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The National Revolution


Evangeline Anovilis
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While Romania for the longest time had been a monarchy, such solely held up, for as long as Maria had been the strong autocrat, who kept the nation together. But with an utterly incompetent successor, of which already the old Queen had warned, the system neared collapse. Indeed, power shifted away from the crown, towards local elites, especially Mihaela Constante, who had become the de facto head of state, usurping more and more power from the empty throne, as the new autocrat. In these efforts, she received backing from military circles, the intelligence service, but also from the National Unity Front, a movement that had been founded on the principle of creating a new Romanian nation, which instead of a royal holding, was more an actual nation state.

 

"In order for Romanians to be able to survive in this modern world, the Romanian society will need to be modernised and strengthened. Romania will need to be a Bulwark against Disorder, Class Struggle, Moral Decay and the nations who'd want us gone. We need to discard the harmful and hold to the things that are truely good and honest, if our nation should survive the struggles ahead.", it had been formulated by Constante, in her address to the National Unity Front, and it was with cheers that these words, which were clear in some parts, ambigious in others, were adopted as Romania's new stance. More clear would be the programmes that were put into place, to save the Romanian nation.

 

Economic measures were the utter destruction of any form of union in the country. Instead, "guilds" were established for specific branches of the industry, in order to solve disputes between employers and employees, as well as to provide social ties for its members and connect them with the Front. Although technically representatives of the workers, guild leadership was staffed by appointment from above and were given great amounts of authority over their members, to make rulings. Smaller and medium-sized enterprises were favoured, as growth engines of Romanian economy, while larger enterprises, if not already owned by the state, were nationalised. Agriculture was a compromise. Partly, arable land would be restructured, in order to profit farmers. However, at the same time, large-scale agricultural estates, owned by landed nobility, was kept in place, in order not to anger this pillar of the regime. What however surely helped the Romanian farmer, would be the development of ports along the Danube, as well as the devastation of Ukrainian competition through taxes on their arable land.

 

This measure, of course was tied to the language spoken and the nationality claimed by the individual. Which pretty much showed the most oppressive part of the Romanian rule. Which was the stated objective of establishing "Spațiul vital", expanding the lands of the Romanian people.

 

4plzNfMl.jpg

OOC: Disregard Southern Dobrudja

 

By re-establishing the Transnistria governate, the Transnistrian lands would be prepared for integration into Romania. By expanding Romania eastward, it was hoped to not only allow for more Romanian people, but also, to expand Romanian soil on the cost of the main competitor. Devastating the Ukrainians could only work for so long and pretty much meant that lots of agricultural output went to waste. If the region could be made productive for Romanians, such was definitely more preferable overall. A governor would be appointed by Bucharest, residing in Odesa, which for now served as capital.

 

That the Ukrainians living there would soon face repression was pretty clear. One only had to look at the minorities within Romania proper. Aside from the substantial amounts of Magyars, which had it not easy either, all minorities, especially South Slavs, like Serbs, had in closed sessions of the cabinet been marked for Romanisation, cultural assimilation, in order to prevent proper opposition. What would come handy in this regard, was the sheer quantity of different minorities Romania posessed. Instead of letting communities resist on their home turf, Ruthenes and Turks, but also others, would be resettled and dispersed. Gradually, these two communities could then be impoverished and culturally Romanised. As could be the already dispersed Roma...

 

A matter of contention was still however the monarchy. While some advocated abolition of the monarchy in favour of the Conducătora, others rather wanted to have this traditional head of state, though in cooperation with Constante, as kind of Diarchy of nobility and party. The representative of the aristocracy and the representative of the people, ruling Romania as a symbol of the Corporate State. But with pretty negative feelings towards a weak Hohenzollern, such would be left open to deal with later.

 

OOC: Transnistria Governate 1/7

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Slowly, the land between the Nistru and the Bug was formed into the Transnistrian Governate, an entity that was clearly marked for later annexation into Greater Romania. While under Maria the border between Romania and Ukraine had been established pretty much at the Nistru, where it had been prior to Molotov-Ribbentrop, and no changes had been planned, Constante thought different. While visiting Tiraspol, in the preparations of a meeting with Soviet representatives, the leader of all Romanians made it rather clear to the appointed governor in a meeting just between the two of them, that "The best way to ensure Romania's survival, is to expand. The best way to expand is into the lands across the Nistru. And in the process, we must not create further minorities that can plot against the state."

