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 ‘soviet tourists december 1989’

25 for the 25th Anniversary of the Romanian Revolution: #8 Romania closes its borders to almost all foreigners…except Russian tourists returning from shopping trips to Yugoslavia (18-19 December 1989)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on December 19, 2014

(Purely personal views as always, based on over two decades of research and publications inside and outside Romania)

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe–Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania.  This series looks at 25 things I have learned about the events of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989.  The numbering is not designed to assign importance, but rather–to the extent possible–to progress chronologically through those events.

Significance:  During the meeting of the equivalent of the Politburo of the Romanian Communist Party on the afternoon of 17 December 1989, Nicolae Ceausescu announced:  “I have ordered that all tourist activity be interrupted at once. Not one more foreign tourist will be allowed in, because they have all turned into agents of espionage….Not even those from the socialist countries will be allowed in, outside of [North] Korea, China, and Cuba. Because all the neighboring socialist countries are untrustworthy. Those sent from the neighboring socialist countries are sent as agents.”  On 18 December 1989, in the aftermath of the bloodbath of regime repression that had transpired in Timisoara the night before, it was officially announced–in typical Ceausist- (and undeniably Orwellian) style–that Romania would not accept any more tourists because of a “shortage of hotel rooms” and because “weather conditions” were “not suitable for tourism.”  Only it turned out in practice one group of tourists from a neighboring communist state were exempted from this requirement:  Soviet tourists returning home from shopping trips in Yugoslavia…

image0

FBIS-EEU-89-242 (19 December 1989), p. 85.  Paris AFP in English 1430 GMT 19 December 1989.

Vatin, Yugoslavia, Dec. 19 (AFP)

Romania’s borders are now closed to all but Soviet travellers, who pass through Romania to return home after shopping trips to Yugoslavia….

An AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE reporter was curtly told to “go back home, only Russians can get through,” after two Romanian border guards–one armed with a Kalashnikov rifle with an Alsatian guard dog at his side–carried out a detailed inspection of the license plates on some 15 cars waiting to cross.

I have been using this source since back in the 1990s when I wrote my dissertation (defended December 1996) at Indiana University (Bloomington), but I still get a kick out of it when I come across it–particularly in light of the seemingly never-ending, snowballing revisionism which alleges that the Timisoara uprising was sparked by “Soviet tourists” or “Russian tourists,” etc.

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/03/28/yugoslavia-romania-border-19-december-1989-an-agence-france-presse-reporter-was-curtly-told-to-go-back-home-only-russians-can-get-through/

 

An excerpt from

A chapter from my Ph.D. Dissertation at Indiana University: Richard Andrew Hall, Rewriting the Revolution: Authoritarian Regime-State Relations and the Triumph of Securitate Revisionism in Post-Ceausescu Romania (defended 16 December 1996). This is the original chapter as it appeared then [minus the xeroxes] and thus has not been revised in any form.

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/rewriting-the-revolution-1997-chapter-6-18-22-december-1989/ (traducere de catre Marius Mioc 18-19 decembrie 1989 )

18-19 December 1989: The Timisoara Crackdown in Ceausescu’s Absence

Considering the centrality of the “foreign tourist” scenario to Securitate-inspired accounts of the December events, it is interesting to note the actions taken by the Ceausescu regime on 18 December 1989. At the close of the emergency CPEx meeting on Sunday afternoon, Nicolae Ceausescu had announced:

I have ordered that all tourist activity be interrupted at once. Not one more foreign tourist will be allowed in, because they have all turned into agents of espionage….Not even those from the socialist countries will be allowed in, outside of [North] Korea, China, and Cuba. Because all the neighboring socialist countries are untrustworthy. Those sent from the neighboring socialist countries are sent as agents.[5]

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

image0-001

On Monday, 18 December 1989, in typical Ceausist-style it was therefore announced that Romania would not accept any more tourists because of a “shortage of hotel rooms” and because “weather conditions” were “not suitable for tourism.”[6] Ironically, the only ones exempted from this ban were: “Soviet travellers coming home from shopping trips to Yugoslavia”(!)[7]

Thus, it is intriguing to see how former Securitate Colonel Filip Teodorescu tailors his characterization of Timisoara on 18 December to account for this change:

There were few foreigners in the hotels, the majority of them having fled the town after lunch [on 17 December] when the clashes began to break out. The interested parties remained. Our attention is drawn to the unjustifiably large number of Soviet tourists, be they by bus or car. Not all of them stayed in hotels. They either had left their buses, or stayed in their cars overnight. Border records indicate their points of entry as being through northern Transylvania. They all claimed they were in transit to Yugoslavia. The explanation was plausible, the Soviets being well-known for their shopping trips. Unfortunately, we did not have enough forces and the conditions did not allow us to monitor the activities of at least some of these “tourists.”[8]

[from Filip Teodorescu, Un Risc Asumat, 1992, p. 92]

image-68

This raises the question of why, if the Soviet tourists were the ones suspected from the first of being behind the unrest, it should have been exactly they who were given continued access into Romania? One of the most effective rejections of the “tourist” scenario came in 1991 from “a group of [Army] officers from the Timisoara garrison.” In an open letter, they proclaimed:

If they [the tourists] appeared suspect to the special forces of the Securitate and counter-military intelligence, why did they not attempt to keep them under surveillance? During this period, did the Securitate and the counter-intelligence officers not know how to do their jobs? Did they somehow forget why they were paid such weighty sums from the state budget?[9]

[Un Grup de Ofiteri din Garnizoana Timisoara, Romania Libera, 15 octombrie 1991
“4.  Existenta unui mare numar de turisti straini, care s-au deplasat (cu autoturisme) spre Timisoara si prin Timisoara.
Cine au fost acei turisti?  Turisti banuiti, si ei, de intentii destabalizatoare.
Daca fortelor speciale de securitate si contrainformatii militare li s-au parut suspecti, de ce nu s-au procedat la verificarea acestora?  Oare in acel rastimp, securistii si contrainformatorii nu mai stiau sa-si faca meseria?  Au uitat pentru ce erau platiti, din bugetul statului, cu bani grei?”]

As we mentioned earlier, in an interesting psychological twist the former Securitate sometimes appear to attribute their own actions to others, especially the convenient phantom-like “foreign tourists.” Some of the Securitate‘s arguments also appear to be based on the manipulation and perversion of real information which has been ripped from its context and placed in another one which suits the Securitate‘s institutional interests better. For example, the comments of the Yugoslav News Agency (TANJUG) correspondent at the Vatin border post on 20 December 1989 may give us a hint as to where the idea of “foreign tourists travelling in convoys of cars” originated from:

People who spent a long time at this crossing point today say that the Romanian government is even accompanying private cars of tourists returning home via Romania. They usually wait until five or six of them assemble and then let them continue in convoys led by official Romanian cars.[10]

[5].. See Mircea Bunea, Praf in Ochi. Procesul Celor 24-1-2. (Bucharest: Editura Scripta, 1994), 34.

[6].. Belgrade Domestic Service, 1400 GMT 20 December 1989, in FBIS-EEU-89-243, 20 December 1989.

[7].. Agence France Presse, 19 December 1989, in FBIS-EEU-89-242, 19 December 1989.

[8].. Filip Teodorescu, Un Risc Asumat: Timisoara decembrie 1989 (Bucharest: Editura Viitorul Romanesc, 1992), 92.

[9].. Un grup de ofiteri din garnizoana Timisoara, “FRICA DE PROPRIUL POPOR… [Fear of your own people]” Romania Libera, 15 October 1991, 2a.

[10].. Belgrade TANJUG, 2137 GMT 20 December 1989, in FBIS-EEU-89-244, 21 December 1989, 80. Disinformation is frequently thought of as synonymous with the “big lie,” but indeed the most effective disinformation always contains a kernel of truth. Frequently, real facts are merely presented out of context. It is also intriguing to note the almost Freudian mirror-imaging quality of this disinformation–a characteristic common to totalitarian regimes. This is especially the case when it comes to the accusations of foreign powers being engaged in “terrorist actions”–an eerily accurate description of the Ceausescu regime’s own actions.

—————————————-

In combination with the following declarations from late December 1989 and early 1990 by senior officials of the former Securitate, dispatched to find evidence of Nicolae Ceausescu’s (/General Iulian Vlad’s) theory of what was transpiring in Timisoara, but who found no evidence of such involvement, this should be a body blow to the revisionist “recovered memory” regarding “Russian/Soviet tourists” in the Timisoara uprising.

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/08/23/nicolae-ceausescus-paranoia-as-a-theory-for-explaining-december-1989/

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/03/17/filip-teodorescu-adj-sef-dir-iii-contraspionaj-d-s-s-nu-sint-date-ca-ar-exista-instigatori-sau-conducatori-anume-veniti-din-strainatate/

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/03/16/emil-macri-rezumind-sintetic-informatiile-obtinute-ele-nu-au-pus-in-evidenta-nici-lideri-si-nici-amestecul-vreunei-puteri-straine-in-producerea-evenimentelor-de-la-timisoara/

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/03/10/liviu-dinulescu-cpt-la-serviciul-de-pasapoarte-al-jud-timis-precizez-ca-anterior-declansarii-evenimentelor-de-la-timisoara-din-datele-ce-le-detineam-serviciul-nostru-nu-rezulta-vreun-amestec-di/

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/03/06/secretele-revolutiei-de-la-timisoara-col-niculae-mavru-fost-sef-al-sectiei-filaj-si-investigatie-de-la-securitatea-timis/

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/ultimul-raport-al-securitatii-catre-nicolae-ceausescu/

 

25 for the 25th Anniversary of the Romanian Revolution: #1 The Securitate Deny Foreign Instigation of the Timisoara Uprising

25 for the 25th Anniversary of the Romanian Revolution: #2 Shattered Glass: Securitate Vandalism to Justify Timisoara Crackdown

25 for the 25th Anniversary of the Romanian Revolution: #3 “Anti-terrorism” and Regime Repression

25 for the 25th Anniversary of the Romanian Revolution: #4 Timisoara Demonstrators Injured and Killed by Dum-Dum Bullets

25 for the 25th Anniversary of the Romanian Revolution: #5 Timisoara (Podul Decebal) Evidence Suggests only the Securitate Had Dum-Dum Bullets

25 for the 25th Anniversary of the Romanian Revoluion: #6 The Securitate Sends a Coded-Message to Its Undercovers in the Field (“Citeva sfaturi pentru cei aflati in aceste zile la mare,” Scinteia Tineretului, 18 December 1989)

25 for the 25th Anniversary of the Romanian Revolution: #7 Nicolae Ceausescu Leaves on a Less-than-spontaneous Trip to Iran (18 December 1989)

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Posted in decembrie 1989, raport final | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

25 for 2014: 25 Things You Should Know about the Romanian Revolution on the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of Nicolae Ceausescu’s Communist Regime: #8 Romania closes its borders to almost all foreigners…except Russian tourists returning from shopping trips to Yugoslavia (18-19 December 1989)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on November 1, 2014

(Purely personal views as always, based on over two decades of research and publications inside and outside Romania)

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe–Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania.  This (likely aperiodic) series looks at 25 things I have learned about the events of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989.  The numbering is not designed to assign importance, but rather–to the extent possible–to progress chronologically through those events.

Significance:  During the meeting of the equivalent of the Politburo of the Romanian Communist Party on the afternoon of 17 December 1989, Nicolae Ceausescu announced:  “I have ordered that all tourist activity be interrupted at once. Not one more foreign tourist will be allowed in, because they have all turned into agents of espionage….Not even those from the socialist countries will be allowed in, outside of [North] Korea, China, and Cuba. Because all the neighboring socialist countries are untrustworthy. Those sent from the neighboring socialist countries are sent as agents.”  On 18 December 1989, in the aftermath of the bloodbath of regime repression that had transpired in Timisoara the night before, it was officially announced–in typical Ceausist- (and undeniably Orwellian) style–that Romania would not accept any more tourists because of a “shortage of hotel rooms” and because “weather conditions” were “not suitable for tourism.”  Only it turned out in practice one group of tourists from a neighboring communist state were exempted from this requirement:  Soviet tourists returning home from shopping trips in Yugoslavia…

image0

FBIS-EEU-89-242 (19 December 1989), p. 85.  Paris AFP in English 1430 GMT 19 December 1989.

Vatin, Yugoslavia, Dec. 19 (AFP)

Romania’s borders are now closed to all but Soviet travellers, who pass through Romania to return home after shopping trips to Yugoslavia….

An AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE reporter was curtly told to “go back home, only Russians can get through,” after two Romanian border guards–one armed with a Kalashnikov rifle with an Alsatian guard dog at his side–carried out a detailed inspection of the license plates on some 15 cars waiting to cross.

I have been using this source since back in the 1990s when I wrote my dissertation (defended December 1996) at Indiana University (Bloomington), but I still get a kick out of it when I come across it–particularly in light of the seemingly never-ending, snowballing revisionism which alleges that the Timisoara uprising was sparked by “Soviet tourists” or “Russian tourists,” etc.

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/03/28/yugoslavia-romania-border-19-december-1989-an-agence-france-presse-reporter-was-curtly-told-to-go-back-home-only-russians-can-get-through/

 

An excerpt from

A chapter from my Ph.D. Dissertation at Indiana University: Richard Andrew Hall, Rewriting the Revolution: Authoritarian Regime-State Relations and the Triumph of Securitate Revisionism in Post-Ceausescu Romania (defended 16 December 1996). This is the original chapter as it appeared then [minus the xeroxes] and thus has not been revised in any form.

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/rewriting-the-revolution-1997-chapter-6-18-22-december-1989/ (traducere de catre Marius Mioc 18-19 decembrie 1989 )

18-19 December 1989: The Timisoara Crackdown in Ceausescu’s Absence

Considering the centrality of the “foreign tourist” scenario to Securitate-inspired accounts of the December events, it is interesting to note the actions taken by the Ceausescu regime on 18 December 1989. At the close of the emergency CPEx meeting on Sunday afternoon, Nicolae Ceausescu had announced:

I have ordered that all tourist activity be interrupted at once. Not one more foreign tourist will be allowed in, because they have all turned into agents of espionage….Not even those from the socialist countries will be allowed in, outside of [North] Korea, China, and Cuba. Because all the neighboring socialist countries are untrustworthy. Those sent from the neighboring socialist countries are sent as agents.[5]

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

image0-001

On Monday, 18 December 1989, in typical Ceausist-style it was therefore announced that Romania would not accept any more tourists because of a “shortage of hotel rooms” and because “weather conditions” were “not suitable for tourism.”[6] Ironically, the only ones exempted from this ban were: “Soviet travellers coming home from shopping trips to Yugoslavia”(!)[7]

Thus, it is intriguing to see how former Securitate Colonel Filip Teodorescu tailors his characterization of Timisoara on 18 December to account for this change:

There were few foreigners in the hotels, the majority of them having fled the town after lunch [on 17 December] when the clashes began to break out. The interested parties remained. Our attention is drawn to the unjustifiably large number of Soviet tourists, be they by bus or car. Not all of them stayed in hotels. They either had left their buses, or stayed in their cars overnight. Border records indicate their points of entry as being through northern Transylvania. They all claimed they were in transit to Yugoslavia. The explanation was plausible, the Soviets being well-known for their shopping trips. Unfortunately, we did not have enough forces and the conditions did not allow us to monitor the activities of at least some of these “tourists.”[8]

[from Filip Teodorescu, Un Risc Asumat, 1992, p. 92]

image-68

This raises the question of why, if the Soviet tourists were the ones suspected from the first of being behind the unrest, it should have been exactly they who were given continued access into Romania? One of the most effective rejections of the “tourist” scenario came in 1991 from “a group of [Army] officers from the Timisoara garrison.” In an open letter, they proclaimed:

If they [the tourists] appeared suspect to the special forces of the Securitate and counter-military intelligence, why did they not attempt to keep them under surveillance? During this period, did the Securitate and the counter-intelligence officers not know how to do their jobs? Did they somehow forget why they were paid such weighty sums from the state budget?[9]

[Un Grup de Ofiteri din Garnizoana Timisoara, Romania Libera, 15 octombrie 1991
“4.  Existenta unui mare numar de turisti straini, care s-au deplasat (cu autoturisme) spre Timisoara si prin Timisoara.
Cine au fost acei turisti?  Turisti banuiti, si ei, de intentii destabalizatoare.
Daca fortelor speciale de securitate si contrainformatii militare li s-au parut suspecti, de ce nu s-au procedat la verificarea acestora?  Oare in acel rastimp, securistii si contrainformatorii nu mai stiau sa-si faca meseria?  Au uitat pentru ce erau platiti, din bugetul statului, cu bani grei?”]

As we mentioned earlier, in an interesting psychological twist the former Securitate sometimes appear to attribute their own actions to others, especially the convenient phantom-like “foreign tourists.” Some of the Securitate‘s arguments also appear to be based on the manipulation and perversion of real information which has been ripped from its context and placed in another one which suits the Securitate‘s institutional interests better. For example, the comments of the Yugoslav News Agency (TANJUG) correspondent at the Vatin border post on 20 December 1989 may give us a hint as to where the idea of “foreign tourists travelling in convoys of cars” originated from:

People who spent a long time at this crossing point today say that the Romanian government is even accompanying private cars of tourists returning home via Romania. They usually wait until five or six of them assemble and then let them continue in convoys led by official Romanian cars.[10]

[5].. See Mircea Bunea, Praf in Ochi. Procesul Celor 24-1-2. (Bucharest: Editura Scripta, 1994), 34.

