Socialist Republic of Romania

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Socialist Republic of Romania_table_infobox_0

Romanian People's Republic

(1947–1965) Republica Populară Romînă  (Romanian)Socialist Republic of Romania (1965–1989) Republica Socialistă România  (Romanian)Socialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_0_0

StatusSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_1_0 Member of the Warsaw Pact (1955–1989)Socialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_1_1

and largest citySocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_2_0

BucharestSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_2_1
Official languagesSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_3_0 RomanianSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_3_1
Recognized languagesSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_4_0 Hungarian, Russian, UkrainianSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_4_1
Demonym(s)Socialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_5_0 RomanianSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_5_1
GovernmentSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_6_0 Unitary Marxist-Leninist one-party socialist republic under a totalitarian regimeSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_6_1
General SecretarySocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_7_0 Socialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_7_1
1947–1965Socialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_8_0 Gheorghe Gheorghiu-DejSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_8_1
1965–1989Socialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_9_0 Nicolae CeaușescuSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_9_1
Head of stateSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_10_0 Socialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_10_1
1947–1952 (first)Socialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_11_0 Constantin ParhonSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_11_1
1967–1989 (last)Socialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_12_0 Nicolae CeaușescuSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_12_1
President of the Council of MinistersSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_13_0 Socialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_13_1
1947–1952 (first)Socialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_14_0 Petru GrozaSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_14_1
1982–1989 (last)Socialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_15_0 Constantin DăscălescuSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_15_1
LegislatureSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_16_0 Great National AssemblySocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_16_1
Historical eraSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_17_0 Cold WarSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_17_1
Forced abdication of Michael ISocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_18_0 30 December 1947Socialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_18_1
New constitution adoptedSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_19_0 13 April 1948Socialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_19_1
New constitution adoptedSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_20_0 24 September 1952Socialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_20_1
New constitution adoptedSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_21_0 21 August 1965Socialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_21_1
Fall of CeaușescuSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_22_0 22 December 1989Socialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_22_1
AreaSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_23_0
1987Socialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_24_0 238,391 km (92,043 sq mi)Socialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_24_1
PopulationSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_25_0
1987Socialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_26_0 23,102,000Socialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_26_1
CurrencySocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_27_0 LeuSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_27_1
Calling codeSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_28_0 40Socialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_28_1
Preceded by

Succeeded by

Kingdom of Romania

RomaniaSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_29_0

Preceded bySocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_30_0 Succeeded bySocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_30_1
Kingdom of RomaniaSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_31_0 RomaniaSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_31_1
Socialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_32_0 Kingdom of RomaniaSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_32_1
RomaniaSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_33_0 Socialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_33_1
Today part ofSocialist Republic of Romania_header_cell_0_34_0 RomaniaSocialist Republic of Romania_cell_0_34_1

The Socialist Republic of Romania (Romanian: Republica Socialistă România, RSR) was a Marxist-Leninist one-party communist state that existed officially in Romania from 1947 to 1989. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_0

From 1947 to 1965, the state was known as the Romanian People's Republic (Republica Populară Romînă, RPR). Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_1

The country was an Eastern Bloc state and a member of the Warsaw Pact with a dominant role for the Romanian Communist Party enshrined in its constitutions. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_2

Geographically, Romania bordered the Black Sea to the east; the Soviet Union (via the Ukrainian and Moldavian SSRs) to the north and east; Hungary and Yugoslavia to the west and Bulgaria to the south. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_3

As World War II ended, Romania, a former Axis member, was occupied by the Soviet Union, the sole representative of the Allies. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_4

On 6 March 1945, after mass demonstrations by communist sympathizers and political pressure from the Soviet representative of the Allied Control Commission, a new pro-Soviet government that included members of the previously outlawed Romanian Workers' Party was installed. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_5

Gradually, more members of the Workers' Party and communist-aligned parties gained control of the administration and pre-war political leaders were steadily eliminated from political life. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_6

In December 1947, King Michael I was forced to abdicate and the People's Republic of Romania was declared. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_7

At first, Romania's scarce post-war resources were drained by the "SovRoms", new tax-exempt Soviet-Romanian companies that allowed the Soviet Union to control Romania's major sources of income. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_8

