Western media called them simply: Gorby and Chow
To the sounds of the International
The execution of two elderly people was the bloody finale of the velvet revolutions chess game in Eastern Europe. Romanian “revolutionaries” sacrificed their president exactly 30 years ago, on December 25, 1989. After that, only Stalin’s Albania still held out, and even then only a year – until November 1990.
And the decisive factor in those events was, of course, the notorious Gorbachev’s “perestroika”. In the spirit of the notorious “new thinking”, it led not only to the rapid curtailment of political and economic cooperation with the socialist countries, but also to the paradoxical support of the anti-socialist opposition in them. That, in the aggregate, predetermined, or rather, noticeably accelerated the collapse of East European socialism.
According to official assessments of the leadership of the PRC, DPRK, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos (1989-1993), which still remain socialist, the consequences of political and economic mistakes made from the beginning – mid-60s and later by the authorities of the socialist countries of Eastern Europe quickly worsened due to with Soviet “perestroika” and “new thinking”.
They only more clearly marked the accelerated cessation of economic and military-political cooperation between the USSR and those countries. But in those of them where the authorities tried to resist such pernicious external tendencies, Moscow decided to support anti-socialist movements. This particularly affected Romania and the GDR, which is recognized even by Western experts who sympathize with the first and at the same time the last president of the USSR.
However, for some reason the bloody nativity scene was carried out precisely in relation to the head of Romania. Most likely, he was never forgiven for publicly condemning the entire post-Stalinist Soviet policy, and not just the “perestroika” one.
Nicolae Ceausescu, as you know, even decided, according to his proposal at the last, XIV Congress of the Romanian Communist Party (November 20-25, 1989), to convene no later than December 1989 an international forum of the Communist Parties in Bucharest to collectively condemn “perestroika”. Did not have time. But Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu still managed to sing the first verse of the communist “Internationale” before the execution.
But you must be a communist
The conflict between the Romanian communists and the Soviet ones was brewing long before the mid-1980s. Shortly after the XX Congress of the CPSU, in 1958, the Romanian leadership achieved the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the country. And the Romanian media, from 1956 until the coup, periodically complained about “Khrushchev’s subjective assessment of I. V. Stalin and the Stalinist period in the USSR and many socialist countries of Eastern Europe.”
10 years later, in the fall of 1968, shortly after the “Prague Spring”, Bucharest quite officially took a harshly negative position in relation to the notorious military operation “Danube”. Protests against the entry of Soviet, as well as Polish and German troops into Czechoslovakia spilled over even on the streets of the Romanian capital and large cities.
N. Ceausescu quite unequivocally refused to support the position of the USSR in its conflicts with the PRC and Albania. In fact, in response, Moscow in the early 70s refused to supply pipeline oil and gas to Yugoslavia and Austria in transit through Romania. Soviet hydrocarbons were pumped through Hungary and Czechoslovakia. True, the USSR-Romania-Bulgaria-Greece gas pipeline was soon built, but Sofia received higher transit payments from it than Bucharest.
Romania deliberately and demonstratively developed relations with China, North Korea and Albania, “non-Soviet” as well as with Israel, with the Pinochet regime in Chile, with Cambodia in Pol Pot and with Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat, who did not hide his sympathies for Hitler. Plus, the Romanian authorities refused to inform Moscow about the negotiations of Nicolae Ceausescu with the leadership of the PRC in Beijing in 1971, 1973. and in Bucharest in 1978, with Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang in 1978, with Pol Pot in Bucharest and Phnom Penh (1977-78).
Nicolae Ceausescu and Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres
All these facts and factors almost led to an open conflict between socialist Romania and the USSR at the turn of the 60s and 70s of the last century. In this regard, the leadership of the SRR (Socialist Republic of Romania) and N. Ceausescu personally, voluntarily or involuntarily, became a de facto “dispatched” ally of the West in the organization of the Warsaw Pact and the CMEA.
