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Anti-Romanian discrimination and sentiment or Romanian-phobia1 (Romanian: antiromânism,2 românofobie) is hostility toward or prejudice against Romanians as an ethnic, linguistic, religious, or perceived racial group, and can range from individual hatred to institutionalized, violent persecution.
Anti-Romanian discrimination and sentiment has been present in various degrees among the peoples and/or governments of countries bordering on Romania, either toward Romania itself or towards Romanian ethnic minorities residing in these countries. Similar patterns have existed toward other groups both in the region and elsewhere in the world, especially where political borders do not coincide with the patterns of ethnic population.
- 1 Romanian History
- 1.1 Prehistory
- 1.2 Early Middle Ages
- 1.3 Middle Ages
- 1.4 Early modern period
- 1.5 Revolutions of 1848
- 1.6 Independence and Kingdom of Romania
- 1.7 World War I
- 1.8 Greater Romania (1918–1940)
- 1.9 Transition to authoritarian rule
- 1.10 World War II and aftermath (1940–1947)
- 1.11 Communist period (1947–1989)
- 1.12 1989 Revolution
- 1.13 Transition to free market (1990–2004)
- 1.14 New constitution
- 2 European Union membership (2004–present)
- 3 Kingdom of Hungary and Austria-Hungary
- 4 Russian Empire
- 5 Soviet Union (including the 1917 Revolution)
- 6 Post-USSR Moldova and Transnistria
- 7 Ukraine
- 8 Yugoslavia and modern Serbia
- 9 Albania
- 10 Romania
- 11 Switzerland
- 12 European Union
- 13 Notes
- 14 References
This article provides only a brief outline of each period of the history of Romania; details are presented in separate articles (see the links in the box and below).
40,000 year old modern human remains were discovered in present day Romania when the "Cave With Bones" was uncovered in 2002.3 In 2011 older modern human remains were identified in the UK (Kents Cavern at 41,000BP) and Italy (Grotta del Cavallo at 43,000BP),4 nonetheless the Romanian fossils are still among the oldest remains of Homo sapiens in Europe, so they may be representative of the first such people to have entered the continent.5 The remains are especially interesting because they present a mixture of archaic, early modern human and Neanderthal morphological features.67
One of the fossils found—a male, adult jawbone—has been dated to be between 34,000 and 36,000 years old, which would make it one of the oldest fossils found to date of modern humans in Europe.8 A skull found in Peștera cu Oase (The Cave with Bones) in 2004-5 bears features of both modern humans and Neanderthals. According to a paper by Erik Trinkaus and others, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January 2007, this finding suggests that the two groups interbred thousands of years ago.
The earliest written evidence of people living in the territory of the present-day Romania comes from Herodotus in book IV of his Histories written c. 440 BCE. Herein he writes that the tribal confederation of the Getae were defeated by the Persian Emperor Darius the Great during his campaign against the Scythians.9 The Dacians, widely accepted as part of the Getae described earlier by the Greeks, were a branch of Thracians that inhabited Dacia (corresponding to modern Romania, Moldova, northern Bulgaria and surroundings).
The Dacian Kingdom reached its maximum expansion during King Burebista, between 82 BCE - 44 BCE. Under his leadership Dacia became a powerful state which threatened the regional interests of the Romans. Julius Caesar intended to start a campaign against the Dacians, due to the support that Burebista gave to Pompey, but was assassinated in 44 BC. A few months later, Burebista shared the same fate, assassinated by his own noblemen. Another theory suggests that he was killed by Caesar's friends. His powerful state was divided in four and did not become unified again until 95 AD, under the reign of the Dacian king Decebalus.
The Roman Empire conquered Moesia by 29 BC, reaching the Danube. In 87 AD Emperor Domitian sent six legions into Dacia, which were defeated at Tapae. The Dacians were eventually defeated by Emperor Trajan in two campaigns stretching from 101 AD to 106 AD,10 and the core of their kingdom was turned into the province of Roman Dacia.
The Romans exploited the rich ore deposits of Dacia. Gold and silver were especially plentiful,11 and were found in great quantities in the Western Carpathians. After Trajan's conquest, he brought back to Rome over 165 tons of gold and 330 tons of silver. The Romans heavily colonized the province,12 and thus started a period of intense romanization, the Vulgar Latin giving birth to the Proto-Romanian language.1314
The geographical position of Dacia Felix (another name for the Roman province of Dacia) made it difficult to defend against the barbarians, and during 240 AD - 256 AD, under the attacks of the Carpi and the Goths, Dacia was lost. The Roman Empire withdrew from Dacia Romana around 271 AD, thus making it the first province to be abandoned.1516
Roman conquest of Dacia stands at the base of the origin of Romanians. Several competing theories have been introduced to explain the origin of modern Romanians. Linguistic and geo-historical analyses tend to indicate that Romanians have coalesced as a major ethnic group both South and North of the Danube.17 For further discussion, see Origin of Romanians and Vlachs.
Between 271 and 275, the Roman army and administration left Dacia, which was invaded afterwards by the Goths.18 The Goths mixed with the local people until the 4th century, when a nomadic people, the Huns, arrived.19 The Gepids2021 and the Avars and their Slavic subjects22 ruled Transylvania until the 8th century.20 The Pechenegs,23 the Cumans24 and Uzes were also mentioned by historic chronicles on the territory of Romania, until the founding of the Romanian principalities of Wallachia, in the south, by Basarab I around 1310 in the High Middle Ages,25 and Moldova, in the east, by Dragoş around 1352.26
The Pechenegs (a semi-nomadic Turkic people of the Central Asian steppes) occupied the steppes north of the Black Sea (8th–12th century) and by the 10th century they were in control of all the lands between the Don and lower Danube rivers.27 During the 11th and 12th century, the nomadic confederacy of the Cumans and (Eastern) Kipchaks (who are considered to be either the eastern branch of the Cumans or a distinct but related tribe with whom the Cumans have created a confederacy) were the dominant force over the vast territories stretching from as far as present-day Kazakhstan, southern Russia, Ukraine, down to southern Moldavia and western Wallachia.28293031
By the 11th century, the area of today's Transylvania became a largely autonomous part of the Kingdom of Hungary. Kings of Hungary invited the Saxons to settle in Transylvania, to populate the sparsely inhabited region. Also living in Transylvania were the Székely. After the Magyar conquest (10-11th century), Transylvania became part of the Kingdom of Hungary until the 16th century,32 when it became the independent Principality of Transylvania33 until 1711.34 Many small local states with varying degrees of independence developed, but only in the 14th century the larger principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia emerged to fight a threat in the form of the Ottoman Turks, who conquered Constantinople in 1453.