 

Following this line of thinking, Petru Planeanu, Governor of Transnistria quickly proceeded to move against the local Ukrainians, which were about to become part of the already existing Ukrainian minority that lived within Romania. Gradually, Ukrainian was replaced by Romanian as administrative language, Cyrillic letters were replaced by Latin ones, Ukrainian folklore was cracked down upon and Romanian customs introduced. Officially, the action was to safe the Transnistrian Romanians, which had lived since centuries in the region (though most had been resettled or had left for Romania during the times of the Soviet Union) and Transnistria was seen both as ancient part of the Romanian homeland, as well as a reclaimed virgin soil for Romanian settlement. Non-Romanians living there were of no concern. They were, as it was put by Constante "Romanians who had forgotten their native language", picking up a term that was not even new. Of course, Romanian education was instituted, in order to help them remember their "lost" heritage.

 

And an entire field army was stationed in Odesa, in case they refused to accept their "actual" roots.

 

OOC: Transnistria Governate 2/7; for reference, the Transnistria Governate comprises all the land of the Vinnytsia, Odessa and Mykolaiv Oblasts that is located inbetween the Dniester (Nistru) and the Southern Bug. Map in first post pretty much shows that as part of Greater Romania. It does differentiate slightly from historic Transnistria, but it uses a River and modern political boundaries instead.

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As the National Revolution allowed for no enemies to exist, for they posed a threat to the established order, the persecution of enemies of the state was not merely based on ethnicity, but much more based on ideology. Whatever could pose a threat to the National Unity Front was to be rendered dead - politically, if necessary physically.

 

Communism and Socialism were in this sense main targets, propagating against church and state, against the corporate society and proper morals. already during Maria's times, these people had been forced into hiding, but since Maria's assassination, there was an actual hunt for the Left. The miliție regale slowly transformed from a mere border guard and militia force, to an executive organ for the eradication of dangerous ideologies, together with the Siguranța, the secret police. In the immediate aftermath of the assassination, the mob had lynched several prominent socialists, but the spontanous vigilante justice made room for organised state terror. Known communists were to be put against a wall and shot. If people were known for having joined the underground movements and did not turn themselves in, their families were put against the wall and shot. Special political courts were established, in order to deal with crimes pertaining to subversion of state, church or national community, most of which could be punished from 15 years in a labour camp to execution via firing squad or gallow. Most larger towns were seat of such courts, with the accused being gathered in special prisons.

 

Of course, not all opposition was exterminated with such extreme violence. More moderate politicians, liberals and republicans, were for the most part given the option to just stay apolitical, to not be vocal about their dissent and to not practice anything that could be taken as subversion. Seeking refuge internally, by keeping their views within their own homes and among the most trusted became the preferred method of most opposition politicians, especially, as it practically was the continuation of what most had already practiced under Maria. Just, this time, being denounced could have far more severe consequences. Liberals and social democrats at times also organised themselves into small circles of like-minded people, to exchange their opinions in secret and to make some air among those they trusted, while staying away from the political arena, which got transformed from the absolutist state of Maria to the just as hierarchically structured regime of the National Unity Front, with Constante and her inner circle at the top of the pyramid, with admistration and local governors inbetween and the masses at the bottom.

 

Media was censored as always. The few newspapers in circulation were owned by the National Unity Front or by political allies. Radio was state monopoly. Television, as far as available was state-owned. Foreign media was allowed as far as it did not threaten the regime, which meant, foreign newspapers underwent careful checks and censorship, before being sold in Romania. Only higher officials could more or less freely access the foreign media, if they were deemed loyal enough. The illegal smuggling of foreign media into the country, or listening to foreign broadcasts was practiced by some, though, if it ever became known to the authorities, such was sure to get oneself before a political court.

 

But even while such draconic measures were enacted, the necessity within Romania to worry about dissent was low. Most people supported or at least tolerated the National Union Front and the new Greater Romanian nation, which was constructed by it. Political freedom had been low for quite some time, orthodoxy was practiced by many, as long as one wasn't part of a political minority, Romanians could tend to their daily life with little difference, except that they had a feeling the state grew stronger and more orderly, in times when peace and stability were guaranteed by nothing, but the military strength of the nation.

