The Russian Queen of Romania That Almost Was

Have you ever seen this photograph before? It is, quite possibly, the single most important photograph ever taken in the 20th century. The woman on the far right, holding a baby, is Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna Romanova. The young man in the back is Crown Prince Carol. The photograph was taken on July 14, 1914,…

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…

Glorious Traditions

It’s hot as balls in Romania right now, and the current scandal that everyone’s talking about is the recent revelations about Liviu Dragnea, the unofficial emperor of Romania. It’s not so much just that he’s up to his eyeballs in corrupt practices, but that he’s been laundering millions of dollars while on “fishing trips” in…

Veti mai trai pana la 9 ianuarie!

Over the past few months, a lot of people have been asking me exactly how much of what happened during the Romanian 1989 Revolution was orchestrated by the United States (or conversely, the Soviet Union). There’s a really persistent conspiracy theory that the Revolution was largely stage-managed by the USA, and I want to know…

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,…

Bunker Mentality

In April of 2009 in the Republic of Moldova, a popular protest culminated in the burning of the parliament building. The protest was largely due to the illegitimacy of the ruling coalition. Seven years later, another illegitimate ruling coalition is worried about protests. My translation: The Parliament building recently got a security upgrade that cost…

Sinvergüenza

Word Count: 1087 There’s been a number of stories about Romania that I haven’t had time to cover here in my long absence: Romanian party leaders being arrested/investigated for corruption, the President continuing to prove he’s a worthless crook, people dying due to corruption and incompetence, more economic failures and nonsense related to the budget,…

Every Man for Himself, and May the Devil Take the Hindmost

Word Count: 729 Every time a Moldovan tells me how great it would be if the unirea (political union with Romania) would happen, I always ask them the same question. “Why in the world would you want those fucking crooks in charge of your life?” In Romania, just a week after siccing the dirtbag police…

How the Brave Moldovan Police Saved my Family from Evil Russia

Word Count: 1029 A few years ago, someone asked me if I had ever thought of pursuing a career in journalism. I replied, “No thanks, I actually respect myself.” As Stephen Colbert said way back in 2006, most journalists are just whores with a notepad. Here’s a case in point, brought to you by VICE,…

Szabadság

The sun came out yesterday and I spent a goodly amount of time enjoying the fresh air in downtown Unicorn City, taking in the sights and chatting with a few people. Right now Cluj is in the middle of its TIFF film festival and it seems like both visitors and locals alike are having a…

How Romanians Got Cheated Out of a Revolution

I’ve already confessed to exactly where I was and what I was doing in December 1989 when Romania had their revolution. I was drunk, surly and in a foul mood and when my friend ran to me, breathless, saying they had just shot Nicolae Ceausescu on television, my reply was “Who? Never heard of him.”…