Romania's Haradinaj

By Eugene Girin
Saturday, 14 Aug 2010

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It is not only in Bosnia and Kosovo that cutthroats such as Ejup Ganić, Ramush Haradinaj, and Hashim Thaci receive the support of the “international community,” as long as they toe the line dictated by Brussels and Washington. A convicted murderer and terrorist is now a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and an elected Romanian senator. 

His name is Ilie Ilașcu and he represents the Romania Mare (Great Romania) Party. Ilașcu has the dubious honor of being the post-Soviet equivalent to Messrs. Haradinaj, Ganić, and Thaci.

Ilașcu is a native of the former Soviet republic of Moldova. In the early 1990's he took part in the brief but bloody Trans-Dniester War (1990-1992). This conflict broke out when Moldovan nationalists started a campaign to join Moldova with Romania over the wishes of Moldova’s Russian-speaking inhabitants (primarily Russians and Ukrainians) most of whom lived in the Pridnestrovye (Trans-Dniester) region between the Dniester River and the Ukrainian border. The Trans-Dniester area was never a part of Romania and was always overwhelmingly Russian-speaking with cultural and familial ties to Russia and Ukraine. Moldovans are ethnically a mix between Romanians and Ukrainians and the non-Trans-Dniester part of Moldova was ruled by Romania between the World Wars. The Moldovan nationalists’ campaign was accompanied by violence and intimidation against Russian-speakers and dozens of beatings, stabbings, and murders took place. People were attacked for talking in Russian in public places and answering in Russian when asked for the time in Romanian. The Western media immediately took the side of the Russophobes and held the pro-Romanian extremists up as freedom fighters and democrats while deriding the Russian-speakers as pro-Soviet revanchists and Stalinists.

In response, Trans-Dniester declared independence following the example of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (two other regions that were threatened by a pro-Western regime). Since the majority of Moldova’s industry was located in the now independent Trans-Dniester, the anti-Russian government rushed in paramilitaries to quash the breakaway region. Ilașcu organized a small terrorist faction known as the Ilașcu Group that was plotted to blow up key bridges and power plants in Trans-Dniester and had a hit list of over 500 people in Trans-Dniestrian leadership positions that Ilașcu bragged about to the media. Ilie Ilașcu and his cronies ambushed and murdered a Trans-Dniester parliamentarian Nikolai Ostapenko by shooting up his car. Then, they kidnapped Aleksandr Gusar, a Trans-Dniester doctor who was a minor pro-independence leader. They beat Gusar, tied him up and burned him alive in his car. In addition, Ilașcu bragged about being responsible for killing dozens of Trans-Dniester civilians, including women and children by ambushing them and hurling grenades into their windows.

Soon after the doctor’s brutal murder, Ilașcu and five of his men were arrested by the Russian army and handed over to the Trans-Dniester authorities. After a trial immediately decried by the Romania, the EU, and the State Department as “unfair” and “undemocratic”, Ilașcu received the death penalty (re-sentenced to life in prison in the late 1990's) and the four others were sentenced to prison terms from two to fifteen years for the two murders. In comparison to the American justice system, the sentences were remarkably lenient for two premeditated murders and numerous acts of conspiracy and terrorism. 

The EU and the State Department’s anti-Russian bureaucrats put severe pressure on Russia to make Trans-Dniester release Ilașcu and his men. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in the murderers’ favor in 2004. However, Ilașcu was a free man by then. In 2000, he was elected to the Romanian parliament from the Great Romania party (known both for its visceral Russophobia and obsequious kowtowing to George W. Bush). In 2001 he was released and deported to Moldova, where he was recently awarded the country’s highest honor by the viscerally Russophobic interim President Mihai Ghimpu.

The Western “human rights” organizations’ support for Ilascu is reminiscent of their support for Hashim Thaci, Ramush Haradinaj, and other genocidal cutthroats of the Kosovo Liberation Army. To Western opinion makers, a paramilitary who kills Serbs or Russians is not a murderer but a freedom fighter. Ilașcu’s victims had the misfortune of belonging to a class of victims unpopular in the West: they were not Kosovo Albanians, Palestinians, or Bosnian Muslims.