22 March, 2023
Vintila Mihailescu (foto: Vladimir Mitev)

The great Romanian anthropologist Vintila Mihailescu (1951-2020) died.

I owe the success of some of my first journalistic steps, related to Romania, to my connection with him. I will recall some of our joint moments.

I got to know Vintila Mihailescu in 2012 through the help of a Bulgarian journalist, who was living in Sofia. In the years, in which we communicated, I made three interviews with him – in 2012, 2014 and 2016. My interviews had political topics, but Mihailescu always managed to explain politics with psychological, socioloical and human notions and thus he overcame the limits of the politological analysis. This made him a good interlocutor to anyone, who wanted to understand the country. 

Vintila Mihailescu was one of the people, whom I owe my first deeper understandings of the Romanian society – e.g. with regard to the winter protests of 2012 (he coordinated a book with sociological texts on them, called ”The Winter of Our Discontent”). I learned more, thanks to him, about the Cluj Napoca protests of 2014 (during the presidential campaign). Vintila Mihailescu also introduced me to topics, related to the vision of the Rommanian civil society for reform of the country (a part of it later transformed into the party “Union Save Romania”). In every official or unofficial discussion Mihailescu opened the doors for me towards unknown realities, which deserved to be discovered and shared with the public in Bulgaria and the world. I also translated his TEDx Cluj 2016 speech on Romanian exceptionalism into Bulgarian.

After 2016 I was reading his essays in the newspaper of the Romanian intellectuals “The Old Dilemma” and I was using them in my work. I republished at the blog “The Bridge of Friendship” with his consent an essay about Romanians and Bulgarians, which caught very well fine details on our people. If I am not wrong, the last time I saw him, was in the summer of 2018 at the conference of The Society for Romanian Studies at the economic academy in Bucharest. I’ve known recently that he fights with a disease and I hoped that he would recover. 

The blog “The Bridge of Friendship” joins the grief of those who suffer Mihailescu’s death. His death is a loss not only for Romania, but also for those foreigners, who wanted to know better his land of birth. 

Read in Romanian language!

Read in Bulgarian language!

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