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.

Chapter Four: Regime-State Relations in Communist Romania (1944-1989) (Rewriting the Revolution, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University, 1997)

Only last year, during the height of the pandemic, thanks to a friend’s old-fashioned portable diskette drive, was I able after so many years to access all the chapters from my Ph.D. Dissertation at Indiana University (the laptop I had them on is broken, the drive inaccessible, and everything was on diskettes). Recently, it has become fashionable among some Romanian intellectuals/historians/philosophers to argue that the concept of the Securitate and Romanian military as adversaries under the late Ceausescu regime is “a post-1990 construct.” I am somewhat older than some of the most vocal proponents of this line. I started following Romania politically in 1985 as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia and wrote my first real Romanian analysis for Professor Paul Shoup’s East European politics class in spring 1987. The idea of Securitate “mission creep,” of a state security institution being both bureaucratic instrument and beneficiary of a sultanist dictator in a totalitarian system, where the communist party as corporate institution was dead, and in which all other institutions, including the military, were deeply penetrated by and manipulated by the Securitate was…most assuredly…not a “post-1990 construct.” This is reflected in part in chapter 4 of my dissertation, attached and below. It was drafted mostly during 1996. Do I hold to everything I wrote here then?–No. Have I learned much since 1996 that would lead me to amend and supplement things here?–Of course. Still with the caveat of this chapter being written in 1996 (essentially pre-internet information too) and as a PhD student, I think the gist of it still probably rings true…and at the very least, look at the pre-1990 sources used in particular, it should demonstrate that the idea of the Securitate and Romanian military as having been hand in hand, just rivals on the soccer field, is downright amnesiac.

                                          Chapter Four

                             Regime-State Relations in Communist Romania (1944-1989)

Regime-state relations in communist Romania were dominated by the chronic weakness of the communist party as a corporate institution and the recurrent expansion of the Securitate‘s institutional influence within the regime.  No communist party in Eastern Europe came to power smaller or weaker than the Romanian party.  During the early stages of communist rule, the character of regime-state relations in Romania was little different than elsewhere in Eastern Europe.  During the transformative stage of communist rule, elite fragmentation and the party’s low level of institutionalization enabled the security apparatus to assume a central role in regime politics.  That role was sustained during the consolidation phase when party leaders in each of the East European countries emulated Stalin and established neo-patrimonial patterns of rule which required a strong security apparatus.  Romania during this period thus shared in a generally universal process among communist regimes.    

The refusal of Gheorghiu-Dej (party leader between 1952 and 1965) to de-Stalinize the Romanian regime and the sultanistic character of his leadership during the last years of his life meant that when Nicolae Ceausescu succeeded to power in 1965, he inherited a regime in which the corporate identity of the party was weaker and the influence of the security apparatus stronger than elsewhere in Eastern Europe.  Nevertheless, Ceausescu’s very ascension to power and his initial moves to strengthen the party and weaken the Securitate were an indication that the party had achieved at least some degree of institutionalization by the mid-1960s. 

Once Ceausescu had consolidated his power (after 1971), however, the sultanistic, totalitarian, and anti-Soviet dimensions of his rule would succeed in obliterating whatever limited corporate integrity the communist party had developed.  Moreover, the man who had garnered political support for his attacks on the institutional prerogatives of the Securitate would end up becoming completely dependent upon that institution for the continued survival of his regime.  By the late 1980s, Nicolae Ceausescu presided over a personalist dictatorship whose institutional basis was the powerful state institution of the Securitate

The extensive reordering of regime-state relations during the Ceausescu era differentiated the Romanian regime from the other East European regimes.  Although all East European regimes formally remained institutionally-identical, the different character and role of the party and security apparatus in Romania signified a fundamental change in the character of the regime.  The distinct role of the state security apparatus in the Romanian regime would have significant implications for the character of the transition from communist rule and for the character of the post-communist system.

Party-State Relations during the Early Communist Era:  1944-1957

None other than Nicolae Ceausescu himself has commented upon the power and autonomy of the security apparatus during the early period of communist rule.  In a July 1967 speech to personnel from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the party’s new general secretary recalled that during the early years:  “it was difficult to penetrate into the Ministry of Internal Affairs, this being considered as an interference in the activity of that sector to which no one, no Party section or organ could attend to.”[1]  Ceausescu went on to explain that the party’s lack of effective, corporate control over the Securitate had led to “abuses of socialist legality” against

[p]arty and state activists who, in certain circumstances, had different views concerning some aspects of the political line or made mistakes in their activity.  Instead of such problems being solved by discussions on a Party line, they were sometimes deferred to the security bodies, creating conditions for the latter’s interference in Party life, gravely prejudicing the authority and leading role of the Party [Emphasis Added].[2]

Similarly, at a party plenum meeting in April 1968, Ceausescu stated:

In the course of years, attempts were made to accredit in the Securitate ranks the idea that in fact it was the one that waged the struggle against the enemy.  Already in 1956 we criticized this idea, emphasizing that it was not the Securitate but the party that was the organizer and leader of the fight against the enemy.[3]

In the same speech, Ceausescu claimed that he had made the following comments at a crucial 1956 Politburo meeting:

As far as the Ministry of Internal Affairs is concerned, Party spirit is as slender as Party control.  Comrade Draghici [the Minister of Internal Affairs] thinks that he can do anything, because he has relations with Gheorghiu-Dej [party leader] and is not accountable to anybody else…Comrade Draghici does not work with the cadres:  he does not take people into account [and] a large number of Party members are being dismissed from the security machinery under different pretexts.  The year 1954 alone saw the dismissal of some 900 Party members….[4]

Thus, Ceausescu interpreted the Securitate‘s power and autonomy as inimical and damaging to the Party’s corporate authority and integrity and he hinted that the Securitate‘s institutional status was enhanced by the neo-patrimonial characteristics of party leader Gheorghiu-Dej’s rule.

Ceausescu’s startlingly open criticism of the Securitate is tempered somewhat by our knowledge that at the time he made these statements he was embroiled in a tough fight to consolidate his position as party leader in the wake of Dej’s death from cancer in March 1965.[5]  Ceausescu was attempting to use the past abuses of the Securitate in an instrumental fashion in order to weaken the authority of Alexandru Draghici, the former Minister of Internal Affairs (1952-1965), within the party.  Nevertheless, there does seem to be a reasonable basis to Ceausescu’s allegations.  In 1961, Draghici himself had suggested that during the early years of the communist regime, “the fractionalist groups made the ministries which they led veritable fiefs, isolating them from the party and removing them from the Party’s control.”[6]  Moreover, there were the vivid observations of the respected emigre author, Petru Dumitriu, who had defected to the West in the late 1950s.  In his groundbreaking novel Incognito (1964), Dumitriu referred to the securisti as

the first class citizens, the true Spartans, charged with the security of the State, as opposed to the simple subjects possessed of no political standing; one has only to see the cooperative restaurants where they alone had access….conscious of being the protectors of the total state…members of the ruling class from the moment they put up the shoulder bars of a sublieutenant, members of an elite superior in political dignity (even the rank and file) to all other citizens except the top ranking Party workers.[7]

Ken Jowitt has suggested that the power and autonomy of the state security apparatus during the initial years of communist rule was a product of elite incoherence within the Romanian communist party leadership, the party’s structural weakness (particularly in terms of its membership and its relations with society on the whole), and the emphasis placed on the state security apparatus during the “breaking through” phase of Leninist rule.[8]  Although it is unclear that the Romanian communist party elite was any more factionalized than the party elites elsewhere in Eastern Europe, it does appear that other conditions intensified the consequences of this fragmentation in the Romanian case.  What clearly set Romania apart, however, was the shockingly small size of the communist party’s membership upon coming to power.            

According to a source which would appear to have had little incentive at the time to underestimate the party’s membership–a 1950 issue of the Soviet publication Bolshevik–on 23 August 1944, when a coup d’etat removed the wartime dictator Marshal Antonescu from power and the first government with communist representation came to power, the Romanian communist party had fewer than 1,000 members.[9]  This number can be attributed in part to the fact that up until that date the communist party had been an illegal organization in Romania (throughout the interwar and wartime periods) and had been the constant target of state repression.  But it was also a consequence of the unpopularity of the party’s slavish pro-Soviet line (especially on territorial disputes such as Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, which had been incorporated into the Soviet Union as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) and of the perceived “alien” character of the party, owing to the visible role of Jews, Hungarians, and other minorities among the party’s leadership.

With the presence of the Soviet army on Romanian soil having precipitated the coup d’etat of 23 August 1944 and having enabled the party to gradually strengthen its dominance in governments between 1944 and 1947, the ideological reservations which had prevented most Romanians from joining the communist party earlier did not stop huge numbers from now enrolling in the organization.  Between 1944 and 1947, communist party membership ballooned from less than 1,000 to over one million members (!), prompting the party leadership to call for an end to new admissions which lasted until 1952.[10]  In the eyes of some in the party leadership, especially General Secretary Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, this explosion in membership had allowed for the entrance of many “careerists” and “opportunists” among the new recruits.  According to King, there were a surprisingly high number of former Iron Guardists (members of Romania’s interwar pseudo-fascist movement) and supporters of the wartime Antonescu regime among the new entrants.[11]    

The party leadership’s uneasiness over the character of the party’s membership led to a purge between late 1948 and 1950 which eventually saw the expulsion of over 300,000 members from the party.  What is significant is that the party’s effective level of institutionalization was apparently still so low that the “verification” campaign was administered by what was described as a “non-party aktiv” (numbering approximately 200,000 investigators), which implied that this “probably included members of the militia security police, the Ministry of Justice, and especially the armed forces.”[12]  According to Jowitt, this was to be expected at this early stage of communist rule because:

…Leninist elites place so much emphasis on the priority and urgency of achieving a decisive breakthrough that they create a structure which threatens the integrity and leadership role of the party itself–namely, a security police, or revolutionary army.  The period of consciously exacerbated “class conflict” quite naturally emphasizes the importance of the security apparatus.  Such a situation may be seen as typical of all Leninist regimes during the breaking-through phase.[13]

Jowitt explained, however, that the security apparatus’ role in regime affairs had inevitable and significant implications for the corporate identity of the communist party: 

Status, authority, and self-confidence all seemed more characteristic of police personnel than of their Party counterparts…[I]n certain critical respects the Security organization was achieving exactly the institutionalization that Gheorghiu-Dej and a number of his supporters appeared to want the Party to achieve.  Obviously the institutionalization of the Security organs…undermined the Party’s ability to define its boundaries and in general to assert and defend its autonomy….In many respects, this rival, the security police, was the major element in the breaking-through process, a fact of which it was quite aware, and for a time it was capable of effectively intruding across the frail boundaries of other elite organs.[14]

Gheorghiu-Dej’s control of the “verification” campaign ultimately converted this so-called “non-party aktiv” into his own personal power base.  Dej skillfully used the “verification” campaign and the construction of his own neo-patrimonial apparatus to oust his most important rivals within the regime leadership–Ana Pauker (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Vasile Luca (Minister of Finance), and Teohari Georgescu (Minister of Security)–from power in 1952.  Jowitt has discussed the irony of Dej’s use of the “non-party aktiv” as his own personal power base:  “[Dej] was able to manipulate the regime’s fieflike structure in such a way as to create a cadre that could eventually eliminate that very structure.”[15]  Dej may have furthered the party’s institutionalization and strengthened the development of a corporate identity by eliminating severe elite fragmentation with the purges of Pauker, Luca, and Georgescu (and later in 1954, of the national communist, Lucretiu Patrascanu).  However, in doing so he had also planted the seeds of neo-patrimonialism, for the new party cadre class was very much identified with his person.

