Abstract: Based on two recent events, Klaus Iohannisʼ political victory, by the help of civil society, in the election campaign for Romanian Presidency in November 2014, and the civic activism connected to what is labelled as the Maidan protests in Lʼviv, Ukraine, in February 2014, this text takes into discussion past and present manners in which the regions of Transylvania and Western Ukraine (Galicia), ex-parts of the Austrian Monarchy, defined themselves in relation to the imperial centre and afterwards to the national capitals. The initial legal borders were replaced by fictional borders, whereas the provinces were seen not once as space where power and prestige relations can be reversed. Accordingly, the paper aims at showing that in these processes, the interaction centre-periphery is multi-sided and dynamic.

Keywords: centre-periphery; paracolonial space; theory of borders; Easter-Central Europe; nineteenth-century constitutionalism; minorities; Romanian, Ukrainian nationalism.      

I originate from Banat, and my grandparents are from Transylvania, thus I cannot be truly objective. I feel that I am represented by Klaus Iohannis, and I believe that a little bit of Transylvania would not do any harm to Cotroceni (1)

     These words belong to Vlad Tăușance, the chief coordinator of the online presidency campaign that ran for the candidate of the Liberal Coalition (2)-Klaus Iohannis, the ex-mayor of the Transylvanian town Sibiu (German, Hermannstadt), once a stronghold of trade and seat of a significant German population (Saxons). Following the victory of Iohannis, in the second round of the elections, on 16th November 2014, Tăușance, a less-known media and PR specialist before this surprising event, commented on the public posture of the would-be president, and, particularly, on the fast reaction of the young parts of the electorate in identifying with the values proposed by Iohannis, those of sobriety in showing his outstanding professional skills (like good administration), modesty in private life (like the cultivation of simple habits) (3). In fact, as the exit-polls and surveys showed, the segment of the population aged 18-35 (4) was vital for turning the electionsʼ result in favour of Iohannis, course of events that until the very day of the second round was indicating a victory of the counter-candidate, Victor Ponta (5), the representative of the party that inherited the ex-reformist Communists, those who seized the power in 1989, and delayed the adoption in Romania of the free-market reforms.    

     It has been said, perhaps in an exaggerated attempt to single out the business-like and pragmatic attributes of the new president, expressions of a civic culture, stronger and stronger in Romanian society, via the cutting edge means of digital communication (6), that Iohannis came to power due to Facebook (7), and to the other social media means like Twitter, Skype, Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn. What we surely know is rather evidence pertaining to the quantitative measurements in the sense that, in the eve of the final confrontation, Iohannis could be considered in top three of the European politicians counting the biggest number of Likes on his Facebook page (8). Naturally, this led to the widening of his audience, and to a more effective spread of his messages, ‘thus managing to set the public agenda, meaning that the users were guided towards the topics of discussionʼ (9). Yet, the specialists in online communication and speech rhetoric warned that this success related to the expansion of the audience did not necessarily involve ‘truly authentic feedbackʼ (10). In other words, in this specific circumstance, similar to the physical space, the virtual space ‘is encoded (…) and regulated (…) since it is the dominant groupʼs view of space which is considered the normʼ (11). 

      The main actors of this phenomenon were that category of the already mentioned age segment, namely those who are in fact the most active on social media, but, at the same time, the most passive when it comes to voting, according to the results of the previous elections. In other words, if we borrow a concept employed by the observers of the events in Ukraine, in the ‘Maidanʼ case, is to say that the ‘coach armiesʼ, ‘the sofa unitsʼ  (12) were metamorphosed by the help of social media in active armies.  Needless to say, there were additional dynamics to be counted for this local mobilization and support offered to the presidential candidate via Facebook. Indeed, apart from the online classic interaction politician-audience via messages and comments to public posts, social media brought the people, Romanian citizens living and working outside the country, to participating and reacting vis-à-vis the events of November 2014. By influencing the older and less informed relatives in the country or by sanctioning the bad organization of elections in the centres outside the country (13), the diaspora had the possibility to vent their political emotions on an unprecedented scale. 

     Although the employment of digital media tools in social crises is part of a worldwide trend, since internet, more than anything else had the potential to build up the space as ‘the simultaneous coexistence of social interrelations at all geographical scalesʼ (14), and, moreover, revolutions happen equally in the virtual space, as we shall see next in the Ukrainian case, the story of the Romanian elections represents an interesting instance of the consolidation of civil society in the ex-Communist countries, and a chapter of media studies by the new concepts it introduces: hybrid culture, jamming culture, semiotic guerilla (15); in addition it created new roles in the public space like ‘the influencerʼ, blogger with significant audience, hence ability to persuade. Last but not least, the elections of November 2014 provided a sense of transparency, and changed the image of diaspora, from a traditionally destitute and not educated social category, to a politically responsible mass. The general impact of the new media on political events added to what represented a surprising election even for foreign observers (16).

     As strange as it may seem, nevertheless, this removal of traditional borders like those of age and physical space by the help of the online communities was seemingly accompanied by reinforcement of cultural and mental borders of the type we vs. they, inclusion vs. exclusion. The words of Vlad Tăușance, quoted at the beginning of this paper, associating Iohannis to Central Europe (17), in terms of place of origin, but especially in a symbolic way, are very telling. Indeed, even from an empirical perspective, as the maps of voters per region show, in the first round, they mostly came from the western parts of the country; it was only in the second round that the capital and other regions from the south-east joined decidedly Iohannisʼs camp (18). Apparently, this dynamics underlines the traditional view of the place as a still ‘uncontestedʼ area where the actors are bordering themselves from what is beyond, seen essentially alien, and not as a channel for social and cultural interconnections (19). Therefore, apart from the reasons that made Iohannis popular, like the story of the first mayor who managed to transform his city in a successful local business, and of the Physics teacher who slowly gained positions in a political world marred by petty interests, themes that convinced, after all, the population from the other regions to vote for him, what made Transylvania being so outspokenly in his favour? 

     Out of Tăușanceʼs comment derives a picture of a clash of two civilizations, or of a chemical reaction in a retort, meaning ‘a bitʼ of Transylvania, to be read seriousness and precision (the ‘German kindʼ, an image closely associated to Iohannis during the elections campaign), and a bit of Cotroceni, to be read the old style of politics, the one originating in Communism, centralized, corrupted, in which the governmental money are awarded based on sympathy and personal favours, and the politicians are guided by caprice. In other words, this is the Central Europe in contact with the Balkans: constitutionalism of Habsburg provenience vs. chaotic administration in the Phanariot style (20). It is also important to mention that the image of the country as torn between two contrasting political and cultural traditions dates at least since the establishment of the first modern institutions, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and it is the equal result of the self-perception of the southerners in relation to Transylvania. Indeed, the letters to home of Transylvanian intellectuals and politicians active in the public life of Bucharest at the end of the eighteenth century, beginning of the nineteenth, which described in dark tones the local reality, could be considered on the same pair with the travelogues of the Wallachian boyars discovering the Habsburg lands. While crossing Transylvania, in the lands inhabited by the Saxons, the latter usually noticed the dominating orderly appearance, the laws that encouraged the sense of thrift and accumulation among the population, and, above all, these comments were in constant reference to the situation of the Principalities at the time, in a sort of pedagogical attempt to signal their decay by opposing it to the Transylvanian well-being (21).  