[6].. Belgrade Domestic Service, 1400 GMT 20 December 1989, in FBIS-EEU-89-243, 20 December 1989.

[7].. Agence France Presse, 19 December 1989, in FBIS-EEU-89-242, 19 December 1989.

[8].. Filip Teodorescu, Un Risc Asumat: Timisoara decembrie 1989 (Bucharest: Editura Viitorul Romanesc, 1992), 92.

[9].. Un grup de ofiteri din garnizoana Timisoara, “FRICA DE PROPRIUL POPOR… [Fear of your own people]” Romania Libera, 15 October 1991, 2a.

[10].. Belgrade TANJUG, 2137 GMT 20 December 1989, in FBIS-EEU-89-244, 21 December 1989, 80. Disinformation is frequently thought of as synonymous with the “big lie,” but indeed the most effective disinformation always contains a kernel of truth. Frequently, real facts are merely presented out of context. It is also intriguing to note the almost Freudian mirror-imaging quality of this disinformation–a characteristic common to totalitarian regimes. This is especially the case when it comes to the accusations of foreign powers being engaged in “terrorist actions”–an eerily accurate description of the Ceausescu regime’s own actions.

—————————————-

In combination with the following declarations from late December 1989 and early 1990 by senior officials of the former Securitate, dispatched to find evidence of Nicolae Ceausescu’s (/General Iulian Vlad’s) theory of what was transpiring in Timisoara, but who found no evidence of such involvement, this should be a body blow to the revisionist “recovered memory” regarding “Russian/Soviet tourists” in the Timisoara uprising.

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/08/23/nicolae-ceausescus-paranoia-as-a-theory-for-explaining-december-1989/

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/03/17/filip-teodorescu-adj-sef-dir-iii-contraspionaj-d-s-s-nu-sint-date-ca-ar-exista-instigatori-sau-conducatori-anume-veniti-din-strainatate/

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/03/16/emil-macri-rezumind-sintetic-informatiile-obtinute-ele-nu-au-pus-in-evidenta-nici-lideri-si-nici-amestecul-vreunei-puteri-straine-in-producerea-evenimentelor-de-la-timisoara/

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/03/10/liviu-dinulescu-cpt-la-serviciul-de-pasapoarte-al-jud-timis-precizez-ca-anterior-declansarii-evenimentelor-de-la-timisoara-din-datele-ce-le-detineam-serviciul-nostru-nu-rezulta-vreun-amestec-di/

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/03/06/secretele-revolutiei-de-la-timisoara-col-niculae-mavru-fost-sef-al-sectiei-filaj-si-investigatie-de-la-securitatea-timis/

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/ultimul-raport-al-securitatii-catre-nicolae-ceausescu/

 

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

25 for 2014: 25 Things You Should Know about the Romanian Revolution on the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of Nicolae Ceausescu’s Communist Regime: #1 The Securitate Deny Foreign Instigation of the Timisoara Uprising

25 for 2014: 25 Things You Should Know about the Romanian Revolution on the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of Nicolae Ceausescu’s Communist Regime: #2 Shattered Glass: Securitate Vandalism to Justify Timisoara Crackdown

25 for 2014: 25 Things You Should Know about the Romanian Revolution on the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of Nicolae Ceausescu’s Communist Regime: #3 “Anti-terrorism” and Regime Repression

25 for 2014: 25 Things You Should Know about the Romanian Revolution on the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of Nicolae Ceausescu’s Communist Regime: #4 Timisoara Demonstrators Injured and Killed by Dum-Dum Bullets

25 for 2014: 25 Things You Should Know about the Romanian Revolution on the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of Nicolae Ceausescu’s Communist Regime: #5 Timisoara (Podul Decebal) Evidence Suggests only the Securitate Had Dum-Dum Bullets

25 for 2014: 25 Things You Should Know about the Romanian Revolution on the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of Nicolae Ceausescu’s Communist Regime: #6 The Securitate Sends a Coded-Message to Its Undercovers in the Field (“Citeva sfaturi pentru cei aflati in aceste zile la mare,” Scinteia Tineretului, 18 December 1989)

25 for 2014: 25 Things You Should Know about the Romanian Revolution on the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of Nicolae Ceausescu’s Communist Regime: #7 Nicolae Ceausescu Leaves on a Less-than-spontaneous Trip to Iran (18 December 1989)

Posted in decembrie 1989, raport final | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 mariusmioc.wordpress.com . See, for example, http://mariusmioc.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/pravda-26-dec89/ and   http://mariusmioc.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/samoschin-cine-fura-revolutia-2/.

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)

image0-001

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.

Posted in decembrie 1989, raport final | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fara indoiala…se intimpla ceva. Securitatea nu spune dar sugereaza. “Lasa sa-i scape” mici detalii.

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on August 15, 2014

(purely personal views–to suggest otherwise is to misrepresent me–based on two decades of prior research and publications, not for unauthorized reproduction, thank you)

“Without a doubt…something is going on.  The Securitate doesn’t say but it suggests.  It allows small details to leak out.”

In the seemingly endless discussions of the alleged role of large numbers of Soviet agents (using the cover of being tourists) in the December 1989 overthrow of Nicolae Ceausescu’s communist dictatorship, I am inevitably reminded of this July 1991 quote from Radu Ciobotea that I used in my 2005 article “The Romanian Revolution as Geopolitical Parlor Game.”

(For a recent example, 12 August, of the reappearance of such a claim see: http://cultural.bzi.ro/25-000-de-spioni-kgb-au-stapanit-romania-aproape-un-an-18070 )

from THE 1989 ROMANIAN REVOLUTION AS GEOPOLITICAL PARLOR GAME: BRANDSTATTER’S “CHECKMATE” DOCUMENTARY AND THE LATEST WAVE IN A SEA OF REVISIONISM, Part III (cleared in March 2005)

Reporting in July 1991 on the trial involving many of those involved in the Timisoara repression, Radu Ciobotea noted with what was probably an apt amount of skepticism and cynicism, what was telling in the confessions of those on trial:

Is the End of Amnesia Approaching?…

Without question, something is happening with this trial.  The Securitate doesn’t say, but it suggests.  It let’s small details ‘slip out.’…Increasingly worthy of interest are the reactions of those on trial….Traian Sima (the former head of the county’s Securitate) testifies happily that, finally, the Securitate has been accepted at the trial, after having been rejected by Justice.  Filip Teodorescu utters the magic word ‘diplomats’ and, suddenly, the witness discovers the key to the drawer with surpise and declares, after five hours of amnesia, that in Timisoara, there appeared in the days in question, foreign spies under the cover of being journalists and diplomats, that in a conversation intercepted by a mobile Securitate surveillance unit Tokes was reported as  ‘well,’ and that all these (and other) counterespionage actions that can’t be made public to the mass media can be revealed behind closed doors to the judge….[Timis County party boss] Radu Balan ‘remembers’ that on 18 December at midnight when he was heading toward IAEM, he passed a group of ten soviet cars stopped 100 meters from the county hospital. (It turns out that in this night, in the sight of the Soviets, the corpses were loaded!).” [emphasis in the original] (Flacara, no. 27, 1991, p. 9).

So what is the substance of the most recent popular iteration of the so-called “Soviet tourist” hypothesis as outlined in the 12 August article above?  It is actually from a 23 December 2012 article in the daily Libertatea under the bombastic headline, “25.000 de spioni KGB au stăpânit România aproape un an! Ceauşescu a fost detronat de o armată secretă sovietică, care a stat în ţara noastră în perioada decembrie 1989 – octombrie 1990” (http://www.libertatea.ro/detalii/articol/25-000-de-spioni-kgb-au-stapanit-romania-aproape-un-an-428106.html#ixzz3APp0Eq5v)

“La expunerea clară, concisă a lui Caraman (Mihai Caraman – n.r.), directorul Centralei de Informaţii Externe, am cerut sovieticilor să-şi retragă comandourile. Era vorba despre aproximativ 25.000 – 30.000 de oameni. S-au retras ca urmare a faptului că Gorbaciov modificase strategia şi spusese că URSS nu mai este jandarm în această zonă”. Declaraţia îi aparţine lui Petre Roman, fostul premier al României în perioada decembrie 1989 – septembrie 1991 şi a fost inclusă într-o carte a istoricului Alex Mihai Stoenescu.

In the same article, 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.

But, as it turns out, Watts’ claim is neither new, nor his own.  It indeed appears to belong to Alex Mihai Stoenescu.  Stoenescu wrote the following in a 2004 volume which I found online here, although unfortunately without the endnotes,  http://hot24.weebly.com/uploads/5/2/3/8/5238782/alex_mihai_stoenescu_-_istoria_loviturilor_de_stat_in_romania_vol_4-1.pdf)

...Asadar, coloanele de „turisti” sovietici se prezentau ca fiind în tranzit spre sau din Iugoslavia, dar nu fãceau tranzitul. Ei au rãmas pe teritoriul României în preajma marilor orase pentru a interveni în cazul esecului diversiunilor care trebuiau sã provoace cãderea lui Ceausescu. Au fost pur si simplu dati afarã din tarã abia în octombrie 1990 de cãtre priniul-ministru Petre Roman: „A mai fost un moment foarte delicat, în octombrie 1990, cînd în tarã se aflau 30 000 de rusi! Cu masinile lor! Eu, cînd am aflat de a-ceasta, în calitate de prim-ministru, de la organul competent, adicã S.I. Externe, am fãcut mare tãrãboi si, mã rog, pînã la urmã am reactionat, au fost scosi din tarã. A mai fost o miscare foarte ciudatã înainte de 19 martie 1990 la Tîrgu-Mures”395. într-o discutie particularã, Petre Roman i-a confirmat autorului cã identitatea acestor „turisti” ca luptãtori ai fortelor speciale sovietice fusese deplin documentatã de SIE. Ce fel de tranzit era acela în care 30 000 de turisti (probabil cã nu toti erau luptãtori ai fortelor speciale sovietice, dar ei ofereau acoperirea) rãmîn pe teritoriul unui stat, prin care se presupune cã trec în maximum 48 de ore, si rãmîn un an de zile! (pp. 189-190)

I have through some searching been able to find the sources for Stoenescu’s claim:  Arhiva Senatului României, Stenograma nr.90/8 martie 1994, Audiere Petre Roman, pp.44-45.
http://internationalfreemedia.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/relatiile-romano-americane-de-la-razboiul-absurd-la-fratia-in-nato/#_ftn7 .  The claim from Stoenescu’s 2004 volume appears to have made its way into the press beginning in 2006 in Evenimentul Zilei, ironically (?) on the eve of the presentation to parliament of the Report by the Presidential Commission for the Analysis of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania (CPADCR) on 18 December 2006, despite the fact that Evenimentul Zilei was/is supposedly the hub of opposition to communist and Securitate revisionism in Romania! (it must be, since Vladimir Tismaneanu, head of the CPADCR, published op-eds there at the time and still does!):  http://www.evz.ro/operatiunea-kgb-decembrie-1989-423201.html.

In other words, Watts’ claim is recycled and originates with Alex Mihai Stoenescu.  Watts likes to point out that because Petre Roman was a former Prime Minister and was testifying under oath to a parliamentary committee, and because Roman claims he received the information from the then head of foreign intelligence that this enhances the credibility of the claim (see his comment on the post Mostenirea Clandestina).  Marius Mioc’s observation thus seems appropriate in light of such an interpretation:

Ceilalţi – Comisia Senatorială “Decembrie 1989″, Alex Mihai Stoenescu, Larry Watts, Grigore Cartianu, Sorin Golea – nu fac decît să repete cele spuse de Petre Roman. Remarc că Comisia Senatorială “Decembrie 1989″ n-a făcut nici minima verificare de a-l contacta şi pe Mihai Caraman, pentru a vedea dacă acesta confirmă spusele lui Petre Roman. Despre căutarea unor documente în arhivele Guvernului României sau ale Ministerului Afacerilor Externe care să ateste cererea făcută către sovietici de a-şi retrage agenţii nici nu mai vorbesc.

(from Răstălmăcirile lui Larry Watts şi răstălmăcirile altora despre Larry Watts)

Moreover, what is the background of the people making such allegations or to whom such allegations are ascribed?  Mihai Caraman was a long-time member of the Securitate’s Foreign Intelligence organization, named the CIE in its latter days.  Thus, Petre Roman’s source for this information is a former high-ranking Securitate official.  As I have argued consistently and repeatedly for over two decades in publications, for the purposes of investigating December 1989 three questions are relevant when it comes to what former Securitate personnel argue:

1) Does what they argue absolve the Securitate as an institution of wrongdoing in December 1989–wrongdoing that can be proved as having been committed by Securitate personnel?

2) Is what they argue similar to what other former Securitate personnel argue and can therefore be interpreted as an institutional view?

3) What was their personal relationship with the Securitate:  did they work for the institution?  Were they informers or collaborators of the institution during the communist era?

For example, Mihai Caraman, the alleged source of former PM Petre Roman’s claim was a longtime member of the Securitate’s foreign intelligence organization, and his claim about the alleged presence and role of numerous Soviet agents in the overthrow has been enunciated by numerous other former Securitate personnel (whether internal or external) from 1990 onward, as this site has demonstrated on numerous occasions.

Likewise, Alex Mihai Stoenescu, who first drew attention to the 1994 Petre Roman statement, has been defintively declared by CNSAS as having collaborated with the Securitate in the 1980s (see http://activenews.ro/decizie-definitiva-iccj-istoricul-alex-mihai-stoenescu-colaborat-cu-fosta-securitate_1829506.html or http://www.avocatura.com/stire/10316/istoricul-alex-mihai-stoenescu-verdict-irevocabil-de-colaborator-al-securitatii.html)

Finally, it has to be stressed that, besides sounding absurd–even if we ignore Petre Roman’s supposed earlier clarification to Stoenescu, according to Stoenescu, that all 30,000 of these Soviet tourists were members of Soviet special forces and estimate “conservatively” that “only” 10 percent were actual Soviet agents, that still leaves 3,000 Soviet agents (an incredible devotion of man power) traversing Romania not in Romanian Dacias so as to not draw attention but instead supposedly in Ladas and Moskovici!!!–THERE IS NO RECORD OF A SINGLE “SOVIET TOURIST” HAVING BEEN ARRESTED UPON SUSPICION OF INVOLVEMENT, LET ALONE ARMED INVOLVEMENT, IN THE UPHEAVAL THAT OVERTURNED THE REGIME OF NICOLAE CEAUSESCU BEFORE OR AFTER 22 DECEMBER 1989!  (And specifically with regard to the beginnings of the uprising in Timisoara, Securitate officials themselves, in the immediate aftermath of the events, confessed that despite being tasked from Bucharest to supply evidence of alleged foreign tourist involvement in the demonstrations and riots against Nicolae Ceausescu and his regime, they were unable to do so! See 25 for 2014: 25 Things You Should Know about the Romanian Revolution on the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of Nicolae Ceausescu’s Communist Regime: #1 The Securitate Deny Foreign Instigation of the Timisoara Uprising)

This then is why as Radu Ciobotea wrote, “The Securitate doesn’t say but it suggests.  It allows small details to leak out.”–precisely because it has no tactical proof of Soviet tourist responsibility for the December 1989 events, its former personnel must appeal to broad, structural, and unverifiable claims, such as the overall number of Soviet tourists in 1989, to suggest that by the mere presence of so many Soviet tourists they must have been involved.

 

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„Specialistii” din decembrie 1989 si dezinformarea lor pana azi

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on May 1, 2014

(as always, a strictly personal view based on two decades of research and publications, thank you; punct de vedere strict personal, va multumesc)

image0-001

Lt. Maj. Cristian TRONCOTA, “Unele aspecte ale strategiei deznationalizarii romanilor in perioada dualismului austro-ungar (1867-1918),  revista Securitatea, nr. 4 (80) 1987, pp. 78-85, http://www.cnsas.ro/documente/periodicul_securitatea/Securitatea%201987-4-80.pdf.

Ah, yes, former Securitate officer Cristian Troncota who is promoted by Grigore Cartianu (http://adevarul.ro/cultura/istorie/adevarul-live-ora1300-cine-a-tras-22-grigore-cartianu-1_52b023b6c7b855ff56c613cf/index.html ; http://adevarul.ro/cultura/istorie/cine-fost-teroristiii-cine-a-tras-22-grigore-cartianu-8_52b02b7ec7b855ff56c64a04/index.html) who in turn is promoted by Vladimir Tismaneanu (http://www.movingimagesource.us/articles/how-was-ceausescu-possible-20110929 ; http://tismaneanu.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/deshumarea-lui-ceausescu-un-pas-spre-adevar/)

It shouldn’t be necessary to have to revisit this issue repeatedly but, in part because Romanians and Romanianists have either avoided confronting the details of the topic or have done so ineffectively, it remains necessary.  The latest in the current wave–tsunami–of former Securitate disinformation is Cristian Troncota’s article „Specialiştii” din decembrie 1989 in VITRALII-LUMINI ŞI UMBRE, an V, nr. 18, martie-mai 2014, pp. 39-47 http://www.acmrr-sri.ro/upload/Vitraliino18.pdf.