After 1952, Dej consolidated his authority within the communist party without great difficulty.  Jowitt argues that (neo)-patrimonialism is intimately linked to the “breaking through” process.[16]  Yet Jowitt’s own work seems to suggest that the degree to which power is oligarchic or concentrated in the hands of a single individual is only partly connected to the stage of communist development.  Jowitt argues that sultanism–an even more developed form of (neo-)  patrimonialism–was established in Romania after 1957 and thus after the process of “breaking through” had largely been completed.[17]  If the inchoate character of party structures during the initial stages of communist rule and the tasks of transformation and consolidation lead the state security apparatus to assume unusual weight in regime affairs, then neo-patrimonialism–and its more extreme form, sultanism–also raise the profile of these institutions.  Thus, while attempting to strengthen party identity, Gheorghiu-Dej’s reliance on neo-patrimonial forms of authority sustained the importance of the state security apparatus in the regime, a condition which continued to work against effective party institutionalization.  As Jowitt describes it:  “Paradoxically, the major instrument available to Gheorghiu-Dej in his attempts to prevent such consolidation [of alternative power bases] was the Security (coercive) apparatus, which quite readily continued to interfere in Party activities.”[18] 

Dej’s neo-patrimonial control, the importance of the state security apparatus, and the link between these two features could be seen in the aforementioned incident from April 1956 when members of the Politburo attempted to remove Alexandru Draghici from his position as Minister of Internal Affairs.  Draghici was accused of “preventing Party (i.e. corporate) control over the Security ministry and forces, of considering himself ‘above’ the Party, and of establishing the police in a dominant position in all spheres of Romanian life.”[19]  Since Draghici was head of the Securitate, he was Dej’s most important supporter.  Dej thus considered an attack on Draghici as an attack on his own position of authority.  And because Dej possessed such great personal power within the party, those advocating greater “party (corporate)” control were unable to remove Draghici.  The great irony is that the alleged spokesman for this effort to reduce the influence of the security apparatus in regime affairs (and tacitly, the influence of neo-patrimonial patterns of rule) and to thereby strengthen the party’s corporate control and identity was none other than Nicolae Ceausescu. 

Emerging Differences with the Soviets:  1958-1964

During the second half of Gheorghiu-Dej’s tenure as party leader, the neo-patrimonial and totalitarian dimensions of the Romanian regime would be supplemented by an increasingly nationalist, anti-Soviet orientation.  The need for the Securitate to play an active role in regime politics thus knew a new reason.  In retrospect, the origins of Romania’s autonomous course–which Ceausescu would bring to new levels–seem to have been largely unintentional and accidental, deriving from differing perceptions over what the Romanian regime’s priorities should be.  Only later would it develop into a more well-defined, purposive policy.

1956 was a watershed year throughout the Soviet bloc.  In February, Nikita Khrushchev delivered his famous “secret speech” at the Twentieth Congress of the Soviet Communist Party in which he denounced Stalin.  During the summer and fall, there was political upheaval in Eastern Europe, first in Poland and then Hungary.  According to Ghita Ionescu, had the Romanian communist party possessed any vitality as a corporate entity, it too would have been rocked by the changes unleashed by Moscow:  “[o]f all the Eastern European governments, the Rumanian was the least affected by the convulsions of destalinization.  The calm in Rumania was from one point of view proof of the Rumanian Workers’ Party’s weakness and apathy.”[20] 

But if Khrushchev’s “secret speech” had no direct impact upon Romanian politics, the October uprising in Hungary did produce a significant spillover effect.  While it is relatively unknown in the West, the Hungarian uprising triggered sizable anti-Russian demonstrations in Cluj, Timisoara, Bucharest, and Iasi beginning 27 October 1956.[21]  Although these were mostly student demonstrations and the first two cities mentioned have large ethnic Hungarian populations, the crowds in Bucharest and Iasi were predominantly Romanian and included many workers, especially the railwaymen in Bucharest.  The regime cracked down hard, making many arrests; but it is notable that in addition to the simultaneous salary increases which were announced, on 5 November 1956 the soon-to-be Minister of Education, Miron Constantinescu, promised a student meeting in Cluj among other things “an end to the teaching of Russian.”[22]

Thus, it is clear that even among the East European leaderships most supportive of the Soviet decision to crush the Hungarian uprising by force–and the Romanian leadership was at the head of the line in this regard–the Hungarian unrest and the violent Soviet response sent a powerful message.  In the post-Stalin era, it was now apparent that Soviet domestic and foreign policy would no longer be as linear, nor as stable as they had been in the past.  East European party leaders would now have to find an “elite survival mechanism” of sorts which would insulate them from the fickle winds of the Kremlin. 

According to Silviu Brucan, a veteran communist official and close confidant of Dej, Dej was horrified by a drive he took through the lifeless, rubble-strewn streets of the Hungarian capital only weeks after the fighting had ended.[23]  Brucan maintains that Dej told him after the visit:  “My dear Tache, we’ve got to turn our policy toward the Soviets around by 180 degrees, or we are lost.”  As a result, Brucan was instructed to draft a secret document destined for the Politburo, outlining a future strategy of Romanian “desatellization” within the bloc.  The first plank of this “desatellization” policy was reputedly the removal of Soviet troops from Romanian soil.

Brucan credits Dej personally for having secured the Soviets’ agreement to a withdrawal.  Allegedly, Dej tactfully raised the issue of the Soviets’ 55,000 troop contingent in private conversation with Khrushchev during a bear-hunting trip to northern Transylvania in 1958.[24]  Nevertheless, there are reasons to believe that the “desatellization” of Romania was far more serendipitous and unplanned than Brucan cares to remember or emphasize.  The measure of Soviet confidence in the allegiance and obedience of the Romanian leadership–and in Dej specifically–was evidenced by the fact that after the 1956 events the Soviets placed the Romanians in charge of reconstructing the now-decimated Hungarian communist party and state security apparatus.[25]  The Soviet decision then to withdraw the troops was in fact recognition of Romania’s status as a model satellite.  Moreover, as Ionescu suggested shortly after the event, the withdrawal was based primarily “on considerations of diplomacy and propaganda”:  the Soviets wished Romania to spearhead a “peace offensive” in the Balkans and it would not look good if Romania openly and publicly hosted Soviet troops on her soil.[26] 

In reality, the removal of Soviet troops posed few immediate risks given the Soviet Union’s contiguous border with Romania and the fact that Romania was surrounded geographically by socialist states.  But, as Ionescu also astutely notes, reflecting the Hungarian experience of 1956, the Soviet withdrawal was paralleled by the introduction of draconian new laws making it punishable by death for any Romanian citizen to deal with foreigners “for the purpose of engaging the state in a declaration of neutrality.”[27]  The Romanian regime (and probably the Soviet regime too) wanted to prevent any misinterpretations by the Romanian population of the Soviet troop withdrawal.  

            Inevitably, the 1958 Soviet troop withdrawal–which after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 would leave Romania as the only Soviet bloc country without Soviet troops stationed on its own territory–would have unintended consequences once significant policy differences began to emerge between the Romanians and Soviets.  Indeed, Jowitt’s argument that there is little substantive evidence to suggest that the Romanians and Soviets were involved in serious confrontation during the period from 1958 to 1961, and that in fact the period was characterized by a visible emulation of Soviet policies by the Romanians, is probably correct.[28]  Romania’s “initiation” of its own “independent course” was in large measure defensive, a response to initiatives put forward by the Soviets between 1961 and 1963 to increase economic integration among bloc countries. 

As Jowitt asserts, having recovered from the aftershocks of the 1956 events, beginning in 1961 the Soviets began to reassert “their right to interfere directly in the affairs of other communist parties and states” in ideological pronouncements.[29]  The Soviets’ preference for Romania to play a “specialized” agriculture role within the East bloc trading organization (COMECON) because of its comparative lower level of economic development conflicted with the goals of Dej and much of the Romanian elite to push forward the pace of industrialization.  Taking advantage of the growing split within the international communist movement between the Soviets and the Chinese and Albanians, the Romanians balked at Khrushchev’s demands.  According to Brucan, the straw which broke the camel’s back came at the beginning of 1964 when Khrushchev reportedly sent “all Warsaw Treaty members a proposal for integrating the bulk of their military forces under a single command–naturally, a Soviet command–and standardizing the armament and even the uniforms and the officers’ ranks…”[30]

It was, therefore, provocative attempts by the Soviet Union to reimpose “micro-managing” of the East bloc regimes–which the Romanian elite felt was particularly disadvantageous for Romania–which culminated in the famous statement of the April 1964 plenum asserting the right to equality and autonomy for all socialist parties and countries.  According to Brucan, this broadside, aimed squarely at the Soviet Union and timed right at the height of the ideological conflict between the Soviet Union and China, was “[u]nder the circumstances prevailing at the time…tantamount to a revolution in the camp of world socialism.”[31]  Many of the signs of Romania’s growing “independent course” from the Soviet Union were cautious and formal, but undeniably popular:  street and city names were changed back to their original Romanian names; the slavicized-language reforms of the early 1950s were rolled back; Russian book stores and publishing houses were closed; and the Ministry of Education reportedly sent around an internal circular making Russian no longer a compulsory language in primary and secondary schools.[32]  After Romania’s “declaration of independence” with the statement of the April 1964 plenum Romanian policy became bolder, however.

According to Ion Mihai Pacepa, the deputy director of the Securitate‘s foreign intelligence wing (DIE) between 1973 and 1978 and at the time the highest-ranking East bloc intelligence officer to ever flee to the West when he defected in 1978, Gheorghiu-Dej took advantage of Khrushchev’s removal from power on 14 October 1964 to push Romania’s autonomy further.[33]  Pacepa maintains that on 21 October 1964, Dej summoned the Soviet ambassador to Bucharest to request that all KGB counsellors be removed from Romania.  The following day, Alexandru Draghici, the Minister of the Interior, received a telegram from Semichastny, the Soviet KGB chief, reminding the Romanians that they still lived “under the Soviet protective umbrella.”  The head of foreign intelligence received a similar telegram and in November high-level KGB personnel arrived in Bucharest.  Discussions between Dej and the new Soviet party leader, Leonid Brezhnev, apparently went on into December. 

In December 1964, the Soviets finally agreed to remove the KGB counsellors, provided that they could take the contents of their Bucharest apartments with them, and that the Securitate‘s foreign intelligence wing (DGIE at the time) and the Army’s intelligence wing (DIA) would continue to fulfill their Warsaw Pact obligations in espionage activities coordinated by Moscow.[34]  Dennis Deletant has noted the significance of the Soviet decision to remove KGB counsellors, even if it did not mean that the Securitate ceased collaborating with Soviet security organizations:

Thus the Romanian security and intelligence services became the first such agencies of a Warsaw Pact country to rid itself of its Soviet counsellors, and, as regards the DGIE, the only foreign intelligence agency in the Eastern bloc to enjoy this privilege down to the collapse of Communism in 1989.[35]

Romanian historiography of the communist period prior to 1964 reflects the belief held by many Romanians that 1964 ushered in a new era.  One renowned commentator has discussed the period this way in the following two quotations:

The elections of 1946 were won by the National Peasant Party.  The communists were declared winners thanks to fraud….The period from 1946-1964 was one of the most difficult in the history of our country.  A Cominternist regime was imposed by Soviet occupation forces.  Not by them alone.  With the help of local collaborators.  Who were these collaborators?  Many.  Fanatical communists like Ana Pauker.  Internationalist idealists, drunk with beautiful utopias, such as Lucretiu Patrascanu.  Opportunists, careerists, villains of society who dream of power….[36]


No kind of memorial to those who suffered during the period 1946-1962 can describe it, how every family of Romanians bled for the “crime” of having been sold out at Yalta.  Everything of Romanian value, spiritual or material, was destroyed and trampled underfoot by the Soviet occupier and her collaborators within the party, state apparatus, justice, culture, mass media….After 1962, the Romanian Securitate was purged successively, through public trials, of collaborationist elements, philo-Soviets, of those guilty of abuses, thus becoming a national secret service.  Among those followed were even former cominternist securisti, the authors of crimes during the preceding period.[37]

Only the next-to-last sentence of the second quote begins to give away the identity of the source in question here:  a former Securitate officer.  Indeed, the author of these lines is Pavel Corut, the former high-ranking Securitate officer of eighteen years who after 1989 became a prolific author of semi-fictional novels rehabilitating the former Securitate.  Corut goes on to state that the destruction of the old Securitate in 1964 was “just” because it had been “an organ of anti-Romanian repression.”[38]  Contrary to what might have been expected, the second-generation of Securitate, those who served the institution after the initiation of Romania’s “independent course” by Dej, show no reverence whatsoever towards the first half of communist rule in Romania.  They are sharply critical of communist party leaders during the period–the party being seen as the source of repression during these years–and many of their comments (including their lamentation for those who suffered during this period) are practically indistinguishable from the comments of anti-communist opponents and victims in reference to the same time frame.

