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.

Posts Tagged ‘russian tourists Romania 1989’

Russian News Broadcasts about Nicolae Ceausescu’s Overthrow in December 1989

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on September 13, 2014

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

Ah, boy, does this musical intro bring me back…to the headphones and VHS (Beta?) video machines in the language lab of Cabell Hall (?) at the University of Virginia in the late 1980s.  Russian is one of those languages from the scrap heap of “languages I started studying but stopped studying before I could use them.”  I studied Russian for two years, fall ’86-spring ’88 at UVA.  Other languages from this category include:  German (Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, fall ’88-spring ’89) and Kazakh (Indiana University Bloomington, REEI SWEESL Summer language program, summer 1993).  Please note:  any help from those who can actually understand Russian as to important insights from these videos would be appreciated.

[As an introductory aside:  check out newsreader Galina Zimenkova from 0:20!  Now we know where Fox News got their concept of ” anchor babes” from…I believe she is wearing something from the Frumpy G.U.M. collection, 1972…by the way, did longtime baseball announcer Harry Caray realize his glasses were missing?  Ok, enough of that.]

A few notes/questions:

2:40 may be footage previously unseen on TVR

6:11 a report from Timisoara begins

8:22 Aboimov

(Non-Romania content Bonus:  11:56 Check out Kazakhstan’s Communist Party First Secretary, N.A. Nazarbayev…anybody know whatever happened to that guy?!)

Video from Romania reports at 1:48 and 3:32 (Palatul Victoriei); highlight is an interview with Ion Iliescu from 3:55, in what seems like halting Russian, apparently specifying that the events of Ceausescu’s overthrow were “spontaneous” because/and there were no “organized” structures to take over (Petre Roman looks on at his side).

from 15:08 (after other Romania reports), report from the Iron Gates and the transport and hospital treatment of injured Russian tourists to Yugoslavia, including interviews with an injured woman.

Marius Mioc has extensive coverage/research of this event at . See, for example, and

Below, a previously un-posted article:

Alin Alexandru, “Un incident ciudat in care cinci cetateni sovietici nu raspund somatiei.  SE CAUTA O MASINA DIN CARE S-A TRAS,” Expres nr. 46 decembrie 1990, p. 6.

(1994 lot from the B.A.R. Biblioteca Academiei Romane…hence the poor quality of the xerox)


Thanks to Mark Kramer for the following clarifications on the Russian broadcasts:

Regarding the Soviet broadcasts.  They highlighted the large number of casualties and discussed the steps being taken by the new authorities to prevent “terrorists” from infiltrating the city.  In the first broadcast, Iliescu does not appear on screen, but they quote him to the effect that he denied the National Salvation Front had appealed to the Soviet Union for military aid.  Such aid, Iliescu claimed, was unnecessary, and calm was gradually being restored.  In the second broadcast, Iliescu and Roman appear and speak with the Soviet journalist.  Iliescu, who does all the talking, speaks Russian quite fluently (not haltingly).  He’s talking mostly about their plans for the future political development of Romania.  The broadcaster notes that hardened bands of pro-Ceausescu Securitate forces are continuing to put up armed resistance.  The third broadcast contains the most extensive coverage of Romania, including the transfer of injured Soviet tourists to Yugoslavia for treatment, the diversion of transport networks, international expressions of support for Romania, etc., etc.

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Nicolae Ceausescu’s Paranoia as a Theory for Explaining December 1989?

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on August 23, 2014

(Purely personal views, based on two decades of prior research and publications, thank you)

[Described by the poster, spartacvs dacicvs, as follows:  toate celelalte postari au in jur de 6 minute,semn ca sunt “taiate”,aceasta inregistrare este de aproape 21 minute si este UNICA pe se poate auzi clar cum Ceausescu administreaza criza evenimentelor de la Timisoara si exista si stenograma.]

