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October 23, 2021

Protest outside Russian embassy in Bucharest: “We are offended. Let’s return their baksheesh”

A protest was scheduled to take place outside the Russian embassy in Bucharest on Tuesday afternoon after the mobilization for it was made on Facebook. The participants were outraged by the Russian ambassador’s gesture to donate 100 Euros for Brancusi’s “Wisdom of the Earth” sculpture.

“The ambassador proudly announced he has donated 100 Euros for Wisdom of the Earth. We consider ourselves offended, so I invite you to give back the baksheesh, using small change. One cent [each] would be enough if plenty of us show up. At any rate, it would be better not to be left owing money, like the Russians owe us a few dozen tons of gold,” the Facebook page dedicated to the protest read.

The Russian embassy announced on Tuesday that it made “a modest donation,” worth 100 Euros, to the public campaign to buy Brancusi’s “Wisdom of the Earth” sculpture. At the same time, the announcement featured a video reply to the ad in support of the campaign. In it, the Russian embassy shows that Romania was rebuilt and industrialised with the Soviet Union’s help.

“Children should learn true history,” the video published by the Russian embassy says. This is the first public relations gesture made by Valeri Kuzmin, the new Russian ambassador to Romania. Kuzmin was previously Russia’s ambassador to Chisinau.


President Iohannis: “I won’t comment the actions of a foreign embassy. MAE will do that”


President Klaus Iohannis stated on Tuesday that he will not comment the Russian embassy’s stance concerning the donation in the Brancusi campaign, adding that the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) will have a reaction and that the people who feel offended are free to protest.

“I won’t comment the actions of a foreign embassy. MAE will do that,” Iohannis said after journalists insisted on the issue.

Referring to the initiative to stage a protest, an initiative announced on Facebook by people who felt offended and wanted to express their disapproval, President Klaus Iohannis pointed out that “Romania is a country where such actions are possible.”


Tariceanu: Russia’s latest aggressive actions caused concern all over the world


Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated, in reaction to the Russian embassy’s gesture, that apart from 1877 and 1944, Romania did not have “a brotherhood of arms” with Russia and that Moscow’s latest aggressive actions caused concern all over the world.

“In history, yes, there were situations when the Romanian army fought alongside the Russian army. Let me remind you of 1877 (the Independence War – editor’s note). Had the Romanian army not intervened, things would not have ended very well for the Russian army. The Romanian army’s intervention was decisive and its heroism absolutely remarkable. Of course there was also the 1944 moment, August 23, we know that very well. Apart from that, there were no other occasions in which we had a brotherhood of arms,” Calin Popescu Tariceanu said.

He added that he hears “the clatter of arms a bit too often.”

“Russia is known as a fan of a strong plan of rearmament, of modernisation of its armed forces. Russia’s latest aggressive actions caused concern in Romania and everywhere in the world. I am paying a lot of attention to these things. It’s good that Romania finds common ground with the other EU countries in order to tackle the major danger that the Russian Federation’s new foreign policy represents,” the Senate Speaker added.


MAE: Russian embassy’s message – own view on some chapters in history of bilateral relations


The Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) stated on Tuesday that it appreciates the Russian Federation embassy’s contribution to the public campaign to buy back Romanian national heritage items, pointing out however that associating this initiative with a media message that promotes the Russian diplomatic mission’s “own view on some chapters in the history of bilateral relations” seems “less explainable.”

MAE refers to the Russian embassy’s donation to the public campaign to buy Constantin Brancusi’s ““Wisdom of the Earth”” sculpture.

“We appreciate the Russian embassy’s contribution to buying back Romanian heritage and we encourage it to continue with this approach. At the same time, we encourage any public or private actor to support the campaign, in the spirit of respect for the cultural values of the Romanian people. However, associating this initiative with a media message endorsed by the Russian Federation’s embassy, a message that promotes its own view on some chapters in the history of bilateral relations, seems less explainable. The more so since this is a domain in which the joint commission of Romanian and Russian historians, whose goal is precisely to discuss historical aspects in order to consolidate mutual confidence, is the most capable to have a say,” reads a MAE communique remitted to Agerpres on Tuesday.

“For more information on the Culture Ministry’s official Brancusi campaign, visit www.brancusiealmeu.ro,” the MAE communique reads.

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