Indeed, there is a remarkable consensus of condemnation of the pre-1962/1964 period in post-Ceausescu Romania.  In post-Ceausescu Romania, the villains of the Stalinist era in Romania–Securitate officials such as Boris Nicolski, Serghei Nicolau, Gheorghe Pintilie, and Alexandru Draghici, and party leaders such as Ana Pauker and Emil Bodnaras–are bitterly criticized not only in the opposition media, but also in the pages of the publications of the Ceausist nostalgics, such as Romania Mare, the weekly of the Ceausescu court poet Corneliu Vadim Tudor.[39]  Much of the criticism by Ceausescu nostalgics and Ceausescu-era Securitate officers of the era prior to the establishment of a genuinely “national Securitate” is based in large part on what Deletant has revealed to be the false myth of the Securitate as having been disproportionately staffed by Russians, Hungarians, Jews, and other “aliens” during this era.[40]  In discussing the crimes of the aforementioned officials, the ultranationalists never cease to identify their birth names, their ethnicity, and their KGB pedigree.  Yet overall there is no basis to the argument that “aliens” dominated the Romanian Securitate during the Stalinist era.  According to Deletant’s investigations, of the sixty highest-ranking officers of the Securitate, thirty-eight were Romanians, fourteen Jews, three Hungarian, three Russian, one Czech and one Armenian.[41]  Moreover, of the institution’s 3,973 employees in 1950, only 247 were Hungarians and 338 Jews.  

It is interesting to note that such a consensus of criticism towards Stalinist era officials and policies has its roots in the political tactics employed by both Dej and Ceausescu in their struggles to consolidate personal authority.  Unlike what happened in most of the other satellite countries, in Romania it was the Stalinist leader, Dej, who survived the death of Stalin and in fact administered the process of “de-Stalinization.”  As Romania’s “independent course” gathered definition during the early 1960s, Dej’s attacks on those party leaders he had purged in 1952 (Pauker, Luca, and Georgescu) and 1957 (Constantinescu and Chisinevski) became more pronounced.  Increasingly, an inherent link was drawn between their Stalinist excesses and their subservience to Soviet interests.  Upon coming to power, Ceausescu merely extended these criticisms further, even to the point of including his predecessor, Dej, among them.  Although the “permanent purge” and the blaming of those who had lost power struggles for all previous ills can be seen as characteristic of all Leninist regimes, the virulence of the attacks in Romania, their early timing and constant reinforcement, and the introduction of a nationalist element have contributed to the widespread consensus surrounding them and to their staying power. 

Moreover, it is important to observe the role of intellectuals in sustaining these attacks against fallen regime officials.  As Michael Shafir notes, the so-called “liberalization” of the 1960s was very much a “guided liberalization:”

it was not initiated by intellectual pressure “from below,” but by the party’s own initiative “from above.”…What at the time may have appeared to be courageous dissent in the eyes of Western observers was therefore nothing but evidence of consent.[42]

Thus, in spite of the latent ideological differences running through the Romanian intelligentsia, criticism of Dej and Draghici and the rehabilitation of Lucretiu Patrascanu (the “national communist” purged by Dej) by Ceausescu during the late 1960s, found a receptive audience across much of the intellectual spectrum.  The tendency towards consensus on major political questions, among intellectuals who are bitterly opposed to one another and see only sharp differences among themselves, and the degree to which this consensus is a response to a green light given by those in (or with) power, are recurrent features of recent Romanian history.

Nicolae Ceausescu Consolidates His Position as Party Leader:  1965-1971

It is ironic that Nicolae Ceausescu should have fought and won the power struggle to succeed Dej precisely by advocating the corporate interests of the communist party and the need to bring the Securitate more firmly under party control.  Partly, his actions were the product of “situational politics,” for at the time his biggest rival for the position of general secretary was Alexandru Draghici, Minister of Internal Affairs.  Partly, they were a result of Ceausescu’s long tenure under Dej (over a decade) as Central Committee secretary in charge of organization and cadre appointments, and thus his strong identification with the party-as-institution.  But they also reflected the changing and changed character of the party membership and of society in general.

According to Jowitt, beginning around 1958, “the core problem facing the Romanian elite became the integration of a relatively new social stratum which had been created as a result of the Party’s emphasis on mobilization and industrialization.”[43]  This was the so-called “new class” to which the Yugoslavian communist Milovan Djilas and the Romanian emigre intellectual Petru Dumitriu referred in their writings of the late 1950s and 1960s.  Jowitt later termed this “facing the tasks of inclusion”:  after seeking to insulate themselves from society during the “consolidation” phase (as evidenced by the tight restrictions on the recruitment of new party members), the East European communist regimes were now attempting to “integrate” themselves with their host societies.[44]  The situation was comparable to that of many countries in the Third World where political leaders were attempting to cope with the social and political consequences of economic modernization and development without losing their hold on power. 

Almost accidentally and unintentionally at first, Dej had begun appealing to nationalist sentiments within society and among the party membership in the context of the Romanian leadership’s emerging conflict of interests with the Soviets.  During the succession struggle, Ceausescu amplified such policies in order to consolidate his power within the party.  He championed Romania’s “independent course”; made overtures at the same time (ironic given his later policies) to the ethnic Hungarian minority; broadened the cultural liberalization begun during Dej’s last year; and appealed to those who had recently been released from prison during the 1964 amnesty and to the general population by proposing a new agenda of “socialist legality.”

The theme of “socialist legality” coincided nicely with Ceausescu’s efforts to get rid of his chief rival, Alexandru Draghici.  As we have seen, in Ceausescu’s speeches during the succession struggle, he attempted to suggest that during the early period of communist rule the Securitate had often eluded party control and had in fact placed its institutional interests ahead of those of the party.  He alleged that he had attempted (as during the April 1956 plenum) to push for the party to assert its authority over the Securitate, but had not been wholly successful because of the opposition manifested by certain Politburo members.  In other words, Ceausescu was arguing that he had attempted to halt the abuses of the Stalinist era, but was stymied by its chief villain, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Alexandru Draghici, who had placed his institution above party interests and was the figure most responsible for the crimes of the Stalinist era.  It is possible to see that in order to defend his own past actions and to defend the purity of the party’s role, he had to exaggerate Draghici’s solitary responsibility and the Securitate‘s autonomy.

Ceausescu proposed to remedy the past abuses through a series of measures.  He skillfully ensured that Draghici would be forced to give up the post of Minister of Internal Affairs (which he had held since 1952) by engineering the amendment of the party statutes during the Ninth Congress of the Romanian Communist Party in July 1965.[45]  Article 13b now prevented party members from holding more than one full-time position in the party and state hierarchies.  Thus, Draghici was forced to renounce his post as Minister of Internal Affairs in order to remain on the party secretariat.  The new party statute can be seen as significant for a number of symbolic reasons.  First, it displayed the acknowledgement of the formal borders between party (political/regime) and explicitly state institutions.  Second, it can be seen as having been designed to prevent the penetration of the party by the state.  Indeed, Ceausescu viewed the new statute as a means to assure “efficient control of state activity by the Party organs.”[46]  Third, the statute’s elimination in late 1967 and the constant violation of its principle in later years (particularly by the Ceausescus) were evidence of its ephemeral existence.

Ceausescu replaced Draghici as Minister of Internal Affairs with Draghici’s deputy, Cornel Onescu, who was a Ceausescu protege and had studied at the Moscow Party School in the 1950s.[47]  At the April 1968 plenum, Ceausescu used the report of the “Party Commission on the Rehabilitation of Some PCR Activists” to put greater distance between himself and his mentor Dej, to disassociate himself from the crimes of the Dej era, and to press for Draghici’s final ouster from the party leadership.[48]  Specifically, he used the case of perhaps the most popular party official of the early communist era, the “national communist” Lucretiu Patrascanu, who was arrested in April 1948 and eventually executed in April 1954.  The direct responsibility for fabricating false charges against Patrascanu, and for the persecution of other party members as a result of the Patrascanu affair, was attributed to Dej and Draghici.  Draghici’s “impermissible” actions, his “misleading the organs of the Party leadership,” and his allegedly insufficiently repentant attitude at various party forums were considered grounds for expelling him from all his remaining leadership duties.

Ceausescu maintained that the complicity of Dej and Draghici had been made possible because “the Ministry of Internal Affairs did not act under the guidance of the collective executive bodies of the Central Committee, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs evaded the control of these collective bodies.”[49]  Significantly, in other pronouncements, Ceausescu attempted to tie the crimes of Ministry of Internal Affairs to the fact that “in the first years after their inception the security bodies lacked experience and ability; sometimes [they] also got erroneous [read Soviet] guidance.”[50]  The implicit solution to this problem was that the Securitate had to take its direction from a leadership which was in accordance with the national will.  Ceausescu was more explicit in what he saw as the necessary institutional changes to prevent the abuses of the past:

There is no kind of secret or matter of a conspiratorial character that…can be a reason for an organ to avoid Party oversight, especially a security organ which, due to the specific nature of its work…must always be under the guidance…of Party bodies.[51]

Having suggested in 1967 that the Ministry of Internal Affairs should not be in the hands of a “single person” but under “collective judgment,” Ceausescu set the stage for the restructuring of the Ministry and the Securitate.[52]  Draghici’s influence and intractability were seen as having been facilitated by the Securitate‘s subordination to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (which had lasted between 1953 and 1967).  During 1967, the Securitate was therefore first given autonomy within the Ministry of Internal Affairs.  A Council of State Security (CSS), to which the Securitate was to be subordinated, was created within the Ministry of Internal Affairs.  The CSS would have its own president with the rank of minister and answer to the party (Central Committee) and government (Council of Ministers).  In 1968, the CSS was separated completely from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and given independent status. 

In addition, because Ceausescu argued that the worst of the class struggle was over and the regime’s fundamental challenge now was the observation of “socialist legality,” he engineered constitutional changes and the creation of a new penal code.[53]  On paper at least, these legal changes strengthened the role of the courts, limited the possibility for arbitrary arrests and searches, and even created something of an ombudsman’s office within the CSS to investigate the Securitate‘s past abuses.[54]  As Mary Ellen Fischer has observed, all of the changes affected by Ceausescu were designed to show him “as a critic of the Ministry of Internal Affairs [and hence, the Securitate]–and as a champion of the Party, the Central Committee, inner-Party democracy, and socialist legality for all members of society.”[55]   

The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 to crush the “Prague Spring” reform movement had a profound impact on Romanian domestic affairs.  It encouraged Ceausescu to see his own destiny as inseparable from the destiny of the Romanian nation and the Romanian nation-state.  It enabled him to consolidate his hold on the position of party leader.  And it intensified the primacy of “national security” in regime politics.  Even prior to the Soviet intervention, Ceausescu and the Romanian leadership were vocal in their support of Czechoslovakia’s right to pursue its own internal course.  This was clearly motivated less by the content of Dubcek’s reforms–with which Ceausescu mostly disagreed–than by the implications Soviet-Czechoslovak relations had for Soviet-Romanian relations.  In addition to public statements of support for the Czechoslovak leaders and for the principles of sovereignty and equality, the Romanian regime made a point of emphasizing the combat readiness of the country’s armed forces.  Moreover, successful visits by French President Charles de Gaulle to Romania and of Ceausescu to Tito’s Yugoslavia reinforced the impression of Romania’s commitment to autonomy in the foreign policy arena.[56]

Romania was the only Warsaw Pact member not to send forces to participate in the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia on 21 August 1968.  Instead, Nicolae Ceausescu delivered a bellicose condemnation of the invasion at a popular rally later that same day in Bucharest’s central Palace Square.  His defiance of the Soviets was received warmly and with genuine enthusiasm by many ordinary Romanians.  This experience–probably the most glorious moment in Ceausescu’s political career–would influence him for years to come.  Indeed, when on 21 December 1989 Ceausescu convoked a popular rally in order to denounce the anti-regime demonstrations which had broken out in Timisoara several days earlier, he appeared to be attempting to relive this earlier experience.  This attempt to recreate the “spirit of ’68” was, however, to be doomed to failure. 

Rumors have persisted that in the late summer of 1968 Romania was itself on the verge of suffering the same fate as Czechoslovakia and that in fact some shots were exchanged on the border with Soviet Moldova and the Ukraine.  According to the head of Romanian military intelligence since 1991, Major General Paul Sarpe, during the July 1968 Warsaw Pact meeting in Crimea in July 1968, to which neither Dubcek nor Ceausescu were invited, a decision was taken to invade not just Czechoslovakia, but also Romania.[57]  This seems unlikely, but it is plausible that the Soviets may have mobilized close to the Romanian border to send them a clear warning.  Indeed, after Ceausescu’s initial, strongly uncompromising stand, in the weeks and months which followed Ceausescu began pairing his emphasis on the need for mutual non-interference with a discussion of the need for “international division of labor” and cooperation among bloc neighbors.[58]  Thus, the Romanians appeared to have received the message.