Tov. Nicolae Ceausescu:

Am dat, de altfel, indicatia sa se intrerupa orice activitate de turism. Nu trebuie sa mai vina niciun turist din strainatate, pentru ca toti s-au transformat in agenti de spionaj. De asemenea, sa se intrerupa micul trafic de frontiera imediat. Am dat ordin la Ministerul de Interne, dar trebuie chemati si cei de la turism imediat, iar locurile neocupate sa fie date la cetateni romani.  Nici din tarile socialiste sa nu mai vina, in afara de Coreea, de China si din Cuba. Pentru ca toate tarile socialiste vecine nu prezinta incredere. Cei din tarile socialiste vecine sunt trimisi ca agenti. Intrerupem orice activitate de turism. La toate judetele se va declara stare de alarma. Unitatile militare, ale Ministerului de Interne, ale Securitatii sunt in stare de alarma.  Sa dam la teleconferinta indicatia ca sa se ia toate masurile fata de orice incercare, pentru ca trebuie sa aparam independenta patriei si a socialismului impotriva oricaruia, indiferent cine este.  Acestea sunt problemele care se pun acum. Am impresia ca nu s-au inteles la Congres lucrurile care trebuie. Hotararile nu au fost de parada. Toti trebuie sa stie ca suntem in stare de razboi. Tot ce s-a intamplat si se intampla in Germania, Cehoslovacia si Bulgaria acum, si in trecut in Polonia si Ungaria, sunt lucruri organizate de Uniunea Sovietica, cu sprijinul american si al Occidentului.  Trebuie sa fie foarte clar acest lucru, iar ceea ce s-a intamplat in ultimile trei tari – R.D. Germana, Cehoslovacia, Bulgaria – au fost lovituri de stat organizate si cu sprijinul plevei societatii. Pleava societatii cu sprijin strain. In acest fel trebuie intelese lucrurile. Nu se pot judeca altfel. Este clar, tovarasi, sunteti de acord?

[xerox below from Mircea Bunea, Praf in ochi:  Procesul celor 24-1-2 (Editura Scripta, 1994), p. 34.]


In other words, as of the evening of 17 December 1989, Nicolae Ceausescu had ordered not just that Soviet tourists, but that all tourists, from East and West–excluding, of course, the select group of reliable countries from his perspective, North Korea, China, and Cuba–be prevented from entering the country, because, in his view, they had all become espionage agents.  Such a blanket ban on foreign tourists speaks to Nicolae Ceausescu’s fears and even paranoia, rather than as an accurate reflection of reality.

Nevertheless, a series of Romanian and foreign analysts, including Alex Mihai Stoenescu, Cristian Troncota, and Larry L. Watts, somehow interpret the closure of Romanian borders to Soviet tourists as some sort of proof or verification of theories that Soviet agents posing as tourists were involved in the unrest of 15-17 December 1989 in Timisoara.

Larry L. Watt’s 2010 volume Fereşte-mă, Doamne, de prieteni (the English version entitled With Friends Like These) is invoked.  In the English version, Watts wrote on page 16, with a footnote on page 26:

“It is suggestive that more than 25,000 of the 37,000 “extra” Soviet tourists that deemed Romania a desirable place to visit or transit in the two weeks prior to its revolution in December 1989 chose not to leave until almost a year later, in October 1990, after the Romanian government formally insisted on their departure.90”

90. “Ceauşescu protested the sudden influx of Soviet ‘tourists’ to Moscow at the time, none of whom stayed in hotels. See e.g. Mircea Munteanu, New Evidence on the 1989 Crisis in Romania, e-Dossier no. 5, Washington D.C., Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, December 2001, pp. 3-11, CWIHP. The Romanian Senate’s investigation into the events of December 1989 disclosed the extraordinary jump in Soviet ‘tourists’ from 30,000 in 1988 to 67,000 in 1989 as recorded in customs and border statistics, as well as the unexplained delay in their departure. Mention of this glaring anomaly was qualified as unwarranted “conspiracy theory.” See e.g. Depostion of Petre Roman, Transcript no. 90/8.03.1994, Romanian Senate Archive, Bucharest, pp. 44-45. According to ex-Prime Minister Roman, 30,000 Russians ‘tourists’ remained in Romania for almost a year, until officially requested to leave in October 1990. Allegedly, Caraman’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) informed Roman about them only at that time. However, since at least March, Romanian TV had broadcast news stories of the Russian encampments.”]

