Presiding with his wife Elena, whom he tapped as deputy prime minister, Ceausescu turned his back on Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and his … [44], The Ceaușescus were the last people to be executed in Romania before the abolition of capital punishment on 7 January 1990.[45]. Effectively, Ceaușescu now held all governing power in the nation; virtually all party and state institutions were subordinated to his will. The other, the Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher, was elected by the people of her country. Those opposing Ceaușescu, his wife, their family and cronies many times disappeared – for good. [5] Ceaușescu and his wife Elena fled the capital in a helicopter, but they were captured by the military after the armed forces defected. [citation needed] Ceaușescu's plan was to make Romania into Europe's number one oil refiner not only of its oil, but also of oil from Middle Eastern states like Iraq and Iran, and then to sell all of the refined oil at a profit on the Rotterdam spot market. On Christmas Day 1989, Ceauşescu and his wife Elena had been tried in an empty school house and shot the same day. The count increased rapidly until an estimated 64,000 fatalities were widely reported across front pages. Ceaușescu was made a knight of the Danish Order of the Elephant, but this appointment was revoked on 23 December 1989 by the queen of Denmark, Margrethe II. After World War II, when Romania was beginning to fall under Soviet influence, Ceaușescu served as secretary of the Union of Communist Youth (1944–1945). Around her another personality cult was constructed. Capital punishment was abolished shortly thereafter. Mothers of at least five children were entitled to receive significant benefits, while mothers of at least ten children were declared "heroine mothers" by the Romanian state. As far as anyone can tell, it was “love at first sight” for Nicolae, and many Romanians and historians believe that almost from the start, Elena had him in the palm of her hand. At the end of the quick show trial, the Ceaușescus were found guilty and sentenced to death. His defection was a powerful blow against the administration, forcing Ceaușescu to overhaul the architecture of the Security. In 1974, Ceaușescu converted his post of president of the State Council to a full-fledged executive presidency. Ceaușescu's Romania was the only Warsaw Pact country that did not sever diplomatic relations with Chile after Augusto Pinochet's coup. Immediately thereafter, Ceaușescu presided over the CPEx (Political Executive Committee) meeting and assumed the leadership of the army. [4] The demonstrations, which reached Bucharest, became known as the Romanian Revolution—the only violent overthrow of a communist government in the course of the Revolutions of 1989. He even went as far as to call for a Warsaw Pact invasion of Poland—a significant reversal, considering how violently he opposed the invasion of Czechoslovakia 20 years earlier. No accident that the word “Codoi” is not just an acronym, but an actual word in Romanian meaning “big tail,” which stout Elena Ceausescu had and tried to hide. Photo by http://fototeca.iiccr.ro. While in prison, Ceaușescu became a protégé of his cell mate, the Communist leader Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, who would become the undisputed Communist leader of Romania beginning in 1952. He also appointed and dismissed the president of the Supreme Court and the prosecutor general whenever the legislature was not in session. During this time, all regional radio stations were closed, and television was limited to a single channel broadcasting for only two hours a day. Relations were in fact not just state-to-state, but party-to-party between their respective political machineries, the MPR and the PCR. They were eventually turned over to the army. "[69], He directed the construction of the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest, which broke ground in June 1984. Elena Ceaușescu receiving an honorary doctorate in Manila (1975). Several foreign decorations were revoked at the time of the collapse of Ceaușescu's rule. He refused to take part in the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact forces and even actively and openly condemned that action in his 21 August 1968 speech. During the Congress, Ceaușescu made a speech denouncing the anti-Communist revolutions happening throughout the rest of Eastern Europe. Dorin-Marian Cirlan is one of the three-man firing squad which killed the megalomanic communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena on … She was also the head of many different government departments having to do with the sciences. Instead, the average Romanian family had two to three children during this period (see Demographics of Romania). After his election as President of Romania, he even had a king-like sceptre made for himself. The revelation that Ceaușescu was responsible resulted in a massive spread of rioting and civil unrest across the country. Medical control was seen as one of the most productive effects of the law, since all women who became pregnant were under the care of a qualified medical practitioner, even in rural areas. [9], He worked in the workshop of Alexandru Săndulescu, a shoemaker who was an active member in the then-illegal Communist Party. He tried to silence them by raising his right hand and calling for the crowd's attention before order was temporarily restored, then proceeded to announce social benefit reforms that included raising the national minimum wage by 200 lei per month to a total of 2,200 per month by 1 January. [24] Furthermore, that Kim and even more so Mao had broken free of Soviet control were additional sources of admiration for Ceaușescu. [55] President Richard Nixon was invited to Bucharest in 1969, which was the first visit of a United States president to a communist country after the start of the Cold War. Valenzuela, J. Samuel and Arturo Valenzuela (eds. The deal was said at the time to be the biggest between two countries involving a civil aircraft. Ceaușescu largely wished to conjure away the living conditions of the Romani, which were ignored by his predecessors and put in place as early as the regime of Ion Antonescu.