in standard Romanian to 20% in Moldova).

I was amused to note that their word for war is “razboi” (e.g. Primul Război Mondial). In Russian, the term разбой denotes brigandage; bandits are разбойники. I found this linguistic false friend to be endearingly Balkan.

It seems that all the military and quasi-military terms are Slavic (e.g. voivoda, boyar).

Wikipedia has some more interesting information, e.g.:

At the arrival of the Slavs, the Romance-speaking Vlachs were rural cattle breeders… most Romanian vocabulary related to cattle and cattle-breeding is of Latin origin. In contrast, most tools and utensils related to agronomy (as well as urban life) were replaced with Slavic names.

Some last minute commitments before my trip prevented me from spending a few hours learning the Romanian language, as I had done with Portuguese.

Nonetheless, I am not sure it would have been of much use.

Despite its Slavic borrowings, even for me Romanian seems considerably harder than Spanish, Portuguese, and probably Italian (though I can’t say for sure since I haven’t spent any time learning Italian).

Reflecting Romania’s Francophile culture, most older Romanians speak French (not Russian as in most of the rest of the post-Communist bloc). Many young people speak okay English – more so than in Hungary.


Romanian weddings are LARGE! Not the modest affairs more typical in the traditionally bourgeois West. The typical wedding has dozens, if not hundreds, of guests.

They also have a bride kidnapping tradition as in the Caucasus, which is recreated during weddings.


Traditional singers.


Belly dancer.


As in most other things, Romanian cuisine is a Med/Slavic hybrid – with a stuffing of Germanic sausage.

Central ingredients include potatoes, polenta, cornmeal, pickles of all sorts, salted cucumbers, sausage, sour cream, and – of course – KEBAB. That said, I do like their habit of presenting hot green peppers as standard sides. I hope that Russia could adopt this great innovation as the climate warms. They are not big on olives; they are all imports. Also no good dry red wines that I can tell. They prefer palinka moonshine that they make themselves.

It’s pretty simple, and you can sample most of the keynote dishes in a day or two. As with Portuguese cuisine, it is filling, but there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about it.


The classic restaurant in Bucharest is Caru’ cu Bere, which was founded in 1879.

Like many such restaurants, it is perhaps overrated, but people go there for the decor anyway. And at 30 Euros for a three course meal with two beers, it won’t bankrupt you.


Ciorba Radauteana – sour chicken soup with garlic and cream).


Viennese sausages with cheese, pickled cabbage, and polenta.


Papanasi for desert.


The other restaurant I dropped into was the Casa Doina in Bucharest, which was originally intended to be a pavilion for the grand Paris Exhibition of 1890.

Unfortunately, the Romanians didn’t finish it in time, so it became a buffet for Bucharest boyars instead.

I ordered the following modest meal for about 10 Euros.


The sausages are mititei, which are “grilled ground meat rolls made from a mixture of beef, lamb and pork with spices.”

The spirit to the left is pălincă, a Visegrad/Romanian plum brandy.


Polenta and cabbage rolls with spicy green pepper at the wedding.


Mămăligă – cornmeal porridge.


KEBAB (salad, potatoes, etc).


This is probably just apple pie but I don’t really remember.


Kürtőskalács is a Hungarian pastry that is also prevalent in Transylvania.


Some sort of sweet fruit wine poured out of an elegant 5 litre plastic bottle.


Vișinată – cherry liqueur.

Romania: Ploiesti

From the Airport


Henri Coandă Airport.

Having also recently been in Portugal, my initial impressions of Romania were that it was a blend of Portugal and Russia.

Even many of the roadside houses seemed to be like izbas, but with Mediterranean-style tiles and decorative patterning.


A new church.


A Communist era technical college conferring some useless degree.

Many new churches, malls, places with familiar names (e.g. Auchan supermarkets, Lukoil gas stations).



Typical commieblock in the outskirts.


There is a well-reviewed clock museum in Ploiesti (unfortunately I didn’t have time for it).




This is the ancestral village of one member of our group. Deep Romania.



The St. Nicholas Church where Barbu Catargiu, Romania’s first Prime Minister, is buried. He was assassinated in June 1862 after less than half a year in power. His assassin was never caught.

Barbu Catargiu was a modernizing conservative, who wanted to build railways and preserve the large boyar estates and run Romania as an aristocratic republic.

The Communist regime was naturally antipathetic to him, and most monuments to him were destroyed. However, the church itself was left alone in benign neglect.


Local museum.


Another reason why World War I is so central to Romanian history: Compare the number of names under each conflict.


Book containing records maintained and updated by each successive church priest for the past two centuries.



Many interesting icons and old books, most written in Romanian Cyrillic. 

The museum’s archives also host a drawing by a Russian POW held during WW2 (they don’t know what eventually happened to him). I suppose he was treated well to be able to engage in such pursuits.

Romania: Transylvania

Scenes of Transylvania


Although it’s more associated with dark, foreboding forests in the popular imagination (Count Dracula), in reality it’s more of a “green and pleasant land.”

As one of my acquaintances remarked, the Shire scenes of Lord of the Rings could have been filmed here.














Peleș Castle


This Neo-Renaissance castle was constructed in 1883 for Carol I, the first King of independent Romania. Reflecting his technophilic priorities, it was the first European palace to be powered with electricity.




Incidentally, I noted that about at least a quarter of the tourists were Chinese. This is something that one notices in popular tourist attractions in Russia as well.

I suppose that an Eastern European tour is a legitimate (and cheap) solution to Paris Syndrome.



Carol I was a Germanophile, and technically competent. His personal library was stocked with a wide range of German and English books on modern science and technology

He wanted to enter World War I on the side of the Central Powers; he had signed a secret treaty in 1883 linking Romania to the Triple Alliance, though Romania wasn’t obligated to honor it because it only applied if Russia attacked one of the signatories. However, Romanian public opinion was highly Francophile, and he was voted down at the Crown Council convened on August 3. After that, Carol I fell into decline and died on October 10.


The Sinaia Monastery (built in 1842-46 build, restored around 1900). It was also the first electrified church in Romania (1906). The equipment was sourced from Vienna.

The western wall has various royalty scenes, including the one with Carol I and the missing columns (Transylvania, Bukovina, Bessarabia). The narthex has two icons, Saint Nicholas and Sergey of Radonezh, gifted by Nicholas II.

Cetatea Râșnov


Although construction dates to Roman times, the fortress as we know was built around 1225 by the Teutonic Knights of Burzenland.


Did I mentioned the Romanians are obsessed with World War I? The tower hosts a series of posters with a history of the Great War.


Display on socialist Romania.

After having spent the preceding century as an abandoned ruin, the fortress was renovated in 1955-56 under Communism.


Gift shop with the Roman soldiers, national maps, etc. (has the map with Crimea as part of Romania).








Peștera Valea Cetății

This cave is located about 3 km from Râșnov. It’s almost 1 km long, though only the first major atrium is accessible to the general public. It was discovered in 1949, and made into a tourist attraction in 2011.

Due to the cave ecosystem’s sensitivity to fluctuations in temperature, tour groups are only allowed to stay there for no more than 20 minutes once every hour.





The Romanians do love to ape that Hollywood sign everywhere. Brașov has the same thing.



Bran Castle


Although it is known as “Dracula’s castle”, in reality Bran Castle doesn’t have anything to do with either Vlad Țepeș or vampires apart from being the likeliest location of the fortress described in Bram Stoker’s famous novel. A wooden fortress in this location was first built in 1212 by the Teutonic Knights, but it was destroyed by the Mongols. The current stone version was constructed by the local Saxons of Kronstadt (Brașov) in 1377. Vlad Țepeș had no connection to Bran Castle apart from occasionally passing through it. Dracula’s real redoubt would be Poenari Castle, a much more modest and remote fastness. And legend has it that he is buried at Snagov Monastery. I did not visit either location.

The Romanians view Dracula – the late medieval voivoda, not the vampire count – as a popular saint (though I was sorry to discover that he was not actually canonized as a saint, as one Romanian had led me to believe). Still, everyone agrees that he was a swell guy – including the Communists under Ceausescu, whose regime had good reason to play up the legacy of a man who run multiple military victories for Romania, founded Bucharest in 1459, and terrorized the “treasonous” boyars (who may have ended up murdering him).

According to the museum texts, Dracula was a Robin Hood, who was “merciless with the rich”, and a “reliable friend of the poor” – a “national hero” to the peasants of Wallachia.

The wide distribution of the so-called “German narratives” in Europe was meant to libel him and created him a bad reputation. He was described as an antichrist, a wicked criminal and a cannibal.

Indeed, this theme that he was a hero calumniated by foreigners seems to have much in common with patriotic Russian narratives on Ivan IV (the Terrible).

“At that time, in all of feudal Europe, there was a climate of cruelty, and Vlad the Impaler, characterized by his enemies as a sinister person, thirsting for human blood, did not outdo most other monarchs of the 15th and 16th centuries, starting with Louis XI and ending with Ivan the Terrible, or starting with Henry VIII and ending with Matei Corvin. Vlad the Impaler’s significance is his contribution to maintaining the existence of the Wallachian state by fighting off the Turks, let by Mohammed II, conqueror of Constantinople.”

Bran Castle was more expensive than Peleș Castle, and less remarkable, too; the display focuses around the (modern) furniture collection amassed by Queen Marie, the last Romanian queen. It is Romania’s first private museum, having been given back to descendents of the royal family thanks to a law passed by the Romanian parliament on restituting Communist-era expropriations. My impression is that they just collect the rent from its (fictitious) association with Dracula.






The views are certainly great, the furniture is meh… but don’t come for the “authenticity”.


Transylvania Hike


We did a one day hike through Piatra Craiului National Park, which is characterized by a long limestone ridge spanning most of the area that is popular with climbers.










Cabana Curmătura.


“No we don’t have WiFi. Talk to each other!”



There are shepherds who maintain herds of cattle and sheep in these mountains.








Brașov (again helpfully denoted by the Hollywood sign) is the historic center of the Transylvanian Saxons, and is now a prosperous 250,000 population city boosted by tourism.


Catherine’s Gate.


Black Church (Biserica Neagră).

There are panels recounting the church’s history inside. Constructed in the late 15 century, it got its name after being partially burned during a fire set by advancing Hapsburg forces in 1689.

The main noteworthy thing I found is that the literacy push amongst the local German community started extremely early, just a few years after the coming of Protestantism. The local bishop published an edict demanding that local German communities collect taxes for schools.

Today, it is run by the Evangelical Community of Augustan Confession. They hold Sunday services in German for their 1,000 parishioners.




Romania: Bucharest

Arrival in Bucharest


This studio apartment just a block away from the University of Bucharest, with a sweeping view of the Palace of the National Military Circle, was just 33 Euros a night on Airbnb.

My hosts said that this apartment costs around 45,000 Euros. This is pretty remarkable; a similar apartment would cost no less than 20 million rubles ($300,000) in Moscow. In London, it would be about a million.



The one unfortunate thing is that the front facade of the National Military Circle was covered with scaffolding, but I suppose that’s going to be temporary.

Keto Cafe


I met up with MP at the Masa Casa, a newly opened ketogenic cafe (as I said above, Bucharest, like many of East Europe’s capitals, has become a strongly SWPL place).



Bucharest Streets I



Dacia Boulevard.


Monument to Pilsudski at Ion Voicu park. 



Many of these mansions used to belong to the boyars before the Communists. They are now neglected and available at knockdown prices.

Although it’s possible for some of them to get them restituted under the decommunization laws, in practice it’s an extremely bureaucratic and complex process that’s not worth the trouble in many cases.


Romanian girl. (Eastern Europe and Latin America are known for such murals).



One thing you quickly notice walking in Bucharest is not just the variety of architectural styles, but how they are all intermeshed with each other. This is because the 1977 Earthquake leveled a significant part of the city. Apart from killing 1,500 people, it also haphazardly collapsed many buildings across Bucharest. The spaces left over were filled by monolithic commieblocks.



The British Embassy in Romania.

At this point, a policeman rushed up to me and told me to stop taking photos.


Did I tell you there’s too many ads?




The Ateneul Roman.


Equestrian statue of Carol I.


The Memorial of Rebirth to denote the victory over Communism in 1989. 

Like most other things, it is covered in graffiti. It is in front of a gargantuan palace hosting the Ministries of Justice, Health, and the Interior.


Was Ilya Varlamov in Bucharest recently?



Bucharest has a liberal attitude to gambling. Groups of Israeli businessmen, from a country where the laws are much more conservative, take weekend trips to the many casinos here.

Bucharest Municipal Museum


This is a very good, introspective museum about Bucharest’s history.

General flavor of postwar Romanian history that I got from it:

  • 1947-1965: Large increases in economic output (e.g. coal, steel, etc.) and social development, but living standards remain low, rationing is in effect, and class enemies strongly repressed. Khrushchev had agreed to the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1958.
  • 1965-1980: Ceausescu comes to power. Initially more freedoms, development of tourism as Romania veers away from the USSR, and builds up relations with the West (e.g. Ceausescu condemned the crushing of the Prague Spring). There are particularly warm relations with France (where Charles de Gaulle displays a similarly defiant attitude to the US). But growing repression in the 1970s prevents the relationship from blossoming.
  • 1980-1989: Return of rationing and labor repression as Ceausescu decides to opt for a more North Korean model, large parts of Bucharest rebuilt in a monolithic totalitarian style after the 1977 earthquake.







Bucharest Streets II








Palatul Parlamentului


Unfortunately, I was unable to visit Bucharest’s most famous landmark – the Palace of Parliament, which is the world’s second largest administrative building by area (the Pentagon is first) and the world’s heaviest.

You need to book tours by phone, 24 hours in advance; as befits a Communist-era behemoth, there is no option to do it via Internet. The first lady told me that all tours were booked out for the next week. I tried calling again early the next day, in the hope that places had been opened up and that I could schedule it for tomorrow afternoon. They had indeed opened up, but it emerged that by “24 hours”, they meant the entire next day inclusive – and the day after tomorrow was already the day of my return flight.



Medieval Fair


I ran into this historical recreation festival at Piața Constituției, not far from the Palace of Parliament. I suspect historic recreation is popular in Romania, as in the rest of Eastern Europe.


I bought the Vlad Țepeș wood carving for about $30 (it actually cost $40, but I didn’t have enough change and the wood carver was kind enough to offer it at a discount).





SPD Demonstration


I emerged from Piața Victoriei (the one where the lifts were covered with “Basarabia e România” stickers) into the middle of preparations for a sanctioned protest by the Social Democrats.

See the “Politics & Nationalism” section for a background on Romanian politics.


The journalists at the scene (who supported the opposition) said that it was a protest of the Social Democrat party “against justice,” claiming that the protesters were paid and bused in

In fairness, there were plenty of buses, and while the event seemed very well organized, I didn’t manage to get clear answers to what they were protesting about from any of the ordinary protesters. Say what you will about them, but at least the ideological “Maidanist” types are more than happy to air their complaints to any who would listen (and many who won’t).












The event organizers. They, at least, were able to give the most detailed explanation – that they were marching against the opposition’s attempts to “overturn” and “sell off the country”.


Arcul de Triumf.





Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum


This is a huge park that doubles as museum devoted to detailed reconstructions of traditional Romanian dwellings.


It just so happened that Rossotrudnichestvo was hosting a cultural event there at this time.








Parcul Regele Mihai I al României


Statues to the bureaucrats who made the European Union.

This park was right next to the National Village Museum. It seems like a popular vacation for picnickers.


Taras Shevchenko.






Charles de Gaulle statue.

In an amusing expression of Romania’s traditional Francophilia, the country developed warm ties with Charles De Gaulle’s France in the 1960s – a bond made stronger by the fact of both countries expressing an independent streak relative to their respective superpowers during that period.

Gay Parade at University Square


Back from the pro-regime demonstration, onto the gay pride march! This was right in front of the (graffiti-marked) University of Bucharest.



LGBT + Anticapitalism + Antiracism + Anarchism + Feminism + Antifa = ♥

Queers against Capitalism.

It’s OK to be gay but not hater.


Based Bucharest Black Woman.


Fat acceptance movement also weighs in.




Bucharest Streets III





Stavropoleos Monastery Church.

Originally built in 1724, little of the monastery survived apart from the actual church and a small courtyard in the back. They hold regular Orthodox services.



“No parking! Garage.”

National Museum of Romanian History


There was a large World War I exhibit when I was there: România în Marele Război.

Interesting facts:

  • On August 1916, on Entente promises of territorial gains (that I don’t recall being mentioned in the exhibit), Romania found itself fighting on two fronts with four states: Austria-Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire.
  • Romania mobilized 15% of its population.
  • Romania had 44 planes at the outbreak of the war, which is not at all bad considering that the air forces of the principal combatants numbered in the low hundreds in 1914. However, their troops were far worse equipped than the Central Powers.
  • It managed to quickly take most of Transylvania, where it was greeted enthusiastically by Romanians who did not want to fight for the Austria-Hungarian Empire. However, it was soon pushed back, and forced to retreat to Moldova by early 1917 – where it held the line with Russian help for most of the next year.
  • Romania sent its gold reserves to Russia in December 1916 – equivalent to 10 billion lei in gold – where they were, of course, confiscated by the Bolsheviks when they came to power. (The USSR returned some items in 1935, and most of the coins, art, jewelry, and other cultural artificants in 1956).
  • The withdrawal of Russia from the war made the Romanians’ situation untenable, and they were forced to sign the Treaty of Bucharest in April 1918. This resulted in territorial losses to Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary, and they were obligated to give all its surpluses of oil, grains, cattle, and many other products to Germany. All the brass, copper, and even bells were confiscated. I assume this helped prolong the German war effort.
  • The exposition focused a lot on what it saw as the cruelty of the German occupation. There were many cases of looting; Romanians had to guess permission to use train transport; and were forbidden from sending parcels, using the telephone or the telegraph, or selling cattle. One of the panels claimed that the Germans had all the dogs in Bucharest shot, and fined their owners.
  • There were ~145,000 Romanian POWs in Germany (of whom ~45,000 died), ~61,000 in Austria-Hungary (of whom 22,000 died), ~25,000 in Bulgaria (of whom 5,00o died), and ~10,000 in Turkey (of whom ~1,800 died). Romanian prisoners had the highest mortality rate (29%) of all the prisoners in German camps during World War I. (I wonder to what extent this ill treatment was a result of the Germans feeling Romania had “betrayed” them by joining the Entente after having signed a secret alliance with the Triple Alliance in 1883).
  • However, Germany’s defeat did enable Romania to rejoin the war on its very last day and recover its three lost provinces of Transylvania, Bukovina, and Bessarabia – belatedly snapping victory from the jaws of defeat.








