Corneliu Vadim Tudor
|Corneliu Vadim Tudor|
|Member of the European Parliament
14 July 2009
Corneliu Vadim Tudor (Romanian pronunciation: [korˈnelju vaˈdim ˈtudor]; born 28 November 1949 in Bucharest) was leader of the Greater Romania Party (Partidul România Mare) until his exclusion on 27 July, 2013. Writer, journalist and a Member of the European Parliament. He was a Romanian Senator from 1992 to 2008.
A controversial, essentially populist, political figure, he is known for his strongly nationalist and xenophobic views, the theatrics of which often accompany his rhetoric, and his reliance on the denunications of political opponents (so far, a tactic which several civil lawsuits have ruled slanderous). He is most commonly referred to as "Vadim", many times understood as a family name (although it is clearly not shared with his relatively well-known brother, former Army officer and fellow Party member Marcu Tudor).
A disciple of the writer Eugen Barbu (who was an unofficial trusted advisor to Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu), Tudor was energetic in his praise (in both prose and poetry) of the longtime communist dictator prior to Romania's 1989 revolution.
He was born in Bucharest on 28 November 1949 into a working-class family, his father being a tailor. At one time, his father was a Baptist minister, but he himself calls himself a Romanian Orthodox. In his youth being an admirer of the French film director Roger Vadim, he chose the pseudonym Vadim.
In 1971, he received a degree in sociology from the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Bucharest, and in 1975, he studied at the School for Reserve Officers in Bucharest. With the help of his mentor, Herder Prize winner Eugen Barbu, he obtained a scholarship and studied in Vienna from 1978 to 1979.
During the communist era, he worked as a journalist, editor, and poet: in the early 1970s, he was one of the editors at România Liberă, and after 1975 was an editor at the Romanian official press agency, Agerpress.
Has served as a Romanian senator between 1992-2008. For the first time since 1990, after the election of 30 November 2008, he and his party were no longer present in either of the Romanian legislative chambers. On 25 September 2001, Tudor renounced his parliamentary immunity from prosecution.
In December 2004, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel returned the Steaua României medal, one of the country's highest honors, after President Ion Iliescu awarded Tudor the same honor in the last days of his presidency. Wiesel said he was returning the honor because he could not "accept being placed on the same level" as Tudor and fellow party member (and honor recipient) Gheorghe Buzatu. Fifteen Radio Free Europe journalists, Timişoara mayor Gheorghe Ciuhandu, song writer Alexandru Andrieş, and historian Randolph Braham also returned their Steaua României medals as a result of the awards to Tudor and Buzatu. According to the conservative newspaper Ziua, Tudor's Steaua României appointment was revoked by Romanian president Traian Băsescu in May 2007. Tudor consequently announced he would sue Traian Băsescu for abuse of power.
He was married and has two children.
In June 1990, Tudor and Eugen Barbu founded the nationalist weekly România Mare ("Greater Romania") - begun as a magazine favorable to the policies of the government. In 1991, they founded the Greater Romania Party, the platform of which Time magazine described as "a crude mixture of anti-Semitism, racism and nostalgia for the good old days of communism." Statements made and articles written by Tudor and his party colleagues can also be described as ultra-nationalist, anti-Hungarian sentiment, anti-Roma, and homophobic.
Of no less importance is Tudor's irredentism: the ideal of a Greater Romania is what gives the party its name, and Tudor has campaigned several times around the notion that he is the only Romanian politician to have maintained this particular goal. The reference is mainly aimed at the Republic of Moldova, a state whose legitimacy has been questioned by Tudor on numerous occasions. He has supported the cause of Romanians in Transnistria, and was involved in the efforts to set free the victim of a Tiraspol show trial, Ilie Ilaşcu. While Tudor was the one to embarrass the prosecutors by having Ilaşcu elected to the Romanian parliament on his party's list (in 2000), György Frunda—a preeminent ethnic Hungarian representative, and thus a main target of Tudor's attacks—has been the most active member of the Romanian delegation to the Council of Europe in obtaining a condemnation of the trial by the forum.
Besides Moldova, Tudor claims that Greater Romania must include Southern Bessarabia, the territory of Hertsa and Northern Bukovina which belong to Ukraine after the fall of the USSR, but were a part of historical Romania until the Russian anexation in 1812, and again between 1918-1940.
România Mare has been sued for libel with stunning frequency, often for Tudor's own writings (which he usually—if not always—signs under the pseudonym Alcibiade). Between 1993 and 1996, his party supported the leftist governmental coalition (the "Red Quadrilateral").
Tudor's and his party's change from national communism to ultranationalism took place after 1996. In 1999, Dan Corneliu Hudici, a former reporter at România Mare, claimed there was a "secret blacklist" of dozens of politicians (including then-president Emil Constantinescu), journalists, and businessmen to be arrested if Tudor's party came to power. This allegation only served to increase his popularity: in the first round of the Romanian presidential elections on November 26, 2000, Tudor finished second with 28% of the vote. (Four years earlier, he had come in fifth.) However, nearly all other parties backed Ion Iliescu in the December 11 runoff, and Tudor only picked up five additional percentage points, while Iliescu surged from 36% to 67%. In 2001, the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram called him the "Jean-Marie Le Pen of the Carpathians.".