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One thing is readily apparent from reading this article:  Lt. Maj. Cristian Troncota would do well to talk to some former USLA troops about the identities and “cover” used by some of the “Soviet tourists” discussed specifically or in general in his article, because they were indeed “special” (for why this is critical, see here:  https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/01/24/what-would-it-have-looked-like-if-nicolae-ceausescus-securitate-executed-a-plan-to-counter-an-invasionbut-the-invaders-never-came-iii/)

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As page 41 suggests, the stake is ultimately not just to cast doubt on what happened post 22 December 1989–a subject the former Securitate are intimately familiar with https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/text-of-securitate-general-iulian-vlads-29-january-1990-declaration-identifying-the-terrorists/ but to muddy the waters and raise doubts about the very origins of the popular uprising against Nicolae Ceausescu in Timisoara.

Unfortunately for Troncota and the former Securitate, high-ranking Securitate officials dispatched to Timisoara found nothing of the sort at the time.

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

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

For more such declarations, see https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/02/02/25-for-2014-25-things-you-should-know-about-the-romanian-revolution-on-the-25th-anniversary-of-the-fall-of-nicolae-ceausescus-communist-regime-1-the-securitate-deny-foreign-instigation-of-the-ti/

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Troncota claims above that Securitate Director General Iulian Vlad reported “clearly and unequivocally” about the involvement of the Soviets in Timisoara as of 20/21 December.  Curious, since there appears to be no mention of such in the following final report to Nicolae Ceausescu:

published in Evenimentul Zilei, 28 iulie 1992, p. 3.

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Final Boarding Call for TAROM’s special ROMBAC service from Bucuresti to Sibiu: Would the large party of suspicious “Soviet tourists” please report to the gate immediately! (IV)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on August 16, 2013

Part I :  Just how absurd is the Soviet tourist scenario?! https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/08/10/final-boarding-call-for-taroms-special-rombac-service-from-bucuresti-to-sibiu-would-the-large-party-of-suspicious-soviet-tourists-please-report-to-the-gate-immediately-i/

Part II:  Senior Securitate officials sent to Timisoara cannot find the “foreign tourists” Nicolae Ceausescu and Iulian Vlad claim are behind the unrest.  https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/08/11/final-boarding-call-for-taroms-special-rombac-service-from-bucuresti-to-sibiu-would-the-large-party-of-suspicious-soviet-tourists-please-report-to-the-gate-immediately-ii/

Part III:  The Ceausescu regime bans new Soviet travellers to the country…but allows those “in transit,” already in Romania, to stay…and apparently, despite supposedly having great suspicions of their actions, do nothing to stop them… https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/08/14/final-boarding-call-for-taroms-special-rombac-service-from-bucuresti-to-sibiu-would-the-large-party-of-suspicious-soviet-tourists-please-report-to-the-gate-immediately-ii-2/

I hope to develop this, part IV, at another time…for now, some previously related content in reference to the famous ROMBAC flight of 20 December 1989 from Bucuresti (Otopeni) to Sibiu:

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/ultimul-raport-al-securitatii-catre-nicolae-ceausescu/

The Securitate’s last report to Nicolae Ceausescu:

Please note:  no mention whatsoever of the alleged role played by “Russian tourists” or “Soviet tourists” in allegedly fomenting the Timisoara uprising, or of their supposed presence on the ROMBAC of 20 December 1989

published in Evenimentul Zilei, 28 iulie 1992, p. 3.

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2009/10/04/decembrie-89-citeva-indoieli-stirnite-de-un-articol-din-revista-22-cazul-ivanciuc-si-teza-turistilor-sovietici/

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2009/03/26/a-ruse-by-any-other-name-general-stanculescu-the-soviet-tourists-and-december-1989/

THE 1989 ROMANIAN REVOLUTION AS GEOPOLITICAL PARLOR GAME: BRANDSTATTER’S “CHECKMATE” DOCUMENTARY AND THE LATEST WAVE IN A SEA OF REVISIONISM

By Richard Andrew Hall

Disclaimer: This material has been reviewed by CIA. That review neither constitutes CIA authentification of information nor implies CIA endorsement of the author’s views.

Part 3: Ruse

A SECURITATE RIDDLE: SOVIET “TOURISTS” AND THE OVERTHROW OF THE CEAUSESCU REGIME

Although I have written a good deal on the “tourist” conundrum in the past (see, for example, Hall 2002), I have not formally addressed the role of foreign histories of Ceausescu’s overthrow in the historiography of December 1989, particularly in regard to this topic. In the wake of the broadcast of Brandstatter’s “Checkmate” documentary in February 2004, Vladimir Bukovski’s invocation of journalist John Simpson’s 1994 article on the topic (discussed in Part 2 of this series) suggests, however, that it needs to be broached in greater detail. Moreover, as the year-long look-back at the December 1989 events in “Jurnalul National” shows, the “tourist” question—somewhat surprisingly to me—has become more and more central to arguments about the Revolution, thereby amplifying what is already tremendous confusion over the events in the Romanian press and public. Of course, as has traditionally been the case, the Soviet/Russian tourists figure prominently, and, to a lesser extent, the Hungarian tourists. However, the stock of other tourist groups has also gone up. For example, the role of Yugoslav (specifically Serb) tourists has found a greater emphasis, and, seemingly out of nowhere, so have East German/STASI tourists! The principal sources for all of these allegations are, as usual, former Securitate and Militia officers, with some military (intelligence) personnel thrown in for good measure.

FOREIGN FORUM, ROMANIAN CONTEXT

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact first mention of “the tourists” and their alleged role in the Revolution, but it appears that although the source of the claim was Romanian, the publication was foreign. James F. Burke, whose name is unfortunately left off the well-researched and widely-consulted web document “The December 1989 Revolt and the Romanian Coup d‘etat,” alludes to the “Romanian filmmaker” who first made these allegations (Burke, 1994). The claims are contained in an article by Richard Bassett in the 2 March 1990 edition of “The Times (London).” According to Bassett,

“Mr. [Grigore] Corpacescu has no doubt that the revolution here was carefully stage-managed—as was the case in Prague and East Berlin—by the Russians…According to Mr. Corpacescu a party of Soviet ‘tourists,’ all usually on individual visas, arrived in Timisoara two days before the first demonstration outside Mr. [i.e. Pastor] Tokes’ house. Police records trace them reaching Bucharest on December 20. By the 24th, two days after Ceausescu fled by helicopter, the Russians had disappeared. No police records exist to indicate how they left the country. (“The Times (London),” 2 March 1990)

But Bassett’s interlocutor, Mr. Corpacescu, says some strange things. Bassett is not clear but it appears that Corpacescu suggests that the post-Revolution Interior Minister Mihai Chitac, who was involved in the Timisoara events as head of the army’s chemical troops, somehow purposely coaxed the demonstrations against the regime because the tear-gas cannisters his unit fired failed to explode—the failure somehow an intended outcome. But beyond this, Corpacescu, who is at the time of the article filming the recreation of Ceausescu’s flight on the 22nd—using the same helicopter and pilot involved in the actual event—makes the following curious statement:

“The pilot of this helicopter is an old friend. I have many friends in the police, Timisoara was not started by the Hungarian pastor, the Reverend Laszlo Tokes [i.e. it was carefully stage-managed…by the Russians].” (“The Times (London),” 2 March 1990)

The pilot of the helicopter was in fact Vasile Malutan, an officer of the Securitate’s V-a Directorate. What kind of a person would it have been at that time—and how credible could that person have been–who has the pilot as an old friend and “many friends in the police?” And it would have been one thing perhaps two months after the revolution to talk about the presence of foreign agents “observing” events in Timisoara, but to deny the spontaneity of the demonstrations and denigrate Tokes’ role at this juncture is highly suspicious. I have been unable to unearth additional information on Mr. Corpacescu, but his revelations just happen to serve his friends extremely well—particularly at at time when the prospect of trials and jail time, for participation in the repression in Timisoara and elsewhere during the Revolution, still faced many former Securitate and Militia [i.e. police] members.

THE FORMER SECURITATE AND MILITIA REMINISCE ABOUT THE SOVIET “TOURISTS”

A week after “The Times” article, the chief of the Securitate’s Counter-espionage Directorate, Colonel Filip Teodorescu, mentioned at his trial for his role in the Ceausescu regime’s crackdown in Timisoara that he had in fact detained “foreign agents” during the events there (“Romania Libera,” 9 March 1990). In his 1992 book, he developed further on this theme, specifically focusing on the role of “Soviet tourists:”

“There were few foreigners in the hotels, the majority of them having fled the town after lunch [on 17 December] when the clashes began to break out. The interested parties remained. Our attention is drawn to the unjustifiably large number of Soviet tourists, be they by bus or car. Not all of them stayed in hotels. They either had left their buses or stayed in their cars overnight. Border records indicate their points of entry as being through northern Transylvania. They all claimed they were in transit to Yugoslavia. The explanation was plausible, the Soviets being well-known for their shopping trips. Unfortunately, we did not have enough forces and the conditions did not allow us to monitor the activities of at least some of these ‘tourists’” (Teodorescu, 1992, p. 92).

Reporting in July 1991 on the trial involving many of those involved in the Timisoara repression, Radu Ciobotea noted with what was probably an apt amount of skepticism and cynicism, what was telling in the confessions of those on trial:

Is the End of Amnesia Approaching?…

Without question, something is happening with this trial. The Securitate doesn’t say, but it suggests. It let’s small details ‘slip out.’…Increasingly worthy of interest are the reactions of those on trial….Traian Sima (the former head of the county’s Securitate) testifies happily that, finally, the Securitate has been accepted at the trial, after having been rejected by Justice. Filip Teodorescu utters the magic word ‘diplomats’ and, suddenly, the witness discovers the key to the drawer with surpise and declares, after five hours of amnesia, that in Timisoara, there appeared in the days in question, foreign spies under the cover of being journalists and diplomats, that in a conversation intercepted by a mobile Securitate surveillance unit Tokes was reported as ‘well,’ and that all these (and other) counterespionage actions that can’t be made public to the mass media can be revealed behind closed doors to the judge….[Timis County party boss] Radu Balan ‘remembers’ that on 18 December at midnight when he was heading toward IAEM, he passed a group of ten soviet cars stopped 100 meters from the county hospital. (It turns out that in this night, in the sight of the Soviets, the corpses were loaded!).” [emphasis in the original] (Flacara, no. 27, 1991, p. 9).

The reference to the corpses being loaded is to an operation by the Militia and Securitate on the night of 18-19 December 1989, in which the cadavers of 40 people killed during the repression of anti-regime protesters were secretly transported from Timisoara’s main hospital to Bucharest for cremation (reputedly on Elena Ceausescu’s personal order).

Finally, as yet another of many possible examples, we have the recollections of Bucharest Militia Captain Ionel Bejan, which apparently appeared in print for the first time only in 2004, in a book by Alex Mihai Stoenescu (excerpted in “Jurnalul National,” 7 December 2004). According to Bejan, around 2 AM on the night of 21-22 December, not far from University Plaza, where at that moment regime forces were firing their way through a barricade set up by protesters (48 were killed that night, 604 wounded, and 684 arrested), he spotted two LADA automobiles with Soviet plates and two men and a woman studying a map and pointing to different locations among the surrounding buildings. Bejan recalled:

“One thing’s for sure, and that is that although they looked like tourists, they didn’t behave like tourists who had just arrived in town or were lost, especially as close by there were compact groups of demonstrators, while from armored personnel carriers there was intense warning fire and a helicopter hovered overhead with lights ablaze. I don’t know what kind of tourist tours somewhere in such conditions. They left the impression that they were sure of themselves, they didn’t need any directions, proof which was that they didn’t ask us anything even though we were nearby and, being uniformed Militia, were in the position to give them any directions they needed. One thing’s for sure when I returned to that location in January 1990…the buildings displayed visible signs of bullet holes…[emphasis added]” (“Jurnalul National,” 7 December 2004)

STRANGE “TOURISTS”…STRANGER STILL, THE REACTIONS OF THE AUTHORITIES

We can agree with Ionel Bejan in one respect. One thing is for sure: these were some very strange tourists. (They give a whole new meaning to the term, “adventure tourism.”) As curious as the “Soviet tourists” themselves is how little the Romanian authorities who claim to have seen them did to stop them—or even try to collect more information about them. Why is it that no official questioned the enigmatic “Soviet tourists” or asked them to leave the area when, as Radu Balan claims, he saw ten LADAs outside the Timis county hospital at 1 AM in the morning the night the cadavers of protesters were being loaded onto a truck for cremation? Or, as Ionel Bejan claims, he spotted several of them in the center of Bucharest at 2 AM, when the area was essentially a warzone of regime repression? The regime had closed the borders to virtually all other foreigners, tourists or otherwise, it was trying to prevent any word of the repression from reaching the outside world, and yet Romanian authorities were not concerned about these “tourists” taking pictures or relaying what they were seeing?!

As I have written before, if it was obvious before 18 December, as these Ceausescu regime officials claim, that “Soviet tourists” were involved in the events in Timisoara, then why was it precisely “Soviet travelers coming home from shopping trips to Yugoslavia” who were the only group declared exempt from the ban on “tourism” announced on that day (see AFP, 19 December 1989 as cited in Hall 2002b)? In fact, an Agent France-Presse correspondent reported that two Romanian border guards on the Yugoslav frontier curtly told him: “Go back home, only Russians can get through”!!! The few official documents from the December events that have made their way into the public domain show the Romanian Ambassador to Moscow, Ion Bucur, appealing to the Soviets to honor the Romanian news blackout on events in Timisoara, but never once mentioning—let alone objecting to—the presence or behavior of “Soviet tourists” in Romania during these chaotic days of crisis for the Ceausescu regime (CWHIP, “New Evidence on the 1989 Crisis in Romania,” 2001). It truly strains the imagination to believe that the Romanian authorities were so “frightened” of committing a diplomatic incident with the Soviets that they would allow Soviet agents to roam the country virtually unhindered, allowing them to go anywhere and do anything they wanted.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…A “SOVIET TOURIST” ENCORE IN 1990

Add to all of this (!), the allegations that the “Soviet tourists” were seen again on the streets during major crises in 1990, such as the ethnic clashes between Romanians and Hungarians in Tirgu Mures in March 1990 (for evidence of the reach of the allegation of KGB manipulation via the “tourist” mechanism both in December 1989 AND in March 1990, see Emil Hurezeanu, “Cotidianul,” 23 December 1999; according to Hurezeanu, “It appears they didn’t leave the country until 1991, following a visit by [SRI Director] Virgil Magureanu to Moscow”!). Then there is the famous April 1991 interview of an alleged KGB officer—who spoke flawless Romania and was in Romania during the December 1989 events—who the interviewer, the vigorous anti-Iliescu foe, Sorin Rosca Stanescu, claimed to have just stumbled into in Paris. Of all the reporters who could have stumbled into a KGB officer present in Romania during the Revolution—the only such case I know of—it was Rosca Stanescu, who, it turned out later, had been an informer for the Securitate until the mid-1980s—but not just for anybody, but for the USLA. Intererstingly, although the article appeared on the non-descript page 8 of the primary opposition daily at the time (“Romania Libera”), the aforementioned Filip Teodorescu and Radu Balan invoked it in support of their contentions regarding the the “tourists” (for a discussion of this, see Hall 2002). Even more suprising, or not, depending on your point of view, in his April 1991 article, Stanescu attempted to tie together December 1989 with December 1990 (!):

“As you will recall, persistent rumors have circulated about the existence on Romanian soil [in December 1989] of over 2,000 Lada automobiles with Soviet tags and two men in each car. Similar massive infiltrations were witnessed in December 1990, too, with the outbreak of a wave of strikes and demonstrations. What were the KGB doing in Romania?” (emphasis added) (“Romania Libera,” 18 April 1991)

Indeed, what were they doing in Romania? But, more aptly:

WHO COULD THEY HAVE BEEN?

Some other recollections and comments may offer clues to the answer to this vexing question. For example, the Caransebes Militia Chief claims he helped a group of “Soviet tourists” coming from Timisoara on the night of 20-21 December when one of their cars—as usual, “it was part of a convoy of 20 cars, all of the same make and with 3-4 passengers per car”—went off the road (from “Europa,” no. 20, 1991, see the discussion in Hall 2002b). According to Teodorescu, the “tourists” greeted the militia chief with the phrase “What the hell? We are colleagues; you have to help us” (Teodorescu, 1992, p. 93). The militia chief opines that despite their Soviet passports, “to this day, I don’t really know where they were from.”

Nicu Ceausescu, Nicolae’s son and most likely heir and party secretary in Sibiu at the time of the Revolution, claimed that he also had to deal with enigmatic “tourists” during these historic days (the following several paragraphs borrow heavily from Hall 2002b). From his prison cell in 1990, Nicu recounted how on the night of 20 December 1989, a top party official came to inform him that the State Tourist Agency was requesting that he — the party secretary for Sibiu! — “find lodgings for a group of tourists who did not have accommodation” He kindly obliged and made the appropriate arrangements (interview with Nicu Ceausescu in “Zig-Zag,”, no. 20, 21-27 August 1990).