They also had an exhibit on the lost territory of Bessarabia, which was of course occupied by the USSR in 1940. (As I said, some themes crop up over and over again there).




Stephen III of Moldavia (The Great).

The main hall of the museum is given over to the medieval origins of the Romanian/Moldovan state.


Document issued by Stephen the Great.


This book shows the influence of Slavonic styles on Romanian.


I was amused to see the Ottomans casually getting called pagan. No SJWs in Romania?


Plaster cast of Trajan’s column.

The ancient history part of the museum had a complete plaster cast of Trajan’s Column, which recounts the Roman Emperor’s victory over the Dacians.

There were also various stone steles, with the earliest ones dating to the ancient Greek period.


Funerary stele of Attalos the gladiator.


Votive dedication from the 3rd century BC.



This part of the museum hosted Romania’s main valuables collection, which hosts the Romanian Crown Jewels.



The Hoard from Pietroasele, Buzău country (4-5th century).


Princely diadem from 14th century.


Portrait and swords of Carol I.


George Palade was the only ethnic Romanian winner of the Nobel Prize, who did most of his scientific work in the United States.

Bucharest Streets IV



Statue of Trajan and the She-wolf.

Cișmigiu Park


This is Bucharest’s most central park. Built in 1847, it is full of monuments to various historic figures.




Monument to the French troops. Did I tell you Romanians are Francophiles?

Bucharest Streets V (Night Edition)






All-In Poker Club.

These poker clubs are quite common in Bucharest. This one runs 24 hours a day, and services free food/non-alcoholic drinks once every few hours.


Control Club.





I wrote about my impressions of the Sukhoi Superjet-100 here.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. I was independently told by several Romanians, without any prompting on my part, that Romania has the world’s second highest numbers of emigrants after Syria.

    That explains the Romanian shop in my not-so-great city.
    Of course, we have even more Syrians.

  2. If the USSR did fall, would Hitler really have given Crimea to Romania? Also, Antonescu may have believed Romania was Latin and not Slavic, but I doubt that the likes of Himmler would have held that belief.

  3. One, maybe two more modern looking buildings in all of your photos. It looks like Romania got caught in some sort of a 1960’s time warp?….

  4. Spisarevski says

    Very good post.

  5. Polish Perspective says

    Once again proving to be an amazing travel writer. Incredible post packing a huge amount of detail, from the most minute to grand sweeps.

    What I like most is that you are genuinely curious about your surroundings. Even when you admit that Romania was way down on your list, you take upon yourself to really try to understand the country you go to. Not just lazily getting on with it, or just focusing on your immediate surroundings. To the extent that you can, you geuninely try to understand the place you come to. As a reader, I appreciate that.

    There’s too much to comment on in general so I’ll just focus on one thing: I’ve heard a lot about Transylvania and if those pictures are anything to go by, then even my admittedly high expectations were exceeded. It really does seem like a magical place. Dare I say Switzerland on a budget?

    P.S. Keto isn’t SWPL, that’s veganism!

  6. Polish Perspective says

    Fat acceptance movement also weighs in.

    I laughed way more than I should have at that one 🙂


    J-Janusz, is that you?

  7. Moldova is an order of magnitude less fake or gay than the Ukraine. Separate Moldovan identity is centuries old, while Romanian identity is recent. With Ukrainian/Russian identities it’s the other way around.

    The modern Moldova (Bessarabia) had been unified with Romania for only ~20 years, as opposed to centuries for Ukraine and Russia.

    And then there are the special connections of Moldova to Russia. In the last 200 years, obviously; but even before that. For example, some sort of Old Slavonic/Russian was an (or perhaps even the) official language of the medieval Moldovan principality.

  8. Gerard1234 says

    Great blog post. No doubt about that.

    On a separate note, given [[[Anatoly Karlin]]]’s liberast ,anti-Russian, depravity..the context behind him retweeting this should be explained:

  9. Old Slavonic/Russian was an (or perhaps even the) official language of the medieval Moldovan principality.

    Let me give an illustration: the document that first mentions Chisinau/Kishinev.

    Wikipedia explains:

    Chișinău was mentioned for the first time in 1436, when Moldavian princes Ilie and Ştefan gave several villages with the common name Cheseni near the Akbash well to one feudal lord Oancea for his good service.

    The Russian version of the Wiki page quotes the actual document:

    «…и близь Быку, по тои сторонѣ, на долину што падает(ь) против(ь) Акбашева Кешенева, ѹ Кръници, где ест(ь) Татарскаѧ Селища, против(ь) лѣска. (…) А пѵстынѧмъ хотаръ, колко ѹзмогуть ѡживати таѧ села, що ѡсадит(ь), досыт(ь)»

    I am not enough of a linguist to know if this is Old Russian or Old Slavonic but I can read this easily.

  10. Hyperborean says

    Very impressive travelogue, Mr. Karlin.

    I understand the ‘Crimea is Romania’ map represents Greatest Romania, but what is with the other countries’ strange borders? Why do some of them get expanded borders?

  11. However, so far as simpler folks such as Romanians are concerned, whose grievances are easy for the Russian mind to understand, powerful deals can be worked out. For instance, more strenuous efforts to disassociate Russia from (Latvian-imposed) Communism – which Russia needs to do for its own sake, anyway; and a partition of the fake and gay country of Moldova – Romania gets historical Bessarabia, Russia gets Transnistria.

    The Romanians I’ve met online (maybe one was Moldovan) were very anti-Russia, which they indeed associated with the USSR, rather than the empire’s aid to Romanians in WWI or 1878. Maybe that’s just a vocal minority though.

    As an aside, I also had a teacher who was a Transylvanian German from a family expelled after WW2; from what I understand they are very fondly remembered as a community now. Could their expulsion be part of the reason the country struggled so badly for decades?

  12. Much better than your Portugal post, which was quite dull tbh.

    This was great.

  13. The Communist period is viewed very negatively. I would estimate that Ceausescu has a 10% approval rating.

    Selection bias (aka Pauline Kael effect.)

    From Wiki:

    Praising the crimes of totalitarian governments and denigrating their victims is forbidden by law in Romania; this includes the Ceaușescu era. Dinel Staicu was fined 25,000 lei (approx. 9,000 United States dollars) for praising Ceaușescu and displaying his pictures on his private television channel (3TV Oltenia).[62] Nevertheless, according to opinion polls held in 2010, 41% of Romanians would vote for Ceaușescu[63][64] and 63% think that their lives were better before 1989.[64][65] In 2014, the percentage of those who would vote for Ceaușescu reached 46%.[66]

  14. Awesome post. It is so consistent with what I already knew and what Romanian friends have told me that I second the recommendation that you should be a professional travel writer.

  15. Daniel Chieh says

    Great post. Looking forward to more travels from you!

  16. Jaakko Raipala says

    Great stuff.

    My favorite bit of Dracula trivia is that Bram Stoker (probably unintentionally) trolled Romania by making the vampire count a Székely, an ethnic Hungarian. Maybe Orbán should demand a share of the tourist money.

  17. Crimea was a prize everyone wanted. Mussolini hoped that the participation of Italian forces on the Eastern Front would give him the standing to exercise a claim on the Crimea on the basis of the old Genoese colonies that had been there in medieval times.

    Germany of course had eyes on the peninsula itself due to its strategic location as well as its pleasant climate for German settlement. In the case of an Axis victory it would have probably been down to the Germans to decide who got it – and considering the German blood expended in besieging Sevastopol, I doubt they’d have given it away. If they were feeling uncharacteristically generous, I think Italy would have been first runner-up to receive it. The Germans would probably consider Odessa more than enough of a prize for the Romanians.

    Really depends on Hitler’s whims and his personal views of his allies, which vary over the course of the war. Hitler had the utmost personal respect for Mussolini right up to the day he died, though he despised the Italian people and their military forces from the beginning and only grew to do so more over the course of the war (he considered them unworthy to have such a leader as Mussolini and Mussolini above blame for Italy’s failures – in Hitler’s view he was doing the best he could given an inferior nation to lead).

    Antonescu had a good rapport with Hitler early on in the war as well. He was more adventurous and eager to fight than Miklós Horthy of Hungary, and committed a much larger share of his forces to the war in the east, and did not limit the extent to which his forces would participate to merely reclaiming the territories he had recently lost (unlike Carl Mannerheim of Finland). Romania’s army also maintained a respectable performance in the Bessarabian campaign as well as in the siege of Odessa.

    Stalingrad erased just about all regard Hitler had for the Romanians. The Germans blamed both the Sixth Army’s encirclement and the failure of their relieving force to break through to Stalingrad on the inability of the Romanians to hold their sectors of the front against superior Soviet forces, and after that disaster Antonescu became far less eager and cooperative as a German ally (Romania’s forces were kept out of any further substantial action until the Red Army arrived at Romania’s borders in 1944).

    So how much territory the Romanians would ultimately have been allowed to claim had the Germans won would depend upon the circumstances that led to that victory. If there were no disaster at Stalingrad to discredit them, Hitler might have been much more generous to Romania than if there had been.

    Incidentally some of Greece’s hyper-nationalists in the brief era of the Megali Idea also had wild ideas about claiming Crimea on the basis of ancient Hellenic colonies as well. And of course revanchist Turkish nationalists have always held out hopes of returning there one day too.

    Everyone dreams about the Crimea. No one but Russia, however, has proven powerful to make their dreams a reality.

  18. German_reader says

    iirc the Nazis considered the Crimea to be ancient Germanic territory, supposedly some members of the Einsatzgruppen even went around there looking for Gothic antiquities when they weren’t committing massacres. Hitler wanted to rename Sevastopol to Theoderichhafen and Simferopol to Gotenburg, so I doubt the Romanians would have gotten it in case of a German victory.

  19. Antonescu had a good rapport with Hitler early on in the war as well. He was more adventurous and eager to fight than Miklós Horthy of Hungary, and committed a much larger share of his forces to the war in the east, and did not limit the extent to which his forces would participate to merely reclaiming the territories he had recently lost (unlike Carl Mannerheim of Finland). Romania’s army also maintained a respectable performance in the Bessarabian campaign as well as in the siege of Odessa.

    Stalingrad erased just about all regard Hitler had for the Romanians. The Germans blamed both the Sixth Army’s encirclement and the failure of their relieving force to break through to Stalingrad on the inability of the Romanians to hold their sectors of the front against superior Soviet forces, and after that disaster Antonescu became far less eager and cooperative as a German ally (Romania’s forces were kept out of any further substantial action until the Red Army arrived at Romania’s borders in 1944).

    The Axis’ favoritism to Hungary is weird to me, wasn’t Romania a more valuable ally? Hitler seems to have personally disliked Magyars due to his memories growing up in Austria-Hungary, and he considered them the worst contingent of all his allies.

  20. Thanks for the report – photos are also cool.

    There seems almost something Latin American/Spanish in photos of Bucharest. In summer you can imagine these streets developing a Spanish atmosphere (maybe one day it could happen).

    Romanian itself is similar to Spanish. Problem is immigration is in wrong direction to turn this/ into the new Latin America. 1 million Romanians immigrated recently to Spain, but I don’t think many Spanish are immigrating to Romania.

    Perhaps when Iberianized Romanians return home, they can bring some more Spanish culture with them to Romania.

    I remember something when (real) Varlamov was blogging about Bucharest, he said it could be beautiful but it’s still in the 1990s

    Other bloggers writing Bucharest is like “French built a beautiful city, but inhabited it with gypsies to look after it.”

  21. Moldova’s color revolution was called the “Twitter Revolution.” Ponder on that for a moment. Then an amount of money equivalent to one eighth of their GDP was stolen by a Jewish businessman, who promptly absconded to Israel.

    Story if you follow it, is a lot more funny than this.

    He (Ilan Shor) is a native Israeli (he comes from Israel – not go to Israel).

    At age 24, he married singer Jasmine (Sergei Pugachev is among wedding guests). At age 27, he was convicted for stealing 12% of GDP of Moldova

    At the same time, he was running from police, he won the election to become mayor of a city in Moldova.

    Currently lives freely in Moldova. In 2017, police punish him to 7 years in jail. However, he is not going to jail (yet) with the excuse he does not speak Moldovan, and they have not translated court documents into Russian.

    There is no news they have recovered the stolen money (12% of GDP), but most recent news is that he is renting the airport of Kyrgyzstan.

  22. iirc the Nazis considered the Crimea to be ancient Germanic territory

    They weren’t wrong about Germanic tribes having lived there pre-Great Migrations

  23. And the eastern Ostrogoths lived there after said migrations.

  24. for-the-record says

    iirc the Nazis considered the Crimea to be ancient Germanic territor

    “Crimean Gothic” was apparently spoken in isolated parts of Crimea until the late 18th century.

    Pp. 162-175 of the following book has a rather detailed description of what is known about it:

  25. Spisarevski says

    I remember something when (real) Varlamov was blogging about Bucharest, he said it could be beautiful but it’s still in the 1990s

    Varlamov is full of shit, I read his recent post about Sofia and it was so incredibly bad, I think he will fit in at Buzzfeed.

  26. Again, I don’t see Yukio Mishima being prominently featured at a bookshop’s front end in any Western capital.

    Bookshop photos are very interesting.

    It seems to show they also (like us) have a lot of translations of what’s fashionable around the world.

    But quite a lot of localization for old books (e.g. these ones we did not hear of – Mircea Eliade, Mihail Sebastian, and Cioran) – authors which are unique in Romania, which could actually buy as a souvenir.

    Mishima you can see promoted in London, Madrid or Paris bookshops, I don’t think he is unusual (it’s only for Japanese where he is so controversial and unpopular).

  27. Romania sent its gold reserves to Russia in December 1916 – equivalent to 10 billion lei in gold – where they were, of course, confiscated by the Bolsheviks when they came to power.

    Romanian gold was explicitly confiscated as the compensation for Bessarabia. Soviet Russia recognized independence of Finland and the Baltic states but it never recognized Romanian takeover of Bessarabia.

  28. German_reader says

    Another reason why World War II is so central to Romanian history

    Should be “World War I” here, I believe.
    Anyway, I agree with previous commenters, you have a talent for travel writing, very interesting post.

  29. He criticizes a lot of little things according to his personal obsessions (or which is not either Moscow or the West), not so impressed, and says it’s like our cities, but he’s still going to boost tourism to Sofia – it looked pretty nice overall.

  30. I used to wonder about Ceausescu. Was he just naturally more clever and less of a toady than the other Communist puppet rulers? Or was it something particular to the local situation in Romania? Was he, for instance, just more afraid of local revolution?

  31. Many of the items you say in the treasure room of the History Museum are replicas. Made of gold, but replicas. When the Germans nearly conquered Romania, in 1916, the Romanian government shipped the real historical pieces, as well as a few other train cars filled with gold, to their best ally, Russia. Bolsheviks, Yeltzin, and Putin refused to return the originals.

    The other correction refers to the social democrats. There are two confusing factors at play. First, they are indeed somewhat related tom the former Communist party. Like, 90% of the “politicians” who wanted to carry on in politics joined them, rather than other parties. But subsequently, much like Blair, Clinton, Schroeder, the former Communists found themselves in government, with a budget deficit to cover, and with a focus on cutting benefits. IMHO, Clinton’s talk of “welfare queens”, around 1996, pushed most of the world’s “leftists” into mere facades.

    Second, in Portugal, all parties, left, center and right, are called socialist or social-democrat, or something like that. It was normal, coming from a right-wing dictatorship, to want to turn left. Conversely, in Romania, everyone wants to turn right. Romanian “social-democrats” have set up, or at least kept in place, enormous sales taxes (regressive as hell, in a country where people spend all they make and whatever their relatives from EU send them). They also kept a very low and flat tax on income. There is no tax on inheritance.

    Last month, “social-democrats” passed a law cutting welfare aid (100 dollars a month, lol) for the unemployed who refuse to take the first job on offer. This, on top of a requirement for mandatory work for the state.

    They are somewhat protective of elderly, but even there their zipper is showing. The grants the elderly get, when bed-ridden, is minute. It is impossible to hire someone on that money (200 dollar a month, lol).

    Most of the governments in the post-Communist era were voted in by a coalition of social-democrats and whoever was the second party. Misleadingly, most of these governments had ministers only from one side, to appear as if there is a divide.

    Social-democrats, my ass. More like two ever changing gangs.

  32. Separate Moldovan identity is centuries old, while Romanian identity is recent.

    That’s like saying separate Bavarian identity is centuries old but German is more recent.

    With Ukrainian/Russian identities it’s the other way around.

    Only if you think that language has magical powers, so that the old word Rus confers a (Great) Russian identity on peoples from centuries ago. On that note, did Julius Caesar have a Romanian identity, in your world?

    The modern Moldova (Bessarabia) had been unified with Romania for only ~20 years, as opposed to centuries for Ukraine and Russia.

    Moldova was unified with Russia only 30 years less than the western half of Ukraine was.

  33. Stalingrad erased just about all regard Hitler had for the Romanians. The Germans blamed both the Sixth Army’s encirclement and the failure of their relieving force to break through to Stalingrad on the inability of the Romanians to hold their sectors of the front against superior Soviet forces

    They are related to Italians, after all…

  34. Great article. Can’t think of a better travel writer than AK.

    I had a Romanian roommate, from Transylvania, when I was an undergrad. His descriptions of his homeland match yours. Transylvania seems to be Romania’s Galicia (both regions even had the same per capita income under the Habsburgs).

    Approximately equal to Russian living standards. That said, Bucharest is not even in the same class as Moscow, while many of Russia’s “millioniki” are also superior.

    Correct that no part of Romania touches Moscow (nor does Warsaw, for that matter), but overall I suspect current Romanian living standards might be higher than in Russia. Currently Romania has not only higher nominal per capita GDP than Russia but also PPP according to World Bank:

    2017 per capita Nominal GDP Romania: $10,814
    2017 per capita Nominal GDP Russia: $10,743

    2017 per capita GDP PPP Romania: $25,841
    2017 per capita GDP PPP Russia: $ 25,533

    IMF reports Russia having higher GDP PPP per capita (and lower nominal) however.