Another drain was the war reparations paid to the Soviet Union. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_9

However, during the 1950s Romania's communist government began to assert more independence, leading to, for example, the withdrawal of all Soviet troops from Romania by 1958. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_10

In the 1960s and 1970s, Nicolae Ceaușescu became General Secretary of the Communist Party (1965), Chairman of the State Council (1967) and assumed the newly established role of President in 1974. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_11

Ceaușescu's denunciation of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and a brief relaxation in internal repression led to a positive image both at home and in the West. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_12

However, rapid economic growth fueled in part by foreign credits gradually gave way to an austerity and political repression that led to the violent fall of his totalitarian government in December 1989. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_13

Many people were executed or died in custody during communist Romania's existence, most during the Stalinist era of the 1950s. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_14

While judicial executions between 1945 and 1964 numbered 137, deaths in custody are estimated in the tens or hundreds of thousands. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_15

Many more were arrested for political, economical or other reasons and suffered imprisonment, torture or death. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_16

History Socialist Republic of Romania_section_0

Soviet occupation and rise of the Communists Socialist Republic of Romania_section_1

Main article: Soviet occupation of Romania Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_17

When King Michael, supported by the main political parties, overthrew Ion Antonescu in August 1944, breaking Romania away from the Axis and bringing it over to the Allied side, Michael could do nothing to erase the memory of his country's recent active participation in the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_18

Romanian forces fought under Soviet command, driving through Northern Transylvania into Hungary proper, and on into Czechoslovakia and Austria. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_19

However, the Soviets treated Romania as a conquered territory, and Soviet troops continued to occupy the country on the basis of the Romanians having been active Nazi allies with a fascist government until very recently. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_20

The Yalta Conference had granted the Soviet Union a predominant interest in Romania, the Paris Peace Treaties did not acknowledge Romania as an allied co-belligerent, as the Romanian army had fought hard against the Soviets for the better part of the war, changing sides only when the tides started to turn. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_21

The Communists, as all political parties, played only a minor role in King Michael's first wartime government, headed by General Constantin Sănătescu, though their presence increased in the one led by Nicolae Rădescu. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_22

This changed in March 1945, when Dr. Petru Groza of the Ploughmen's Front, a party closely associated with the Communists, became prime minister. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_23

His government was broad-based on paper, including members of most major prewar parties except the fascist Iron Guard. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_24

However, the Communists held the key ministries, and most of the ministers nominally representing non-Communist parties were, like Groza himself, fellow travelers. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_25

The King was not happy with the direction of this government, but when he attempted to force Groza's resignation by refusing to sign any legislation (a move known as "the royal strike"), Groza simply chose to enact laws without bothering to obtain Michael's signature. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_26

On 8 November 1945, King Michael's name day, a pro-monarchy demonstration in front of the Royal Palace in Bucharest escalated into street fights between opposition supporters and soldiers, police and pro-government workers, resulting in dozens of killed and wounded; Soviet officers restrained Romanian soldiers and police from firing on civilians, and Soviet troops restored order. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_27

Despite the King's disapproval, the first Groza government brought land reform and women's suffrage, the former gave the party widespread popularity among peasants from the South and East while the latter gained it the support of educated women. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_28

However, it also brought the beginnings of Soviet domination of Romania. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_29

In the elections of 19 November 1946, the Communist-led Bloc of Democratic Parties (BPD) claimed 84% of the votes. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_30

These elections were characterized by widespread irregularities, including intimidation, electoral fraud, and assassinations Archives confirm suspicions at the time that the election results were, in fact, falsified. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_31

After forming a government, the Communists moved to eliminate the role of the centrist parties; notably, the National Peasants' Party was accused of espionage after it became clear in 1947 that their leaders were meeting secretly with United States officials. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_32

A show trial of their leadership was then arranged, and they were put in jail. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_33

Other parties were forced to "merge" with the Communists. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_34

In 1946 and 1947, several high-ranking members in the pro-Axis government were executed as war criminals, primarily for their involvement in the Holocaust and for attacking the Soviet Union. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_35

Antonescu himself was executed 1 June 1946. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_36

By 1947, Romania remained the only monarchy in the Eastern Bloc. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_37