Interestingly, in the same interview Nicu discusses the “tourists” for which he was asked to find accommodations in the context of a group of mysterious passengers who had arrived by plane from Bucharest on the evening of 20 December 1989. We know that in the period immediately following these events, the then-military prosecutor, Anton Socaciu, had alleged that these passengers from Bucharest were members of the Securitate’s elite USLA unit (Special Unit for Antiterrorist Warfare) and were responsible for much of the bloodshed that occurred in Sibiu during the December events. Nicu Silvestru, chief of the Sibiu County Militia, admitted in passing in a letter from prison that on the afternoon of 19 December in a crisis meeting, Ceausescu’s son announced that he was going to “call [his] specialists from Bucharest” to take care of any protests (“Baricada,” no. 45, 1990). Ceausescu’s Interior Minister, Tudor Postelnicu, admitted at his trial in January 1990 that Nicu had called him requesting “some troops” and he had informed Securitate Director General Iulian Vlad of the request (“Romania Libera,” 30 January 1990.)

The rewriting of the story of the Revolution, the “tourists,” and the “terrorists” was already in full swing, when in August 1990, Nicu wryly observed:

“…[T]he Military Prosecutor gave me two variants. In the first part of the inquest, they [the flight’s passengers] were from the Interior Ministry. Later, however, in the second half of the investigation, when the USLA and those from the Interior Ministry began, so-to-speak, to pass ‘into the shadows,’ — after which one no longer heard anything of them — they [the passengers] turned out to be simple citizens…” (interview with Nicu Ceausescu in “Zig-Zag,” no. 20, 21-27 August 1990).

The impact of this “reconsideration” by the authorities could be seen in the comments of Socaciu’s successor as military prosecutor in charge of the Sibiu case, Marian Valer (see Hall 1997, pp. 314-315). Valer commented in September 1990 that investigations yielded the fact that there were 37 unidentified passengers on board the 20 December flight from Bucharest and that many of the other passengers maintained that “on the right side of the plane there had been a group of tall, athletic men, dressed in sporting attire, many of them blond, who had raised their suspicions.” The USLA, which were responsible for airport security and had “air marshals” on all flights (three in this case), refused to discuss the identity of these passengers with Valer. While investigations revealed that during this time there “were many Soviet tourists staying in Sibiu’s hotels,” they also established that “military units were fired upon from Securitate safehouses located around these units as of the afternoon of 22 December, after the overthrow of the Ceausescu regime.” He thus carefully concludes:

“As far as the unidentified passengers are concerned, there are two possible variants: Either they were USLA fighters sent to defend Nicu Ceausescu, or they were Soviet agents sent to act with the intent of overthrowing the Ceausescu regime” (“Expres,” no. 33, September 1990).

Clearly, one of these hypotheses is a lot more plauisble than the other…As I wrote in December 1996, partly based on the statements of the Military Prosecutor Marian Valer who stepped down from investigating the Sibiu events in fall 1990, citing duress: “thus as the USLA began to disappear from the historiography and therefore history of the Revolution, so the Soviet tourists began to enter it.” (Hall, 1996).

“ORWELLIAN…POSITIVELY ORWELLIAN:”

PROSECUTOR VOINEA’S CAMPAIGN TO SANITIZE

THE ROMANIAN REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989

by Richard Andrew Hall

Disclaimer: All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official positions or views of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or any other U.S. Government agency. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying U.S. Government authentication of information or CIA endorsement of the author’s views. This material has been reviewed by CIA to prevent the disclosure of classified information.

Sibiu, 19-22 December 1989

In Sibiu, Siani-Davies tells us:

Controversy also continues to surround a commercial TAROM flight, which is alleged to have brought up to eighty USLA troops from Bucharest to Sibiu on December 20, 1989. It is not clear if the USLA forces were actually on the airplane, or, even if they were, what they actually did in Sibiu…[Serban] Sandulescu (c1996), 57-58…suggests they were not members of USLA but the DIA [Army’s Intelligence Unit].[151]

From the standpoint of Siani-Davies’ unsuspecting reader such a conclusion may seem not only credible, but judicious. But one of Siani-Davies’ habits—identified negatively by even those who praise the book—is his tendency to draw negative equivalencies: i.e. there is about as much evidence to support x as there is to support y, in order to disprove or discount both propositions. In a review, Doris Mironescu writes:

“Very common are claims such as the following: ‘Finding the proof to sustain such an explanation of the events [that the Army’s Intelligence arm, the DIA simulated the “terrorist diversion,” to permit the Front’s takeover and a possible Warsaw Pact invasion of the country] is as difficult as proving that special units of the securitate took up arms against the revolution’ (p. 154). Mutually contradictory hypotheses are invoked in order to negate each other, not so much because of the weight of the claims, but through the ideological similarity of both.”[152]

This tendency definitely affects Siani-Davies’ analysis of the “terrorists” and its accuracy. To begin with, in the very book (Sandulescu) invoked by Siani-Davies, the head of the DIA (Battalion 404 Buzau), Rear Admiral Stefan Dinu, is quoted as having told the Gabrielescu commission investigating the December events (of which Sandulescu was a member) that “we hardly had 80 fighters in this battalion.”[153] It is known that 41 of them were in Timisoara from the morning of 18 December and only returned to their home base in Buzau on 22 December.[154] This makes it highly unlikely that they were on the 20 December TAROM flight to Sibiu that is in question.[155]

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2009/12/18/hai-sa-ne-punem-capul-in-ghips/

in decembrie 1989, “temuta” unitate DIA Batalionul 404…avea…80 de luptatori!

Contrast this with the signs that exist pointing to the mystery passengers as having been from the Securitate/Interior Ministry, in particular the USLA. Nicu Silvestru, chief of the Sibiu County Militia, admitted in passing in a letter from prison that on the afternoon of 19 December 1989, in a crisis meeting, Nicolae Ceausescu’s son, Nicu, party head of Sibiu County, announced that he was going to “call [his] specialists from Bucharest” to take care of any protests.[156] Ceausescu’s Interior Minister, Tudor Postelnicu, admitted at his trial in January 1990 that Nicu had called him requesting “some troops” and he had informed Securitate Director General Iulian Vlad of the request.[157] If they were, indeed, DIA personnel, why would Nicu have called Postelnicu, and Postelnicu informed Vlad of the request—would such a request not have been relayed through the Defense Minister?

The first two military prosecutors for Sibiu, Anton Socaciu and Marian Valer, identified the passengers as USLA. Even Nicu Ceausescu admits that this was the accusation when he stated in August 1990:

“…[T]he Military Prosecutor gave me two variants. In the first part of the inquest, they [the flight’s passengers] were from the Interior Ministry. Later, however, in the second half of the investigation, when the USLA and those from the Interior Ministry began, so-to-speak, to pass ‘into the shadows,’ – after which one no longer heard anything of them – they [the passengers] turned out to be simple citizens…”[158]

Beginning, at least as early as August 1990, with the allusions of Major Mihai Floca, and later seemingly indirectly confirmed by former USLA officer Marian Romanescu, it was suggested that when USLA Commander Ardeleanu was confronted at the Defense Ministry on the night of 23/24 December 1989, Ardeleanu reportedly admitted that “30 were on guard at [various] embassies, and 80 had been dispatched to Sibiu with a Rombac [aircraft] from 20 December 1989 upon ‘orders from on-high’.”[159] Finally, and along these lines, we bring things full circle—and recall our “phantoms in black” again in the process—with the testimony of Army officer Hortopan to the same Serban Sandulescu at the Gabrielescu Commission hearings:

Sandulescu: About those dressed in black jumpsuits do you know anything, do you have any information about whom they belonged to?

Hortopan: On the contrary. These were the 80 uslasi sent by the MI [Interior Ministry], by General Vlad and Postelnicu to guard Nicolae Ceausescu [i.e. Nicu]. I make this claim because Colonel Ardelean[u] in front of General Militaru, and he probably told you about this problem, at which I was present when he reported, when General Militaru asked him how many men he had in total and how many were now present, where each of them was: out of which he said that 80 were in Sibiu based on an order from his commanders. Thus, it is natural that these are who they were.[160]

Bringing us up to the morning of 22 December 1989, and setting the stage for what was to come, Lt. Col. Aurel Dragomir told the Army daily in November 1990:

Dragomir: Events began to develop quickly on 22 December. In the morning some of the students posted in different parts of the town began to observe some suspect individuals in black jumpsuits on the roofs in the lights of the attics of several buildings.

Reporter: The same equipment as the USLAsi killed out front of the Defense Ministry…

Dragomir: And on the roof of the Militia building there were three or four similar individuals…[161]

Of course, the fact that these individuals were posted on the top of the Militia building on this morning, speaks volumes in itself about their affiliation. Indeed, in a written statement dated 28 January 1990, Ioan Scarlatescu, (Dir. Comm. Jud. Sibiu), admitted that he was asked by the Army on that morning if the unknown individuals “could be from the USLA?”[162]

[151] Siani-Davies, 2005, p. 152, fn. no. 32.

[152] Doris Mironescu, “Revolutia româna, asa cum (probabil) a fost,” Timpul no. 1 (January 2006), at http://www.romaniaculturala.ro.

[153] Serban Sandulescu, Lovitura de Stat a Confiscat Revolutia Romana (Bucharest: Omega, 1996), p. 214. Sandulescu’s book was marketed and printed by Sorin Rosca Stanescu’s Ziua press. Rosca Stanescu was a former USLA informer between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s. Who was Sandulescu’s chief counselor on these matters? Stefan Radoi, a former USLA officer in the early 1980s! These are the type of people who, of course, believe the passengers were DIA and not USLA! See my discussion of this whole fiasco in “The Securitate Roots of a Modern Romanian Fairy Tale,” RFE “East European Perspectives” 4-6/2002, online.

[154] See Dinu’s testimony in Sandulescu, Lovitura de Stat, p. 220. Also see the claims of another senior DIA officer Remus Ghergulescu in Jurnalul National, March 2004, online edition.

[155] Speaking even more broadly, Army parachutists (whether from Buzau, Caracal, Campia Turzii, or Boteni) were in Timisoara, Caransebes, and Television, Piata Palatului and the Otopeni Airport in Bucharest during the December events, but that clearly leaves many places where there were “terrorist actions”—including Sibiu—without them, decreasing their likelihood as plausible suspects. See Catalin Tintareanu, “Sarbatoare la Scoala de Aplicatie pentru Parasutisti ‘General Grigore Bastan,” Opinia (Buzau), 10 June 2005, online edition.

[156] Nicu Silvestru, “Cine a ordonat sa se traga la Sibiu?” Baricada, no. 45, 1990, p.5.

[157] Emil Munteanu, “Postelnicu a vorbit neintrebat,” Romania Libera, 30 January 1990, p. 1

[158] Interview with Nicu Ceausescu in Zig-Zag, no. 20, 21-27 August 1990.

[159] Adevarul, 29 August 1990. Also, Romanescu with Badea “U.S.L.A, Bula Moise…” 1991.

[160] “Virgil Magureanu sustine ca revolta din 1989 a fost sprijinita din interiorul sistemului,” Gardianul, 12 November 2005, online edition.

[161] Lt. Col. Aurel Dragomir, interview by Colonel Dragos Dragoi, “Sub tirul incrucisat al acuzatiilor (II),” Armata Poporului, no. 46 (November 1990), p. 3. Remus Ghergulescu specified USLA appearance as follows: “Over their black jumpsuits (‘combinezoanele negre’) in which they were dressed they had kaki vests. This was normal. They were equipped with the jumpsuits as “war gear,” while the vests were “city wear.’” (Colonel Remus Ghergulescu, interview with Razvan Belciuganu, “Teroristii au iesit din haos,” Jurnalul National, 29 November 2004, online edition.)

[162] See Evenimentul Zilei, 25 November 1992, p. 3.

RFE/RL Reports Print Version  E-mail this page to a friend

17 April 2002, Volume  4, Number  8

THE SECURITATE ROOTS OF A MODERN ROMANIAN FAIRY TALE: THE PRESS, THE FORMER SECURITATE, AND THE HISTORIOGRAPHY OF DECEMBER 1989

By Richard Andrew Hall

Part 2: ‘Tourists Are Terrorists and Terrorists are Tourists with Guns…’ *
The distance traveled by Securitate disinformation on the December 1989 events can be breathtaking. Bubbling up through the springs of popular rumor and speculation, it flows into the tributaries of the media as peripheral subplots to other stories and eventually wends its way — carried upon the waves of consensus and credibility that flow from its acceptance among prominent Romanian journalists and intellectuals — into the writings of Western journalists, analysts, and academics. Popular myths, which either have their origins in disinformation disseminated by the former Securitate, or which originated in the conspiratorial musings of the populace but proved propitious for the former secret police and thus were appropriated, nurtured, and reinjected into popular discourse, are today routinely repeated both inside and outside Romania. Frequently, this dissemination occurs without the faintest concern over, or knowledge of, the myth’s etymology or much thought given to the broader context and how it plays into the issue of the Securitate’s institutional culpability.

Take, for example, the “tourist” myth — perhaps the former Securitate’s most fanciful and enduring piece of disinformation. This myth suggests that in December 1989, Soviet, Hungarian, and other foreign agents posing as “tourists” instigated and/or nurtured anti-Ceausescu demonstrations in Timisoara, Bucharest, and elsewhere, and/or were responsible for the “terrorist” violence after 22 December that claimed over 900 victims, or almost 90 percent of those killed during the Revolution. The implication of such allegations is clear: It questions the spontaneity — and hence, inevitably, to a certain degree, the legitimacy — of the anti-Ceausescu demonstrations and the overthrow of the Ceausescu regime; it raises doubt about the popular legitimacy of those who seized power during the events; and it suggests that those who seized power lied about who was responsible for the terrorist violence and may ultimately have themselves been responsible for the bloodshed.

A robust exegesis of the “tourist” hypothesis was outlined on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the December 1989 events in the pages of the daily “Ziua” by Vladimir Alexe. Alexe has been a vigorous critic of Ion Iliescu and the former communists of the National Salvation Front (FSN) who took power in December 1989, maintaining that they overthrew Ceausescu in a Soviet-sponsored coup d’etat:

“The outbreak of the December events was preceded by an odd fact characteristic of the last 10 years. After 10 December 1989, an unprecedented number of Soviet ‘tourists’ entered the country. Whole convoys of Lada automobiles, with approximately four athletic men per car, were observed at the borders with the Moldovan Socialist Republic, Bulgaria, and Hungary. A detail worthy of mention: The Soviet ‘tourists’ entered Romania without passports, which suggests the complicity of higher-ups. According to the statistics, an estimated 67,000 Soviet ‘tourists’ entered Romania in December 1989″ (“Ziua”, 24 December 1999).

It is worth noting that Alexe considers elsewhere in this series of articles from December 1999 that the Russian “tourists” were an omnipresent, critical, and catalytic factor in the collapse of communism throughout ALL of Eastern Europe in December 1989.

Nor has the “tourist” hypothesis been confined strictly to the realm of investigative journalism. Serban Sandulescu, a bitter critic of Ion Iliescu and the former communists who seized power in December 1989, led the third parliamentary commission to investigate the December 1989 events as a Senator for the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD). In 1996, he published the findings of his commission as a book titled “December ’89: The Coup d’Etat That Abducted The Romanian Revolution.” He commented on the “tourists” as follows:

“From the data we have obtained and tabulated it appears that we are talking somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000-6,000 ‘tourists’…. Soviet agents [who] came under the cover of being ‘tourists’ either in large organized groups that came by coach, or in smaller groups of 3-4 people that fanned out in Lada and Moskvich automobiles. They covered the whole country, being seen in all the important cities in the country. They contributed to the stoking of the internal revolutionary process, supervising its unfolding, and they fought [during the so-called ‘terrorist’ phase after 22 December]…” (Sandulescu, 1996, pp. 35, 45).

DECEMBER 1989: NICOLAE CEAUSESCU INITIATES THE ‘TOURIST’ MYTH
Not surprisingly, the “tourist” myth originated with none other than Nicolae Ceausescu. This myth inevitably implies illegitimate and cynical “foreign intervention,” and Ceausescu used it to make sense of what were — probably genuinely, for him — the unimaginable and surreal antiregime protests which began in Timisoara on 15 December 1989.

In an emergency meeting of the Romanian equivalent of the politburo (CPEX) on the afternoon of Sunday, 17 December 1989 — the afternoon on which regime forces were to open fire on the anti-Ceausescu demonstrators in Timisoara, killing scores and wounding hundreds — Ceausescu alleged that foreign interference and manipulation were behind the protests:

“Everything that has happened and is happening in Germany, in Czechoslovakia, and in Bulgaria now, and in the past in Poland and Hungary, are things organized by the Soviet Union with American and Western help” (cited in Bunea, 1994, p. 34).

That Ceausescu saw “tourists” specifically playing a nefarious role in stimulating the Timisoara protests is made clear by his order at the close of this emergency meeting:

“I have ordered that all tourist activity be interrupted at once. Not one more foreign tourist will be allowed in, because they have all turned into agents of espionage…. Not even those from the socialist countries will be allowed in, with the exception of [North] Korea, China, and Cuba. Because all the neighboring socialist countries are untrustworthy. Those sent from the neighboring socialist countries are sent as agents” (cited in Bunea, 1994, p. 34).