Independent Wallachia has been on the border of the Ottoman Empire since the 14th century until it gradually fell under the Ottomans' suzerainty during the 15th century. One famous ruler in this period was Vlad III the Impaler (also known as Vlad Dracula, Romanian: Vlad Ţepeş), Prince of Wallachia in 1448, 1456–62, and 1476.3536 In the English-speaking world, Vlad is best known for being the inspiration to the "vampire" main character in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula. As a king, he courageously maintained an independent policy towards the Ottoman Empire. The Romanians appreciate him as a ruler with an extreme sense of justice 37 and the defender of the Wallachian independence and, in general, the western European Christianism against the Ottoman expansionism. The principality of Moldavia reached its most glorious period under the rule of Stephen the Great between 1457 and 1504.38
His 47 years' reign was unusually long at that time - only 13 rulers worldwide were recorded to have ruled for at least 50 years until the end of 15th century. He was a very successful both military and civil ruler ( losing only 2 out of 50 battles 39), after each victory he raised a church, managing to build 48 churches or monasteries,40 some of them with a very unique and interesting style. For more information see Painted churches of northern Moldavia listed in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. Stephen's most prestigious victory was over the Ottoman Empire in 1475 at the Battle of Vaslui for which he raised the Voroneţ Monastery. For this victory, Pope Sixtus IV nominated him as verus christianae fidei athleta (a true Champion of the Christian Faith). However, after his death, Moldavia also came under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.
By 1541, the entire Balkan peninsula and most of Hungary became Ottoman provinces. In contrast, Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania, came under Ottoman suzerainty, but conserved fully internal autonomy and, until the 18th century, some external independence. During this period, also called the Phanariot Epoch, the Romanian lands were characterised by the slow disappearance of the feudal system and the distinguishment of some rulers like Vasile Lupu and Dimitrie Cantemir in Moldavia, Matei Basarab and Constantin Brâncoveanu in Wallachia, and Gabriel Bethlen in Transylvania. At that time the Russian Empire appeared to become the political and military power which threatened the Romanian principalities.
John II, the non-Habsburg king of Hungary, moved his royal court to Alba Iulia in Transylvania, and after his abdication from the Hungarian throne, he became the first "Prince of Transylvania". His Edict of Turda was the first decree of religious freedom in the modern European history (1568). In the aftermath Transylvania was ruled by mostly Calvinist Hungarian princes (until the end of the 17th century), and Protestantism flourished in the region.
Michael the Brave (Romanian: Mihai Viteazul) was the Prince of Wallachia (1593–1601), of Transylvania (1599–1600), and of Moldavia (1600). For a short time during his reign Transylvania was ruled together with Moldavia and Wallachia in a personal union.42 After his death the union dissolved and as vassal tributary states Moldova and Wallachia still had an internal autonomy and some external independence, which was finally lost in the 18th century.
The Principality of Transylvania reached its golden age under the absolutist rule of Gabor Bethlen (1613–1629). In 1699, Transylvania became a part of the Habsburgs' Austrian Empire, following the Austrian victory over the Turks. The Austrians, in their turn, rapidly expanded their empire: in 1718 a major part of Wallachia, Oltenia, was annexed to the Austrian monarchy and was only returned in 1739. In 1775, the Austrian empire occupied the north-western part of Moldavia, later on called Bukovina, while the eastern half of the principality (by the name of Bessarabia) was occupied in 1812 by Russia.
During the Austro-Hungarian rule in Transylvania, and the Ottoman suzerainty over Wallachia and Moldavia, most Romanians were actually second-class citizens (or even non-citizens) 43 in a territory where in fact they constituted the majority of the population.4445 In some Transylvanian cities like Brașov (at that time the Transylvanian Saxon citadel of Kronstadt), Romanians were not even allowed to reside within the city walls.46
As in other European countries, 1848 brought up the revolution upon Moldavia, Wallachia and Transylvania, through Tudor Vladimirescu and his Pandurs in the Wallachian uprising of 1821. The goals of the revolutionaries - full independence for Moldavia and Wallachia, and national emancipation in Transylvania - remained unfulfilled, but were the basis of the subsequent evolutions. The uprising helped the population of all three principalities recognise their unity of language and interests; all tree Romanian principalities were very close, not only in language, but also geographically.
After the unsuccessful 1848 Revolution, the Great Powers rejected the Romanians' expressed desire to officially unite in a single state, forcing the Romanians to proceed alone their struggle against the Turks. Heavily taxed and badly administered under the Ottoman Empire, in 1859, people's representatives in both Moldavia and Wallachia elected the same "Domnitor" (ruling Prince of the Romanians) : Alexandru Ioan Cuza.47
Thus, Romania was created as a personal union albeit that did not include Transylvania, where the upper class and the aristocracy remained mainly Hungarian, although Romanian nationalist spirit inevitably ran up against the Hungarian nationalism at the end of the 19th century. As in the previous 900 years, Austria-Hungary, especially under the Dual Monarchy of 1867, kept the territory firmly in control, even in parts of Transylvania where Romanians constituted a vast majority.
In an 1866 coup d'état, Cuza was exiled and replaced by Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who became known as Prince Carol of Romania. He was appointed Domnitor - Ruling Prince of the United Principality of Romania, as Prince Carol of Romania.
In the 1878 Treaty of Berlin,49 Romania was finally officially recognized as an independent state by the Great Powers.50 In return, Romania ceded the district of Bessarabia to Russia "in exchange" for the access to the ports on the Black Sea shore, and acquired Dobruja.
