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.

Grosescu and Ursachi “The Romanian Revolution in Court” (annotated) V (“Interests” in December 1989 FAIL)

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

Raluca Grosescu and Raluca Ursachi, “The Romanian Revolution in Court:  What Narratives about 1989?” in Vladimir Tismaneanu and Bogdan C. Iacob, Remembrance, History, and Justice. Coming to terms with traumatic pasts in democratic societies.  (New York:  Central European University Press, 2015), pp. 257-293.

In this series, we will look at parts of the Grosescu and Ursachi chapter that necessitate exposition–exposition that is easily derived from my prior research and publications.  In episode one, we looked at Grosescu and Ursachi’s  understanding of “plan ZZ,” which Grosescu and Ursachi suggest was a “fantasy scenario” of somehow abstruse allegations invented for the purposes of the initial post-December 1989 trials:  In episode two, we looked at what is a favorite, seemingly universal assumption that has gone unresearched by Romanianists:  the rumor that the “water was poisoned.”  While it is true that this was primarily a piece of disinformation to create panic and confusion–they totally misunderstand who fed it and to what end it was used.  Moreover, they clearly have no knowledge of Belgian toxicologist  Aubin Heyndrickx‘s toxicology report on what happened in Sibiu 20-22 December 1989, and why this rumor was not completely a “fantasy scenario” as the authors smugly suggest:  In episode three, we examined the unevenness of Grosescu and Ursachi’s approach, essentially accepting at face value the credibility and motivations of those who accuse Iliescu and those around them for allegedly “inventing the terrorists” without investigating the accusers and their claims–specifically in this case, the claims of Teodor Maries: .  In episode four, we saw how Grosescu and Ursachi accept at face value criticisms of justice as having been politicized under Iliescu and co. but then fail to question if the person making such allegations is not himself politicizing justice.  Most noteworthy here is Military Prosecutor General Dan Voinea.  Grosescu and Ursachi present Voinea as the great truthteller and revealer.  Voinea talks about Iliescu and the PDSR protecting “interests.”  What Grosescu and Ursachi seem to fail to see is that former Securitate people have had little to fear from General Voinea and have been conspicuously absent from prosecution as long as he was in charge of the investigations:

In this episode we look at the post-modernist deconstructionist approach to December 1989 which is so popular among liberal, strongly anti-communist, and emigre components of the Romanian intellectual class at home and abroad.  They essentially ask the question cui bono (“who benefits”) and by identifying the interests and the interested party at play, they make an instrumentalist argument as to the use of such an argument.  What they don’t recognize is that their instrumentalist, deconstructivist approach has become a replacement for exacting historical research.  It is characteristic of Ruxandra Cesereanu, to a lesser extent Peter Siani-Davies, and, for example, Ioan Stanomir, in the following video  A major flaw in this approach is that it defines cui bono in strictly partisan terms, and ignores other players and types of interests who also might stand to benefit.  (Thus, in the excerpt below, Grosescu and Ursachi speak of the “symbolic figure of the enemy” that “legitimized the new political leaders as victors against the ‘foes of the Revolution'”…to which the answer is yes…but that doesn’t answer or not anything about whether that enemy existed…which by innuendo instead Grosescu and Ursachi seek to suggest did not…this is simply bad research methodology!)

The “terrorists,” a veritable leitmotif of the 1989 moment, have never been identified and are still one of the great mysteries of events in December…The invocation of this symbolic figure of the enemy legitimized the new political leaders as victors against the “foes of the Revolution” and as artisans of social pacification, which was endangered by the specter of “genocide.”


Of course, Grosescu and Ursachi are no different here than their patron Vladimir Tismaneanu, the de facto Dean of contemporary Romanian politics and history in North America, but a superficial ideologue when it comes to researching and understanding December 1989.  The following from one of his many efforts to appear knowledgeable on December 1989 is classic.  In response to a poster, a certain DanielS, Tismaneanu chides DanielS for the apparently mortal sin of supporting the claims of Iliescu and his supporters.  Tismaneanu–like Grosescu and Ursachi–can’t imagine arguing the historical accuracy of what happened outside of who it benefited/benefits.  Later, to underscore how absolutely clueless he is, he ends up agreeing with a notorious Ceausescu nostalgic, “Ovidiu” whose site (see what Ovidiu resolves to) is well-known by actual researchers of December 1989 as a treasure trove of former Securitate and Ceausescu nostalgic claims and arguments (Tismaneanu has no idea).  Tismaneanu still has not learned more than two decades later that there are not just the interests and arguments of Iliescu and company, and the liberal anti-communist, friends of the open society democrats that opposed them, but that former Securitate personnel and Ceausescu nostalgics have their own set of interests and arguments…and his (and Grosescu and Ursachi and many others’) total ignorance of this issue leads them to make fundamentally flawed conclusions and to heavily misunderstand and misrepresent December 1989.

