CLAUDIU IONESCU talking to
Assistant to the Grand Master of GL of Moldova;
Member of the Academy of Sciences
Academician Ion Dediu will reach, this year, on June 24th, the fine old age of 80 years. MASONIC FORUM Magazine wishes him the enjoyment of health, happiness in the bosom of his family and to continue to promote the Romanian spirit. He is one of the top scientific personalities in the Republic of Moldova, enjoying international appreciation. He was Minister for Environment (1990-1994) in the Republic of Moldova, a deputy in the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova (1994-2001), he has received numerous orders and medals, among which I will only mention a few: International Order “The Green Cross” of UN and Golden Star of the International Centre of Biographies in Cambridge (England) in 1999; the Romanian Academy awarded him, in 2009, the Grigore Antipa Prize for his five-volume opus, “A treatise of ecology”, and in 2010 he received also the Order of the Republic. Academician Ion Dediu is, at the same time, one of the founding members of Masonry in the Republic of Moldova. He has attained the 33rd degree in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
… At a meeting with our brethren from “Petru Rareș” lodge in Iași, I said that, before all else, firstly I am Romanian, and then a mason. This is what one of our forebears before the scaffold said, Lucrețiu Pătrășcanu, a personage whom the novelist Marin Preda himself gave life in his books. With this feeling I came into our fraternity, maybe the most refined in the entire history of humanity. There is nothing anti-constitutional in promoting the people from whom you come, within this universal community. This is my creed. I am proud of it. I am happy to come from a Romanian family. The origins of my family comes between Sibiu and Alba Iulia, there are two villages, Dedea mică and Dedea mare. Continuously running from Catholicism, my family ended up in Bessarabia. The village from which I come was founded by my ancestors. Later, I went to the Romanian school. I graduated from college in Chișinău, I then got my Ph.D at the Lomonosov University in Moscow and my Postdoctoral Degree at the Institute for Zoology of the Academy of Sciences in Sankt Petersburg. I’ve traveled throughout the world. I had the good luck and this I owe, first of all, to my parents, who taught me to work, especially with books.
Right Worshipful Brother, I cannot but remark on the fact that the Romanians of Bessarabia are more patriotic than the ones who actually live in Romania…
Claudiu, I believe that the last 200 years have made us patriotic, if you accept this term. We love our nation, because only by love for our past can we have power. Being educated and brought up among Russians, I understand that, if you care for your people and your past, the Russians hold you in esteem. But if they see that you bow your head in front of them, they give you a shove to bend you over even more, then they completely obliterate you. The Romanian forgets that he is Romanian unless you hit him in the head and constrain him. I may be speaking impertinently, or uncivilized, but this is what it is. After the December Revolution, we moved toward Romania and charged our patriotism batteries. I would like to mention one recollection, about a colleague in the doctoral school, Nicolai Nicolaevici Vorontov, of the famous noble family of the Vorontovs. When I studied in Moscow for my doctorate, I was already a party member, but my friend was not, he had not betrayed his Russian culture even when he was young, as he descended from a noble family. After finishing the doctorate, he was sent to the Extreme Orient, to Vladivostok. In the time of Gorbachev, he started to come back, but in stage. He got, eventually, to Moscow. We met again when I was Minister for the Environment in the Republic of Moldova and he was Ministry for the Environment of the Russian Federation. In a discussion, he said to me: “Ioane, I know you are Romanian. Bravo, I congratulate you and I love you. I know that you want to reunite with the country. I support you, you have to go where your historical place is! I just want to remain friends!” This is right for an intellectual, for a normal human being. Like him, millions of Russians have this positive mentality.
You’ve done your studies in Moldova, then you got your doctorate and your postdoctoral title in Russia. How do you reconcile the Romanian spirit with the fact that your intellectual formation took place in Russia?
I had the great opportunity to combine three cultures in order to profess in science. I was formed as a man of science in the Russian school. I traveled across the world, I’ve also been across the ocean, in America. I believe I have also succeeded in concentrating the two cultural dimensions, scientific and Masonic, in our national culture. This is why I said I am Romanian first, and then a mason. I have had to explain, several times, what kind of Romanian I man, from which bank of the river, where Moldova is. I have said, each time, that I come from the region comprised between Romania and Ukraine, but part of a whole, that is to say, the Romanian whole.
I have repeated this for tens of years, I have also said it in public. There are all these stories about the Russian people, that it’s this or that, that it wants territorial expansion, etc. With all the certainty based on my experience of tens of years, I tell you that the Russian people is exactly like others, the Romanians, the Turks, the Armenians, it even has qualities superior to some: it is very kind in its soul, the Russians have a very broad soul, free, unbounded, just like Eminescu wrote in his political writings. That is because, ab initio, it is a people of the steppes. If I had not had the opportunity to form as a man of science in Moscow and Sankt Petersburg, I might not have achieved much in my field. The Russians are generous, they help you – of course, when they see there is someone whom they can help… I have said it and I will repeat it to everyone: love the Russian people, because it is not a worse people than the Romanian people.