The new state, squeezed between the great powers of the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, looked to the West, particularly France, for its cultural, educational, military and administrative models. In 1916 Romania entered World War I on the Entente side, after the Entente agreed to recognize Romanian rights over Transylvania, which was part of Austria-Hungary until that time.
In August 1914, when World War I broke out, Romania declared neutrality. Two years later, under the pressure of Allies (especially France desperate to open a new front), on August 14/27 1916 it joined the Allies, for which they were promised support for the accomplishment of national unity, Romania declared war on Austria-Hungary.52
The Romanian military campaign ended in disaster for Romania as the Central Powers conquered two-thirds of the country and captured or killed the majority of its army within four months. Nevertheless, Moldova remained in Romanian hands after the invading forces were stopped in 1917. In May 1918, Romania was in no position to continue the war, and negotiated a peace treaty with Germany (see Treaty of Bucharest, 1918).
In October 1918, Romania joined the war again and by the end of the war, the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires had disintegrated. Governing bodies created by the Romanians of Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina chose union with the Kingdom of Romania, resulting in Greater Romania. Since by the war's end, Austria-Hungary and the Russian Empire had collapsed, Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania were allowed to unite with the Kingdom of Romania in 1918.
By the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, Hungary renounced in favour of Romania all the claims of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy over Transylvania.53 The union of Romania with Bukovina was ratified in 1919 in the Treaty of Saint Germain,54 and with Bessarabia in 1920 by the Treaty of Paris.55
The Romanian expression România Mare (literal translation "Great Romania", but more commonly rendered "Greater Romania") generally refers to the Romanian state in the interwar period, and by extension, to the territory Romania covered at the time (see map). Romania achieved at that time its greatest territorial extent (almost 300,000 km2 or 120,000 sq mi56), managing to unite all the historic Romanian lands.
Historically, Greater Romania—România Mare—represented one of the ideals of Romanian nationalism. Greater Romania is still seen by many as a "paradise lost", often by comparison with the "stunted" Communist Romania. To exploit the nationalistic connotation of the term, a nationalist political party uses it as its name.
In 1918, at the end of World War I, Transylvania and Bessarabia united with the Romanian Old Kingdom. The Deputies of the Romanians from Transylvania voted to unite their region by the Proclamation of Union of Alba Iulia. Bessarabia, having declared its independence from Russia in 1917 by the Conference of the Country (Sfatul Țării), called in Romanian troops to protect the province from the Bolsheviks who were spreading the Russian Revolution.
The union of the regions of Transylvania, Maramureș, Crișana and Banat with the Old Kingdom of Romania was ratified in 1920 by the Treaty of Trianon, which recognised the sovereignty of Romania over these regions and settled the border between the independent Republic of Hungary and the Kingdom of Romania. The union of Bucovina and Bessarabia with Romania was ratified in 1920 by the Treaty of Versailles. Romania had also recently acquired the Southern Dobruja territory called "The Quadrilateral" from Bulgaria as a result of its participation in the Second Balkan War in 1913.
The Union of 1918 united most regions with clear Romanian majorities into the boundaries of a single state. However, it also led to the inclusion of various sizable minorities, including Magyars (ethnic Hungarians), Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, etc., for a total of about 28% of the population (Magyars mostly in Transylvania; Germans in Transylvania, Bukovina, and Banat; Ukrainians in part of Bessarabia and Bukovina, Bulgarians in Dobrudja).
Recognized by the Romanian Constitution of 1923 and supported by various laws (education, electoral, etc.), national minorities were represented in Parliament, and several of them created national parties (the Magyars in 1922, the Germans in 1929, the Jews in 1931), although a unique standing of minorities with autonomy on a wide basis, provided for at the assembly of Transylvanian Romanians on 1 December 1918 were not fulfilled.
Two periods can be identified in Romania between the two World Wars. From 1918 to 1938, Romania was a liberal constitutional monarchy, but one facing the rise of the nationalist, anti-semitic parties, particularly Iron Guard, which won about 15% of the votes in the general elections of 1937. From 1938 to 1944, Romania was a dictatorship. The first dictator was King Carol II, who abolished the parliamentary regime and ruled with his camarilla.
In 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which stipulated, amongst other things, the Soviet "interest" in Bessarabia. Following the severe territorial losses of 1940 (see next section), Carol was forced to abdicate, replaced as king by his son Mihai, but the power was taken by the military dictator Ion Antonescu (initially in conjunction with the Iron Guard). In August 1944, Antonescu was arrested by Mihai.
During the Second World War, Romania tried again to remain neutral, but on June 28, 1940, it received a Soviet ultimatum with an implied threat of invasion in the event of non-compliance.57 Under pressure from Moscow and Berlin, the Romanian administration and the army were forced to retreat from Bessarabia as well from Northern Bukovina to avoid war.58 This, in combination with other factors, prompted the government to join the Axis. Thereafter, southern Dobruja was awarded to Bulgaria, while Hungary received Northern Transylvania as result of an Axis arbitration.59
In 1940, Romania lost territory in both east and west: In June 1940, after receiving an ultimatum from the Soviet Union, Romania ceded Bessarabia and northern Bukovina60616263 (see Soviet occupation of Bessarabia). Two thirds of Bessarabia were combined with a small part of the USSR to form the Moldavian SSR. Northern Bukovina and Budjak were apportioned to the Ukrainian SSR. In August 1940, Northern Transylvania was awarded to Hungary by Germany and Italy through the Second Vienna Award. Southern Dobruja was also lost to Bulgaria shortly after Carol's abdication.
Because Carol II lost so much territory through failed diplomacy, the army supported seizure of power by General Ion Antonescu. For four months (the period of the National Legionary State), he had to share power with the Iron Guard, but the latter overplayed their hand in January 1941 and were suppressed. Romania entered World War II under the command of the German Wehrmacht in June 1941, declaring war to the Soviet Union in order to recover Bessarabia and northern Bukovina. Romania was awarded the territory between Dniester and the Southern Bug by Germany to administer it under the name of Transnistria.
The authoritarian King Carol II abdicated in 1940, succeeded by the National Legionary State, in which power was shared by Ion Antonescu and the Iron Guard. Within months, Antonescu had crushed the Iron Guard, and the subsequent year Romania entered the war on the side of the Axis powers. During the war, Romania was the most important source of oil for Nazi Germany,64 prompting multiple bombing raids by the Allies. By means of the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, Romania recovered Bessarabia and northern Bukovina from the Soviet Russia, under the leadership of general Ion Antonescu.