Anatomia unei inscenari judiciare: Ultimele ore ale cuplului Ceausescu (Updated)

Vladimir Tismaneanu mai 13, 2012 Cultura, Politica & Doctrine, Societate/Life
55 comentarii 7,518 Vizualizari
  • DanielS spune:

    Am ramas “traznit” de articol. Nu ma asteptam la asa ceva din partea dumneavoastra, al expertului care si-a adus o contributie majora la condamnarea comunismului din Romania.

    In Decembrie am iesit peste 2 milioane de romani pe strazile Romaniei. Daca va inchipuiti ca cineva l-a detronat pe Ceausescu fara noi, asta e o sfidare pe care nu o meritam. Revolutia e revolutie, si nu razmerita, pentru ca are conducatori. Numele dizidentului Ion Iliescu se vehicula de mult, pe soptite. Europa Libera construise de mult renumele dizidentilor romani. Confuzia pe care o faceti intre revolutie si lovitura de stat e absolut regretabila. Prin aceasta concluzie va intovarasiti ideologic, probabil fara de voie, cu dusmanii democratiei noastre, tot mai putini, tot mai batrini.

    Procesul lui Ceausescu s-a supus unui regim special, ca si justificarea munitiei consumate la revolutie: regimul de razboi. Executarea lui Ceausescu si televizarea executiei, au condus la incetarea imediata a provocarilor inarmate ale securitatii. Fiecare zi cu Ceausescu in viata insemna sute de morti. Efectul cauza-efect s-a observat imediat la Craiova, orasul in care am trait revolutia. Procedurle desfasurarii procesului si executiei lui Ceausescu, sint detalii nesemnificative pe timp de razboi, chiar hilare in fata unui popor decis sa-si ia soarta in miini.

    Noi, milioanele de revolutionari care am luptat pentru libertate, si n-am cerut drepturi suplimentare fata de restul cetatenilor, noi nu meritam ofensa acestui articol, domnule Tismaneanu. Ne confundati cu asociatiile de revolutionari nesimtiti, pusi pe capatuiala, si uneori absenti de la revolutie. Asta nu va face cinste.

    • Din pacate, nu faceti decat sa reluati justificarile vehiculate de Ion Iliescu si sustinatorii sai de doua decenii si mai bine incoace. Pentru conducerea FSN, procesul cuplului Ceausescu era sansa de a se debarasa de aceste personaje profund stingheritoare si de a a-si consolida imaginea de “revolutionari neprihaniti”. Tema articolului nu este legitimiatea revolutiei anticomuniste (pe care o afirm in toate scrierile mele pe subiect, inclusiv in cartea “Stalinism pentru eternitate”, Polirom, 2005), ci farsa judiciara, ori altfel spus procesul-spectacol, organizat de noii ptotentati impotriva celui aclamat cu cateva saptamani inainte ca lider reales al PCR (ma refer la Congresul al XIV-lea al PCR). Se obtinea prin acel proces, ca si prin cele care au urmat, ale membrilor CPEx, acuzati doar de crimele din decembrie 1989, nu de participare la actiunile unui regim criminal pe parcursul intregii sale existente, amanarea sine die a procesului comunismului din Romania ca sistem bazat pe ideologia urii sociale.

    • norocel spune:

      Ceea ce scrie acest “revolutionar” din Craiova este izbitor de apropiat de ideologia la putere in Romania, FSN, PSD,etc. Imi este sila de acesti indivizi ….

OVIDIU ( spune:

D-le Tismaneanu va citez “Nu revolutionarii l-au avut in custodie pe Ceausescu, nu ei au organizat procesul”
Deci v-ati dat singur raspunsul.