     It is no surprise then that this complicated mix of self-references and stereotypes was brought to the fore during the elections campaign; in fact, we witnessed the appearance of Facebook pages and groups, blogs (22),, of all regions, that had at the core the administrative decentralization of the country, and even its re-organization on regional bases. To the creators of these online pages, Iohannis was the suitable messenger, partly because he was different if compared to the past competitors for presidency in which concerns his restrained manners and reluctance to hasty institutional experiments. The expectations were met, hence the would-be president had the decentralization as important point on his political agenda.  Setting the economic prosperity of the individual as the foundation of his programme, Iohannis considered that the decentralization would be, undoubtedly, an institutional improvement with respect to a wiser allocation and circulation of the resources (23). The proper functioning of the institutions would have preponderance over history, culture, and ethnicity. The principle of the historical regions should step back in favour of the economic efficiency (24). We could say then that Iohannis would welcome functional borders, enforcing administrative control, but at the same time, decreasing their surveillance in areas considered ‘sacredʼ by the twentieth century centralized state. 


     Similar to Romanian elections and their Transylvanian exceptionalism, in Ukraineʼs case we notice the preponderance of the online environment, as well as the focus on regional dynamics. One of the public activists dealing with the role of the media in the phenomenon of ‘Maidanʼ starts his article like this: ‘It all began with a simple Facebook postʼ.

      Indeed, what it looked like a simple Facebook post (25) under the form of an invitation addressed to the other members of the online community to express their dissatisfaction towards the president Yanukovychʼs politics vis-à-vis EU, came to represent a major upheaval in which Ukrainian society redefined its position in Europe, and reconfigured the domestic political agenda. Today, it is largely known as ‘Maidanʼ, ‘EuroMaidanʼ to distinguish it from other political protests of the years 2000 in Ukraine. The name ‘Maidanʼ, ‘squareʼ in English, is related to the place where people gathered starting with the night of 21st November 2013 (26), namely ‘Maidan Niezalezhnostiʼ (Independence Square) in Kyiv (27). In what it seems a center-periphery dynamics (phenomenon to which we will return in short), people crowded in other important towns of the country, in the city center, allocating thus to the event the same central space; this way, the ‘Maidanʼ gave birth to several ‘maidansʼ as a shockwave.  

     Temporally, ‘Maidanʼ can be roughly located between November 2013 and April 2014 (28), and it varied in intensity. It started as a predominantly student response to the refusal of Kyivʼs political class to agree with the requirements needed for the countryʼs future accession to EU, hence the main slogan was related to ‘Ukraine is Europeʼ idea. Upon the violent reaction of the regimeʼs police, the protesters started to get organized and the point of focus shifted from international affairs to demands related to domestic issues, among which the clean-up of the massive corruption of the central administration, and the resignation of Yanukovych. The climax of the protests, meaning its most violent burst including repression of the protesters, happened in February 2014 when Yanukovych was forced to flee (29). 

     ‘Maidanʼ, as a movement evolving around human rights, was called the ‘Revolution of the Dignityʼ, and, in the six months of its existence, it acted as a sort of shadow government with its own institutions, military and paramilitary groups, hospital, and, naturally, media coverage: ‘Everything on ‘Maidanʼ is perfectly organized. It reminds of a small state with its own army, armory which consists of bottles, sticks and stones, food stock, mass media, shops, and, of course, well-functioning border controlʼ (30).

     Yet, this realm regulated by rules and borders, mirroring the official authority, albeit with a counter programme, turned out to be a contested place. The mental and ideological divisions which we also notice in Bucharest/Transylvanian case were reflected in physical borders as well: the protesters surrounded themselves by barricades and so did the establishment whose military forces marked their territories or those they succeeded in retaking from the demonstrators (31). Still, what is important, and in fact spectacular in the Ukrainian case, amounts to the gradual transformation of the physical borders in fuzzy areas (32). 

     Provided that convictions and beliefs have by nature more flexible limits, allowing to the permanent ‘interconnectednessʼ to what is ‘beyondʼ (in the understanding of Doreen Massey), the regulating type of borders like administrative and military are considered fixed. ‘Maidanʼ achieved the shift from these types of borders to ‘more porous ones, permitting permeability, and, more important, changing their nature to variable ones, enjoying perforated sovereignty, [in other words, R.G.] selective gates filtering flows of communicationʼ (33).

     ‘Maidanʼ became thus a space in a permanent redefinition, with moving borders and problematic identities. Accordingly, the contestation of the physical borders was doubled by an avalanche of dramatic renegotiations, from gender roles, classic historiography to mediaʼs impact on contemporary Ukrainian society. In short, Maidan became the symbol of the unsettled issues of Ukrainian society.       

     Women were allowed to take action in the ‘Maidanʼ protests but, initially, according to their ascribed traditional roles, the one of support (e.g. nurses, mothers, sisters, wives of the ‘fighting menʼ) (34). It was via their own struggle within the gender barriers of ‘Maidanʼ that they tried to assert their rights to fight in the same lines with their male peers (e.g. not having their own special ‘femaleʼ divisions established under the protection of men). Similarly, a questioning of maleʼs traditional roles was other related feature that contributed to the transgression of borders. The protests being a media war equally, many men conceived disseminated, and maintained the social media content and sites. These meant that many stayed in front of computer (35), hence not ‘heroically defending the barricadesʼ, as the cliché image usually has it. The reality then went beyond the simple dichotomy that previously associated men with bravery and military skills whereas those that were not consistent with the predominant image were by necessity coward hence ‘unmanlyʼ (36).

     Another rebranding attempt could be recorded in the historical domain. Protesters of ‘Maidanʼ adopted the military and organizational symbolism of Middle Age groups like the Cossacks (37), but they did it in a selective manner, ignoring that the appeal to the Cossack ethos would have a controversial implication, namely the tacit acceptance of the latterʼs intolerant stance to other communities, and even attempts of ethnic cleansing like the seventeenth century campaigns of Bohdan Khmelnytsky against the Jews. 

     This reliance on classic themes so dear to the traditional nationalist historiography shows how resistant the borders along ethnicity and culture still are. Moreover, protesters from the ex-territory of Galicia, who, it is worth stressing, represented an important percentage of the people gathered on ‘Maidan Nezalezhnostiʼ (38), seemed eager to introduce additional borders like those pertaining to the different historical legacies of the Ukrainian territory. Indeed, by the slogans they adopted, they apparently revived controversial characters and episodes of the WWII and post-WWII Ukrainian history.

      In the attempt to defy the political opponents seen as corrupted representatives of Russian interests in Ukrainian society, as embodied by the business groups and local administrators of the south-eastern parts of the country (the one that is, also numerically, the most Russophile), the protesters coming from Lʼviv or the surrounding areas sang ‘Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!ʼ, emphasizing the fight of the Ukrainian armed forces in Galicia (led by Stepan Bandera) against the Red Army (39). Yet, in the troubled times of WWII, Banderaʼs group was more than an organization defending Ukrainian interests against the Russian invasion, they were Nazi sympathizers who purged the other numerically significant ethnic groups of Galicia like Jews and Poles. 

     It follows that this attempt to do away with the borders set by Yanukovychʼs establishment, ironically, triggered additional borders, equally drawn along traditional ethnic, regional, and mental lines, fact that emphasized in the end the volatile and thus problematic nature of identities and self-definition. 

     As usual, in contrast to gender politics, which manifested itself in an obvious manner, hence it could be adjusted during the protests, the ‘politics of historyʼ is a complicated issue that needs post-event reappraisals, and it is part of an ongoing process of mentality change among society, among young and old alike. The historical common places beyond the slogans, especially the tendency to connect them to a specific area of the country, and, by extrapolation, of linking protestersʼ behavior to the historical legacy of the region they were coming from, in the detriment of the very autonomous dynamics born on the ‘Maidanʼ, represent as many instances of what we call the politics of history. Studies of historians like Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe, author of comprehensive and innovative research on Bandera (40), help towards making the mental borders more porous, as well as the nationalistic narrative less sovereign in the historical regions of Ukraine.

     A happier example for our discussion on borders is the one of the media, although, institutionally speaking, the press in the Ukraine of the ‘Maidanʼ enjoyed a meager status, including laws that curtailed freedom of expression and a public television reduced to being the annex of the politicians in power (41).  