The problem is elsewhere the Russian people never had the luck of leaders who loved it. We are now talking about the “luck” that the Russians had with the 400 years of the dynasty of the Romanovs. I say this responsibly, they had no great luck under this dynastry either, just like they had no luck after the coup d’etat of 1917-1918 either (it was not a revolution, it was a coup d’etat!). I remember, when I was a student, and perhaps you will, too, that in political economy, all the economic strategies of the USSR were built with a view to the year 1913, when it was considered that Russia had risen to the top of the world, economically. All political and economic strategy was channeled to reach the level of that year. It was never reached again, because talk was one thing, but deeds are something else.
I want to tell you something about what I know from the history of the sciences, the cultures of the old Russia, later of the USSR: starting with the second half of the 18th century and all the way to the first years of the 20th, the Russians had the most refined intellectual class. But then 1917 came, and the first thing the new regime did, which claimed it was democratic, when it had taken over power, was to liquidated, every 25 years, the peaks of the Russian nation and of the peoples in the USSR. What did they reap for what had been sown? Their position today is no longer a global one, but a regional one.
You are one of the founding members of Moldovan Masonry.
We still find ourselves in an initial state, of foundation. Although we were the pioneers of Masonry in this part of Europe! I strive to do what I can, as do many others. I founded Noosfera Lodge. Currently, I am the Assistant to the Grand Master.
Perhaps also due to Masonry, we managed to maintain ourselves well enough up to now. Although this is a very small area, we have had a long Masonic history. In the time of Catherine the Great of Russia, there were two lodges here, Steaua de Nord and Steaua de Sud. The second one had its headquarters in Chișinău. When the Tsarist regime had decided to liquidate Masonry, considering it dangerous to the empire, in order to maintain its identity, this lodge crossed the river Prut into Romania. Junimea was, in fact, Steaua de Sud lodge. And perhaps, had it not been for Junimea, Romania would not be what it is today. The Masons are the architects of Great Romania. A hidden thought of mine, but which I say to you openly, is that it would be better if repeated the great work of union which the men from Junimea of Iași managed to complete at the end of the ‘50s of the 19th century. I think something in this sense was recently achieved in Vilnius. It is not modesty to say so, but if we had not been here, in the last 25 years, perhaps Soviet history would have been longer.
Please tell us, what are you looking forward to in the near future?
My brother, I am a faithful man, although I was a political chief of the Academy of Sciences in the times of the Soviets, but I have never forgotten that I am a Romanian and a baptized Christian. What do I want? We here are waiting for the Patriarch Daniel, who has not yet come to Moldova, although he has parishioners here: the Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia subordinates itself to the Romanian Patriarchate. Also, we are awaiting the Grand Master of the NGLR as well, who has never made the trip to Chișinău…
There is another aspect I would clarify: What would the union of Romania with Moldova mean in reality? It would not mean that Bessarabians rush over the Prut river and occupy Bucharest. Or the other way around. We have a very good historical memory. From the times of the Dacian ruler Burebista (1st century B.C.), we were installed as border-guards, as watchmen over East Dacia. We have never left this place. This is our historical duty. I have an address, a piece of advice for the Romanians “beyond”: do not fear us, we have good homes and a good land and we care about them. And you also hold on to your houses, and together we will live as relatives. Fear must disappear. Both on one side and on the other. We do not need other lands than our Romanian lands, on this side of the Prut river.
Finally, please offer us a brief presentation of your family and yourself.
I was born on June 24th, 1934, in a commune of yeomen in Northern Bessarabia. Among us, human culture had its place “at the head of the table”. That’s where I was formed as a human being. In Chișinău, Moscow and Leningrad I only developed and consolidated the culture of my home. At 17, I was made a party member. Like everyone, I went through all the stages and I am proud of the fact that I have not forgotten – never – that I am Romanian.
I have two girls and two boys. My first daughter, Corina Fusu, is a deputy in the Parliament of Moldova. She is following in the path of my life, as a political man. My second daughter, Otilia Dediu, lives in Bucharest. She is an actress and stage director, she has Ph.D in theatrology. I have a granddaughter from her, who, in her turn, has three boys. So I have three great-grandchildren in Bucharest, two twins and their elder brother.
One of my sons is working in Russia. It’s hard to live here, I am not a rich man to help them. The other boy graduated the National Intelligence Academy in Romania. He was the valedictorian.
Since 1993, I have been a member of the Club of Rome, having been received at once with Ion Iliescu and with Mugur Isărescu.