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Bukovinian, Romanian, or European? Beyond Citizenship

Richard Vytniorgu iulie 1, 2016 Cultura, Global / Europa, Opinie, Societate/Life
29 comentarii 2,627 Vizualizari

Even before Britain declared its intention to leave the EU on 23 June 2016, an increasing number of UK citizens were making steps to secure citizenship in another EU country, most commonly Ireland. The threat, and now near certainty, of a ‘Brexit’ from the EU has caused many in Britain to ask fundamental questions about what it means to be British, and whether there is any value in self-identifying as European as well. Moreover, the tension among the UK’s constituent countries, especially England and Scotland, is provoking yet further questions about an English identity to take priority over a British and then European one.

As a British citizen for 25 of my 26 years on this planet, I too am caught up in this quest. Although I was born a Romanian citizen by virtue of my Romanian parents, I became a British citizen when I was adopted by British parents in 1990. And so I was happily whisked away from my Suceava orphanage and the beauty of Bukovina. But as commonly happens in families, times change, people pass away and enter or re-enter our lives, and I now find myself in a position where I am ready to reclaim my Romanian citizenship. I am also ready to fight for my European membership.

To be European and to benefit from freedom of movement – the right to live and work indefinitely anywhere in the European Union – is, for me, primarily a vote in favour of cultural pluralism. The American philosopher Horace Kallen coined this term in 1915 to move away from a ‘melting pot’ notion of American society – assimilation to a dominant, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) model. Instead, he envisioned an ‘orchestration of differents’: the coexistence of different people under a single project of democratic progress. This was also the darling of Walt Whitman, who sang of himself and his American brothers and penned his Democratic Vistas. But what of Europe? Does pluralism count for anything now, anywhere here? As I seek to reclaim my Romanian citizenship, I find myself running over the histories of Bukovina – the land in which my birth family has lived for generations.

Before the 1940s, Bukovina, with Chernivtsi as its main urban centre, was a culturally and ethnically pluralistic society. No single ‘people’ dominated, and especially in Chernivtsi, one could hear different languages, dialects; pass churches of different denominations; see people of mixed ethnicity. Bukovinians looked to Vienna and L’viv as administrative, religious, and political centres, perhaps more so than Iaşi and certainly more so than Bucharest. Even before the Austrians claimed Bukovina in 1774 and German became the lingua franca, for centuries the area ethnically diverse, with various infiltrations over time of Czechs, Hungarians (Magyars), Poles, Jews, Russians, Subcarpathian Rusyns, Ruthenians, Moldavians, and Armenians. Bukovina seems always to have been a borderland of empire expansion: from the Greek extension of the Roman empire (the Getae), to Kievan Rus’ and the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, etc. The result is that the current border separating Romania from Ukraine is somewhat artificial, extremely contemporary, and does not reflect what Arjun Appadurai has called an ‘ethnoscape’ – a constructed space signifying (ethnic) kinship which may transcend national borders. Since the 1940s, Romanian and Soviet and then Ukrainian governments have encouraged nationalisation and assimilation to a dominant national idea of ethnic and cultural genesis, which is understandable, of course, given the need to maintain stability and grow economies.

But I wonder about the long-term consequences. In the early twentieth century, to say you were Bukovinian was analogous to saying you are European today. It signifies a recognition of multiple ethnic roots and cultural influences. According to Colin and Rychlo, one businessman from Chernivtsi even had the idea in 1920 of establishing a European Union with Vienna as its capital, and raised funds for founding a ‘European Peace Bank’ with a single currency. Intellectuals regarded Bukovina as a ‘testing ground for [a] united Europe’; indeed, ‘The European will be a Bukovinian or else Europe will not be’.

It is true, of course, that since the Second World War the population of Bukovina has become more homogenous, more easily divisible along Ukrainian and Romanian lines. And yet I wonder about the convenience of these migrations: convenient for folding lost sheep back into the motherland of Kiev or Bucharest. Because of course, such people were always really Ukrainian or Romanian, not realising of course that to say such a thing is an anachronism. Indeed, as is often the case, the reality is somewhat different, more messy, less compliant.