     Similar to Romanian case, internet and particularly the social media sites had the lion share in the ‘Maidanʼ events since they, more precisely their users (young, urban, employed, active people), attempted to transfer the monopoly of informational power. It can be said that, due to the six months of conflict, Ukrainian public opinion discovered internet as independent media, meaning as a source of reliable information. This amounts to much provided that, prior to Maidan, just 2/5 of the population used internet as source of information, and 1/3 came in contact with news programmes from Russian sources (42). Once with the demise of Yanukovych, who, as one would expect, had his own media trust, there was an increase in online media outlets of which we cite the most prominent like ‘Hromadske.tvʼ or ‘Ustream’ (43).

      As announced at the beginning of our Ukrainian story, Facebook type of internet interactions had a significant impact in the events. Statistically speaking, a survey of February 2014 found out that 62% of the respondents who used internet visited at least once a mount a social media site, more precisely VKontakte (VK) (44). Apart from serving to posting invitations to public manifestations, or creation of groups dedicated to the EuroMaidan cause, or sharing photos that would add drama to the events, social network sites also helped to commercialize the ‘Maidanʼ, to bring it closer to peopleʼs lives, as well as to project a desirable lifestyle for the Ukrainian youth. For instance, the day of 14th February, Saint Valentine day, was employed as a special occasion on Facebook: hundreds of postcards were circulating, from girls to the male protesters; pictures with women forming a heart shape in the Ukrainian flag colours  like those in Lʼviv, ‘in love and support for the boysʼ of ‘Maidanʼ enjoyed significant popularity (45).             

     All these renegotiations can be applied as well to the center-periphery dynamics. For the outside foreign observers, ‘Maidanʼ meant almost exclusively the protesters gathered in the Kyivʼs Independent Square. This is also because it was here that the highest number of victims was recorded. Yet, as we suggested already, the rest of the country had its own ‘Maidansʼ, and, more relevant, the events in Kyiv made them redefine their position in relation to the local administration, central administration, as well as with Europe. Thus, we may say that the image of a stone thrown in water and forming multiple but equally round circles is not realistic. In other words, apart from offering to the other parts of the country good opportunities to rescale their position towards the center, the local protests proved to be interesting examples of self-perception.

     In terms of participants, Lʼvivʼs ‘Maidanʼ was on the second rank; in addition, as hinted already, Lʼviv could boast of the number of people sent to the capital. In fact, all protests of the years 2000, including the so-called Orange Revolution, had a significant number of demonstrators coming from the three ‘oblastsʼ, Ivano-Frankivsʼk, Lʼviv, Ternopil (46), sometimes called out of nostalgic reasons, but sometimes out of unfortunate simplification, Galicia.     

     The nostalgic reasons are connected to the tendency of regarding todayʼs part of Western Ukraine that was once inside the Habsburg province of Galicia as the inheritor of the administrative and legal system as implemented by the Viennese authorities. When analyzing a conflict like the one described in our paper, the observers emphasize the Austrian legacy to distinguish ‘Galiciaʼ from the other regions of Ukraine that found themselves under the influence of empires with different institutional approaches, like the Russian Empire.

      Himkaʼs recent article (see the footnotes) about the historical background of the Ukrainian regions involved in the conflict is a good example in this sense, but simplifying to a certain extent as long as it provides a ‘black and whiteʼ picture like passive vs. active, authoritarian vs. civic, etc. The already quoted paper of Olga Onuch, analyzing the participants in Kyivʼs demonstrations, shows a more complex reality, one of people rather guided by personal, economic interests than by past institutions and historical prestige. In addition, there is also the tendency to see Lʼviv and the surrounding areas as direct continuation of the Habsburg constitutionalism and imperial etiquette, thus skipping the not very convenient interwar years of bloody inter-ethnic conflicts and those of Communism.   

     Part of this last view was reinforced by the participants of Lvivʼs ‘Maidanʼ in a perfect reversion of center-periphery dynamics: the periphery owns the resources of political regeneration. Accordingly, the message of the participants in the Lvivʼs ‘Maidanʼ was that, contrary to the capital, the transfer of power was an essentially peaceful one, furthermore, the locals proved an increased taste of autonomy and capacity for self-management: ‘no official state institutions, no corrupted officials, but people can form their own self-management institutions and provide them with official powersʼ (47). Indeed, Lʼviv, at least at declarative level, wanted to set itself apart from the rest of the country. Apart from political culture, the local observers as well as the participants in the events, inferred that the region possessed the right balance between ideological innovation and constitutional experience.      

It appears, in short, that quite apart from the turbulence of the situation in Kyiv, the city of Lviv has prepared itself to live out as much as possible its vision for progressive change. Citizens, police and military units in the city are working together in self-organization and semi-autonomy to coordinate the civil defense in a way that is both effective and popularly acceptable. It is, of course, easy to imagine a very different scenario, with widespread looting, marauding and the like. This has simply not been the case in Lviv (48).

     In this section we have analyzed two recent mass events in Romania and in Ukraine, stressing how important the online media proved to be for strengthening the civic culture, for giving voice to new identities, and for removing old ethnic and regional barriers. At the same time, we also tried to show how complex the interplay of mental borders can be, and how easily it may set physical limitations, as well. The role played by regions like Transylvania and ‘Galiciaʼ, and particularly the self-perception of these regions in this respect, suggests political mobilization but also a preference for the re-mastering of cultural stereotypes.

     Provided these, the next section, which is dedicated to the historical background of the two said regions seen through the lenses of post-colonial theory, would also focus on those events of the turn of the century that created crisis situations in the Austrian monarchy-namely the birth of nationalism in its exclusivist version. 

     Finally, the back and forth evocation of the two provinces will have as main ambition to suggest possible answers to the questions: What makes Transylvania and Western Ukraine different or assumedly different from the rest of Romania, and, respectively, Ukraine? Within their current reactions, can we identify continuity with the civic-multicultural-tolerant provinces of the late Austrian Monarchy? Can we really talk of exceptionalism in their case, or can we detect an effort of self-rebranding in a Europe that encourages regional diversity, in an age, paradoxically, of increased nationalism? Are these fictional borders, based on nostalgia, are these re-visitations of the myth of the empire, as described by Luiza Bialasiewicz at the level of popular culture, that reinforce once real borders?

           The remote Transylvania and Galicia and the Branding of their ‘Exceptionalismʼ 

     For a good part of the modern period, both these regions were parts of the Habsburg territories (49), albeit in different stages and with different institutional status and degree of dependence towards Vienna.   Transylvania, as a part of the Hungarian Crown land (50) was obtained by the Habsburgs in the same time with the latter, in the sixteenth century, but mainly out of strategic reasons (e.g. the establishment of a buffer zone that would protect the Austrian hinterland from the ‘Ottoman dangerʼ). A preferred residence of the Hungarian aristocracy (51) and, later, symbolic place for the Hungarian national narrative (52), Transylvania was known to Vienna for its opposition to the latterʼs centralizing attempts, for the refusal to follow the capitalʼs policies concerning tax collection or abolition of serfdom (53). 

  Galicia, in fact an eastern section of what was Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until the end of the eighteenth century (when it was partitioned in subsequent phases by Russian, Austrian Empires, and Prussian Kingdom), was obtained by the Habsburgs in 1772 and, due to its multitude of nationalities, turned into a lab of political and institutional experiments (54). Among others, Larry Wolff, in his Idea of Galicia, describes masterfully this invention of a province. Nevertheless, this land that experienced cultural autonomy and two-level type of governance (apart from its own local political representation, Galicia had its own political bodies in Vienna) became towards the end of the nineteenth century the site of fierce ethnic clashes between the competing nationalist projects of Poles and Ukrainians. In the fashion of the last century, Vienna tried to play smart and neutralize these actions.

