The ‘honest policeman’ Marian Godina is the personality defining Romania, according to a ranking conducted by Politico.eu, along with well-known politicians, businessmen and analysts that the publication believes will influence during 2017 the countries they live in. The ranking include personaliaties such as Turkish President Erdogan, former Polich PM Jaroslaw Kaczynski, businessman George Soros and the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
The editors explain the way the survey was conducted: “This is our guide to the people likely to shape 2017 and beyond. These 17 men and 11 women from 28 different countries — hailing from the worlds of politics, naturally, as well as business, media and the arts — caught our eyes and are sure to catch yours. (…) We cast our net widely and solicited nominations from readers. Then editors hashed out — not without a few disagreements — this list of the shakers, stirrers and shapers of our world. And then we ranked them in order of their impact. Simply holding a powerful public position in a European country didn’t guarantee a spot on the list. The choice of 28 people from a world of possibilities is bound to be subjective and contentious. Many worthy people are omitted. Ultimately, our intention is to produce a POLITICO 28 worthy of discussion and spirited debate.”
Marian Godina – the honest cop
“Earlier this year, Marian Godina’s boss called him to his office. The 30-year-old traffic cop in the Transylvanian city of Braşov had confiscated the license of a driver who had nearly hit a pedestrian. His boss’ objection: The woman in the passenger seat was the local director of the Red Cross, and when she had informed him that she knew his superiors, he had told her to stay in the car while he finished writing his report.
Not a problem. Godina posted about the incident on his Facebook page. Within two days, the local prosecutors had placed his superiors under investigation for abuse of office. By the end of the week, the national police union had called for the resignation of the head of the police department.
Today Godina, who has some 360,000 Facebook followers, is a social-media sensation in Romania, regaling readers with his day-to-day observations about life on the beat. Some of his posts are funny, some are whimsical, like the one about the time he helped a farmer pick up dozens of watermelons after the farmer’s truck had gone into a ditch.
Others are more serious. In addition to holding his bosses accountable and enforcing the rule of law on the streets, he once mobilized the city to help catch a hit-and-run suspect. A collection of his posts, published in February, became a national bestseller. He has also written a children’s book explaining traffic rules.
Godina is widely seen as a bright spot in an otherwise bleak landscape and his dispatches resonate in a country fed up with corruption. Meanwhile, his exploits, he says, have encouraged other officers around the country to challenge official luminaries when they step over the line. “I received messages from colleagues across the country, saying they opened a criminal file against a mayor and were thinking of me,” he says.
Asked where he sees himself ten years from now, he demurs. “I still see myself as a police officer in the future and still writing, but you never know. Look how much changed in a year. I learned not to plan for the long-term future,” he says – politico.eu concludes the feature on Godina by quoting him.