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Communist Regime

The Ceausescu regime

After the misterious death of Gheorghiu-Dej in 1965 the young but though very popular Nicolae Ceausescu became head of the Romanian Communist Party and two years later president of Romania. In his early years he was considered quite popular, both home and abroad, as he rose the life standard and imported several new technologies from the west. Especially speaking against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 made him belowed within the western world. He was the only leader of a communist country to maintain diplomatic relationships to various states against Moskow's "suggestions", not only from the communist block, as well as to international organisations as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

His apparent tolerant policy towards minorities - Jews and Saxons - masked the actual trade policy of human life with Israel and West Germany, as Romania received an amount per head for each emigrant. According to the Stalinist model, the Secred service was invested with almost unlimited power: censorship, massive relocations, political police. High security prisons (like Doftana, Sighet, Jilava or the Danube Canal) were crowded with intelectuals. Avortion and homosexuals were highly prohibited and could result in several years of imprisonment.

In the '80, the systematisation plans of the communist regime were reaching top levels, as Ceausescu started to build the House of the People (today, Romanian Parlament - the second largest building in the world). The wide systematisation plan which had to offer a totally new face to Bucharest, eradicated or affected almost 70% of the old part of town. Romania's industry was not showing any kind of unimployment, the population was officially proven healthy. The attempt of repaying Western loans drove the centralised economy into the downfall. But not all of Ceausescu's projects were a failure. His power sysyem (especially hydroelectric) is working efectively even today, as well as the modern harbor of Constanta or the oil rafineries.

The harsh, arbitrary, and capricious regime led to sevewal worker's protests (largest one in Brasov - '87) which were the prelude for the manifestations of December 1989 in Timisoara which afterwards spread out within days trough the entire country. Trying to flee, Ceausescu was cought, formally trialed without lawyer and executed on December 25, 1989.

The fact that the "Romanian Revolution" was not that spontaneous as presented by the new government lead by former communist activist Ion Iliescu is not questioned anymore today, although there is still unclear on what extend members of the communist government and military sustained Ceausescu or if and how much foreign governments were also implicated in this events (as Ceausescu stated several times during his last speech and at his trial).

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