     Letting aside the discussion on the degree of closeness to Vienna of the studied provinces, what matter more is that both were assigned not a very important role in the overall modernization of the Monarchy. This is partly because of their predominantly agrarian social and economic structure. The industrialization in Austrian lands started as early as 1850. However, the most important industrial centers were located in Prague and Vienna. The economic development that took place in these areas did not have effect on Transylvania and Galicia for a good part of the nineteenth century (55). In these lands, the economic development, which would have some results only after 1900, was delayed by the custom and tariff politics of the Austrian authorities. 

     The Austrian state used Transylvania and Galicia as a market for the products produced in the Western part of the Monarchy, so it did not have any further intention towards the industrialization of the province (56). Moreover, foreign capital played a key role in Transylvania and in Galicia, at least until the age of nationalist unrest. This meant that the foreign enterprises, as well, were not particularly interested in the development of local industry. Since the railways were controlled by the Viennese bourgeoisie, the imports were encouraged, whereas the exports had to deal with high tariffs. All these processes had as result, primarily, the economic ‘peripheralizationʼ of the two provinces.            

     This state of affairs is suitably grasped by Ulrich Bach when referring to the case of the writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch whose literary inspiration was Galicia and particularly its destitute and underprivileged ethnic and social minorities like Jews and Ruthenians. Consequently, in the understanding of Bach, Galicia of the nineteenth century could be seen as a place where the power relations are inverted, in other words, the periphery proved to be a site of atypical encounters and events that could, in the end, undermine the system carefully planned in the Viennese cabinets. Taking the example of Sacher-Masoch, Bach shows how fluid, meaning interconnected, the concepts of center-periphery are: Sacher-Masoch, a representative of the Austrian establishment (57), was a writer of German language who, by its sympathy to destitute Slavic population of Galicia was looked down upon as a ‘parasiteʼ in Vienna, while in Lʼviv, due to his connection with the Austrian authorities, he was seen as an exploiter of the humble people (58). In short, one could be central and peripheral at the same time, whereas a province, due to its unstable relations towards the center, could become a site of alternative projects that one day may disturb the existing order.

Because the countries [provinces, R.G.] within the Habsburg empire were economically, socially and culturally developed to quite differing degrees, mechanisms of ‘internal colonizationʼ can be seen in that the Austro-German elite functioned as colonizers, and the diverse Eastern European minorities [provinces, R.G.] were treated as the ‘colonial otherʼ. (…) Rather than an internal colony, the Eastern European borderlands of the Habsburg Empire could be considered a paracolonial space spatially distant from the center and yet exerting influence on it (59).           


     Transylvania, literally, in Latin, ‘beyond the forestsʼ, represented in 1687 a sort of ‘military frontierʼ for the Habsburgs, as it ran along the border with the Ottoman Empire (60), and it was the prize that the powerful Hungarian nobility offered to the Habsburgs in recognition of the latterʼs efforts to liberate Hungary from the equally powerful Ottomans. However, this homeymoon was short. The eighteenth century witnessed a constant clash of the Austrian and Hungarian interests over the province, partly out of cultural reasons, partly out of logistical reasons. Most of Hungarian aristocrats were Calvinists or Lutherans, and this amounted to dissensions with the Catholic Austrian establishment (61) (e.g. this is particularly the case of Maria Theresa who was a religious political leader). Furthermore, despite the colonization efforts (e.g. German and Romanian ethnics), as well as the other administrative measures of linking the province to the core Habsburg territories, Transylvania continued to represent an uncomfortable issue, a place marred by endemic revolts, and instability due to the vicinity with the Ottoman Empire, itself experiencing tensions and delays in modernization.   

     The next century would witness different types of challenges, this time ethnic, not institutional. Indeed, Hungary would amasingly rise itself from a peripheral power to one on equal pair with the Viennese establishment. Once with the so-called Compromise of 1867, Hungary became a Monarchy whose King was Franz Jozef, thus sharing the military, financial, and constitutional roles of the other part, located on the other side of the Leitha River, Austria. This meant for the nationalities of Transylvania, among which ethnic Romanians, that the dynamics center-periphery would be more complex from now on.

     Albeit socially in a less priviledged position (62), the ethnic Romanians were the majority in Transylvania (63). It follows that they acted for the autonomy of the province, and for loosening its ties with the traditional, that is historical, Kingdom of Hungary. From the ʼ60s of the nineteenth century onwards, we witness a constant attempt of the Romanian local establishment to negotiate with Vienna, over the head of the Hungarian administration. Although some were partisans of an agreement with the Hungarians to counter the interests of the other inhabitants of Hungary, like Serbians or Slovaks (64), most of the Romanian politicians sought a constitutional arrangement with the Habsburgs under which their status would be on equal pair with the one before 1867 (e.g. indeed, the Compromise of 1867 transformed Romanians from a major community of Transylvania into one of the minorities of the Hungarian state (65)). This state of affairs was legally known as the ‘Law of the Nationalitiesʼ, and it stood in favour of the introduction of compulsory Hungarian language throughout the entire schooling cycle, as well as a closer monitoring of the village intelligentsia from the part of the authorities (66).            

     The negotiation between periphery and center, that is between the Romanian politicians and Vienna, was doubled by a local negotiation, similarly unequal, between a camp of the passivists and one of the activists. Although both sides were in favour of the autonomy of Transylvania, Romanian passivists pleaded for distance in relation to political life, in sign of not recognizing any constitutional arrangement regarding the province, like the Compromise of 1867 (e.g. not sending representatives in the Parliament). The activists on the other hand pleaded for participation, underlying many a times the national side of their campaigns. Indeed, the second half of the nineteenth century would witness the gradual shift from the self-identification of Romanian community seen as ‘a historical construction based on ideas of priority and continuityʼ (67), to an ethnic body perceived as a living organism that needed ‘a vital spaceʼ for existence and regeneration.

     A key figure in developing this new idea was Aurel C. Popovici, lawyer and politician active in the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Popovici considered that Austria-Hungary could be reorganized on federal bases in such a way that all compounding nationalities would enjoy autonomy, both territorial and linguistic; in other words, the political borders were traced by taking into account the linguistic ones (68). In contrast to the previous generations, his discourse was not centered anymore on historical rights provided by ‘imperial diplomasʼ, but rather on ‘natural lawʼ, as dictated by numbers and material contributions to a certain community (69). Popovici was of the opinion that this type of nationalism, taking into account the relation between the community seen as a living body and its manners of identification (language, territory), did not represent a menace to the existing entity, Austria-Hungary. His argument was Switzerland, a federation where three equally powerful nationalities co-existed peacefully, albeit they were connected to the national states nearby (70). Popovici alluded to Romanian community and its relation to the recently established modern state, whose political elite based in Bucharest gave impetus to political movements and actions of irredentist nature. The situation behind this state of affairs was such that the elite in Transylvania welcomed a possible rapprochement towards Bucharest, for financial supportof their endeavours, yet, they did not act against the set constitutional borders of the Monarchy (71).

     Part of Popoviciʼs ideological programme was followed by the National Romanian Party, which was established in 1881. After 1894, around the paper Tribuna (The Tribune) a nucles of political radicalism was formed, and it would do away with all remaining passivist approaches in Transylvanian political life. ‘The Tribunistsʼ democratized the idea of nation and national policy, addressing the popular masses. Their discourse was profoundly different from those used by the generations before. In the 1870s the church hierarchs (the old intelligentsia whom we mentioned above) slowly lost control in favor of a new generation of politicians with rather liberal professions, thus being less exposed to governmental pressures. In the 1880s, there started similar changes and the lawyers were challenged by young writers who attained legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion. The way of arguing based on rationality and justice was replaced by a cultural argument that refused the given reality in favor of another, more ‘profoundʼ and idealistic, national reality (72).   