Mary Ellen Fischer has effectively captured the more visible results of Ceausescu’s response during the Czechoslovak crisis as follows:

Ceausescu’s reactions had dramatic effect on his own fate:  He became a national hero, and his popularity would allow him to complete his consolidation of personal power in Romania.  At last there was an issue on which the Party and the entire Romanian population were on the same side.  Although most outsiders may question whether the Soviets actually intended to invade, most Romanians in 1968 felt an invasion was imminent–and Ceausescu received personal credit for preventing it.  He stood up to the Soviets, publicly denounced their action, and called on his fellow citizens to form armed units in the national defense.  The response was overwhelming enthusiasm:  His defiant speech gained him in one day the personal popularity that no conceivable set of economic achievements or diplomatic successes could have achieved.  The impact of the Czechoslovak intervention on Ceausescu and on Romania therefore cannot be overemphasized.  In the early 1970s, Romanians disillusioned with other aspects of Ceausescu’s policy would still point to the events in Czechoslovakia as the major reason for supporting him and the Romanian Communist Party.  August 1968 turned any opposition to Ceausescu into betrayal of the Romanian nation.[59]

But there were other less discernible, but equally important effects–particularly for the military and the state security apparatus–as a result of the Czechoslovak events.  For example, according to Sarpe, after August 1968 Romania’s military intelligence branch developed links with Western military intelligence agencies to track the movements of neighboring bloc armies and increased their own undercover network abroad to compensate for the intelligence boycott imposed by other Warsaw Pact countries.[60] 

Whether or not there was any truth to some of the rumors surrounding what had transpired in Czechoslovakia, over time many of them have entered the Romanian political discourse.  In fact, they may have been used for motivational purposes by the Securitate both among the population and among its own personnel, and they have certainly been marshalled as “proof” that the Soviets invaded or were prepared to invade Romania during the December 1989 events.  The former Securitate military counter-intelligence officer Pavel Corut has stated bluntly:  “The events of December 1989 in Romania resemble to a great extent those in 1968 in Czechoslovakia…”[61]  According to one of the rumors, those counter-intelligence officers of the Czechoslovak security apparatus who had followed and gathered information on KGB agents in Czechoslovakia were “shot by the Russians in front of their cabinets full of files” when the Soviets invaded the country.[62]  Another one suggests that

…many years after the invasion, when the Soviet grip had loosened and the Czechoslovak secret services had begun to gather data about what had happened on 21 August 1968, details concerning the complicity of many Czechoslovak generals and officers with studies in the USSR came to light.  Either they knew of the preparations for the invasion or they were working for its realization.  In other words, they betrayed their country.[63]

The 1968 Czechoslovak events thus continued to resonate in Romania long after the events themselves had passed.

Sultanistic Rule and the Rise of the “National Security” State:  1971-1989

As we have seen, Ken Jowitt acknowledges that neo-patrimonial leadership and the autonomous power of the state security apparatus threatened the corporate integrity of the communist party during the early period of communist rule.[64]  Like many analysts, however, Jowitt viewed these conditions predominantly as a function of the stage of communist development.  Once eliminated, such conditions were unlikely to return.  Moreover, even if they did reappear, they would not be nearly as harmful to the party’s corporate integrity:  both the party and the regime were now far better institutionalized.  Yet precisely these two conditions came to define the Ceausescu regime after 1971.  And despite the fact that the Romanian Communist Party was far better institutionalized than it had been during the initial years of communist rule, Ceausescu’s sultanistic leadership and the Securitate‘s institutional prowess would decimate its corporate integrity. 

Before beginning our examination of regime-state relations in the period after Ceausescu consolidated his position as party leader (1971-1989), it is edifying to explore Jowitt’s rationale for why in established communist regimes the relationship between the party and the security apparatus was no longer the “zero-sum game” it had been during the initial stages of communist rule.  Jowitt outlined his rationale by referring to the Soviet example:

In the case of the KGB, the point is not to deny its organizational distinctiveness; it is to argue that the KGB is not the NKVD [Stalin’s secret police]….The Soviet regime’s move from consolidation to inclusion meant the elimination of the security forces’ superiority over the Party, the destruction of their status as elite agents of a “sultanist” ruler, and their integration into a framework of Party-organizational control.  These changes in status and role have made the KGB more a component than opponent of the Party.[65]

Yet all of the conditions which Jowitt claims were eliminated as a matter of course during the evolution of communist rule–the security forces’ superiority over the Party, the destruction of their status as elite agents of a ‘sultanist’ ruler, and their integration into a framework of Party-organizational control–are conditions which came to distinguish Nicolae Ceausescu’s regime.  Extremely relevant in this regard is Vladimir Tismaneanu’s implicit discussion of regime-state relations during the Ceausescu era in the following passage:

The Romanian Communist party, created in 1921, was ostensibly the ruling force in that country, but in reality Ceausescu and his clan annihilated the party’s collective leadership (the Political Executive Committee) as a decision-making body.  During the 1970s and 1980s, the Central Committee and the party congresses were mere sounding boards whose mission was slavishly to applaud Ceausescu’s initiatives.  There was no trace of collegial behavior at the top of Romania’s government.  The political elite was demoralized and strictly subordinated to the notorious Securitate (secret police), entirely dominated by Ceausescu’s appointees (Emil Bobu, Tudor Postelnicu, Iulian Vlad).  This was indeed a peculiar Romanian phenomenon that explains many post-revolutionary tribulations:  the almost complete emasculation of the party apparatus and the rise of the secret police as the crucial repository of political power, a real “state within the state” [Emphasis added].[66] 

Thus, it would appear that Jowitt’s assumptions regarding the alleged unidirectional and universal characteristics of the evolution of communist rule do not hold in the case of Ceausescu’s Romania.

Three critical features came to pervade the Ceausescu regime during the 1970s and 1980s:  sultanistic leadership, totalitarian policy towards society, and a “siege mentality” vis-a-vis its neighbors.  All three of these factors contributed to the return to prominence of the Securitate in regime politics in spite of the fact that Ceausescu himself had consolidated his position as party leader specifically on the basis of his actions against the Securitate.  All three of these factors also succeeded in eroding and eventually destroying the party’s corporate identity and integrity.  Although Nicolae Ceausescu established a personal dictatorship, he did so within the context of a highly-bureaucratic political system.  Although he ruled through a well-developed system of personal patronage, his rule had a solid institutional basis.  In Ceausescu’s Romania, the Securitate rather than the party was the de facto institutional basis of communist rule.  

Sultanistic Leadership

If between 1965 and 1971 Nicolae Ceausescu had satisfied himself with merely striving to become primus inter pares, after 1971 he was determined to eliminate any and all existing and potential constraints on his personal power.  The more power Nicolae Ceausescu accumulated, the more power he wanted.  The more power he acquired, the more paranoid he became.  In order to satisfy his quixotic quest for total security, “[t]he party apparatus continued to be slowly disenfranchised and continuously humiliated.”[67]

As we have seen, when Ceausescu first came to power back in 1965 it was he personally who had pushed for the amending of the party statutes to prevent regime members from simultaneously holding (full-time) posts in both the party and state.  Yet, only two years later, Ceausescu junked “Article 13b” and, although general secretary of the party, assumed the presidency of the Council of State.  At the Ninth Party Congress in August 1969, Nicolae Ceausescu effectively eliminated the “collective leadership” he had pressed so hard to create four years earlier in the wake of Dej’s death.[68]  

Most Romanian specialists agree that 1971 was a turning point in the evolution of the Ceausescu regime.[69]  In June 1971, Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu visited China and North Korea.[70]  Apparently impressed by (and envious of) the personality cults of Mao and Kim Il-Sung he had witnessed first-hand, upon returning to Romania Nicolae Ceausescu launched what amounted to a “mini-cultural revolution.”  In what came to be known as the “July theses,” he announced a new ideological campaign designed to enforce tighter regime control over culture, art, education, and the media.  One casualty of Ceausescu’s new ideological offensive was Ion Iliescu, the Central Committee secretary for ideological affairs, who was demoted to the Timisoara county party apparatus after being accused of “liberalism” and “intellectualism.”[71]

By 1974, it was clear that Nicolae Ceausescu wished to set himself apart from his fellow East European communist leaders.  In March 1974, he made a further mockery of his one-time support for separating party and state functions when he created and then assumed the new office of “President of the Republic.”  Mary Ellen Fischer has described Ceausescu’s swearing-in ceremony, complete with sash and mace, as having possessed “all the pomp and circumstance accorded any bourgeois president or feudal monarch.”[72]  Meanwhile, Nicolae’s wife, Elena, was rapidly rising to positions of influence within regime structures.  In 1972 she became a member of the Central Committee, in 1973 she was promoted to the Political Executive Committee (CPEx), and in 1977 she became a member of the CPEx’s Bureau.

The fascinating, absurd, and grotesque dimensions of the personality cults of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, and the mass media’s complicity in propagating them, have been well-documented elsewhere and need not concern us here.[73]  As Vladimir Tismaneanu has suggested, Nicolae’s cult was centered around the idea that he was “the demiurge of national dignity and sovereignty” and that the “Golden Era” was “the most heroic and decisive [period] in the whole Romanian history.”[74]  Suffice it to say, the man referred to as “the genius of the Carpathians” and “the Danube of thought” was portrayed as essentially infallible.  The slogan frequently chanted at official party gatherings, “The Party!  Ceausescu!  Romania!” (based on the initials of the communist party “PCR” (Partidul Comunist Roman)), was an eerily accurate description of Ceausescu’s personalization of both the party and the nation-state.

The size of the Romanian Communist Party by the 1980s–the largest in Eastern Europe, an estimated four million members, 14.4% of the total population (31% of the total active population), or almost twice the percentage of party members in Poland, Hungary, and the Soviet Union–was in fact symbolic of its weakness and irrelevance as a corporate institution.[75]  For the bulk of the four million members who constituted the party “rank and file,” party membership increasingly offered few benefits and little protection from either the hardships of life in Ceausescu’s Romania or the intrusive behavior of the Securitate.  Trond Gilberg concluded in the late 1980s that even those 200,000 or so members who made up the “party apparat” were “beset by extreme insecurity”:  “There is no other country in contemporary Eastern Europe (Albania included) where the apparat is so beleaguered.”[76]

The 1970s and 1980s witnessed two closely-related trends in appointments to key positions within party and state institutions:  the so-called “rotation of cadres” principle and the process of “party familialization.”[77]  The idea behind the policy of “cadre rotation” was to thwart the emergence of political challengers by continuously moving officials among various party and state posts and thereby preventing them from creating political “fiefdoms” which could then be used in a power struggle.  As a consequence, those whom Ceausescu came to regard as potential threats to his power–Ion Gheorghe Maurer, Ion Iliescu, Paul Niculescu-Mizil, Ion Ionita, Vasile Patilinet, Ilie Verdet, Virgil Trofin, and others–were skillfully marginalized from the highest levels of power.[78]  At the same time, Nicolae Ceausescu increasingly appointed family members and in-laws to the most important party and state posts.[79]  His son Nicu became a CPEx candidate member and party boss of the important Sibiu county.  His brother, Nicolae Andruta Ceausescu, became the titular head of the Securitate‘s elite Baneasa training academy after 1978.  Another brother, Ilie, was appointed First Deputy Prime Minister of Defense and placed in charge of the main political directorate in the Army.