A CHRONOLOGY OF THE ‘TOURISTS’ ITINERARY AND ACTIVITIES ACCORDING TO TOP SECURITATE AND PARTY OFFICIALS IN THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH OF DECEMBER 1989
Filip Teodorescu, who as head of the Securitate’s Counterespionage Directorate (Directorate III) had been dispatched to Timisoara and was later arrested for his role in the repression there, maintained in March 1990 at his trial that he detained “foreign agents” during the Timisoara events (“Romania libera,” 9 March 1990). In a book that appeared in 1992, Teodorescu described as follows the events in Timisoara on Monday, 18 December — that is, after the bloody regime repression of anti-Ceausescu demonstrators the night before:

“There were few foreigners in the hotels, the majority of them having fled the town after lunch [on 17 December] when the clashes began to break out. The interested parties remained. Our attention is drawn to the unjustifiably large number of Soviet tourists, be they by bus or car. Not all of them stayed in hotels. They either had left their buses or stayed in their cars overnight. Border records indicate their points of entry as being through northern Transylvania. They all claimed they were in transit to Yugoslavia. The explanation was plausible, the Soviets being well-known for their shopping trips. Unfortunately, we did not have enough forces and the conditions did not allow us to monitor the activities of at least some of these ‘tourists’” (Teodorescu, 1992, p. 92).

Teodorescu appears here to be attempting to account for the fact that on Monday, 18 December 1989 — presumably as a consequence of Ceausescu’s tirade the afternoon before about the malicious intent of virtually all “tourists” — Romania announced, in typically Orwellian fashion, that it would not accept any more tourists because of a “shortage of hotel rooms” and because “weather conditions are not suitable for tourism” (Belgrade Domestic Service, 20 December 1989). Ironically, the only ones exempted from this ban were “Soviet travelers coming home from shopping trips to Yugoslavia” (!) (AFP, 19 December 1989).

Radu Balan, former Timis County party boss, picks up the story from there. While serving a prison sentence for his complicity in the Timisoara repression, in 1991 Balan told one of Ceausescu’s most famous “court poets,” Adrian Paunescu, that on the night of 18-19 December — during which in reality some 40 cadavers were secretly transported from Timisoara’s main hospital to Bucharest for cremation (reputedly on Elena Ceausescu’s personal order) — he too witnessed the role of these “foreign agents”:

“We had been receiving information, in daily bulletins, from the Securitate, that far more people were returning from Yugoslavia and Hungary than were going there and about the presence of Lada automobiles filled with Soviets. I saw them at the border and the border posts, and the cars were full. I wanted to know where and what they were eating and how they were crossing the border and going through cities and everywhere. More telling, on the night of 18-19 December, when I was at a fire at the I.A.M. factory, in front of the county hospital, I spotted 11 white ‘Lada’ automobiles at 1 a.m. in the morning. They pretended to ask me the road to Buzias.The 11 white Ladas had Soviet plates, not Romanian ones, and were in front of the hospital” (“Totusi iubirea,” no. 43, 24-31 October 1991).

Nicu Ceausescu, Nicolae’s son and most likely heir and party secretary in Sibiu at the time of the Revolution, claimed that he also had to deal with enigmatic “tourists” during these historic days. From his prison cell in 1990, Nicu recounted how on the night of 20 December 1989, a top party official came to inform him that the State Tourist Agency was requesting that he — the party secretary for Sibiu! — “find lodgings for a group of tourists who did not have accommodation.” He kindly obliged and made the appropriate arrangements (interview with Nicu Ceausescu in “Zig-Zag,”, no. 20, 21-27 August 1990).

Nor was Gheorghe Roset, head of the Militia in the city of Caransebes at the time of the Revolution, able to elude a visit from the “tourists” during these days. Writing from his prison cell in January 1991, he recounted:

“Stationed on the night of 20-21 December 1989 at headquarters, I received the order to issue an authorization for repairs for a Lada automobile that had overturned in Soceni, in Caras-Severin county, an order that was approved by the chief of the county Militia with the clarification that the passengers of this car were military personnel from the USSR. I was more than a little surprised when this car arrived in Caransebes and I saw that it was part of a convoy of 20 cars, all of the same make and with 3-4 passengers per car. Lengthy discussions with the person who had requested the authorization confirmed for me the accident and the fact that this convoy of cars was coming from Timisoara, on its way to Bucharest, as well as the fact that these were colleagues of ours from the country in question. He presented a passport in order to receive the documents he had requested, although not even today can I say with certainty that he belonged to this or that country. A short time after the convoy left on its way, it was reported to me that five of the cars had headed in the direction of Hateg, while the more numerous group headed for Bucharest” (“Europa,” no. 20, March 1991).

A September 1990 open letter authored by “some officers of the former Securitate” — most likely from the Fifth Directorate charged with guarding Ceausescu and the rest of the Romanian communist leadership — and addressed to the xenophobic, neo-Ceausist weekly “Democratia” (which was edited by Eugen Florescu, one of Ceausescu’s chief propagandists and speechwriters), sought to summarize the entire record of the “tourists” wanderings and activities in December 1989 as follows:

“11-15 [December] — a massive penetration of so-called Hungarian tourists takes place in Timisoara and Soviet tourists in Cluj;

15-16 [December] — upon the initiative of these groups, protests of support for the sinister ‘Priest [Father Laszlo Tokes of Timisoara]‘ break out;

16-17-18 [December] — in the midst of the general state of confusion building in the city, the army intervenes to reestablish order;

– this provides a long-awaited opportunity for the ‘tourists’ to start — in the midst of warning shots in the air — to shoot and stab in the back the demonstrators among whom they are located and whom they have incited;…

19-20-21 — a good part of the ‘tourists’ and their brethren among the locals begin to migrate — an old habit — from the main cities of Transylvania, according to plan, in order to destabilize: Cluj, Sibiu, Alba Iulia, Targu Mures, Satu Mare, Oradea, etc.” (“Democratia,” no. 36, 24-30 September 1990).

The authors of this chronology then maintain that this scene was replicated in Bucharest on 21 December, causing the famous disruption of Ceausescu’s speech and the death of civilians in University Square that evening.

Not to be out-done, Cluj Securitate chief Ion Serbanoiu claimed in a 1991 interview that, as of 21 December 1989, there were over 800 Russian and Hungarian tourists, mostly driving almost brand-new Lada automobiles (but also Dacia and Wartburg cars), in the city (interview with Angela Bacescu in “Europa,” no. 55, December 1991). In February 1991 during his trial, former Securitate Director General Iulian Vlad, not surprisingly, also spoke of “massive groups of Soviet tourists…the majority were men…deploy[ing] in a coordinated manner in a convoy of brand-new Lada automobiles” (see Bunea, 1994, pp. 460-461), while the infamous Pavel Corut has written of “the infiltration on Romanian territory of groups of Soviet commandos (“Spetsnaz”) under the cover of being tourists” (Corut, 1994).

REBUTTING THE ‘TOURIST’ MYTH
I vividly recall early on in my research of the December 1989 events being told emphatically, and not for the last time, by a journalist at the Cluj weekly “Nu” — a publication staunchly critical of the Iliescu regime — that the guest lists of Romanian hotels for December 1989 were nowhere to be found because they contained the secrets of the Revolution. Certainly, this rumor has intersected with the “tourist” myth and has been used as confirmation of the latter.

Significantly, Marius Mioc has sought to investigate the reality of this matter in Timisoara (Mioc, 2000). The numbers provided to the 17 December Timisoara Association (which Mioc heads) by all of Timisoara’s hotels and by the State Tourist Agency for Timisoara lay bare two of the key components upon which the “tourist” myth has relied: a) that the records of the December 1989 manifests do not exist, and b) that there was an unusually dramatic increase in the number of foreign tourists staying in Romanian hotels during this period. In fact, the opposite proves to be true, the number of foreign tourists — and specifically those from other “socialist” countries — declined in December 1989 both in comparison to the previous December and in comparison to November 1989!

Of course, as we have seen, proponents of the “tourist” myth have also suggested that many of the alleged foreign agents posing as tourists “avoided staying in hotels.” But this still raises the question of why the Securitate allowed them into the country in the first place and why they then seemed unable to follow their movements and prevent their activities. A 1991 open letter by “a group of [Romanian Army] officers from the Timisoara garrison” perhaps provides the best riposte to the dubious logic underlying the “tourist” hypothesis:

“If they [the tourists] appeared suspect to the special forces of the Securitate and military counterintelligence, why did they not attempt to keep them under surveillance? During this period, did the Securitate and the counterintelligence officers not know how to do their jobs? Did they somehow forget why they were paid such weighty sums from the state budget?” (“Romania libera,” 15 October 1991).

One must also ask: If it was precisely Soviet tourists who were most suspected at the time of being up to no good in the country, then why was it precisely they who were the sole group among “tourists” in the country at the time to be permitted to stay and go about their business unhindered?

HOW THE ‘TOURISTS’ ENTRY INTO THE HISTORIOGRAPHY OF DECEMBER 1989 PARALLELS THE EXIT OF THE SECURITATE
In commenting in August 1990 upon how the details of the state’s case against him had changed since early in the year, Nicolae Ceausescu’s son, Nicu, ironically highlighted how Securitate forces had begun to fade away from the historiography of the December 1989 events. In the August 1990 interview from his prison cell with Ion Cristoiu’s “Zig-Zag” (mentioned above), Nicu discusses the “tourists” for which he was asked to find accommodations in the context of a group of mysterious passengers who had arrived by plane from Bucharest on the evening of 20 December 1989. We know that in the period immediately following these events, the then-military prosecutor, Anton Socaciu, had alleged that these passengers from Bucharest were members of the Securitate’s elite USLA unit (Special Unit for Antiterrorist Warfare) and were responsible for much of the bloodshed that occurred in Sibiu during the December events (for a discussion, see Hall, 1996). In August 1990, however, Nicu wryly observed:

“…[T]he Military Prosecutor gave me two variants. In the first part of the inquest, they [the flight’s passengers] were from the Interior Ministry. Later, however, in the second half of the investigation, when the USLA and those from the Interior Ministry began, so-to-speak, to pass ‘into the shadows,’ — after which one no longer heard anything of them — they [the passengers] turned out to be simple citizens…” (interview with Nicu Ceausescu in “Zig-Zag,” no. 20, 21-27 August 1990).

The impact of this “reconsideration” by the authorities could be seen in the comments of Socaciu’s successor as military prosecutor in charge of the Sibiu case, Marian Valer (see Hall 1997a, pp. 314-315). Valer commented in September 1990 that investigations yielded the fact that there were 37 unidentified passengers on board the 20 December flight from Bucharest and that many of the other passengers maintained that “on the right side of the plane there had been a group of tall, athletic men, dressed in sporting attire, many of them blond, who had raised their suspicions.” While investigations revealed that during this time there “were many Soviet tourists staying in Sibiu’s hotels,” they also established that “military units were fired upon from Securitate safehouses located around these units as of the afternoon of 22 December, after the overturning of the Ceausescu regime.” He thus carefully concludes:

“As far as the unidentified passengers are concerned, there are two possible variants: Either they were USLA fighters sent to defend Nicu Ceausescu, or they were Soviet agents sent to act with the intent of overthrowing the Ceausescu regime” (“Expres,” no. 33, September 1990).

Thus, as the “tourists” began to enter the historiography of the December 1989 events, so the Securitate — specifically the USLA — began to disappear.

HOW THE ‘TOURIST’ MYTH NEVERTHELESS GAINED MAINSTREAM CREDIBILITY AND ACCEPTANCE
How, then, did the “tourist” myth gain credibility and acceptance in the Romanian press, given its rather obvious pedigree in the remnants of the Ceausescu regime, especially among former high-ranking Securitate officers and others most in need of an alibi/diversion to save their careers and avoid the possibility of going to jail? Although the reference to “tourists” during the December events probably entered the lexicon of mainstream reporting on the Revolution as early as April 1990 — not insignificantly, first in the pages of Ion Cristoiu’s weekly “Zig-Zag,” it appears — it was in particular journalist Sorin Rosca Stanescu who gave the theme legitimacy in the mainstream press.

Without specifying the term “tourists” — but clearly speaking in the same vein — Stanescu was probably the first to articulate the thesis most precisely and to tie the Soviet angle to it. In June 1990 in a piece entitled “Is The Conspiracy of Silence Breaking Down?” in the sharply anti-government daily “Romania libera,” Stanescu wrote:

“And still in connection with the breaking down of the conspiracy of silence, in the army there is more and more insistent talk about the over 4,000 Lada cars with two men per car that traveled many different roads in the days before the Revolution and then disappeared” (“Romania libera,” 14 June 1990).

Stanescu’s article was vigorously anti-FSN and anti-Iliescu and left little doubt that this thesis was part of the “unofficial” history of the December events, injurious to the new leaders, and something they did not wish to see published or wish to clarify.

But it was Stanescu’s April 1991 article in “Romania libera,” entitled “Is Iliescu Being Protected By The KGB?,” that truly gave impetus to the “tourist” thesis. Stanescu wrote:

“A KGB officer wanders in France. He is losing his patience and searching for a way to get to Latin America. Yesterday I met him in Paris. He talked to me after finding out that I was a Romanian journalist. He fears the French press. He knows Romanian and was in Timisoara in December 1989. As you will recall, persistent rumors have circulated about the existence on Romanian soil of over 2,000 Lada automobiles with Soviet tags and two men in each car. Similar massive infiltrations were witnessed in December 1990, too, with the outbreak of a wave of strikes and demonstrations. What were the KGB doing in Romania? Witness what the anonymous Soviet officer related to me in Paris:

‘There existed an intervention plan that for whatever reason was not activated. I received the order to enter Romania on 14 December and to head for Timisoara. Myself and my colleague were armed. During the events, we circulated in the military zone around Calea Girocului [Giriocul Road]. Those who headed toward Bucharest had the same mission. Several larger cities were targeted. We were to open fire in order to create a state of confusion. I never, however, received such an order. I left Romania on 26 December.’

I don’t have any reason to suspect the validity of these revelations. This short confession is naturally incomplete, but not inconclusive. What purpose would this elaborate, but aborted, KGB plan have had? The only plausible explanation is that it wasn’t necessary for KGB agents to intervene. The events were unfolding in the desired direction without need for the direct intervention of the Soviets. But this leads to other questions: What did the Ceausescu couple know, but were not allowed to say [prior to their hurried execution]? Why is Securitate General Vlad being held in limbo? To what degree has President Iliescu maintained ties to the Soviets? What are the secret clauses of the Friendship Treaty recently signed in Moscow? Is Iliescu being protected by the KGB or not? Perhaps the SRI [the Securitate’s institutional successor, the Romanian Information Service] would like to respond to these questions?”

Stanescu’s April 1991 article did not go unnoticed — despite its nondescript placement on page eight — and has since received recognition and praise from what might seem unexpected corners. For example, previously-discussed former Securitate Colonel Filip Teodorescu cited extensive excerpts from Stanescu’s article in his 1992 book on the December events, and he added cryptically:

“Moreover, I don’t have any reason to suspect that the journalist Sorin Rosca Stanescu would have invented a story in order to come to the aid of those accused, by the courts or by public opinion, for the results of the tragic events of December 1989″ (Teodorescu, 1992, pp. 92-94).

Radu Balan, former Timis County party secretary, imprisoned for his role in the December events, has also invoked Stanescu’s April 1991 article as proof of his revisionist view that “tourists” rather than “non-existent ‘terrorists’” were to blame for the December 1989 bloodshed:

“…[W]hile at Jilava [the jail where he was imprisoned at the time of the interview, in October 1991], I read ‘Romania libera’ from 18 April. And Rosca Stanescu writes from Paris that a KGB agent who deserted the KGB and is in transit to the U.S. stated that on 18 December [1989] he had the mission to create panic on Calea Girocului [a thoroughfare in Timisoara]. What is more, on the 18th, these 11 cars were at the top of Calea Girocului, where I saw them. I was dumbfounded, I tell you. I didn’t tell anybody. Please study ‘Romania libera,’ the last page, from 18 April 1991″ (“Totusi iubirea,” no. 43, 24-31 October1991).

In this regard, it would be irresponsible to totally discount the relevance of Rosca Stanescu’s past. Since December 1989, Stanescu has undeniably been a vigorous critic of, and made damaging revelations about, the Securitate’s institutional heir, the SRI, and the Iliescu regime, and he has frequently written ill of the former Securitate and the Ceausescu regime. Nevertheless, in 1992 it was leaked to the press — and Rosca Stanescu himself confirmed — that from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s he was an informer for the Securitate (for a discussion, see Hall, 1997b, pp. 111-113). What was significant, however, was precisely for which branch of the Securitate Rosca Stanescu had been an informer: the USLA.

THE ‘TOURISTS’ MYTH TRAVELS WESTWARD
Almost inevitably, the “tourist” thesis has made its way into Western academic literature. For example, in a book lauded by experts (see for example, Professor Archie Brown’s review in “Slavic Review,” Winter 1998), Jacques Levesque invokes as “rare evidence” that the Soviets were responsible for igniting and fanning the flames of the Timisoara uprising the following:

“…testimony of an imprisoned Securitate colonel who was freed in 1991 [he is referring to the aforementioned Filip Teodorescu]. He writes that the Securitate had noted the arrival of ‘numerous false Soviet tourists’ in Timisoara in early December, coming from Soviet Moldova. He also reports that a convoy of several Lada cars, with Soviet license plates and containing three to four men each, had refused to stop at a police checkpoint in Craiova. After the Romanian police opened fire and killed several men, he claims that the Soviet authorities recovered the bodies without issuing an official protest. To the extent that this information is absolutely correct, it would tend to prove the presence of Soviet agents in Romania (which no one doubts), without, however, indicating to us their exact role in the events” (Levesque, 1997, p. 197).