As I seek to regain my Romanian citizenship, I am asking myself what this all means. On the one hand, citizenship can be contained as simply a legal provision, pertaining to rights and duties. But in truth we know that citizenship has cultural capital too: we ask people for a knowledge of the culture when applying for citizenship for the first time. And so I ask: do I want to be a Romanian? Do I want to be a Brit? I’m not sure I do, because I’m not sure I am. I am a European, and I am a Bukovinian, which in one school of thought is tantamount to saying the same thing. In my own and my family’s heritage, there are other spatial centres which had a hand in shaping who we are – centres that resist the pull south to Bucharest, and which in fact outrageously push beyond the current Romanian border entirely. To be European and Bukovinian therefore means to have an entirely different way of placing citizenship – to move beyond it, really. ‘Ethnoscape’ may be one way of framing identity, especially in a globalised world, but we also need to look for more personalised frames as well – frames which run with the logic of homo bucoviniensis or homo europaeus.

I am still going to work toward reclaiming Romanian citizenship. But I do so recognising that in one sense, I am far from ‘Romanian’. Psychologically I wish to extricate myself from nationalistic agendas, which can be somewhat insensitive to complexity in personal as well as collective histories. But by remaining a European, I also remain a part of the project of finding ways to unite people who may not necessarily feel they fit the dominant national model in which they currently live or with whom they have associations.

So I am pleased to see Poles and Ukrainians re-thinking their relations given the lingering ghost of Galicia, which once united Kraków and L’viv. And I also commend the EU-funded Romania-Ukraine-Republic of Moldova sustainable development project coalescing around Bukovina. But as Valentyna Vasylova has shown, it is really in education that the major challenge lies: to engage with complexity in offering the narratives with which children can shape their own identity. To (re-)consider ‘Bukovinian’ as a possible marker of identity for such children may open up new vistas of historical imagination – of cultural pluralism and European integration. In the same way, I hope that to consider ‘European’ as a marker of identity in Britain will continue to question nationalistic policies, and move forward toward a wiser, more humane and open way of life.

Ai informatii despre tema de mai sus? Poti contribui la o mai buna intelegere a subiectului? Scrie articolul tau si trimite-l la editor[at]contributors.ro



Currently there are "29 comments" on this Article:

  1. Decebal spune:

    I wouldn’t talk about “priority of identity”. I feel that it is quite easy and natural to feel that I belong to my family, to my region, to my nation and that I am also a citizen of United Europe. One identity doesn’t exclude another and all these identities can cohexist in harmony, I think.
    For the British people, the natural choice seems to be to feel British. Or should I say English, Welsh, Scotish, Irish? I’m not sure, but each of them should figure out what he/she is.

    My father was born and lived his childhood near Cernauti (Chernivtsi, if you like) and he and his family never felt otherwise than Romanian. So, I guess that, in the end, you are what you feel you are. I am not sure that logical reasoning has anything to do with that – it can be a way to draw a conclusion, but I’m not sure that it is the natural one.

  2. dusu spune:

    si io, citindu va, zic ca sinteti departe de a fi romin
    amu ca vreti sa cereti pasaport rominesc nu stiu cu cit veti fi mai european, dar pot sa va spun ca nationalisti romini va vor folosi de argument
    si ptr ca sinteti mai tinar ! stiti care a fost cel mai profitabil export al rominilor ? exportul de evrei si germani vinduti cu bucata

  3. Dan spune:

    “Even before the Austrians claimed Bukovina in 1774 and German became the lingua franca, for centuries the area ethnically diverse, with various infiltrations over time of Czechs, Hungarians (Magyars), Poles, Jews, Russians, Subcarpathian Rusyns, Ruthenians, Moldavians, and Armenians.”
    I understand that you are not too familiar with Romanian history, but this phrase is plainly wrong and not because of the area not being ethnically diverse, but because you say Moldavians as infiltrations.
    “Even before the Austrians claimed Bukovina in 1774″
    I guess you are not familiar with the process of making up provinces different from others.
    Suceava was the capital of Moldova long before Austrians conquered this region.
    By the way, maybe you don’t know it, but you are Moldavian.
    I always find it amazing when people are happy with denomination brought by conquerors as if this is a achievement of their own.
    But first, please read more about our history, some of it is not so good. See WWII.

    • Richard Vytniorgu spune:

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your comment. When I talked of Moldavians, I wanted to avoid saying Romanians, because before the mid-nineteenth century it would have been an anachronism to say Romanian. In 1774 Bukovina was sparsely populated — I think 70,000 people. The Austrians encouraged migration from all over the place, and clearly, some Moldavians also moved westwards.