But it was Nicolae’s wife Elena who gained true prominence within the regime and became the object of a personality cult which by the end increasingly rivalled that of Nicolae’s.  During the 1980s, Elena became “the official second-in-command.”[80]  Not only was she effectively put in charge of the entire educational and cultural system–with stultifying and devastating consequences–but she exercised great direct political power.  She was a First Deputy Prime Minister, and, more importantly, as of 1979, Chairwoman of the Central Committee Commission for State and Party Cadres.  In other words, it was Elena who controlled the nomenklatura.[81]

The manner in which Ceausescu’s sultanistic patterns of leadership increased the institutional influence of the Securitate within the regime and simultaneously emasculated the communist party’s corporate integrity is confirmed by insightful anecdotal evidence.  For example, the head of the Securitate‘s First Directorate (Domestic Intelligence) during the late Ceausescu era, Colonel Gheorghe Ratiu, maintains that:

…the central collective organs of the party’s leadership had only a formal role in order to display the so-called party democracy.  In reality, they didn’t even have the small role of marionettes.  For example, the so-called “Decisions of the Political Executive Committee [CPEx]” were in fact the decisions of Nicolae Ceausescu and Elena Ceausescu.  In the Political Executive Committee, the decisions adopted were never submitted to a vote.  Everything would proceed as follows:  Nicolae Ceausescu would open the meeting, take out a small card from his chest pocket and say:  “look comrades, we (he and Elena Ceausescu) have thought about measure ‘x’ or ‘y'” and, then, after making some arguments in favor of each case, would say:  “[if] you are in agreement comrades, we can proceed.”  This procedure was confirmed to me by former members of the Political Executive Committee.[82]

Cornel Burtica, one of Ceausescu’s brothers-in-law and himself a member of the CPEx for a time, has stated that “in the last years, Ceausescu read nothing outside of the bulletins of [prepared for him by] the Securitate.”[83]  Asked whether the top leadership realized the real state of conditions in the country during the late Ceausescu era, Nicolae’s son, Nicu, said in 1990:

…the problem was very simple:  the information was coming through a single channel…Which channel do you think?–[the Ministry of] the Interior [i.e. the Securitate]…It was of public notoriety, the whole world knew, and I stated so during my trial.  Therefore, for all intents and purposes, party information had disappeared, or had been reduced to what was transmitted by the Interior…[84]

Reinforcing the picture of a powerless collective leadership and the Securitate‘s great position of influence over Ceausescu, is the following observation of an individual who in the late 1980s gained a peak at the special syntheses of foreign news reports prepared for CPEx members by the Securitate:

Thus from time to time I managed to read what was “top secret.”  I was disappointed.  These syntheses contained in totality excerpts or complete translations from the foreign press.  Therefore, what any citizen had at his disposal in the countries in which these publications appeared.  But this was not the most interesting aspect, but rather that on such syntheses I saw the signature of the chief of State Security, in which he mentioned by name to which members of the CPEx these “top secret” texts should be sent.  There were a few.  The majority did not enjoy such a “privilege.”  You realize how much faith was accorded to those at the highest level “of the party and state” when they did not have access even to these foreign press excerpts![85]

Although Ceausescu may initially have sought to play the Army and Securitate off against one another–thereby following the time-tested strategy of divide et impera–as political and economic conditions worsened in the country and his paranoia deepened, he became more and more vulnerable to the influence of the Securitate.  According to Tismaneanu:  “By the end of his life, Ceausescu was a sick and isolated dictator, completely dependent on his secret police, and manipulated by an inept and extremely corrupt camarilla.”[86]

Totalitarian Policy

Nicolae Ceausescu’s fear of challenges to his power, his grandiose industrial and sociological experiments, and his quest for mass adulation and obedience led him to pursue totalitarian policies towards society and to sanction the massive expansion of the Securitate‘s influence in order to implement them.  Traditional Stalinist mobilization techniques such as mandatory ideological indoctrination, youth construction sites, and popular participation in annual harvests were reintroduced.[87]  The economic austerity campaign which began in the early 1980s with the goal of paying off Romania’s $10 billion foreign debt; Ceausescu’s endless architectural projects (including the razing of much of old Bucharest to make way for architectural tributes to the dictator’s greatness); and his incipient “systematization” or “de-villagization” campaign (which targeted thousands of villages for destruction and the moving of inhabitants to new agro-industrial complexes) all necessitated tight control of the population and thus the active participation of the Securitate in carrying them out. 

The Securitate‘s actual size during the Ceausescu era remains, as so much else in Romania, unclear.  According to Virgil Magureanu, the director of the Securitate‘s official institutional heir, the Romanian Information Service (or SRI), the Securitate employed “14,259 military cadres, including 8,159 officers and 5,105 warrant officers and non-commissioned officers, as well as 984 civilian personnel.”[88]  Dennis Deletant has suggested a strikingly-similar number of official Securitate employees:  approximately 15,312, not including the 23,370 members of the Securitate troops.[89]  If these numbers are correct, given Romania’s population of approximately twenty-three million, the size of the Securitate‘s staff paled in comparison to the East German security agency (Stasi), which reportedly employed 95,000 people in a population of seventeen million.[90] 

Yet the truly distinctive characteristic of a totalitarian regime (as opposed to other forms of authoritarianism) is not so much its level of repression or the size of its institutions of repression as its ability to coopt society.[91]  The Securitate‘s ability to penetrate and infiltrate society, to compromise large numbers of people into collaborating with the regime even when they were ideologically and morally opposed to the regime, was a reflection of the totalitarian character of the Ceausescu regime.  According to Tismaneanu, particularly after 1980, the regime resorted to “psychological mass terror”:  “Although Ceausescu refrained from organizing show-trials and bloody purges, he allowed the Securitate to establish a huge network of informers and ‘collaborators’ whose task was to prevent the rise of any critical discussion.”[92]  The result was the creation of “a state of moral despondency and universal fear.”  Although the widespread rumor that one in four Romanians was a Securitate informer–according to some, including former Securitate personnel, a rumor spread by the Securitate itself–was an exaggeration, the Securitate still had an impressively large network of societal collaborators.[93]

Out of a population of seventeen million, the East German Stasi had approximately 100,000 informants.[94]  In Hungary, for a population of ten million, the network of informers is estimated to have been only between 5,000 and 10,000.[95]  In Romania, by contrast, even the SRI Director himself has admitted that the number of informers was 400,000 in a population of twenty-three million.[96]  Based on Securitate documents found in Sibiu after the December 1989 events, Marius Oprea has concluded that this number “merits additions.”[97]  The number most often cited by Romanian political figures is 700,000.[98]  Considering that in 1951, during the height of the Stalinist period, the Securitate reportedly had only 42,000 informers, the number had grown considerably over the years, particularly during the Ceausescu era.

As a journalist who himself collaborated with the Securitate has admitted:  the value of one’s collaboration to the Securitate lay not in the information that collaborator could supply the Securitate with–the Securitate was swimming in such information–but in the very fact of that person’s complicity.[99]  As he observed, the Securitate‘s reach and influence were extensive:

I don’t believe there could have existed institutions which were not clients of the Securitate.  Let’s not delude ourselves, because the leading role of the Securitate in the Romanian state was legalized in 1972 through this Law No. 23 which pertains to the protection of state secrets…[100]

Behr has summarized the Securitate‘s penetration of Romanian society as follows:

Nowhere, perhaps not even in the Soviet Union under Stalin, was this apparatus as all-pervasive as in Romania under Ceausescu.  The Romanian secret police dominated every facet of Romanian life.  It was more feared than Ceausescu himself and enjoyed the truly sinister aura that always eluded the Soviet KGB.  The reason was not simply that Securitate and the RCP [Romanian Communist Party] itself, at all levels, collaborated in a unique way, but that Securitate, a far more flexible, many-faceted organization than the KGB, infiltrated many more areas involving state activities of all kinds.  The Romanian Foreign Trade Ministry, for example, was not simply a hotbed of Securitate agents.  It was virtually a self-contained Securitate ministry.  Securitate also ran its own network of trading companies, holding companies abroad, and even banks.  It also relied heavily on an information network from within the RCP.[101]

One lingering relic from the earlier era of “socialist legality”–dating from the early 1970s and designed to prevent the Securitate from restoring the influence it had achieved under Draghici– was the requirement that the Securitate could only use its network of informers within the party if requested by the head of the Securitate inspectorate and approved by the local party leadership.[102]  Yet as Marius Oprea points out:  “The accord [of the party leadership] was never refused.”[103]  Moreover, former Securitate officer Pavel Corut suggests that the Securitate generally presented the party with lists including the names of real and false informers “in order to prevent the [party] first secretaries from knowing the Securitate‘s network of informers.”[104]

A Siege Mentality

As Vladimir Tismaneanu has argued:

Because the leader imagined himself as the guarantor of the country’s independence, all forms of opposition and dissent were treated as criminal offenses.  To question Ceausescu’s infallibility was, by definition, an attempt to weaken the country’s defense and sovereignty.[105]

This was perhaps the critical factor contributing to the Securitate‘s amazing position of influence within the Ceausescu regime:  Ceausescu saw himself not only as the defender of communism in Romania, but as the defender of the Romanian nation-state.  It was therefore necessary to prevent critics of Ceausescu within the party, state, and society from linking up forces with external powers interested in a leadership change in Romania or from being influenced by those external powers.

The degree to which Ceausescu’s anti-Soviet policies became a cornerstone of the Romanian regime’s ideology and legitimacy can be seen in the following comments by former Securitate officer Pavel Corut:

The majority of capitalist diplomats were conscious of the very delicate position of Romania, of the political, economic, and military blackmail exercised by the USSR on the country, a reason for which they supported us, closing their eyes to the abuses and mistakes of the ruling clan.  Some foreigners openly affirmed that they needed an independent Romania on the shore of the red colossus.  At the same time, the Soviet intelligence and counter-intelligence services (KGB and GRU) and those of their satellites (the Hungarians, Bulgarians, East Germans, Czechoslovaks, Polish) acted in a common front in order to force Romania into the integrationist structures of the Warsaw Pact and the CMEA.  Whatever the serious abuses and mistakes made by Nicolae Ceausescu, we must recognize the fact that he resisted Soviet pressures, he did not permit the subordination of the Romanian Army and Securitate in favor of internationalist structures, [and] Soviet organizations [Emphasis in the original].[106]

It is important to emphasize that the reality of Corut’s comments scarcely matter; what is significant is that this how he and other regime members (especially Securitate members) appear to have thought.

Much has been made inside Romania about the allegations of Ion Pacepa, the deputy head of the Securitate‘s foreign intelligence wing (DIE) who defected to the West in 1978, that the Soviets had schemed for years to remove Ceausescu from power because of his anti-Soviet policies.  According to Pacepa, after Ceausescu’s confrontational tactics during August 1968, Leonid Brezhnev had ordered the KGB and GRU (Soviet military intelligence) to draw up a contingency plan for Ceausescu’s removal.[107]  Pacepa maintains that the fruition of this order was the plan code-named “Operation Dnestr,” which was drafted in August 1969 after Ceausescu sent an invitation to American President Richard Nixon to visit Romania.  Important officials in the party, Army, and the Securitate who had studied in the Soviet Union or had taken Russian wives were to be contacted to take part in a conspiracy against Ceausescu.  Upon the signal from Moscow, they were to arrest Ceausescu and take over power in the name of the “Front for National Salvation.”  If the coup d’etat attempt failed, requests would be made for a “fraternal” Soviet military intervention.[108] 

Because of his defection to the West (at the time, a major blow for the Ceausescu regime) and his vocal criticism of both the Ceausescu and Iliescu regimes while in exile, Pacepa’s revelations about the Ceausescu era have generally been given considerable credibility by the post-1989 Romanian opposition.[109]  Nevertheless, Dennis Deletant’s reservations about some of the details of Pacepa’s claim are well-deserved:

Pacepa’s use of the term “Front for National Salvation” smacks too much of an attempt to compromise the more recent Front for National Salvation, set up after the 1989 revolution, by suggesting that the seeds of it had been some twenty years earlier by Moscow.[110]

Moreover, it is intriguing to note that Pacepa revealed these details only after the December 1989 events (in his 1993 book The Inheritance of the Kremlin).  Although in Red Horizons (his 1988 detail-filled, “tell-all” book on the Ceausescus and the Securitate) he mentioned cases in which alleged Soviet agents (including Army General Nicolae Militaru, of whom we will hear more later) were caught, he did not mention anything about the so-called “Operation Dnestr.”[111]  

Regardless of whether or not such a plan actually existed (and existed in the manner outlined by Pacepa), what is important is that Ceausescu believed that the Soviets were trying to undermine him and actions were taken to counter this perceived threat.  According to Pacepa, immediately upon his return from his famous trip to China and North Korea in 1971, Ceausescu’s fears of a Soviet-backed coup d’etat led him to sanction the creation of a special counter-intelligence unit (UM 0920/A) under the aegis of DIE (foreign intelligence).[112]  The unit reputedly was made up of approximately nine hundred elite officers who had been trained exclusively in Romanian schools, and it was of sufficient importance that its commander was given the rank of chief of directorate of foreign intelligence.[113]  Although there is controversy over the exact identity of this unit, there is little question that particular units within the Securitate devoted much of their time during the last two decades of Ceausescu’s rule watching those they considered to be Soviet spies and those in whom they feared the Soviets might take an interest.[114]  Among these were UM 0110, which was also connected to the foreign intelligence branch and was responsible for monitoring relations with the citizens of other socialist countries, and the Fourth Directorate (Military Counter-intelligence), which had a large network of informers throughout the military to monitor the loyalty of Romanian officers.[115]

Ceausescu’s fear of Soviet machinations, and even a potential Soviet military invasion in the wake of the Czechoslovak events, also apparently led him to issue a secret order to the Council of State Security to come up with an escape plan.[116]  The Securitate, Militia, Army, and Patriotic Guards were all to take part in a plan which would first attempt to encourage popular armed resistance on a nation-wide scale, and failing the success of this, then attempt to help Ceausescu to flee the country.  The plan, originally known as “Rovine-IS-70” and later as “Luceafarul,” outlined the use of sewage and drainage tunnels and safe houses which could be used to ensure Ceausescu’s escape, and incorporated helicopters to ferry the leader to pre-prepared landing sites in and around Bucharest.  The plan was updated through the years to take into account changes in the political and military situation and, as Deletant suggests, has similarities with what actually occurred on 22 December 1989 when the Ceausescus fled Bucharest.

