Corneliu Vadim Tudor
|Corneliu Vadim Tudor|
|Member of the European Parliament|
14 July 2009 – 1 July 2014
28 November 1949
14 September 2015 (aged 65)|
|Political party||Greater Romania Party|
|Profession||Writer, Poet, Journalist, Politician|
Corneliu Vadim Tudor (Romanian pronunciation: [korˈnelju vaˈdim ˈtudor]; 28 November 1949 – 14 September 2015) was the leader of the Greater Romania Party (Partidul România Mare), poet, writer, journalist and a Member of the European Parliament. He was a Romanian Senator from 1992 to 2008. He was born and died in Bucharest.
As a political figure, he was known for having held strong nationalist views, which were reflected in his rhetoric and his denunciation of political opponents (a tactic which the judgements in several civil lawsuits handed down against him deemed to be slanderous). He was most commonly referred to as "Vadim", which was a name he selected for himself but not a family name (and not shared with his brother, former Army officer Marcu Tudor).
Tudor was born in Bucharest on 28 November 1949 into a working-class family, his father being a tailor. In his youth, being an admirer of the French film director Roger Vadim, he chose the pseudonym Vadim as his middle name.
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 1978-79. 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. He served as senator from 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. 15 Radio Free Europe journalists, Timişoara mayor Gheorghe Ciuhandu, songwriter Alexandru Andrieş, and historian Randolph Braham all returned their Steaua României medals as well due to the awards given 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 that he would sue Traian Băsescu for abuse of power.
As a poet he made his debut in May 1965 at the national radio station with a poem read in the George Călinescu literary circle. He published several volumes of prose and poetry: Poezii (Poems; 1977), Epistole vieneze (1979), Poeme de dragoste, ură și speranță (Poems of Love, Hatred and Hope; 1981), Idealuri (Ideals; 1983), Saturnalii (Saturnalia, 1983), Istorie și civilizatie (History and Civilization; 1983), Mândria de a fi români (The Pride of Being Romanian; 1985), Miracole (Miracles; 1986 anthology), Jurnal de vacanță (Holiday Journal, 1996), Poems (translated in seven languages, published in Torino, Italy, 1998), Europa Creștină (Christian Europe), and Artificii (Artifices; 2010).
In June 1990, Tudor and Eugen Barbu founded the nationalist weekly magazine România Mare (Greater Romania) – begun as a magazine favorable to the policies of the government. Latter evidence affirmed that the release of the "Greater Romania" was helped by the left-wing administration in Bucharest.
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". Some statements and articles by Tudor and his colleagues can be described as ultra-nationalist, anti-Hungarian, anti-Roma, and homophobic.
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 annexation in 1812, and again between 1918–40. 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 26 November 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 11 December runoff, and Tudor only picked up five additional percentage points, while Iliescu surged from 36% to 67%.
Tudor supported Romania's entry into the European Union and sustained its presence in NATO. In 2003, Tudor claimed to have changed his views on Jews, 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.
On 18 October 2012, while speaking on the talk show Romania la Raport, Tudor said that "in Romania there was never a Holocaust ... I will deny it till I die because I love my people."
He fired an advisor (who happened to be Jewish; and a member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies) Nati Meir. Tudor claimed it was due to allegations of bribery, but Meir claimed it was due to antisemitism. It turned out that the Romanian press discovered that Meir had been convicted in Israel of banking fraud, and was thus incompatible with the office of member of the Chamber of Deputies.
On 15 November 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. Tudor 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).
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- Knight of the Order of the Star of Romania (2004)
- Corresponding member of the Pontificia Accademia Tiberina – November 2004
- Member of the Academy of Political Science in New York;
- Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences
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