      I also recognise that Suceava was the capital of Moldavia, and Stefan cel Mare was the key figure here. The point I wanted to make was to focus on the Bukovina region, and how this changed especially after 1774. Under Austrian Bukovina, Chernivtsi (to use the Ukrainian spelling) was its main centre, with a vastly bigger population than Suceava at that time.

      I also find it interesting when you say ‘conquerors’. To an extent, of course, Austria seized this land, and was passed from the Ottomans to the Austrians. But the Austrians were by and large a tolerant people who actively encouraged a multicultural or pluralistic environment. In 1918, the Romanians undertook quite an aggressive Romanianization project, suppressing Ukrainian elements north of the current border.

      In any case, the central point I wished to make was that there is not really such a thing as a pure Romanian, and especially in Bukovina, a different, or rather, an additional descriptor might be advantageous, in order to capture the multi-ethnic nature of its populations. So to talk of ‘Romanian history’ is to buy into a nationalizing project. The history of nations is always a construction, and there are many different sides to it. In order to go into any depth, sometimes it is necessary to tease apart the complexity of different regions, and try and see through the national mythologising at work in many histories of countries.

      • dusu spune:

        bravo domnule autor ! imi pare ca stiti cite ceva despre setarea romineasca
        da sa stiti ca i tare profunda, ha ha
        si ca dovada, multi care stie limbi straine, fapt ce indeamna sa crezi ca respectivul are deschidere, dar nu i cazu aci

      • someone spune:

        When I talked of Moldavians, I wanted to avoid saying Romanians, because before the mid-nineteenth century it would have been an anachronism to say Romanian.

        Really? In that case I recommend you to learn Romanian and read “Hronicul vechimei a romano-moldo-vlahilor” written by Dimitrie Cantemir in 1717, long before the austrian occupation and colonization of Bucovina. It’s difficult because it’s old Romanian but it’s worth the effort.

        It begins like this: “Întăi pre limba lătinească izvodit, iară acmu pre limba ROMÂNIASCĂ scos cu truda şi osteninţa lui DIMITRIE CANTEMIR voievodul şi de moşie domn a Moldovii şi a svintei rossieştii împărăţii cniadz. În Sanct Petersburg anul (7225) 1717.

        I also recognise that Suceava was the capital of Moldavia, and Stefan cel Mare was the key figure here.

        Wow! So generous of you!

        I also find it interesting when you say ‘conquerors’. To an extent, of course, Austria seized this land, and was passed from the Ottomans to the Austrians. But the Austrians were by and large a tolerant people who actively encouraged a multicultural or pluralistic environment. In 1918, the Romanians undertook quite an aggressive Romanianization project, suppressing Ukrainian elements north of the current border.

        To an extent? That’s funny!
        The austrians were tolerant, except for general Buccow in Transylvania who torched and bombed almost any every orthodox church or monastery he could find.

        “Actively encouraged a multicultural or pluralistic environment” – this is rich!
        So this is how they call colonization in the politically correct language! Yes, austrians were cultural enrichers of Bucovina in the sense that they colonized there foreign populations until Romanians became a minority.
        The Soviets finished the job using deportations as well as colonization, so now northern Bucovina is indeed mostly Ukrainean.
        So some attempts to “Romanianize” the region after more than a century of cultural enrichment of Bucovina by means of colonization are perfecty understandable – it’s what the Baltic countries have been doing with the Russians since their independence.
        The way you justify colonization – the fact that Bucovina was sparsely populated – is insulting. People with your views usually catch fire if you tell them that the colonization of Palestine by Israel or the colonization of America were justified because they were barely populated. But with Romanians things are different – you can insult them all you want, they’ll put you in charge of some cultural institution so that you can call them bigoted, backwards and nostalgic on their own money.

      • OvidiuB spune:

        I think what DanT was trying to say is that Bucovina is not a region with a history of its own before the conquest by Austria in 1774. It was a part of the old principality of Moldova. Obviously, as every border region, it had a mixed population and yes, it is accurately to name them Moldavian rather than Romanians, because Romanian is a later term (just like German – many people don’t seem to realise that Germany only appeared in the 19th century).

        It’s not just Bucovina that is a multiethnic region, all border regions are and – save for the case of natural borders such as rivers or mountains – borders are artificial lines that obviously separated some preexisting minorities. However, Romanians are rather proud that in virtually all the regions that had later become part of Romania (current Romania or 1918 Romania) they were a majority of the population (if not 50% plus one, then at least more than any other minority – as was the case of Dobrogea in 1878).