    According to UN, the richest 10% in Romania make 7.5 times more than the poorest 10%; in Russia they make 12.5 more.

    Average monthly wage in Romania, adjusted for cost of living is $1,505 – compared to $1,361 in Russia:

    (on this measure, Ukraine is closer to Russia than Russia is to Poland – and some idiots insist that Ukrainians are coming to Russia more than to Poland)

    So regular Romanians are probably a little better off than regular Russians.

    This is truly remarkable, given the fact that in 1992 Russia had a per capita GDP of $3,095 and Romania of $1,102. Without having massive amounts of oil and gas, Romania went from having 1/3 Russia’s per capita income to surpassing it!

    Most of this can be attributed to the disastrous 90s for Russia. But even after that, Russia has underperformed Romania. Putin came to power in 2000. At that time, Russia had a per capita GDP nominal of $1,771; Romania’s was $1,668. So Russia under Putin has fallen behind Romania. He has not been a terrible ruler by any means – but a mediocre one, not the genius his mostly Western fanboys claim he is.

  35. Excellent post, Anatoly! I’ve read half of it so far and will read the rest of it later. It’s great to read about countries–such as Romania–that I haven’t personally been to. Indeed, your summary of Romania and its various aspects and cities is extremely detailed, extremely insightful, and extremely interesting and beautiful to read. 🙂

  36. I once had a Romanian roommate and AK’s observations certainly match what I had heard about the place, so I can assume that his observations about things I didn’t know about are highly accurate.

  37. Economic growth there is nothing surprising or miraculous.

    Romania is part of the EU since 2007. Like all poorer EU members – receive large amounts (tens of billions of dollars) of free money subsidies and grants from the wealthy EU members. Currently, the second largest. This is a boost to the economy, not any less lucky than a country receiving oil/gas revenues (but in addition, the economy is also integrated into a huge trading block of wealthy countries).

    CEE countries are the biggest beneficiaries of EU funds in the current financial exercise, with about 40% of the allotted sums. Poland is the main beneficiary in the region, with 18.7% of the total, followed by Romania, with 6.7%.

  38. So joining EU was a good idea.

    In 1992 Belarus had a per capita GDP of $1,675, to Romania’s $1,102. Now Romania has about double that of Belarus. Belarus should have run to the EU as soon as it could.

  39. German_reader says

    You need to consider the negatives as well though, the massive emigration from Romania (e.g. many of Romania’s doctors leaving for the EU, as AK mentioned above) can hardly be good for the country.
    And anyway, from a Western/Central European perspective Romanian and Bulgarian EU membership isn’t very desirable either, I could do without tall the gypsies who have turned up in Germany in recent years.

  40. So exporting many of the gypsies may in part compensate for loss of doctors?

  41. German_reader says

    I don’t think it works that way, though I suppose many Romanians aren’t sad about gypsies leaving for the west.
    I wonder if the governments in Bulgaria and Romania have some kind of deliberate programme to export the gypsies towards Western Europe, someone should do an investigation about this.

  42. EU is great for the poor countries, which join it.

    Free transfer of tens of billions of dollars, free entry to trading block of wealthy countries, and unrestricted work and travel in wealthy countries.

    But it is a disaster for taxpayers in wealthy countries (paying eternal subsidies to poor countries, and building infrastructure in countries they might never live in, and receiving immigrants from poorer countries).

    This is the reason the UK (i.e. one of the wealthy countries which was paying for the whole fiesta) is finally reached a limit of anger in giving freely billions of their own taxpayer’s money each year to develop poorer foreign countries, and is leaving it.

  43. Given that the Western Euros have voluntarily chosen to take in millions of people who are more troublesome than gypsies, why not send them the gypsies also?

  44. Here are the official numbers roughly:

    Gypsies in Romania:

    1930: 262,000 (1.5%)
    1948: 53,000 (0.3%)
    1956: 104,000 (0.5%)
    1966: 64,000 (0.3%)
    1977:277,000 (1.05%)
    1992: 401,000 (1.8%)
    2002: 535,000 (2.5%)
    2011: 622,000 (3%) (Unofficial: 10%)

    They don’t inspire me with confidence.

  45. EU is great for the poor countries, which join it.

    It is a mixed blessing.
    They get money and pay with people who migrate to the older members who fix their demographic issues at the expense of the poor countries.

  46. German_reader says

    Those fluctuations in the first four sets are weird. Romania wasn’t really occupied by the Germans in WW2 until the very end, so I don’t think they could have killed more than 200 000 gypsies in Romania, and I doubt the Antonescu regime managed that either. The differences between the 1948, 1956 and 1966 numbers are also very strange.

  47. Moldovia’s Romanian identity was a gradual affair, and started off with a strong Ruthenian flavor. An interesting fact to note is that back in the late medieval/ early modern period during the reign of Stephen the Great, the great heartland of Moldavia was centered exactly in Bukovina, both Southern and Northern Bukovina (not so today!). Already by then, the northern part was populated exclusively by ‘Rusyns’ (that later morphed into modern Ukrainians), while the southern part was mostly populated by Romanian stock. The language used at Stephens court was Ruthenian, not Romanian, as were all of the legal and royal decrees. The Romanian language hadn’t yet developed a written language. Stephen’s wife was Evdochia of Kiev, a member of Kievan Rus nobility, added prestige to his house. Indeed, old Ukrainian folklore and song place Stephen III ‘the Great’ of Moldavia in high esteem and his Rusyn soldiers fought true and hard to uphold his honor.

  48. @Anatoly Karlin , i will start with a full disclaimer i am Romanian and i left the country , illegally , in 1985 at 33 years old but i have revisited my country five times since. I have always thought there was something off with you and your postings . here at Unz,Now i know what it is. You , sir ,are one of those people who do not know anything about anything and you do not , even , know it.You , sir , are NOT Tolstoi or Dostoevski or Soljenitin or Sakharov to purport at analyses of whole societies to which , by the way , you are alien to.You are , also , NOT , Tiolkovsky or Mendeleev or , even Pavlov , to think that you may have any analytical skills far far from it. You ARE basically a nonentity spewing nonsense (don’t get me starting on your “graphs” and “statistics”}.

  49. There were supposedly more Germans in Romania than Gypsies, at least through 1977.

    Perhaps they were more concentrated in former Habsburg areas, localized as I believe the Hungarians there are.

    But at the same time, it still seems to me somewhat odd that Gypsies are more associated with Romania than Hungarians or Germans are. I don’t know if that speaks to geography, their romantic quality of being semi-nomadic, their criminality, or the numbers themselves being sketchy.

  50. Very interesting, thanks. Khmelnytsky tried, but failed, to place his son on the Moldovan throne.

  51. As with phenotypes, cuisine, and architecture, the Romanian language is also a hybrid. It has a Latinate structure, but with considerable Slavic vocabulary borrowings (ranging from 5% in standard Romanian to 20% in Moldova).

    I was amused to note that their word for war is “razboi” (e.g. Primul Război Mondial). In Russian, the term разбой denotes brigandage; bandits are разбойники. I found this linguistic false friend to be endearingly Balkan.

    It seems that all the military and quasi-military terms are Slavic (e.g. voivoda, boyar).

    Also, the Romanian word for “yes” is “da.”

  52. German_reader says

    The Germans have almost all left Romania (though oddly enough Romania’s current president Klaus Johannis is one…but he doesn’t have any children), their association with Romania is purely historical now…whereas Gypsies seem to be an expanding segment of the population, and also one of Romania’s main exports.

  53. That’s interesting. I wonder if many of them went to West Germany during the Cold War.

    If I recall, Romania was a traditional transit route for East Germans, where they would pretend to take vacations and steal over the border. Of course, getting a travel visa may have been difficult.

    I always thought of the laxity as being like the Romanians weren’t invested in the East German political apparatus, but maybe they had nationalistic reasons for letting Germans through.

    Or maybe, I’m just over-thinking it. I suppose there weren’t really too many, and when you have gypsies, you probably don’t spurn your local ethnic Germans.

  54. I can confirm voicum is a Romania. Romanians overdo whingeing. I suspect that Jewish whining was taken, together with the Israeli anthem, from Romania.

    Re. our bright Indian immigrants, the gypsies: AFAIK their spoken language has unusually few words. For example, I think their lingo doesn’t have enough numbers. When you hear them talking, it’s a mumbo jumbo of their Hindi and Romanian. (Much like most Indians in their home country speak half-English.)

    Their written language is even worse, as in: I never saw a book, on paper, in Gypsese.

    Therefore, when they, and the majority, felt like we can do business together, there was a need for more words from Romanian. When Gypsies became plumbers or carpenters, they would be using more Romanian words, and would declare themselves Romanians.

    However, I haven’t seen a Gypsy plumber in many years.

  55. The situation is analogous to what we can see of Lithuania of that time too. In its early incarnation, the Lithuanian court too availed itself of the much more developed Ruthenian language. It wasn’t until much later that the Lithuanian language surpassed the usage of old Ruthenian in official usage. Later yet, of course, even the Lithuanian language lost some prominence in favor of Polish and Latin.

  56. German_reader says

    I wonder if many of them went to West Germany during the Cold War.

    Quite a few already left in the 1970s, my father met some in Bavaria in the late 1970s. Most of the rest seems to have left shortly after 1989. According to Wikipedia the current president Johannis only stayed in Romania because he’s married to a Romanian woman, but his parents and sister now live in Germany.

  57. Hyperborean says

    A short (4000 word) review about a documentary dealing with this topic:

  58. Thank you. That was quite interesting.

    I hadn’t realized that the Romanian government sold Germans to West Germany, just as East Germany had, after a time.

  59. I thought that in Lithuanian, the Ruthenian language as court language was the “bridge” to Polish, with Lithuanian not being used as a court language after Ruthenian was widely adopted.

  60. Pilgrim007 says

    Moldova was established as a state around mid 14th century. It lost the southern part (Budjak) to the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, Bukovina to the Habsburg Empire in 1785, and the territory East of Prut (Bessarabia) to the Russian Empire in 1812.
    Modern Romania was established in 1859. It recovered both Bukovina and Bessarabia in 1918. It lost North Bukovina and Bessarabia at the end of WWII. Hundreds of thousands of Romanians were subsequently deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan. (This is one of the reason Romanians historically mistrust Russia).

  61. Pilgrim007 says

    “Carol I was a Germanophile”

    Carol I was a German from the family of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. His descendants were expelled from the Hohenzollern family when Romania declared war on the Central Alliance in 1916.

  62. Pilgrim007 says

    “Stalingrad erased just about all regard Hitler had for the Romanians. The Germans blamed both the Sixth Army’s encirclement and the failure of their relieving force to break through to Stalingrad on the inability of the Romanians to hold their sectors of the front against superior Soviet forces, and after that disaster Antonescu became far less eager and cooperative as a German ally (Romania’s forces were kept out of any further substantial action until the Red Army arrived at Romania’s borders in 1944).

    Manstein had a favorable opinion about Romanian soldiers on Eastern Front. One or two Romanian Divisions took part at the siege of Sevastopol under his command (see Verlorene Siege/Lost Victories) and he praised them.
    Leon Degrelle (Waffen SS on the Eastern Front) is not so favorable, but he mentions just one episode. Same for Rudel (Stuka Pilot), but he look at them from the air.

  63. “me from spending a few hours learning the Romanian language …not sure it would have been of much use”

    You might be surprised (especially if you know a romance language). I learned a little before my first visit (over 10 years ago) and was surprised at how far it went. I used to be pretty fluent in Spanish and am now fluent in Polish and the combination helped immensely.
    And I’ve never had as easy an introduction to a language before. Any time I tried to use it (in the capital no less) was met with friendliness and people going out of their way to speak clearly.

    After a day or two I could pick up the gist of some simple conversations going on around me.
    I haven’t gone back again often enough to keep it up but I always had the idea I could reach proficiency pretty easily. Mastery is another issue (the biggest problem would be the vowel changes which are extensive and confusing given the spelling system).

    I’ve been to Romania four or five times (mostly just Bucharest and once to Constanta – weird place) and the transformation from post-communist dump (interesting but still… a dump) to emerging SWPL-land has been striking (seeing it only periodically is more dramatic than watching the same transformation work out in real time in Poland)

    Did you try the covrigi (large soft pretzels and ubiquitous street snack)?

    Overall great post!

  64. Pilgrim007 says

    “Taras Shevchenko”

    There are many references to Russian culture/history in Bucharest. The Village Museum is on Kiseleff Road (named so after the General Pavel Kiselyov, who actually had it built).

    “Statue of Trajan and the She-wolf”

    It’s actually the statue of Romulus and Remus with the She-wolf. It’s a donation of the city of Roma to Bucharest from 1906. It’s called Lupa Capitolina=Statuia Lupoaicei.

  65. “Taras Shevchenko”

    There are many references to Russian culture/history in Bucharest.

    So now Taras Shevchenko is claimed as a Russian…

  66. You might as well send them Israel’s African refugees while you’re at it. After all, an Eritrean or Sudanese person would probably strongly prefer life in Germany or France than in Uganda or Rwanda!

  67. Soon, Stepan Bandera will also be claimed as a Russian–specifically a renegade one.

  68. Don’t worry! All of that Syrian and Eritrean talent which your country acquired will more than compensate for all of the Romanian and Bulgarian Gypsies that your country acquired! /s

  69. Why was the Soviet Union so uptight about Bessarabia?

  70. Hyperborean says

    Ceaușescu was not the only one who tried to exhibit independence in the Warsaw Pact.

    When the Red Army was first establishing a foothold in Eastern Europe there were several local Communists who possessed the desire to take independent initiative, but aside from Tito Stalin managed to sideline independent communists in favour of more subservient ones (typically ones who had lived in the USSR, particularly during the war).

    And afterwards those who did try either got replaced or tried to carry out a path of limited independence as they thought they could get away with from the USSR and Warsaw Pact.

    If I remember correctly, Ceaușescu was a ‘Home Communist’ who had spent the war in a Romanian prison, which may explain his especially assertive streak.

  71. From reading this very detailed study on the language issue within Lithuania, it appears that Lithuanian (Baltic) was only accepted as the official chancery language in 1793. Before then, it was a language used often by Lithuanian noblity alongside Polish, Ruthenian and Latin in day to day discourse . It’s development was a sort of roller coaster ride with several dips and turns as can be read here:

    a part of the elite in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 15th century still tried to make sure that the Grand Duke of Lithuania could understand the language of his Baltic speaking subjects. Thanks to the Polish chronicler Jan Długosz, we know that when the newly elected Grand Duke Casimir Jagiellon arrived from Kraków to Vilnius in 1440, local nobility taught him Lithuanian
    language and customs (local law)…Casimir in Trakai according to Długosz? It seems that it was Lithuanian in the modern sense of the term, because the “Lithuanian” and “Ruthenian” (in both
    cases relating to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 15th century) was diff erentiated in Latin terminology and Polish tradition very well. Most probably, Polish was the young prince’s first language since his birth in Kraków in 1427. The election of Casimir the Grand Duke of Lithuania was possible due to participation in this political intrigue of such important families of Lithuanian origin as Kiezhajly, Gaštoldy and Radzivily5 (Ochmański, 1982: 113). But this language practice started to decline in the 16th century already. The Lithuanian language went out of use at the Grand Duke’s courtyard by the middle of this century (Dubonis, 2004: 211)

    the Lithuanian language made its way into offi cial institutions very slowly. A some sort of shock, change of the foundations was neccessary, so that public authorities could fi nally start to issue regulations and universals in Lithuanian. It was the Constitution of May 3, 1791 that became such event, as its text was already translated in Lithuanian in the Grand Duchy, along with some other documents of the Kościuszko Uprising (Tumelis, 1997: 11-40) (Figure 12). So, what was the reason for the Lithuanian language to become the language off official acts of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania so late, only at the end of the 18th century?

  72. It’s all guesswork. Gypsies don’t cooperate with census takers (or other government agencies even ones that give them money*). They move around and are counted multiple times or not at all… they don’t care and the census takers probably didn’t much care either.

    In general, the bothersomeness of gypsies in Europe highly correlates with an Ottoman past.

    *they just loudly demand their money already

  73. for-the-record says

    A short (4000 word) review about a documentary dealing with this topic:

    I’m not sure it’s complete but here is a link to the documentary (“Trading Germans”):

  74. Yes and leaving the EU is a fantastic idea for Britain, amd any other wealthy member of the EU. Can’t wait for those infrastructure funds being spent at home, Crossrail 2 can be started.

  75. Those countries are delighted to offload their gypsies.

    A lot of Romanians in Britain now, young eductaed types, but cheap strippers too. Perhaps the best strippers move west leaving the gypsies to fill the void.

  76. A lot of the churches in Transylvania are to this day not Christian but ‘Unitarian’, and that points to a very neglected aspect of the history of Transylvania – Romania & also Hungary & Poland

    In the 1500s these regions were hotbeds of Unitarianism – the idea that Jesus was not ‘god’ but entirely human tho a great Buddha-like holy man & teacher … well grounded in the fact that the ‘nice guy’ sayings of Jesus, are actually often copies of Buddhist sayings from hundreds of years earlier.

    In the 1500s these were the most intellectually advanced, free-thinking places in Europe, enacting religious freedom well in advance of the Netherlands & the UK & Western Europe, under the rule of the Transylvanian Hungarian-Polish monarchy

    That tradition of religious freedom was later significantly crushed by the Vatican and Jesuit 1600s repression in Poland and elsewhere, but the ‘Unitarian – Jesus is not god’ faith remained alive particularly in Transylvania and Hungary … whilst the Dutch and later others picked up and ran with the helpful freedom-of-religion idea of the Transylvanians

    Bram Stoker’s Victorian ‘Dracula’ novel with its slandering of Transylvania, can be seen as an attack on the noble intellectual freedom of those who tried to liberate Europe from the Judaic & other harshness of traditional Christianity

    Christianity is actually a grafting of Buddhism upon a 60% Jewish base, along with Roman-Greek bits. Jesus probably learned from South Asian Buddhist teachers, Jesus maybe having travelled to India in his youth, and then Roman Jew Paul cleverly cobbled together what we know today as the New Testament and Christian religion … the Unitarians of the 1500s, were a noble foray into emphasising the Buddhist part over the Judaic part

    Sometimes on European ethno-nationalist websites, it is argued that Europeans need to finish the job of replacing Christianity were more locally-based religiosity, because Christianity or ‘cucktianity’ with its big Jewish ‘chosen people’ fetish, is always a Trojan horse for letting Jewish power and influence hold sway over anyone still enrolled in the Christian framework

  77. Roman Jew Paul cleverly cobbled together what we know today as the New Testament and Christian religion …

    Your whole comment sounds nonsensical, but it will suffice for you to help explain only this part. Where did Paul do his ‘cobbling’? He was not an author of any of the books of the New Testament. Where did he obtain the knowledge of Buddha’s sayings? Don’ t accounts of your type usually have Jesus going to India at some point and gain Vedic knowledge?

