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.

About/Bio/Contact for Richard Andrew Hall

The views on this site are mine alone.  They do not represent my current or former government or academic employers or, in the case of grants and fellowships, financial supporters.

Welcome/Bine ati venit! to my website:  The Archive of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989

Thank you for your time and interest. Please feel free to comment (over time, I have had to screen comments in advance, owing to the usual flood of spam with no relation to the subject at hand).

The choice of name (which has changed over time) is an effort to distinguish this site from the excellent volume by Peter Siani-Davies, The Romanian Revolution of December 1989 (Cornell University Press, 2005), and to reflect my desire to make available to the general public newspaper articles from my own personal archive, as well as pertinent documents, articles, videos, and images to be found elsewhere on the Internet. This site is the single source for hundreds of articles from the Romanian press of the early 1990s that do not appear anywhere else on the Internet (in fact they are routinely purloined and presented as the finds of others, particularly in Romania).  The site includes my scholarship and publications, beginning with my dissertation in 1996, and writings which followed in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2009.

The genesis of this site lay in my observation that much of what was being written in the 2000s by Romanian journalists and researchers ignored, was not aware of, or filtered out a huge amount of previous investigations and research…from the Romanian press itself of the early 1990s.  It was also the realization that even though I am somewhat of a technological dinosaur, the Internet offered opportunities to not just refer to sources, but to post those sources so that readers could themselves judge the information upon which I was building my understanding and arguments.

The evidence, re/sources, and views presented on this site are very clearly my own.  They in no way represent or should be construed as representing the views of the Central Intelligence Agency.  Except for the application process, prior to entering employment in September 2000, I had no interaction with CIA.  The case made on this site is thus designed to stand on its own and presents only publicly-available information (for example, when FBIS xeroxes appear, they were either made as a graduate student or as a private citizen on my own time at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC).  I ask for readers understanding with the quality of scans of articles from the Romanian press of the early 1990s.  Most of these were made during my Ph.D. dissertation research year in Bucharest on an IIE-Fulbright grant (October 1993-July 1994) or in my free time as an IREX-funded teacher in Cluj (February-July 1997), when the availability and quality of xerox machines in Romania was a real challenge.  Neither the Institute for International Education nor IREX, nor the Woodrow Wilson Center (who provided me with a short-term grant in East European Studies for July 1995 at the Library of Congress), is responsible for any of my findings or views to be found on this site.

In the event of inactive or dead links, please contact me, and I will attempt to rectify the situation if possible.  Thank you and pleasant perusing of my site!

Richard Andrew Hall, Ph.D. (Political Science, Indiana University, 1997)

Contact e-mail:

Born 1966


[Below Excerpted from a now, very-dated, for a number of reasons, curriculum vitae, submitted 18 August 2010; approved by CIA’s PRB with redactions 27 August 2010.]


Overview of Scholarly Research and Writings

Much of my scholarly research has focused on the events, historiography, and legacy of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989.  In December 2009, the Romania Libera daily published a three-part series (22, 22, and 23 December 2009) reprising several chapters from my 1996 dissertation.   Other sources have used my 1999 East European Politics and Societies article, my 2000 Europe-Asia Studies article, or my more recent work on the Internet since joining CIA in September 2000 (see below).


Examples of Use of My Research and Writings

Richard Andrew Hall, “The Uses of Absurdity: The Staged War Theory and the Romanian Revolution of December 1989,” East European Politics and Societies vol. 13, no. 3 (1999): 510-542.

Hall is a CIA analyst. The article tackles issues of interpretation of the 1989 revolution by political scientists, historians and journalists. Hall argues against the “staged war” conspiracy theory. He claims that the “terrorists” responsible for fighting on in late December were members of the Securitate, and he shows that Securitate accounts are responsible for spreading rumors that the violence in December was staged in order to create the myth of a heroic revolutionary origin for the National Salvation Front that had merely staged a palace coup in deposing Ceauşescu.