        So – with multiethnic regions, is like with the Brexit: a majority will always decide and the rest of people are free to choose their own separate way (if they want to, of course).

        • Dan spune:

          Well, nobody in the right mind could claim that a pure Romanian exists or ever existed. Just run a DNA test. My point was that Moldavians are not infiltrations as you call them, but native to this region which before being called Bukovina was just another part of Moldova. In every empire, the border regions have been colonized with other people not because they were sparsely inhabited (they weren’t) but for security reasons. Also, for your case, if you think of Romania as a recent case, you dismiss the fact that after Roman conquest 1900 years ago these territories were inhabited by speakers of a Latin language until today which is remarkable with all the external pressures. If you learn Romanian and you can enjoy the cultural heritage of Romanians, that’s even better than citizenship. Learn about the Romanian folklore, the Romanian music and literature, etc. and learn what makes us Romanians. The state of Romania is just a structure that comes on it, but being Romanian is not depending on it.

    • George Gafencu spune:

      Hey, Dan,

      It is true that Suceava used to be the capital of old Moldavia (moved to Iasi in XVIeth century I think).

      However, after 150 years of living under Austrian empire, the Bukovinians did not look much same as the other Moldavians. The Austrian empire instilled a certain sense of order, respect for law, strive for higher education and a certain culture achievement-driven.

      Furthermore, this culture lasted long after Bukovina reunited with Romania, even during communism.

      I grew up in the heart of Bukovina. I remember a cultural sterotype specific for those times. The native Bukovinians used to look from high at people coming from Moldavia, considering them lazy and disorganized. That was happening in the ’80. They were called pejoratively “kingsmen” even late during communism.

  4. bugsy spune:

    it is only romanian citizenship.

  5. Ghita Bizonu' spune:

    Bolsevic kominternist 10.000% !!!!

    Tatal meu era nascut in satul Saliste , care azi este in Noua Sulita. Casa bunicului meu Gheorghe era ampasata “strategic” in Imperiul Habsburg, cu Rusia peste paraul din fundul gradinii si Romania la cca 300 metri peste Prut .
    Si tatal meu vorbea si rusa, si ucraineana, si idis , ceva poloneza invatate “pe strada” …. plsu franceza si germana invatate la Aron Pumnul …

    Neamul meu a zis mereu cu mandrie ca sunt ROMANI.

    PS Conributors face propaganda kominternista?!

    • Liviu Petre spune:

      Da.

    • Decebal spune:

      Cam asa. Pe unii-i arde limba sa zica “romani”, asa ca-i tot dau inainte cu “ardeleni”, “regateni”, “moldoveni”, “banateni” etc. Interesant este ca, pentru toti cei de mai sus, limba materna (N.B.! Materna!) este limba romaneasca. :)

      Misterioase sunt caile Domnului, se zice. Dar, odata ce intelegi despre ce Domn e vorba, lucrurile se limpezesc. :)

    • Cinicul spune:

      Va inselati. Aceasta propaganda vine de mai aproape, de la Right Sector.

  6. nimrod spune:

    Homo bucoviniensis, ha? Eu sunt doar pe jumătate bucovinean da’ tot greu îmi este doar când mă gândesc la valea Ceremuşului…

  7. someone spune:

    Richard, before applying to become a Romanian citizen, you might want to read the Constitution of Romania which you can easily find online in English.
    You are going to find in it that, according to art. 54, loyalty to the country (all of it, not just Bucovina), which you are obviously lacking, is a sacred duty.
    Also, you are going to find out that Romania is a sovereign, independent, unitary and indivisible National State.
    I understand you intend to bring to us the light of multiculturalism, which ungreatful Britons did not appreciate properly.
    Keep it to yourself. Respect for minorities is one thing and multiculturalism is quite another. Multiculturalism means that people are no longer equal: cultures are equal instead.
    Most of us do not approve of this here and I think the same goes for people in Bucovina, as well.
    Instead, he envisioned an ‘orchestration of differents’: the coexistence of different people under a single project of democratic progress.
    We had enough progress for 45 years, give us a break!
    I would like to point out that Moldavians are not infiltrated in Bucovina. Moldavians are Romanians, unless you ask some of the people in the Republic of Moldova (another multicultural society :) ), particularly in Transnistria.
    Since you seem to resent „the pull south” and claim local Bukovinian loyalties although you only lived in Bukovina for one year as an infant, why don’t you try Poland or Ukraine, where L’viv is?
    Ukraine might join EU in the future (very muticulti country!), Poland already is there.
    I do not appreciate a future fellow countryman with separatist views even before becoming a Romanian citizen and neither should the authorities. Particularly in an region of our country such as Bucovina which was in part taken away from Romania by Stalin and later „culturally enriched” by the Soviets until Romanians remained a tiny minority (by the way, the Habsburgs were enthusiastic cultural enrichers as well).