Marius Mioc reproduced the Romanian version of the passages as follows (Răstălmăcirile lui Larry Watts şi răstălmăcirile altora despre Larry Watts):

Cel mai important fragment din cartea lui Larry Watts care se referă la revoluţie îl găsim la pagina 55, şi este următorul:

Este sugestiv faptul că peste 25000 din cei 37000 de turişti sovietici care au considerat România locul preferat pentru vizite sau tranzit, în cele două săptămînă anterioare revoluţiei din decembrie 1989, au ales să nu mai plece timp de aproape un an, pînă în octombrie 1990, după ce guvernul român le-a cerut oficial şi insistent să părăsească ţara.

Aici se face trimitere la o notă de subsol în care se scrie:

Ceauşescu a protestat împotriva afluxului brusc de turişti de la Moscova, din care nici unul nu stătea la vreun hotel. Vezi Mircea Munteanu, New Evidence on the 1989 Crisis in Romania, e-Dossier nr. 5, Washington D.C., Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, decembrie 2001, pp. 3-11, CWIHP. Ancheta Senatului României asupra evenimentelor din 1989 menţionează un salt de la 30000 turişti sovietici în 1988 la 67000 în 1989, precum şi o întîrziere inexplicabilă în plecarea acestora. Vezi Depoziţia lui Petre Roman, transcript nr. 90/8.03.1994, Arhiva Senatului României, pp. 44-45. Conform prim-ministrului Petre Roman, 30000 de turişti ruşi au rămas în România peste un an, pînă cînd li s-a cerut oficial să plece, în octombrie 1990. Conform lui Roman, şeful SIE, Caraman, l-a informat numai la acea dată despre aceştia. Totuşi încă din martie televiziunea română relata despre taberele sovietice.

For additional discussion on the original sources upon which Watts’ claims are based and their credibility see the following:

The following declarations from suggest strongly the flow of information during these days:  it wasn’t officials or officers on the ground in Timisoara telling Bucharest that foreign, especially Soviet, tourists were involved in the Timisoara unrest, but rather Bucharest emitting Nicolae Ceausescu’s paranoia and directing those in the field to find proof to substantiate Ceausescu’s paranoia.  As the documents below make clear:  even though they were dispatched and tasked with this specific order, they still were unable to find evidence of a foreign hand in the events and reported back accordingly despite realizing how unwanted such an answer was.  In other words, the foreign tourist–Soviet tourist–theory has its roots not in the reality of the time, but in Nicolae Ceausescu’s mind!

Tudor Postelnicu:  “Ceausescu Nicolae facuse o psihoza, mai ales dupa ce s-a intors de la sedinta de la Moscova in toamna lui ’89.  Era convins ca se planuieste si de cei de pe plan extern caderea sa, era convins ca toti sint spioni…”


Petru Pele (Dir I, DSS). Declaratie, 16 ianuarie 1990:  “Printre sarciniile mai importante efectuate de catre acestia in  perioada 17-22.12.1989 s-a numerat (?) constituierea (?) listelor celor retinuti de organele militie cu listele celor predati sau reintorsi din Ungaria, intrucit s-a emis ipoteza ca evenimentele de la Timisoara au fost puse la cale in tara vecina…”



Gheorghe Diaconescu, Declaratie 31 decembrie 1989

“Luni 18 decembrie gl. col.  VLAD IULIAN a avut o convorbire cu colegul meu (local?) RADULESCU EMIL …


Vlad Iulian (continuarea, declaratia lui Gheorghe Diaconescu) “?… foarte dur (?) ca nu (?) ca ‘un grup de turisti isi fac de cap in Timisoara’”



Tocmai Iulian Vlad, el insusi, recunoaste ne-implicarea strainilor in evenimentele de la Timisoara, aici…



Incepind cu noaptea de 16/17 dec. si in continuare pina in data de 20 dec. 1989 organul de securitate local col. Sima cit si gl. Macri si in lipsa lui col. Teodorescu imi comunicau date din care rezulta ca sute de elemente turbulente au devastat orasul, si ca elementul strain nu rezulta a se fi implicate in continuarea fenomenului.”