On 30 December that year, Michael was at his palace in Sinaia when Groza and Gheorghiu-Dej summoned him back to Bucharest. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_38

They presented him with a pretyped instrument of abdication and demanded that he sign it. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_39

With pro-Communist troops surrounding his palace and his telephone lines cut, Michael was forced to sign the document. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_40

Hours later, Parliament abolished the monarchy and proclaimed Romania a People's Republic. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_41

In February 1948, the Communists merged with the Social Democrats to form the Romanian Workers' Party. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_42

However, most independent-minded Socialists were soon pushed out. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_43

Meanwhile, many non-Communist politicians had either been imprisoned or fled into exile. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_44

The Communist regime was formalized with the constitution of 13 April 1948. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_45

The new constitution was a near-copy of the 1936 Soviet Constitution. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_46

While it guaranteed all manner of freedoms on paper, any association which had a "fascist or anti-democratic nature" was forbidden. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_47

This provision was broadly interpreted to ban any party not willing to do the Communists' bidding, and gave a legal façade to a level of repression without precedent in the country's history. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_48

Although the 1948 Constitution and its two successors provided a simulacrum of religious freedom, the regime in fact had a policy of promoting Marxist-Leninist atheism, coupled with religious persecution. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_49

The role of religious bodies was strictly limited to their houses of worship, and large public demonstrations were strictly forbidden. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_50

In 1948, in order to minimize the role of the clergy in society, the government adopted a decree nationalizing church property, including schools. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_51

The regime found wiser to use religion and make it subservient to the regime rather than to eradicate it. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_52

The Communist government also disbanded the Romanian Greek-Catholic Uniate Church, declaring its merger with the Romanian Orthodox Church. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_53

Romanian People's Republic Socialist Republic of Romania_section_2

Early years Socialist Republic of Romania_section_3

The early years of Communist rule in Romania were marked by repeated changes of course and by numerous arrests and imprisonments as factions contended for dominance. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_54

The country's resources were also drained by the Soviet's SovRom agreements, which facilitated shipping of Romanian goods to the Soviet Union at nominal prices. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_55

On 11 June 1948, all banks and large businesses were nationalized. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_56

In the Communist leadership, there appear to have been three important factions, all of them Stalinist, differentiated more by their respective personal histories than by any deep political or philosophical differences. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_57

Later historiography claimed to identify the following factions: the "Muscovites", notably Ana Pauker and Vasile Luca, who had spent the war in Moscow, the "Prison Communists", notably Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, who had been imprisoned during the war and the somewhat less firmly Stalinist, "Secretariat Communists", notably Lucrețiu Pătrășcanu that had made it through the Antonescu years by hiding within Romania and had participated in the broad governments immediately after King Michael's 1944 coup. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_58

Pauker and her allies were accused of deviating to the left and right. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_59

For instance, they were initially allied on not liquidating the rural bourgeoise, but later shifted their position. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_60

Ultimately, with Joseph Stalin's backing, Gheorghiu-Dej won out. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_61

Pauker was purged from the party (along with 192,000 other party members); Pătrășcanu was executed after a show trial. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_62

Gheorghiu-Dej era Socialist Republic of Romania_section_4

Persecution, the labour camp system and anti-communist resistance Socialist Republic of Romania_section_5

First years Socialist Republic of Romania_section_6

On 21 August 1965, following the example of Czechoslovakia, the name of the country was changed to "Socialist Republic of Romania" (Republica Socialistă România, RSR) and PMR's old name was restored (Partidul Comunist Român, PCR; "Romanian Communist Party"). Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_63

In his early years in power, Ceaușescu was genuinely popular, both at home and abroad. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_64

Agricultural goods were abundant, consumer goods began to reappear, there was a cultural thaw, and, what was important abroad, he spoke out against the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_65

While his reputation at home soon soured, he continued to have uncommonly good relations with Western governments and with international capitalist institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank because of his independent political line. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_66

Romania under Ceaușescu maintained and sometimes improved diplomatic and other relations with, among others, West Germany, Israel, China, Albania, and Pinochet's Chile, all for various reasons not on good terms with Moscow. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_67