    • Richard Razvan Vytniorgu spune:

      Hi there,

      I sort of see where you are coming from, but I also think you have misunderstood me. I was not advocating multiculturalism. In fact, cultural pluralism is rather distinct from multiculturalism. Pluralism maintains that there needs to be an overarching project that can create the means by which individuals and groups can live how they wish, in coexistence with each other. Multiculturalism on the other hand is quite happy for groups and individuals never to talk with each other.

      As for Moldavians being Romanians. Again, I want to stress that at the time the Austrians took over Bukovina from the Ottomans, Romania did not exist. Wallachia, Moldavia, and Transylvania existed. The Austrians took the northern part of Moldavia and re-named it Bukovina, and decades later the rest of Moldavia united with Wallachia to form Romania. It is only feasible therefore to talk of Romania and Romanians from 1859. Thus, when Romania incorporated Bukovina into its nation state in 1918 as part of Greater Romania, Moldavians formed a part of this region, and only became Romanian when the land and its people was engrafted into the nation state. To say that Moldavians were always Romanians is to project a nationalistic vision back onto a history which cannot easily support it.

      I did not intend to sound disloyal to Romania. My family is there, and my life is inextricably bound to it and its people. Romanian citizenship is a birth right for me, just as it was for you. But to require unqualified allegiance to a nation state and all its sovereign dictates flies against the nature of critical thought, which is, I assume, what this website is supposed to encourage. If we are interested in truth (and nobody would want to be accused of loving falsehood), then surely it is beneficial to question ‘received wisdom’?

      I want to regain my Romanian citizenship because, as Romania understands, it is a birthright to all babies born to Romanian parents. But I also realise that to understand myself properly, I have to see beyond national mythologies, and weigh up the competing histories of a borderland region. Yes, I was born into a Romanian nation state, but at least from where I was, this is a very recent thing, only going back a few generations, to 1918.

      I am not advocating separatism: that would be pretty impossible, I think. I am, however, encouraging an alternative way of fostering ethnic identity which is perhaps more nuanced than an untrammelled Romanian myth that tends to silence all the other cultural and ethnic influences that have gone into shaping who we are today.

      • someone spune:

        As for Moldavians being Romanians. Again, I want to stress that at the time the Austrians took over Bukovina from the Ottomans, Romania did not exist. Wallachia, Moldavia, and Transylvania existed. The Austrians took the northern part of Moldavia and re-named it Bukovina, and decades later the rest of Moldavia united with Wallachia to form Romania. It is only feasible therefore to talk of Romania and Romanians from 1859.

        Richard, I’m sorry to see you persist in your errors, but maybe it’s because you don’t understand Romanian so you might have been unable to read the quote I gave you.

        “Romanians” existed long before Romania. It is not a term coined in the 19th century as you seem to believe (some years ago I thought the same but I did some reading and discovered I was wrong).

        Have you ever heard about Dimitrie Cantemir? He was the prince on Moldavia in late 17th century (1693) and early 18th century (1710-1711), long before the Austrian occupation of Bucovina. So his “Moldavia” included Bucovina. He was also a historian.

        In his “Chronicle of the Antiquity of the Romano-Moldavo-Wallachians” he used repeatedly the word “Romanian” stressing that Moldavians were Romanians. In one of my comments above, I quoted from this in Romanian.

        I will try to translate that quote as you seem to have been unable to read it: “First written in Latin, now issued in ROMANIAN by the efforts of DIMITRIE CANTEMIR, prince and lord of the land of Moldavia and knyaz of the Holy Russian Empire. Sankt Petersburg (7225) 1717.”