Romanian leaders have been frequent visitors to Western governments since the mid-1960s. For example, the US President and Secretary of State – Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger – paid a triumphant visit to Bucharest shortly after the Sino-Soviet conflict on Damansky Island; not long before that, Ceausescu made an equally solemn visit to France, where Charles de Gaulle was still president (until May 1969).
It is not surprising that Romania began to receive growing Western financial and economic assistance at the same time, including concessional loans from the IMF. Where she, the only pro-Soviet socialist country, was taken in 1977 (soon Poland and Hungary were also recorded in the IMF).
Moreover, since the late 70s in Romania (at a special plant in the city of Pitesti in the south of the country), with the help of Germany, France, China, Israel, Pakistan, atomic weapons have been developed. Thus, N. Ceausescu demonstrated in front of Moscow a desire, as they say, for a self-sufficient, moreover, high-power defense capability of the country. By the end of the 80s, nuclear charges were already being prepared to be launched into series, but a sharp deterioration in the socio-economic situation in the country forced the project to be interrupted.
Bucharest under siege
The economic obstruction of Romania by the USSR and its allies (especially Bulgaria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia) has been steadily increasing since the late 70s. And since 1987, the West began to pursue the same line, taking into account Bucharest’s tough opposition to Gorbachev’s policy.
The situation for Romania was also worsened by the disintegration of Yugoslavia that had begun, as well as the softening of the confrontation with Moscow by Beijing, which took place against the background of the active development of political and economic relations with the United States.
In young Nikolay it is difficult to guess the future “conductor”
And the Romanian leader stubbornly continued to sharpen criticism of Gorbachev’s policies, increasingly trying on the title of “conductor” – a leader, a leader like the Italian “Duce”. He insisted on convening a world forum of communist parties in Bucharest, including Stalinist-Maoist parties, to condemn her. But Moscow naturally rejected this proposal, which was confirmed by Gorbachev during his last meeting with Ceausescu on December 4, 1989 in Moscow.
At the same time, N. Ceausescu ensured that in 1987-1989 Romania paid off almost 95% (almost $ 20 billion) of its debt to the West. But, of course, with obvious consequences for the economy and living standards in the country. It is clear that under the current conditions the economy and especially the social sphere of the country “collapsed”, and this increased the opposition of the population and, accordingly, intensified the repression of the “Securitate” (Romanian KGB).
Meanwhile, the subversive actions of the West, the USSR and most of the “fraternal” European socialist countries against Romania were intensified. They included sabotage at a number of enterprises, railways, and energy facilities.
Here is the testimony of Simon Stephani, who in 1989-90 served as head of the Albanian KGB (“Sigurimi”):
“We received, including from colleagues from the DPRK and the GDR, and transmitted information to Bucharest about the meetings of emissaries of the KGB, CIA and BND (intelligence of the Federal Republic of Germany. – Author’s note), which took place in 1988-89 in Hungary and Bulgaria for finalizing the plan for overthrowing Ceausescu. Data was also transmitted about the transfer of weapons, special groups to the SRP to provoke riots. We offered Securitate closer cooperation, but its leadership agreed to this only at the beginning of November 1989, which was already too late for the SRR ” …
Why did the Securitate agree so late to Tirana’s proposal? Probably because there were already revolutionaries in its leadership? The coup in Romania began on December 17 with the provocative shooting of special groups in the form of “Securitate” at residents and demonstrators in the city of Timisoara in northwestern Romania.
10 days earlier, the country’s president, having visited Tehran, tried to persuade the Iranian authorities to urgently provide financial and political assistance to Romania. But I didn’t get a clear answer. And four days before the coup, the North Korean Embassy in Bucharest, according to a number of data, offered the Ceausescu couple to evacuate on a North Korean plane to the DPRK, but the conductor refused. He often said in November-December 1989: “They will not dare to touch me.” But Ceausescu was wrong …
All this, taken together, quickly led to a bloody denouement – the execution of the Ceausescu couple under a judicial screen. Moreover, in the presence of Reuters correspondents. But in history, as you know, nothing happens without consequences. So in the case of the execution of the Ceausescu couple – almost all those involved in it subsequently either committed suicide or died under strange circumstances …