Human rights issues Socialist Republic of Romania_section_7

Concerned about the country's low birthrates, Nicolae Ceaușescu enacted an aggressive natalist policy, which included outlawing abortion and contraception, routine pregnancy tests for women, taxes on childlessness, and legal discrimination against childless people. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_68

This period has later been depicted in movies and documentaries (such as 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Children of the Decree). Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_69

To counter the sharp decline of the population, the Communist Party decided that the Romanian population should be increased from 23 to 30 million inhabitants. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_70

In October 1966, Decree 770 was authorized by Ceaușescu. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_71

These pro-natalist measures had some degree of success, as a baby boom resulted in the late 1960s, with the generations born in 1967 and 1968 being the largest in the country's history. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_72

The natalist policies temporarily increased birth rates for a few years, but this was followed by a later decline due to an increased use of illegal abortion. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_73

Ceaușescu's policy resulted in the deaths of over 9,000 women due to illegal abortions, large numbers of children put into Romanian orphanages by parents who couldn't cope with raising them, street children in the 1990s (when many orphanages were closed and the children ended up on the streets), and overcrowding in homes and schools. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_74

The irony of Ceaușescu's natalist policy was that a generation that may not otherwise have been born would eventually lead the Romanian Revolution which would overthrow and have him executed. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_75

Other restrictions of human rights included invasion of privacy by the secret police (the "Securitate"), censorship and relocation, but not on the same scale as in the 1950s. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_76

During the Ceaușescu era, there was a secret ongoing "trade" between Romania on one side and Israel and West Germany on the other side, under which Israel and West Germany paid money to Romania to allow Romanian citizens with certified Jewish or German ancestry to emigrate to Israel and West Germany, respectively. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_77

Industrialization Socialist Republic of Romania_section_8

Ceaușescu's Romania continued to pursue Gheorghiu-Dej's policy of industrialization. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_78

Romania made progress with the economy. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_79

From 1951 to 1974, Romania's gross industrial output increased at an average annual rate of 13 percent. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_80

Several branches of heavy industry were founded, including the machine-tool, tractor, and automotive industries; large-tonnage shipbuilding; the manufacture of electric diesel locomotives; and the electronics and petrochemical industries. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_81

Prior to the mid-1970s, Bucharest, as most other cities, was developed by expanding the city, especially towards the south, east and west. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_82

High density residential neighbourhoods were built on the outskirts of the city, some (such as Drumul Taberei, Berceni, Titan or Giurgiului) of architectural and urban planning value. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_83

Conservation plans were made, especially during the 1960s and early 1970s, but all were halted after Ceaușescu embarked on what is known as "The Small Cultural Revolution" ("Mica revoluție culturală"), after visiting North Korea and the People's Republic of China and then delivering a speech known as the July Theses. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_84

In the late 1970s, the construction of the Bucharest Metro system was started. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_85

After two years, 10 km of network were already complete and after another 2 years, 9 km of tunnels were ready for use. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_86

By 17 August 1989, 49.01 km of the subway system and 34 stations were already in use. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_87

The earthquake of 1977 shocked Bucharest; many buildings collapsed, and many others were weakened. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_88

This was the backdrop that led to a policy of large-scale demolition which affected monuments of historical significance or architectural masterpieces such as the monumental Vǎcǎrești Monastery (1722), the "Sfânta Vineri" (1645) and "Enei" (1611) Churches, the Cotroceni (1679) and Pantelimon (1750) Monasteries, and the art deco "Republic's Stadium" (ANEF Stadium, 1926). Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_89

Even the Palace of Justice – built by Romania's foremost architect, Ion Mincu – was scheduled for demolition in early 1990, according to the systematisation papers. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_90

Yet another tactic was abandoning and neglecting buildings and bringing them into such a state that they would require being torn down. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_91

Thus, the policy towards the city after the earthquake was not one of reconstruction, but one of demolition and building anew. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_92

An analysis by the Union of Architects, commissioned in 1990, claims that over 2000 buildings were torn down, with over 77 of very high architectural importance, most of them in good condition. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_93

Even Gara de Nord (the city's main railway station), listed on the Romanian Architectural Heritage List, was scheduled to be torn down and replaced in early 1992. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_94

