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Vlad Odobescu

București, Romania
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About Vlad
Vlad Odobescu is a freelance journalist based in Bucharest, Romania. He is a member of the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism (www.crji.org), and Casa Jurnalistului (www.casajurnalistului.ro).
English Romanian
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Business Politics Current Affairs

Botoșăneni for Export

01 Oct 2021  |  www.dor.ro
Key sectors of European economies depend on mobile workers from within and outside the EU. This article explores labor migration from Botoșani, Romania, highlighting personal stories and the socio-economic impact on the local community. It discusses the challenges faced by local industries, the decline in population due to migration, and the efforts of individuals like Daniel Câșlariu to support their hometown. The narrative underscores the complex decisions behind migration, the historical context of local industries, and the ongoing struggle for better opportunities abroad.

People and Bread

11 Mar 2021  |  DoR
Tatiana Țîbuleac reflects on her experiences during the pandemic, discussing the shift in her daily life, the impact of the virus on those around her, and the coping mechanisms she adopted. She describes the initial novelty of quarantine, the subsequent losses and hardships, and the way she found solace in baking bread, which became a shared activity within her community. The story is a personal account of finding simplicity and connection in the act of baking during a time of isolation and uncertainty.

Everyone smiles here. Except for Romanians

27 Jan 2021  |  DoR
In June 2020, over 1,000 workers at Germany's largest slaughterhouse, Tönnies, were infected with COVID-19, with the majority being foreign workers, predominantly Romanians. The outbreak highlighted the poor working conditions and living situations faced by migrant workers. German authorities proposed a law to grant more rights to these workers, but the meat industry's lobbying efforts led to a compromise that allowed subcontracted employment to continue until 2024. The article follows the stories of several Romanian workers, detailing their struggles and the systemic issues within the meat industry. It also covers the response from unions and activists, as well as the political debate surrounding the proposed legislation.

Home, a Lived Space

09 Dec 2020  |  www.dor.ro
The article explores the history and evolution of domestic living spaces, emphasizing how homes have transformed over centuries from communal living areas to private, multifunctional spaces. It highlights the impact of historical events, such as the Industrial Revolution and the COVID-19 pandemic, on the design and use of homes. The narrative includes insights from Bill Bryson and Vintilă Mihăilescu, discussing how personal and societal changes are reflected in domestic environments. The piece underscores the significance of home as a dynamic space that shapes and is shaped by its inhabitants.

How the pandemic brought labor rights out of the cold

29 Oct 2020  |  dor.ro
During the COVID-19 pandemic, workers at a Greencore sandwich factory in Northamptonshire, UK, faced a crisis when over 200 staff contracted the virus, leading to a shutdown. The workers, many of whom were Romanian, struggled with the low statutory sick pay provided by the government, which was insufficient to cover their living expenses. Union representatives, including Nicolae Macari from Moldova, Gelu Dumitru Manole from Bucharest, and Florentina Pasisnic from Galați, fought for fair pay and better conditions. Despite the company's reluctance to pay full salaries during isolation, the union's efforts led to some concessions, such as early bonuses and 80% salary payments. The article highlights the challenges faced by migrant workers and the importance of unions in advocating for labor rights.

Romanian protesters fight corruption

28 Feb 2017  |  washingtontimes.com
Romania has been experiencing its largest protests since the fall of communism, as Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu was pressured to repeal a decree that would have protected corrupt politicians from prosecution. Despite the decree's withdrawal, thousands continue to protest, demanding further government resignations and stronger justice systems. The protests were sparked by a secret law that would have decriminalized official misconduct under $48,000. High-profile politicians, including Liviu Dragnea, stood to benefit from this law. The National Anti-Corruption Directorate has been successful in prosecuting officials, including former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase. Protesters remain on the streets to signal their dissatisfaction and to foster a newfound solidarity among Romanians.

Nicolae Ceausescu’s legacy reconsidered amid nostalgia for communism in Romania

18 Apr 2016  |  The Washington Times
Romanians are re-evaluating their communist past and the legacy of Nicolae Ceausescu, with some expressing nostalgia for the economic stability and national pride of the era. Ceausescu's palace in Bucharest, valued at $22 million, has been reopened to the public, attracting significant interest. A 2014 poll indicated that 60.5% of Romanians felt they lived better under communism, though this does not translate into a desire to return communists to power. Instead, Romanians seek the perceived benefits of the era, such as job security and law and order. The country's economy remains one of the poorest in the EU. Younger Romanians, who did not live under communism, are curious about the past, fueling a market for communism memorabilia. Ceausescu's name has been trademarked, limiting its commercial use. Artmark auctions off items from the communist period, reflecting a complex relationship with the era. Interest in Ceausescu and the communist period remains high among both Romanians and foreign tourists.

Half a million kids survived Romania's 'slaughterhouses of souls.’ Now they want justice.

28 Dec 2015  |  theworld.org
Survivors of Romanian orphanages, including Daniel Rucareanu, are seeking justice for the abuse they suffered under the communist regime. An estimated 500,000 children endured hunger, cold, beatings, and sexual abuse in state-run orphanages before the end of the Cold War. The group Federeii is pushing for an official acknowledgment and apology from Romanian authorities. Despite reforms and EU integration, issues persist with the care of orphans and disabled children. Survivors like Rucareanu, now an education expert in the Romanian government, continue to deal with the psychological scars and advocate for those still affected by the system.

In recent years, Romanian politicians have switched their opinion about GMOs. Almost every time, prior to that opinion change, the US Embassy in Bucharest and American politicians intervened in favor of the biotech industry. They did so by financing programs that allowed Romanian politicians to travel to the US to study American agriculture or visit farms and by arranging for American biotech experts to meet with Romanian officials in Bucharest.

Half a million kids survived Romania's 'slaughterhouses of souls.’ Will they ever heal?

22 Dec 2015  |  globalpost.com
Daniel Rucareanu, a former Romanian orphan, recalls the violence and humiliation experienced in communist Romanian orphanages, which he describes as 'slaughterhouses of souls.' An estimated 500,000 children suffered hunger, cold, beatings, and sexual abuse in these institutions before the end of the Cold War. The Federeii association, created by former orphans, is pushing for an official acknowledgment and apology from Romanian authorities. Despite the fall of communism in 1989 and subsequent reforms, including Romania's EU accession commitments, the legacy of these orphanages persists, with issues such as neglect, abuse, and inadequate preparation for real life still affecting children in state care. The National Authority for Child’s Rights Protection and Adoption admits challenges in improving the system, while Federeii members plan to erect a temporary memorial for the children who died in state care.

The Mayor, the Lion, and the Cage of Romanian Politics

11 Nov 2013  |  New Statesman
The article discusses the paradoxical situation in Romania where local leaders, such as Mayor Nicolae Matei of Navodari, gain popularity and political capital despite being investigated or convicted for corruption. Matei, who has been charged with bribery, remains a beloved figure in his town, reflecting a broader trend where mayors across Romania have been resurrected at the ballot box after facing legal troubles. The article explores the cultural and historical reasons for this phenomenon, including a deep-seated distrust of central institutions and a preference for local, personal connections. Despite the success of Romania's anti-corruption prosecutors, backed by the EU, in securing convictions, these efforts have not necessarily translated into cleaner politics. The article is part of the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence and highlights the work of the DNA, Romania's anti-corruption agency, and the ongoing challenges in the fight against corruption.

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