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Mihaela Constante, by all means was no born leader. While a competent politician, Constante was not the charismatic and strong personality that Maria had been, or what others would expect, for the Conducătora. Her skill was to bring together the different reactionary and nationalist interests and to amalgamate them in the National Unity Front. As compromiser, diplomat and intrigante, Constante had worked her way to the top, by weaving webs in Bucharest's upper circles and it was the ties she held, that had allowed her to seize the moment. And it was this power, which Constante required, to keep the FUN from becoming a runaway development. Cult of personality was rather weak, emphasising her position far more than her person, which most of all was due to the unwillingness of parts of the establishment, to accept a non-royal ruler. Landed nobility and conservatives rather emphasises her role as a regent, as the protector, until a new monarch was crowned and could take over. Nationalists and the security apparatus meanwhile rather wanted Constante as Conducătora, given chances were, whatever eligible monarch was there, they'd never be strong enough to lead the Romanian nation. Constante thus used her dual title, avoiding to offend the old guard, while waiting together with the radicals for them to resign and accept the new system.

 

Still, the might of the reactionary nobility was clearly demonstrated in this matter. Although they seemed like a relic of the past, the landowners with their estates were nothing to be scoughed at. Agriculture employed over a third of the woring population of Greater Romania (not considering the politically powerless Straits territory) and made for around 7-8% of the GDP. What agriculture was however very important for, was exports, as agricultural exports were considerable in keeping a trade balance. The noble estates covered a great amount of arable land and quite a good few Romanians were employed on them, to work the fields. Overall, Romanian agriculture was just like the rest of the economy, not too well off. Labour-intensive and hardly mechanised, the nation's agriculture did not seem all too modern. Staying competitive was an achievement made less by the efficiency of the labour force, than through the amount of cheap labour available to produce products like grain, vegetables and fruits, sunflowers, potatoes and rapeseed, among others, on highly fertile chernozem fields. Further, Romanian authorities woud start utilising Ukrainian agricultural output, in order to sate the cheap domestic market, while throwing Romanian products on the more lucrative global market, lowering food costs at home, while allowing Romanian farmers to get more for their work, in order to invest, to improve their situation. Agriculture became a story of success economically at home. agriculture became a story of massive exploitation in the Ukrainian protectorate, where millions were impoverished. And the importance of agriculture in Romania, economically and socially, was only magnified by the regime's propaganda, which glorified the hard-working and pious Romanian farmer and propagated the importance of increasing the amount of arable land the nation had.

 

WSsStUP.jpg

Transnistrian field of rapeseed

 

Naturally, the main project to achieve this objective was still Transnistria. By expanding Romania into the fertile fields of Ukraine, Romanian culture was pushed further east, but also, new lands were available for Romanian landowners, who were among the first to arrive in the new territory. While Ukrainians, resettled Turks, some Roma and a good few actually Romanian settlers made up the peasantry, the land-owners were entirely Romanian. Whether noble or as free farmers, non-Romanians were given the options of assimilating, selling to a Romanian, in order to live under them or giving up rural life, to live elsewhere. If anyone however had any hope to escape the pressure to assimilate, at latest in the towns, they would see, there was no escape. All there was, was a policy of Romanisation and an army to enforce it.

 

OOC: Almost forgot, Transnistria Governate 3/7

Edited by Evangeline Anovilis
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Over the course of several weeks, the army would conduct a crackdown in Transnistria, to break any organised nationalist or communist sentiment in the area. Houses would be searched in surprise razzias, factories and taverns would be subjected to similar searches. During the planning of the operation, Governor Planeanu clearly stated the objective was among the crushing of potential subversive elements, the clear discouraging and deterring of further insurgents. To this end, respect for privacy was to be ignored, if it was obstructing actions taken in the interest of security. At best no innocents got gunned down. Which however did hardly mean that the events did see no violence, as over a thousand people were arrested, tried and while 268 were disposed off by the army in the forests, the majority went to labour camps in Romania, in order to mine coal.