Despite all of this, and despite the much-questioned treatment of HIV-infected orphans, the country continued to have a notably good system of schools. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_95

Also, not every industrialization project was a failure: Ceaușescu left Romania with a reasonably effective system of power generation and transmission, gave Bucharest a functioning subway, and left many cities with an increase in habitable apartment buildings. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_96

1980s: severe rationing Socialist Republic of Romania_section_9

Main article: 1980s austerity policy in Romania Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_97

Romania continued to make progress. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_98

High rates of growth in production created conditions for raising living standards of the people. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_99

From 1950 to the mid-1980s, average net wages increased more than eightfold. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_100

The consumption fund increased 22-fold, and a broad program of building cultural facilities and housing was carried out. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_101

Over 80 percent of the country's population had moved to new apartments during this period. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_102

Despite all this, living standards in the country remained some of Europe's lowest and as early as 1981, there were clear signs of public discontent, such as riots and an angry mob throwing rocks at Ceaușescu's helicopter while it made a flight to Transylvania that October. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_103

Ceaușescu desired to repay Western loans, and thus enacted a harsh austerity policy, including rationing of food, gas, heating and electricity. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_104

People in cities had to turn to natural gas containers ("butelii") or charcoal stoves, even though they were connected to the gas mains. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_105

With full-scale food rationing in place, the Communist Party published official guidelines on how Romanians could eat nutritiously while reducing their calorie intake by 25%. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_106

There was a shortage of available goods for the average Romanian. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_107

By 1984, despite a high crop yield and increased food production, wide-scale food rationing was introduced. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_108

The government promoted it as "rational eating" and "a means to reduce obesity". Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_109

Most of what was available were export rejects, as most of the quality goods were exported, even underpriced, in order to obtain hard currency, either to pay the debt, or to push forward in the ever-growing pursuit of heavy industrialization. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_110

Measures in the mechanization and chemicalization of farming helped to increase the output of agricultural products. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_111

In 1950, more than 300 kg of cereals was gathered per head of the population; by 1982 this amount had increased to 1 ton per person. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_112

Meat production increased from 29.5 to 100 kg. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_113

In the late 1980s, the United Nations Human Development report classified Romania as having had high human development. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_114

The life expectancy was 71 years, the literacy rate was 96%, and the Real GDP per capita was $3000. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_115

By 1985, despite Romania's huge refining capacity, petroleum products were strictly rationed with supplies drastically cut, a Sunday curfew was instated, and many buses used methane propulsion (they were mockingly named "bombs"); taxis were converted to burning methanol. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_116

Electricity was rationed to divert supplies to heavy industry, with a maximum monthly allowed consumption of 20 kWh per family (everything over this limit was heavily taxed). Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_117

Only one in five streetlights was kept on, and television was reduced to a single channel broadcasting just 2 hours each day. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_118

All these policies combined led Romanians to have the lowest standard of living in Europe, with the possible exception of Albania. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_119

Systematization: demolition and reconstruction Socialist Republic of Romania_section_10

Main article: Systematization (Romania) Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_120

Systematization (Romanian: Sistematizarea) refers to the program of urban planning carried out under Ceaușescu's regime. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_121

After a visit to North Korea in 1971, Ceaușescu was impressed by the Juche ideology of that country, and began a massive campaign shortly afterwards. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_122

Beginning in 1974, systematization consisted largely of the demolition and reconstruction of existing villages, towns, and cities, in whole or in part, with the stated goal of turning Romania into a "multilaterally developed socialist society". Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_123

The policy largely consisted in the mass construction of high-density blocks of flats (blocuri). Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_124

During the 1980s, Ceaușescu became obsessed with building himself a palace of unprecedented proportions, along with an equally grandiose neighborhood, Centrul Civic, to accompany it. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_125

The mass demolitions that occurred in the 1980s under which an overall area of eight square kilometres of the historic center of Bucharest were leveled, including monasteries, churches, synagogues, a hospital, and a noted Art Deco sports stadium, in order to make way for the grandiose Centrul Civic (Civic center) and the House of the Republic, now officially renamed the Palace of Parliament, were the most extreme manifestation of the systematization policy. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_126