  78. Post-Christianity has worked so well for Europeans…

  79. Good point about him being a “Home Communist”; I hadn’t known that, and it surprises me quite a bit.

    With Tito, I always thought it was a mix of geography, “home revolution”, and the fact the Soviets hadn’t established supply lines into Yugoslavia, but I suppose all those things also touch directly on personality. He was not their picked man.

    There are probably modern lessons somewhere in this.

  80. Where did Paul do his ‘cobbling’? He was not an author of any of the books of the New Testament.


  81. Sometimes on European ethno-nationalist websites, it is argued that Europeans need to finish the job of replacing Christianity were more locally-based religiosity, because Christianity or ‘cucktianity’ with its big Jewish ‘chosen people’ fetish, is always a Trojan horse for letting Jewish power and influence hold sway over anyone still enrolled in the Christian framework

    The idea that Christianity has been historically beneficial to Jews is laughable

  82. anonymous coward says

    well grounded in the fact that the ‘nice guy’ sayings of Jesus, are actually often copies of Buddhist sayings from hundreds of years earlier

    Really? I dare you to name even one such saying.

    Protip: you can’t. Two reasons:

    a) Jesus was anything but a ‘nice guy’. He preached tough love, not being nice.
    b) They taught diametrically opposing doctrines. The Buddha taught that natural law is evil and salvation comes from ignoring it through inaction. Christ taught that those who don’t proactively follow natural law will be destroyed.

    In any case, neither of them gave a rat’s ass about ‘being nice’. Only Americans and Western Europeans care about that, and that only because they’re a people on track to dying out and want to go out quietly and without fuss.

  83. It is a mixed blessing.
    They get money and pay with people who migrate to the older members who fix their demographic issues at the expense of the poor countries.

    For poor countries it’s all great, they receive free vast wealth given to them from wealthy countries, and economic access to their markets (with the only problem that it might be too nice to keep best people from going to wealthier countries – but this happens even outside EU).

    But for wealthy EU countries, it’s almost a reverse – almost completely negative for taxpayers in these countries to allow poor countries into the system, who they then have to give vast free money to until they converge economically with them.

    For this reason, EU project designed to be as unclear to voters in wealthy countries as possible, while at the same time also designed to be impossible to escape.

    In a miracle UK seems to be escaping it, but now the EU is demanding a $50 billion “exit bill”. Despite the fact UK has given tens of billions of free money to the EU, every year, for tens of years. It’s kind of comical how badly fucked the UK is being by the EU, in comparison to how much countries like Spain, Poland or Romania benefit from it. It’s really “socialism” between countries. Poor EU countries receive more than they could ever dream, while wealthy EU countries more than they could ever nightmare.

    Well the final nightmare, of Turkey’s membership in the EU, has at least been avoided (aside from permanent billions of dollars of annual free subsidies to Turkey, this would have resulted in millions of Turkish people immigrating to the wealthiest EU countries).

  84. You’re right – I was only thinking of the four major gospels. But his theory still seems pretty suspect.

  85. Regarding Turkey, I would not say “avoided” so much as “delayed.”

    That, I believe, is in the sense of the goals of the leadership. Many want a pan-Mediterranean Union. And if they ever once seriously considered North Africa, then there is no way they would baulk at an obviously dysfunctional Turkey.

    They are ideologues. It is a question of what they are permitted to do, rather than one of them actually changing their goals.

    If it wasn’t so serious, it would almost be funny: it’s called the EU, and they are trying to integrate Asia Minor. How could they possibly delude themselves into thinking that falls into their mandate?

  86. There’s a Unitarian church near me.

    I think of them as a mix between modern druids or wicca and the people who believe in Star Wars as a religion.

    They are probably the most cucked people imaginable. I don’t think you can find a church without a rainbow flag. And you are saying it came from a diverse region of Europe 500 years ago? To champion globalist-level diversity 500 years later, like some undead creature, gaining power and evil with the years?

  87. Hyperborean says

    I wonder what would have happened to Thorez and Togliatti, Stalinist-loyalist leaders of the French and Italian communist parties respectively, if the Red Army had advanced further west?

    Most likely they would have been replaced. But it would have created a slight image problem.

    The most fortuitous route for Stalin was probably the one played by Thälmann.

    Thälmann served as a Stalinist agent of influence during the Weimar Era, but was conveniently executed by the National Socialists during the later phase of the war, which enabled the DDR authorities to continue the cult of personality Thälmann had built around him during the Interbellum Period without fear of independentist thought being exhibited.

    Well, creating cults of personality around people who were conveniently dead was not uncommon in Communist societies.

    I found this Stalinist website praising Thälmann and, amusingly, denouncing the DDR for being a ”social fascist” (social democratic) state.

  88. I suppose because they considered Romanian actions to be an invasion and occupation of their territory and also a stab in the back. As Romanians themselves point out when they talk about their gold, Russia and Romania were supposed to be allies. You generally don’t expect an ally to send an army across your border and grab a piece of your territory, even if they think they could get away with it. So the Russians grew a little upset.

  89. the fact that the ‘nice guy’ sayings of Jesus, are actually often copies of Buddhist sayings from hundreds of years earlier

    Christianity is actually a grafting of Buddhism

    Do you have a good, academic source for this theory that is relatively concise?

    Thanks in advance.


  90. Comparisons between Jesus and Buddha were quite common in the 19th century. There were a few books written on it but not easily accessible – some on, iirc, and maybe even Amazon. I was interested in the topic and had trouble finding info on it.

    There is an amusing attempt by alt-rightists to redefine Jesus as a an aggressive, selfish, tribal God who recommended you only turn the other cheek towards members of your tribe while lay waste the tribal enemy with fire and sword.

    For modern whites, tribalism is a step away from individualism, so I don’t judge it too harshly – but eventually they’ll find their way to a proper universalist religion like everyone else in the world. But you have to start with baby steps.

    As for Jesus and Buddha, I think the similarities are easily explained as manifestations of the Petrenial Tradition – this wisdom shows up everywhere around the world because Truth is not limited to one people or region.

    If I remember correctly, you understand Islam as a manifestation of this primordial perennial tradition, and as in fact the most correct version of it, and as such actually older than Judaism and Christianity.

  91. I see Martyonov’s dyslexic twin is now commenting at Unz.

  92. a proper universalist religion like everyone else in the world

    Imagine being this stupid

  93. That’s unfortunate that nothing is easily available on it. I would have loved to read at least a few pages on the specific similarities in the teachings.

    you understand Islam as a manifestation of this primordial perennial tradition, and as in fact the most correct version of it, and as such actually older than Judaism and Christianity.

    Correct. I referenced this fairly good article on it in just another thread:
    “From the perspective of sacred history, however, as Muslims would understand it from their reading of the Qur’anic worldview, Islam is the oldest religion even predating the creation of human beings. Muslims view Islam as the primordial religion of the universe. If this sounds too metaphysical, simply consider the meaning of Islam – willing surrender to and harmony with God’s Will, meaning divine teachings and preferences.”

    In our perspective; Islam (submission) is not just the religion of man, but it is literally the very fiber that pervades the universe. Even if men choose not to bow, their shadows do:
    “Have they not observed the things Allah has created, their shadows inclining from the right and the left prostrating themselves before Allah in humility?…” (16:48)

    “The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him and there is not a thing but glorifies His Praise. But you do not understand their glorification. Truly, He is Ever-Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving” (17:44)

    Thunder itself is the hymn of lighting when it strikes (from the chapter called “Thunder”):
    “Thunder glorifies His praises, as do the angels in awe of Him…” (13:13)

    Similarities between the teachings (and even exact phrases) of Jesus (pbuh) and the Buddha would essentially point to what you are mentioning; a primordial religious tradition that is differs in slight details in regional and temporal manifestation, but which has a core essence that is recognizable across all variants.

    alt-rightists to redefine Jesus

    Certain aspects of the alt-right remind me of Salafism; a radical departure from inherited tradition. I examine stuff like this, the way I do with claims in my religion; “Really? Well let’s see what the authorities in the tradition have been saying for the last couple of thousand years…”


  94. It’s often fascinating to read the writings of people who are still Communists. They are like living fossils, to compare to the globalists of today.

    It’s funny that they could still be arguing about dead personalities. I suppose there is the eternal romance of the Communism which was never implemented. I always thought Ulbricht had a funny and appropriate nickname for a puppet: “the Goatee.”

  95. I know, it was frustrating for me too, it’s a fascinating topic. There ARE some good books on it, just not easily accessed. Schopenhauer also wrote on the similarities between the two in his essays.

    From my perspective, Jesus and Buddha are kindred spirits, but then so are the Sufis.

    An interesting comparison would be reading the Sermon On The Mount alongside the Dhammapada – I think much similarity will be found there.

    Edward Conze wrote a little essay easily found onlinek on the stark similarities between Buddhism and Christian mysticism.

    Underneath the outward forms, really it’s all the same, but outward forms matter to different kinds of people.

    Western Europeans in particular seem to have a hard time seeing beyond surfaces – they think surfaces are solid and eternal. So I think they need a spirituality adapted to them.

    Bruce Charlton on his blog is working out a spirituality that may be well adapted to the Western European mind.

  96. I know – but I think you guys will improve.

  97. For poor countries it’s all great, they receive free vast wealth given to them from wealthy countries, and economic access to their markets (with the only problem that it might be too nice to keep best people from going to wealthier countries – but this happens even outside EU).

    Outside of the EU, there is no such freedom of movement between rich and poor country that encourages migration.

    But for wealthy EU countries, it’s almost a reverse – almost completely negative for taxpayers in these countries to allow poor countries into the system, who they then have to give vast free money to until they converge economically with them.

    Depends on the taxpayers you are talking about.
    For corporate taxpayers who gain improved access to markets and cheap labor, it is a good deal.

  98. Toronto Russian says

    Biserica is an interesting word. It looks like a result of phonetic evolution of Latin “basilica”, but Romanian also has a phonetically unchanged version of that (used to describe a type of Catholic church.)
    Is bazilica a recent loan word, and biserica an ancient one?

    And what is a keto cheeseburger?

  99. for-the-record says

    Biserica is an interesting word. It looks like a result of phonetic evolution of Latin “basilica”

    You’re right, it is. It is a “popular” form which underwent Romanian “rhotacism” whereby [l] & [n] → [r] between vowels. Other examples are cer (“heaven”) from Latin CAELUM, fericire (“happiness”) from FELICITAS, and fereastră (“window”) from FENESTRA.

    In contrast, bazilica is a “learned” form which would have been adopted at a later date.

    All of the Romance languages have similar “popular” – “learned” doublets, e.g., French (and hence English) loyal – légal (from Latin LEGALIS).

  100. I did some searching around and came across this:

    Though I don’t know how reliable it is.

    Edward Conze wrote a little essay easily found online

    I’ll check it out.

    Christian mysticism

    Some early Christian mystics deeply impressed the early Muslims. I can’t remember which famous Sufi shaykh it was, but he acknowledged a great deal of his spirituality to his companionship with a Christian monk.

    Bruce Charlton on his blog is working out a spirituality that may be well adapted to the Western European mind.

    This one?


  101. It’s a stupid idea, but as a reaction to even stupider ideas, still it has some positive aspects.

    When you see religious people like Talha and AaronB above, still talking in primitive religious ways in the 21st century, then for a moment you will feel more kindly for the Soviet Union, which at least forced people to live in a real world and to study science.

    Problem of communism – even in theory (in practice more serious other problems), was herd or collectivist/mass mentality, idealization of the state, idealization equality of income, and lack of respect for private property.

    Deepest spiritual problem above, is veneration of collective or herd, – which is expression of fundamentally weak people, but one existent in many other ideologies and religions beside communism.

  102. Yep, that Bruce Charlton.

    I am not a fan of his particular brand of spirituality, but he often says some remarkably good things – only to follow it up with a bunch of posts that cancel it out and return us to the modern mindset. So he’s very mixed, but worth reading.

    He himself says he is trying to fuse aspects of the modern mentality – which he thinks was part of a necessary stage of development (like all moderns, he believes in “progress”)- with traditional spirituality.

    Sometimes when he offers his mature vision, it is hardly distinguishable from traditional spirituality – which is where he will probably end up after his lengthy spiritual peregrinations.

    But I think he may be very helpful to modern Westerners as having crafted a transitional spirituality well adapted to modern Westerners – one cannot simply leap from hard materialism, logic, and science into traditional spirituality.

  103. Well since in EU, no harmonious policy – it depends on what country you are talking about. In Ireland – great to be a corporate taxpayer. In France, not so much.

    Fortunately, the corporation can move, and there is no yet a harmonious policy. So there is something still positive in the inharmony of current EU. That the corporation does not have to be incorporated in the same country, but can easily move to another one which has lower taxation, while still having access to all same markets (and even, with some movement of residence, you can take employees with you – and they don’t need visas).

  104. When you see religious people like Talha and AaronB above, still talking in primitive religious ways in the 21st century, then for a moment you will feel more kindly for the Soviet Union, which at least forced people to live in a real world and to study science.

    And worship their prophet Lenin.
    I would respect the anti-religious stance of the Commies more if it was not used to replace established religion with their own pseudo-religion.
    In the end, it proved that religion has a place in the real world.

  105. At some stage, they have to learn limits in their ambitions – Turkey is the absolute limitation point.

    You already cannot make the successful North Western European countries, swallow and fund indiscriminately, the unsuccessful countries, without damaging the successful North Western European countries.

    All that happens is North Western European countries have to fund eternally Southern European and Eastern European countries they are swallowing. Add countries like Romania to EU – and result is EU becomes more like Romania.

    EU already went insane and made the wealthy countries swallow the poor ones (well the really wealthy countries – Norway and Switzerland – avoid the entire organization).

    But there has to be absolute limit when it reaches Turkey (80 million brown Muslims), that is a bomb large enough that if they swallow it, could finally destroy the entire EU organization.

  106. When you see religious people like Talha and AaronB above, still talking in primitive religious ways in the 21st century, then for a moment you will feel more kindly for the Soviet Union, which at least forced people to live in a real world and to study science.

    Yes, let’s talk real world…

    At this pace, what AaronB and I are bantering about is far more likely going to be the discussion well into the 25th century.


  107. Daniel Chieh says

    Cult of the Machine God also has highly sophisticated technology.

  108. Definitely sounds interesting.

    one cannot simply leap from hard materialism, logic, and science into traditional spirituality.

    Usually not, unless one has a “road to Damascus” or other visceral life-changing experience.


  109. When you see religious people like Talha and AaronB above, still talking in primitive religious ways in the 21st century

    Don’t use them to tar all religion. AaronB believes in meaningless deracinated new age crap, Talha’s religion was invented by savages for savages.

  110. At this pace, what AaronB and I are bantering about is far more likely going to be the discussion well into the 25th century.

    I suppose I should also be interested in the profound thoughts of Nigeriens, since they have seven and a half children each

  111. The real world?

    I shall quote myself here.

    Western Europeans in particular seem to have a hard time seeing beyond surfaces – they think surfaces are solid and eternal. So I think they need a spirituality adapted to them.

    We just have to find the right spirituality for you, D. I think you should check out

    He tries to retains large parts of the modern materialistic mindset – so he will probably appeal to you.

  112. Perhaps you should brush up on your Yuroban or Fulani…when in Rome…


  113. Well, America is one of the most religious countries in the world, and a lot of Americans are even Scientologists and Jehovah’s Witnesses – but they have established in law, for centuries, that religion is a private topic.

    American public sphere is secular, while private sphere as religious or not as a family wants to be.

    And unlike primitive countries, parents cannot coerce children on this topic – a large proportion of children of religious families will become secular, and vice versa.

    When people keep religion private, most of its negative aspects are removed, as American society has shown the way forward here.

  114. Hey, wait a second. Lenin was not literally worshiped. You are using a word in a metaphorical sense. No one prayed to Lenin, or sacrificed animals, or whatever. He was not expected to help you from beyond the grave or smite your enemies. That would be weird.

  115. America is one of the most religious countries in the world

    Amen – USA! USA!

    a large proportion of children of religious families will become secular, and vice versa.

    This is true. Just this past Ramadan, one of our local muftis was mentioning how he has met apostates from Islam who memorized the entire Qur’an.

    When people keep religion private, most of its negative aspects are removed

    As well as its positives.

    American society has shown the way forward here.

    American society is awesome…sans some of its pathologies.


  116. Toronto Russian says


  117. Thanks for the compliements.

    It really does seem like a magical place. Dare I say Switzerland on a budget?

    I got that impression as well. You can probably spend almost a week in Transylvania for the price of a day in Switzerland.

    Keto isn’t SWPL, that’s veganism!

    I think keto is very SWPL, just not hipsterish. Or perhaps Gray Tribe.

  118. Thanks, it’s certainly very plausible that ostensibly leftist parties have many neoliberal policies in Romania – seems typical for Eastern Europe.

    Although I’m of the opinion that many of those policies, while not “nice”, are in most cases defensible and sometimes necessary.

    Flat tax on income is common throughout the region and is widely associated with a reduction in tax evasion after its implementation (Italy now wants to do it too). I imagine that welfare aid to the unemployed disproportionately benefits Gypsies – countries like Sweden can afford to maintain a parasitic underclass, Romania – not so much. Low pensions are sad, but Romania seems to spend as much on pensions (8.1% of GDP) as the OECD average (8.2%). But considering that Romania has the lowest revenue as a percentage of GDP of any EU country except Ireland, the real burden must be even higher. Can Romania afford higher pensions without undercutting its current economic dynamism?

  119. Thanks for the compliments.

    Correct that no part of Romania touches Moscow (nor does Warsaw, for that matter), but overall I suspect current Romanian living standards might be higher than in Russia.

    If they’re higher, then I doubt it’s by much (perhaps 10%).