Changing his convictions to what he deemed Christian democracy, Tudor supported Romania's entry into the European Union and sustained its presence in NATO. In 2003, Tudor claimed to have changed his views of Jews, Judaism, and the Holocaust. In a letter dated 1 February 2004, he retracted certain earlier statements he had made as inappropriately anti-Semitic; further, he wrote: "I know that I was wrong to have denied the Holocaust in Romania, which happened between 1941 and 1944 under Antonescu's regime." Many publicly questioned the sincerity and motivations of this change, viewing it simply as a political ploy. Despite sharp criticism of the move from within Israel, Tudor hired a well-known Israeli public relations company to provide him consulting for the 2004 electoral campaigns. In the elections of 2004 he came out 3rd with a score of 11%, after Adrian Năstase and Traian Băsescu.
On 18 October 2012, while speaking on the talk show "Romania la Raport" on the Realitatea network, Tudor said that “in Romania there was never a Holocaust." He reportedly added, "I will deny it till I die because I love my people."
He fired Jewish advisor (and member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies) Nati Meir due to allegations of bribery (according to Tudor) or old habits of anti-semitism (according to Meir). The Romanian press discovered that Meir had been convicted in Israel of banking fraud, thus incompatible with the office of member of the Chamber of Deputies. On November 15, 2006 Meir was brought to trial by the Romanian authorities for tax evasion, fraud and swindling, being accused of illegalities concerning work permits for Israel.
After stepping down as president of the PPRM (Partidul Popular România Mare—with the added People's Party) for a short while, he returned, firing Corneliu Ciontu (appointed president of the PPRM by Tudor) and taking over party affairs. The party has since reverted to its old name and its core tenets, as its more moderate stance appeared have lost old votes without gaining new ones. Tudor's publications continued to include articles that denied the Holocaust in Romania and took deliberately antagonistic positions toward Romanian Roma, ethnic Hungarians, and other minority groups.
In recent years, Tudor has also faced an increasing challenge from another Romanian populist leader, Gigi Becali, owner of the Steaua football team and president of the New Generation Party, but ended up allying with him when the latter was imprisoned, and subsequently both were voted into the European Parliament.
He has frequently styled himself The Tribune, a title that originates in Ancient Rome, but has an ever more combative meaning in Romanian history: tribuni stood for certain activists in the self-defence of Romanian communities in Transylvania against the Revolutionary government in Hungary (see The Revolutions of 1848 in the Habsburg areas).
- Bronze Medal of the Vatican (2007);
- Knight of the ″Steaua României″ ('Star of Romania') Order (2004);
- Member of the World Academy of Medicine, Albert Schweitzer, winning the Gold Medal for ″outstanding work done in the service of humanity″ (2000), Warsaw;
- Awarded the Great Gold Medal of the World Academy, Albert Schweitzer. Patent accompanying distinction is signed by academician Kazimierz Imieliński, president of the Academy, by Rhena Schweitzer Miller, daughter of the distinguished scholar, and four Nobel laureates (2004);
- Corresponding member of the most prestigious cultural and scientific forum, the Pontifical Tiberian Academy - November 2004;
- Member of the Academy of Political Science in New York;
- Awarded diplomas and gold medals, ″Man of the Year 2000″ and ″Man of the Year 2004″ awarded by American Biographical Institute;
- Member of Research Board of Advisors of American Biographical Institute;
- Was awarded the title of, distinguished intellectual of the 20th century by International Biographical Centre in Cambridge, England;
- Awarded World Medal of Freedom, in 2006, by American Biographical Institute;
- Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.
- "Romania's far-right contender". BBC. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- Romanian Chamber of Deputies, Deputy Marcu Tudor's webpage
- "Far-Right MPs Join Forces in EU Parliament: A Small Thorn in The EU's Side". Spiegel. 23 January 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "Corneliu Vadim Tudor implineste 61 de ani". Ziare. 26 June 2003. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "Corneliu Vadim Tudor". Munzinger. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "RFE/RL Newsline". HRI. 9 January 2001. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- WorldPress.org, Controversial Moves by Romanian President Before Exit, December 23, 2004
- see the Ion Iliescu article
- Vadim Tudor dez-onorat (Vadim dishonoured) , article in the Ziua newspaper.
- "Vadim il da in judecata pe Basescu pentru retragerea decoratiei". Ziare. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- "Members and experts". EU. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- The Securitate roots of a modern Romanian fairy tale: the press, the former Securitate and the historiography of December 1989, April 3, 2002
- "His Blood Upon Your Children" by Daniela Humoreanu, accessed on January 11, 2007
- San Francisco Bay Times
- European Roma Rights Centre
- FRONTLINE/WORLD . Romania - My Old Haunts . Reporter's Notebook: House of Tudor | PBS
- The Primitive Discrimination
- Al-Ahram, Romania hits rock bottom, 4–10 January 2001
- "Romania: The Continuing Secret Police Cover Up". Spiegel. 2004-11-24. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
- Haaretz, Vadim sees the light, 7 April 2004
- "Corneliu Vadim Tudor: "În România n-a existat Holocaust"". S.C. PRESS MEDIA ELECTRONIC SRL. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
- Mediafax, Nati Meir is indicted by the DA's