        In the second book, chapter XII of the “Prolegomena” (introduction) he states that “de aicea dară şi dintr-aceştea romani s-au făcut neamul nostru al românilor” – “so this is where from and it is these Romans our ROMANIAN PEOPLE originated from”.

        Also, in the 3rd book, chapter I of the “Prolegomena” he states that the Romanian people is “our own people” (of the Moldavians): “neamul românesc (carele şi al nostru iaste)” – “the ROMANIAN PEOPLE (which is ours, too)”.

        Remember, this has been written in early 18th century.
        The term “Romanian” was in full use with exactly the same meaning as today. With one letter changed (“rumân”) it also meant “serf” in Wallachia but Cantemir is not using the word with that meaning.

        I am, however, encouraging an alternative way of fostering ethnic identity which is perhaps more nuanced than an untrammelled Romanian myth that tends to silence all the other cultural and ethnic influences that have gone into shaping who we are today.

        Before advocating alternative ways of fostering ethnic identity in Romania, you should do some hard reading (not only from fancy nowadays historians with political agendas or simply using controversy to sell their books like Lucian Boia is doing) and you should learn Romanian.
        Otherwise, your alternative ways of fostering ethnic identity, not our history, will remain mythological.

        So in Bucovina being Romanian is not a new thing, it is older than the Austrian conquest. That goes for Bessarabia, too. Of course, Moldavians in the Republic of Moldova claim their own identity, which is their business. This doesn’t change the fact that their non-Romanian identity is a new soviet-made reality (that you seem to be an advocate of), not the other way around.

        But to require unqualified allegiance to a nation state and all its sovereign dictates flies against the nature of critical thought, which is, I assume, what this website is supposed to encourage.

        It is the Constitution of Romania, not this website, which is requiring allegiance to this nation state. So if you do not approve of this, perhaps it would be best not to apply for citizenship.
        I’m sorry to say but your texts above have little to do with critical thought and a lot to do with lack of historical information which you replace with preconceptions and slogans.

      • Ghita Bizonu' spune:

        Mister you are in an serious error. You confuse ethnonim “român” with the name România.
        If România is no state 1770 the Romanian people is ptresent. More, first state of the Romanian-speaking population in North Danube was named Ţara Românească also Rumanianland. And because there is already a second Romanian state called State took the name gerografic of Moldova. May needful to know the Ţara Românească was made by joining two other state formations: Oltenia and Muntenia.
        Ethnonim exist before 1770 .. but no name Bucovina.
        Is not only case … The German people there spoke Deutcheschprahe before 1800 … Idem although Hungary had disappeared from the map of Europe teh Hungarian survive.

        So there Romanians (români) exists before 1900 and before 1700. The fact that this români is also called the Moldovans (Moldova) not impede the existence of a Romanian ethnicity . Better, Moldova itself was divided into the Țara de Sus (Upper Country – Moldova NV) and the Țara de Jos L(ower Country SE) .. But this was a military-administrative division, for the Upper Country Land was composed of Bacau, Suceava County and Moldavians distinguish between them and saying and saying unto băcăuani, suceveni, orheieni, tigheceni etc. To understand – London is an inhabitant of London. But Londoners are from different neighborhoods. In terms of ethnicuty Londoners are English, Pakistani, Indian, Arabic with contributions by billionaires and Russian mobs etc. But London is part of England which has a majority ethnic English before Knut the Great.

        Regarding the state to which you belong … in the UK – it is a big mess.
        In fact there is no “Britons” but there are ethnic languages ​​English speakers of a Germanic ethnic , Wales (Cymru speaking inhabitants cymro Cymraeg) and Scottish Gaelic speakers. Cymraeg and Gaelic languages ​​are classified as Briton ….but English not!

        So remember – there may be a difference between ethnonym and geographical name of a country. Sometimes overlapping and name names ethnic majority state – Deutschland, Bulgaria, Romania. Sometimes the name is more or less a convention “geographic”: UK or UK. Or better yet a ethnonym for example Deutsch can be shared by different countries: Deustchland, Österreich (State East), Schweiz.
        As a geographical name may be common to many ethnic groups: Schweiz, Suisse, Svizzera, Svizra.

        To conclude – Romanian Bucovina was the date in 1770 imperial rapt.

        pS .. google traslate. Io insa nu as cere sa devin cetateam al unei tari anglofone … decta ca sa evit gramatica rusa!

