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50 and 100 lei 2015 - Constantin Stere
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28 mm diameter, 13 g, 99.9% silver, grained edge
year 2015, circular inscription REPUBLICA MOLDOVA meaning "REPUBLIC OF MOLDAVIA" and the coat of arms of the Republic of Moldavia, in exergue horizontal line and denomination "50 LEI"
bust of Stere, inscription CONSTANTIN STERE and years 1865 and 1936

Issuing date: 2nd of November 2015

Mintage: 500 coins

24 mm diameter, 7.8 g, 99.9% gold, grained edge
year 2015, circular inscription REPUBLICA MOLDOVA meaning "REPUBLIC OF MOLDAVIA" and the coat of arms of the Republic of Moldavia, in exergue horizontal line and denomination "100 LEI"
bust of Stere, inscription CONSTANTIN STERE and years 1865 and 1936

Issuing date: 2nd of November 2015

Mintage: 300 coins


The coin belongs to the Alley of the Classics in the "Stephen the Great and the Holy" public garden in Chișinău series.

About Constantin Stere

Constantin Stere was born in 1865 in the village Ciripcău from the county (uyezd) of Soroca inside the gubernia of Basarabia, nowadays in the rayon of Florești (Republic of Moldavia).

His parents, Iorgu and Pulcheria, were important land owners. Their mansion was situated in the village of Ciripcău. Constantin Stere studied at Chișinău. As high school student he sympathized the Narodniks, participating as such to readings of forbidden books and even oversaw some book transports secretly brought through Romania. In 1883 he was arrested by the Okhrana (Department for Protecting the Public Security and Order, secret czarist police), and in 1885 he got deported for three years to Siberia. He was liberated in 1891, and in 1892 he came to the Mother Land, where he became student at the Iași University.

In 1895 Constantin Stere has received Romanian citizenship [5], based on Article 9 in the Constitution: "The Romanian from any state regardless of his birth place, once having proved his relinquishment of foreign protection, can acquire at once the exercise of political rights through a vote of the Legislative Bodies".

In 1889 Stere joined the National Liberal Party, quickly becoming the leader of the liberals in Iași and as well an intimate of the powerful liberal leader Ionel Brătianu. Some ideas of his were rather radical for the times: land redistribution, dissolution of great landed estates, universal suffrage. Since 1901 he taught administrative and constitutional law at the Iași University, where he also held the office of rector between 1913 and 1916.

After Revolution of 1905 broke out, Constantin Stere left to Chișinău where he joined the struggle of the Basarabian Romanians for national rights [4]. For this action Stere had, seemingly, the accord of the Romanian government. During the few months he stayed in Chișinău Constantin Stere gathered around him a lot of patriotic young men among whom Ion Pelivan, Ion Inculeț and Pantelimon Halippa, who were to play important roles in 1918.

In 1906 an important literary and scientifical magazine with orientation to "Poporanism" was established at Iași: "Viața românească" [Romanian Life], to which Constantin Stere was one of the directors, Garabet Ibrăileanu (1871-1936) being editor in chief.

In 1907 Constantin Stere was prefect to the county of Iași [1].

After the breakout of the world war in 1914, Stere was in favour of joining the Central Powers by Romania. Certainly, as Stere personally knew the nature of the denationalization and Russification to which the Moldavians in between River Prut and River Nistru were subjected, was considering that the Romanian life in Basarabia could have only been saved through its union with the Mother Land. This Union had been possible only after a defeat of the Tzarist Empire. In his opinion, the priority for the Romanian state had been the liberation of the Basarabian Romanians, as the ones in the gravest danger of denationalization - a process to unabatedly continue in case of a Russian victory in the war. Stere thought that Austria-Hungary was a state about to disband into a close future and also that the Transylvanian Romanians were able to thereafter to liberate themselves on their own.

After the fall of the Romanian front in 1916, Stere stayed in Bucharest (under German occupation) where, starting with the fall of 1917, brought forth the newspaper Lumina (Light).