The Antonescu regime played a major role in the Holocaust,65 following to a lesser extent the Nazi policy of oppression and massacre of the Jews, and Romas, primarily in the Eastern territories Romania recovered or occupied from the Soviet Union (Transnistria) and in Moldavia.66 According to an international commission report released by the Romanian government in 2004, Antonescu's dictatorial government of Romania is responsible for the murder in various forms including deportations to concentration camps and executions by the Romanian Army and Gendarmerie and the German Einsatzgruppen of some 280,000 to 380,000 Jews on Romanian territories and in the war zone of Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transnistria.6768
On 20 August 1944 the Soviet Red Army crossed the border into Romania. On 23 August 1944 Antonescu was toppled and arrested by King Michael I of Romania who joined the Allies and declared war on Germany. On 31 August 1944 the Soviet Red Army entered Bucharest. Despite Romania`s change of sides its role in the defeat of Nazi Germany was not recognized by the Paris Peace Conference of 1947.69
With the Red Army forces still stationed in the country and exerting de facto control, Communists and their allied parties claimed 80% of the vote, through a combination of vote manipulation,70 elimination, and forced mergers of competing parties, thus establishing themselves as the dominant force. Romania suffered additional heavy casualties fighting the Nazis in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. By the end of the war, the Romanian army had suffered almost 300,000 casualties.71
The Paris Peace Treaty at the end of World War II rendered the Vienna Awards void: Northern Transylvania returned to Romania, but Bessarabia, northern Bukovina and southern Dobruja were not recovered. The Moldavian-SSR became independent of the Soviet Union only with the latter's 1991 demise and turned into the Republic of Moldova.
In 1947, King Michael I was forced by the Communists to abdicate and leave the country, Romania was proclaimed a republic,7273 and remained under direct military and economic control of the USSR until the late 1950s. During this period, Romania's resources were drained by the "SovRom" agreements: mixed Soviet-Romanian companies established to mask the looting of Romania by the Soviet Union.747576
Soviet occupation following World War II led to the formation of a communist People's Republic in 1947, and the abdication of King Michael, who went into exile. The leader of Romania from 1948 to his death in 1965 was Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, the First Secretary of the Romanian Workers' Party, who first sowed the seeds of greater independence from the Soviet Union by persuading Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev to withdraw troops from Romania in April 1958.77
After the negotiated retreat of Soviet troops, Romania, under the new leadership of Nicolae Ceauşescu, started to pursue independent policies, including the condemnation of the Soviet-led 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia (Romania being the only Warsaw Pact country not to take part in the invasion), the continuation of diplomatic relations with Israel after the Six-Day War of 1967 (again, the only Warsaw Pact country to do so), and the establishment of economic (1963) and diplomatic (1967) relations with the Federal Republic of Germany.78 Also, close ties with the Arab countries (and the PLO) allowed Romania to play a key role in the Israel-Egypt and Israel-PLO peace processes by intermediating the visit of Sadat in Israel.79
As Romania's foreign debt sharply increased between 1977 and 1981 (from 3 to 10 billion US dollars),80 the influence of international financial organisations such as the IMF and the World Bank grew, conflicting with Nicolae Ceauşescu's autarchic policies. Ceauşescu eventually initiated a project of total reimbursement of the foreign debt (completed in 1989, shortly before his overthrow). To achieve this goal, he imposed policies that impoverished Romanians and exhausted the Romanian economy. He greatly extended the authority of the police state and imposed a cult of personality. These led to a dramatic decrease in Ceauşescu's popularity and culminated in his overthrow and execution in the bloody Romanian Revolution of 1989.
Seduced by Ceauşescu's "Independent" foreign policy, Western leaders were slow to turn against a regime that, by the late 1970s, had become increasingly arbitrary, capricious and harsh. Rapid economic growth fueled by foreign credits gradually gave way to wrenching austerity and severe political repression, which became increasingly draconian through the 1980s. During the 1947–1962 period, many people were arbitrarily killed or imprisoned for political, economic or unknown reasons:81 detainees in prisons or camps, deported persons, persons under house arrest, and administrative detainees.
There were hundreds of thousands of abuses, deaths and incidents of torture against a large range of people, from political opponents to ordinary citizens.82 Between 60,00083 and 80,000 political prisoners were detained as psychiatric patients and treated in some of the most sadistic ways by doctors.84 It is estimated that, in total, two million people were direct victims of Communist repression in Romania.8586 Tens of thousands of people were killed as part of repression and agricultural collectivization in Communist Romania primarily under Gheorghiu-Dej.8788
The Romanian Revolution of 1989 resulted in more than 1,000 deaths in Timişoara and Bucharest, and brought about the fall of Ceauşescu and the end of the Communist regime in Romania. After a weeklong state of unrest in Timişoara, a mass rally summoned in Bucharest in support of Ceauşescu on December 21, 1989 turned hostile. The Ceauşescu couple, fleeing Bucharest by helicopter, ended up in the custody of the army.
After being tried and convicted by a kangaroo court for genocide and other crimes, they were executed on December 25, 1989. The events of this revolution remain to this day a matter of debate, with many conflicting theories as to the motivations and even actions of some of the main players.
Ion Iliescu, a former Communist Party official marginalized by Ceauşescu, attained national recognition as the leader of an impromptu governing coalition, the National Salvation Front (FSN) that proclaimed the restoration of democracy and civil liberties on December 22, 1989. The Communist Party was initially outlawed by Ion Iliescu, but he soon revoked that decision; as a consequence, Communism is not outlawed in Romania today. However, Ceauşescu's most controversial measures, such as bans on abortion and contraception, were among the first laws to be changed after the Revolution, and their legality has not been widely questioned since then.