 The name Galicia comes from the town Halych, which was the capital of a Ruthenian Principality in the early medieval times. As previously mentioned, until the Austrian administration (1772), this territory was under Polish rule (73). When referring to the status of Galicia in Austria-Hungary, the most important feature is the puzzle of nationalities. Throughout the entangled history of these territories and their political affiliations, one should consider the subtle mélange of historical influences which transform the search for a political and cultural identity into a paradoxical and painful process. In Galicia, in its Western part, in the middle of the nineteenth century, one could meet ethnic Poles loyal to the idea of Rzeczpospolita (the political entity existing before the so-called Austrian partition), whereas in the Eastern part there was a significant Ruthenian population which was in turn divided in three branches: a minority of the Ruthenians (usually polonized nobility) who consented to the ‘Polish national idealsʼ; another segment (the so-called ‘old Rutheniansʼ) who were committed to Russia and to the Slavophile idea; the third segment, whose leader were the intelligentsia, was compounded of workers (74) and of peasants who became towards the end of the nineteenth century committed to the idea of an Ukrainian nationalism, thus keeping close relations with the radical intelligentsia of Kyiv. To this diverse landscape of populations and of political interests, one has to add the non-assimilated, traditional Jewish population, amounting to over 10% of the total population (75). 

      As early as 1867, a brochure inspired by Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861) (76) defined ‘the Ruthenian nationalityʼ, as being equally distinct from Polish and from Russian nationalities. In 1899, The National Democratic Party was established. It promoted the dissemination of Ukrainian language and the usage of the terms Ukrainian/Ukraine in their political meaning (77). The National Democratic Party demanded the division of Galicia into two Crown Lands, of which the Ruthenian (Ukrainian) province was supposed to have a national Diet. 

     In the face of the growing radicalism of the Ruthenians, the Austrian authorities sought to accommodate their demands since, of all the Ruthenian orientations (see above), the pro-Ukraine view was the ‘most agreeableʼ for the authorities provided that it did not question the integrity of the Austrian state. 

     Kazimierz Badeni, governor of Galicia in the 1890s, reached a consensus with the Ruthenians who had national Ukrainian aspirations, as against the pro-Russian branch. One element in favour of this consensus resided in concessions awarded to the Ruthenian language in Galicia. The supporters of the Ukrainian view asked for equality in front of the law (‘in reality and not on paperʼ), the increase of the role of Ukrainians in school and in administration and financial support of the provincial authorities for Ruthenian agriculture and crafts. 

     Although he acknowledged the ethnographical, cultural and political aspirations of the Ruthenians in the Eastern lands, Michał Bobrzyński, governor of Galicia in the eve of WWI, considered that the demands of the Ruthenians would be appeased by building a constitutional Ukrainian party. To achieve this, firstly, he tried to increase the influence of the Ukrainian emissaries in Provincial Diet, and even to entrust the latterʼs leadership into the formerʼs hands. In 1909, the governor proposed that state budget take into consideration the opening of two chairs for Ruthenians at the University of Lʼviv. Yet, the Endeks (the Polish nationalists, themselves represented in the Provincial Diet) opposed any national or educational concession to the Ukrainians, as they saw them as direct threat to the interests of the Poles. The Endeks considered that the foreign politics of the Habsburg Monarchy also disregarded the interests of the Poles. This vision brought the National-Democrats closer to the Eastern Galician landowners (e.g. a very conservative group), who, by the vicinity with Ruthenians, considered un-excusable the attempts of Austrians to play the Ukrainian string on the expense of the Polish interests (78) . 

     This way, the attempts of Bobrzyński to harmonize the interests of the Poles with those of the Ukrainians, within the state framework, failed. It is difficult to construct a scenario of what would have happened if the governor had succeeded to establish the planned Ukrainian Party. Perhaps not even the existence of a constitutional Ukrainian party could have moderated the aspirations of the Ruthenians at the beginning of the twentieth century. At the same time, the existence of multiple loyalties was the natural result of the atomization of the Ruthenians on the territories of more states. The Austrian state gave Ruthenians the legal impetus for constructing their own state. Badeni and Bobrzyński found themselves caught in-between: trying to defend the existent organization of a state that comprised in it the germs of destruction, they were attacked by their fellow nationals. It was a matter of overlapping loyalty. The institutional commitments came at odds with the national ones. 


     In this text, we put side by side two regions of Central-Eastern Europe, Transylvania and Western Ukraine (the ex-Galicia). These provinces came to the forefront of Romanian and, respectively, Ukrainian public life during events that happened in their countries in 2014, the election of the president, and the EuroMaidan. As we have seen, with these occasions, the regions under focus played on a multitude of self-identifications meant to re-consider the public debate in Romania and in Ukraine in which concerns things like civic culture, political class, economic direction, countryʼs internal organization, and, at the same time, differentiating themselves from the other parts of the country. In other words, they played on the ‘exceptionalismʼ card, according to which, based on voting behavior, Transylvania aimed at being seen as an uncontested place within Romanian realm, as a factor of balance in a constitutionally upset environment; based on civic activism and more relaxed approach to what was previously considered in Ukrainian politics (by this we mean Kyiv) as a necessary dichotomy, that is ‘center-peripheryʼ, Western Ukraine favoured to be labeled as an essentially contested place. Nevertheless, Transylvania and Western Ukraineʼs emphasis on their capacity to influence for the better the central policy-making hid behind mental borders/obstacles or re-mastered chauvinist nationalist slogans. All these were coated in a historicist mantle to which the involved parties made appeal throughout the events, but also the external observers. 

     Therefore, in order to detect the inner working of these mechanisms described above, and, more precisely, to attempt to identify whether we may refer to a kind of post-imperial legacy in the case of Transylvania and Western Ukraine, we appealed to two episodes of their past, which were crucial points in the development of their contemporary political identity. In short, we brought in front of the reader two instances in which Transylvania and Galicia, peripheral provinces of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, negotiated at the end of the nineteenth century with the ‘centerʼ, that is Vienna, their power status within the entire state, but, more precisely, the manners in which one nationality (Romanian in the case of Transylvania, and Ruthenian in the case of Galicia) sought to impose itself in front of the others, considered ‘centralʼ at that moment in the province (Hungarian in the case of Transylvania, Polish in the case of Galicia). As we know, the end of the story was dramatic: Austria-Hungary, as multinational and multicultural state collapsed after the WWI, in a significant percentage due to the national aspirations of the communities having mono-ethnic national states beyond the borders of the once Habsburg territory. In addition, the demographic proportion of the said provinces was significantly disturbed, in such a way that the major cities of the provinces (e.g. Cluj, Sibiu, Lʼviv, Stanisławów) experienced a total change of population by the movement of the rural inhabitants to the city areas, and the departure of the once bourgeois city layers to the post-WWI redesigned ‘centersʼ (e.g. Budapest, Kyiv, Warsaw). 

     In fact, in the eve of the dismemberment of Austria-Hungary and immediately after, the polymorphism and polycentrism of the world contained by the Habsburg territories, and, particularly, of the rapport that these territories had with those adjacent, fit the concept of the ‘filtered colonialismʼ, as envisaged by Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek (79). Indeed, the ‘cultural self-referentialityʼ and ‘invoked sovereigntyʼ (80) of the Romanians and Ruthenians were activated in the second context of peripherality (e.g. their positions of peripheries towards their colonizer, until 1919, Austria-Hungary, and after, Romania and Ukraine (81)). If we are to adapt the original theory of Zepetnek (which mainly refers to the relation between the Communist colonizer, USSR, and the countries of East-Central Europe (82)), there are three contexts of peripherality, or, put it differently, three centers: the filtered one, that is the official one, the one enforced by borders, administration, regulations (which shifted on the axis Vienna-Bucharest, Vienna-Kyiv); the ‘indigenousʼ one, which is located in the provinces themselves (apart from the so-called periphery within the periphery, we may find at the end of the nineteenth century multiple negotiations between was is center and what is periphery at the local level); the ‘primaryʼ one, which was constructed by constant reference to the so-called Western world (e.g. the German and French influence in Transylvanian case, the German influence in the Galician case), and it was best expressed in the projects of federalism in Transylvanian case, as well as in the ideological programmes of nationalism in the Galician case.