    That said, in the context of the situation c.1992, this is certainly an impressive achievement on Romania’s part, and a rather lackluster performance from Russia.

    I agree with Dmitry’s comment too. Additional factors to bear in mind: (1) The USSR’s economy was uniquely distorted even by post-Communist standards (e.g. a country like Romania has no equivalent to the many economically impractical towns scattered across Siberia); (2) EU convergence funds as counterpart to Russia’s oil wealth; (3) Undeniable positive impact of institutional improvement to satisfy EU standards, and faster spread of best practice; (4) Loss of human capital to Western Europe is bad, but compensated for by remittances and upwards pressure on wages within Romania itself (which is the greater factor? when considering short-term/long-term? I don’t actually know, though there must be economic studies on this).

    Not directed at you, but I think I have long maintained that Putin is not a miracle worker, and many of the improvements in Russia are general to Eastern Europe have come regardless (or despite him) and not because of him. OTOH, it is certainly easy to imagine a Russian regime that would have been much worse than Putin for Russians. This position of course annoys all the extremists.

  120. Gypsies are historically one of the most oppressed groups & the hatred for them sheds light on the so called enlightened civility of Europe

  121. To expand on cliff arroyo’s point, here’s a further guess.

    In previous decades, many Gypsies used to assimilate, becoming Romanian [/titular nationality] in the process.

    But there may have been a “boiling off” process analogous to what Cochran/Harpending posit happened with the Amish. Current Gypsies could be Gypsier than the Gypsies of yesteryear. Firmer in their Gypsy identity, with more of a tendency to Gypsy-like behavior, such as petty criminality and high fecundity.

    If true, this would be pretty bad for Romania, Hungary, etc.

  122. Not that it helped. I kept saying “si” instead of “da”. 🙂

    Romanians also often use the word “okay.” I daresay more than English speakers.

  123. Thanks.

    I agree, the vowels are tricky, from what I could see, grammar also harder than in the standard Latin language. (OTOH, I just checked, and Monterey classifies them as a Category I language – the easiest there is).

    Yes, I tried the covrigi. Standard pretzel like thing.

  124. If white Nationalists keep mixing with Asians the boiled off white population will be even cuckier & homosex. Agree?

  125. And what is a keto cheeseburger?

    No carb burger (alternately called a “fitness” burger or “hipster” burger, at least in Russia). Basic version has two lettuce leafs serving as the buns; fancier versions use nut-based breads.

  126. Hyperborean says

    Tolerating parasitic gypsies requires saint-like patience.

  127. Lars Porsena says

    That’s like saying separate Bavarian identity is centuries old but German is more recent.

    But that’s true.

    Bavaria should be independent and Moldova should be Polish. They were a March of the Polish crown at one point or another. That’s good enough. The land is Polish. They should be grateful it’s not Turks.

    If Romania agrees to go along Poland will give it half.

  128. Daniel Chieh says

    Basically “paleo bread”, I take?

  129. Re. Romanian social-democrat harsher welfare policies, I am not saying they are not required.

    The problem is that the white T-shirts were replaced this weekend by the black masks. In fact, the march you saw was the second in as many years of social-democrats, since they took power. Their voters are rather placid, despite bringing them election victory after election victory. In contrasts, the opposition fans gather in front of the government building almost every month, protesting against the “Communists”.

    Every once in a while, this weekend included, the anti-“Communists” become essentially Maidanists: meeting without authorization, blocking the streets and public transportation, attempting to enter government buildings, calling themselves “martyrs” on FB every time riot police sends them back.

    But, as I said, social democrats are not even close to social democracy, let alone socialism / communism. At times, it seems they are the more right wing party. For example, in the last presidential debate of 2009, the “social-democrat” candidate was accused of, blasphemy!, attempting the privatization of the post office.

    Moreover, if you are a bit older, you know that older leaders of the opposition have been members of the “social-democratic” party.

    The Maidanists of Bucharest do not know, or do not want to know, any of this, and they skew everyone’s opinion. Hence, you got your information a bit skewed.

    Rachel Maddow is also skewed. She has erections (I believe this is the correct term) every time she comments on Bucharest demos. Apparently, this is what America needs, or so she says.

    Worse, some foreign investors skip the country, while others demand more money upfront. For example, the American ambassador asked the Romanian parliament to reject a law that requires new oil fields sell half of their product within the country. It all felt like Exxon was terrified of the emergence of a local Chavez, and wanted all the money ASAP. This, despite US requiring all their oil to be sold on the internal US market.

    And worst, Romanian social-democrats can de-fund welfare, national health insurance, and education. Who can even guess they do that? After all, they are “Communists”.

    Re. monoindustrial cities, Romania had quite a few of those. For example, most of the mines were never privatized, and some former miners, who stopped going in the mine by 2000, still receive some money. See this for example. Some of the inland oil dried up in the last decades, leading to the bankruptcy of the regional refinery. (More precisely, that would be the third insolvency in 15 years, but state subsidies still feed 400 employees.) Some downstream industries were also affected. For example, the chains chemical factories → synthetic fiber manufacturers →textile manufacturers, built by Ceausescu’s government, are broken now.

    However, the youth from these towns is firmly established in Spain and Italy. These are by far the top destinations for working low-skill Romanians. I doubt they’d stay even if the mine and the refineries would hire.

    I doubt they’d go to Germany either. People with Romanian passports going to Germany are mostly of Indian origin. Future software engineers, if you ask me.

  130. I’ve spent about six months in Bucharest during the last two years. I concur with most of your observations, and think this is a fine account for the amount of time you spent there.

    A handful of contrary observations. The American movies I saw were dubbed. I didn’t particularly notice hipster and SJW types among the young people, just an enormous number of phone zombies, not unlike the U.S. And the entire time I was there I can’t recall seeing one obvious homosexual. If gay rights is emerging there soon, it will be bursting out of a well-hidden closet.

    And while I’ve never been to Russia, it’s hard to imagine the drivers there or anywhere being as bad as in Bucharest. You MUST walk defensively — no pedestrian crossing is safe. Nor any sidewalk — they will drive right up on to them in search of parking, and you’d better get your butt out of the way. Take a cab, you take your life in your hands. They haul ass through those city streets, leaving absolutely no margin for error.

  131. I doubt they’d go to Germany either. People with Romanian passports going to Germany are mostly of Indian origin. Future software engineers, if you ask me.

    There are more than 622k Romanian citizens in Germany, third-largest group of EU foreigners in the FRG.

  132. Jaakko Raipala says

    I went a Lenin museum once. (Not one in Russia but in Finland.) The exhibition was unimpressive to non-cultists but some visitors are apparently interested in the opportunity to touch a tea cup that Lenin supposedly once used, sit in a chair where Lenin once sat and to visit halls where Lenin once spoke (the building was used by leftist party conventions pre-revolution). The tourist guide was a deranged leftist woman who explained that she feels closest to Lenin and feels shivers in a particular spot where she believed Lenin once stood (though there seemed to be no evidence besides her feels).

    This behavior is identical to how relics of Christian saints were treated and it really doesn’t sound much like the “scientific materialism” that Marx had envisioned. The desire for saints seems to be innate and most Christian churches chose to regulate this tendency by having an approved canon of saints which could integrate holy men without a risk of any of them displacing Christ. (Lutherans are not supposed to venerate saints but despite all the efforts to destroy relics in the Reformation it continued in private anyway.)

    Mankind is innately superstitious and irrational. Attempts to create “rational” or “scientific” politics will just end up recreating superstition in another form.

  133. The wealth is not really free. (1) EU got new markets to send their products (2) A lot of help is being spent to western companies (i mean imagine EU funds a highway, and German company will built it) (3) no tariffs (4) destruction of the competition (i.e. Polish suger industry was severely hurt – though some claim otherwise) (5) free educated workforce (i.e. young educated people whose education was funded by Polish taxpayer, who then emigrate to UK and start to contribute immedietely). (6) there are huge profit transfers out of Poland (banks and foreign companies sent huge amounts of money abroad, sometimes going around the regulations)

    I’d say the access to an open market and the the back transfers by Polish immigrants were more important than the EU subsidies.

  134. Indeed:
    “Lesbians Want A Church Of Their Own And IRS Approves:
    Pussy Church of Modern Witchcraft might strike you as something you would find in the Onion, rather than here on a Forbes tax blog, but it is a real deal. You can find it on Charity Navigator and Guidestar. The IRS recognized it as a 501(c)(3) organization and went the extra step of recognizing PCMW as a church, the most enviable of all tax statuses. exempt not only from income tax but also from the transparency that filing Form 990 creates.”


  135. Thorfinnsson says

    Well written with many good photographs, thank you.

    As APilgrim mentioned, King Carol wasn’t a Germanophile. He was German. His Queen Consort was German as well, from the House of Nassau. This contributed strongly to the German feelings of betrayal in 1916.

    His successor, Ferdinand, was also German as Carol did not produce any male heirs.

    However, Ferdinand’s Queen Consort was an Englishwoman from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Windsor). Ferdinand was dominated by his wife and repeatedly cuckolded by her. Woops.

    The Wilhelmine era had many successes (until the deluge), but diplomacy was not one of them. Even the marriage of Alix of Hesse (Alexandra Feodorvna) to Nicholas II was also an abject failure since she turned into an Orthodox religious fanatic who identified with Holy Russia (the Russian people, to their credit, had better sense than to accept a German lunatic).

    Some amusing British propaganda from the period:

    Freedom and justice BTFO.

  136. Daniel Chieh says

    How strong is the Communist party in Finland? When I was there, it felt like a country where Communism could theoretically thrive, with many people I knew expressing an innate idea that “we are a social welfare country, we should not have to worry about anything in life.”

    I knew one of the wealthiest men in Uusimaa; as far I could tell, he was explicitly abusing this, by only opening factories and hiring Estonians to circumvent employment/wage structure laws, while using as many social benefits of Finland as possible. I do not know if his attitude was common for the elite.

  137. Don’t be retarded.

    Moldova started out as a Hungarian march.
    In other words “let’s get those rednecks to fight the steppe nomads for us”.

    WTF is with all these retards and their alternate timelines ?

  138. E. Harding says

    Russians stopped doing that about a decade ago.

    Not for 8-10 hour-long international flights, they didn’t.

  139. The West tolerates homosexuals this can’t be any worse

  140. Hyperborean says

    No, they are definitely worse. Why are you complaining about ‘muh gypsy oppression’, anyway?

  141. RadicalCenter says

    He’s got my vote for travel writer, too. Originally I wrote, “don’t give up the political, historical, and social topics, AK.” But actually, the travel writing dovetails well with those areas.

    PS Suggestion for Mr. Unz: fund a multinational vacation for Anatoly on the condition that his travel companion be … Andrei Martyanov. Man, the v-logs would be awesome.

  142. Very nice presentation, the more that it presents real images instead of the selective and photoshopped images that the Western media accustomed us with so far (the horse pulled carts being the most benign) and it makes a honest effort to see what is behind the clichés and stereotypes about Romania.
    But of course, such a short visit cannot give you a more in depth knowledge and I suspect that the sources of information about Romania’s turbulent history and present political situation offered another set, more sophisticated, of clichés and stereotypes which oriented his observations. For example, the history book that his ‘boyar’ friend (who I suspect is rather on the side of the ‘anti-corruption’ side of the political spectrum – which means the Soros NGOs who organized the recent attempts at color revolution in Romania) recommended for study is a ‘concentrate’ of these stereotypes – the late author being himself a scion of a ‘boyar’ family returned to Romania after the fall of Communism, who played a dubious role in the events that led to the fall of Romania under Soviet domination, role who was all too eager to hide. Or, more amusing (certainly from his AltRight friend who apparently is not Romanian), the innuendo that KEBAB (that he probably had in a Lebanese or Turkish restaurant) is a national food of Romania! And the obligatory reference to ‘Dracula’.

    On a more serious note, the cliche that religiosity of Romanians is ‘shallow and in ‘very large part an expression of national identity, as opposed to being a genuine spiritual phenomenon’, induced by his friend MP, caused him to ‘readjust’ his prior conceptions about Romanian religiosity and to contradict dismiss his polls about church attendance. He ‘got the impression’ that to the difference of Russia, where only old women attend empty churches, in Romania there are also some middle aged men. It actually prevented him to see with his own eyes that churches are full to the brim with people of all ages and very many young people on Sundays, who not only go to listen ‘spiritual’ music, but take communion (that would entail that the previous day they went to confession and fast instead of restaurants and cafes – full also!). He could have seen that in the church next door to the ‘Caru’ cu Bere’, a church frequented daily by people who come to venerate relics, pray and seek spiritual counsels from the priests and visiting ‘starets’. On the feast day of the church the queue of people coming to venerate the ‘moaște'(relics) extends from there to the doors of the building where he lived. He wouldn’t know, of course that the feast day of Saint Parascheva in Iasi (in Romania’s Moldova) attracts 1 million people from all corners of Romania and from Ukraine and Russia as well.
    He would have noticed that the new churches (not all as ugly that the one he saw from the train) were in their vast majority built by the communities who put their money and physical efforts in their building (very few ‘oligarchs’ who wanted to wash their Communist sins) and the number of young people who choose an ecclesiastical career. And he would have noticed the extent of the monastic life. Surprisingly, he did not notice the Russian Church, a land mark of Bucharest, next door to where he lived.

    It is not his fault either that he doesn’t really understand the intricacies of the problem of Moldova and Transnistria and how much it affects the ”Russophobia” or “Russophilia” of the Romanians. In short Romania’s ‘pretentions’ to reintegrate Moldova in Romania extend only to the Dniester. Transnistria never was part of historical Moldova of Stephen the Great. It was actually created by the Soviet Union, after the union of the Gubernya of Bessarabia with Romania in 1918, as the Moldavian ASSR’. The Moldavian SSR, was attached to the Moldavian SSR’ created after the Soviet occupation in 1940. During the was it was reoccupied by Romania including Transnistria under special administration. After the war Transnistria was attached to Moldavian SSR. After the dissolution of USSR, Transnistria detached itself from the newly independent Republic of Moldova, which did not renounce it (they went to war in the ’90s).
    The majority of the population of Moldova is ethnically and linguistically Romanian (‘Moldovan’ language is actually a subdialect of Romanian). 1 million ‘Moldovans’ acquired Romanian citizenship.
    The Southern part of what was the Oblast of Moldavia and Bessarabia (1812-1871) occupied by the Russians in 1812, transformed into the Gubernya of Bessarabia (1871-1918) – Bessarabia proper – is now part of Ukraine. It was never part of historical Moldova, but was a Ottoman sandjak, ceded to Russia by the Peace of Bucharest in 182. But Russia occupied also illegally parts of historical Moldova between the rivers Pruth and Dniester attaching it to Bessarabia. The conflation of Moldova with Bessarabia creates only confusion and obscures its role in the ‘Great Game’.
    On the other hand Romania is not at all keen to integrate the other nationalities living in Moldova and Transnistria and bring in troubles that she managed so far to avoid. And in any case it has no pretensions whatsoever on Crimea!

  143. I’m going to guess he is an Indian.

  144. You are not far from the truth. Bram Stoker intended to write a ‘vampire story’ inspired by the infamous ‘Blood Countess’ Elizabeth Bathory and was to be placed in Slovakia. Bathory was a Hungarian family of ‘Magnates’ with extensive properties in Transylvania and Slovakia, who gave also some Princes to Transylvania and a King to Poland. The scandal of the ‘Blood Countess’ was always covered up in Hungary.
    It was at the suggestion of a famous Hungarian orientalist and British spy, Arminius Vambery (Bamberger) that Stoker changed his subject and moved it to Transylvania. It was Vambery who fed Stoker with the false identity as Hungarian of the historical figure of the Valachian Voivode Vlad the Impaler. Vlad was indeed related with Hungarian nobility and some grand aristocrats in Hungary claimed to be descendants of him (Ezsterhazy). Even erh, Prince Charles who bought properties in Transylvania close to the supposed castle of Dracula in Borgo Pass. Prince Charles has been offered the honorific title of ‘Prince of Transylvania’ because of his promotion of Transylvania as a tourist destination and because he is “more Romanian than many Romanians.”
    It is a little known fact that the ‘Dracula Program’ was devised in the ’70s by the Tourism Authorities in Romania and the immensely profitable ‘Dracula Industry’ to attract British and American tourists. It had different levels, one general, visits through all places that could be related to Vlad the Impaler, true or alleged, museums, entertainment with Vampire themes, souvenirs, all the cutlery. A secret program reserved to millionaires, was organized around the Borgo Pass on the hunting reservations of the Party. It is big business in which HRH is heavily involved. Orban certainly would like to have a share in it, but it is out of his league. The Trustee of ‘The Prince of Wales’s Foundation’ in Romania and host of the prince at his yearly visits to Transylvania, is Tibor, Count Kálnoky and Baron of Kőröspatak, descendant of the ‘primores’ (magnates) of the Szeklers.

  145. Islam being one of them.

  146. Bazilica is indeed a ‘learned’ scholarly term and is applied only when talking about the ancient Roman buildings. A technical term rather.

  147. Pray not to ever live close to them. It would be too great a punishment for your childish naivety.

  148. “he did not notice the Russian Church, a land mark of Bucharest, next door to where he lived”

    Do not expect too much. Karlin is not really interested in the real world. He lives in his model of the world. Everybody does actually, but some models are simpler than others and some are way too simple that never can’t adjust to new inputs and can’t evolve. He is a radical reductionist. Didn’t he claim not so long ago that he got the world pretty much explained with IQ or something like that? Give him tables of data and color coded maps showing this or that and probably he would be much happier. He likes to make lists and quantitative (better/worse) ordering. How the sequence Portugal, Rumania, Russia should be ordered? Autistic “Ordnung muss sein.” I can see why transhumanism is appealing to him. Being augmented with a computer generating virtual reality.

  149. I can assure you that the golden pieces in the Museum Treasury room are originals. There still are items of the treasury sent to Russia in 1916 which have not been returned, but the ones exhibited are not replicas. Most of them are anyway recent archeological findings.