After the fall of Ceauşescu, the National Salvation Front (FSN), led by Ion Iliescu, took partial multi-party democratic and free market measures.8990 Several major political parties of the pre-war era, such as the National Christian Democrat Peasant's Party (PNŢCD), the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Romanian Social Democrat Party (PSDR) were resurrected. After several major political rallies (especially in January), in April 1990, a sit-in protest contesting the results of the recently held parliamentary elections began in University Square, Bucharest.91
The protesters accused the FSN of being made up of former Communists and members of the Securitate. The protesters did not recognize the results of the election, which they deemed undemocratic, and were asking for the exclusion from the political life of the former high-ranking Communist Party members. The protest rapidly grew to become an ongoing mass demonstration (known as the Golaniad). The peaceful demonstrations degenerated into violence, with some of the protesters attacking the police headquarters, national television station, and the Foreign Ministry.91
After the police failed to bring the demonstrators to order, Ion Iliescu called on the "men of good will" to come and defend the State institutions in Bucharest.9293 Various worker groups from Romania's industrial platforms responded, some of whom engaged in altercations with the protesters. But the most visible and politically influential were the coal miners of the Jiu Valley. After representatives of the government met with leaders of the Jiu Valley coal miners union, thousands of miners were organized and arrived in Bucharest June 14.
Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on May 20, 1990. Running against representatives of the re-established pre-war National Peasants' Party and National Liberal Party, and taking advantage of FSN's tight control of the national radio and television, Iliescu won 85% of the vote. The FSN secured two-thirds of the seats in Parliament. A university professor with strong family roots in the Communist Party, Petre Roman, was named prime minister of the new government, which consisted mainly of former communist officials. The government initiated modest free market reforms.
Because the majority of ministers in the Petre Roman government were ex-communists, anti-communist protesters initiated a round-the-clock anti-government demonstration in University Square, Bucharest in April 1990. Two months later, these protesters, whom the government referred to as "hooligans", were brutally dispersed by the miners from Jiu Valley, called in by President Iliescu; this event became known as the mineriad (see June 1990 Mineriad). The facts surrounding these events are disputed by the miners, who claim that most of the violence was perpetrated by government agents that were agitating the crowds.9194
Some of the counter-protesters also attacked the headquarters and private residences of opposition leaders. Later Parliamentary inquiries showed that members of the government intelligence services were involved in the instigation and manipulation of both the protesters and the miners, and in June 1994 a Bucharest court found two former Securitate officers guilty of ransacking and stealing $100,000 from the house of a leading opposition politician.9194 Petre Roman's government fell in late September 1991, when the miners returned to Bucharest to demand higher salaries. A technocrat, Theodor Stolojan, was appointed to head an interim government until new elections could be held.
In December 1991, a new constitution was drafted and subsequently adopted, after a popular referendum, which, however, attracted criticism from international observers who accused the government of manipulating the population and even of outright fraud. (The constitution was most recently revised by a national referendum on October 18–19, 2003, again plagued by fraud accusations made by internal and international observers.) The new constitution, which took effect October 29, 2003, follows the structure of the Constitution of 1991, but makes significant revisions, among which the most significant are extension of the presidential mandate from four years to five, and the guaranteed protection of private property.
March 1992 marked the split of the FSN into two groups: the Democratic National Front (FDSN), led by Ion Iliescu and the Democratic Party (PD), led by Petre Roman. Iliescu won the presidential elections in September 1992 by a clear margin, and his FDSN won the general elections held at the same time. With parliamentary support from the nationalist PUNR (National Unity Party of Romanians), PRM (Great Romania Party), and the ex-communist PSM (Socialist Workers' Party), a new government was formed in November 1992 under Prime Minister Nicolae Văcăroiu, an economist. The FDSN changed its name to Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) in July 1993.
The subsequent disintegration of the FSN produced several political parties including the Romanian Democrat Social Party (PDSR, later Social Democratic Party, PSD), the Democratic Party (PD) and the ApR (Alliance for Romania). The PDSR party governed Romania from 1990 until 1996 through several coalitions and governments with Ion Iliescu as head of state. Since then there have been three democratic changes of government: in 1996, the democratic-liberal opposition and its leader Emil Constantinescu acceded to power; in 2000 the Social Democrats returned to power, with Iliescu once again president; and in 2004 Traian Băsescu was elected president, with an electoral coalition called Justice and Truth Alliance (DA). The government was formed by a larger coalition which also includes the Conservative Party and the ethnic Hungarian party.
Emil Constantinescu of the Democratic Convention (CDR) emerged as the winner of the second round of the 1996 presidential elections and replaced Iliescu as chief of state. The PDSR won the largest number of seats in Parliament, but was unable to form a viable coalition. Constituent parties of the CDR joined the Democratic Party (PD), the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) to form a centrist coalition government, holding 60% of the seats in Parliament.
This coalition of sorts frequently struggled for survival, as decisions were often delayed by long periods of negotiations among the involved parties. Nevertheless, this coalition was able to implement several critical reforms. The new coalition government, under prime minister Victor Ciorbea remained in office until March 1998, when Radu Vasile (PNŢCD) took over as prime minister. The former governor of the National Bank, Mugur Isărescu, eventually replaced Radu Vasile as head of the government.
The 2000 elections, brought Iliescu's PDSR, known as Social Democratic Party (PSD) after the merger with the PSDR, back to power. Iliescu won a third term as the country's president. Adrian Năstase became the prime minister of the newly formed government.
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Presidential and parliamentary elections took place again on November 28, 2004. No political party was able to secure a viable parliamentary majority and opposition parties alike that the PSD had committed large-scale electoral fraud.95 There was no winner in the first round of the presidential elections. The joint PNL-PD candidate, Traian Băsescu, won the second round on December 12, 2004 with 51% of the vote and thus became the third post-revolutionary president of Romania.
The PNL leader, Călin Popescu Tăriceanu was assigned the difficult task of building a coalition government without including the PSD. In December 2004, the new coalition government (PD, PNL, PUR Romanian Humanist Party - which eventually changed its name to Romanian Conservative Party and UDMR), was sworn in under Prime Minister Tăriceanu.
