The Week in Bucharest Life


What had been already been a rather good week in Bucharest Life (of which the biggest and best event was the official launch of the new In Your Pocket website on Monday) got even better on Friday morning when Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta was named as a suspect in a huge corruption case, in which he is accused of tax evasion, money laundering and no fewer than 17 counts of falsifying documents. Here is the Reuters report on the subject.

We doubt that the charges against Ponta come as a surprise to anyone, not least the prime minister himself. He knew his time was coming: the recent moves by his government to pass legislation restricting the powers of the DNA (the anti-corruption prosecutors) and removing a number of offences (such as conflict of interest) from the statute book entirely were evidence of that. The biggest giveaway however was his protection of a former government minister, Dan Sova. Ponta has been accused in the same case as Sova, and was desperate to prevent Sova’s arrest, in case he start blabbing to the DNA. (On Friday afternoon Sova was placed under police supervision and forbidden from contacting Ponta). Anyway, all of Ponta’s effforts appear to have been in vain: the DNA clearly have enough to bury him with. It is worth noting at this point that the DNA’s strike rate is over 90 per cent: they do not usually accuse people of anything until they have a watertight case and rarely lose. Ponta is, we would assume, buggered.

You would therefore think that he would do the decent thing and resign.

You would then remember the fact that he is a total shit who has lied many times, who copied large swathes of his doctoral thesis and who presides over the most corrupt government in Romanian history.

As such, despite President Klaus Iohannis quickly and unequivocally asking for Ponta’s resignation on Friday lunchtime, the man Romanians mockingly call Mickey Mouse has so far refused to do so. Instead, he stated that he would answer only to parliament: as many people were quick to point out, Nicolae Ceausescu said much the same thing when arrested in December 1989.

So what will happen? Well, we think he might last a few more days, but in all likeliness he will be gone before too long. No country in the world – not even Romania – can operate with its prime minister facing serious criminal charges. He is doomed. Iohannis can technically suspend him (as he can any member of the government facing criminal charges) but probably will not. A suspension would be just that: a suspension, and possibly only temporary. It would not trigger the fall of the government. A resignation and a general election is what Romania needs now. Almost the entire country can see that (Pontophiles and Russian apologists excluded).

Speaking of the lunatic brigade, they have already been banging on about this being a ‘coup’ and that Romania has become a police state, as if prosecutors prosecuting crooks was something that only happened in a police state. ‘The DNA has too much power’ they shout. We disagree: the DNA does not have enough power. Were it up to us we’d put the DNA in charge of everything: the schools, the hospitals, the trains, the roads…

Anyway, as a final word on this subject, we should point out that Romania might very soon have its first female prime minister: Alina Gorghiu, leader of the PNL. That would represent a huge step forward. Given the fact that the head of the DNA is also a woman (Laura Codruta Kovesi), the end of patriarchal, misogynistic Romania can’t be too far away. A far more active feminist movement would also not go amiss.

Romania's next prime minister?
Romania’s next prime minister?

In other news, Mrs. Bucharest Life had a meeting with the traffic police on Tuesday regarding the crossing at Bulevardul Marasesti we wrote about last week. It went very well. They have agreed to support our application for the installation of a traffic light when the local council’s (it is Sector 4) traffic commission next meets (the traffic police have a member on the commission). We now wait. For anyone hoping to see lollipop ladies on the streets, do not hold your breath: their introduction would apparently require a change to the highway code; government legislation, basically. It would take too long. A traffic light is the best option in the short term.

For our eight-year-old the school year finished on Thursday: two weeks early. Why? Chicken pox. No, she doesn’t have it (she’s vaccinated against it, as she is just about everything) but half the class and the teacher do. It’s an epidemic: one which could easily be prevented if more parents were responsible enough to get their kids vaccinated. We are rather fascist on this subject: either get your kids every jab there is, or keep your kids away from other children. Here’s why.

Last weekend in Mamaia the Bucharest Life-mobile was clamped for ‘parking on green space.’ In fact, we had parked in front of a hotel, on the hotel’s land and had been told at reception it was fine to do so. We still had to pay 50 lei to get the clamp removed, but the police did not fine us, presumably because they realised the hotel was morally responsible for not telling us we couldn’t park where we did. It also helped that Bucharest Life himself ‘went for a walk’ before the police arrived, leaving Mrs. Bucharest Life and the eight-year-old to do a rather teary number on the coppers. It worked: try it next time you get clamped. The fine is from 400-1000 lei, and well worth avoiding.


30 thoughts on “The Week in Bucharest Life

  1. Ponta will do anything, and everything he can to hold onto power. He just doesn’t care about anyone other than himself and would rather watch the country burn than step down.

    Alina Gorghiu on the otherhand is smoking hot.


      1. She’d be the best looking Prime Minister any country has ever had, anywhere!

        Let’s hope if she does get in, she’s balanced and smart too.


