Tamás Molnár (1955–) is a graphic artist. He was a member of the Inconnu group.
In the late 1970s, he worked in Szolnok in as a librarian and organizer of cultural events. In 1978, he was one of the founding members of Inconnu. He participated in the actions of the group and in the actions, performances, and demonstrations of the democratic opposition. In 1985, he moved to Budapest because of the harassment he endured at the hands of the police, as the other members did too. He ran a private gallery named Arteria Geléria, where artistic and political events were organized.In the 1990s, he began to become active in politics as a supporter of right-wing tendencies. He wrote articles in national-conservative journals, and he served as the deputy chairman of the far-right party Jobbik. In 2005, he published a list of agents who had reported on the members of Inconnu. In 2006, he was one of the leaders of a huge demonstration against the government in the Kossuth Square. Until roughly 2005, he actively participated in political life. He then went into retirement and organized a workshop of artists.
- Budapest, Hungary
Ion Monoran (b. 18 January 1953, Ciacova, Timiș county – d. 2 December 1993, Timișoara) was not only a representative personality for the culture circles in the Banat that were unaligned to the official line of the communist regime, but was also the demonstrator who was able to catalyse the spontaneous protest in Timișoara on 16 December 1989 and transform it into what is known as the Romanian Revolution.
A rebellious poet, an awkward figure for the official cultural canons of the communist period, Ion Monoran was “a Bohemian apparition in the paralytic landscape of committed literature, a poet with long hair, undomesticated by the Ceauşescuist theses, tolerated but rarely published, a problem-writer for the censors of the magazines [intended for young people] Forum Studențesc, Amfiteatru and Orizont. A leader of one of these magazines expressed at one point his concern regarding the sort of unaligned poetry that Ion Monoran was writing with a question that was to remain famous in Timișoara cultural circles: ‘What’s this, mate? You want to put the boot into poetry?’”(Armanca 2011, 55)
As far as the official communist cultural canons were concerned, the appreciation could not have been more just: Ion Monoran’s poetry was not only nonconformist, but also ironic and contestational towards the communist regime. Consequently, prior to 1989 Ion Monoran was very seldom published in the press, and his first volume of poems would appear only after the fall of communism, but also, unfortunately, after his own early death.
In spite of the fact that he was practically without a body of published work, Ion Monoran was one of the most well-known representatives of the cultural Bohemia of Timişoara before 1989. This cultural grouping of professional writers and non-professionals with literary aspirations constituted a form of resistance in the face of official communist propaganda. The representatives of this grouping, who numbered no more than fourteen or fifteen, had a number of meeting places: either the Pavel Dan Literary Circle, or the Cina restaurant, or the cemetery of Timișoara’s Rusu-Șirianu district. Timişoara’s cultural Bohemians also regularly met in the basement boiler-room of a four-storey apartment block, where Ion Monoran had his place of work. Obliged to find employment as an unskilled worker due to his expulsion from high school following his failed attempt to flee the country, Monoran was all his life downgraded in the social order. This did not prevent him from being recognised in the unofficial hierarchy of Timişoara’s Bohemians as a charismatic poet and member with equal rights, even a leader, of a group of writers who met at intervals. In addition to Monoran, the group was made up of: Traian Dorgoșan, Valeriu Drumeș, Ioan Crăciun, Rodion Vasilache, Nicu Stoia, Viorel Marineasa, Daniel Vighi, Gheorghe Pruncuț, Eugen Bunaru, Șerban Foarță, and Petru Ilieșu. These Timişoara Bohemians were perceived in local and national cultural circles as being unaligned to the official canons of the communist regime.
