Medvedev slams Brussels over its demand that Russia return gold bullion to Romania

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev did not mince words in his response to a demand by the European Union that Russia return the gold bullion that allegedly belongs to Romania.

In a March 15 post on his page on the Russian VK social media platform, the former Russian leader described the move as "impudence." The deputy chairman of Russia's National Security Council wrote: "I don't even know how to respond to such."

"The EU has stolen $300 billion worth of Russian assets and is now demanding that Russia return gold to Romania. There is nothing to say except f**k off."

Medvedev's response came a day after the European Parliament in Brussels adopted a non-binding resolution that called on Moscow to send back 91.5 metric tons of gold and cultural artifacts to Bucharest. These were sent by Romania to the Russian Empire from 1916 to 1917 at the height of World War I for safekeeping.

The European Parliament passed the resolution, introduced by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Eugen Tomac, on March 14. Tomac's resolution had the backing of the National Bank of Romania, according to ABC News.

The MEP hailed the resolution as "a historic vote" and "a matter of national dignity" in a Facebook post. He continued: "Romania cannot and must not accept anything less than the return of 91.5 tons of gold and the [country's] entire cultural treasure." Despite acknowledging the minuscule chance of Bucharest ever seeing the return of the gold, Tomac said it was "important not to give up."

Medvedev found an ally in Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). She claimed that Romania's demand may be part of a desperate attempt to fix the "deplorable situation [in the country's] national economy against the backdrop of farm strikes throughout the country." Zakharova also accused Bucharest of using "Russophobic platforms such as the European Parliament, which is ready for any excuse to force onto us its century-old phantom debts."

Why is Romania's gold with Russia to begin with?

According to Historic Mysteries, Russia came into possession of Romania's gold as a result of WWI. The Romanian capital had been occupied by the Central Powers – Germany, Austria, the Ottoman Empire (today Turkey), and Bulgaria. Romanian officials at the time feared losing its gold reserves to looting by the Central forces.

Thus, an initial 91.5 metric tons of gold (valued at $5 billion today) were loaded into a train in December 1916 and sent to the Kremlin, then under the Russian Empire. A second train from Romania was sent seven months later in July containing many other treasures such as ancient artifacts, art pieces, many rare books and the jewels of Romania.

But in November 1917, almost a full year after the initial gold-loaded train left for Romania, the Russian Empire was overthrown by the Bolsheviks under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin. In 1935, the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin returned a portion of the valuables to Romania "as a sign of goodwill" – a fact Zakharova mentioned.

The MFA spokeswoman also mentioned that the Soviet Union had forgiven all of Romania's debts stemming from the "troubles and destruction" it caused during WWII. Bucharest had sided with Adolf Hitler during the war, and his Romanian allies committed "atrocities" as per Zakharova.

"This is no less than $300 million in reparations," she explained. "If converted to today's money, it would be something in the region of $4 billion."

Zakharova continued that if these Romanian debts to the Soviet Union (and to its successor the Russian Federation) were expressed in terms of bullion, they would be equivalent to between 1,365 and 1,665 tons of gold. This number, she said, is "20 to 25 times more than Romania's entire gold reserve that was sent to Russia from 1916 to 1917."

Watch Dmitry Medvedev comments on a map that shows Poland, Russia and Romania – but without Ukraine.

(Article by Ramon Tomey republished from )

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