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January 27, 2023

Tatiana Bran’s first week at the Cotroceni Palace: Between the institution’s stiffness and the impatience to see signs of change

*The writer Tatiana Niculescu Bran, President Iohannis’s  spokesperson has shared on Sunday, on her Facebook account, her first impressions after just a week spent at the Presidential Palace.


Cotroceni – 25 years of “baron-isation”


“My first week at the Cotroceni Palace: between the institution’s stiffness and the impatience to see signs of change as soon as possible.

The Cotroceni Palace became the residence of the Romanian Presidency immediately after 1989 with the takeover by Ion Iliescu.

Many offices still retain the obsolete furniture from the communist era, floral carpets with dark red background, burgundy curtains, velvet sofas with cushions of questionable taste and, above all, the clogged smell of communist hotels. You expect, that moving aside the corner of a curtain covering a door, to find, displayed prominently, any portrait of Nicolae Ceausescu. The opulence of some huge and dark offices is combined with the poor state of sanitary installation . On halls, ladies dressed in working gowns have the air of cleaning busily. Some people, overwhelmed with respect, open and close doors. Where there are gatekeepers with such a ceremonial air, you’d expect to find also bakers and cupbearers. But at Cotroceni, you cannot eat, although the state employees spend 10-12 hours a day at work. There is no canteen, there is not even a kiosk with expired wafers and Coca-Cola. However, if you’re thirsty, you dial an extension number and someone arrives with a tray with a bottle of water and a glass. “Allow me to introduce myself: My name is… (plus the SPP military rank) and I brought you water. Please sign this bill”.

And you sign a receipt showing that you used on … a bottle of water. Those who have worked in the offices of the Presidency over these 25 years may have lived with satisfaction this choreography of domination.

When you are to budge bureaucracy of this place or have ideas about how things should go, old administration employees (some are there from the time of Ion Iliescu) give you one answer, that it is not possible or that the conditions to be met are so complicated, that finally you have to give up.

Travelling along the Palace lanes, one can understand better Romania 25 years since the fall of communism, with the good and the bad, and the “local baron” culture.

You realize, in particular, how urgent is the need for change in the administration (presidential and not only), to get rid of barons at all levels, and to adjust all these to the realities of this twenty-first century”, concludes Tatiana Niculescu Bran his story posted on Sunday on her Facebook account.



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