“Mai exact, cei trimis de mine la Timisoara mi-au raportat ca nu au elemente din care sa rezulte vreum amestec al strainatatii in producerea evenimentelor de la Timisoara.”




Reports back from the field, denying foreign involvement in the Timisoara unrest!

The Timisoara files about December 1989 are now publicly available (when the link works!) on the Internet at  What they show is that Securitate, Militia, and other regime officials from Timis County were asked by Bucharest–communicated via the person of Securitate Director, General Iulian Vlad–to investigate the role of foreign elements, specifically tourists, in the Timisoara protests of mid-December 1989.  But they were not the only ones.  General Vlad tasked senior Securitate officials from Bucharest sent to Timisoara to report back to him on this very topic alleging external involvement and manipulation of the Timisoara demonstrations.  What remains unclear is how much of this tasking was General Vlad communicating his own “hypothesis” or how much of it was he relaying Nicolae Ceausescu’s “theory” about what was going on.  This much is clear:  neither those stationed in Timis County, nor those officials sent from Bucharest could find evidence of a foreign hand in the Timisoara uprising, despite being asked to investigate exactly this aspect.  How do we know this?  From their own written confessions immediately after the December 1989 events.  (Below are four of them:  Nicolae Mavru, Liviu Dinulescu, Emil Macri, and Filip Teodorescu.)

Niculae Mavru, fost sef al sectiei ‘Filaj si investigatie’ de la Securitatea Timis, declaratia din 13 ianuarie 1990:  …la ordinul col. Sima Traian, am primit…misiuni de a observa si sesiza aspecte din masa manifestantilor, din diferite zone ale orasului in sensul de a raporta daca sint straini (ceea ce nu prea au fost) care incita la dezordine, acte de violenta sau altfel de acte… 0331 25 iunie 1991 “Desi ne-am straduit nu am putut raporta col. Sima implicarea completa a vreunui cetatean strain in evolutia demonstratiilor cit si fenomenlor care au avut loc la Timisoara,..”


“Sarcina primordiala pe care am primit-o de la col. Sima a fost daca in evenimentele declansate la Timisoara erau implicate elemente straine din afara tarii.  Cu toate eforturile facute nu a rezultat lucru pe linia mea de munca.” 0174

26 iunie 1991, Declaratia lui Liviu Dinulescu, cpt. la Serviciul de Pasapoarte al jud. Timis (in decembrie 1989, lt. maj. ofiter operativ Securitate judetean la Serv. III, care se ocupa de contraspionaj)

“Precizez ca anterior declansarii evenimentelor de la Timisoara din datele ce le detineam serviciul nostru nu rezulta vreun amestec din exterior in zona judetului Timis.”


Generalul Emil Macri (seful Dir. II-a Securitatii, Contrainformatii Economice),

Declaratie 2 ianuarie 1990:

“Rezumind sintetic informatiile obtinute ele nu au pus in evidenta nici lideri si nici amestecul vreunei puteri straine in producerea evenimentelor de la Timisoara.  Raportarea acestor date la esalonul superior respectivi generalului I. Vlad a produs iritare si chiar suparare…”

IMG_1219 IMG_1215 Filip Teodorescu (adj. sef. Dir III Contraspionaj D.S.S.), Declaratie, 12 ianaurie 1990:  Seara [luni, 18 decembrie 1989], dupa 23:00, responsabili (anumiti ?) de generalul-maior Macri Emil pe diferitele linii de munca au inceput sa vina sa-i raporteze informatiile obtinute.  Au fost destul de neconcludente si cu mare dificultate am redat o informare pe care generalul-maior Macri Emil a acceptat-o si am expediat-o prin telex in jurul orei 01:00 [marti, 19 decembrie 1989.  In esenta se refera la: –nu sint date ca ar exista instigatori sau conducatori anume veniti din strainatate… IMG_1453 IMG_1438

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