     Still, memory is an inconstant lover. As we saw in the text, Transylvania and Western Ukraineʼs current reference to the imperial legacy is multisided, ambiguous, and paradoxical. While in the case of Transylvania we may detect a certain consistency and continuity at discursive level in which regards the constitutional aim (e.g. see the project of Aurel C. Popovici and his concern not to disturb the existing order of the Monarchy, and the focus on the rule of law in the November 2014 presidential elections), in Western Ukraineʼs case, the nostalgia for the constitutional order of Austrian Monarchy, as invoked by the locals of Lʼviv when describing the EuroMaidan, is, like any nostalgia, a contradiction of the reality, as it was perceived at the end of the century, meaning that the Ruthenians fought at that moment to disturb the constitutional order of the Monarchy in the name of the national Ukrainian idea. This is exceptionalism in an uncontested place (that is, in relation to the filtered colonial power in the case of Transylvania), and exceptionalism in a contested place (that is negotiating the status of a center in a peripheral context per se in the case of Western Ukraine). In short, what was considered abnormal in the past, was nostalgically seen as ‘normalʼ, with application to Ukraine, while, and this is the case of both contexts, the provinces consider themselves different in an atypical situations (e.g. the turmoil of the events of 2014), inferring that the situation of the nineteenth century was normal and mainstream. This is post-imperial legacy. 

     Last but not least, in the text we came across many definitions and understandings of borders: these were functional, porous, shifting, mental/fictional, ethnic, and administrative/physical. Yet, in contrast to the politics of memory, this very polymorphism of borders, as noticed in the 2014 events, shows that the idea of border as such is ‘not reducible to any stable, fixed sideʼ (83). Indeed, the border is in-between the two sides, and ‘it remains missing from each of the regimes of social powerʼ (84). In other words, the mix of limitations imposed by historical dependencies, and their counter attempts to eliminate these by democratizing the access of people to free speech via press, set its own borders, which are neither too restrictive, nor too permissive. These borders in fact establish a space, which at the moment exists only in the virtual field, but, hopefully, in the near future, will exist in peopleʼs mental framework. The quality of in-betweeness of this space is given by the fact that it is contained neither by a territory, law nor any other cultural instance (85).