[36]. He travelled to Prague a week before the invasion to offer moral support to his Czechoslovak counterpart, Alexander Dubček. The main architect of the building was Anca Petrescu (1949-2013), who began her work on this building when she was 28 years old. Ceaușescu was prepared to take a more decisive step in questioning Soviet policies. The motion ignored the Romani entirely. [21], The government targeted rising divorce rates, and made divorce more difficult—it was decreed that marriages could only be dissolved in exceptional cases. He also blamed the Timișoara riots on "fascist agitators who want to destroy socialism. [15] In the years after the strike,a number of its leaders died of accidents and "premature disease". The last edition of the Country Study on Romania, for instance, referred to the PCR's "Stalinist repression of individual liberties. For years, nearly all official photographs of him showed him in his late 40s. [78], He was played by Constantin Cojocaru in the 2011 Swiss docudrama, Die letzten Tage der Ceausescus. He spent much of Romania’s Gross Domestic Product on his palace (still one of the largest buildings on Earth), and created a security apparatus that was so intrusive that it is estimated that over ten percent of the country’s population were informants. The resulting domestic shortages made the everyday lives of Romanians a fight for survival as food rationing was introduced and heating, gas and electricity blackouts became the rule. For a time in the late 1970s/1980s, Elena Ceausescu (1916-89) of Romania was one of the two most powerful women on Earth. In practice, a number of joint party-state organizations were founded such as the Council for Socialist Education and Culture, which had no precise counterpart in any of the other communist states of Eastern Europe, and the Romanian Communist Party was embedded into the daily life of the nation in a way that it never had been before. Upon his return to Romania on the evening of 20 December, the situation became even more tense, and he gave a televised speech from the TV studio inside the Central Committee Building (CC Building), in which he spoke about the events at Timișoara in terms of an "interference of foreign forces in Romania's internal affairs" and an "external aggression on Romania's sovereignty.". Greensboro News And Record, 13 Jan. 1990 (Updated 28 Jan. 2015). [30] This was the first state visit by a Communist head of state to the UK, and Ceausescu was given a knighthood by the Queen, which was revoked on the day before his death in 1989. In official statements, she was referred to as the “Mother of the Nation.” Many Romanians had other not so flattering names for her. Obituaries: Eugeniu Iordachescu, Romanian engineer who saved condemned churches under communist rule, dies at 89. Ceaușescu's speech of 21 August 1968 represented the apogee of Ceaușescu's rule. [31][32] Similarly, in 1983, Vice President of the United States George H. W. Bush and in 1985 United States Secretary of State George Shultz also praised the Romanian dictator.[33]. Other articles where Elena Ceauşescu is discussed: Nicolae Ceaușescu: In 1939 he married Elena Petrescu, a Communist activist. As his rule went on, Ceauseșcu not only fostered his own cult of personality, but became prey to it. A former educator, he values curiosity and diligent research. The new post, however, made him the nation's top decision-maker both in name and in fact. His secret police, the Securitate, was responsible for mass surveillance as well as severe repression and human rights abuses within the country, and he suppressed and controlled the media and press, implementing methods that were among the harshest, most restrictive and brutal in the world. Starting with the 1973–74 Arab oil embargo against the West, a period of prolonged high oil prices set in that characterised the rest of the 1970s. He was the general secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and the second and last Communist leader of Romania. [18], A series of official visits to Western countries (including the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Australia) helped Ceaușescu to present himself as a reforming Communist, pursuing an independent foreign policy within the Soviet Bloc. [9] Ceaușescu was soon involved in the Communist Party activities (becoming a member in early 1932), but as a teenager he was given only small tasks. The mass meeting of 21 December, held in what is now Revolution Square, began like many of Ceaușescu's speeches over the years. In 1980, Romania participated in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow with its other Soviet bloc allies, but in 1984 was one of the few Communist countries to participate in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles when most of the Eastern Bloc's nations boycotted this event. In the final years of Gheorghiu-Dej's rule, more problems were openly discussed, with the publication of a collection of Karl Marx's writings that dealt with Romanian topics, showing Marx's previously censored, politically uncomfortable views of Russia. Much of the building remains empty, being larger than the Parliament needs, though Parliament shares it with three museums and an international conference center. A three-star general, he was the highest ranking defector from the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. Ceaușescu and his wife Elena fled the capital with Emil Bobu and Manea Mănescu and flew by helicopter to Ceaușescu's Snagov residence, from which they fled again, this time to