Ceausescu clearly came to question the loyalty of many of the senior commanders in the Romanian Army precisely because they had studied in Moscow.  Romanian officers were discouraged from taking Russian wives.[117]  Army General Stefan Kostyal claims that in 1970 Ceausescu ordered the dismissal of officers of non-Romanian ethnicity, that Ceausescu attempted to use the Czechoslovak events as “an excuse to remove from the head of the army specialists trained in the Soviet Union,” and that he himself was forced out because he had a Russian wife.[118]

Ceausescu’s fears regarding the Army’s officer corps appeared to be confirmed in September 1971 when a high-ranking member of the Defense Ministry and head of the Bucharest military garrison, Lieutenant General Ioan Serb, was accused of having passed secret documents on Bucharest’s defenses to the Soviet military attache in Bucharest.[119]  According to Pacepa, Serb had actually unknowingly given the Soviets a disinformation version prepared by the Securitate‘s Fourth Directorate (Military Counter-intelligence) as part of the “sting” operation against him.[120]  While many aspects of this case remain unclear, the novelty of the case deserves to be highlighted:  although officially Romania and the Soviet Union were “fraternal” partners in the same defense organization and inseparable allies in the international communist movement, sharing secrets of the Romanian state with the Soviet Union was now considered high treason.  This was a drastic about-face from the period of the late 1940s and late 1950s when the Soviets had effectively exercised direct control over Romanian security. 

Pacepa maintains that Ceausescu ordered the Securitate to spread the rumor that “Serb was the first Soviet-bloc general to have been executed as a Soviet spy,” in order to mislead the West into believing that the rift between Romania and the Soviet Union was greater than it actually was.[121]  In reality, Serb was court-martialled and sentenced to seven years in prison.  According to Sauca, some suspect that the Securitate manufactured or exaggerated Serb’s treachery with the intention of furthering its institutional interests by giving Ceausescu a “demonstration” of its vigilance and efficiency.[122]  Indeed, according to even Pacepa’s account, Serb was arrested not on the basis of the documents he had passed to the Soviet attache, but after classified documents planted by the Fourth Directorate were found in his apartment during a search of the premises.[123]  After a “conciliatory meeting” with Brezhnev in August 1976, Serb was reportedly released from prison, forced to sign a secrecy agreement, and put in charge of a remote collective farm.  Sauca suggests that Ceausescu’s failure to order stricter punishment of Serb deeply displeased Securitate counter-espionage officers.[124]   

In his 1988 “tell-all” book, Red Horizons, Ion Pacepa shed light on yet another case in which a high-ranking Romanian Army general was allegedly caught passing information to the Soviets.[125]  According to Pacepa’s account, the 1978 case of General Nicolae Militaru was virtually identical to the Serb case.  Like Serb, Militaru had gone to military school in the Soviet Union and had risen to become head of the Bucharest military garrison.  The only difference was that whereas the Fourth Directorate had ensnared Serb, Militaru had been caught by the ultra-secret Securitate unit of “Colonel Iosif” which “tested the loyalty” of those closest to the Ceausescus at the highest levels of party and state.[126]  Militaru had allegedly been put into contact with the Soviet military attache in Bucharest and agreed to the latter’s request to see a copy of the General Staff’s telephone book (which was apparently classified “Top Secret”).  Pacepa reported this contact to Ceausescu who promptly ordered Militaru’s demotion. 

Two other details about this case raise interest.  According to Pacepa himself, he worried about how to present the Militaru case to Ceausescu so as to avoid a repeat of the Serb affair, whose outcome had apparently been too lenient for this Securitate officer.[127]  Furthermore, it turns out that Militaru’s downfall occurred the same week that Ceausescu had decided to appoint him Deputy Defense Minister and that Ceausescu was so enraged about hearing the evidence provided by Pacepa that he tore up his decree promoting Militaru and instead demoted him.[128]  This brings into question the timing of this episode and suggests that the Securitate was perhaps manipulating Ceausescu in defense of its institutional prerogative vis-a-vis the Army.  Militaru, for his part, was demoted to Deputy Minister for Industrial Construction and in 1984 lost his seat on the party’s Central Committee.

Particularly after 1978, tensions between the Securitate and the Army appeared to intensify.  Constantin Nuta, a close associate of the new head of the Securitate, Tudor Postelnicu, was placed in charge of the Securitate‘s Military Counter-intelligence directorate and vastly expanded its penetration and control of the Army.[129]  Even former Securitate officer Pavel Corut has commented upon the growing rift between the Securitate and Army at the time:

The suspicions between the Army and the Securitate were developed greatly after 1978 (the betrayal of Ion Pacepa), such that it had arrived at the horrible situation that the heads of the information organs of these two ministries (MApN [the Army] and the DSS [the Securitate]) no longer met together, they no longer cooperated correctly, they distrusted each other, etc….[B]eginning in 1980, proposals presented for the posting of Army intelligence officers abroad were systematically rejected.  Someone in the Central Committee wished for the Army to remain without foreign intelligence and to believe that this thing was because the Securitate was taking all the posts [Emphasis in the original].[130]

Corut goes on to accredit “Moscow’s men” within the Romanian regime for fanning the flames of suspicion between the Army and the Securitate.  His allegation rings false, however, since it was most likely Elena Ceausescu, who in the 1980s would have had a final veto over such appointments, who made these decisions.  Moreover, the Securitate could not have been terribly dismayed by their monopoly over foreign intelligence. 

During the 1980s, as the political climate inside Romania became more stifling, the economic situation worsened, and the Army felt itself more and more humiliated (conscripts were being used as a supplementary labor force, officers were passed over for promotion, and the gap between salaries and budgets for the Securitate and the Army widened), the idea of launching a military coup d’etat against Ceausescu apparently gained adherents.  General Ion Ionita, the Defense Minister between 1966 and 1976 who was later demoted and eventually dropped from government and CPEx posts in the early 1980s, anchored a plot which planned to oust the Ceausescus from power between 15 and 17 October 1984 while they were in West Germany on a state visit.  Silviu Brucan, who claims he too was part of the ill-fated conspiracy, makes no secret of the fact that two of the conspirators, the aforementioned Generals Nicolae Militaru and Stefan Kostyal, “had been his [Ionita’s] classmates at the Voroshilov military academy in Moscow from 1956 to 1958.”[131]  According to Brucan, Ion Iliescu, the country’s future president, was contacted, but refused to participate and instead tried to discourage the marginalized generals from going forward with this “dangerous exercise.”  The plot fell apart, however, after two generals marginally connected to it (S. Gomoiu and C. Popa) informed the leadership and the main military unit of the Bucharest garrison was dispatched in late September to participate in the corn harvest, while its commander swiftly retired.  Only Kostyal among the group of conspirators was arrested, but Brucan insinuates that General Ionita’s death from cancer in 1987 was highly suspect.[132]  

The downward spiral in Romania’s relations with the Soviet Union and other bloc countries (especially Hungary) intensified during the 1980s.  Relations with Hungary hit a boiling point in June 1988 after a demonstration of 40,000 people against the Romanian “systematization” (de-villagization) program was permitted by the Hungarian regime to take place in Budapest.  Ceausescu promptly shut down the Hungarian consulate in the Transylvanian center of Cluj (a first in relations between East bloc members) and sent an angry letter to the Hungarian party leader Karoly Grosz denouncing Hungary’s “nationalist and chauvinist activities” against Romania.[133]  After Solidarity was permitted to form a government in Poland in August 1989, on Ceausescu’s orders Romanian diplomats apparently attempted to rally other hardline leaders in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria to call for intervention to put an end to this “betrayal of socialism.”  Ceausescu also appealed more openly and regularly to Romania’s historical and national claims to the territory of Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia, which since World War II had been divided among the Soviet republics of Moldova and Ukraine.  This bellicose, but empty rhetoric only served to aggravate relations between Romania and the Soviet Union. 

In this context, it is interesting to note that the post-Ceausescu security service touted as the official institutional heir to the Securitate, the Romanian Information Service (SRI), maintains in its preliminary report on the events of December 1989 (released in 1994) that according to

instructions dating from 1982, for Soviet information officers sent from Moscow to our country, Romania was “to be treated as an enemy state,” a condition which was maintained and even accentuated after MIKHAIL GORBACHEV came to power.[134]

Once again, even if this claim is false, its mere expression reveals much about how the former Securitate viewed–and in fact continue to view–the KGB.  Belief that this is how the KGB regarded Romania clearly served the institutional interests of the Securitate to expand its presence and control within the Romanian regime.

Perhaps indicative of Ceausescu’s deep suspicion of the Soviet Union, and the political volatility of allegations of KGB ties, was the unannounced, lightning-quick dismissal of his Defense Minister, General Constantin Olteanu, in December 1985.  A rumor suggesting General Olteanu had been contacted by the Soviets to move against Ceausescu, and that Olteanu might have even spoken with Gorbachev himself, reached Ceausescu’s ears.[135]  Ceausescu acted immediately, replacing Olteanu with General Vasile Milea.  Whether or not Olteanu had actually been in contact with the Soviets and the source of this rumor remain unknown.  That Ceausescu was pushed to take such a precipitous action, however, once again suggests the hand of the Securitate.

The Institutional Outcome:  The Ascendancy of the Securitate in Regime Politics

Although Nicolae Ceausescu’s attacks on the Securitate and his campaign for “socialist legality” may have been instrumental in helping him achieve and consolidate power within the party, his rule paradoxically served to restore the Securitate to a position of institutional influence within the regime which was far greater than when he had first come to power.  The Securitate‘s recovery of its institutional influence was a gradual and deliberate development.

In April 1972, the Ministry of Internal Affairs was renamed the Ministry of the Interior, and the Council of State Security which had been given independent status only four years earlier was reintegrated into the ministry, dissolved, and its functions redistributed to the DS (Department of Security) within the ministry.[136]  Cornel Onescu, who had taken Draghici’s place in 1965, was replaced by Ion Stanescu as Minister of the Interior.  Indicative perhaps of the lingering impact of the stress Ceausescu had put on “socialist legality” and party primacy during the initial years of his rule, is the fact that Stanescu was forced out of this position in June 1973 after Emil Bobu, the party secretary responsible for cadres, complained that under Stanescu the Securitate (DS) was up to its old tricks again and engaging in invasive and unjustified surveillance of party members.[137]    

1978 witnessed major changes in the structure and personnel of the Romanian state security apparatus.  The most serious challenge theretofore to Ceausescu’s rule, a miner’s strike in the Jiu Valley during the summer of 1977, had clearly surprised, angered, and frightened Ceausescu.  The Department of State Security (DSS or Securitate) was recreated within the Ministry of the Interior in March 1978, its head was given the rank of Minister-Secretary of State, and some directorate chiefs held the position of Deputy Minister.[138]  Dennis Deletant has captured the significance of these administrative changes well:

The restoration of the department to its position of authority as that before the 1968 reform was one signal of an end to the period of “Socialist legality” trumpeted by Ceausescu a decade earlier.[139]

Indeed, it signified that Ceausescu’s personality cult and the need for complete control required the Securitate to reassume the position in regime affairs which it had held during the transformational period of communist rule–in spite of the memory of how such an administrative arrangement had contributed to the Securitate‘s institutional influence and Draghici’s abuse of power. 