Post–Cold War Romania developed closer ties with Western Europe, eventually joining NATO in 2004.96 The country applied in June 1993 for membership in the European Union (EU). It became an Associated State of the EU in 1995, an Acceding Country in 2004, and a member on January 1, 2007.97
Following the free travel agreement and politic of the post–Cold War period, as well as hardship of the life in the post 1990s economic depression, Romania has an increasingly large diaspora. The main emigration targets are Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, UK, Canada and the USA.citation needed
In April 2008, Bucharest hosted the NATO summit.
In January 2012, Romania started the first large national protests since '89, motivated by the global economical crisis of that time and as an answer to the crisis situations and unrest in Europe of 2000s.
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Transylvania in the Middle Ages was organized according to the system of Estates, which were privileged groups (universitates) with power and influence in socio-economic and political life, being nonetheless organized according to certain ethnic criteria as well. The first Estate was the lay and ecclesiastic aristocracy, ethnically heterogeneous, but undergoing a process of homogenization around its Hungarian nucleus. The other Estates were Saxons, Szeklers and Romanians (or Vlachs - Universitas Valachorum), all with an ethnic and ethno-linguistic basis (Universis nobilibus, Saxonibus, Syculis et Olachis). The general assembly (congregatio generalis) of the four Estates had mainly supra-legislative powers in Transylvania, but it sometimes took measures regarding order in the country, relationships between the privileged, military issues, etc.citation needed
The turning point in the history of the Romanian population in Transylvania was in 1366, when through the Decree of Turda the king Louis I Anjou of Hungary redefined nobility in terms of membership in the Roman Catholic Church and, thus specifically excluding the Eastern Orthodox Romanians. The only possibility for Romanians to retain or access nobility was through conversion to Roman Catholicism. Some Orthodox Romanian nobles converted, being integrated in the Hungarian nobility, but the most of them declined, thus losing their status and privileges.citation needed
As a result, gradually, after 1366 Romanians lost their status as an Estate and were excluded from Transylvania's assemblies. This meant that the Romanian population of Transylvania was never directly represented in the Transylvanian Diet, which consisted of German, Hungarian and Szekler nobles (the Unio Trium Nationum), even though all the censuses conducted by the Hungarian authorities recorded that the three groups were minorities, while the Romanians comprised an absolute majority of the Transylvanian population. Moreover, in Medieval times, the Romanians were not allowed to reside within the walls of such Transylvanian cities as Sibiu (Nagyszeben/Hermannstadt), Braşov (Brassó/Kronstadt) or Cluj (Kolozsvár/Klausenburg). This led to extensive persecution against the under-represented Romanians. For example, in the 16th century, Transylvanian laws of justice separated the rights of Hungarians, Saxons and Szeklers from the rights of the Romanians.citation needed
As a consequence, Romanian peasants would sometimes revolt and demand better treatment. These revolts, such as the 1784 Romanian peasant uprising, were ruthlessly suppressed, met at times by horrible cruelty on the part of the Hungarian nobles who executed peasant leaders and other rebels by breaking on the wheel. This method of execution consisted of the victim being laid on the ground whilst the executioner would break the prisoner’s bones with a spiked wheel.citation needed Other peasants would be forced to watch the executions in order to frighten them from attempting future uprisings. In 1918, after the First World War, Transylvania was incorporated into Romania.citation needed
Bessarabia became a part of the Russian Empire according to the 1812 Treaty of Bucharest. A period of autonomy followed, after which all Romanian government institutions, schools and presses were closed and replaced by a Russian-style provincial administration in 1828. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, Bessarabia saw an intense process of Russification. Military service also became a new instrument of Russification. The process of Russification and colonization of this territory started to be carried out by representatives of other ethnic groups of the Russian Empire, including Jews, Germans, Bulgarians, Gagauz, and Ukrainians.
- Russian census 1817: 86% Romanians
- Russian census 1856: 74% Romanians
- Russian census 1897: 56% Romanians
When the Russian Empire collapsed after the Russian Revolution of 1917, a local body called “Sfatul Ţării” ("Council of the Country") was created in Bessarabia. Moldova became an independent republic on December 2, 1917. Given that Soviet raids already menaced the newly formed authority, the local body ("Sfatul Ţării") called in support troops from the Kingdom of Romania. The troops entered Bessarabia on December 13. On March 27, 1918, the local body (Sfatul Ţării) voted to unite with Romania. Subsequently, the Soviet Union refused to recognize the union, and supported an intense propaganda stating that the Kingdom of Romania was an imperialistic multi-ethnic state.
The convention of October 28, 1920, whereby the British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan recognized Romanian sovereignty in Bessarabia, was rejected as invalid by the USSR. Moscow even denied the validity of that part of the convention that stipulated that, upon Russian request, the Council of the League of Nations could be empowered to arbitrate the Russo-Romanian dispute over Bessarabia. In short, the Kremlin insisted that Romania was illegally occupying Bessarabia. Moscow also encouraged revolutionary activities by Bolshevik elements in Bessarabia.
The exact position of the USSR on these issues is unknown except for Moscow's unwillingness to make any concessions to Bucharest on Bessarabian issues. Recent tracts by Romanian historians have emphasized the support given by Romanian Communists to the "democratic forces" opposed to alteration of the status quo in Transylvania in 1938 and subsequent years. True as this may be, there has been no evidence presented in support of any fundamental change in Moscow's positions with respect to Bessarabia in 1938 and subsequent years.
According to official NKVD documents, over 15,000 Romanians from Northern Bukovina were deported to Siberia in 1940 alone.98 The Soviet action culminated with the Fântâna Albă massacre when 2,500 to 3,000 Romanian refugees who were attempting to leave Northern Bukovina for Romania were blocked by the USSR Border Troops and about 200 of them were shot, at a place called "Fântâna Albă" (White Fountain in Romanian). This policy resulted in a substantial shrinkage of the Romanian population in the province. By 1941, out of 250,000 Romanians in Northern Bukovina, only 192,000 were left.
The territory of the Moldavian SSR was composed of Bessarabia (except for Southern Bessarabia, assigned to Ukraine) and a part of the territory of the former Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Transnistria), founded in 1924 within the territory of Ukraine. In the document confirming the establishment of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (MASSR) of 12 October 1924 the West frontier of the republic was traced out not along the Dniester River but the Prut River. In the MASSR the ideology of a separate Moldovan identity was pursued, including the introduction of Moldovan language, distinct from Romanian. The Cyrillic alphabet and abundant Russisms were introduced.