Last years: increased social control Socialist Republic of Romania_section_11

Control over society became stricter and stricter, with an East German-style phone bugging system installed, and with Securitate recruiting more agents, extending censorship and keeping tabs and records on a large segment of the population. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_127

By 1989, according to CNSAS (the Council for Studies of the Archives of the Former Securitate), one in three Romanians was an informant for the Securitate. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_128

Due to this situation, income from tourism dropped substantially, the number of foreign tourists visiting Romania dropping by 75%, with the three main tour operators that organized trips in Romania leaving the country by 1987. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_129

Ceausescu also started becoming the subject of a vast personality cult, his portrait on every street and hanging in every public building. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_130

By 1988, with perestroika and glasnost policies in effect in the Soviet Union and China undergoing economic reforms, Romania's Stalinist sociopolitical system began to look increasingly out-of-place, but all attempts were made to keep the populace isolated from events going on outside the country. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_131

Also, while the West had been willing in the past to overlook Ceausescu's human rights record in lieu of his independent, anti-Soviet stance, this was becoming less relevant with the Cold War winding down. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_132

As such, Romania started coming under fire from the US and its allies, but such complaints were merely brushed off as "unwelcome interference in our nation's internal affairs". Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_133

There was also a revival of the effort to build: Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_134

Socialist Republic of Romania_unordered_list_0

  • a Danube–Black Sea Canal, which was completed,Socialist Republic of Romania_item_0_0
  • a nationwide canal system and irrigation network, some of which was completed, but most of which is still a project, or was abandoned,Socialist Republic of Romania_item_0_1
  • an effort to improve the railway system with electrification and a modern control system,Socialist Republic of Romania_item_0_2
  • the Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant,Socialist Republic of Romania_item_0_3
  • a national hydroelectric power system, including the Porțile de Fier power station on the Danube in cooperation with Yugoslavia,Socialist Republic of Romania_item_0_4
  • a network of oil refineries,Socialist Republic of Romania_item_0_5
  • a fairly developed oceanic fishing fleet,Socialist Republic of Romania_item_0_6
  • naval shipyards at Constanța,Socialist Republic of Romania_item_0_7
  • a good industrial basis for the chemical and heavy machinery industries, andSocialist Republic of Romania_item_0_8
  • a rather well-developed foreign policySocialist Republic of Romania_item_0_9

Pollution Socialist Republic of Romania_section_12

Another legacy of this era was pollution: Ceaușescu's government scored badly on this count even by the standards of the Eastern European communist states. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_135

Examples include Copșa Mică with its infamous Carbon Powder factory (in the 1980s, the whole city could be seen from satellite as covered by a thick black cloud), Hunedoara, or the plan, launched in 1989, to convert the unique Danube Delta – a UNESCO World Heritage site – to plain agricultural fields. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_136

Downfall Socialist Republic of Romania_section_13

Brașov Riot Socialist Republic of Romania_section_14

Main article: Brașov Rebellion Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_137

December 1989 was the last act of a finale that had started in 1987, in Brașov. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_138

The anti-communist riot in Brașov on 15 November 1987 was the main political event that announced the imminent fall of communism in Romania. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_139

The revolt started at the enterprise of Trucks Brașov, as a strike that began on the night of 14 November, on the night-shift, and it continued the next morning with a march downtown, in front of the Council of the Romanian Communist Party. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_140

The population heard about this event through Radio Free Europe. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_141

As Emil Hurezeanu tells it: "I remember that Neculai Constantin Munteanu, the moderator of the show, started the broadcast: 'Brașov! Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_142

So Brașov! Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_143

Now it started!' Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_144

This was the tone of the whole broadcast. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_145

We had interviews, information, interpretations of some political interpretations, older press articles announcing open street protests against Ceaușescu." Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_146

The reprisals against the strikers were rapid. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_147

The workers were arrested and imprisoned and their families were terrorized, but this act of courage on the part of the workers of Brașov set the stage for future mass revolts. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_148

Emil Hurezeanu continues: "... All these have been turned into an offensive. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_149

The reaction of the regime was expected.. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_150

Very soon it was seen that the regime wants to hide it, to cancel it, practically not to respond to claims, not to take measures, to change anything, not to turn this protest into a public debate or even inside the party, in the Political Executive Committee. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_151

