While it’s apparently perfectly acceptable to honor American soldiers who dropped bombs on innocent civilians with two separate monuments in the same city that they attacked, the deputy mayor of Bucharest is now agitating for a small park in the city to be renamed because it honors a Soviet general.
Located in northeastern Bucharest, Tolbukhin Park (Ro: Parcul Tolbuhin) is named after Fyodor Tolbukhin, a line soldier during World War 1 who fought against Germany and later a general in World War 2. One of his greatest acts of bravery was defending Stalingrad against the Nazis (and their Romanian allies).
In 1944, General Tolbukhin was promoted to Marshal of the Soviet Union and commanded the forces which liberated Odessa from Romanian control. A short while later, Romania switched sides, and combined Soviet-Romanian troops fought bloody battles up and down the country against the Nazis.
At the end of the war, after King Mihai proudly accepted the Grand Order of Victory from the Soviet Union (an award he has never rejected), a small park in Bucharest was named for General Tolbukhin in honor of his role in liberating the country from the Nazis.
Mind you, there’s no statue or memorial. They just named the park after him.
These days, however, a lot of people in Romania are terrified of Russia, and so Bucharest Deputy Mayor Dan Cristian Popescu wants to rename the park.
The reason why we’ve begun the process to rename the park is incredibly obvious. 27 years after the Revolution, it is completely unacceptable to continue to honor Fyodor Tolbukhin, one of the Soviet Army’s commanders, leader of an army that did not just liberate Romania from fascism but was also an army of occupation.
The atrocities committed by Soviet soldiers against the Romanian people are well-known, including the installation of a Communist regime that now brings us so many sad memories.
The Beam In Thine Own Eye
Yes, there is no doubt whatsoever that Soviet troops were present on Romanian soil at the end of the war. Yes, Stalin ordered large-scale cullings of political opponents by deporting them to the gulags. Nobody whatsoever is debating the awfulness of Joseph Stalin.
But the Romanians played their part in making their country Communist, including the all-important 1946 elections. It wasn’t the Soviets who rigged that election, it was Romanians. And many of them were extremely happy to participate, including Emil Bodnaras, who spoke perfect Russian and had a street named after him in Bucharest for many years (today it has been renamed Timisoara Boulevard).
Another enthusiastic Romanian Communist was Gheorghe Gheorgiu-Dej, the first post-war leader of the country and the same man who got all Soviet troops to leave in 1956.
And in Bucharest today there is still a street named for Lucretiu Patrascanu, another prominent politician who was responsible for Romania becoming Communist. In fact, Patrascanu served as the Justice Minister in the first Communist government, directly responsible for arresting, torturing, and executing anyone deemed a “dissident”.
Gone AND Forgotten
The idiots who run Bucharest may have amnesia, but not so the Russians. Just this week, Maria Zaharova, a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry had this to say.
We hope that this sacrilegious attitude will not prevail, but instead that the thousands of Soviet soldiers who gave their lives to free Romania from fascism some 70 years ago should continue to be honored. We hope that the Romanian authorities will not allow this rewriting of history and that our two countries will continue to honor their war memorials.
On October 15, 2015, on the occasion of Romania’s National Army Day, Russian authorities formally opened the section of the Rossoshka Cemetery near Volgograd to honor Romanian soldiers who were killed during the Battle of Stalingrad.
With Romanian officials present, the remains of 62 fallen Romanian soldiers were laid to rest under a large granite cross inscribed with the words (in Romanian and Russian), “In memory of the Romanian soldiers who died during the Battle of Stalingrad.”
And just this year, on the occasion of Romania’s Day of Heroes (May 25), the Romanian ambassador to Russia (Vasile Soare) was present at the unveiling of a monument in Novoshakhtinsk dedicated to Romanian prisoners of war who died in Gulag #430.
It is believed that 161 Romanian POWs lost their lives in this camp. Present at the unveiling ceremony were two high-ranking Orthodox priests who were sent by Romanian Patriarch Daniel to bless the human remains. Colonel Corneliu Calistru of the Romanian Defense Ministry and Daniel Rasica, a representative of the Bucharest city administration, laid wreaths at the monument.
You know who else laid a wreath at this monument during the ceremony? Members of the Romanian community of nearby Pyatigorsk. Yes, you read that right. There is a Romanian community in that part of Russia, and they are openly allowed to be proud of their culture.
There is a total of 15 monuments throughout Russia that were paid for and dedicated by the post-1989 government of Romania to honor Romanian soldiers killed in World War 2 as well as one monument in Gvozdo (Primorsky Krai) that honors 20 Romanian soldiers who died during World War 1 (at the time, Gvozdo was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire).
So yeah, you can scream and cry all you want to about the “outrageousness” of having a small park in Bucharest named after a Soviet general, but you can’t just rewrite history unilaterally.
If Russia can treat fallen Romanian soldiers that invaded their country with dignity and respect, Romania can live with a fucking park named after a Soviet general who, let’s not forget, literally fought against the Nazis.
3 thoughts on “Monumental Stupidity”
“During the Summer Campaign, from June to October 1944, Tolbukhin and Malinovsky launched their invasion of the Balkans and were able to conquer most of Romania.” Why would a country name a park after someone who invaded and conquered their country – even if he was a fine fellow? I don’t see many American parks named after George 3rd or Major General Robert Ross (the British guy who burned Washington DC in the War of 1812).
Yup, a lot of the early Communists in Romania changed their names to make them sound Romanian. In the first Central Committee after WW2, you had a bunch of characters as you will see below. Iosif Roitman became Iosif Chisinevschi (and his wife, also a member, became Liuba Chisinevschi). Dimitar Kolev became Dumitru Coliu. Laszlo Luka became Vasile Luca. I am not sure what Ion G. Maurer’s initial name had been, his dad was not Romanian. Mogyoros Sandor became Alexandru Moghioros. Hannah Rabinsohn became Ana Pauker. Rangecz Jozsef became Iosif Ranghet. Szilagyi Ignac became Leontin Salajan.
Emil Bodnaras was not Romanian, truth be told. His father was Ucrainian, his mother German. He was a Soviet agent, educated în Moscow, his name before taking an active role în Romanian politics was Bodnarenko.