 

OOC: Transnistria Governate 4/7

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After the "cleansing" of Transnistria, the IV. Romanian Army would be moved from Odesa to Kiev, in order to assist in the protection of the protectorate. The duties in the governate fell to several militia brigades that were stationed throughout the country, as well as the local police units. Not to mention a heightened presence of the Siguranța, the secret police. Local districts (Județ) would be set up, in order to bring the administration in line with Romania proper. These districts would mostly follow the old pattern of the historical Transnistria, though, with an enlarged Moghilău district. After the violent rooting out of disorder, it was envisioned that now, proper order could be established, without being corrupted by the foul structures of old. The amount of state terror would decline, as more organised and targetted repression took over.

 

While the integration of Transnistria was ongoing, cultural assimilation of Constantinopol was slow. Up to the resettlement policy, there had been hardly any means of breaking up the sizeable Turkish community, but now, by deporting groups to Ukraine and replacing them with Ruthenes and Romanians, the cultural monolith could be broken and more aggressive approaches could be pursued. Naturally, this was not a policy that was welcomed by many of the Muslim Turks, who felt opressed by orthodox Romanians and hundreds of thousands would take the option (encouraged by the Romanian government) to emmigrate to their cultural brothers in Uriankhai, in the hope to find more tolerance among the Mongol-Turkic-Tungusic peoples. Many of these Turks were of higher education and more affluent, though, the Romanian state made a profit plundering these people with emmigration taxes, before having them ship off. For the regime, even if there were less people now in Romania, every Turk gone was one foreigner less burdening the state and nation with their presence. A secret five-year-plan was drawn up, which envisioned to decrease via resettlement and emmigration the population from 22 million to 15 million, of which via population exchange and assimilation, at least half would have to be either Romanised Ruthenian, Romanised Roma or Romanian. That such radical measures meant the impoverishment of the region and millions of people, was perceived as an acceptable price, for long-term Romanisation. Bucharest rather had a nation of 30 million Romanians and 15 million Romanised, rather than 25 million Romanians and 25 million non-Romanian foreigners.

 

OOC: Transnistria Governate 5/7

Edited by Evangeline Anovilis
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DnTq9n1l.jpg

 

Following the agricultural devastation of Ukraine, the Romanian regime would work on plans to remove the industrial potential of the country, slowly but surely as a direct competition to Romania's own industry. To this end, the enormous Ukrainian steel industry at its heart was targetted next. While Russia had annexed much of the Donbass, removing a good amount of Ukrainian steel industry right there, a healthy industry remained at the Kryvbas, at the banks of the Dnieper (Romanian: Nipru). Opinion among the Romanian elites was split. While some advocated for the dismantling of the steel mills and exploitation of raw materials from Ukraine for Romanian steel mills, others advocated instead the extension of Romanian living space to eventually include lans even along the Nipru, with the replacement of the Ukrainian nation by the Romanian nation. Given such developments, these annexationists advocated, impoverishing Ukraine further would solely lead to a later need to redevelop it, when it inevitably would become part of Greater Romania. But such grandious plans against the Ukrainians were shelved pretty quickly by Constante, who decided that further Ruthenisation of Romania was hardly in the national interest. Romania would have to know the limits of what it could digest at a time and thus, there was no point in annexing rest-Ukraine.

 

While this did mean a continued existence of Ukrainian culture, it also gave green lights to the industrial plundering of Ukraine, by moving the processing of iron ore from the Nipru to the Nistru, as steel mills along the river sprung up. Connections to the mines, which sadly could not be moved with the mills, were established through railway and riverine shipping and at the cost of Ukraine, Transnistria was slowly industrialised. as the smoke slowly cleared over the heart of Ukraine, in Odesa, Tiraspol and Moghilǎu heavy industry was in the works. For only with a solid heavy industry, the nation could feed the construction works, the machine works, the defense industry and shipyards that all required good high-quality steel. Not to mention, the potential for exporting metal products.

 

OOC: Transnistria Governate 6/7

Edited by Evangeline Anovilis
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Without much fanfare, Constante signed the order to annex Transnistria. Not like she needed to pass it through any parliament. For the people within the Governate, such meant however little. Romanian flags had been flying for quite some time, Romanian laws had been enacted too, the annexation was hardly a change in their life. And for many, instead of bestowing any better status, it just meant the suffering from assimilation had just begun. This was merely the end of the very beginning.

 

OOC: Transnistria Governate 7/7

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