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Bucharest
December 1, 2021
POLITICS

ICR President Patapievici steps down

He charged that the Roman Cultural Institute would turn into a national cultural propaganda institution.

The president of the Roman Cultural Institute (ICR), Patapievici, yesterday announced his resignation. Vice-presidents Tania Radu and Mircea Mihaies also resigned, on grounds of the institution changing its mission and becoming politically subordinated to the Senate. Patapievici charged that the ICR would become a national culture propaganda institution, and would no longer be a mediator between Romanian artists and cultural operators and those abroad, as well as an institution promoting the national culture in cooperation with foreign cultural institutions, which ensured its successful actions on the foreign cultural market.  “The place I have spent seven and a half years of my life, this living institutional construction is destroyed,” Patapievici said, who added that the institution’s leadership, namely he, Tania Radu and Mircea Mihaies are tendering their resignations in protest “against the blow at the Romanian artists”. “Our slogan has been: «Never alone, always together,” Patapievici outlined, reminding that half of the ICR-organized events were made in cooperation with a foreign co-financing partner and one in five ICR events are organized at no cost, with foreign partners making available what it takes to make them come to life.  “We don’t make propaganda for Romanian culture.  Propaganda is made for an ideology, for a state,” said Patapievici.  “Nationalism is the worst form of patriotism,” he also said, referring to the effects of the emergency ordinance OUG no 27 – turning the ICR into an instrument of cultural propaganda for strengthening national identity.  .Patapievici also said that, although Romanian artists and cultural operators criticized the government’s decision, and despite the hundreds of letters of protest from cultural associations abroad, government and lawmakers upheld the emergency ordinance and even went as far as to defame the ICR, which they labeled an agency preparing propaganda agents for the “Basescu regime”. Patapievici also said that he “banned personal expenditures”, so that what his successor will inherit will be not a luxury car, as is the case at other state institutions, but the same car he inherited from former ICR president Augustin Buzura. At the end of the conference where he made public his resignation, Patapievici thanked the artists and cultural figures who worked with the ICR, the colleagues at Romanian  and foreign cultural institutes and all the collaborators, the Bucharest leadership, his speech being applauded at length by the audience including film director Cristi Puiu and writer Mircea Cartarescu, young writers Anamaria Sandu and Elena Vladareanu, as well as the assistant director of the French Institute in Bucharest, Didier Dutour.The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) on Tuesday accepted as constitutional the government emergency ordinance that subordinated the ICR to the Presidential Administration and the Senate. Premier Ponta justified the government’s decision on grounds that the “institution was much too politicized” and showed that the ICR would be subordinated to the Senate.

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