  8. Uni(t)i spune:

    I agree with the comment above that everyone builds up his one identity but this is largely influenced by the context you live in. If now as an European citizen you have the option to explore and to settle in a different country you may as well feel more European. But if you don’t have this connection with other countries maybe not even through the media, will you still feel European?

    On the other hand I think it matters significantly how nations developed and individuals’ sense of belonging to that nation was created. If you take UK for example, maybe they have a stronger sense of identity to what once was the British Empire so therefore not very likely to blend in as being Europeans. But if you look at Ireland, their national identity is also very well shaped but they gained their independence only a century ago and their sense of belonging to the EU which was formed only a few decades later may be stronger.

    For us, Romanians, I believe this sense of belonging to our identity faded over time due to various factors, like communism, corruption and constantly being denigrated as Romanians by other European countries/citizens. Until we learn again what our roots are, shifting to being Europeans may provide a soothing effect on the short term and therefore more likely to embrace it.

  9. Stefan spune:

    What many romanian people do not understand is the term “heritage”. For us, romanians, the roots were cut off during 45 years of comunism. Some people even shamed and denyed their origin durin that time, to survive or for material / political benefits.

    The need to know our past, our roots is very normal. It is a normality / tradition for the english people to know their ancerstors and to be proud of. The roots defined us.
    My second ancerstors are bukovinian too and, understanding them, I understand me. Your search is normal because everyone search for their family. The WWII put borders into de middle of bukovinian people, but some of them kept their heritage and their legacy.

    I invite you into the north of the Romania, in Bukovina. Still, your passport is not necessary (brexit isn’t still a fact). Radauti, Vicovu, Straja, Brodina, Putna. You will understand different the bukoninian history. Lot of young people speak english (not very well, of course) and you will can talk with the old people about theit heritage and legacy (someone will translate for you). You will redefine yourself.

    I like your article and I wish you succes to find more about you. Heritage / legacy is part of us. :)

  10. abc spune:

    bro, if you are born in bucovina, you are romanian. that land was for centuries Romanian and it will be. End of story!

  11. Adrian B spune:

    In a way I wonder what it means to be Romanian. Not the school book definition that includes some nationalism, some patriotism and a lot of bullshit, but what exactly being Romanian means. For you this should be even more important because you are trying to become a citizen of Romania.
    The short history: grandfather from Bucovina, near Putna, but now in Ukraine. Grandmother living on the border with Austrian empire, half of the village (and her sister) on the Austrian part and on the half Romanian side. They were all speaking Romanian, but many were also speaking German as the second language, also a big minority of Jews was present. And they were friendlier and happier than today, I guess, based on the stories from the grandparents.
    Being Romanian may be speaking Romanian as the mother tongue. It may be the primary language. It may be feeling the heart pumping faster when you see a Romanian flag. It may be simply paying taxes to the Romanian state. For each person it may be a combination of these, from all to none, but in the end Romania is a land drawn on a map more or less at the mercy of others and with rulers in Bucharest. If you think that the treaties that gave or took lands from Romania define what is Romania, you are wrong. If you think that the rulers at Bucharest make Romania what it is, you are wrong. If you think that living 25 of 26 years in UK makes you Romanian, you are probably wrong. You are a human being and the language you speak, the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the rulers you have (or not) are not making you something. Being Romanian these days is mostly being included in a category in statistics, it’s not taking the fork and going to war with Turks, it is not living as free men (razesi) during the times of Stefan cel Mare, it is not fighting in the swamp of Calugareni and definitely not paying tribute to the Ottoman empire. That was 2 to 500 years ago, you are living in times that allow people to go around the globe faster than the planet rotation, that allows you to pay in Argentina with a credit card issued in China, to talk with anyone anywhere using Google translate, the times of being Roman (as in the Roman empire), Vlah (or valah), Moldovan, Romanian or British are gone. You are young, open eyes and opportunities, don’t get swamped in the nation scam. Be a man, not a Brit, not a Romanian, not a European, because you are a man first and then whatever you want to be.

  12. dusu spune:

    mi ar placea sa aflu daca dupa aceste comentari, autorul mai crede ca facindu se romin, va fi mai european !?

    • dusu spune:

      domnule autor ; io zic sa i multumiti familiei dvs adoptive ptr ca va educat in deschidere ptr lume; sa i fi ti recunoscator sistemului englez de educatie ca va educat ptr lumea reala !
      ca daca traiati intr o familie de romini patrioti si va educa statul rominesc, strigati inca din leagan : noi sintem romini, noi aci sintem stapini !