The increasing emphasis on the “national security” orientation of the state security apparatus could be seen in the expansion of the Ministry of the Interior’s mission to include the “defense of the independence, national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”[140]  Moreover, party corporate control over the Ministry of the Interior and the Securitate was severely undermined by the fact that the Ministry was now responsible not only to the Central Committee’s secretary in charge of military and security matters, but also to the “Supreme Command of the Romanian Armed Forces,” a state body which naturally was headed by Ceausescu.  As Deletant notes, “[i]n practice, both the minister and the head of the DSS reported directly to Ceausescu himself.”[141]  In March 1978, Ceausescu named Tudor Postelnicu, the party secretary of Buzau county, as head of the Securitate

A second major shakeup followed in late 1978 after Ion Mihai Pacepa, the deputy director of the Securitate‘s foreign intelligence wing (DIE) defected to the West in July.  This was a crushing blow for the Securitate and apparently necessitated an almost complete rebuilding of the DIE network of informers abroad.  The Interior Minister (Teodor Coman), the head of DIE (Danescu), and the Tourism Minister (the former head of DIE, Nicolae Doicaru) all lost their positions.[142]  Indeed, according to Pacepa, in all a third of the Council of Ministers was demoted, twenty-two ambassadors were recalled, and over a dozen high-ranking security officers arrested.[143]  The new Securitate director, Postelnicu, apparently survived this shake-up unscathed, however, and would head the institution for the next nine years.

In October 1987, Postelnicu was “kicked upstairs” and named Interior Minister.  General Iulian Vlad took his position as director of the Securitate.  Although Iulian Vlad was indeed a Ceausescu appointee, his background was notably different from that of his two predecessors and this difference had significant institutional implications.  As opposed to Bobu and Postelnicu, who had risen through the party, Iulian Vlad was a career Securitate officer.  Vlad’s longevity in the Securitate (he was with the organization for almost forty years, his entire adult life), his aggrandizement of power, and his association with some of the most brutal policies and episodes in recent Romanian history has led Silviu Brucan to term him “our Beria.”[144]

Iulian Vlad began his career in the structures of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the early 1950s (alternatively 1950 or 1952) in a still unclarified capacity.[145]  In 1954, he was promoted to a leadership position in the education department of the Securitate and in 1968 he took over control of that directorate.  In 1974, he succeeded Dumitru Mazilu as head of the Securitate‘s elite Baneasa training school.  According to Stefanescu, after leaving his post at the Baneasa academy, Vlad was involved in the creation of the Securitate‘s new elite anti-terrorist unit, the USLA:

In 1977, having the rank of Lieutenant General he is named Secretary of State in the Ministry of the Interior, a position in which he is charged with the organization and then development of the units of anti-terrorist warfare (USLA), along the lines of similar such “crack” units in the West.  In this scope, together with a group of officers, he goes to West Germany on an exchange to study [their forces].[146]

The USLA were to play center stage in the December 1989 events.

Filip Florian and Marius Oprea have argued that Vlad’s long apprenticeship in the education sector allowed him to build up a sizeable and loyal cadre of supporters among his former students.  According to Florian and Oprea, this would serve Vlad well in later years:

During the 1980s, there existed conflicts among directorates and among generations within the Securitate.  Under the impact of the same megalomania which was in vogue among certain of the directorate heads, under the impact of the purges which followed the defection of General Pacepa, the unity of the old cast was fragmented among many interest groups.  One of the most powerful among them was constituted around General Iulian Vlad, who, in his capacity as head of the educational sector of the Securitate at the end of the 1960s, actively contributed to the creation of the new generation of “securisti patrioti” [the term used to reflect the new nationalistic mission of the Securitate from the 1960s onward].[147]

Vlad’s informal power was given further formal confirmation through his promotion to Deputy Interior Minister in April 1983 and to the rank of Colonel General in August 1984.  Significantly, Vlad’s rise in party structures lagged far behind his rise in the Securitate:  it was only in November 1984 that he became a member of the PCR’s Central Committee. 

Vlad’s assumption of the post of Securitate Director was a significant event for it symbolized the institutional recovery and ascendancy of the Securitate during the Ceausescu era.  This fact was not lost upon Radio Free Europe analyst Paul Gafton at the time of Vlad’s appointment:

Since the removal of General Alexandru Draghici from the leadership of the Ministry of the Interior and State Security in July 1965, Ceausescu had appointed only civilians to this position, allegedly as one way of guaranteeing that the abuses and crimes committed during the rule of his predecessor Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej would not be repeated.  Now, after 22 years, Ceausescu has given the job to a general again.[148]

Ceausescu’s appointment of a life-long Securitate officer to the top position in that institution clearly reflected just how dependent he had become upon the Securitate to keep him in power, so dependent that he was willing to override two decades of policy and caution. 


As the commitment of Mikhail Gorbachev’s Soviet regime to far-reaching economic and political reform became clearer in Eastern Europe, Nicolae Ceausescu’s anti-Sovietism was infused with a more serious ideological dimension than before.  As the ideological gap between the Soviet Union and Romania widened and the Soviet Union became more reformist, the value of Romania’s independent course dropped both at home and abroad.  But this only served to intensify Ceausescu’s belief in the correctness and necessity of a distinct Romanian path to communism.  The threat from abroad–from the reformist Poland, to Hungary, to the Soviet Union–was portrayed as greater than ever before and thus the Securitate was needed more than ever before. 

While the Romanian regime of the 1980s bore many of the features associated with “sultanistic rule”–the family members in high positions of authority, the cronies and lackies who had risen to power because of their blind support of the dictator, the constant turnover among regime officials to prevent contenders for power from gaining a foothold–it is arguable who was controlling whom more by the end:  Ceausescu or the Securitate.  Ceausescu’s personalization of the political system, the increasingly totalitarian character of the regime (especially in the face of growing economic crisis), and Romania’s antagonistic relations with her nominal allies, all contributed to the institutional ascendancy of the Securitate in regime politics.  As we have seen, by the end Ceausescu was relying solely on the bulletins of the Securitate to keep him informed, and every time the Securitate could convince Ceausescu that some high-ranking official was collaborating with the Soviets the Securitate was the direct and indirect beneficiary of Ceausescu’s reaction.  The Securitate thus held a dominant position in the late Ceausescu regime, a regime which reflected its institutional interests and ideology and with which Securitate personnel identified their own fate.  This would have important implications for the character of the Romanian transition.

[1]. Quoted in Kenneth Jowitt, Revolutionary Breakthroughs and National Development:  The Case of Romania, 1944-1965 (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1971), 132.

[2]. Quoted in Dennis Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate:  Coercion and Dissent in Romania, 1965-1989 (Armonk, NY:  M.E. Sharpe, 1995), 73.

[3]. Quoted in ibid., 79-80.

[4]. Quoted in ibid., 80-81.

[5]. Indeed, Deletant seconds Mary Ellen Fischer’s incredulity that Ceausescu would have dared to make such comments in 1956.  See ibid., 81.

[6]. Quoted in Jowitt, Revolutionary Breakthroughs, 132.

[7]. Quoted in ibid., 136-137.

[8]. Ibid., 75-91, 131-155.  On this last point, see page 136.

[9]. Michael Shafir, Romania:  Politics, Economics and Society (London:  Frances Pinter, 1985), 27.

[10]. Robert R. King, A History of the Romanian Communist Party (Stanford, CA:  Hoover Institution Press, 1980), 72-73.

[11]. Ibid., 65-66.  Indeed, in 1961 Alexandru Draghici accused Ana Pauker and Teohari Georgescu (two of Dej’s principal rivals within the party until he ousted them from power in 1952) of having made a formal pact in the immediate postwar period with Nicolae Patrascu, the leader of the Iron Guard, to incorporate a sizable portion of the fascist organization’s members into the party.  See, Ghita Ionescu, Communism in Rumania:  1944-1962 (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1964), 97-98.  This was an unusual allegation against Pauker, considering that her purge from the party in 1952 had been motivated, and made possible, by the fact that she was Jewish, and Stalin had set forth on an anti-Semitic witch hunt in the year before his death.

[12]. Ionescu, Communism in Rumania, 204.

[13]. Jowitt, Revolutionary Breakthroughs, 136.

[14]. Ibid., 136-137.

[15]. Ibid., 138.

[16]. Ibid., 68-69.


[17]. Ibid., 191.

[18]. Ibid., 149.

[19]. These are Jowitt’s characterization of the charges.  See ibid., 192.

[20]. Ionescu, Communism in Rumania, 257.

[21]. Ibid., 267-273.

[22]. Ibid., 269-270.

[23]. Silviu Brucan, The Wasted Generation:  Memoirs of the Romanian Journey from Capitalism to Socialism and Back (Boulder:  Westview Press, 1993), 53-55.

[24]. Ibid., 55.

[25]. On the task of rebuilding the party see ibid., 53.  According to Brucan, “2,000 Transylvanian activists of Hungarian origin” were dispatched to Budapest for this purpose.  On the task of rebuilding the security forces, see Ionescu, Communism in Rumania, 271.  Writing in the early 1960s, Ionescu suggested that based on the reports of Hungarian refugees, “Hungarian-speaking Rumanians and Slovaks” had been given this assignment.

[26]. Ionescu, Communism in Rumania, 288-289.

[27]. Ibid., 290.

[28]. Jowitt, Revolutionary Breakthroughs, 174-197.

[29]. Ibid., 183.

[30]. Brucan, The Wasted Generation, 61.

[31]. Ibid., 67.

[32]. On this last point, see ibid., 57.

[33]. Ion Mihai Pacepa, Mostenirea Kremlinului (Bucharest:  Editura Venus, 1993), 253 as discussed in Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 53-55.

[34]. Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 54.

[35]. Ibid.

[36]. Pavel Corut, Fulgerul Albastru [Blue Lightning] (Bucharest:  Editura Miracol, 1993), 204.


[37]. Idem, Quinta Sparta (Bucharest:  Editura Miracol, 1993), 168-169.

[38]. Idem, Fulgerul Albastru, 205.

[39]. Silviu Brucan has in fact alleged that the focus of opposition elites during 1990 upon the initial communist period was not accidental:

Well trained in political calculation, they invented a strategy equally subtle and ingenious.  Since they had held important and well-known positions in the “golden era”–writing poems or directing television programs dedicated to the Ceausescus until the day of the revolution–they shifted the main direction of the attacks to the initial period of communism in Romania, the Gheorghiu-Dej era.  The mastermind of the new strategy was Octavian Paler, Ceausescu’s appointee as head of television and later chief editor of Romania Libera–in fact, a pillar of the propaganda system for twenty years.  Well, Paler chose as his favorite target me, the “old Stalinist ideologist” of the Gheorghiu-Dej era.  All of Paler’s old comrades got the message and their leitmotif was the same:  “The revolution was not against Ceausescu but against communism, and therefore one must attack it from its very inception in Romania.  That strategy suited the Securitate very well (if the idea was not its own product) because this way all of Ceausescu’s henchmen got off scot-free.  This is why the whole network of Securitate informers and disinformers in the media joined forces with the “retroactive dissidents” in ensuring the success of the new strategy (Emphasis Added).

See Brucan, The Wasted Generation, 190-191.

[40]. Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 20-21.  Deletant rebuts directly a 25 October 1991 article by Corneliu Vadim Tudor in Romania Mare in which Tudor maintained that the Securitate were largely staffed by Hungarians and Russian-speaking Jews during the 1940s and 1950s.

[41]. Ibid., 21.

[42]. Michael Shafir, “Political Culture, Intellectual Dissent, and Intellectual Consent:  The Case of Romania,” Orbis 27, no. 3 (Summer 1983):  410-413.

[43]. Jowitt, Revolutionary Breakthroughs, 184.

[44]. Idem, New World Disorder:  The Leninist Extinction (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1992), 88-120.

[45]. Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 72; Mary Ellen Fischer, Nicolae Ceausescu:  A Study in Political Leadership (Boulder, CO:  Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1989), 79.

[46]. Quoted in Fischer, Nicolae Ceausescu, 79.


[47]. Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 72.

[48]. Fischer, Nicolae Ceausescu, 130-140.

[49]. Ibid., 131.