  150. Speaking about colored maps, this is exactly the case of the maps he photographed in a local museum and claimed to illustrate the pretensions of Romania over Crimea. They are exactly a gross simplification of demographic maps of distribution of ethnic Romanians in Romania and outside its present frontiers, the kind that are normally color coded.
    It’s not his fault. There certainly exist in Romania a fringe of hyper-nationalists who invoke a dim but glorious past of the Romanians (and rather of the pre-Roman Thracian populations), on the model of Pan-Germanism, Pan-Slavism, Pan-Celtism and invoke any tiny presence of Romanians outside its borders as the proof of their autochtony in those areas.
    Now, certainly a presence of Romanian ethnic elements in Ukraine and Caucasus as a result of the colonization of Catherine the Great and of the long distance transhumance of the shepherds of the Carpathians which at times touched Crimea and Kuban, is well documented.

  151. We’ll see, there you go.

  152. The Russian people came their senses and made Alix a Saint.

  153. Hyperborean says

    Thanks for clarifying my earlier question about the maps, I was a bit confused about that.

  154. Thorfinnsson says

    Nordic Social Democracy, at least until recently, satisfied the Finnish aspiration you observed.

    The attitude you saw is not common. Typically one would be more discreet.

    I don’t have extensive knowledge of Finland, but Swedes call it “the brother country”. I assume things aren’t too different based on my time spent there.

  155. Finland has a different history than Sweden, but they seem to be converging somewhat. One wonders how similar they would be without the Russo-Finnish Wars. Could be the Gulf of Bothnia.

  156. Hyperborean says

    How strong is the Communist party in Finland? When I was there, it felt like a country where Communism could theoretically thrive, with many people I knew expressing an innate idea that “we are a social welfare country, we should not have to worry about anything in life.”

    Although those further east of Europe probably had it worse, there was a time even within living memory when life was felt to be very hard in Scandinavia, particularly in the countryside, even after the post-war era.

    Both the Danish and Finnish branches of my family have relatively recent countryside origins (and many of them still live in the countryside) and as far as I know have been communists for 3-4 generations (maybe even longer).

    I was told in the countryside for many it was a choice between becoming communists or Christian fundamentalists (as indeed some of my relatives were or are).

    And while it was Social Democracy that ended up dominating Scandinavia the same collectivist mentality prevailed for a long time.

    Of course, the same process of decomposition that is going on elsewhere is in effect there as well, but the historical echoes are still there.

  157. Well I only witnessed two church services during my ten days in Romania (not counting the wedding), certainly a pretty dismal figure – if I was a ROC delegate, anyway – though still, I would wager an average of two more (rounded up) than the average tourist.

  158. Thanks for the comment, you’re obviously Romanian or have a lot of experience with it. That said, to clarify some things:

    1. Person who recommended me that book was the pessimistic macroeconomist, not the boyar banker. Macroeconomist is a sort of leftist neoliberal, banker is sort of moderate alt right.
    2. Don’t think there was any such innuendo. Kebab is popular throughout the Balkans anyway, no?

    3. I went to the church next to Caru cu Bere (Stavropoleus) while there was a service. Mostly old people, a couple of middle aged women, one family. Confirms general impression I got from the other Bucharest church I visited (Biserica Nașterea Maicii Domnului din Suceava).

    4. Lots of young Russians flock to church on a couple of feast days per year too. But I would say that this confirms instead of refutes their a-religiosity. They do it as a matter of tradition, not of deeply felt spirituality.

    That said, as I did note, I disagree with MP that Romania is less religious than Russia. It’s not just old women, but middle aged women and even some middle aged men who regularly go to church in Romania. And many children attend Sunday school, in rural areas anyway (doubt this is so in the cities). Nonetheless, this still makes Romania far more religious than Russia.

    1. The Crimea map I found in a random gift shop museum place and I made no implication that this was something Romanians took seriously. OTOH, I did say that Moldovans (minus Transnistria) are basically Romanians – I agree! – and that Romanians consider it such, but that hardcore revanchism is muted for obvious reasons (e.g. economics).
  159. OTOH, I did say that Moldovans (minus Transnistria) are basically Romanians – I agree! – and that Romanians consider it such

    Did anyone ask Moldovans?

    Actually, someone did. In the 2014 Moldovan census respondents could name their ethnicity, with both Moldovan and Romanian being an option. Results:

    75.1% Moldovans
    7.0% Romanians
    6.6% Ukrainians
    4.6% Gagauz
    4.1% Russians
    1.9% Bulgarians
    0.3% Roma
    0.5% other

    And what language do they speak?

    54.6% Moldovan,
    24.0% Romanian,
    14.5% Russian,
    2.7% Ukrainian,
    2,7% Gagauz
    1.7% Bulgarian
    0.5% other

    This, after 25 years of pushing the official line that there is no such language as Moldovan, only the Romanian.

    Here is a good travelogue (in Russian) about the situation in Moldova:

  160. Old Romanian says

    For someone who travels a few days in Romania, this post is good; nevertheless, some important issues are left unexplained:
    1) it must be stated clearly that the gold reserves confiscated by Bolsheviks in 1917 are 92.5 tones; this is an important issue between Romania and USSR/Russia; they were stolen (yes, this is the correct word) not because USSR have “lost” Bessarabia, but because Lenin declared they will be returned when Romania will become communist (and of course, after Romania became communist with the help of the Red Army, only the historic artifacts were returned; Russian politicians declared the matter as of interest for the historians and that is that);
    2) Bessarabia (and Bukovina) were part of Moldova; Moldova stretched from the beginning of her history in the XIV-th century from the Carpathian Mountains to the river Dniestr (Nistru, in Romanian). Proof are the fortified places built at its border along the Dniestr river: Hotin, Soroca, Orhei, Tighina, Cetatea Alba, Chilia.
    3) the tragic history of Bessarabia is related to the not so happy history of Romania: occupied by the Russians in 1812 (general Kutuzov famously said that he will allow the Moldavians to keep only their eyes in order to have something to cry with); in 1877, the Russians marched against the Turks, were permitted free pass through Romania and battled with the Turks in Bulgaria; they were almost defeated at Pleven and had to ask help from the Romanians in a telegram sent by the Grand Duke Nicholas which offered to comply to any condition in order to avoid complete defeat; king Carol of Romania asked to be the supreme commander of the Romanian and Russian armies, which was granted; the Turks were defeated and surrendered to the Romanian army (represented by the colonel Cerchez); but, as a reward, the Russians thought to occupy all of Romania (at that time composed of Moldova and Wallachia); followed a period of Hot/Cold war between the two nations; in the end, the Congress of Berlin granted (again) Bessarabia to Russia and the region of Dobrudja (bordering the Black Sea and pertaining then to the Turks) as a compensation for the territorial loss – to Romania; fast forward – Romania recovered Bessarabia in 1918 and lost it again in 1945; this is the time when Russians/Soviets claimed a compensation for the 20 years of not possessing this land – not the Romanian gold (they already got it), but Northern Bukowina, which is part of Ukraine now; hundreds of thousands of Moldovans/Romanians/Bessarabians/Bukowinians were deported in Siberia and Kazakhstan; let me describe how that worked: transported by cattle wagons in the middle of nowhere, at -40, they were left with only a few axes, shovels and such to build a village; many died (one of my relatives managed to return to Bessarabia some years later and literally kissed the land when got out of the train); so, when I see some people here calling Moldova “fake and gay”, well… As for the people of Bukowina, please search Wikipedia for the Fântâna Albă massacre.
    4) about the Cyrillic alphabet of the Medieval Church Romanian books and other documents: this is because the organized church in Moldova and Wallachia was strongly related to the Byzantine Empire and its influence spread through the Bulgarian Church, so it is in fact a paleo-Bulgarian writing, based on the Greek alphabet; even if the Russians and Ukrainians use it, its origin is in Bulgaria; it is not a proof of the influence of Russians and/or Ukrainians over Moldovan/Romanian culture or administration.
    5) Stephen the Great was indeed one of the remarkable personalities of the XVth century, which preserved and strengthened the independence of Moldova; he won many battles against Poles, Hungarians, Tatars and Turks; the most important victory over the Turks was in the Battle of Vaslui (Podu Inalt); Stephen was later awarded the title “Athleta Christi” (Champion of Christ) by Pope Sixtus IV, who referred to him as “verus christianae fidei athleta” (“the true defender of the Christian faith”) – check Wikipedia; people here say that he was very respected and even is considered somehow part of the Ukrainian history; as long this is not part of a scheme to justify the occupation of, say, Bukovina, that’s fine; but don’t forget that Stephen was Romanian.

  161. Thorfinnsson says

    Who cares what they think? They’re wrong.

    No different than Ukrainians convinced they constitute a legitimate nationality.

  162. Sorry, I should have been more explicit. The Church in question was the big one you photographed twice on the Calea Victoriei, Biserica Zlătari, which is a parish church, around the corner from Caru’ cu Bere. That one contains the relics of Saint Cyprian. Stavropoleos is more a museum and frequented mostly by tourists and is a small church which cannot accommodate many people anyway… Actually, having a closer look at one of the pictures, you can see people standing outside the doors. Obviously it was during service and the church was chock full. By the way, I am confused about the other church you visited in Bucharest, the caption is wrong.
    What I mean to say is that you can hardly form an opinion based on fleeting impressions which confirm your biases. My reproaches were addressed to your guides who, by the look of it, are not very keen on Orthodoxy and who would tell you that people go to church every now and then, for reasons that have little to do with real ‘spirituality’ (whatever that means) and that the Church is in cahoots with the corrupt PSD. My impression is that this is the case in Russia too. Anyhow, in Romania the Church was not submitted by Communist regime to the savage persecution practiced in Russia. Its ‘resurgence’ was not the same as in Russia, where actually it started practically from zero, but proof of the abysmal failure of the atheist campaigns to change the habits of the people. It was a return to normality. Maybe in that sense can you talk about a certain superficiality. But in Russia it was a reconversion.
    In the question of the maps, I did not reproached you anything. I was amused as you probably were, knowing what was about, in the context of the theme Moldovan vs Romanian, annexation/unification of Moldova by Romania, ‘Basarabia e Romania’ and ‘Antonescu erou national’ slogans, which crept into the explanation of an obviously photoshoped photo.
    In the problem of the ‘kebab’ you made it look like an innuendo by capitalizing it and adding an unnecessary ‘of course’, in the context of the genetic make-up of Romanians or of their East vs West cultural or political proclivities. Kebab is a specific Turkish meal and although it became recently popular in Romania too (like belly dance), is not a specific Romanian meal. Food is often used as a genetic marker which shows ‘who you really are’. Everything would have sound right if you had used the ‘of course’ and capitals for ‘mamaliga’ or ‘mititei’. I still blame your informants for this.
    The only serious reproach I could make is your disparaging of Romanian wines, but you are excusable if the only wines you had were the ‘home made’, ‘natural’ ones you show in the photo. You should have tried a ‘Legend Dracula Cabernet Sauvignon 2015”. Sure they had it at Bran.

  163. Ukrainian more different from Russian than Moldovan from Ukrainian.

    Moldovans are to Romanians what Rusyns are to Ukrainians.

  164. It probably was the first mistake of Hitler. He might have personally disliked the Magyars, but he despised Romanians more. Hungarians have been the most vocal and persistent callers for the revision of the Versailles system. Romanians were all for maintaining it.
    Hitler in fact resumed the ‘Mitteleuropa Plan’ of Wilhelmine Germany which included Hungary as a privileged ally and Romania a puppet state supplier of the essential oil, as the solid base for his second big mistake, the attack on Russia.
    Hungarians wanted Transylvania, Romanians never renounced it, albeit forced to abandon it in exchange for reintegrating Bessarabia. General Antonescu lured himself into thinking that after the victory he could reopen the Transylvania question even by going to war with Hungary. He made the mistakes to engage the army beyond the reoccupation of Bessarabia with catastrophic results and declare war on USA. He could have nevertheless extricate himself from the war by performing a Mannerheim act, but was prevented to do it in time by an ill conceived Palace coup which stopped all resistance on the Eastern front whic led to the bloodless rapid occupation of Romania. Germany lost Romanian oil and the strategic cover of her Southern flank offered by Romania in one go. But by the same token that freed Romania’s hands to go for Transylvania contributing heavily to the defeat of Hungary, entering for the second time in Budapest.

  165. Rattus Norwegius says

    According to the “Triune Russian Nation” he was exactly that.

  166. It is like asking what language is spoken in Australia with the option to declare either English or Australian. The Moldovans of the Republic Moldova speak exactly the same language like in Romanian Moldova and is the language spoken by all Romanians from Romania.

  167. Stephen the Great was married three times. Evdokia died shortly and Stephen married Maria Asanina Palaiologina from the ruling class of the small Crimean Principality of Theodoro, a descendant from Bulgarian and Byzantine dynasties for the prestige. She died young too and Stephen married Maria Voichita the daughter of the Prince of Valahia Radu cel Frumos, brother of Vlad Dracula the Impaler.
    He married his daughter Elena with Evdokia to Ivan the Young , son of Ivan III Vasilyevich (Ivan the Great, Grand Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of all Rus’, for prestige also. Elena was known to the Muskovites as Olena Voloshanka, i.e. the Valah-Romanian!
    Moldova was founded by the Vlahs from Maramures. Contact and mixing with the Rusyn occurred in that area. The motive of migration from Maramures was the persecution of the Orthodox Church by the Catholic Kings of Hungary. Valahs and Rusyn were Orthodox. The time-period correspond with the increasing sliding of Galitia towards Catholicism and Poland.
    The „Voskresenskaia letopis” (chronicle from the Voskersenski Monastery) relates the history of Moldova from its founding. Maramures was settled by Romanovci, the descendants of two brothers from the city of Venetia, Roman and Vlahata, as a result of Catholic persecution. The story was considered legendary, but the precise reference to documented events, led to its reconsideration and it can be related to two waves of Catholic persecution, the first related to the mission of Cyril and Methodius in Moravia and its failure in that area.
    The language of the Church and chancery in Moldova was the Old Slavonic derived from a South Slavic dialect. But it is certain that a situation of bi-lingualism, even multilingualism obtained in the zones of Slavo-Romanian contact. The first translations of religious books in Romanian language were made to counter the Reformation which was propagandizing in Romanian. Moldovan hierarchs have been particularly active.
    All in all from its very inception Moldova orients itself towards the Byzantine-Bulgarian-Serbian South, decoupling itself from the say, proto-‘Ukrainian’ sphere.
    It is very interesting that leaders of a strong Romanian irredentism came from Austrian Bukovina bearing pure Ukrainian names.

  168. There is no such thing as the Moldovan language.

    Stop peddling bullshit, moron.

  169. All in all from its very inception Moldova orients itself towards the Byzantine-Bulgarian-Serbian South, decoupling itself from the say, proto-’Ukrainian’ sphere.
    It is very interesting that leaders of a strong Romanian irredentism came from Austrian Bukovina bearing pure Ukrainian names.

    You were doing Okay until you got to your conclusion. The great Orthodox churchman, Peter Mohyla was ethnically a Moldovan, however, he felt quite at home living in Ukraine and working tirelessly to protect the native Ukrainian Orthodox church. This points to the lingering importance of the Ukrainian Orthodox church of that time centered in Kyiv. For every ‘strong Romanian irredentist’ that had a Ukrainian sounding name, I can name five Ukrainian sounding names that were active in the Ukrainian movement in Northern Bukovina. Our fellow commenter AP has on several occasions even made reference that Stepan Bandera was of some sort of familial Romanian background. My own godfather had a very Romanian sounding name ‘Bunegra’ and spent his whole life living and working within the Ukrainian community. Ethnic boundaries were quite porous in Bukovina, and there’s good reasons that Chenivtsy has often been alluded to as the ‘Vienna’ or ‘Paris’ of that part of Ukraine.

  170. Moldova didn’t turn more ‘Ukrainian’ because Petru Movila became Metropolitan of Kiev, but more Romanian because of Varlaam (born in Bucovina), Dosoftei (born in Poland), Miron Costin (his father became a Polish magnate and he studied in Poland) contemporaries of Movila. Strangely, Polish scholars were the first to demonstrate the Roman origins of the Moldovans. It is the time when Moldova began turning to Moscow because it was seeing in Russia the bulwark of Orthodoxy and the legitimate heir of the Roman Empire. They wouldn’t have liked a kind of Brest Union (the Romanians from Transylvania had it thanks to Austria, and they turned also to Russia for help).
    I wouldn’t be surprised if Bandera had some ‘sort of familial’ Romanian background. Nobody is perfect.

  171. Romanian wines

    I think iirc in 1980s Trader Joe’s (the original one) in South Pasadena was selling Romanian, Bulgarian and Hungarian wines which were very inexpensive.

  172. I wasn’t trying to imply that Romania was becoming more Ukrainian because of Petro Mohyla’s work in Ukraine. It’s been a few years since I read up about Petro Mohyla, but I do recall that some of his religious reform work actually did transfer back to his native Moldavia. He would go back and visit his large extended family too. None of this detracts from the fact that the Ukrainian Orthodox church to this day pays homage to his greatness as a churchman, a very erudite churchman indeed. An informative small tract that helps explain the importance of Petro Mohyla and his Ukrainian flock, was written by Ihor Sevcenko, a preeminent professor of Byzantine studies in the 20th century: “The Many Worlds of Peter Mohyla’ You can purchase it through HURI here:

    It’s worth a read and every penny of it’s $5.00 cost.

  173. Old Romanian says

    Obviously, you try to avoid the principal issue here: Ukraine has no rights on Northern Bukovina (or on southern Bessarabia for that matter). In 1776, first time in history when Bukovina was separated from Moldova, the Austrians performed a census: 85.33% Romanians, 10.33% Slavs; see (in French); from then on, imperial de-nationalization followed: Ukrainian and Polish colonists were brought and given privileges, Romanian language forbidden in administration etc. In 1940 the Soviet Union grabbed Northern Bucovina (even the infamous pact Ribbentropp-Molotov didn’t provide this, but Stalin nevertheless occupied it as “compensation” for the 20 years when Romania recovered Bessarabia); this time, it was full nation-change: deportation, mass murder; here is the most known of, in case you didn’t notice it in my previous comment: (Fântâna Albă massacre); the (recent) state of Ukraine is also trying to erase the Romanian culture: it issued a law where Ukrainian language is mandatory except classes 1-4; the law drew official protests from Romania and Hungary; it should be applied starting September 2018, I don’t know what’s its current status; more serious was the attempt of the Ukrainians to send to the war in Donbass young Romanians from Northern Bukovina; cleverly, they thought to kill two birds with one stone: let them minorities kill each other; the Romanians in Bucovina blocked the roads in opposition to this project, some kind of agreement was struck; Ukrainians should fight their own battles.

