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.

Basescu (aka “Petrov”), the Securitate, and the Investigations of December 1989 (VI: Dr. College Park and Mr. Hyde)

(purely personal views as always; not for reproduction or reuse without author’s permission)

On 18 December 2006, President Traian Basescu declared the preceding communist regime and its secret police, the Securitate, illegitimate and criminal. Basescu invoked the Final Report drafted by a commission headed by Professor Vladimir Tismaneanu as the basis for his condemnation.

Professor Tismaneanu tells us that he hates anything that has to do with the Securitate, including behaviors and mentalities used by and associated with them. For example, here he says:

Securismul îmi repugnă visceral, existențial, definitiv, fără urmă de compromis…

Or in other words: “Securismul” disgusts me viscerally, existentially, definitively, without a hint of compromise…

Those are big, definitive words from Professor Tismaneanu. But words, as we all know, can be cheap, no matter how earnestly proclaimed. Is this really how Tismaneanu has behaved concerning the revelation of former Securitate ties and of Securitate-type behavior? I mean as the saying goes, if you are going to talk the talk, you better be prepared to walk the walk.

In my own experience, Tismaneanu’s concern with the former Securitate has never been “without a hint of compromise.” I had been connecting Sorin Rosca Stanescu’s ties to the former Securitate to his writings on December 1989–both before and after their public revelation in 1992–in publications for a decade, when in 2006 Tismaneanu suddenly seemed to remember SRS’s ties after SRS wrote a scathing article against him. SRS’s Securitate ties were relevant it seemed only because he had personally attacked the Chair of the Commission. (for more details, see

Similarly, although now Tismaneanu writes gleefully and critically about Ion Cristoiu, “Coroiu,” having been revealed in recent years to have been a Securitate collaborator, he only cared in a context where Cristoiu had criticized him. Meanwhile, as early as 1996 in scholarly publications, based on my research of December 1989, I had expressed the suspicion that Cristoiu had Securitate ties. Once again, Tismaneanu did not care; it was all personal with him, and a function of what Cristoiu wrote about him and those he was allied with at the time (an incredibly fluid constellation over time), that apparently triggered Tismaneanu’s concern with the issue of former Securitate ties. In fact, in the early 2010s, Tismaneanu wrote for Cristoiu’s Evenimentul Zilei, at a time when articles on December 1989 written by identified former Securitate collaborators, such as Alex Mihai Stoenescu, published regularly there (for more details, see

And we are only getting started here with the former Securitate ties of Traian Basescu…

When it comes to Securitate-type behaviors–Tismaneanu mentions gathering evidence from his words!–how do things stand with Tismaneanu himself?

–How about calling one’s employer, because Tismaneanu is too vain to respond directly and does not want to “lower himself” by engaging, in order to seek retribution and get somebody in trouble? That sounds pretty Securitate like, like securism does it not? Would Tismaneanu do that? (for more details, see

–Or how about attempting to censor the words of another senior Romanian scholar because he did not like what that person had written and threatening to pull out of the edited book project, if the editors did not dump the other scholar? That sounds pretty low, pretty intolerant, and pretty Securitate-like, no? (for more details, see

–Or how about when another senior Romanian scholar, who is well-respected in social science circles in the West, wrote in 2012 about “this sinister alter-ego that he [Tismaneanu] has become, telephoning newspapers and television stations to orchestrate–without being asked by anybody–pro-Băsescu propaganda and putting pressure on independent journalists.” Does that not sound a little Securitate-like? (for more details,

The list of incidents, of course, remains open, and I mention but a few of them here. Like any serial offender, those who suffer at somebody’s hands often feels at the time that he or she is/was unique and was/is the only one…only to find out that no, only the circumstances and content of the incident differ, because the perpetrator involved is the same person….

Professor Vladimir Tismaneanu of the University of Maryland is indeed,

Dr. College Park and Mr. Hyde,

in public, extolling dissidents and intellectual heroes, ceaselessly expressing his unimpeachable commitment to eternal noble values…but also acting very differently in the background, where he thinks he can seek vengeance and control, and yet nobody in Western academic circles will know, his prized public image will remain untouched.

Professor Tismaneanu does not want to believe or admit that Traian Basescu’s Securitate ties affect Basescu’s commitment to the facts and ideals expressed in the Final Report or Basescu’s intentions in formally condemning communism and the Securitate. But that is a real question that we must and will explore here. (To be continued)

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