Sfatul Țării was the legislative and executive organ of the Democratic Moldavian Republic. Sfatul Țării (i.e. Council of the Land) voted, on the 27th of March 1918 (old style; on the 9th of April, new style), at Chișinău, the Union of Basarabia with Romania. Here is what historian Constantin Kirițescu wrote [3, p. 257] about this event: "To the preparation and performing of the great act of April 9th Constantin Stere has actively participated. Arrived at Chișinău from the German occupied territory with support of German authorities and of Marghiloman government, in the eve of the historical session of Sfatul Țării, he was immediately received as deputy in the Sfat, as native of the land and old Basarabian fighter. Stere brought great services to the Union by his personal authority he enjoyed before the young Basarabian fighters, whose mentor he had been, as well as the persuasive power of his speeches, uttered in Romanian as well as in Russian.”.

Constantin Stere was chosen as president of Sfatul Țării, replacing Ion Inculeț (1884-1940), who after the Union had resigned in order to enter the government at Iași as minister for Basarabia. Stere exercised this high office between April 2nd and November 25th 1918 (old style).

After the downfall of the Central Powers and after the Great Union, a number of trials followed. In these trials there were journalists (Tudor Arghezi, Ioan Slavici etc.) and Germanophile political figures indicted as traitors. Stere was also arrested during the May-June 1919 timeframe [1], and spent about a month at the Văcărești prison. After being released from the arrest, gravely ill, Stere left for Switzerland.

His exile was however short. He returned to Romania in 1920, at the invitation of the Basarabian members of the Peasant Party. This party had been founded as result of the merger between the Basarabian Peasant Party led by Pantelimon Halippa and the Peasant Party of Ion Mihalache (1882-1963). Stere created the program and doctrine of this party, then supported its merger with the National Party (which was the continuator of Romanian National Party in Transylvania). The merger took place in 1926, thus resulting the National Peasant Party (Partidul Național Țărănesc).

In 1930 Stere was forced to resign from Partidul Național Țărănesc, as a result of a press campaign that resumed the treason accusations from after the war.

As the historical note on the certificate of authenticity accompanying the coin puts it, "Constantin Stere [...] is one of the outstanding Romanian political and intellectual figures of the late XIXth century - early XXth century. A particularly complex personality - jurist, teacher, journalist, ideologist, writer and politician - Constantin Stere supported the national awakening movement between the Prut and Nistru Rivers and saw his dream come true, contributing to the union of Bessarabia with Romania (1918). He brought a great contribution to the education of the students from Bessarabia in the spirit of national ideals. He carried out important work in the Sfatul Țării (parliament). Constantin Stere is still and will remain an outstanding symbol of the national unity."

"În preajma revoluției" [Near the Revolution]

Starting with 1930, Stere began to write his series of eight novels "În preajma revoluției" [Near the Revolution], that appeared between 1932 and 1936, first republished later on only after 1989. The main character is Ion (Vania) Răutu, a name under which the contemporaries identified an alter ego of Stere.

Constantin Stere did not write his books the classical way with own hand, rather he dictated. Professor Zigu Ornea (the one who wrote "Viața lui C. Stere" - C. Stere's Life) published proofs that Stere and the publishing house have used stylists for the novel, making suppositions for such famous writers as Topîrceanu, Ibrăileanu and Phillipide [5].

George Călinescu wrote in his "History" [2]: <<The "novel" series of C. Stere is an error in its entirety, which unveil, happily, in two volumes, a solid prose writer.>> Despite this rather unfavourable appreciation, the section about Stere covers four and a half pages of the one thousand ones of the monumental work of Călinescu.

Rederences

1. Berindei D., Constantin Stere, exponent al națiunii române. Revista Cultura, nr. 520, 13 iunie 2015.

2. Călinescu G., Istoria literaturii române de la origini pînă în prezent. Editura Minerva, București, 1982.

3. Kirițescu C., Istoria războiului pentru întregirea României 1916-1919. Vol. II, Editura Științifică și Enciclopedică, București, 1989.

4. Rusnac M., Revoluția din 1905 în Basarabia Țaristă și urmările ei (1905 - 1906). Articol publicat pe site-ul www.istoria.md, ianuarie 2016.

5. Stere C., În preajma revoluției. Ediție și prefață de Z. Ornea. Editura Cartea Românească, București, 1991.


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