[Making the History of 1989 is an online database for teachers and students. The educational site provides teaching materials including scholar interviews, teaching modules, case studies and primary sources related to the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. The digital history project was created by the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University.[1] The project received funding and other assistance from the National Endowment for the Humanities and from the German Historical Institute located in Washington, D.C.  Description from ]

Colin Woodard, “Probing Romania’s cryptic revolution,” Global Post, December 18, 2009, at

Independent researcher Richard Andrew Hall points to substantial evidence that shadowy anti-revolutionary forces were involved in the intense fighting in the days after Ceausescu’s flight. Hall has posted research papers pointing out widespread accounts of people being injured or killed by dum-dum bullets, which are designed to shatter inside the body to maximize organ damage and are outlawed under the Geneva Conventions. Ordinary army and police units did not stock such ammo.

“Let us hope that on the twentieth anniversary of the Revolution we may be able to read serious investigations of the ballistics evidence, rather than be subjected to the false and jaded refrain [that] such things did not exist,” Mr. Hall concluded.

(Hall’s current employer — the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency — has allowed him to publish his personal research, but does not permit him to give interviews.)

The year that changed the world: the untold story behind the fall … – Google Books Result

Michael Meyer – 2009 – History – 255 pages
I am indebted to Richard Andrew Hall for his exceptionally researched reconstruction of the revolution-turned-coup in his Ph.D. thesis for the University of

Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment – Google Books Result

Stephen Kotkin, Jan Tomasz Gross – 2009 – History – 197 pages
Richard Andrew Hall, “Theories of Collective Action and Revolution: Evidence from the 1989 Romanian Transition,” Europe-Asia Studies. 52/6 (2000): 1069-03.

Nationalist politics and everyday ethnicity in a Transylvanian town – Google Books Result

Rogers Brubaker – 2006 – Social Science – 439 pages
“The Uses of Absurdity: The Staged War Theory and the Romanian Revolution of December 1989.” East European Politics and Societies 13(3):501-42. . 2000.

Rogers Brubaker – 2006 – Social Science – 439 pages
and Romania’s Future”; Tismaneanu, Reinventing Politics; R. Hall, “Theories of Collective Action and Revolution“; and Rady, Romania in Turmoil.

State collapse in South-Eastern Europe: new perspectives on … – Google Books Result

Lenard J. Cohen, Jasna Dragović-Soso, Lenard J. Cohen – 2008 – History – 413 pages
Richard Andrew Hall, “Nationalism in Late Communist Eastern Europe: Comparing the Role of Diaspora Politics in Hungary and Serbia,” parts 1-5,

Getting the Right Right: Redefining the Centre-Right in Post …

by S Hanley – 2004 – Cited by 12Related articles
See R.A. Hall, ‘Nationalism in Late Communist Eastern Europe: Comparing the Role of. Diaspora Politics in Hungary and Serbia’, Parts 1–3, East European


List of Research Papers and Writings of Richard Andrew Hall:

(2010) “PAPER #2:  TITLE BANNED” (submitted 5/25/2010, denied by PRB in its entirety 7/12/2010)

(2009) “Bullets, Lies, and Videotape:  The Amazing, Disappearing Romanian Counter-Revolution of December 1989.”  blv 111909tk6 (pdf file)


(2008) “PAPER #1:  TITLE BANNED” (submitted 10/1/2008, denied by PRB in its entirety 11/10/2008).

(2008) THE ROMANIAN REVOLUTION FOR DUM-DUMS: (like me … and perhaps even you) (pdf)


(2007) Images of Hungarians and Romanians in Modern American Media and Popular Culture (pdf)



(2004) Doublespeak: The All-too-Familiar Tales of Nicolae Ceausescu’s Double. In HABSBURG Occasional Papers, Number 3. March 2004. (pdf)

In RFE/RL Reports, Volume 5, Number 5. March 2003. (pdf)

In RFE/RL Reports, Volume 4, Number 7. April 2002. (pdf)


List of Research Papers and Writings of Richard Andrew Hall (Continued):

“Theories of Collective Action and Revolution:  Evidence from the 1989 Romanian Transition,” Europe-Asia Studies vol. 52, no. 6 (2000):  1069-1093.