Levesque seems generally unaware of or concerned with the problematic nature of the source of this “rare evidence” and thus never really considers the possibility that the Securitate colonel is engaging in disinformation. This is indicative of how upside-down the understanding of the December 1989 events has become in the post-Ceausescu era — and of the influence of the far-reaching and generally unchallenged revisionism of the events within Romania itself — that Western writers invoking the thesis seem to accept the claims at face value, never even enunciating any doubt about why the Securitate source in question might seek to make such an argument.

* A memorable phrase from Andrei Codrescu’s PBS special “Road Scholar” of the early 1990s.

(Richard Andrew Hall received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University in 1997. He currently works and lives in northern Virginia. Comments can be directed to him at hallria@msn.com.)

SOURCES

AFP, 19 December 1989, in FBIS-EEU-89-242, 19 December 1989.

Belgrade Domestic Service, 1400 GMT 20 December 1989, in FBIS-EEU-89-243, 20 December 1989.

Brown, A., 1998, “Review of Jacques Levesque, The Enigma of 1989: The USSR and the Liberation of Eastern Europe,” in “Slavic Review,” Vol. 57, no. 4 (Winter), pp. 882-883.

Bunea, M., 1994, Praf in ochi: Procesul celor 24-1-2 [Mud in the Eyes: The Trial of the 24-1-2], (Bucharest: Editura Scripta).

Court, P., 1994, Cantecul Nemuririi [Song of Immortality], (Bucharest: Editura Miracol).

“Democratia” (Bucharest), 1990.

“Europa,” (Bucharest), 1991

“Expres,” (Bucharest), 1990.

Hall, R. A., 1996, “Ce demonstreaza probele balistice dupa 7 ani?” [Seven Years Later What Does the Ballistic Evidence Tell Us?] in “22″ (Bucharest), 17-23 December.

Hall, R. A. 1997a, “Rewriting the Revolution: Authoritarian Regime-State Relations and the Triumph of Securitate Revisionism in Post-Ceausescu Romania,” (Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University).

Hall, R. A., 1997b, “The Dynamics of Media Independence in Post-Ceausescu Romania,” in O’Neil, P. H. (ed.) Post-Communism and the Media in Eastern Europe, (Portland, OR: Frank Cass), pp. 102-123.

Levesque, J., 1997, The Enigma of 1989: The USSR and the Liberation of Eastern Europe, (Berkeley: University of California Press).

Mioc, Marius, 2000, “Turisti straini in timpul revolutiei,” [Foreign Tourists During the Revolution] timisoara.com/newmioc/54.htm.

“Romania libera” (Bucharest), 1990-91.

Sandulescu, S., 1996, Decembrie ’89: Lovitura de Stat a Confiscat Revolutia Romana [December ’89: The Coup d’tat Abducted the Romanian Revolution], (Bucharest: Editura Omega Press Investment).

Teodorescu, F., 1992, Un Risc Asumat: Timisoara, decembrie 1989, [An Assumed Risk: Timisoara, December 1989] (Bucharest: Editura Viitorul Romanesc).

“Totusi iubirea” (Bucharest), 1991.

“Ziua” (Bucharest), 1999.

“Zig-Zag” (Bucharest), 1990.

Compiled by Michael Shafir

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2010/04/15/sibiu-decembrie-1989-faimoasa-geanta-diplomat-si-tragatorii-din-poduri/

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2010/12/30/decembrie-1989-turistii-si-sovietici/

Am scris despre “misterul” acesta de multe ori intre 1996 si 2005…

——————————————————————————————————————–
O singura intrebare…modesta:  aveau cumva uslasii vreo “acoperire” atunci cand erau “in teren”?  Si daca aveau, care ar fi fost aceasta “acoperire”?!
 
Asistam la Ingroparea Revolutiei

Monica N. Marginean:  Sa revenim la datele concrete ale regiei de care vorbeam anterior.  Cum arata, de pilda, povestea atit de dezbatuta la procesul lui Nicu Ceausescu a cursei ROMBAC, daca o privim din perspectiva Comisiei de ancheta?

fostul procuror Marian Valer:  In mod normal, cursa de avion Bucuresti-Sibiu trebuia sa decoleze de pe aeroportul Baneasa, la orele 17,10 folosindu-se pe acest traseu avioane marca Antonov.  In dupa-amiaza zilei de 20 decembrie, insa, in jurul orelor 17, deci in apropierea orei prevazute pentru decolarea cursei obisnuite, pasagerii pentru Sibiu au fost invitati si dusi la Aeroportul Otopeni unde au fost imbarcati intr-un avion marca ROMBAC care a decolat in jurul orelor 18,30 si a aterizat pe aeroportul Sibiu in jur de ora 19.  Fac precizarea ca in dupa-amiaza aceleiasi zile, cu aproape 2 ore inaintea decolarii acestei curse, a aterizat pe aeroportul Otopeni avionul prezidential cu care Ceausescu s-a reintors din Iran. Conform datelor furnizate de agentia TAROM Bucuresti, in avionul respectiv spre Sibiu au fost imbarcati 81 pasageri.  In radiograma cursei sint consemnate domiciile doar la o parte din pasageri, cu mentiunea ca unele sint incomplete, lipsind fie localitatea, fie strada, fie numarul, iar la restul pasagerilor figureaza doar mentiunile ,rezervat’ sau Pasaport RSR.  In urma investigatiilor efectuate, au putut fi identificati doar 44 de pasageri, majoritatea avind domiciliul in municipul si judetul Sibiu, stabilindu-se ca au fost persoane trimise in delegatie la foruri tutelare din capitala, sau studenti plecati in vacanta, iar citiva domiciliati in judetul Alba.  Mentionez ca asupra acestor persoane nu planeaza nici un dubiu.  Dubiile sint create insa in primul rind de faptul ca mai multi pasageri figureaza cu domiciliul in municipiul Bucuresti, dar in realitate nu domiciliaza la adresele consemnate, iar la unele adrese sint intreprinderi.  Un alt element creator de dubii il constituie prezenta in avionul respectiv a unui inspector de la Departmentul Aviatiei Civile, cu numele de Nevrozeanu, care nu figureaza pe lista pasagerilor si cu privire la care s-a stabilit ca, in trecut, se deplasa cu avionul in cazuri speciale doar pe relatia Moscova, fiind un bun cunoscator al limbii ruse.  Mai multi pasageri sustin ca in partea dreapta din fata a avionului au sesizat un grup de barbati, mai inalti, atletici, imbracati sportiv, multi dintre ei fiind blonzi, grup care li s-a parut suspect.  Aceste afirmatii se coroboreaza cu faptul ca in zona respectiva a avionului nu a stat nici unul din pasagerii identificati.  Mai mult, verificindu-se la hotelurile din municipiul Sibiu persoane care aveau numele celor 37 de persoane neidentificate, s-a constatat ca doar un pasager neidentificat care figureaza pe listele TAROM-ului cu domiciliul in municipiul Bucuresti, care nu exista la adresa respectiva din localitate, a fost cazat la hotelul Bulevard, dar in registrul de evidenta figureaza cu un alt domiciliu din Bucuresti.  Ambele domicilii, si cei din diagrama TAROM si cel de la hotel sint false.  Cu ocazia acelorasi verificari s-a constatat ca in perioada respectiva in hotelurile din Sibiu au fost cazati multi turisti sovietici, in special la Imparatul Romanilor, Continental, si Bulevard, situate in zona centrala a municipiului.  Fac mentiunea ca din hotelurile respective s-a tras asupra manifestantilor si a armatei. Am omis sa precizez ca pe aeroportul Otopeni, in avionul ROMBAC au fost incarcate sute de colete identice ca format, dimensiuni si culoare, de marime apropriata unei genti diplomat, precum si ca, cu citeva minute inaintea decolarii cursei spre Sibiu, de pe acelasi aeroport au decolat curse ROMBAC spre Timisoara si Arad.  Consider ca, in legatura cu pasagerii neidentificati, sint posibile doua versiuni, respectiv sa fie au fost luptatorii U.S.L.A. trimisi in sprijinul lui Nicu Ceausescu, fie au fost agenti sovietici trimisi sa actioneze in scopul rasturnarii regimului Ceausescu.

Monica N. Marginean:  Ce alte demersuri a facut Comisia de ancheta pentru elucidarea misterului celor 37 de pasageri neidentificati?

Marian Valer:  Am luat contact cu unul din loctiitorii comandamentului trupelor U.S.L.A. din capitala, caruia i-am solicitat sa-mi puna la dispozitie pe cei trei insotitori U.S.L.A. ai avionului ROMBAC.  Loctiitorul mi-a spus ca acestia au fost audiati de un procuror militar si nu mai este de acord sa fie audiati inca o data.

Monica M. Maginean:  “MARIAN VALER:  Asistam la ingroparea Revolutiei,” Expres nr. 33, septembrie 1990, p. 2.


Nicu Silvestru, chief of the Sibiu County Militia, admitted in passing in a letter from prison that on the afternoon of 19 December in a crisis meeting, Ceausescu’s son announced that he was going to “call [his] specialists from Bucharest” to take care of any protests (“Baricada,” no. 45, 1990).  Ceausescu’s Interior Minister, Tudor Postelnicu, admitted at his trial in January 1990 that Nicu had called him requesting “some troops” and he had informed Securitate Director General Iulian Vlad of the request (“Romania Libera,” 30 January 1990.)

The rewriting of the story of the Revolution, the “tourists,” and the “terrorists” was already in full swing, when in August 1990, Nicu wryly observed:

“…[T]he Military Prosecutor gave me two variants. In the first part of the inquest, they [the flight’s passengers] were from the Interior Ministry. Later, however, in the second half of the investigation, when the USLA and those from the Interior Ministry began, so-to-speak, to pass ‘into the shadows,’ — after which one no longer heard anything of them — they [the passengers] turned out to be simple citizens…” (interview with Nicu Ceausescu in “Zig-Zag,” no. 20, 21-27 August 1990).

An interesting–if slightly confused–discussion of the “tourists”/ USLA in Sibiu in December 1989!

http://portalulrevolutiei.ro/forum/index.php?topic=3.615

Re: @ REVOLUTIA SIBIU 1989 @
« Reply #615 on: March 08, 2010, 15:31:24 PM »

Fac apel la oricine care a fost in seara de 21 spre 22 (ora 11,30-11,50) pe strada(actuala)Revolutiei, sau a vazut autoturismele parcate vis-sa vis de fosta Brutarie Nesciuc trei albe si una rosu inchis “Lada”. Va intreb daca cele 11 persoane imbracate cu scurta albastre tip jeans,  pantaloni deschisi la culoare, doi cu caciula de blana, trei cu caciula de lana impletita de culoare inchisa, si restul cu capul gol care au intors autoturismele parcate din capatul strazii si incendierea acestora? Statura lor era atletica? Cine a mai vazut apoi aceste persoane (acest gen) in afara de Piatza Mare din 21 decembrie ora 11,30 cand l-au protejat pe domnul care a iesit in fatza scutierilor cu copilul ridicat pe maini? (in dreptul Casei Albastre)
Aceleasi persoane au fost si in data de 21 decembrie la ora 9 in fata intrarii in magazinul Dumbrava, cand au “jenat” fara nici o teama scutierii si politistii care incercau sa prinda persoanele care fugeau prin magazin…Mai apelez la locatarii Blocului de garsoniere “turn” din coltul Calea Dumbravii-Milea, sa ne trimita o informatie cu intamplarile din 23-25 de la etajul 7-8, cu persoanele in combinezon de culoare inchisa care au coborat pe partea dinspre magazin din balcon in balcon, inclusiv despre persoana decedata, daca are legatura cu acel incident.O alta intrebare extrem de importanta: stie cineva cine a organizat “filtrele” de pe strazile Sibiului?Va multumesc
O precizare: Autoturismele erau parcate pe str Dobrun inspre str. Berariei Era pe trotoarul brutariei particulare (Nescuc sau Cibu, nu mai stiu cum se chema)

Re: @ REVOLUTIA SIBIU 1989 @
« Reply #623 on: March 11, 2010, 14:16:55 PM »

Acesti emanati, aceste lichele, nu-si puteau face jocurile, acapararea puterii totale, precum si inaintasii lor Dej si Ceausescu, decat prin forta represiunii armate. Parte din armata a reactionat pasnic, datorita onor ofitzeri care au dovedit mai multa logica, parte din armata a jucat rolul de dusman al romanilor. La Sibiu, avem tot mai multe date care intaresc teoria ca Dragomir a fost teroristul Nr. 1 in acele zile, ajutat si de grupul USLA trimis de la Bucuresti la Sibiu, pentru protectia lui NC, si care s-au reantors la “locul faptei” dupa ce l-a pus pe Nicu in siguranta. Ei au fost aceia care au comis executiile din Piatza Mare in ziua de 21 decembrie ora 11,45 cu primele victime ucise sau ranite. Au fost repartizati in patru puncte ale pietii: In podul Casei Albastre, in podul actualei Primarii, in podul de deasupra Tunelului Generalului si in podul de deasupra magazinului Moda. De aici, au deschis foc inspre demonstranti. Au deschis foc si pe data de 22 decembrie inspre hotelul Imparatul Romanilor din acelasi pod de deasupra Tunelului Generalului care avea corespondent cu celelalte poduri dinspre magazinul Covorul. Aceste grupe ale USLA nu aveau insemne de grad sau arma, nu purtau boneta militara si aveau la dispozitie doua microbuze ale unitatii 01512 care i-a transportat in tot acest timp. Un grup al USLA era incepand din ziua de 21 decembrie ora 07 la sediul Judetenei de partid, ocupand garajul din curtea din sapate cu munitie si armament special. Se poate descoperi foarte repede, numele persoanelor care au fost trimise la SIBIU cu Rombacul in dupa-amiaza zilei de 20 decembrie, ca urmare a convorbirilor indelungate purtate de Nicu si Bucuresti, despre demonstratia anuntata pentru dimineata zilei de 21 decembrie de la Mag Dumbrava. In timpul convorbirii telefonice, in biroul lui Nicu se afla Traian Popsa, fostul director de la IJIM Sibiu, maiorul Dragomir, seful Garzilor judetene Pescaru, secretar al CJPCR Sibiu si Niculae Hurubean, prim secretar la Alba care se afla in trecere prin Sibiu. Aceste trupe USLA au purtat alternativ, combinezoane negre, uniforma militara sau haine civile…
Lovitura de stat cu spectatori, cum zice Cornel Dinu, a functionat atata timp cat au avut nevoie pentru a pune mana pe putere acesti derbedei bolsevici-kaghebisti

Posted in decembrie 1989 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

High Time to Unpack Already: Why the Restless Journey of the “Soviet tourists” of the Romanian Revolution Should Come to an End.

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on April 29, 2013

(purely personal views as always, based on two decades of research and publication, not for reproduction, thank you!)

Somewhere out there, on the Great Highway in the Sky, or perhaps more fittingly, the Beltway of one of Dante’s circles, the “Soviet tourists” (alternatively, “Russian tourists”) of December 1989 in Romania continue to drive around, aimlessly, and, of course, as we are so often told, not staying in hotels.  Sadly, for the lovers of absurdity, this never-ending holiday from reality must–or at least should–come to an end.  Here’s why:

The Timisoara files about December 1989 are now publicly available (when the link works!) on the Internet at http://dosarelerevolutiei.ro/.  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,..”

0173

“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.”

0197

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

All this is important to keep in mind when coming across claims about the alleged role of these tourists in the overthrow of the communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu:  none of the authors purporting such claims have addressed the documents above.  Among the authors who allege such a role and whose work is available on the Internet are the following:

James F. Burke (citing Grigore Corpacescu, General Iulian Vlad, and a well-known article from September 1990 in Democratia) http://www.ceausescu.org/ceausescu_texts/revolution/december_revolt_moscow.htm (I have dealt with these allegations here https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2010/12/29/presa-din-1990-despre-turistii-rusi-din-decembrie-1989/, and  https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2010/09/22/the-1989-romanian-revolution-as-geopolitical-parlor-game-brandstatter%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Ccheckmate%E2%80%9D-documentary-and-the-latest-wave-in-a-sea-of-revisionism-part-iii/)

Catherine Durandin (citing Radu Portocala) http://www.diploweb.com/english/romania/durandin1.htm  (I have addressed this allegation here https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2010/09/24/the-1989-romanian-revolution-as-geopolitical-parlor-game-brandstatter%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Ccheckmate%E2%80%9D-documentary-and-the-latest-wave-in-a-sea-of-revisionism-part-four/)

Alexander Ghaleb (fn. 9, citing “police sources”) http://www.sferapoliticii.ro/sfera/165/art03-Ghaleb.php

Jacques Levesque (citing a 1992 book by Filip Teodorescu) http://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft4q2nb3h6&chunk.id=d0e6746&toc.id=d0e6638&brand=ucpress

John Simpson (citing Virgil Magureanu and the SRI) http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/ten-days-that-fooled-the-world-1387659.html

Alex Mihai Stoenescu (p. 186 of 340, Petre Roman citing Mihai Caraman) http://www.scribd.com/doc/105257958/Alex-Mihai-Stoenescu-Istoria-Loviturilor-de-Stat-Din-Romania-Vol-4-1

Larry Watts (fn. 90 p. 26, Petre Roman citing Mihai Caraman) http://www.larrylwatts.com/excerpts/with_friends_like_these_excerpts.pdf  (Roman ironically himself undermined such a claim here:  http://adevarul.ro/news/eveniment/petre-roman-ceausescu-acceptat-controlul-psihiatric-proces-putea-scape-1_50ad124a7c42d5a6638e48ab/index.html)

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“Turistii Sovietici” din decembrie 1989: o productie autohtona. The “Soviet tourists” of December 1989: A Romanian Production.