Another historical event which contributed to the future implementation of the anti-Romanian feelings was Romania’s behaviour in World War II, when the Romanian regime allied itself with Nazi Germany.
In Bessarabia, the Soviet government pursued a policy of assimilation of the native Romanian population. First, the province was divided into a "Moldovan" Socialist Republic and a southern region known as Budjak, which was renamed Izmail Oblast and attached to the Ukrainian SSR. Elite elements of the Romanian population were then deported to Siberia much like their Bukovinian counterparts. Russian and Ukrainian settlers were used to fill the vacant areas caused by the deportation of Romanians.99 Romanians who continued to identify themselves as Romanians and not Moldovans were severely punished by the Communist regime.citation needed
In 1946-1947, as a result of the famine organisedcitation needed in the MSSR (according to some data of certain scientists; official data has not yet been published), around 300,000 died and many cases of cannibalism occurredcitation needed. In addition, the population of the former MASSR, as a part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, also suffered from the artificial famine in the 1930s when several million people died in Ukraine (see also Holodomor).
The territory of Transnistria was more industrialised in comparison with the other part of Moldova and the industrialisation process of Transnistria was accompanied by a population flow from other areas of the USSR, especially from Russia. Although in the Republic of Moldova the level of population density was the highest one in the USSR, Moscow continued to stimulate the arrival of labour force from outside, including that with a poor qualification. Even Igor Smirnov himself, current leader of the separatist regime of Transnistria, was sent in 1987 from Russia to Bender to be the director of an enterprise. This process was also amplified by the excessive militarization of the area.
Many officers of the Red Army, serving in military units on the left bank of Dniester river, transferred to reserve, preferred to stay and live in Tiraspol and Bender. Therefore, although in the whole of the MSSR in 1989 the titular nationality's share of the population was about 65%, in Transnistria it stood at only 40%. Moreover, the majority of the Romance-speaking population on the left bank of the Dniester was dispersed in rural localities and it was more difficult for them to consolidate and to express themselves politically.
The 1989 adoption of the Law on state language (official language) and Law on functioning of languages on the territory of the MSSR generated an extremely negative reaction in the industrial centres of Transnistria, where the largely Russian-speaking population was not being consulted, and felt threatened by the prospects of Romanianization. These laws proclaimed the Moldovan (Romanian) language, written in the Latin alphabet, as the only state language. The fact that Moldovan and Romanian are identical was recognised. Although a majority of the Transnistrian population never read these laws which served as a reason for the conflict's outburst, they feared that by the application of the new linguistic legislation, Russian language speakers would become second-class citizens. At the industrial enterprises, including those of the military-industrial complex of the USSR, strikes occurred protesting against granting official language status to the Moldavian (Romanian) language.
After the break-up of the USSR, various legislative reforms consolidated the position of ethnic Romanians/Moldovans, especially by establishing the Moldovan language as the official language. The 2001 parliamentary elections, won by the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova, initially brought a series of attempts to raise Russian to the status of a state language. However, the project was dropped due to popular opposition.
Relations between the Moldovan and Romanian governments have initially included some tension as the Moldovan government led by President Vladimir Voronin accused Romania of imperialism. Nevertheless, in the recent past relations have improved and President Voronin as well as Romanian President Traian Băsescu have called for cooperation between the two sovereign states.
In 2006, the Gh. Asachi Romanian-French School was forced by the government to change its name to the Gh. Asachi Moldovan-French School. Critics argued that the government acted unilaterally and discriminated against Romanians, as other schools such as the Necui-Leviţki Russian-Ukrainian School were allowed to continue using that name. In protest, four high school students from Asachi replaced the new high school sign with another with the old name. They were charged with "group-committed aggravated hooliganism".100
In Transnistria, the situation is far worse. After the 1992 war between the breakaway republic and Moldova, the Romanian population was substantially persecuted, causing at least 5,000-10,000 Romanians to flee the region. Although the number of Romanians in Transnistria is significant, the Romanian language is almost never used in publiccitation needed.
Romanian schools comprise about 11% of the total schools in Transnistria. Most of these schools are forced to teach in the Cyrillic script and use outdated, 40-year-old, communist-era books. 6 schools are permitted to teach in Romanian using the Latin script; however, pressure is often put on these institutions to close. The 2004 school crisis is a prime example of this, when the pro-Russian government in Tiraspol forcefully attempted to close down 2 of these schools. In the orphanage of Tighina, Romanian children returning from vacations found the orphanage locked by police. After spending a night outdoors, they forced their way into the building and had to stay there without water and electricity for a few months, until, due to pressure from the Moldovan and Romanian governments and from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the conflict was resolved.101 Numerous Romanian parents were arrested or fired from their jobs due to their political views and their determination to keep their children in Romanian-language schools.
Citizens who express pro-Romanian or pro-Moldovan attitudes are likewise persecuted in Transnistria. The Ilie Ilaşcu group is the most commonly known and well-documented of these organisations.
Northern Bukovina, as well as the Tiachiv and Rakhiv raions (districts) of Zakarpattia Oblast (Transcarpathia), are the regions in Ukraine with considerable Romanian minorities, according to the 2001 Ukrainian Census.
The Ukrainian Census of 2001 was criticized by Dr. Ion Popescu, leader of the National Council of the Interregional Union of the Romanian Community in Ukraine and also one of the authors of the Constitution of Ukraine, who claims that the very existence of the classification of Moldovans as a separate ethnic group in census results is a "continuation of the Stalinist and Soviet policies of artificially dividing Romanians into Romanians and Moldovans". However, the response to the census question about the ethnicity had to be written in into the census form rather than picked from a pre-determined set of choices and the census respondents were free to claim their ethnicity as they wished 102 not to respond to this or any other particular census question or not answer any questions at all; besides, no allegation of counting fraud were ever brought up. It is therefore unclear if Dr. Popescu criticizes the way in which the census was conducted or the way in which data was processed.
