The Archive of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989

A Catch-22 December 1989, Groundhog-Day Production. Presenting the Personal Research & Scholarship of Richard Andrew Hall, Ph.D.

Russian News Broadcasts about Nicolae Ceausescu’s Overthrow in December 1989

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on September 13, 2014

(purely personal views as always, based on two decades of prior research and publications, thank you)

Ah, boy, does this musical intro bring me back…to the headphones and VHS (Beta?) video machines in the language lab of Cabell Hall (?) at the University of Virginia in the late 1980s.  Russian is one of those languages from the scrap heap of “languages I started studying but stopped studying before I could use them.”  I studied Russian for two years, fall ’86-spring ’88 at UVA.  Other languages from this category include:  German (Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, fall ’88-spring ’89) and Kazakh (Indiana University Bloomington, REEI SWEESL Summer language program, summer 1993).  Please note:  any help from those who can actually understand Russian as to important insights from these videos would be appreciated.

[As an introductory aside:  check out newsreader Galina Zimenkova from 0:20!  Now we know where Fox News got their concept of ” anchor babes” from…I believe she is wearing something from the Frumpy G.U.M. collection, 1972…by the way, did longtime baseball announcer Harry Caray realize his glasses were missing?  Ok, enough of that.]

A few notes/questions:

2:40 may be footage previously unseen on TVR

6:11 a report from Timisoara begins

8:22 Aboimov

(Non-Romania content Bonus:  11:56 Check out Kazakhstan’s Communist Party First Secretary, N.A. Nazarbayev…anybody know whatever happened to that guy?!)

Video from Romania reports at 1:48 and 3:32 (Palatul Victoriei); highlight is an interview with Ion Iliescu from 3:55, in what seems like halting Russian, apparently specifying that the events of Ceausescu’s overthrow were “spontaneous” because/and there were no “organized” structures to take over (Petre Roman looks on at his side).

from 15:08 (after other Romania reports), report from the Iron Gates and the transport and hospital treatment of injured Russian tourists to Yugoslavia, including interviews with an injured woman.

Marius Mioc has extensive coverage/research of this event at . See, for example, and

Below, a previously un-posted article:

Alin Alexandru, “Un incident ciudat in care cinci cetateni sovietici nu raspund somatiei.  SE CAUTA O MASINA DIN CARE S-A TRAS,” Expres nr. 46 decembrie 1990, p. 6.

(1994 lot from the B.A.R. Biblioteca Academiei Romane…hence the poor quality of the xerox)


Thanks to Mark Kramer for the following clarifications on the Russian broadcasts:

Regarding the Soviet broadcasts.  They highlighted the large number of casualties and discussed the steps being taken by the new authorities to prevent “terrorists” from infiltrating the city.  In the first broadcast, Iliescu does not appear on screen, but they quote him to the effect that he denied the National Salvation Front had appealed to the Soviet Union for military aid.  Such aid, Iliescu claimed, was unnecessary, and calm was gradually being restored.  In the second broadcast, Iliescu and Roman appear and speak with the Soviet journalist.  Iliescu, who does all the talking, speaks Russian quite fluently (not haltingly).  He’s talking mostly about their plans for the future political development of Romania.  The broadcaster notes that hardened bands of pro-Ceausescu Securitate forces are continuing to put up armed resistance.  The third broadcast contains the most extensive coverage of Romania, including the transfer of injured Soviet tourists to Yugoslavia for treatment, the diversion of transport networks, international expressions of support for Romania, etc., etc.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: