Iliescu, interview on his 94th birthday: “I know that the Internet is full of memes about me. The world does not begin with us and it does not end with us”

The former president Ion Iliescu spoke in an interview for his adviser, Ionuț Vulpescu, former Minister of Culture and current deputy, about the years in which he led the state, but also about the current situation of Romania.

In the interview published on Ionuț Vulpescu's blog, the former president made a parenthesis regarding his advanced age and the jokes of internet users: “I know that the Internet is full of memes with me, like hope dies penultimate or that I was seen at the bank, for a 30-year loan, etc. Some I appreciate, as long as they have humor, that is, they are intelligent. The world does not begin with us and it certainly does not end with us. Valid for any mortal.”

How to explain Romanians' nostalgia for communism

Asked how he explains some people's nostalgia for communism, the former president explained that “depends on who you ask and where you look”emphasizing the difference of opinion between the different social categories of people who went through that period.

“If you ask a politician, you obviously didn't do politics in communism, but obedience, so there's no way you miss the years of a dictatorship. If you ask a child who lost a parent or a grandparent in communist prisons, no nostalgia can come from this either: only the pain and the desire to go back in time, to the time when all yours were together and alive. Nostalgia for people who lived under communism, maybe, but for communism, no”the former president pointed out.

The former president also said: “I have no way to live this nostalgia. But I understand the mentality behind it for some individuals who found the former regime a predictable lifestyle. Suffering, but predictable: jobs were distributed, wages were predictable, society seemed intuitive in its evolution.”

“The price paid was far too high”

“It wasn't the pressure of jobs and wild capitalism, it's true, but the price paid was far too high”the former head of state pointed out.

Regarding the current situation, Ion Iliescu explained that the high degree of nostalgia shown by the polls is perfectly explainable by the fact that “youth slips into political radicalism because it is not supported and transformed into a social category for which the state must provide protectionism and educational, cultural, healthier policies.”

“Nostalgia for the harsh years of communism can only be felt by those who did not live under the Korean model imported under Ceausism. It is also paradoxical: in 1989 we won freedom for those who think they could do without it“, the former president also said, emphasizing that “from the outside, Romania looks better than we see it from the inside” because we are subjective.

“I regret certain episodes from the first years after the Revolution”

The former president also stated that he regrets, looking back, some episodes from the first years after the Revolution, but considers that “what happened was inevitable, what did not happen was impossible”.

“Nobody can heal from traumas until they recognize them. And Romania had to recognize them, describe them and educate itself to overcome them. This moral transition was also important for me, not just the economic one. Because a healthy democracy requires forgiveness not forgetting and truth not mystification. Retrospectively, I regret certain moments, episodes, situations, events from the first years after the Revolution, but, as someone said, what happened was inevitable, what didn't happen was impossible”. the former president also said.