“The Uses of Absurdity: The Staged War Theory and the Romanian Revolution of December 1989,” East European Politics and Societies vol. 13, no. 3 (1999): 510-542.

“Political Culture in Post-Ceausescu Romania,” written 1999, in Henry F. Carey (ed.),  Romania Since 1989, Lexington Books (2004):  215-228.

Hall, Richard and Patrick O’Neil, `Institutions, Transitions, and the Media: A Comparison of Hungary and Romania’, in P. O’Neil  (ed.) Communicating Democracy: The Media and Political Transitions, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner (1998):  125-145.

“The Dynamics of Media Independence in Post-Ceausescu Romania,” Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics vol. 12, no. 4 (December 1996):  102-123.

“Dupa 7 Ani (After Seven Years),” 22 and Sfera Politicii, December 1996.

“Romania:  Manipulation of National Reconciliation in the Post-Ceausescu Era,” written 1996, in Henry F. Carey (ed.), National Reconciliation in Eastern Europe, Columbia University, East European Monographs (2003):  179-196.

“Blue Horizons:  Intellectuals in Post-Ceausescu Romania,” Sfera Politicii, September 1994.

“The Role of the State in Post-Communist Eastern Europe,” Sfera Politicii, March 1994.

18 Responses to “About/Bio/Contact for Richard Andrew Hall”

  1. marianmanescu said

    Interesante investigatiile dumneavoastra. Felicitari pentru munca depusa!

  2. romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 said

    Va multumesc pentru comentariul dvs.!

  3. Arthur said

    The vidia cores for bullets were brought in Romania in 1988 from Qiungdao – China with a 7800 dw cargo (M/V Giurgiu – Cpt.Emilian Gava)in two wooden boxes of 3.375 cubic meters each. Those boxes were put on the bottom of the ship’s cargo space and then the ship (the cargo spaces) were filled up with pineapple compote cans.
    The chinese were not so careful in hiding the cargo’s nature and we get in our hands several small, strange, conical objects. The tip was conically shaped and continued with a tinny rod in a mushroom shape with a small button at the bottom. Was clearly vidia and could scratch glass. One of seamen showed them to the lathe man and asked him if he can use them. The lathe man said that he didn’t see tools like this and he can’t use them because were not shaped to cut. By that time, in China, we didn’t know what those small pieces could be or for what could be used.
    In Constanta, after arrival, the securitate comes and they took immediately those two boxes. They didn’t care at all for the pineapple cans what were thrown all around to make place and could extract the boxes. Later, I heard about vidia bullets and I remembered those tiny vidia tips what I had in China.

  4. romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 said

    Arthur, many thanks for your interesting contribution!

  5. Mii de felicitari!

  6. alk said

    Ne poate spune domnul Arthur daca le recunoste in aceste imagini (min 4:11)?

  7. CCCP said


    thanks for this blog. I have a few stories of my own about the events of 12/89. If you’re interested send me an email.

  8. Arthur said

    To Alk: Nope, I cannot. Those small, conic vidia tips with their rod in the center of the cone’s base could make the tip and core of an AK bullet, not those big bullets in your film. I heard – while I’ve been in a Hospital in Bucharest – that those bullets were used in Otopeni where one of my colleagues was struggling whit shot soldiers – through the walls – with this kind of bullets.

  9. Arthur said

    I see that lots of people does not make a difference between a .22 (or 5.6 mm) hollow point bullet and a so called “dum-dum” and, moreover, they ignore the main “penetrating” quality of a vidia bullet. The use of the term “dum-dum”, applied to expanding bullets other than the early .303 designs, is considered slang by some. As I understood, the “vidia” bullet can penetrate military armored vehicles and even concrete walls, without being a “fragmentation” or “dum-dum” bullet.

