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Bucharest
September 29, 2022
EDITORIAL

The transfiguration of Romania

In general, a state’s politics and governance and everything that derives from them are ordered by eras which are always represented by a leading or representative character. And who imprints on that era certain specific characteristics. Although maybe at that moment they did not seem to originate precisely from that character, however subsequently completely reflecting their creator.

In post-1989 Romania, we know up to this moment three such eras whose representatives have already entered history. The last of them officially and publicly made its debut just recently.

As usual, when an era ends to make room for the next one, its representative and features I mentioned earlier, whether we are talking about people, institutions, directions and so on, do no suddenly disappear, and the end of the era is not synonymous with the end of its effects.

No era ends suddenly. Just like none starts suddenly.

Not even in the case of revolutions or wars, as some would tend or like to believe.

For something to end in what concerns the existence and functioning of a state at its highest of levels and within its most complicated and important structures, it obviously takes time and not just for something else to start.

Especially essential is for that period of intermeshing between the two eras and their two representatives figures to take as long as necessary from both a temporal standpoint but particularly in what concerns the on-the-go, level-by-level and point-by-point dismantling of all the mechanisms that constituted that era, along with the reconfiguration of the new era.

It is a continuous, uninterrupted flow of events, people and times. And everything must take place like this in order for nothing to lead to fatal accidents within the state’s system.

For several months now, but particularly in recent weeks, a great part of the public attention and interest has focused on statements and events that could easily be labelled as screenplays. Not at all as something that could happen for real within the most important structures of the Romanian state. At least not in our reality, the reality of those watching these events.

I am sure each one of us has intersected with this serial-story of incendiary, earth-shaking and mindboggling revelations on what is happening within the most important levels of security and of security guarantees for the Romanian state and Romanian democracy. Revelations which, as the days go by, are gaining increasingly serious hues. At least apparently.

More so since the protagonist of this mini-series – Sebastian Ghita (photo) – has been given the romantic touch of the fugitive. Possibly criminal. Possibly innocent quarry.

More so since this protagonist has until recently been and continues to be associated, despite his attempts to distance himself from it, with the party that is now governing Romania.

And more so since in this serial-story the protagonist is doubled or dualized in certain moments by one of Romania’s most important characters: Traian Basescu. Former president of the country for two terms.

Obviously, we cannot remain indifferent to statements or revelations in the form of recordings the likes of those in which a former president is talking about the “mafia state,” about rigged legal cases, about a state intelligence and security system that has got out of control and is at the disposal of two characters who seem to have become national saviours and heroes in the fight against evil as part of a fatidic duo the likes of Bonnie and Clyde in the intelligence-judiciary variant. Recordings in which we were shown, apparently with incontestable evidence, photographs which throw doubt on the reasons why someone’s honesty and good faith would be contested, or in which even the Romanian’s last hope in the fight against influential and corrupt characters at the helm of the state is transformed into mindboggling scenarios featuring night-time walks through vineyards, exotic trips to luxury resorts and porte-bonheurs in the shape of owls.

Although, in this mesh of scenarios we clearly glimpse where the colours were laid on too thickly and where they were not, things are extremely serious and grave seen from the standpoint of thirty years of efforts, on the part of us all, to believe – albeit not feeling this most of the time in fact – that Romania has truly become a country that has come out from under an empire of evil that has lasted more than half a century.

So, what would be truly of interest and important in the whole recent film which has captivated and continues to captivate the nation just like only the Dallas television series was once able to do? Leaving aside the can-can elements, the special effects and, I repeat, the errors in the often extremely dissonant screenplay.

In my opinion, there are several lines of reference in this whole story, and they have eras as bridgeheads.

In particular, two emblematic characters at the level of the Romanian state’s leadership.

The first era was the era of Ion Iliescu and the state he created. With all the people and institutions that have formed it ever since. With the well-positioned element called CDR, which could be characterised as a political breather. One meant to be refreshing and reinvigorating but which in the end proved to be toxic. The Iliescu era was the era of the political factor’s absolute supremacy over anything. And what else could follow such an era but one that would strengthen the political power within the state, raised at the level of justice?

Obviously, through a reverse mechanism in which the sovereign political power, so much blamed, became the judiciary’s politics.

The Traian Basescu era, because this is the one we are talking about, came next in a Romania that definitively turned its face toward the West from which we learned that politics should not be supreme in the state and the separation of the branches of government should be respected at least theoretically, constitutionally.

This was the era of the glorification of the rule of law and the judiciary, with a president who seemed actually obsessed with these two notions and who never wanted to be associated with the political, but instead with the precious intelligence and its space, so selective and difficult to penetrate.

An era that started glorifying justice and intelligence, with the almost sacred promise to create for them a well-deserved status, and which ended against the backdrop of the judiciary’s ritualic hunt for politicians and everything associated with them. A judiciary personified in no one else but the already famous Laura Codruta Kovesi. Everything culminating with the transformation of the judiciary and of the Romanian state’s intelligence and security services – which in this case were given Florian Coldea’s image – which were formerly so loyal and useful to us all, of course, into a notion of opposite, conspiratorially negative and in the end destructive hue: the establishment!

An occult, out of control establishment which turned against its creator and those whom it should have served. A kind of Frankenstein.

And the third era which has just started is called the Liviu Dragnea era. Being defined, based on all the signs so far, by the supremacy of politics in the state, justified through the popular will expressed through the majority vote, which gives birth to the party-state.

But, as I pointed out at the beginning, no era can start on virgin ground and, in particular, cannot operate with the instruments created and used by someone else. Especially when these instruments are outdated and become useless to their very creator.

After all, a transition from one era to another, or a change, if you like, represents nothing but a mutual (obviously mutually advantageous too) accord between their representatives.

And if a change of regime/era – in fact demanded by the very change of global paradigm we have all been witnessing for some time now – is necessary and certain, regardless of the way in which it is implemented, we nevertheless must be aware that the way it ends up being finally transposed within the state shapes the way in which Romania will make headway, will remain stationary or will regress in relation to the rest of the world.

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