  174. Old Romanian says

    You are in complete denial of reality; I understand that you think that repeating ad infinitum the same lie, it will pass for the truth; please educate yourself; a good start would be:
    On a personal note, I am (fortunately) born on the Romanian part of the historic region of Moldova, 20 km west of the border (that was close); I never thought I am speaking anything else than Romanian; after 1990, I met many people from the Moldavian republic (Bessarabia) and we talked without any impediment; sure there are some minor differences between words from one region to the other, but in the case of Romanian/Moldovan, these are far from the differences between, say, Southern Italian and literary (based on the dialect from Florence) Italian.
    When you say that Ukrainians are not very different from Moldavians, I suppose you refer to the general psychological character, which is obvious the case for lots of other nations; psychologically, I don’t feel different from a Bulgarian or a Greek.
    If you refer to the language, I must say the differences are considerable, Ukrainian being a Slavic language.

  175. Relax, I clearly made a typo.

    Should have written:

    Ukrainian more different from Russian than Moldovan from Romanian.

    Moldovans are to Romanians what Rusyns are to Ukrainians.

    Ukrainian is a different language from Russian, but Moldovan is not a different language from Romanian.

    I find it funny that some of the same Russian nationalists, and Sovoks too, who insist that Ukrainian and Russian are the same also claim that somehow Moldovans are not Romanians.

  176. Look, if you want to go back to 1775 to claim an ethnic majority for Northern Bukovina, then I’d like to claim it due to it being a part of the Rus Galician Principality. Chernivtsy (originally Chern) was originally settled by Ruthenian people, not Moldovans. It was the Chern Fortress (chern = black in Slavic) that acted as the center around which the great city would form. You’re right that once Bukovina came under Austrian rule, many outsiders were brought in to help populate this basically empty land: Ukrainians, Poles, Austrians Jews etc. By 1910, Northern Bukovina had a solid Ukrainian population
    with very few Romanian villages dotting the landscape. It was just the reverse in Southern Bukovina. The boundaries, where they lie today, best reflect the ethnic composition of the inhabitants of both parts of Bukovina:

    1.2%. According to the Ukrainian Census (2001) data,[48] the Ukrainians represent about 75% (689,100) of the population of Chernivtsi Oblast, which is the closest, although not an exact, approximation of the territory of the historic Northern Bukovina. The census also identified a fall in the Romanian and Moldovan populations to 12.5% (114,600) and 7.3% (67,200), respectively. Russians are the next largest ethnic group with 4.1%, while Poles, Belarusians, and Jews comprise the rest

    There’s absolutely no reason to change any boundaries today, and nobody is foolish enough to start a war to do so. Besides, I think that Romania needs to work on territories where a clear majority of its inhabitants are Romanians (Moldavia), which emcompases a much larger swath of land. Why can’t your two countries unite, when the majority of the people are Romanians? Leave Ukraine out of your fantazies!

  177. Old Romanian says

    First, do you have the results of the census from Rus Galician Principality? How many Romanians, how many Poles, how many Ruthenians ? How do you know the Romanians were not the majority in Northern Bukovina?
    Second, you base your affirmation about Ukraine possession of Northern Bucovina on the CURRENT percent of Ukrainian population in the region; using the same argument, why is Ukraine fighting the Russians for Crimeea and Donbass? The Russians are a very solid majority there and expressed their will in a referendum, weren’t they? Now, I am sure that you’ll argue that the Ukrainians from Donbass were killed during the Holodomor and Second World War and Donbass was re-populated with ethnic Russians; that’s true and that’s a tragedy and I can sympathize because something similar happened in the Romanian regions occupied by the Soviet Union; but according to your reasoning, the Donbass Russians are in their right! (I don’t take sides here, this is strictly between Ukrainians and Russians).
    Third, all I was trying to do with my post was to stress out that the possession of Northern Bucovina and Bessarabia is the result of a territorial rapt, first by Austria, then by Soviet Union; the fact is that Ukraine benefited from immoral political deeds; so let me ask you about these deeds:
    -Was the pact Ribbentropp-Molotov a moral action?
    -Was murdering 2,000 Romanians/North Bucovinians at Fântâna Albă moral?
    -Was deportation to Siberia only because of the ethnicity moral?
    -Was the killing of elites moral?
    -Was the change of the composition of a region by bringing foreign ethnics and giving them privileges while depriving the locals of some basic rights, like for example, their language – moral?
    (Remember, changing the ethnic composition, TODAY, is considered genocide by International Law)

    Can you agree that all those actions led to the actual status in Northern Bucovina?

    And finally, are you aware of similar facts perpetuated by the Romanians against North Bucovina Ukrainians which led to the de-population of Northern Bucovina of its Ukrainian population? My understanding is that Ukrainians generally come to this part of the world and don’t flee out of it, not because of Romanians, anyway; let me remind you that the Ukrainians were happy to be in the Kingdom of Romania between 1917-1921 because they were spared the horrors of the Civil War in Soviet Union.
    Don’t be afraid, Romanians don’t claim Northern Bucovina; but they are justified to worry about the Romanians abroad when their rights are not respected; are not Ukrainians doing the same for their kin?
    There is also a strategic point in reminding whoever wants to listen the true history: if there is no reply to affirmations that try to diminish one’s history or to spin the signification of events, the next level is you’ll be asked to yield more and more to your adversaries … or your friends.

  178. And finally, are you aware of similar facts perpetuated by the Romanians against North Bucovina Ukrainians which led to the de-population of Northern Bucovina of its Ukrainian population?

    You see, it goes back and forth both ways, isn’t it time to stop?

    Don’t be afraid, Romanians don’t claim Northern Bucovina; but they are justified to worry about the Romanians abroad when their rights are not respected; are not Ukrainians doing the same for their kin?

    Your concerns are reasonable and I respect them.

  179. For some reasons my reply to Mr. Hack’s injunction to ‘leave Ukraine out our fantasies’ just disappeared into thin Ethernet. Not a great loss, the comment of the Old Romanian would have make it redundant.
    But I want to stress forcefully that it doesn’t ‘go back and forth both ways’. It is a matter of principle, of international law, of justice, of truth, that one cannot dismiss with arrogantly asking you to ‘shut up’ (even if it’s politely formulated ‘I respect your position but stop talking about that’). It shows that you in fact do not respect my position. Truth is not a matter of personal opinion or whims. History is not a matter of personal choice. Rewriting history, fake history imposed by force in order to legitimize theft or get away with murder is the weapon of all usurpers and revolutionaries.
    Bucovina was never a possession of the Princes of Halych and even if it was, it was for a very short time.The disappearance from the region of the Principality of Halych extinguished any rights. In any case present Ukraine is not the successor of Halych. Ruthenians were not the basic population at the moment of the founding of the state of Moldova. To base any claim on these premises is a joke. It shows an intentional disregard of international law (the ‘jus gentium’).

    AK: Sorry, I tried searching for your comment in pending, spam, and deleted comments, but no luck.

  180. Bucovina was never a possession of the Princes of Halych and even if it was, it was for a very short time.The disappearance from the region of the Principality of Halych extinguished any rights. In any case present Ukraine is not the successor of Halych.

    Now this sounds like a real forceful satement! 🙂 Somebody who aspires to present himself as some sort of ‘international law’ expert about the area, should at least know some of the basics of the history of the area. Slavic tribes like the Antes and the Tyverians were incorporated into the Kyivan state from its early period. Bukovina, even the southern part was part of the Galician principality from its very inception. Many towns in Bukovina were built by its Slavic Rus inhabitents including: Vasilev,
    Onut, Kuchelemin, Davidivci, Chern and even Galati :

    Galați was known as (Malyi Halych Little Halych) as part of the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia.[6][7]

    You appear to be an expert on International law? From what I know, to change boundaries or national state orientations in today’s world, one needs to first conduct elaborate and closely monitored plebiscites. So let me ask you just two questions:

    1) What are the chances of returning Northern Bukovina (Chernovetska Oblast Ukraine) to Moldavia, based on a fairly held plebiscite?

    2) What are the chances of returning Southern Bukovina (apart of Romania today) to Moldavia, based on a fairly held plebiscite?

    Now be honest ‘Angel’ with your answers! 🙂

  181. Since Ukraine is somewhat of a shithole country, I wouldn’t be surprised if people from Northern Bukovina would vote to join Romania or even Albania.

    OTOH, as I said earlier, Romanians are professional whiners. Southern Bukovinians would join South Ossetia, if given the chance.

    However, the point that the handful of Romanians make against Mr. Hack stands. It is the general opinion (outside the American Democratic Party, at least), that Ukraine is a make belief country, and the Ukrainian “nationality” is more fictional that the South Sudanese, the Belgian, or the Canadian ones. (If you don’t think it’s true, watch Old Romanian’s explanation about how some Ukrainian passport-owners must be excused from the defense of their country. He denies Ukrainia nationhood involuntary, but convincingly.)

    Therefore, there is no reason for Ukraine’s border, other than whims of the local hegemon of the day. Even proper nations, like Romania and Poland, get reshaped by the bigger guys, so why would Ukraine rey instead on the strength of its mighty army? (Supported by its equally mighty nation, of course.)

    So, Mr. Hack, if I were you, I wouldn’t support my claims to Chernivts, Lvov, Crimea, or Donbass, on bedtime stories about the “Ukrainian” “nation”. Stalin vult! Khrushchev vult!

  182. The drive from Ploesti to Transylvania is okay – drivers not great, but not awful either. But I wouldn’t want to drive in Bucharest, and thankfully I didn’t have to.

    There are plenty of reckless and impudent drivers in Moscow. One usually sees many minor violations and 1-2 major violations when making a half-circuit there.

    I didn’t notice any particularly problems with zebra crossings. However, Russia has greatly improved in this respect in the past decade.

  183. Thanks for this detailed and informed comment.

    While the Bessarabia and WW2 issues are understandable, I am a bit surprised that the stolen Romanian gold also qualifies as a controversy.

    The Bolsheviks did default on all Tsarist loans, which hurt France no less than Romania. And they actually seems to have held onto and then returned the great bulk of Romania’s treasures with actual cultural value, something which cannot be said for their treatment of Russia’s own treasures.

    Out of curiosity, I just did a few calculations on how much Romania’s gold would be worth today (no interest). 92,500 kg * $20.67 (official US peg at the time) per ounce * 35.275 to convert to kg = $67 million.

    Admittedly, this seems to be a substantial figure, around that of wealthy but small European countries such as Sweden or Switzerland at that time: (e.g. Portugal had $10 million).

    Dollar has inflated around 2211.98% from 1916 to 2018, so this would only be $1.5 billion in today’s dollars. Alternatively, the same gold hoard (92,500 kg) at the current gold price of $1,185 per ounce would be worth $4 billion. Either way, that is less than 5% of the annual Romanian budget.

  184. Now, the real question should be: ‘what are the chances to hold a plebiscite’ in the first place and why. The actual boundaries have been settled by he Paris Peace Treaties of 10 February 1947 between the United Kingdom, Soviet Union, United States, France and Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Finland. It is an act of international law. It was never put in question. The dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia did not lead to any renegotiation of the Paris Peace Treaties.

    The two hypothetical questions you ask me to answer are unanswerable anyway, because they have no object. The return of Northern Bucovina would be to Romania. Southern Bucovina was always in Moldavia (which is a region of Romania – the part of Moldova that was not occupied by the Russians in 1812, 1940, 1945) and a plebiscite would have no sense (unless there would be claims from Ukraine). The Republic of Moldova has no claims on Bucovina, north or south. She can have on Bessarabia proper.

    You have very confused notions of the geography and history of these regions.
    As all your ideas about the ancient Slavs.
    Maly Galych was not in Bucovina but in Galitia. It is neither Galați, town in Romania on the Danube and has no relation whatsoever with Halych.
    Tiverci were population mentioned in the Primary Chronicle as ‘ foreign people’ to the Slavs, rather some bulgaro-turkic nomads. Anyhow they totally disappear after 944.
    The Antes disappear completely after the 6th century AD and it is far from sure that they were Slavs at all, not Rutheni in any case. Anyhow we find them in the region of the Danube as allies of the Byzantines.
    Vlachs, Volochs, are mentioned in the region before any supposed ‘ incorporation’ into ‘Kievan Rus’. Actually covering a vast area extending from Moravia to the Balkans and of course the present territory of Romania. They are definitely mentioned at the borders of Galitia by the Chronicle of Niketas Choniates for the year 1164 when they capture the fugitive Andronicus Comnenos and send him back to Constantinople ‘under military escort’. It clearly results that this territory was under Byzantine control.

  185. anonymous coward says

    Only post-Christian and anti-Christian societies “attend church”. Christian societies participate in communion. This means the full cycle of fast-confession-eucharist.

    I doubt any country in the world has more than 5% of the population that does this.

    The USA is one of the least religious countries in the world, and Russia one of the more religious ones. (Never been to Romania, but I’d imagine Romania is more religious than Russia.)

  186. The actual boundaries have been settled by he Paris Peace Treaties of 10 February 1947 between the United Kingdom, Soviet Union, United States, France and Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Finland. It is an act of international law. It was never put in question. The dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia did not lead to any renegotiation of the Paris Peace Treaties.

    End of discussion.

  187. It is very hard to make a comparison. Russia has a population of 140 million of which Orthodox about 100 million (without counting the Russian diaspora of about 30 million). Romania has a population of 20 million of which Orthodox 19 million (without counting the Romanian diaspora).
    RuOc has 368 bishops, 35,171 priests + 4,816 deacons, 34,764 parishes, 926 (455 male monasteries and 471 convents). And these are data for 2016.
    RoOC has 33 bishops, 15,068 priests, 15,717 parishes, 2,810 (men), 4,795 (women) monastics in 359 monasteries. I left out 700, 000 members in Moldova (who belong to RoOC) and 11,000 in USA.

    So, roughly the percentage of Romanian Orthodox is 87% of the total population, of Russian Orthodox about 77%. But percentages can’t tell you much of the ‘quality’ of religiosity.
    As I said already, RoOc did not suffer much under Communism. People continued to baptize their children, to marry in church, and it was inconceivable to bury someone without the church rituals and hold elaborate and costly memorials for the dead. The ‘atheist’ education was mealy mouthed and nobody took it seriously. Moreover the ‘ nationalist’ turn of Romania during the ‘Ceausescu’s era’ engaged the Church. So, when the ‘Communism fell’ the Church re-emerged unscathed, its structures intact, even fortified. It was a return to normality, with all its ‘lukewarm’ and ‘warm’ spirituality.
    RuOC was near complete disappearance after the merciless war carried on by the fanatic ‘bezbozhniki’, and had to start practically from scratch. People educated under the ‘bezbozhniki’ who know only that religion is ‘opium for the people’ simply can’t believe that people go to church out of piety, religiosity, for the beauty of it, in search for other things than after the strictly material things that rational no-nonsense people strive. So they are in no position to appreciate
    religiosity as such, let alone to quantify it.

  188. As you can see, most Moldovans don’t care and keep on calling themselves and their language Moldovan.

  189. Everytime I say to someone that, for better or for worse, Romania owes its independence and territory to Russia, whose wars in 1878 and 1945 saw Romania only as a footnote, I get the retort “but muh national treasure”.

    At this point, I suspect that, if Russia would want to return the gold, the American operatives within Romanian government would do their best to prevent the transaction. Or they would spoil it with “these are counterfeit, not the real artifacts”.

    It worked between the two worlds as well – all our defense plans were directed towards the East, when, in fact, the main defeatable enemy was and remains Hungary.

    Putin would do better to repay it, and help Romania unite with Moldova, than to attend random Austrian weddings. I am not saying Romania could be turned into Belarus, but there is a decent chance of turning it into Sweden or Finland.

    In contrast, Austria is a piece of scum created by the Western Allies, devoid of any true historical memory or duty, besides “we wuz kangz”. Austrians despise their Hungarian and Croatian underlings, and their German bosses.

  190. reiner Tor says

    He was not expected to help you from beyond the grave

    His thoughts were supposed to be relevant decades (and presumably centuries) after his death (and not in the sense of being the thoughts of a deceased smart guy like Aristotle or Kant, but in the sense of absolute truth), I don’t think he was ever criticized or thought to be wrong on anything. Some of his writings were not emphasized or even suppressed (like his criticism of Stalin), but he was thought to have been basically infallible.

    Children were taught about his life and childhood and his conduct was considered to be exemplary.