The number of Romanian students at Chernivtsi University declined sharply in Soviet times. In 1991-92, the last year of Soviet rule, the number of Romanian students was only 4.44% (434 out of 9,769) . Among teaching faculty, under-representation of Romanians is also evident. The breakdown by nationalities (in the same year) reveals: Ukrainian teachers 465 (77.1%), Russians 102 (16.9%), Moldovans 9 (1.4%), Romanians 7 (1.1%), Belorussians 6 (0.9%), etc. Even after Ukrainian independence, the number of Romanian students at the University continued to decline, to only 3.9% in 1992-93, which is much less than the overall percentage of Romanians in the region's general population. Since 1997, arrangements have been made for some students to study at universities in Romania . In 2001 the Christian-Democratic Alliance of the Romanians from Ukraine reported that Romanians in Chernivtsi lack an opportunity to study at the university level in their native language.
However, it should be noted that according to the Ukrainian Constitution adopted after its 1991 independence, Ukrainian is the only state language in the country, and the state higher education system was switched to Ukrainian, according to the common practice in many countries worldwide and this practice was not directed specifically at the Romanian population. For example, the majority of Ukrainian universities do not provide education in Russian either, despite the fact that Russian is the native language of a much more considerable part of the population in Ukraine.
At the same time, there are schools teaching Romanian as a primary language, as well as newspapers, TV, and radio broadcasting in Romanian , ,. Future teachers for Romanian schools are trained in at the Chernivtsi University in the fields of Romanian philology, mathematics and physics . Romanian organizations still complain that despite this, 19 villages inhabited by Romanians have been deprived of schooling in their native language, therefore creating a worse situation than that which existed under the repressive Soviet regime .
The Romanians living in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina are very well represented at the provincial level despite their small presence (about 30,000 people, 1.5% of the province's population of around 2 million), and Romanian is one of the six official languages of the province. However, their counterparts in Eastern Central Serbia (mostly in the Timok Valley and Branicevo), known as Vlachs and outnumbering the Vojvodinian Romanians, have not had any privileges. As example from Negotin in Vrsac, the Romanian local television station door was vandalized with the inscription "Out Romanians, Serbia!!!" (Serbian: Napolje Rumuni, Srbija!!!).103
The Timok Vlachs speak the same dialect (Daco-Romanian) as is spoken to the north, in Romania.104 However, the Serbian authorities have pursued a policy of de-nationalization as they have slowly changed the term Romanian into Vlach through the years.105106
These people declare themselves on census forms as ethnic Vlachs and their number is about 40,000. Nevertheless, older Serbian censuses counted up to 200,000 Romanians (Vlachs) in present-day Central Serbia (the 1895-census counted 159,510 Romanians, the 1921-census counted 150,098 Romanians, the 1953-census counted 198,793 Vlach (Romanian) - speakers).
Since 2004 they are regular clashes between the Serbian authorities and the Romanian community in Timok when Bojan Aleksandrovic, a Romanian Orthodox priest decided to build a small church where he would hold services in Romanian. The priest has been subjected to threats while children attending mass with their parents have been humiliated in the village school by their Serbian teacher. Romanians in Serbia proper do not have the right to schooling and public worship in their native language.107108
In the town of Negotin, the Romanian Cultural Association was vandalized in 2004 when Serbian pro-fascist ultra-nationalists wrote "Out of Serbia" on the windows of the main doors107 and such psychological pressure has contributed to the fear instilled in the Romanian minority's reluctance to declare themselves Romanians at censuses.citation needed
The Romanians of Albania aren't recognized as a national minority. They are recognized by the Albanian authorities under the generic name Vlachs. They haven't means (school, cultural institutions, media) that to preserve national identity.
In 2013 accusations of discrimination in Covasna surfaced against Hungarian students and teachers. During a ceremony for the national day of Hungary, some Romanian students wearing the Romanian flag have been physically assaulted by older students, and threatened by teachers with punishment for wearing the national symbol. As a result, the Romanian human rights organisation ActiveWatch 109 issued a statement condemning the actions of the school's administration, which it considers a blunt infringement of human rights and freedom of expression.110110111112
In 2009, a right-wing political party (Swiss People's Party (SVP)) had run an anti-immigration campaign, against Romanians and Bulgarians, distributing and displaying banners depicting citizens of these countries as "crows".113
Anti-Romanian sentiment in the European Union refers to the discrimination of Romanian citizens within the European Union.citation needed As a member of the E.U., Romanian citizens have faced racial profiling in various northern European countries, such as Denmark and open discrimination in countries like Italy or Austria.citation needed
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Based on growing dissatisfaction with the European Union, several British politicians have posed a stance against the free movement of Romanians (and Bulgarians) within the E.U. and subsequently in the United Kingdom. As a result multiple British newspapers have started publishing discriminatory articles about Romanian citizens, thus inciting an anti-Romanian sentiment; mainly against the vulnerable Roma-Romanian ethnics.
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In 2013 a prominent German newspaper, Der Spiegel, has published a short video displaying Roma-Romanians living in the city of Duisburg. The video shows a small number of Roma-Romanians and uncensored under-aged children living in a ghetto-like part of the city, without access to proper public services and living in poor housing conditions. Although there is no proof that the Romanian citizens were unemployed, the video claims they are a burden on the local welfare system. The discriminatory aspect of this video is visible through the fact that a number of German citizens are shown living in the same conditions; yet blaming the foreign citizens. This further increases the anti-Romanian sentiment, in a country where the majority of Romanian (and Bulgarian) citizens are well integrated.
Following the deportation of Roma-Romanian citizens from France, and numerous discriminatory articles in the French media, a small protest occurred in front of the French embassy in Bucharest, against the discrimination of Romanians in France.114
A Dutch right wing political party (Wilders’ Freedom party (PVV)), launched a website aimed at gathering denunciations against Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian nationals living in the Netherlands.115 Denunciations consist of competition on the job market, and others, with the slogan: “Are they causing you problems? Or did you lose your job to a Pole, Bulgarian, Romanian or other Central of East European? We would love to hear from you,”; thus inciting social tension between European Citizens exercising their treaty right of freedom of movement and the local population. The Netherlands is one of the main countries blocking Romania and Bulgaria from joining the Schengen Agreement; as well as one of the countries with growing populism.
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