Ion Monoran already had a reputation as a rebel before he began to participate regularly in the informal meetings of the Timişoara cultural Bohemians. Basically, his option for a nonconformist career had its origin in his attempt in 1971 to cross the border illicitly. He was then in his final year of high school, and as a result of his “attempted flight” he was expelled. In the declaration that he gave to the investigators, which has been recovered by his family in the CNSAS Archive, Monoran mentioned that he wanted to leave the country in order to travel and to write poetry. For this reason, he only finished high school seven years later, by taking evening classes. In the meantime, he was employed as a worker and carried out his military service in construction, in conditions dangerous to his health, in a military unit where he worked alongside many common-law prisoners.
In the 1980s, Monoran became a well-known name in the alternative cultural world of the Banat, and especially Timişoara. He wrote a lot, although he hardly published anything. His work has a strong note of contestation of the communist regime, as would later be noted in the General Dictionary of Romanian Literature, published under the aegis of the Romanian Academy: “A component of the eighties generation, refusing any compromise, Monoran postponed his debut beyond the limits of his own life. His impulsive, abrupt, and often contradictory poetry, as well as his essentially contestational writing, maintain a permanent state of conflict, fitting the experience of a free, misunderstood mind” (Dicționarul general al literaturii române 2006, Vol. 4, 436-37).
In December 1989, Ion Monoran behaved in an extraordinary way during the first days of the Romanian Revolution. Retrospectively, in an interview for Radio Timișoara, he gave his perspective on those crucial moments for the transformation of an unorganised demonstration into an anti-regime protest: “When I got to Maria Square, there were no more than twenty-five people around Pastor Tőkés’s house. I went in among them and I said to them: ‘We’ve got to do something, but for that we need leaders, otherwise we’ll have the same fate as those in Braşov, in 1987! [...] The first thing we need to do is to stop the trams, so we can be as many as possible, and then all of us to go to the Party County Committee!’ I stopped the tram that was coming from the North Railway Station. The driver, a young man of twenty-five to thirty dressed in a denim suit, was scared and started crying and begging us to let him go. I told him to get into the car and we took down the pantograph, calling the people in the tram to join us. As if by a miracle, not one passenger protested, and they all joined us. [...] In a few minutes, 800 to 1,000 people had gathered in the square, and their number was growing at a dizzying rate. The crowd started to shout out slogans like: ‘Freedom!’, ‘We want heat!’, or ‘We want food for our children!’” Monoran’s recollection for the local radio station was replayed posthumously on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of communism in Romania (Both 2014).
In recognition of his crucial contribution to the outbreak of the Revolution of 1989, Ion Monoran was made, post-mortem, an Honoured Citizen of the city of Timişoara. A bust cast in bronze of the rebellious poet and revolutionary Monoran has been erected very close to the place where he stopped the tram in December 1989, and his name is now borne by the reading room of the Revolution Memorial in Timişoara and by a street in the city.
- Timișoara, Romania
Ana Monoranu (née Fechete, b. 21 October 1953, Gherla, Cluj county) bears the family name of her husband, as this was registered in official documents, not as publicly mentioned and remembered. After finishing high school in Dej, she moved to Timişoara, where she worked as an electronician. She met Ion Monoran in the late 1970s and they were married in 1983. They had two children. After her husband’s death, she organised all his remaining documents, such as manuscripts, personal objects, and his articles in the newspaper Timişoara or published posthumously, into an archive. After 1990, she was employed in the National Theatre of Timişoara. She has a degree in Social Work from the Faculty of Sociology and Psychology of West University of Timişoara.