      2. She is certainly smart but there is something of a black mark on her record I understand, involving the award of a contract to a law firm she was connected to. Not illegal as I understand it and certainly not in Mouse’s league but a stick the PSD can beat her with, certainly.


      3. More seriously, she has been chosen as a powerless figurehead who can’t do anything withought the support of some PNL/PDL “barons”. I’m afraid it would be replacing one clique of corrupticians with another.


    1. I felt since I first came here in 1990 that RomanIa is in very many ways more civilised than England. As a British friend of mine says of Ukraine ‘people think like human beings there’. Alas, many bad things are coming.


      1. What bad things? Equality? How can equality of the sexes be anything other than good? The full potential of this country will not be fulfilled until women begin a more active role. In too many of the more backwards parts of Romania girls are marrying at 18, 19, having children immediately and most are lost ti the economy for good as ‘tradition’ dictates they stay at home and bring up kids – the average age Romanian women have their first child is the lowest in the EU. These women could be architects, engineers, astronauts.


      2. To be quite honest, the situation in the UK where both parents have to hold a full time job to make ends meet while the kid is raised by a childminder isn’t much better.


      3. Women and men marrying young and having children quickly seems to me a very good thing indeed, but I am a bachelor and have not done my bit. The very great problem Europe faces – matter literally of life and death – is that women are having too few children. Most women and men do boring jobs – few become architects or astronauts – and motherhood is more important architects and astronauts. The question is how to persuade women to have more children and for this society needs to be rethought. While we have expensive mortgages and people spend their lives working long hours to pay them women will not be able to afford children or stopping work.


      4. Romania is a country of only children and is said to have aborted 22 million babies over the last fifty years. That’s more than the entire current population of the country.


      5. ‘Motherhood is more important!’ Exactly the kind of backwards mentality that needs to go. If a woman wants to have children, great. If she doesn’t, great. All that’s important is that she – and she aline – has control over her reproductive rights.


      6. Natter on about others’ duty to have children, but don’t have any yourself. That’s worked for me only I didn’t do the first part….


      7. If Paul V. E. Wood had his way Laura Codruta Kovesi would have had 7 kids by now starting at age 17 and she’d spend all day lovingly making sandwiches for her man.


      8. Exactly. It’s fear, I think, at the end of the day. Fear of women actually doing things better than men. In that regard Mr. Wood has integrated perfectly into this misogynistic society.


  2. Craig in the short term the traffic lights is good news, but don’t give up on the lollipop lady/man idea for the long term … As it’s pretty much agreed by all as a good idea. The traffic lights is a good start and well done for your progress, but if you have the time, still pursue the long term goals too.

    I appreciate big changes would need to be made, but it’s entirely possible and I think it’s an initiative that would gain lots of support – in the places you need it too – with the politicians!

    Play on the hearts with them, do you have children or grandchildren line – what price a child’s life etc.


    1. I too like the idea of putting old people to work in the sub-zero temperatures of winter to help children cross a road when a traffic light would do the job just as well.


      1. It doesn’t just have to be old people though does it?

        Any amount of intelligence would tell you that.

        Plenty of people are in need of work and obviously anyone outside in a Bucharest winter is suitably dressed, including the children, so ridiculous claims that it’s too cold to be outside is just pathetic.

        You could install traffic lights outside every single school in Romania, or you could have the same effect with a human presence educating, interacting with the kids and parents as well as creating thousands of jobs.

        So for me I’d rather see the safety of the kids and creation of thousands of jobs, rather than installing traffic lights which would be redundant for large parts of the day, costs of installation and maintenance etc and I’m sure we’ve all come across lights not working and the caos that courses – having a human presence ensures that problem is ruled out.

        Of course the wages of lollipop men/women is a cost, but it’s a cost which is generating a salary for people and of course tax is paid I presume.

        A mixture of the two could be a compromise but to rule out the idea completely I’d need to hear a decent reason as to why? Not just the angry rants of a stalker.

        I’m sure the intellectually mature on the forum can add more to the debate though.


      2. Oh Roger, that was an angry rant. When you first suggested it, you proposed employing pensioners to be lollypop ladies.
        You may now twist and turn and rant.


      3. I thought they were well made points and common sense, and the fact that you can’t engage in a mature debate or have the humility to behave like an adult says a lot more about you than it does me.

        Yes I did suggest pensioners and I also suggested all ages too, I’d rule nothing out as regards to who could be employed, so nothing has changed in my opinion.

        I’m certain people say in their 60’s or 70’s could cope perfectly well suitably dressed stood outside for a hour or so along with small children and parents.

        I’m pretty sure in the coldest months of the year I’ve seen people over the age of 60 managing to survive outside before now. The simply use their common sense and wear suitable clothing like every other normal person in Romania (yourself excepted)

        On a related note if my views on the thread anger you, why take the trouble to reply and continue to ruin the forum?

        Grow up Woger/Anon or I hope Craig sees what’s happening and bans you.


  3. It’s just insulting to get a fine for parking, considering all the goons who get away with leaving their cars anywhere they like.


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