  191. Only when one passes a certain level of narcissistic ‘confidence’ in himself.

  192. Old Romanian says

    Thank you for your appreciation.
    About the Romanian gold: the gold reserve of Romania now is 107 tones, so the return of 92.5 tones would be appreciated; I think that Russia has a similar problem with Japan, which helds some Tsarist gold and refuses to return it till Russia retreats from Northern Sakhalin; but this is hardly similar to the Romanian case.
    Bolsheviks defaulted on all the Tsarist loans – but this was not a loan, it was supposed protection for an ally; in 1940, the Poles took their golden reserves to Romania, after the German/Soviet invasion; the Romanians let them took the gold lately to England (even though at that time Romania was allied (forcefully) with Germany); compare that with what the Bank of International Settlements (based in Basel, Switzerland) did: after the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, the Germans asked for the Czechoslovakian gold deposited in BIS’s vaults; it was promptly handed to them by the president of the bank, which was … American). You can read about this and many more in the book The Tower of Basel by Adam LeBor.
    And finally, regarding money issues, you mentioned the actual value of the Romanian gold as 1.5 billion; Amusing fact: this is the approximate value of the debt of Iraq towards Romania (in 1990, for various contracts in the oil and cement industries), which was CANCELLED after the Gulf wars at USA request.
    So, as you can see, another 5% of today’s Romanian budget flushed away…
    Now let me explain from a broader point of view the status of Romania in history:
    It is probably one of the few countries which for a (too) long part of its history was surrounded by 3 (three) empires: Ottoman (from the XIVth century), Austro-Hungarian (first, Kingdom of Hungary till 1526, then Austro Hungarian Empire beginning at the end of the XVIIth century) and Russian (from the beginning of the XVIIIth century; before that, the main danger in the East were the Tatars).
    All this time Romanians (Moldovans, Wallachians and Transylvanians) fought to keep their independence and statality as large as possible for 3, then one country; total independance was not always possible, but statality was ALWAYS preserved.
    For example, the Ottomans kept a form of suzeranity over Moldova and Wallachia (from the XVIth and XVth centuries, respectively), but till the Fanariot period (1714-beginning of the 1800’s), the kings of Moldova and Wallachia were elected by the local nobles (and only confirmed by the Sultans) and the Muslim faith was banned in those countries (the proof being that there are no mosques in Romania, except Dobrudja); and there was tribute paying, of course – which explains the lack of impressive buildings, like cathedrals, for example. Moldova and Wallachia were considered not as parts of the Ottoman Empire per se, but as being part of Dar al-‘Ahd – not enemies, but not part of Dar al-Islam either. (
    Now, everybody knows that geography is history; Romania stand unfortunately across the ambitions of its neighbors as follows:
    – Poland and Hungary in the Middle Ages tried to reach the Black Sea;
    – Russia tried and succeed to terminate the Black Sea as a “Ottoman lake”; this was achieved through Russo-Turkish wars, some of them fought in Moldova/Wallachia, later Romania – with the looting and other inconveniences of having two large armies on the same territory; also, Romania stand between the Soviet Union and its more sympathetic potential allies: Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia; and the Mediterranean Sea, of course;
    – Romania entered in 1916 the First World War on the Triple Entente side with the promise to recover Transylvania from the Austro-Hungarian empire; but its allies didn’t exactly kept their military promises: the Brussilov offensive of the Russian army didn’t succeed and the French army at Salonika, in Greece, didn’t budge; so the Romanian Army, which already made substantial gains in Transylvania was attacked from west and South and had to retreat in Moldavia and occupy defensive positions helped by the Russian army; it succeded in stopping the German, Turkish, Bulgarian and Austro-Hungarian troops, but after the Russians made peace with Germany at Brest-Litovsk, Romania had to sign a peace treaty also; (another reason being that Romania had to be able to defend the population of Bessarabia and Bukovina swept by the fights of the Civil War in Russia); anyway, the Romanian front drawed German troops and consequently reduced the pressure on the Marne front; you should read the French papers of the time (“Romania – our little sister” etc.); meantime (1919), the Communist Revolution has reached Hungary too: Bela Kun attacked Romania (which has recovered Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina through Versailles Peace Treaty and referendums of the local population); he was defeated, the Communists ousted from Hungary and Admiral Horthy put in command by the Romanians – that way Romania escaped from being surrounded by two Communist adversaries: Hungary and the Soviet Union (side note 1: Romania was probably the only country of the Entente which conquered a capital city of the adversary Central Powers – namely Budapest; side note 2 – imagine the strategic catastrophe for the West if Communism had succeeded – in 1919! – in 3 countries – Russia, Hungary, Romania – you are welcome!).
    – After WWI, France and UK thought to support some countries as a buffer between them and the Soviet Union and Germany: Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia; different defensive treaties were signed, but were definitely derailed after the occupation of France by Germany in 1940; for Romania, (with France as warrant to the mentioned treaties out of the way) that meant losing Bessarabia, Northern Bucovina to the Soviet Union and a third of Transylvania to Hungary (after the 1940 Vienna Diktat (dictated by Germany)); massacres of Romanians followed for all these regions:;;
    New side note: the France and UK buffer was destroyed in the 90’s (Czechoslovakia parted peacefully, Yugoslavia not so peacefully – with the substantial contribution of the German secret services) – only Romania and Poland resisted, due to the homogeneity of their respective populations (not to a lack of attempts).
    – After the territorial losses of 1940, Romania had to fight the Soviet Union along Germany (and Hungary!) to recover the Eastern part (Bessarabia and Bucovina); lost one army at Stalingrad; a coup against Antonescu brought Romania along Soviet Union and against Germany and Hungary, as a mandatory condition to recover NE Transylvania – even though Stalin hesitated, finally he decided in favor of Romania, because, as reported, he said: “ Romania had a reason to attack us – we took Bessarabia; but what was Hungary’s reason? (to attack USSR)”.
    Followed the Communist era; for those interested in Romania’s foreign politics during this period, I can recommend Larry L. Watts – “With Friends Like These” and “Extorting Peace”.

  193. Putin would do better to repay it, and help Romania unite with Moldova

    So, do a favour for an avowed enemy in hopes of inspiring gratitude. This was the Russian policy twenty years ago, and it didn’t win gratitude or goodwill, only fresh hatred and scorn, and more demands.

    a decent chance of turning it into Sweden or Finland.

    Both countries are pathologically hostile, so how would this be an improvement?

  194. Thank you for this beautiful presentation. You saved me twice a lot of time and effort that I was myself intent to dedicate for writing the same things. Much appreciated, Moșule!

  195. Old Romanian says

    I have appreciated your commentaries too and found information unknown to me, so I return the compliments to you. By the way, if you haven’t, you should really read Larry L. Watts books; the English version is awfully expensive on Amazon, so maybe you should order them in Romanian, but I warn you, the translation is atrocious; but it’s worth the effort, he bases his study (in order to avoid accusations of partiality) ONLY on foreign documents, not Romanian, many from the archive of the East-German secret service, which was snatched by the Americans immediately after the fall of the Berlin wall; I especially liked With Friends Like These (Fereste-ma, Doamne, de prieteni…); and talking about books, I should also recommend Glenn Torrey – The Romanian Battlefront in World War I, which is thought to be THE book about this subject; but I didn’t read it yet, so I am not sure; you have to appreciate by yourself.

  196. I know about Larry’s books. I would take them with a pinch of salt. Thanks anyway.

  197. It is the general opinion (outside the American Democratic Party, at least), that Ukraine is a make belief country, and the Ukrainian “nationality” is more fictional that the South Sudanese, the Belgian, or the Canadian ones.

    Except in the Ukraine itself. Russophile political parties are good for 1/4 of the vote there and advocates of merging the Ukraine and Russia are a low-single-digit minority.

  198. Toronto Russian says

    Hey Romanian readers, what do you think of Nicholas of Romania? He comes from a deposed dynasty, would have no right to the “throne” anyway (as a descendant of the female line), was disinherited on top of that – but is somehow popular and treated like an informal prince? I learned about him from Sveta Kopylova, an ethnic Romanian blogger from Ukraine. She’s kind of a fangirl – quite understandable given how the guy looks.

  199. It was not a deposition of a dynasty. Monarchy as an institution was abolished in Romania on 30th December 1947, and Romania proclaimed a Republic.
    King Michael I was instrumental along with the former ‘democratic’ parties of Romania (abolished by the dictatorship of his father King Carol II) and the representatives of the (illegal as well) Communist Party of Romania, and at the behest of the Anglo-Americans, in ceasing the resistance to the Soviet offensive and the occupation of the country on the delusional belief that the Americans would fall from the sky to protect them from the Russians. He and the ‘democratic’ parties did not understand that the spheres of control of the Russians and Anglo-Americans in post-war Europe had been drawn at the inter-allied conferences. He and the former ‘democrats’ continued to believe that ‘the Americans would come’ and thus becoming a nuisance for the Soviet ‘masters’ and the Anglo-Americans as well who finally suggested him to go amicably. The act of abdication specifically mentioned that the institution of monarchy is obsolete and doesn’t correspond to the new social and political realities of Romania. He lived in exile in Switzerland because he was refused residence in Britain and USA alike (reminiscent of the case of Tsar Nicholas), and he kept aloof from any political activities of other Romanian exiles.
    The 1989 ‘revolution’ in Romania did not re institute the monarchy and it is not likely to be any time soon. The Romanian Government allowed him to return to the country and granted a pension as former chief of state and returned the properties which belonged personally to the former royals and allowing him to play privately the stars of a royal show on their personal properties, for the delectation of nostalgics of the monarchy. Their ‘royal status’ are a purely personal matter, stuff for glossy gossip magazines, obsessed with the shenanigans, weddings, divorces, parties, you name it, of ‘stars’.
    Nicholas Millford-Mills is a joke. But if monarchy would be restored in Romania, a big if (the Hohenzollern were never too popular in Romania and people never regretted their departure), he might be in the line of succession. So far, the problem would be the inheritance of their holdings in Romania (the Peles Castle was the personal property of the Royal Family).

  200. Știi Românește?


    How do you know so much about Romania?

  201. Wait, what? Where da gypsies at?

    Prejudiced much?

    Btw, is Romania named after the Roma gypsies…or vice versa?

  202. Hyperborean says

    It is a coincidence, nothing to do with Romania. The tsigani didn’t like that people kept referring to them like the pest they are.

  203. Ghici



  204. Maly Galych was not in Bucovina but in Galitia. It is neither Galați, town in Romania on the Danube and has no relation whatsoever with Halych

    Isn’ t Maly Galich at the mouth of the Danube shown on this map during the reign of Prince Daniel where Galati is found today?

  205. Source of this map? Is it from the time of Daniel?

  206. In “Republica Populara Romana” there was no entry for “Nationalitate” in “Buletinul de Identitate”.
    not like “Entry 5” in the Soviet internal passport.

    Even I could claim: “Sint Roman de religie Mozaica” ( I am a Romanian of Jewish Religion). Who was there to contest? I did not go to Church; They did not go to Church.
    My Romanian vocabulary, knowledge of literature, history, scientific terminology was above the level of the average Romanian University graduate. I thought in Romanian. I dreamed in Romanian….

    Same true for sedentary Gypsies. Many did no longer speak Romani (Roma language) went to the Orthodox Church (were baptized, wed, buried, by Greek-orthodox rituals), why should they not consider themselves as Romaninans?

  207. Ceausescu sold us Jews to Israel, and them Sachsen (Saxons) and Schwaben (Suebians) to the Federal Republic.

  208. That language is not “old Ruthenian” ; it is named “Church Slavonic” or Old Bulgarian

  209. How many of them are now dual citizens? I’ll tell you a little true story. When I became a ‘hagiu’ our guide was a Sabra, but her parents came from Romania. She said: ‘You know, Jews left Romania for Israel because they were ‘jidani’. But they had to come to Israel to be finally called Romanians! We had even ‘ștică implută’ togheter.

  210. I originally located this map at this website, where it identifies the period as ‘ Galician Duchy at its greatest period’ which anyone familar with the history of the principality know was during Prince Danylo’s reign ‘

    With a little more research, I found the exact same map at the website of a reputable political scientist/historian, Oleksandr Palij:

    Here’s how, for example, the author of “The Tale of Igor’s Hoste” writes aboutthe Galician prince Yaroslav Osmomysl:

    “Halytsky Osmomysl Yaroslava! You sit high on your table, propped up by the Hungarian mountains with your iron regiments, crossed the queen’s path, shut the Danube gate, throwing stones through the clouds, judging the Danube to the Danube, your terrible torrents flowing over the lands, giving you the gates to Kiev, firing you are from the otters of the golden table of sultans behind the earth. ” That is, the Galician prince controls the mouth of the Danube and all the territory to it (this including the territory of the present Odessa).

    The territory of the Galician Principality of the times of the times of Yaroslav Osmomysl (1180s) is noted. But after the unification of Volyn in a single state, the Galician-Volyn principality (its borders are marked by green) became one of the largest states of the region – from Kiev to Przemysl, from Grodno to the Black Sea.

    The present city of Galati in Romania was previously called Small Halych, as it was one of the main cities dependent on Galich Berladskogo principality – long before there appeared volos in those lands. The same applies to the ancient Galician (and now Romanian) cities of Birlad (Berlad), Tekuch (Current), and Crossings (in Moldova).

    How mass was the Galician presence on the lower reaches of the Danube and the Dniester, is evidenced by the fact that in 1223 in the battle of Kalka the Prince of Rus’ against the Mongol was assisted by the “Vygontsy Galitsky”, which, together with the expatriate princes, left Galicia for the Dniester and Danube Lowlands

    Translation from Ukrainian mine.

    And finally, with even a little more research I found this map provided by Paul Magoczi, a well know historian of Ukrainian history who matriculated his PhD at Harvard University:. It also shows that the area surrounding the Danube clearly under the control of Galicia-Volhynia.

  211. See comment #211.

  212. The Ukrainian “political scientist/historian”, writes to oppose to the ‘myths’ of Yanukovich that ‘Galitian’ culture was rural, something local, without its own history and separated of the historical development of the rest of ‘Ukrainian lands’, the myths of the highly developed urban life and of the glorious might of the land ‘from sea to sea’ (the ‘Intermarium’ avant la lettre) and he proves it with a ‘map’.
    The only thing is that he is the only one to know that Galati was called Small Halych, but he is for reasons known only to him very keen to say that ‘was long before the appearance of the volohs in that region’. Actually the volohs are mentioned in the region, up to the boundaries of Galitia, exactly in the time of Osmomysl (by contemporary historians).

  213. It looks as if Magocsi also knows about this ‘myth’ and also corroborates it with an almost exact same map? His map clearly shows that that part of what is today Romania and which includes the Danube estuary into the Black Sea, that includes the vicinity of Galati, was within lands ‘controlled’ by the principalty of Galicia-Volhynia, circa 1250. Do you know otherwise?

  214. Right, the Magocsi’s map is ‘almost’ exactly the same as the one of Palij. It shows ‘aproximative’ ‘international’ and ‘principalities’ boundaries and no names of cities. No Maly Galych, no Tecuci, none. He is nevertheless keen to show where the actual boundaries between Ukraine and Romania are, and guess where, in Basarabia proper, the Budjak, which never ever belonged to any ‘Ukraine’, mythical or fabricated as in the present.
    Magocsi knew about the ‘myth’, because he is one of its creators. A Hungarian-‘rusyn’ from Canada he is “professor of history and political science at the University of Toronto, where since 1980 he also holds the John Yaremko Chair of Ukrainian Studies”, “Honorary Chairman of the World Congress of Rusyns”, an active propagandist of the “Carpatho-Rusyn” and “Ukrainian’ cause and, it goes without saying, a strong critic of the ‘illegal annexation of Crimea’.
    But his part of the history of Halych is entirely mythological and almost farcical. Especially his contortions by which he tries to ‘explain’ that the submission of Danylo to the Mongols was a boosting of his prestige. ‘Danylo was treated with great respect even though he had to pledge himself a vassal of the Mongol ruler’, “For their part, the Mongols approved of Danylo’s rule in Galicia-Volhynia. And the Poles and Hungarians in their turn were impressed with Danylo’s stature in the eyes of the all-powerful Mongols, who only a few years before had ravaged both Poland and Hungary. Danylo was even given the responsibility of collecting the Mongol tribute, a function that in the early years of Mongol rule was almost always carried out by the khan’s personal representatives (baskaki). Thus, what Danylo perceived as personal humiliation, others — in particular his western rivals — viewed as a great political victory. In retrospect, his decision to submit to the Mongols played an important role in ensuring Galicia-Volhynia’s strength and prosperity”. In fact the Princes of Halych bear the responsibility for the defeat of Kalka and of the great Mongol invasion of 1241.
    As you know, the submission of Alexander Nevski to the Mongols was something that turned Russia from the ‘West’ and plunged it into ‘Eurasiatism’. Moscow was a miserable stooge of the Mongols and then invaded ‘Ukraine’.
    Anyhow in the time of Danylo these regions were under the control of the Vlacho-Bulgarian Empire of the Assenids (Vlachs) and the Cumans.

  215. Lots of blah, blah, blah and then:

    Anyhow in the time of Danylo these regions were under the control of the Vlacho-Bulgarian Empire of the Assenids (Vlachs) and the Cumans.

    Finding some mention that Volochs and Byzantines were found in the area marauding and running around is no proof that these areas were under the control of the Bulgarian Empire. Remember, we’re talking about an area that on the north borders Galicia proper and that included Czern in Bukovina. So far, I’ve provided you with two different maps, and one quotation taken from a primary source:

    “Halytsky Osmomysl Yaroslava! You sit high on your table, propped up by the Hungarian mountains with your iron regiments, crossed the queen’s path, shut the Danube gate, throwing stones through the clouds, judging the Danube to the Danube, your terrible torrents flowing over the lands, giving you the gates to Kiev, firing you are from the otters of the golden table of sultans behind the earth. ” That is, the Galician prince controls the mouth of the Danube and all the territory to it

    So far, you’ve provided me with a lot of ‘blah, blah, blah’?…..

  216. See comment #216 addressed as a reply to comment #215.

  217. I can’t stop you to make a fool of yourself. You are the ineducable sort of persons that make a waste of time to speak to.

  218. You, yourself have offered no proof whatsoever to disprove that the areas depicted on two maps, all the way down to the Danube estuary, were areas under the control of the Galician-Volhynian principalty, whereas I have even cited a primary source indicating that they were, The Lay of the Host of Igor. If you’re not prepared to discuss things in a civilized manner, without resorting to insults, then please don’t even try.

  219. Didn’t you know that ‘The Lay of the Host of Igor’ was a literary hoax? A forgery? That would be to ask too much.

  220. It would be, because it wasn’t:

    The overall scholarly consensus accepts Slovo’s authenticity…In his 2004 book, the Russian linguist Andrey Zaliznyak analyzes arguments and conclud that the forgery theory is virtually impossible.[9] It was not until the late 20th century, after hundreds of bark documents were unearthed in Novgorod, that scholars learned that some of the puzzling passages and words of the tale were part of common speech in the 12th century, although they were not represented in chronicles and other formal written documents. Zaliznyak concludes that no 18th-century scholar could have imitated the subtle grammatical and syntactical features in the known text…In his revised second edition issued in 2007, Zaliznyak was able to use evidence from the posthumous edition of Zimin’s 2006 book. He argued that even someone striving to imitate some older texts would have had almost impossible hurdles to overcome, as mere imitation could not have represented the deep mechanics of the language.

    Juri Lotman supports the text’s authenticity, based on the absence of a number of semiotic elements in the Russian Classicist literary tradition before the publication of the Tale. He notes that “Russian Land” (русская земля) was a term that became popular only in the 19th century. A presumed forger of the 1780s–1790s would not have used such a term while composing the text.[10]

  221. You love fairy tales, don’t you? I must confess that I have a soft spot for Polovtsian Dances. Ballet Russe, Diaghilev, Nicholas Roerich, beautiful.

  222. Well, as it has become clearly obvious that you’re unable to bring anything more substantive to the table, we’ll have to make due with these ‘beautiful fairy tales’. Enjoy! 🙂

  223. OK, you may continue to jerk off on your Halych princes. Watch the ballet, it will help you.

  224. You’re the only ‘jerk off’ that I can see here, Angel Face. Aren’t you the one who masquerades here with supposed Christian values? 🙁