And then, the recipe of street confrontations with the regime became the only...possible. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_152

It became the leitmotif of all the media analysis. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_153

[...] It was the beginning of an action against the system that comprises more items. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_154

It was a labor protest in a citadel of Ceaușescu, it was an antidictatorial message, it was a clear political context: the pressures of Moscow, Ceaușescu's refusal to accept the demands of Gorbachev, the breaking with the West, who changed the views towards the regime – all these have made us to believe that the beginning of the end was coming". Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_155

Protests in 1989 before the Revolution Socialist Republic of Romania_section_15

In March 1989, several leading activists of the PCR protested in a letter that criticized the economic policies of Nicolae Ceaușescu, but shortly thereafter Ceaușescu achieved a significant political victory: Romania paid off its external debt of about US$11 billion several months earlier than even the Romanian dictator had expected. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_156

Ceaușescu was formally reelected secretary general of the Romanian Communist Party—-the only political party of the Romanian Socialist Republic—-on 14 November at the party's XIVth Congress. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_157

On 11 November 1989, before the party congress, on Bucharest's Brezoianu Street and Kogalniceanu Boulevard, students from Cluj-Napoca and Bucharest demonstrated with placards that read "We want Reforms against Ceaușescu government." Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_158

The students—Paraschivescu Mihnea, Vulpe Gratian, the economist Dan Caprariu from Cluj and others—were arrested and investigated by the Securitate at the Rahova Penitentiary [], accused of propaganda against the socialist society. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_159

They were released on 22 December 1989 at 14.00. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_160

There were other letters and other attempts to draw attention to the economic, cultural, and spiritual oppression of Romanians, but they served only to intensify the activity of the communist police and Securitate. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_161

Revolution Socialist Republic of Romania_section_16

Main article: Romanian Revolution Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_162

On 16 December, a protest broke out in Timișoara in response to an attempt by the government to evict the dissident pastor László Tőkés from his church flat. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_163

Tőkés had recently made critical comments against the regime to the Hungarian media, and the government alleged that he was inciting ethnic hatred. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_164

His parishioners gathered around his home to protect him from harassment and eviction. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_165

Many passers-by, including Romanian students, spontaneously joined the protest. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_166

Subsequently, police and Securitate forces showed up at the scene. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_167

By 7:30 pm, the protest had spread, and the original cause became largely irrelevant. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_168

Some of the protesters attempted to burn down the building that housed the District Committee of the Romanian Communist Party (PCR). Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_169

The Securitate responded with tear gas and water jets, while the police attacked rioters and arrested many of them. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_170

Around 9:00 pm, the rioters withdrew. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_171

They regrouped eventually around the Romanian Orthodox Cathedral and started a protest march around the city, but again they were confronted by the security forces. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_172

Riots and protests resumed the following day, 17 December. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_173

The rioters broke into the District Committee building. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_174

The army failed to establish order and chaos ensued, with gunfire, fighting, burning of cars, and casualties. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_175

Unlike the Soviet Union at the same time, Romania had not developed a large, privileged elite. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_176

Ceausescu's family maintained all control of politics and Communist Party officials were paid poorly and often rotated from job to job, thus preventing any potential political rivals from developing a base of support. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_177

This prevented the rise of the Gorbachev-era reformist Communism found in Hungary or the Soviet Union. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_178

Ceausescu was so bitterly opposed to reform that he went as far as to call for a Warsaw Pact invasion of Poland after its Communists decided to treat with the opposition–a marked turn from his vehement opposition to the invasion of Czechoslovakia two decades earlier. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_179

Similarly, unlike in Poland, Ceaușescu reacted to strikes entirely through a strategy of further oppression. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_180

Romania was nearly the last of the Eastern European communist governments to fall; its fall was also the most violent up to that time. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_181

Protests and riots broke out in Timișoara on 17 December and soldiers opened fire on the protesters, killing about 100 people. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_182

After cutting short a two-day trip to Iran, Ceaușescu gave a televised speech on 20 December in which he condemned the events of Timișoara, saying he considered them an act of foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Romania and an aggression through foreign secret services on Romania's sovereignty, and declared National Curfew, convoking a mass meeting in his support in Bucharest for the next day. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_183