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on June 9, 2009

Vorbele lui Stanculescu continua sa fie interpretate strict literal:  Stănculescu reconfirmă teoria agenţilor străini. Teroriştii – un scenariu testat pe România.  Hai sa ne intoarcem inapoi in 1990 sa vedem cum au fost discutat “misterul” acesta atunci…foarte lamuritor:

Monica N. Marginean:  Sa revenim la datele concrete ale regiei de care vorbeam anterior.  Cum arata, de pilda, povestea atit de dezbatuta la procesul lui Nicu Ceausescu a cursei ROMBAC, daca o privim din perspectiva Comisiei de ancheta?

fostul procuror Marian Valer:  In mod normal, cursa de avion Bucuresti-Sibiu trebuia sa decoleze de pe aeroportul Baneasa, la orele 17,10 folosindu-se pe acest traseu avioane marca Antonov.  In dupa-amiaza zilei de 20 decembrie, insa, in jurul orelor 17, deci in apropierea orei prevazute pentru decolarea cursei obisnuite, pasagerii pentru Sibiu au fost invitati si dusi la Aeroportul Otopeni unde au fost imbarcati intr-un avion marca ROMBAC care a decolat in jurul orelor 18,30 si a aterizat pe aeroportul Sibiu in jur de ora 19.  Fac precizarea ca in dupa-amiaza aceleiasi zile, cu aproape 2 ore inaintea decolarii acestei curse, a aterizat pe aeroportul Otopeni avionul prezidential cu care Ceausescu s-a reintors din Iran. Conform datelor furnizate de agentia TAROM Bucuresti, in avionul respectiv spre Sibiu au fost imbarcati 81 pasageri.  In radiograma cursei sint consemnate domiciile doar la o parte din pasageri, cu mentiunea ca unele sint incomplete, lipsind fie localitatea, fie strada, fie numarul, iar la restul pasagerilor figureaza doar mentiunile ,rezervat’ sau Pasaport RSR.  In urma investigatiilor efectuate, au putut fi identificati doar 44 de pasageri, majoritatea avind domiciliul in municipul si judetul Sibiu, stabilindu-se ca au fost persoane trimise in delegatie la foruri tutelare din capitala, sau studenti plecati in vacanta, iar citiva domiciliati in judetul Alba.  Mentionez ca asupra acestor persoane nu planeaza nici un dubiu.  Dubiile sint create insa in primul rind de faptul ca mai multi pasageri figureaza cu domiciliul in municipiul Bucuresti, dar in realitate nu domiciliaza la adresele consemnate, iar la unele adrese sint intreprinderi.  Un alt element creator de dubii il constituie prezenta in avionul respectiv a unui inspector de la Departmentul Aviatiei Civile, cu numele de Nevrozeanu, care nu figureaza pe lista pasagerilor si cu privire la care s-a stabilit ca, in trecut, se deplasa cu avionul in cazuri speciale doar pe relatia Moscova, fiind un bun cunoscator al limbii ruse.  Mai multi pasageri sustin ca in partea dreapta din fata a avionului au sesizat un grup de barbati, mai inalti, atletici, imbracati sportiv, multi dintre ei fiind blonzi, grup care li s-a parut suspect.  Aceste afirmatii se coroboreaza cu faptul ca in zona respectiva a avionului nu a stat nici unul din pasagerii identificati.  Mai mult, verificindu-se la hotelurile din municipiul Sibiu persoane care aveau numele celor 37 de persoane neidentificate, s-a constatat ca doar un pasager neidentificat care figureaza pe listele TAROM-ului cu domiciliul in municipiul Bucuresti, care nu exista la adresa respectiva din localitate, a fost cazat la hotelul Bulevard, dar in registrul de evidenta figureaza cu un alt domiciliu din Bucuresti.  Ambele domicilii, si cei din diagrama TAROM si cel de la hotel sint false.  Cu ocazia acelorasi verificari s-a constatat ca in perioada respectiva in hotelurile din Sibiu au fost cazati multi turisti sovietici, in special la Imparatul Romanilor, Continental, si Bulevard, situate in zona centrala a municipiului.  Fac mentiunea ca din hotelurile respective s-a tras asupra manifestantilor si a armatei. Am omis sa precizez ca pe aeroportul Otopeni, in avionul ROMBAC au fost incarcate sute de colete identice ca format, dimensiuni si culoare, de marime apropriata unei genti diplomat, precum si ca, cu citeva minute inaintea decolarii cursei spre Sibiu, de pe acelasi aeroport au decolat curse ROMBAC spre Timisoara si Arad.  Consider ca, in legatura cu pasagerii neidentificati, sint posibile doua versiuni, respectiv sa fie au fost luptatorii U.S.L.A. trimisi in sprijinul lui Nicu Ceausescu, fie au fost agenti sovietici trimisi sa actioneze in scopul rasturnarii regimului Ceausescu.

Monica N. Marginean:  Ce alte demersuri a facut Comisia de ancheta pentru elucidarea misterului celor 37 de pasageri neidentificati?

Marian Valer:  Am luat contact cu unul din loctiitorii comandamentului trupelor U.S.L.A. din capitala, caruia i-am solicitat sa-mi puna la dispozitie pe cei trei insotitori U.S.L.A. ai avionului ROMBAC.  Loctiitorul mi-a spus ca acestia au fost audiati de un procuror militar si nu mai este de acord sa fie audiati inca o data.

Monica M. Maginean:  “MARIAN VALER:  Asistam la ingroparea Revolutiei,” Expres nr. 33, septembrie 1990, p. 2.

[Observatiile mele:  S-a stabilit ca pe 19 decembrie Nicu Ceausescu a cerut din partea lui Tudor Postelnicu “ceva trupe” (Nicu Silvestru, fostul sef al Militiei din Sibiu, spune ca Nicu i-a povestit ca ar cerea “specialistii [lui] din Bucuresti”) si Postelnicu i-a instiintat lui Iulian Vlad, seful Securitatii despre cererea aceasta.  Si insotitorii USLA n-au vrut sa povesteasca despre acesti 37 pasageri neidentificati.  Ce putem credea?  Ca acesti 37 pasageri neidenticati au fost inventati?  Au fost oamenii DIA (care de altfel au calatorit de la Buzau, nu de la Bucuresti, si nu cu un avion ROMBAC)?  Sau au fost intr-adevar turisti sovietici, spetznaz acoperiti?  HAI SA FIM SERIOSI!  Acesti pasageri neidentificati au venit cu insotitorii USLA, dupa o cerere a lui Nicu Ceausescu pentru “ceva trupe” de la Postelnicu si Vlad (atentie! nu de la Milea).  Nu e destul de clar ca au fost securisti?!!!

————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Richard Andrew Hall. The 1989 Romanian Revolution as Geopolitical Parlor Game (2005)

CWIHP. New Evidence on the 1989 Crisis in Romania (December 2001)

e-Dossier No. 5

New Evidence on the 1989 Crisis in Romania

Documents Translated and Introduced

by Mircea Munteanu

1

Recently released Romanian documents translated by the Cold War International History

Project (CWIHP) shed new light on how, in December 1989, the dramatic albeit mostly peaceful

collapse of Eastern Europe’s communist regimes came to its violent crescendo with the toppling

and execution of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Following Solidarity’s electoral victory

in Poland, the demise of Communist authority in Hungary, the fall of Erich Honecker, a close

friend and ally of Ceausescu, and, finally, the deposing of Bulgaria’s Todor Zhivkov, Romania

had remained the last Stalinist bulwark in Eastern Europe. Much to everybody’s surprise,

however, an explosion of popular unrest in mid December 1989 over Securitate actions in

Timisoara quickly engulfed the Ceausescu regime, leading to the dictator’s ouster and execution.

CWIHP previously documented from Russian sources how, confronted with the violent

turmoil in Romania, the US administration sought intervention by the Soviet Union on behalf of

the oppositionforces. On Christmas Eve, 24 December 1989, with Moscow some eight hours

ahead of Washington, US Ambassador Jack Matlock went to the Soviet Foreign Ministry and met

with Deputy Foreign Minister I. P. Aboimov. According to the Soviet documents, the message

Matlock delivered— while veiled in diplomatic indirection— amounted to an invitation for the

Soviets to intervene in Romania. The Russian documents recorded that Matlock, apparently on

instructions from Washington, “suggested the following option: what would the Soviet Union do

if an appropriate appeal came from the [opposition] Front? He let us know that under the present

circumstances the military involvement of the Soviet Union in Romanian affairs might not be

regarded in the context of ‘the Brezhnev doctrine.’” Repudiating “any interference in the

domestic affairs of other states,” Aboimov— probably referring to the then ongoing US invasion

of Panama— proposed instead “that the American side may consider that ‘the Brezhnev doctrine’

is now theirs as our gift.”

2

The newly accessible Romanian documents, obtained by Romanian historians Vasile

Preda and Mihai Retegan, bring to light the Soviet reaction to the Romanian events in Timisoara

and Bucharest through the perspective of the Romanian ambassador in Moscow, Ion Bucur. His

cables, now declassified, illustrate the isolated and paranoid stance of the Ceausescu regime at the

height of its final crisis.

The events of December 1989 in Romania started, inconspicuously enough, with the

attempted relocation of the ethnic Hungarian Calvinist pastor László Tökés from his parish in

Timisoara. The failed attempts of the police (Militia) forces, joined by the secret police

(Securitate), to remove the pastor from his residence enraged the local population. Dispelling the

so-called “historical discord” between Hungarians and Romanians in the border region, the

population of Timisoara united together to resist the abuses of the regime.

Ceausescu’s reaction was a violent outburst. Blaming “foreign espionage agencies” for

inciting “hooligans” the ordered the Militia, the Securitate, the patriotic guards and the army to

use all force necessary to repress the growing challenge to the “socialist order.” The repression

caused over 70 deaths in the first few days alone; hundreds suffered injuries. By 20 December

however, it became clear that the popular uprising could not be put down without causing

massive casualties, an operation which the army did not want to undertake while Ceausescu was

1

For more information, please contact the CWIHP at Coldwar1@wwic.si.edu or 202.691.4110 or Mircea

Munteanu at MunteanuM@wwic.si.edu or 202.691.4267

2

See Thomas Blanton, “When did the Cold War End” in CWIHP Bulletin #10, (March 1998) pp. 184-191.


Page 3

out of the country. After the army withdrew in the barracks on 20 December, the city was

declared “liberated” by the demonstrators.

Ceausescu returned from a trip in Iran on 20 December and immediately convened a

session of the Politburo. He demanded that a demonstration be organized in Bucharest

showcasing the support of the Bucharest workers for his policies. The demonstration proved to be

a gross miscalculation. The popular resentment had, by that time, reached a new peak: The

demonstration quickly degenerated into chaos and erupted in an anti-Ceausescu sentiment. The

violent suppression of the Bucharest unrest rivaled that of Timisoara.

3

Securitate, police and army

forces fired live ammunition into the population in Piata Universitatii (University Plaza) and

close to Piata Romana (Roman Square).

The following documents show the attempts of the Romanian regime to maintain secrecy

on the events taking place in Romania— even with regard to its increasingly estranged Soviet ally.

From restricting the access of Russian tourists in Romania beginning with 18 December

4

(Document No. 1) to the demands made by the Romanian embassy in Moscow to the Soviet

leadership to prevent the Soviet media from publishing news reports about “alleged events”

taking place in Timisoara, Cluj and, later, Bucharest (Documents Nos. 4 and 5),Bucharest sought

to limit the damage to the regime’s image of stability. Afraid that information about the events

taking place in Romania would tarnish Ceausescu’s image of “a world leader,” the Foreign

Ministry instructed the Romanian embassies not to respond to any questions concerning the

“alleged” events and demanded that all actions taken by the Romanian government were

legitimate by virtue of its sovereignty. (Document No. 2).

The documents also present a picture of a regime grasping at straws, accusing even

former allies of conspiracy, and believing that isolation would insure its survival. Ceausescu’s

longstanding hysteria about the machinations of “foreign espionage agencies” — and his growing

mistrust towards Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev— reached new heights in his accusation that

turmoil in Romania was used by the Warsaw Pact to oust him (Ceausescu) from office, a

suggestion that struck Aboimov as utter “insanity.” (Documents Nos. 5 and 7). Quite the

contrary, the US-Soviet conversations suggest, was actually the case.

3

Official statistics place the death figure at 162 dead (73 in Timisoara, 48 in Bucharest, and 41 in the rest

of the country) and 1107 wounded (of which 604 in Bucharest alone).

4

There were persistent rumors, during and after the 1989 events in Romania that the Soviet KGB sent

numerous agents in Romania in December 1989. Some accounts accused the KGB of attempting to

destabilize the regime while others accused them of attempting to shore it up. Likely both accounts are

somewhat exaggerated. While it is clear that the KGB was interested in obtaining information about the

events, it is unlikely that it attempted to interfere, either way in the unfolding of the events. It is more likely

that the closing of the borders both with the USSR but also with Hungary and Yugoslavia, is likely that

stranded numerous transistors on Romanian territory.


Page 4

Document 1

Telegram from the Romanian Embassy in Moscow

to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Bucharest)

18 December 1989, 12:35 pm

Comrade Ion Stoian, Candidate Member of the Executive Political Committee

5

of the Central

Committee of the Romanian Communist Party (CC PCR), Foreign Minister,

1. We took note of your instructions (in your telegram nr. 20/016 750 of 17 December

1989)

6

and we will conform to the orders given.

We have taken actions to implement your instructions, both at the consular section of the

Embassy and at the General Consulate in Kiev.

[Furthermore] we would [like to] inform that the Director of the TAROM

7

office [in

Moscow] received, through his own channels, instructions regarding foreign citizens traveling to

our country.

2. Considering the importance of the problem and the nature of the activity of issuing

visas to Soviet citizens, we would like to mention the following problems [which have arisen],

[problems] to which we would like you to send us your instructions as soon as possible.

A. Beginning with the morning of 18 December of this year, Soviet citizens have begun

to make telephonic inquiries to the Embassy from border crossings into Romania, implying that

there are hundreds of vehicles which are not allowed to cross [the border] into our country. [W]e

anticipate that the Soviet government will ask for an explanation with regard to this decision

taken [by the Romanian government]. We ask that instructions be sent explaining the way we

must deal with the situation if it arises.

B. Continuously, at the Consular Section, we have given transit visas to Soviet Jews

who have the approval [of the Soviet government] to emigrate to Israel, as well as to foreign

students studying in the Soviet Union. Since the director of the TAROM office has received

instructions that he is to continue boarding transit passengers without any changes, we would like

to request instructions with regard to the actions we must take in such situations.

C. Considering the great number of Romanian citizens that are living in the Soviet

Union who during the holidays travel to our country, we would like to know if we should issue

them visas.

D. For business travel to Romania, the instructions given to TAROM are that the

applicants must show proof [of an invitation] from the ir Romanian partners.

Please inform whether we must inform the Soviet government of this requirement since

the official Soviet delegations use, for their travels to Bucharest, exclusively AEROFLOT

8

and

that we have no means of [us] controlling the planning of such travels.

5

Politburo

6

The 17 December telegram is not available at this time.

7

The state-owned Romanian National Airline— Transportul Aerian Român

8

Soviet Airlines.


Page 5

We are experiencing similar problems in dealing with the possible situation of Soviet

citizens with tourist passports, which have received a visa prior to the [17 December 1989]

instructions and who will be using AEROFLOT for their travel to Romania.

E. We request that the Civil Aviation Department send instruction to the TAROM office

regarding the concrete actions that should be taken in connection with the 20 December flight

[from Moscow to Bucharest] so that they are able to make the final decision, during boarding,

regarding the passengers [that are to be allowed on to the plane].

We would [like to] mention that the list of passengers is given to the Director of

TAROM, from AEROFLOT or other [travel] companies, without any mention of the purpose of

the trip.

