Nasty Scenes

Time to take a brief break from all the happy stuff and talk about some real shit. Romanians like to have collective amnesia about their history and forget that beyond all the crazy Communist Ceausescu shit, there was also a “fun” period of fascism. Living here in Moldova, which skipped the fascist part and went…

The Ballad of Mihai Viteazul

The biggest non-Hungarian statue in Cluj-Napoca is of Mihai Viteazul, known as Mihai “Bravu” in the southern regions of Romania and “Michael the Brave” in English. Today, there are statues of Mihai all over Romania and several villages bear his name. His incredible claim to fame is that, in the year 1600, he united all…

Yes, MASSR

One of the most interesting periods of history that very few people on either side of the Prut River remember today is that there was a Soviet Moldovan Republic long before Romania ceded Bessarabia without a fight in 1940. It took several years after the 1917 “October” Revolution in Russia before the Soviet Union was…

Why Do Romanians Hate and Fear Russia?

Over the years, I’ve documented a deep-seated fear and loathing for Russia amongst Romanians, and I really want to know why. Setting aside, momentarily, reactions to the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin since 2000, I wanted to know if there is any factual basis for all this enmity. Therefore, I decided to go through…

The Curious Case of Harold James Nicholson

One of the enduring questions that we will probably never know the answer to is: what was the extent of the CIA’s involvement in the 1989 Revolution? Effectively, there are three theories as to how the FSN formed: It was a CIA plot. It was a KGB plot. Ion Iliescu was the right scumbag at…

The Great Continuity Question

Well, folks, as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve now put myself out there on Quora, and so I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before some weightier questions than Where can I find hot Romanian chicks? were going to be asked. Today, I thought I’d add my two cents on what…

Cold Fury

I spent much of today reading through English-language reports on the continuing protests in Romania. I saw lots of disinformation, bad mispronunciations of Liviu Dragnea’s name, and a rather superficial analysis of what’s actually going on, but one thing is now official: these are the largest protests in Romania’s history. The situation continues to evolve,…

Agitprop Redux

Oh mercy me. Look, I get it that a lot of people in the Republic of Moldova feel very Romanian, and want to get a lot closer to Romania, maybe even to the point of joining the two countries together as one country. But that’s no excuse for this level of fantasy historical revisionism. Note:…

The First Movie Ever Made

Last week the 15th annual TIFF film festival kicked off in my old hometown of Cluj-Napoca. It reminded me of a story that I’ve wanted to tell for a long time. If you ask a film buff or historian of motion pictures about the world’s oldest movie, they’ll probably mention names like Thomas Edison, the…

Happy Western Easter Time Travel Day!

Hi there, folks! If you’re Catholic, Protestant, or any of about 500 other flavors of Christianity, today is Easter. If you’re living in Moldova, where only a few renegade Ukrainians and “weirdo” evangelicals celebrate Easter today then you’ll have to wait another month or so for all the Orthodox fun. Fun Fact #1: The Orthodox…

Let’s Eat Mamaliga!

Don’t have too much to add to this photo and brief post about mamaliga from one of my favorite new bloggers except that it’s interesting how each region of Romania (and RM and Ukraine) has their own different traditions about how to eat the stuff. In Cluj, it was often akin to a garlic and…