(1) Andreea Vasile,  ,,Vlad Tăușance, unul dintre oamenii care l-au ajutat pe Klaus Iohannis să devină primul politician european care a atins 1 milion de LIKE-uri pe Facebook” (Vlad Tăușance, one of the people who helped K. Iohannis become the first European politician to get one million Likes on Facebook), published on 19th November 2014. The full text at: https://andreeavasile.ro/2014/11/19/vlad-tausance-omul-datorita-caruia-klaus-johannis-a-devenit-primul-politician-european-care-a-atins-1-milion-de-like-uri-pe-facebook/ [last accessed 18th August 2016]. 
(2) The so-called Christian Liberal Alliance (ACL, the Romanian acronym). 
(3) Teodora Mîndru, ,,Campania lui Klaus Iohannis în Județul Mureș” (Klaus Iohannis and his Election Campaign, in Mureș) in Saeculum, 1-2/2014, 247-252; information of interest on p. 248. 
(4) Section ,,Victoria – bucuria celor tineri și mai ales a ardelenilor și bănățenilor” (Triumph, the joy of the young ones, and particularly of those inhabiting Transylvania and Banat) in the study ‘Generația Facebook și convergența media au dus la victoria lui Klaus Iohannisʼ (Facebook Generation and Media Convergence have lead to the success of Klaus Iohannis in the Elections) published by IRES, Romanian Institute of Evaluation and Strategy, Think Tank; full text available at: http://www.ires.com.ro/articol/282/genera-ia-facebook-%C8%99i-convergen%C8%9Ba-media-au-dus-la-victoria-lui-klaus-iohannis [last accessed 21st August 2016]. 
(5) Camelia Badea, ,,Rezultate finale oficiale in turul intai al alegerilor prezidentiale 2014” (The Final Official Results of the First Round of the Presidential Elections of 2014), 6th November 2014; http://www.ziare.com/alegeri/alegeri-prezidentiale-2014/rezultate-finale-oficiale-in-turul-intai-al-alegerilor-prezidentiale-2014-documentele-sunt-trimise-la-ccr-1331711 [last accessed 21st August 2016].
(6) The online campaign involved, apart from lesser costs if compared to a traditional campaign, more visibility in which concerns the sources of financing it; among other factors, mentioned in this paper, the transparency regarding the money spent for promoting the politician Iohannis to the highest rank in state was an important factor that lead to the triumph of Iohannis. 
(7) Monica Pătruț, ‘Candidates in the Presidential Elections in Romania (2014): The Use of Social Media in Political Marketingʼ in Studies and Scientific Researches. Economics Edition, No. 21, 2015, 127-135, information on pp. 132-133.
(8) Corina Murafa, ‘Romania: Cleaning up needs staminaʼ, 26th May 2015 in EUObserver; https://euobserver.com/opinion/128826 [last accessed 16th August 2016]. For a more critical perspective, ‘K. Iohannis claims his Facebook Page “is the largest online community in Europe supporting a politician” ʼ, 28th May 2015 in Fact Check EU; http://factcheckeu.org/factchecks/show/869/klaus-iohannis [last accessed 15th August 2016]. 
(9) Andra- Ioana Androniciuc, ‘Using Social Media in Political Campaigns. Evidence from Romania. Empirical Studyʼ in SEA. Practical Application of Science, vol. IV, Issue 1 (10)/2016, 51-57, information on p. 55.   
(10) Andra-Ioana Androniciuc, ‘Using Social Media in Political Campaignsʼ, p. 55.
(11)The theoretical input of the concepts like the colonial space is very suited for describing the virtual space interactions. Sara Mills, ‘Gender and Colonial Spaceʼ in Gender, Place and Culture: a Journal of Feminist Geography 3, no. 2 (1996), 125-148; information on p. 131.
(12) ‘Dyvanna sotniaʼ in Ukrainian; in Olesya Khromeychuk, ‘Negotiating Protest Spaces on the Maidan: A Gender Perspectiveʼ in JSPPS 2:1 (2016), Special Issue Gender, Nationalism, and Citizenship in Anti-Authoritarian Protests in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, Julie Fedor (ed.), 9-47, information on p. 41.
(13) The entities responsible for this, the Ministry of Interior and the one of External Affairs were the subordinates of Victor Ponta who was the then PM, hence in charge of organizing the elections. In the first round, not all the citizens could vote, hence, seemingly, this rage resulted from the fallacious organization, inclined seriously the balance of voting in the second round. Claire Ellicott, ‘Thousands of Romanians queue around the block to vote in their countryʼs presidential election… in Portsmouthʼ, 16th November 2016, on Mail Online; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2836772/Thousands-Romanian-immigrants-queue-block-Portsmouth-vote-country-s-presidential-election.html [last accessed 19th August 2016].
(14)  Doreen Massey, Place, Space and Gender. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1994, p. 168.
(15) ‘Generația Facebook și convergența media au dus la victoria lui Klaus Iohannisʼ. 
(16) ‘Romania election surprise as Klaus Iohannis wins presidencyʼ,17th November 2014; http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30076716 [last accessed 20th August 2014]. 
(17) Central Europe is a concept that comes with a certain ideological burden. It appeared recurrently in the public speech during the twentieth century like after WWII or during the late phases of communism to claim an existing political and cultural distinction between the countries located under the ex-Habsburg administration and those under the influence of Ottoman and Russian Empires. The discourse around the Central-Europe concept shows in the end, not so much the resemblance with the Western world of the aforementioned regions, but rather their concern of distancing themselves from the areas located more to the East (as perceived geographically and by the public imagination). 
(19) The idea of the text we make reference to runs oppositely to the described dynamics in Romanian case: Doreen Massey, Place, Space and Gender, p. 121.
(20) As we shall see in the next section, Transylvania as part of the Hungarian Crown land belonged to the Habsburg Empire. The seat of Romanian presidency, Bucharest, is located in the historical province of Wallachia, which was under the influence of the Ottoman Empire until almost mid of the nineteenth century. Consequently, the political rulers were people of the Ottoman administration born and educated in the Greek quarter of Istanbul (Constantinople), called Phanar.   
(21) Dinicu Golescu, Golescu, Dinicu. Însemnare a călătoriii mele, Constantin Radovici din Goleşti făcută în anul 1824, 1825, 1826 (Account of My Travel by C. Radovici of Goleşti, in the Years 1824, 1825, 1826). Bucureşti: Editura pentru Literatură, 1964, p. 10. 
(22) Of these we mention perhaps the most representative: Alba-Iulia cealaltă capitală (Alba-Iulia, The Other Capital) https://www.facebook.com/groups/266654946731841/?fref=ts; Transylvanica https://transylvanica.wordpress.com/; Moldova vrea regionalizare (Moldavia wants regionalism)  https://www.facebook.com/groups/928007390579157/?hc_ref=SEARCH [all sites, last accessed 22nd August 2016]
(23) Klaus Iohannis, Pas cu pas (Step by Step). București: Curtea Veche Publishing, 2014, p. 182. 
(24) Klaus Iohannis, Pas cu pas, p. 185.
(25) Sergii Leshchenko, ‘The Mediaʼs Roleʼ in Journal of Democracy, Vol. 25, No. 3, July 2014, thematic number: ‘The Maidan and Beyondʼ, 52-57, p. 52. 
(26) Olesya Khromeychuk, ‘Negotiating Protest Spaces on the Maidanʼ, p. 12. 
(27) Olesya Khromeychuk, ‘Negotiating Protest Spaces on the Maidanʼ, p. 17. 
(28) Olesya Khromeychuk, ‘Negotiating Protest Spaces on the Maidanʼ, p. 17.
(29) Serhiy Kudelia, ‘The House that Yanukovych Builtʼ in Journal of Democracy, 19-34,  p. 31
(30) Olesya Khromeychuk, ‘Negotiating Protest Spaces on the Maidanʼ, p. 18. 
(31) Olesya Khromeychuk, ‘Negotiating Protest Spaces on the Maidanʼ, p. 20. 
(32) Tassilo Herrschel, Borders in Post-Socialist Europe: Territory, Scale, Society. Farnham: Ashgate, 2011, p. 176.
(33) Tassilo Herrschel, Borders in Post-Socialist Europe, p. 175. 
(34) Olesya Khromeychuk, ‘Negotiating Protest Spaces on the Maidanʼ, p. 33. 
(35) Olesya Khromeychuk, ‘Negotiating Protest Spaces on the Maidanʼ, p. 41. We referred previously, in Romanian case, to this category as being the so-called ‘the sofa unitsʼ; an important element in both events, turned into a group with social relevance by the new media techniques.
(36) ‘Militarized masculinity […] privileges authoritarianism, social hierarchies and tries to marginalize and control not only women but also non-normative menʼ ; quote from Nadje Al-Ali, ‘Gendering the Arab Springʼ in Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, 5 (2012), 26-31, p. 26.
(37)  Olesya Khromeychuk, ‘Negotiating Protest Spaces on the Maidanʼ, p. 18. 
(38) ‘Of the 1040 respondents, 42% were from other places than Kyiv, they were from western and central oblastsʼ [administrative division in Ukraine, like counties in Romania, R.G.]. Quote from Olga Onuch, ‘Who Were The Protesters?ʼ in Journal of Democracy, 44-51, p. 48.  
(39) John Paul Himka, ‘The History behind the Regional Conflict in Ukraineʼ in Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 16, 1 (Winter 2015): 129-36, p. 130.
(40) G. Rossoliński-Liebe, Stepan Bandera: The Life and Afterlife of a Ukrainian Nationalist. Fascism, Genocide, and Cult. Stuttgart: ibidem- Verlag, 2014.  
(41)  Sergii Leshchenko, ‘The Mediaʼs Roleʼ, p. 52. 
(42) Sergii Leshchenko, ‘The Mediaʼs Roleʼ, p. 53. 
(43) Sergii Leshchenko, ‘The Mediaʼs Roleʼ, p. 56. 
(44) Sergii Leshchenko, ‘The Mediaʼs Roleʼ, p. 55. VK is a Facebook-like social network for Russian speakers, enterprise with headquarters in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
(45) Olesya Khromeychuk, ‘Negotiating Protest Spaces on the Maidanʼ, pp. 33-34.
(46) J.P. Himka, ‘The History behind the Regional Conflict in Ukraineʼ, p. 130. 
(47)  Pavlo Ostrovsʼkyj, ‘EuroMaidan in Lviv: a View From the Insideʼ, February 2014, p. 25; the full text  at:http://www.gce.unisg.ch/~/media/internet/content/dateien/instituteundcenters/gce/euxeinos/ostrovskyj%20%20euxeinos%2013_2014.pdf [last accessed 20th August 2016]. 
(48) Jason Francisco, Eugene Polyakov, ‘Revolution in Ukraine: The View from Lvivʼ in Social Text, 20th March 2014; see full text at: http://socialtextjournal.org/revolution-in-ukraine-the-view-from-lviv/ [accessed 20th March 2016]. 