- Timișoara, Romania
Mihai Moroşanu (born 22 November 1939, Drepcăuţi, currently Briceni District, Republic of Moldova) is one of the most famous Moldovan dissidents of the Soviet period, well-known for his staunch criticism of the regime and for his strong nationally oriented views. In 1949, he and his family (his mother, father, two sisters, a brother, and grandmother) were deported to Siberia, Kurgan Region, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. The deportation of Moroșanu’s entire family, who were labelled as “kulaks,” was part of the second massive wave of deportations, organised by the Soviet authorities in order to break peasant resistance to the process of collectivisation. The main target of the 1949 wave of forced resettlement was the “class enemy” in the countryside, i.e. the relatively prosperous and middling peasants, identified as “kulak elements.” This traumatic experience left a lasting impression on Moroșanu. In 1953, when he was only fourteen, he was forced to get a job, because his family was facing serious material problems and his parents had become ill. On 12 March 1955, he lost his right arm in the wake of a labour accident, becoming partially disabled at the age of seventeen, which entitled him to a monthly disability pension of 17 roubles and 80 kopeks. He nonetheless attended a seven-grade school in Siberia. In 1958, his family returned to Drepcăuţi and Moroșanu resumed his education. He graduated from a local secondary school in 1961, and the same year became a student at the Faculty of Engineering and Construction of the Moldavian Polytechnic Institute in Chişinău. After completing three years of study, Moroșanu was expelled at the beginning of the fourth year for organising a wreath-laying ceremony at a monument dedicated to the medieval ruler Stephen the Great. This historical figure successfully reigned over historical Moldavia for forty-seven years and thus represents one of the most prominent personalities in Romanian national history. The event took place on 11 October 1964, as Chişinău was celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (MASSR), which had been established on 12 October 1924 in order to substantiate the creation of a Moldavian identity among the Romanian-speaking population of the Soviet Union. It was rumoured that the monument to Stephen the Great would be moved to another, less central, location. Moroșanu thus collected signatures from students who wanted to express their opposition to the plan (he managed to collect over three thousand signatures from several educational institutions in Chișinău) and money for a floral wreath with the inscription “from the youth of Moldavia,” which he laid at the statue. As a punishment, he was suspended from the institute and forced to work at a Chişinău-based reinforced-concrete plant for two years. Only after that could he resume his studies. However, he was arrested on 28 July 1966 and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on 2 November 1966, on the basis of Article 71 (undermining the national and racial equality of Soviet citizens) and Article 218 part 1 (hooliganism with aggravating circumstances) of the Penal Code of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR). His arrest was due to his involvement in another incident, during which he insisted on speaking Romanian to a Russian shopkeeper in a central Chișinău shop. Thus, Moroșanu was accused of “nationalism.” The irony is that his demand was in line with Soviet legislation, since the federal constitution stipulated that the Moldavians had the right to use their language as the “national” language of the republic. However, the accusation of “nationalism” entailed serious consequences in this period. Moroșanu was amnestied in 1967, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the October Revolution of 1917, but he was released only in September 1968, ten months before the end of his three-year sentence. Starting from January 1969, he was employed by a construction company in Chişinău, where he did his best to prove that he was a highly skilled specialist and thus frequently received bonuses for fulfilling the plan. Immediately after his release, on 30 September 1968, Moroșanu submitted a request to be readmitted to the Faculty of Engineering and Construction of the Polytechnic Institute. His request was denied on a technicality, but the real reason was political: as a person convicted for nationalism, he was a liability for the leadership of the MSSR. During the following year, however, Moroșanu filed a number of petitions to higher Soviet authorities, pleading his case. With the support of Construction Trust No. 13 in Chişinău, where he was working at the time, Moroşanu left for Moscow in July 1969, where he asked for an audience with the minister of higher education. As a result, the minister approved his request in August and he was readmitted as a part-time distance-learning student.