Ion Iliescu era un las s-a ascuns in Editura Tehnica pina la ora 13.30 adica dupa fuga lui Ceausescu, stau si ma intreb de ce oare marele revolutionar Iliescu nu a facut nimic pina atunci pentru ca numai era filat de securitate? Eu l-am intrebat pe blogul lui personal pina cand a fost filat urmarit de Securitate dansu mi-a zis ca la ora 10.30 niste colegi de-al lui au observat ca numai erau masinele alea negre de la Securitate linga Editura, deci de la ora 10.00 el de fapt a fost un om liber, se pune intrebarea de ce la ora 10 nu a iesit in strada ?

O alta intrebare ma preocupa cum se face ca pina la ora 20.00 daca nu ma insel nimeni nu a tras adica TERORISTII au aparut dintr-odata, Iliescu si la asta are raspuns adica teroristii lui Ceausescu erau impotriva lui, si nu impotriva poporului. Haosul l-a creat Iliescu insusi, ca sa aiba un motiv de a-l termina pe Ceausescu. Asa credea el ca va legitim in fata poporului.

Sa nu uitam ca Iliescu este responsabil pentru victimile de dupa 22 decembrie 1989 (1000 DE MORTI), el si-a asumat rasponsibilitatea in fata poporului chiar la TVR. De-aici eu consider ca Ion Iliescu a dat lovitura de stat.

Daca adevaratii revolutionari preluau puterea sunt convins ca nu existau nici morti nici securisti si nici macar procese ilegale.
Un lider responsabil nu facea ceea ce a facut Iliescu si nu folosea TVR, ca un fel de instrument de manipulare. Concluzia mea este ca Iliescu a vrut doar puterea pentru asta era capabil de orice ca sa arate poporului “vedeti eu l-am omorat pe Ceausescu nu revolutionarii” Nici un revolutionar nu inventa chestia cu teroristii, asadar Ceausescu ar fi fost judecat de revolutionari fara varsare de sange si fara asasinate politice.

  • Nu stiu cat si cum a fost implicat generalul Stefan Guse in procesul de la Targoviste. Era Seful Marelui Stat Major, conducea operatiunile militare. Si eu cred ca a fost un caz de ceea unii numesc haos organizat. Ion Iliescu nu a avut curajul sa semneze, in martie 1989, “Scrisoarea celor 6″ veterani ai PCR. Ulterior, a afirmat ca n-a fost contactat spre a o semna. Nu a spus adevarul. Ion Iliescu s-a format si a crescut in aparatul comunist, i-a fost loial si ii ramane de fapt loial si azi, chiar daca aparatul s-a convertit in numeroase banci, corporatii, companii si grupuri de interese economico-financiare. Aceasta “conversie a nomenklaturii” (spre a folosi termenul specializat) s-a produs, in Romania, sub “inaltul patronaj” al lui Ion Iliescu. Asa a prins fiinta sistemul ticalosit, adica sistemul Iliescu (cum il numeste H.-R. Patapievici). Doar ca sistemul nu s-a ticalosit, a pornit de la (rau) inceput pe aceasta cale. Singura metoda de a combate acetste retele mafiotice o reperzinta intarirea justitiei independente, a statului de drept. Dispretul pentru lege s-a evidentiat inca de la acel moment pe care il discut in articol, anume procesul-spectacol al cuplului Ceausescu. Repet, nu e vorba aici de a nega in vreun fel actiunile criminale ale lui Ceausescu de-a lungul deceniilor cat a condus Romania ca si in perioada Dej. Ma ocup strict de natura unui dublu omor politic care s-a drapat in costum legal pentru a ascunde scopurile reale ale unei vendete nomenklaturiste.


I have written about the importance of identifying and disentangling analytically the various interests–political, bureaucratic, personal and otherwise–in December 1989 beginning in graduate school in the mid-1990s.  It is no surprise that those who emphasize ideology above all else and thus treat the nomenklatura as undifferentiated in their interests except in the realm of ideas and values, ignored and continue to ignore–to their and our detriment–the salience and influence of bureaucratic identities and interests in understanding December 1989.  Furthermore, it is not enough to merely identify interests and “cui bono” or “cui prodest”:  the facts of what happened then have to be painstakingly assembled and analyzed to see how they line up against the various interests involved.

I was still trying to make sense of the relationship between the Romanian media and the former Securitate on the question of December 1989 when I wrote this article back in 1996 while working on my Ph.D. dissertation.  (A more developed and refined understanding is my fall 1999 EEPS article, written spring 1998, and found here,  My ideas may have still been in formation then, and imperfect, but my instincts were ultimately in the right direction , as a few examples from the December 2014 Romanian online media (below) shockingly continue to demonstrate.




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