(ss) [Ambassador] Ion Bucur

[Source: Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs— Arhivele Ministerului Afacerilor Externe

(AMAE), Moscow/1989, vol. 10, pp. 271-272. Translated for CWIHP by Mircea Munteanu]

Document 2

Telegram from the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Bucharest) to all Embassies

19 December 1989

Cde. Chief of Mission,

In case you are asked during the exercise of your diplomatic attributes (we repeat: only in

case you are asked) about the so-called events taking place in Timisoara, reiterate, with all clarity,

that you have no knowledge of such events. After this short answer, and without allowing you to

be drawn into a prolonged discussion, resolutely present the following:

We strongly reject any attempts to intervene in the internal affairs of S.R. Romania, a free

and independent state. [We reject] any attempt to ignore the fundamental attributes of our

national independence and sovereignty, any attempt at [harming] the security interests of our

country, of violating its laws. The Romanian [government] will take strong actions against any

such attempts, against any actions meant to provoke or cause confusion, [actions] initiated by

reactionary circles, anti-Romanian circles, foreign special services and espionage organizations.

The [Romanian] socialist state, our society, will not tolerate under any circumstances a violation

of its vital interests, of the Constitution, and will take [any] necessary action to maintain the strict

following of the letter of the law, the rule of law, without which the normal operation of all

spheres of society would be impossible. No one, no matter who he is, is allowed to break the laws

of the country without suffering the consequences of his actions.

Instruct all members of the mission to act in conformity with the above instructions.

Inform [the Minister of Foreign Affairs] immediately of any discussions on this topic.

Aurel Duma [Secretary of State

9

, MFA]

[Source: Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs— Arhivele Ministerului Afacerilor Externe

(AMAE), Ministry Telegrams, vol. 4/1989, pp. 387-388. Translated for CWIHP by Mircea

Munteanu.]

9

Assistant Deputy Minister— Secretar de State.


Page 6

Document 3

Telegram from the Romanian Embassy in Moscow

to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

21 December 1989, 7:35 am

Cde. Ion Stoica, Minister [of Foreign Affairs],

Cde. Constantin Oancea, Deputy Minister [of Foreign Affairs],

DRI

10

On 20 December 1989, during a discussion with G. N. Gorinovici, Director of the

General Section for Socialist Countries in Europe, I expressed [the Romanian government’s] deep

indignation in regards with the inaccurate and tendentious way in which the Soviet mass media is

presenting the allegedevents taking place in Timisoara. I stressed that the stories made public by

radio and television are based on private, unofficial sources, and not on truthful information.

Many stories refer to the Hungarian press agency MTI, which is known for its antagonistic

attitude towards our country. I mentioned that V. M. Kulistikov, Deputy Chief Editor of the

publication Novoe Vremia, during an interview given to Radio Svoboda, expressed some opinions

vis-ŕ-vis Romania with are unacceptable. I brought to his [Gorinovici’s] attention the fact that on

19 December, Soviet television found it necessary to air news regarding the events in Timisoara

in particular, and in Romania in general, four separate occasions.

I argued that such stories do not contribute to the development of friendly relations

between our two countries and that they cannot be interpreted in any other way but as an

intervention in the internal affairs concerning [only] the Romanian government. I asked that the

Soviet government take action to insure the cessation of this denigration campaign against our

country and also to prevent possible public protests in front of our embassy. Gorinovici said that

he will inform the leadership of the Soviet MFA. In regards with the problems raised during our

discussion, he said that, in his opinion, no campaign of denigrating Romania is taking place in the

Soviet Union. “The mass media had to inform the public of the situation,” Gorinovici indicated,

in order to “counter-balance the wealth of information reaching the Soviet Union through

Western airwaves. Keeping silent on the subject would have only [served to] irritate the Soviet

public.” Following this statement, he recapitulated the well-known Soviet position with regards to

the necessity of allowing a diversity of opinions and ideas be expressed in the context of

informing the Soviet public about world events.

(ss) [Ambassador] Ion Bucur

[Source: Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs— Arhivele Ministerului Afacerilor Externe,

Moscow/1989, vol. 10, pp. 297-298. Translated for CWIHP by Mircea Munteanu.]

10

Directia Relatii I— Directorate 1, Socialist Countries, Europe


Page 7

Document 4

Informational Note from the Romanian Embassy in Moscow

to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Bucharest)

21 December 1989, 8:00 am

Cde. Ion Stoian, Minister of Foreign Affairs,

Cde. Costantin Oancea, Deputy Foreign Minister,

DR1

During the evening of 20 December 1989, I was invited in audience at I. P. Aboimov,

Deputy Foreign Minister of USSR. He related to me the following:

1. Lately, the Soviet press published news in connection to events unfolding in Romania,

specifically with the events in Timisoara. It is true that some of the published materials are based,

generally, on foreign [i.e. not Romanian] sources. It is evident that the [Soviet] mass media need

information on the basis of which to inform the public. Aside from this, during meetings with

foreign journalists, there were many requests addressed to the Soviet [government] to state its

position in regards with the events taking place in Romania as they were presented by various

press agencies. Furthermore, during his recent visits in Brussels and London, [Foreign Minister

Edward] Shevardnadze

11

was asked to state his opinion vis-ŕ-vis those events. In London, after

the official talks ended,

12

the Soviet Foreign Minister had a difficult time convincing [Prime

Minister Margaret] Thatcher that there should be no comments to the press on the events

allegedly taking place in Romania. The [Romanian] Foreign Ministry is also informed that

interest in this matter was expressed during working meetings of the Second Congress of the

People’s Deputies taking place in Moscow at this time.

13

The [Soviet] ambassador in Bucharest

was instructed to contact the Romanian government and obtain, from authorized officials,

information to confirm or refute the version of the events distributed by foreign press agencies.

To this date, the Soviet Embassy was unable to obtain and transmit any such information.

Due to such problems, the Soviet government asks that the Romanian government send

an informational note, even one that is restricted [cu caracter închis] regarding the events that are

really taking place in Romania. [The Soviet government] is interested in receiving information

that is as comprehensive as possible. If information is not received, it would be extremely

difficult to create an effective set of directions for the Soviet mass media, with which there are,

even so, many difficulties. [The Soviet government] is worried that, based on the news reported

in the press, some of the deputies participating at the sessions, would ask that the 2

nd

Congress of

the People’s Deputies take a position vis-ŕ-vis the alleged events taking place in Romania. The

MFA prepared for the deputies an information note in which it stresses that it does not have any

official information, but it is possible that this argument will not accepted long. Based on the

information available to the MFA, the Congress will adopt a resolution with regards to the US

military actions in Panama.

Of course, there is no connection between the two events. In Panama, a foreign military

intervention is taking place, while in Romania the events are domestic in nature. I. P. Aboimov

stressed his previous request that the Romanian government send, in the spirit of cooperation

11

Edward Sevardnadze traveled to Brussels and London at the end of 1989. On 19 December he met at

NATO HQ with NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner and Permanent Representatives of NATO

countries.

12

Prime Minister Thatcher met Shevardnadze in London on 19 December 1989.

13

The Second Congress of the People’s Deputies began its session on 12 December 1989.


Page 8

between the two countries, an informational note truthfully describing the current situation in the

country.

2. The Soviet MFA received a series of complaints that the border between the Soviet

Union and Romania has been closed for Soviet citizens, especially tourists. The Soviet

government was not previously informed with regards to this development. [T]his omission

causes consternation. The Soviet government is not overly concerned with the situation, but

[notes that] it creates difficulties with tourists that have already paid for and planned their

vacations accordingly.

3. With regards to the above statements, I said that I would, of course, inform Bucharest

of this. At the same time, I expressed the displeasure [of the Romanian government] with the fact

that the Soviet radio, television and newspapers have distributed news regarding events in

Romania taken from foreign news agencies, agencies that are distributing distorted and overtly

antagonistic stories regarding the situation in Romania. I gave concrete examples of such stories

published in newspapers such as Izvestia, Pravda, Komsomolskaia Pravda, Krasnaia Zvezda,

stories distributed by western press agencies as well as the Hungarian Press Agency MTI, which

is known for its antagonistic attitude towards our country. In that context, I mentioned that the

Romanian government has not requested that the Soviet Union inform it concerning events

unfolding in Grozny or Nagornîi-Karabah, nor has it published any news stories obtained from

Western press agencies, believing that those [events] are strictly an internal matter concerning

[only] the Soviet government.

I expressed my displeasure with the fact that some Soviet correspondents in Bucharest—

including the TASS correspondent— have transmitted materials from unofficial sources, which

contain untruthful descriptions of the events and which create in [the mind of] the Soviet public

an erroneous impression of the situation existing in our country. I stressed the point that such

behavior is not conducive to strengthening the relationship between our peoples and

governments, on the contrary, causing [only] serious damage [to said relationship]. I brought to

the attention of the Deputy Foreign Minister in no uncertain terms that a resolution of the

Congress of the People’s Deputies [concerning] the alleged events taking place in Romania

would be an action without precedent in the history of relations between the two countries and

would cause serious damage to the relationship.

At I. P. Aboimov’s question, I described the events regarding the situation of pastor

László Tökes, as described in your memorandum, stressing that this information does not have an

official character. I presented, in no uncertain terms, the decision of [the government of] Romania

to reject any attempts at interference in the internal matters of Romania. I expressed the decision

[of the Romanian leadership] to take any necessary measures against disruptive and diversionary

actions perpetrated by reactionary, anti-Romanian circles, by foreign special services and

espionage agencies (servicii speciale si oficinele de spionaj staine). With regard to the issue of

tourists crossing the border in Romania, I said that I did not posses an official communication in

this regard. I suggested that some temporary measures were adopted due to the need to limit

access of certain groups of tourists [in the country]. [Those limitats were imposed] due to

difficulties in assuring their access to hotel rooms and other related essential conditions. Those

limitations do not apply to business travel or tourists transiting Romania. I reminded [I. P.

Aboimov] that the Soviet government had introduced at different times such limitations on travel

for Romanian tourists to certain regions [of the Soviet Union] (Grozny and Armenia), which

[had] provoked dissatisfaction.

4. The conversation took place in a calm, constructive atmosphere.

(ss) [Ambassador] Ion Bucur


Page 9

[Source: Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs— Arhivele Ministerului Afacerilor Externe

(AMAE), Telegrams, Folder: Moscow/1989, vol. 10, pp. 299-302. Translated for CWIHP by

Mircea Munteanu.]

Document 5

Information Note from the Romanian Embassy in Moscow

to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

21 December 1989, 2:00 pm

Comrade Ion Stoica, Minister of Foreign Affairs,

1. On 21 December 1989, at 12:00 pm, I paid a visit to Deputy Foreign Minister I. P.

Aboimov to whom I presented a copy of the speech given by Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu,

General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party [PCR] and President of the Socialist

Republic of Romania [SRR], on the 20 December 1989 over radio and television. I. P. Aboimov

made no comments with regard to the speech. He requested that the Soviet side receive

information as to whether,during the events taking place in Timisoara, any deaths had occurred

and what the current situation in the city was.

2. Aboimov said that during the 19 December discussions between the Soviet ambassador

in Bucharest and Cde. Nicolae Ceausescu, the latter expressed his disapproval with the official

declarations made by Soviet officials concerning the events in Timisoara. He [Ceausescu] said

that those [actions taking place in Timisoara] are the result of strategies developed beforehand by

[member nations of] the Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO). [Ceausescu] suggested that certain

officials in Bucharest told ambassadors from socialist countries that they have information with

respect to the intention of the Soviet Union to intervene militarily in Romania.

As for the so-called official declarations [Aboimov added], they probably refer to a reply

made by Cde. E[dward] Shevardnadze, [Soviet] Minister of Foreign Affairs to a question from a

Western journalist during his trip to Brussels. [The question] referred to the events in Timisoara

and [the question of] whether force was used there. Cde. Shevardnadze answered that “I do not

have any knowledge [of this], but if there are casualties, I am distressed.” Aboimov said that, if

indeed there are casualties, he considered [Shevardnadze’s] answer justified. He stressed that E.

Shevardnadze made no other specific announcement in Brussels [with regards to the events in

Timisoara]. Concerning the accusations that the actions [in Timisoara] were planned by the

Warsaw Pact, and specifically the declarations with regard to the intentions of the USSR,

14

Aboimov said that, personally, and in a preliminary fashion, he qualifies the declarations as

“without any base, not resembling reality and apt to give rise to suspicion. It is impossible that

anybody will believe such accusations. Such accusations”— Aboimov went on to say— “have

such grave repercussions that they necessitate close investigation.”

He stressed that the basis of interaction between the USSR and other governments rested

on the principles of complete equality among states, mutual respect, and non-intervention in

internal affairs.

(ss) [Ambassador] Ion Bucur

[Source: Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs— Arhivele Ministerului Afacerilor Externe

(AMAE), Moscow/1989, vol. 10, pp. 303-304. Translated for CWIHP by Mircea Munteanu.]

14

Ceausescu repeatedly accused the Soviet Union in December 1989 of planning an invasion of Romania.


Page 10

Document 6

Telegram from the Romanian Embassy in Moscow

to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Bucharest)

22 December 1989, 07:30 am

Cde. Constantin Oancea, Deputy [Foreign Affairs] Minister

Directorate 1— Socialist Countries, Europe

During a conversation between N. Stânea and V. L. Musatov, Deputy Director of the

International Department of the Central Committee (CC) of Communist Party of the Soviet Union

(CPSU) [Musatov], referring to the situation in Eastern European countries, declared:

The processes taking place [in Eastern Europe] are the result of objective needs.

Unfortunately, these processes taking place are [sometimes] incongruous. In some countries, such

as Hungary and Poland, the changes that took place went outside the initial limits planned by the

[local] communists, who have [now] lost control. The situation is also becoming dangerous in

Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic [GDR]. At this time, in Bulgaria the

[Communist] Party is trying to maintain control, however, it is unknown which way the situation

will evolve. As far as it is concerned, the CPSU is trying to give aid to the communists.

Representatives of the CC of the CPSU have been or are at this time in the GDR [and]

Czechoslovakia to observe the situation personally. The attitude towards the old leadership is

regrettable. For example, [East German Communist Party leader] E[rich] Honecker will be

arrested. In the majority of these countries there are excesses against the communists. The Soviet

government is preoccupied with the future of “Our Alliance.” [The Soviet government] is

especially interested in the evolution of events in the GDR, in the background of the discussions

taking place regarding reunification. The Soviet Union is following all these events, but is not

getting involved in the internal affairs of the respective countries.

.

(ss) [Ambassador] Ion Bucur

[Source: Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs— Arhivele Ministerului Afacerilor Externe

(AMAE), Moscow/1989, vol. 10, p. 313. Translated for CWIHP by Mircea Munteanu.]

Document 7

Telegram from the Romanian Embassy in Moscow

to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Bucharest)

22 December 1989, 04:20 pm

Cde. Ion Stoian, Minister of Foreign Affairs,


Page 11

On 22 December 1989, at 02:00 pm I. P. Aboimov, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister,

called me at the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Accompanying me was I. Rîpan, [Embassy]

secretary. V. A. Lapsin, [Soviet MFA] secretary was also present.

Aboimov said that he was instructed to present, on behalf of the Soviet leadership, the

following reply to the message sent [by the Romanian government] through the Soviet

ambassador in Bucharest [during his discussion with Nicolae Ceausescu on 19 December].

“The message sent [by] the Romanian nation on 20 December of this year, has been

carefully examined in Moscow. We consider the problems raised in the message as very serious,

15

since they are dealing with the basic issues of our collaboration.

In the spirit of sincerity, characteristic for our bilateral relations, we would like to

mention that we are surprised by its tone and the accusations regarding the position and role of

the Soviet Union with respect to the events taking place in Timisoara. We reject wholeheartedly

the statements with regard to the anti-Romanian campaign supposedly taking place in the Soviet

Union, not to mention the accusation that the actions against Romania have allegedly planned by

the Warsaw Treaty Organization [WTO]. Such accusations are unfounded and absolutely

unacceptable. Just as absurd are the declarations of certain Romanian officials who are suggesting

that the Soviet Union is preparing to intervene in Romania. We are starting, invariably, from the

idea that, in our relations with allied nations, as well as with all other nations, the principles of

sovereignty, independence, equality of rights, non-intervention in the internal affairs. These

principles have been once again confirmed during the [WTO] Political Consultative Committee

summit in Bucharest.

It is clear that the dramatic events taking place in Romania are your own internal

problem. The fact that during these events deaths have occured has aroused deep grief among the

Soviet public. The declaration adopted by the Congress of the People’s Deputies is also a

reflection of these sentiments.

Furthermore, I would like to inform you that our representative at the UN Security

Council has received instructions to vote against convening the Security Council for [the purpose

of] discussing the situation in Romania, as some countries have proposed. We consider that this

would be an infringement of the sovereignty of an independent state by an international

organization.

We want to hope that, in the resolution of the events in Romania, wisdom and realism

will prevail and that political avenues to solve the problems to the benefit of [our] friend, the

Romanian nation, will be found.

Our position comes out of our sincere desire not to introduce into our relationship

elements of suspicion or mistrust, out of our desire to continue our relations normally, in the

interest of both our nations, [and in the interest of] the cause of peace and socialism.

I. P. Aboimov asked that this message be sent immediately to Bucharest.

(ss) [Ambassador] Ion Bucur

[Source: Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs— Arhivele Ministerului Afacerilor Externe

(AMAE), Telegrame, Folder Moscow/1989, vol. 10, pp. 324-325. Translated for CWIHP by

Mircea Munteanu]

15

Ceausescu had accused the Soviet leadership, in cooperation with “other Warsaw Pact members” of

masterminding the events taking place in Timisoara, and of preparing an attack on Romania.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

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