The uprising of Timișoara became known across the country, and on the morning of 21 December, protests spread to Sibiu, Bucharest and elsewhere. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_184

Matters came to a head on 21 December, when Ceausescu's speech at the Central Committee Building (CC) in Bucharest turned into chaos. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_185

The crowd, in a reaction that would have been unthinkable for most of the previous quarter-century, openly booed and jeered Ceaușescu as he spoke. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_186

He was forced to hide himself in the CC Building after losing control of his own "supporters". Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_187

The night of 21 December brought fighting between protesters and the Securitate, police and part of the army forces; more than 1100 protesters lost their lives during the fights over the next few days. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_188

On the morning of 22 December, it was announced that the army general Vasile Milea was dead by suicide. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_189

Believing that Milea had actually been murdered, the rank-and-file soldiers went over almost en masse to the budding rebellion. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_190

A second attempt at a speech the next day quickly failed. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_191

Soon, people were besieging the Central Committee Building, coming within a few meters of Ceaușescu himself; the Securitate did nothing to help him. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_192

Ceaușescu soon fled by helicopter from the rooftop of the CC Building, only to find himself abandoned in Târgoviște, where he and his wife Elena were finally tried by a drumhead court-martial, convicted after an hour and a half, and executed by firing squad moments after the verdict and sentence were announced on 25 December. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_193

The PCR dissolved soon afterward and has never been revived. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_194

Controversy over the events of December 1989 Socialist Republic of Romania_section_17

For several months after the events of December 1989, it was widely argued that Ion Iliescu and the National Salvation Front (FSN) had merely taken advantage of the chaos to stage a coup. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_195

While, ultimately, a great deal did change in Romania, it is still a subject of contention among Romanians and other observers as to whether this was their intent from the outset, or merely pragmatic playing of the cards they were dealt. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_196

By December 1989 Ceaușescu's harsh and counterproductive economic and political policies had cost him the support of many government officials and even the most loyal Communist Party cadres, most of whom joined forces with the popular revolution or simply refused to support him. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_197

This loss of support from government officials ultimately set the stage for Ceaușescu's demise. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_198

The Romanian army also was a factor in the regime's fall as it suffered from severe budget cuts while vast sums were spent on the Securitate, leaving them severely discontented and unwilling to save Ceaușescu. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_199

Politics Socialist Republic of Romania_section_18

See also: Politics of Romania and Economy of the Socialist Republic of Romania Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_200

RSR's political framework was a socialist republic run by a single party, the Romanian Communist Party. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_201

All of its legislative meetings took place in Bucharest. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_202

Foreign relations Socialist Republic of Romania_section_19

Main article: Foreign relations of Romania Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_203

Romania's foreign policy was aligned with all nations that were aligned with the Soviet Union. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_204

Under Ceaușescu it enjoyed strategic relations with the Western Bloc and the Non-Aligned Movement, and it was the only Eastern Bloc country not to boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_205

Following the Sino-Soviet split, Romania also maintained relations with China and North Korea as well as the Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge-ruled Democratic Kampuchea. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_206

However, Romania joined the United Nations on 14 December 1955 (see United Nations Security Council Resolution 109) as well as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1972. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_207

In July 1980, Romania signed a comprehensive trade agreement with the European Economic Community; which in turn became the European Union in 1993 when Romania joined in 2007. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_208

Legacy Socialist Republic of Romania_section_20

Despite the harsh austerity measures of the 1980s in Romania being still in living memory, many Romanians respond in polls that they would prefer a restoration of the Communist regime (as much as 53% in a 2012 poll), looking back nostalgically at an era of perceived stability and safety as opposed to the recent economic and political instability. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_209

After the fall of the communist regime, Romania began shifting its political and economic policies from support (albeit tepid) for Moscow to aligning itself with Brussels and Washington by joining NATO in 2004 and the European Union in 2007. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_210

The clientelistic networks that kept incompetent cadres in power were resilient after the Romanian Communist Party collapsed in 1989, allowing them to persist and generate post-communist corruption. Socialist Republic of Romania_sentence_211

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Republic of Romania.