[50]. This is the interpretation of the esoteric meaning of the word “erroneous” in this statement according to both Deletant and Bacon.  See Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 73; Walter Bacon, “Romanian Secret Police,” in Terror and Communist Politics:  The Role of the Secret Police in Communist States, ed. Jonathan R. Adelman (Boulder, CO:  Westview Press, 1984), 147.

[51]. Quoted in Fischer, Nicolae Ceausescu, 105.

[52]. Ibid.; Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 74-75.

[53]. Bacon, “Romanian Secret Police,” 146-147.

[54]. Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 72-75.

[55]. Fischer, Nicolae Ceausescu, 136.

[56]. Ibid., 141-146.

[57]. Discussed in Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 84.  Sarpe’s claim comes from an article which appeared in a 1992 book celebrating the 133rd anniversary of Romanian military intelligence.

[58]. Fischer, Nicolae Ceausescu, 144-145.

[59]. Fischer, Nicolae Ceausescu, 145.

[60]. See Deletant’s discussion in Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 84.

[61]. Pavel Corut, Cantecul Nemuririi [The Song of Immortality] (Bucharest:  Editura Miracol, 1994), 157.

[62]. Sorin Rosca Stanescu, “Cite servicii secrete are Romania? [How many secret services does Romania have]” Expres Magazin, no. 23 (10-17 June 1992), 30.

[63]. Alexandru Sauca, KGB-ul si Revolutia Romana:  Intensificarea Ofensivei Fortelor Antiromanesti [The KGB and the Romanian Revolution:  The Intensification of the Offensive of Anti-Romanian Forces] (Bucharest:  Editura Miracol, 1994), 122.

[64]. Jowitt, Revolutionary Breakthroughs, 68-69.


[65]. Idem, New World Disorder, 156-157.

[66]. Tismaneanu, “The Quasi-Revolution”:  316.

[67]. Ibid.:  317.

[68]. Fischer, Nicolae Ceausescu, 114-119, 150-159.

[69]. See, for example, ibid., 178-181; Tismaneanu, “The Quasi-Revolution”:  315, 319; Matei Calinescu and Vladimir Tismaneanu, “The 1989 Revolution and Romania’s Future,” Problems of Communism 40, nos. 1-2 (January-April 1991):  49-53.

[70]. As Fischer notes, given the state of the Romanian-Soviet (and Sino-Soviet) relations at the time, it was significant that Kosygin rather than Brezhnev met Ceausescu at the airport during a stopover in Moscow (Fischer, Nicolae Ceausescu, 179-180).

[71]. Calinescu and Tismaneanu, “The 1989 Revolution”:  49-53.

[72]. Fischer, Nicolae Ceausescu, 160.

[73]. See, for example, ibid., 160-189; Katherine Verdery, National Ideology Under Socialism (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1991); Dan Ionescu,  “An A to Z of the Personality Cult in Romania,” Radio Free Europe Research, 2 February 1989:  9-14.

[74]. Calinescu and Tismaneanu, “The 1989 Revolution”:  50; Vladimir Tismaneanu, “Personal Power and Political Crisis in Romania,” Government and Opposition, (Summer 1989):  195.

[75]. Shafir, Romania:  Politics, Economics and Society, 86 (Table 7), 90 (Table 10).

[76]. Trond Gilberg, Nationalism and Communism in Romania:  The Rise and Fall of Ceausescu’s Personal Dictatorship (Boulder, CO:  Westview Press, 1990), 101-102.

[77]. Shafir uses the latter concept in Shafir, Romania:  Politics, Economics, and Society, 79.

[78]. Tismaneanu, “The Quasi-Revolution”:  322.

[79]. For an effective synopsis of the Ceausescu family’s penetration of high-ranking party and state functions see the family tree provided by Rady in Rady, Romania in Turmoil, 52.

[80]. Tismaneanu, “The Quasi-Revolution”:  322-323.

[81]. One of the Army officers in charge of guarding the Ceausescus after they had been arrested on 22 December 1989 recounted that when the couple demanded to know who had taken power and he had informed them of their names, Ceausescu seemed only to know who Iliescu was, while Elena seemed to know everyone, making snide, knowledgeable comments about each one:  “she knew everything…she was the cadrista,” he observed.  See the comments of Lieutenant Colonel Ion Mares in Ion D. Goia and Petre Barbu, “Ceausestii la Tirgoviste,” Flacara, no. 51 (19-25 December 1990), 8-9.

[82]. Colonel Gheorghe Ratiu, interview by Ilie Neacsu (installment 31), Europa (Est-Vest), no. 197 (December 1995), 5-6.

[83]. Cornel Burtica, interview by Constantin Preda, “In ultimii ani, Ceausescu nu citea nimic, in afara de buletinele securitatii [In the last years, Ceausescu read nothing outside of Securitate bulletins],” Zig-Zag, no. 29 (25 September-1 October 1990), 4.

[84]. Nicu Ceausescu, interview by Lucian Jiman and Rudolf Kanla, “Informatiile veneau doar de la Interne [Information came only from the Interior Ministry],” Zig-Zag, no. 18 (10-17 July 1990), 3.

[85]. Teodor Brates, Explozia unei Clipe [A Moment’s Explosion] (Bucharest:  Editura Scripta, 1992), 21.  The signature of the chief of state security would appear to belong to Ceausescu’s last Securitate director, General Iulian Vlad.

[86]. Tismaneanu, “The Quasi-Revolution”:  316.

[87]. Ibid.:  315.

[88]. Quoted in Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 392.

[89]. Ibid., 380.

[90]. Ibid.

[91]. For a similar argument, see Charles Tilly’s discussion of regime facilitation of pro-regime collective action as the distinguishing feature of totalitarian rule in Charles Tilly, From Mobilization to Revolution (New York:  Random House, 1978), 106-115 (especially figure 4-4, page 111).

[92]. Tismaneanu, “The Quasi-Revolution”:  317.

[93]. See the comments of the Securitate defector Liviu Turcu in Edward Behr, Kiss the Hand You Cannot Bite:  The Rise and Fall of the Ceausescus (New York:  Villard Books, 1991), 233.

[94]. Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 380.

[95]. Edith Oltay, “Intelligence Services Burdened by Communist Legacy,” Radio Free Europe.  Report on Eastern Europe, 10 May 1991, 13.


[96]. Marius Oprea, “In 1951, Securitatea avea 42,187 de informatori, iar in 1989 numarul lor trecea de 400,000 [In 1951, the Securitate had 42,187 informers, while by 1989 that number had exceeded 400,000], Cuvintul, no. 133 (18-24 August 1992), 6.  Deletant discusses this article in Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 394.

[97]. Ibid.  According to Oprea, in the three registers found in the Securitate headquarters in Sibiu were listed 10,500 names.  Deletant concludes that given the population of the county (325,000), this meant only one in thirty were informers (Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 394).  However, Oprea does not mention that these numbers were for Sibiu county.  In fact, he appears to suggest that they were only for the city.  Referring to the number of 10,500, he comments:  “In relation to the adult population of the city, this is a large number…”  The city of Sibiu’s population was only barely over 100,000 in 1989, therefore making the actually proportion more like one in ten, rather than one in thirty as Deletant suggests.

[98]. See, for example, Brucan, The Wasted Generation, 158, or former chairman of the Liberal Party, Radu Campeanu, in “Parlamentarii despre dosarele Securitatii,” Romania Libera, 15 May 1992, 3.

[99]. Florin Gabriel Marculescu, interview by Andreea Pora, “Nu am avut curajul sa refuz colaborarea [I did not have the courage to refuse to collaborate],” 22, no. 120 (15-21 May 1992), 12.

[100]. Ibid.

[101]. Behr, Kiss the Hand You Cannot Bite, 232.

[102]. See Deletant’s discussion in Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 395.

[103]. Oprea, “In 1951.”

[104]. Corut, Cantecul Nemuririi, 138-139.

[105]. Tismaneanu, “The Quasi-Revolution”:  317.

[106]. Corut, Cantecul Nemuririi, 151.

[107]. See Deletant’s discussion of Pacepa’s 1993 book Mostenirea Kremlinului (Bucharest:  Editura Venus, 1993) in Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 89-90.  Most of the discussion which follows is based on Deletant’s synopsis.

[108]. Cornel Ivanciuc, “Raporturile dintre Frontul Salvarii Nationale si KGB [The connections between the National Salvation Front and the KGB],” 22, no. 21 (24-30 May 1995), 11.

[109]. See, for example, ibid.


[110]. Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 90.  Indeed, this part of Pacepa’s claim is downright amateurish and manipulative.

[111]. Ion Pacepa, Red Horizons (London:  Heinemann, 1988).

[112]. See the discussion in Ivanciuc, “Raporturile dintre Frontul.”

[113]. Ibid.

[114]. Deletant discusses the confusion over the identity of the unit in Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 90.

[115]. Former Securitate officer, Pavel Corut, refers to UM 0110 as the unit responsible for “counteracting Soviet espionage.”  See Corut, Cantecul Nemuririi, 158.

[116]. Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 84-88.

[117]. See the comments of the Czech defector, Jan Sejna:  Jan Sejna, We Will Bury You (London:  Sidgwick and Jackson, 1982), 67 in Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 88.  According to Sejna, Ceausescu made the decision shortly after becoming head of the party.

[118]. Ibid., 343.

[119]. Ibid., 88-89; Sauca, KGB-ul si Revolutia, 12-13.

[120]. Pacepa, Red Horizons, 196.

[121]. Ibid., 197.

[122]. Sauca, KGB-ul si Revolutia, 13.

[123]. Pacepa, Red Horizons, 197.

[124]. Sauca, KGB-ul si Revolutia, 12.  Pacepa’s comments seem to suggest that he too was dismayed by Ceausescu’s response to this case (Pacepa, Red Horizons, 197).

[125]. Pacepa, Red Horizons, 192-195, 201-202.

[126]. Ibid., 168-169, 195.

[127]. Ibid., 197.

[128]. Ibid., 195, 201-202.

[129]. Victor Beda, “‘Ceistii’ nu purtau epoleti albastri [‘The military counter-intelligence officers’ did not wear blue epaulets],” Tineretul Liber, 2 February 1990, 1, 4.


[130]. Corut, Cantecul Nemuririi, 155.

[131]. Brucan, The Wasted Generation, 132-134.

[132]. Ibid.  According to Brucan, the authorities refused to perform an autopsy in spite of the requests of Ionita’s widow; Ionita was buried without military honors; and the general had himself complained that some time earlier while “traveling in a crowded bus, he felt a stitch in his back followed soon by strong pains.”

[133]. Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 135-136.

[134]. “Dispozitivul informativ si de diversiune sovietic a fost conectat la toate fazele evenimentelor [Soviet information and diversion was connected to all phases of the events],” Curierul National, 11 July 1994, 2a.

[135]. Sauca, K.G.B.-ul si Revolutia, 18-20.

[136]. Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 101.

[137]. Ibid.

[138]. Ibid., 325-326, 377.

[139]. Ibid., 326.

[140]. Ibid.

[141]. Ibid.

[142]. Ibid., 325.

[143]. Pacepa, Red Horizons, 425 in ibid., 324.

[144]. Silviu Brucan, “Cine si de ce nu vrea ‘sa-l supere pe Generalul Vlad’? [Who does not want to ‘anger General Vlad’ and why?],” Adevarul, 29 January 1991, 2.  Lavrenti Beria was Stalin’s secret police chief between 1939 and 1953.  Indeed, it is interesting to note the different treatment Vlad and Postelnicu receive in the Ceausist media.  Whereas Ceausist nostalgics frequently criticize Postelnicu as an incompetent and blame him for having created a “political police,” Vlad is praised for his intelligence and poise.  It is clear that Vlad is far more feared than Postelnicu, a fact which probably has something to do with Postelnicu merely having been a political appointee while Vlad was a career Securitate officer.

[145]. For details on Vlad’s biography, see ibid.; Paul Gafton, “Government Reshuffles:  Changes in the Nomenklatura,” Radio Free Europe Research, 15 October 1987:  3-4; Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate, 336.


[146]. Paul Stefanescu, Istoria Serviciilor Secrete Romanesti (Bucharest:  Editura Divers Press, 1994), 285.

[147]. Filip Florian and Marius Oprea, “Serviciile de Informatii din Romania (I),” Dilema, no. 64 (1-7 April 1994), 14.

[148]. Paul Gafton, “Government Reshuffles:  Changes in the Nomenklatura,” Radio Free Europe Research, 15 October 1987, 3-4.

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