(49) Before Maria Theresaʼs reign (1740-1780), the so-called Habsburg territories were in fact a nucleus of loosely connected regions (of which many obtained by marital strategies) under the crown of the House of Habsburg. Until modern age, the Habsburg dynasty also detained the prestigious title of the head of the Holy Roman Empire. Afterwards, the integration of the core territories (Lower and Upper Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola) was accelerated, and the possessions were expanded by new territories. Until 1867, these arrangements were known as Austrian or Habsburg Empire. Starting 1867, they became a dual monarchy in which the top executive institutions were split between Austria and Hungary after a carefully devised algorithm (Pieter M. Judson, The Habsburg Empire. A New History. Cambridge-MA, London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2016, pp. ix, 21; Patrick Leigh Fermor, Între păduri și ape. La pas spre Constantinopol-de la Dunărea de mijloc până la Porțile de Fier (Between the Woods and the Water: On Foot to Constantinople: From The Middle Danube to the Iron Gates. București: Humanitas, 2016, e-book version, pp. 126-127).   
(50) The Principality of Transylvania was included in the medieval Kingdom of Hungary, and, overall, found itself under Hungarian influence as early as the ninth century. A contested place by all means, Transylvania hosted other (numerous) communities, and it became the topic of a classic debate of Romanian and Hungarian historiography (even to these days), in which both partsʼ views are equally radical. The first justifies their predominance over the territory in terms of continuity (e.g. in Antiquity, an ex-state, ‘Daciaʼ, was located where Transylvania is, and, after the Roman conquest (107 A.D.), it included the mix of the local population with the Romans; once the Roman administration retreated, in 271 A.D., this resulting population stayed on this territory until it was conquered in turn by the powerful Hungarian ancestors, in the ninth century). The latter claims that, upon their coming, the territory was ‘tabula rasaʼ, hence the Romansʼ retreat was complete (including the local population), hence they could settle there, and, naturally seize the power. The debate developed in the context in which reliable information concerning these lands came from the early medieval period (P.L.Fermor, Între păduri și ape, pp. 109-112). Outside observers like the mentioned P.L. Fermor have more common sense opinions: most probably, upon the coming of the Hungariansʼ ancestors, the local population of Transylvania was part of a community (e.g. by virtue of language) that is spread all over the Balkans, including todayʼs Greece (pp. 112-113). 
(51) We may cite Fermor again in his description of the lavish lifestyle of the inhabitants of the manors spread all over Transylvania. It is symbolic that fifteen years after the dismemberment of Austria-Hungary (1919), and in the time of the ascension of Nazism, scions of the once important Hungarian landowning families would not cope with the new order, but stick to ownership of rare horse breeds or luxurious cars, love affairs, or bachelorhood, and not the least, historical nostalgia (pp. 95-98, 106-107, 167-169, etc.). 
(52) The sad ending of the 1848 Revolution, when Hungarian elite fought fiercely against the centralizing attempts of the Austrian authorities in the name of a Romantic concept of ‘nationʼ, was mainly located in Transylvania; for instance, Petőfi Sándor, the great Romantic poet, was killed near the town of Sighișoara (Segesvár) (P.L.Fermor, Între păduri și ape, pp. 185-186). 
(53) P. M. Judson, The Habsburg Empire, pp. 43-44.
(54)  In contrast to other entities of the continent, Austria-Hungary represents an interesting case on the account that it was not split along ethnic borders.
(55)  It is true that after 1867 (e.g. the Austrian-Hungarian Compromise, as we shall see next), the lands of the Hungarian Crown were a part of the wave of industrialization experienced by the core lands of the Habsburgs. Yet, Transylvania, given its agrarian outlook, and, subsequently, the fact that most of the population was residing in the rural area (with a tiny layer of bourgeoisie residing in towns), could not keep the pace with the Western part of the Hungarian territory (Keith Hitchins, România, 1866-1947 (Romania, 1866-1947), București: Humanitas, 2013, the fourth edition, p. 223). Therefore, it can be stated that Transylvania was on the same pair with Galicia; in both provinces, the shy industrialization started on large scale just in the eve of WWI could not counter the massive effects of poverty, alcoholism and illiteracy-typical phenomena of the village world.       
(56) To which we have to add the already mentioned old-fashioned Weltanschauung of the local aristocracy: they had a predominately agrarian perspective on modernization, fearing that industrial equipment and relations would shake their world on the foundations.
(57) He was the son of the head of Galician police. 
(58) Ulrich Bach, ‘Sacher Masochʼs Utopian Peripheriesʼ, The German Quarterly, Vol. 80, No. 2 (Spring 2007), 201-219, p. 206. 
(59) Ulrich Bach, ‘Sacher Masochʼs Utopian Peripheriesʼ, p. 203.
(60) P. M. Judson, The Habsburg Empire, p. 42.
(61) P. M. Judson, The Habsburg Empire, p. 43.
(62) They lacked aristocracy and bourgeoisie, which was preponderantly Hungarian and Saxon, so most were peasantry and village intelligentsia of Uniate faith.
(63) In 1900 Romanian ethnics represented about 16.7% of the total population in the Hungarian territories (Hitchins, România, 1866-1947, p. 221), and in some counties like Făgăraș and Hunedoara, cca 90% of the population (p. 221). At the same time, in 1910, they were in minority, in towns like Brașov, Sibiu making about 30% of the population, and even less, 12%, in towns like Cluj, (p. 222).   
(64) Hitchins, România, 1866-1947, p. 211. 
(65) Hitchins, România, 1866-1947, p. 208. 
(66) Hitchins, România, 1866-1947, p. 209, 211.
(67) Sorin Mitu, ‘Transylvanian Romanians and Transylvaniaʼs Provincial Identity in the Nineteenth Centuryʼ in Studia Universitatis ‘Babeș-Bolyaiʼ, Historia 57, Special Issue (December 2012): 57-66, p. 59. 
(68) Hitchins, România, 1866-1947, p. 214.
(69) Hitchins, România, 1866-1947, p. 214.
(70) Hitchins, România, 1866-1947, p. 216. 
(71) S. Mitu, ‘Transylvanian Romanians and Transylvaniaʼs Provincial Identity in the Nineteenth Centuryʼ, pp. 60-61.
(72) In R. Pârâianu, Octavian Goga, The Sacerdote of Nation. The National Idea from Emancipation to Integrism and Racism, PhD dissertation defended at CEU, Budapest in 2004, p. 100.
(73) The Habsburgs conferred it once again the name Galicia as they intended to revive some Hungarian claims to this Principality, dating from medieval time; J.P. Himka, Religion and Nationality in Western Ukraine. The Greek Catholic Church and the Ruthenian National Movement in Galicia 1867-1900. Montreal: McGill-Queen`s University Press, 1999, 12.
(74) Workers were numerically insignificant in Galicia, even in the 1900s, in the epoch of large scale industrialization of the other regions of Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy; in the period 1890-1914, only 7 factories in Galicia employed more than 1000 workers, and only some 60.000 of the total working population of 320.000 in 1912 were industrial workers, properly speaking. Figures quoted in Piotr S. Wandycz, The Lands of Partitioned Poland (1795-1918), Seattle: The University of Washington Press, p. 277.
(75) In J. P. Himka, Socialism in Galicia. The Emergence of Polish Social Democracy and Ukrainian Radicalism (1860-1890). Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1983, p. 4.
(76) Romantic poet who wrote in what it became to be known nowadays as Ukrainian literary language. About his political actions in Wł. Serczyk, Historia Ukrainy (The History of Ukraine). Wrocław, Warszawa, Kraków: Ossolineum, 2001, 3rd edition, pp. 190-195. 
(77) Namely, the distinction from both Russian and Polish nationalities, as the historian Mykhailo Hrushevskyi attempted first.
(78) J. Gruchała, Rząd austriacki i polskie stronnictwa polityczne w Galicji wobec kwestii ukraińskiej (1890-1914) (The Austrian Government and the Polish Political Parties in Galicia in Relation to the Ukrainian Issue (1890-1914), Katowice: Uniwersytet Śląski, 1988, p. 115.           
(79) Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek, ‘Configurations of Postcoloniality and National Identity: Inbetween Peripherality and Narratives of Changeʼ in The Comparatist, vol. 23, May 1999, 89-110, p. 91. 
(80) Tötösy de Zepetnek, ‘Configurations of Postcoloniality and National Identity…ʼ, p. 94. 
(81) Obviously, to Romanians of Transylvania and Ruthenians of Galicia, Austria-Hungary, Romania, and Ukraine did enjoy different statuses as colonizers. In the case of Austria-Hungary, state of multiple nationalities, the colonizing presence was seen in the negative (at least for parts of the episodes invoked in the paper), whereas in the case of Romania and Ukraine, states embodying uniform cultures, the colonizing presence was seen in a positive manner, moreover, it was in fact imagined and constructed before becoming reality, that is in the years after the War.   
(82) Tötösy de Zepetnek, ‘Configurations of Postcoloniality and National Identity…ʼ, p. 92. 
(83) Thomas Nail, Theory of the Border. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 5,6. 
(84) Thomas Nail, Theory of the Border, p. 2. 
(85) Thomas Nail, Theory of the Border, p.2. 

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2 thoughts on “Real Borders, Fictional Borders: Transylvania, ‘Galiciaʼ, and the Ways of Asserting Historical Exceptionalism, Then and Now

  1. A very nice in-depth look into these two areas and thought provoking. While it may not have held up over time. It would have been very interesting to see if Popovici’s United States of Greater Austria could have worked. Or at least staved off the inevitable a lot longer.

    Liked by 1 person

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