Târgoviște. Although Ceaușescu had been nominal head of state since 1967, he had merely been first among equals on the State Council, deriving his real power coming from his status as party leader. Romania: The Entangled Revolution. In reality, they were spending time at their Black Sea resort, complete with servants. Alexander Dubček's version of Socialism with a human face was never suited to Romanian Communist goals. "Palace of the damned dictator: On the trail of Ceausescu in Bucharest", Official communique of the National Board of the Audio-Visual, "In Romania, Opinion Polls Show Nostalgia for Communism", "Noul Partid Comunist Român, condus de un șofer de taxi", "SONDAJ. This can be seen, perhaps most blatantly, with a motion from the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Romanian Workers Party, which largely laid the foundation for the Ceaușescu regime's policies regarding the rights of ethnic minorities. 07/22/2010 03:06 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011 Twenty years ago on Christmas Day, the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena were executed after a summary trial. The following month, Ceaușescu's government itself collapsed after a series of violent events in Timișoara and Bucharest. Elena Ceausescu portrait. Bloody revolution broke out in December, and on Christmas Day, Elena and her husband were convicted after a short show trial and shot. At a meeting between the two, Gorbachev upbraided Ceaușescu for his inflexible attitude. Ceausescu and his wife Elena were both unceremoniously executed in 1989 shortly after being swept from power. His political apparatus sent many thousands of political opponents to prison or psychiatric hospitals. In 1982, he exported much of the country's agricultural and industrial production in an effort to repay them. The rioters, however, were no match for the military apparatus concentrated in Bucharest, which cleared the streets by midnight and arrested hundreds of people in the process. [36], Under the regime, the Romani were excluded in the list of "co-inhabiting nationalities" drafted by the regime, and lacked any representation in government as an ethnic group. Few women ever sought to receive this status. [24] The British journalist wrote that the possibility that what Ceaușescu had seen in both China and North Korea were "vast Potemkin villages for the hoodwinking of gullible foreign guests" was something that never seemed to have crossed his mind. [24] Shortly after returning home, he began to emulate North Korea's system. "Ceaușescu" redirects here. Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena share a toast in an undated photograph from their family album Credit: Patrick ROBERT/Sygma via Getty Images T … In her role as the head of the countries sciences, she gained a nickname, and not a flattering one: “Codoi,” which is the Romanian pronunciation of the abbreviation of CO². He spoke of the achievements of the "Socialist revolution" and Romania's "multi-laterally developed Socialist society." They abandoned the helicopter near Târgoviște, having been ordered to land by the army, which by that time had restricted flying in Romania's airspace. [citation needed], Not surprisingly, Ceaușescu was greatly concerned about his public image. She … Since 2004 the Romanian Senate has been headquartered in the Parliamentary Palace and was originally housed in the former building of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party. Ceaușescu reduced the size of the Romanian People's Army by 5%, for which he organized a mock referendum. "Government and Politics". He also secured a deal for cheap oil from Iran, but that deal fell through after the Shah was overthrown. [56] The government continued its cultural dialogue with ancient forms, with Ceaușescu connecting his cult of personality to figures such as Mircea cel Bătrân (lit. In effect, this amounted to a demand for the return of Bessarabia (most of which was then a Soviet republic and since 1991 has been independent Moldova) and northern Bukovina, both of which had been occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940 and again at the end of World War II. The main charge was genocide —namely, murdering "over 60,000 people" during the revolution in Timișoara. The strong opposition to Ceaușescu on all forms of perestroika and glasnost placed Ceaușescu at odds with Mikhail Gorbachev. In an attempt to correct this, Ceaușescu decided to repay Romania's foreign debts. As the years went by she became so vain that she would not allow profile pictures of her to be published, and what photos did reach the public eye were usually doctored in some way. In November 1989, the XIVth Congress of the Romanian Communist Party (PCR) saw Ceaușescu, then aged 71, re-elected for another five years as leader of the PCR. [46] According to the Jurnalul Național,[47] requests were made by the Ceaușescus' daughter, Zoia, and by supporters of their political views, to move their remains to mausoleums or to purpose-built churches. It was previously called The House of the People and The People's House. [12] At Târgu Jiu, Gheorghiu-Dej ran "self-criticism sessions" where various Party members had to confess before the other Party members to misunderstanding the dogma of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin as interpreted by Gheorghiu-Dej; journalist Edward Behr claimed that Ceaușescu's role in these "self-criticism sessions" was that of the enforcer, the young man allegedly beating those Party members who refused to go with or were insufficiently enthusiastic about the "self-criticism" sessions. From 1972 on, however, as her husband solidified his power, she was elevated to more and more powerful government positions. North Korean books on Juche were translated into Romanian and widely distributed inside the country.[25]. 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