  10. romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 said

    Welcome back, Arthur! Your comments are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  11. […] By Richard Andrew Hall […]

  12. Darie said

    Hello Dr. Hall,I am a MA Student at University of NB, Canada, and I am reading and reviewing your article Theories of Collective Action and Revolution: Evidence from the Romanian Transition of December 1989, published in Europe-Asia Studies journal. I know that you wrote much more on the topic of the Romanian Revolution of 1989, but looking back at this article do you think that is still valid today? Would you write the same conclusions today? I dare to say that some of your assumptions or statements were, at that time, too emphatic:”virtually none of the Romanian language material used in the preparation of this article has been previously cited in the West.”(p.1070). You cite a lot of newspapers iterviews and newspapers’ account of events, D.Deletant’s works on Securitate,and but you don’t have any archival resources. The majority of the newspapers are dated 1991 to 1992. Did you conduct your research then? Was it impossible to access archives? No memoirs or archival documents from all the revolutionaries’ associations? Thank you, Darie.

  13. Nica Leon said

    Vă salut dle. Rich! De la ultima noastră discutie nu am mai aflat ce şi dacă aţi făcut ceva serios pentru a vă sustine încă teoria folosirii gloanţelor explozive, tip Dum – Dum şi a celor cu cap Vidia, în timpul Revoluţiei Anticomuniste Române din Decembrie 1989 sau, apoi, în timpul contrarevoluţiei.
    Acum, cu ajutorul lui Marius, am aflat această adresă şi, astfel, am aflat că sînteţi angajat al CIA, instituţie ce are destui specialişti, pe care dacă îi veţi întreba vă vor confirma justeţea spuselor mele de odinioară.
    Vă rog să îmi comunicaţi dacă aţi reuşit, în toată această perioadă, să aflaţi adevărul în legătură cu această teorie – total falsă în opinia mea.
    De asemenea, vă îndemn să vorbiţi cu cei de la CIA, care au rapoartele întocmite după discuţiile avute cu mine, în clădirea fostei Biblioteci Americane, din perioada octombrie-noiembrie 1989.
    Pînă la primirea veştilor de la dvs. vă urez toate cele bune şi spor în toate.
    Nica Leon – persecutat politic.

  14. Sorin danut oprea said

    Dear Mr. Hall.
    Twenty fives years after my own personal involvement from start to finish of the revolution movement in Timisoara, to find your site in which you try to explain the begining of Romanian revolution in Timisoara is an insult to everything I still fight for. From my experience what you are saying is not only not actually entirely accurate but is a distortion of historical events.
    I would greatly appreciate it if you could take the time to contact me back.
    Kind regards.
    Sorin Oprea

    Leader of the first manifestation 16-17/12/1989
    Commander of the Guards of State Opera
    Member of the group that had original communication with Primeminister Dascalescu and original founding member of the Romanian democratic front.

  15. romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 said

    Dear Mr. Oprea, please tell me how, why, and what you have a problem with. Thank you!

  16. romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 said

    Mr. Oprea, I would encourage you to study the documentary basis–especially the primary documents from Dosarele Revolutiei and Procesul de la Timisoara–in a post such as this,

    I have a feeling your frustration is linked to my printed as was chapter on Timisoara from my dissertation

    I can assure you that to the extent something is as you maintain “a distortion of historical events” it was not intentional. I do see several credible sources regarding your role, and hope that you understand that failure to cover your role and impact was not intentional. I do appreciate the opportunity, however, to hear your experience and for other readers of this site to read it here too. I have certainly realized over time the greater importance of Frontul Democrat Roman, something I have been intending to rectify in a future post (probably no. 11 or 12 of the series 25 for 2014). Thank you!

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  17. Anonymous said

    Hello Mr. Hall. I wanted to thank you for your research. I have to do a paper for my universty course on Gen, Vasile Milea and the situation in Romania in 1989 so You can only immagine the help I got from your page. Thank you very much !

  18. romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 said

    Thank you, my pleasure…always glad when the information and/or analysis on this site is of use.

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