  13. Paganel spune:

    Bună seara!

    Regret că răspund în română, dar mă prevalez de faptul că aceasta este una dintre limbile oficiale în Uniunea Europeană. Am început să citesc textul, dar, când am ajuns la forma Chernivtsi pentru Cenrăuți – bye, bye! Până și ucrainenii recunosc că Moldova se întindea până la Nistru (cu tot cu Cernăuți), iar în centrul orașului – azi capitala regiunii cu același nume, parte a Ucrainei, doar fiindcă așa au vrut „mușchii” lui Satanin (pardon, Stalin), în 1940! – există o inscripție din 1408 ((montată în 2008, la 600 de ani de la prima atstare documentară a orașului, transcrisă în ucraineană) care traduce prima mențiune a atestării sigure a orașului, făcută într-un document emis de Alexandru cel Bun, DOMN AL MOLDOVEI, document emis la Suceava!
    Aș face un apel călduros la „bucoviniști” sp explice a cui capitală au fost, succesiv, între 1359 și 1562, orașele Baia, Siret și Suceava (toate situate azi în același județ, numit tot Suceava)?
    Or fi fost locuitorii din Suceava, Rădăuți, Storojineț, Cernăuți „moldoveni”, dar cronicarii (Miron Costin, Grigore Ureche) și Dimitrie Cantemir zic, la unison, că toți se întrebau, între ei, „știi ROMÂNEȘTE”??? Cred că LIMBA (pe lângă alte elemente, între care intră și factorul confesional) este cea care a favorizat cristalizarea conștiinței unității de neam a românilor. Iar pentru cei care, în dispreț, jignesc numele de român (derivat din Romanus) le-aș recomanda să citească „Romanitatea românilor – istoria unei idei” – teză de doctorat muncită (nu plagiată), aparținând unui cetățean român de etnie germană, Adolf Armbruster (originar din Tălmaciu). Înțeleg să nu-ți placă de unii concetățeni de-ai tăi, dar să dai cu bâta în tot ce este românesc – este jenant, ca să nu zic altfel! Și eu nu sunt comunist (nici nu aș fi avut cum: când a fost împușcat Ceaușescu aveam 19 ani!)! E vorba de respect (față de strămoși), de conștiință și de bun-simț!

  14. Garett spune:

    I think it’s a rather strange article for Contributors, unless the political orientation of this site shifted towards Kremlin…
    I may understand author’s nostalgia for the good old days of a pre-war multikulti area, by the way, that area was larger than Bucovina, the same spirit was also in the Polish Galitia, all the way up to Krakow or the mentioned Lwow. On the other hand the austrian influence was applied upon an existing population, this was not exactly Terra Nova, “modernised” by the conquerors,the northern border of Moldova was actually at Hotin, and from there started the Kingdom of Poland which was a quite civilised even by medieval standards.
    The author’s views, somehow understandably, given his upbringing, are a mix of “The British Empire brought the civilization in every place it conqured” combined with a large dose of “We are Europeans, let’s dissolve the nations” and, oddly, with some old Soviet propaganda.
    It would be usefull indeed to first learn the real history of Romania, not the foreign based or “NGO-subsidized” versions, before applying, or even claiming to be Romanian.
    Repeating and recycling old anti-Romanian “history” (I’m surprised the author didn’t invoked also Roessler’s “works” too!) and calling it “multiculturalism” doesn’t make either a case for Europenism, nor one for a strong affiliation with Romania or indeed with Bucovina by itself.
    It may also be usefull to known than the name itself is artificial, only came into use in 1775 after the Austrian annexation and it is Slavic for “Land of Beech trees”.
    Before that it was simply named Tara de Sus, or, for the author, The Uplands, and it’s inhabitants were Moldavians, which, by the way is not an “ethnic” group but simply the designation for the Romanians living in the region.

    • Adrian B spune:

      The author is simply young, naive and not well informed; I don’t think there is a political agenda, but a simple jump on a subject he does not comprehend. Still he is craving for the country of origin, having no realistic idea what exactly is out there.



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Richard Vytniorgu


Richard Vytniorgu

Richard Vytniorgu is a doctoral candidate at De Montfort University, UK, sponsored by Midlands3Cities and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. His research interests include l... Citeste mai departe


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