At that time, Mihai Moroşanu was well-known among Chişinău residents due to his courage in defending the Moldavians’ national rights. He did not hesitate to discuss nationally sensitive issues with the employees of the construction trust where he worked after 1968, emphasising the need for Russian-language speakers to learn Romanian. Moreover, while a student in 1963, and then again after 1968, Moroşanu openly talked about the fact that the Ismail region had historically been part of Bessarabia but had been forcibly attached by the Russians to Ukraine. For these ideas, Moroşanu was repeatedly called to the KGB headquarters, harassed, and threatened with incarceration. He avoided further convictions because he fought against the regime with the weapons that it tacitly approved of. In particular, he read carefully and knew thoroughly everything that Marx, Engels, and Lenin had written about Bessarabia, the tsarist regime in the region, and the Soviet nationalities policy. Moroșanu also attentively studied the Soviet laws that were defied in the MSSR. Regarding the issue of southern Bessarabia, he referred to a book by Artyom Lazarev, one of the most visible local dignitaries and a trusted party intellectual. The book, written in 1974, openly criticised the redrawing of the Bessarabian borders in 1940, when the northern and southern districts of this region were transferred to Ukraine, while the rest of Bessarabia was merged with the MASSR to form the new MSSR. However, the KGB and a special commission of the Institute of History of the Moldavian Academy of Sciences concluded that these ideas were dangerous and that they fomented interethnic hatred. Moroşanu’s case proves his perseverance and his constant struggle for the protection of national rights and symbols in the MSSR. His uncompromising stance earned him the respect of certain KGB officers. In the late 1980s, Moroșanu, together with a group of other descendants of former deportees, filed a lawsuit for defamation against the infamous second secretary of the Moldavian Communist Party and Moscow’s unofficial envoy, Viktor Smirnov, who had insulted the “offspring of the former kulaks” during a plenary meeting of the Central Committee on 30 May 1987. Moroșanu finally won the case in April 1990, when the Moldavian Supreme Court forced Smirnov to pay Moroșanu damages and to publicly apologise. Moroșanu also took an active part in the movement for national emancipation in the late 1980s. For example, he was one of the organisers of the famous meeting on 7 November 1989, which became the most massive anti-regime demonstration hitherto organised in the MSSR and culminated in the blocking of a column of tanks by the angry crowd. In the early 1990s, Moroșanu was a member of the Council of the Moldavian Popular Front and was directly engaged in politics. He became less visible in the public sphere in the late 1990s, but remained closely involved in public initiatives related to preserving the memory of Soviet repressive policies. He still remains a symbolic figure for his uncompromising and constant resistance to the Soviet regime.
- Chișinău, Moldova
Nurie Muratova, PhD, Assistant Professor at Neofit Rilski South-West University (SWU) - Blagoevgrad. With research interests in the field of archival policies, the archives of women and minorities, Nurie Muratova analyzes in detail the policies of the socialist government in Bulgaria towards Muslim women, revealing insufficiently explored aspects of the history of the so-called revival process among the Pomak population and following the development of censorship mechanisms of the communist regime. Respecting the "right to memory" of all, Nurie Muratova enriches the collection of the Balkan Society for Autobiography and Social Communication (BSASC) with scattered, forgotten and publicly unknown documents, as well as autobiographical and family oral histories, photos and other personal documents of people from different social strata with different ethnic and religious background.
N. Muratova participates in a number of regional, national and international projects (Digital Archives - Science and Information Complex, Shared Memory Places - Digital Map of Monuments - projects of the Science Fund of the Ministry of Education and Science, To Come Out of the Shadow Supporting the Social Integration of People Threatened with Marginalisation Caused by Their Nationality (2011-2013, Grundtvig Program), Politics of Memory Cultures of the Russian-Ottoman War 1877-1878: From Divergence to Dialogue 7th Marie Curie Framework Program (2012-2016, FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IRSES Marie Curie Action International Research Staff Exchange Scheme), Knowledge Exchange and Academic Cultures in Humanities: Europe and the Black Sea Region, late 18th - 21st Centuries (2017-2020, Horizon2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Rise), among others.
Nurie Muratova has made significant contributions in the creation of and digitization for the digital archives at SWU. As a member of BSASC, of the International University Seminar for Balkan Studies and Specializations and of the Multimedia Center for Computer Archives, Digital Archives and History of Local Self-Government, N. Muratova contributes significantly to the digitization of materials, actively participating in the maintenance and completion of the archive collection as well as in helping in its establishment as a scientific and educational dialogue center, which through numerous exhibitions, lectures, meetings, etc., are deepening the public debate on the recent past.
- Blagoevgrad, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria 2700