More good news, this time from the Latvian airline airBaltic, which yesterday announced it would be flying Bucharest – Riga from June 3rd this year. airBaltic has excellent connections to the other Baltic states, Russia and Scandinavia and fills a bit of a hole: with the exception of Warsaw it has never been easy to go north or east from Bucharest without first flying in entirely the wrong direction.
For those of us who have to go to the Baltics more often than most (In Your Pocket is based in Vilnius) this is a bonus, which alas comes too late for our next trip to Lithuania in April, although we hopefully won’t have to fly via Kaliningrad, as we did once.
Anyway, all three Baltic capitals are great weekend destinations, and although Tallinn in Estonia is the most picturesque, we’ve always preferred Riga and – most of all – Vilnius. Now that you can get to them easily and (relatively) cheaply we recommend all three.
Hunedoara railway station by Tamas Deszo. Click for original.
We’ve written before about what we think of the whole ‘it’s all Ceausescu’s fault‘ meme. ‘Not a lot’, is the short answer.
It’s about time however that a few other ideas were also thrown, once and for all, into the same barrel of bullshit. These include two phrases we have come to seriously detest: former communist Romania and post-communist Romania.
We have chosen today to write this rant for no other reason than we came across this earlier: a glimpse into ‘post-Communist’ Romania. Oh, interesting; we thought: photos from the immediate period following the death of Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989.
In fact, most of the photos were apparently taken in 2012: more than two decades after the fall of what passed in these parts for communism. So yes, they do technically document post-communist Romania, in much the same way that photos of contemporary Paris document post-Napoleonic France.
Now we think about it, we can’t but help wonder why it is so rare to see Romania referred to in the international press without being prefaced by the words ‘post-communist’. It’s as common as reference to Nicolae Ceausescu, even though Ceausescu has been dead for getting on 25 years. Can we not move on?
After all, you don’t hear Germany referred to as ‘the former Nazi country’, or see Hitler referenced in every travel article about Berlin. Can we please start doing something similar with Romania?
Small steps, small steps.
Romania has a broad smile on its face this afternoon: a Bucharest court has handed prison sentences to eight Romanian football officials for tax evasion and money laundering in connection with the transfer of 12 players. One of the eight is former Spurs player Gheorghe Popescu while the list also includes the Becali brothers, Victor and Giovanni, two of the biggest gangsters in the country and cousins of the (already in prison) Steaua Bucharest owner Gigi Becali.
You can read all about the case in this excellent piece, over at Romanian Scout.
There is also a (brief) AP report here.
The phone rings late on Thursday night, it’s gone 8pm. We answer nevertheless.
Good evening Mr. Turp, I am calling you from IRES. We are conducting an opinion poll about political opinions in Romania. Do you have five minutes to answer some questions?
Do we have five minutes? For a political opinion poll? Oh yes: bring it on.
So we diligently answered all the questions, from which party we would vote for in the European Parliament elections to how much faith we have in various politicians. Then there was a series of questions specifically about Calin Popescu Tariceanu, mainly about how we would vote were he to be in a second round presidential run off.
The way the questions were ordered it was clear that the poll had been ordered by Tariceanu’s people, to give his presidential candidacy a boost. The results, which show him beating both Crin Antonescu and Victor Ponta, would appear to support that.
What is interesting however is that we were also asked to choose between Klaus Johannis and Tariceanu. The result of that question does not appear to have been made public. We wonder why…
Not a post which will win us many friends we fear, but then we are not in this to win friends…
Anyway, here’s a question:
If a majority of the people of the Crimea vote in a referendum to leave Ukraine (and either join Russia or become some kind of independent state) what exactly is the problem? Would the rest of the world object?
Either the right to self-determination exists or it does not.
It’s the same with Kosovo, Transnistria, Scotland, Catalonia, the Basque Country or any region: what the majority of people in that region decide to do is their business.
Is it not?