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.

Revisiting the Myths of the Revolution. Part IV: The Romanian Television building is in danger! (Bomba in subsolul Televiziunii!)

Myth 3:  The Romanian Television building is in danger, danger of an explosion!   (TVR e in pericol–Pericol de explozie!)

This is part IV of a four part series.  For parts I, II, and III see

Myth 1:  The “Timisoara Syndrome” or the “False Timisoara Grave (the Paupers Cemetery)/Massacre”

Myth 2:  The water is posioned!  (Apa este otravita!)

Myth 3:  The Romanian Television building is in danger, danger of an explosion!   (TVR e in pericol–Pericol de explozie!)


Like the “water is poisoned” episode discussed in part III of this series, the claims of TV announcers regarding the threat posed to the Television building is a favorite for Romanians and Romanianists to lampoon:

Once again, Andrei Codrescu captures a widely and wildly popular view of TVR’s alleged role during the December 1989 events:

The Romanian revolution was a complex affair. It was a dramatic triumph that had the whole world for its audience, a world that keeps wondering long after the final curtain how much of what it saw was real. If I hadn’t lost my normally skeptical head to the euphoria of December, I would have questioned the single most evident source of news about the revolution: television. But it was precisely television that seduced me during my visit and made me lose sight of things I already knew….Imagine the shock and dismay of our newsmakers and our idealists–including myself–when most of these horrible events we saw with our own eyes on television turned out not to have happened at all. How could the grizzled, experienced Western journalists who are sworn to hard facts have missed the many clues and glaring contradictions that pointed to artifice? The astounding truth of the matter is that much of the glorious Romanian “revolution” was, in fact, a staged play, a revolution between quotation marks….But it couldn’t have been long after, however, the young revolutionaries (if that’s who they were) started becoming “responsible,” and the “spontaneous” provisional government showed up with its own TV script. The television station then became the headquarters of the new government, which, as far as most people were concerned, was born out of video like Venus out of the seashell. And hats must be off to the producers of the exceedingly realistic docu-drama of the strategic military center from where, in a charged atmosphere reminiscent of Reds or Dr. Zhivago, generals with telephones on both ears shouted orders at troops on vast invisible battlefields in every part of the country. Today I stand abashed by my naivete. Much of that Romanian “spontaneity” was as slick and scripted as a Hollywood movie. If I were in charge of the Emmys, I’d give one to the Romanian directors of December 1989. 

SOURCE: The Hole in the Flag: A Romanian Exile’s Story of Return and Revolution (Avon Books, 1991), by Andrei Codrescu, pp. 204-206. excerpted from


As with the “poisoned water” episode, so too with the claimed threats against Television, including the idea that a bomb had been found and disarmed in the basement of the Television building (as can be seen in the above video)…no researcher has attempted to verify the veracity of the claim, until now!

Recently, however, several sources have been unearthed/come to light that clarify what happened.  Here, Corneliu N. Vaida of Timisoara recounts how a Securitate member from Timisoara was convinced to call the Television Station in Bucharest to inform them that, as with many other highly strategic buildings in the country, TVR had been mined and an explosion could be set off.  It appears that the announcement above about a bomb having been disarmed in the basement of the TVR building, was as a result of this information from Timisoara:

Securistul trădat pentru binele TVR

În seara zilei de 22 decembrie şi-a vizitat mama, care locuia pe bulevardul 6 Martie, unde a găsit în apartament un vecin. Era vorba de Gheorghe Toader, un căpitan în rezervă la Securitate, care se refugiase de frică sa nu fie asasinat.

Urmărind programul “Revoluţiei în direct”, de la TVR, au observat la un moment dat o persoana care ţinea în mână un obiect care semăna cu o tastatură.

“Văzând tastatura, securistul a scos o exclamaţie de teamă: <Vor sări toţi în aer acolo! TVR e obiectiv strategic şi este minat, ca în cazuri extreme să poată fi aruncat în aer, tastând un cod pe aşa un detonator!>. A spus că a lucrat la aşa ceva în Bucureşti într-o intreprindere specială. La isistenţele mele a acceptat până la urmă să scrie o declaraţie anonimă pe care am dus-o personal la armată”, a mai declarat Corneliu Vaida.

Ajuns la Garnizoana Timişoara, Vaida a arătat scrisoarea colonelului Zeca, comandantul garnizoanei. “Acesta a pus mâna pe un telefon şi a sunat imediat la Bucureşti la o structură a armatei căreia i-a relatat continutul declaraţiei, dupa care mi-a cerut sa dezvalui identitatea semnatarului argumentând că acesta mai cunoaşte informaţii care ar ajuta la evitarea de victime”, a adaugat Vaida.

Neavând ce face, a trebuit să meargă cu armata să îl predea pe secursitul din casa mamei. “Înspre dimineaţă am văzut la televizor cum a venit cineva şi a declarat că explozibilul cu care era minată televiziunea a fost dezamorsat”, a mai spus timişoreanul.

The event is also recounted by parachutists in this TVR video from 31 December 1989 that only recently appeared on the internet.

Parasutisti de la R. 64 Pst. Boteni la Televiziunea Romana in 31 decembrie 1989:
Lt. col. Ilie Croitoru, Mr. Chiranescu Ion, Cpt. Radulescu Aurelian, Cpt. Constantin Vlasceanu

Corneliu Vaida has been kind enough to share with me, the following additional confirmation of his actions in the document below:


For more about Corneliu Vaida during the Revolution in Timisoara in December 1989, see his interview with ITN correspondent Penny Marshall on 27 December 1989:

Corneliu Vaida Timisoara December 1989

More on what transpired in and around the Television Station below:





One Response to “Revisiting the Myths of the Revolution. Part IV: The Romanian Television building is in danger! (Bomba in subsolul Televiziunii!)”

  1. […] Revisiting the Myths of the Revolution. Part IV: The Romanian Television building is in danger! (Bom… […]

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