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 ‘tarom rombac’

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! (II)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on August 11, 2013

[not for reproduction without prior author permission; based on multiple publications from earlier research]

Part I

As I alluded to in Part I, the suggestion that dozens of Soviet agents posing as “Soviet tourists” flew unperturbed on a special TAROM ROMBAC flight from Bucuresti Otopeni to Sibiu, the fiefdom of Nicolae Ceausescu’s son, Nicu, on Wednesday 20 December 1989, begs even more basic questions:  how the heck did they get into the country, travel to the capital, and to the capital’s airport in the first place, let alone gain entrance to the airport, pass through security (supposedly with guns in their luggage!), and board the plane?

After all, those who posit a role for the Soviet tourists in the December 1989 events frequently claim that the Soviet tourists were present and involved in the Timisoara unrest of 15-19 December 1989.  A brief search just from just the past few years reveals the (Ro)mania about the “Soviet tourists” in December 1989 has hardly abated:

(invokes Larry Watts claim, which recycles an older claim by Petre Roman from 1994, from With Friends Like These (English edition), p. 26 Footnote #90 )

(the last two are Grigore Cartianu’s writings; Cartianu was promoted by Vladimir Tismaneanu and IICCMER here ”).” “ and


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

Niculae Mavru, fost sef al sectiei ‘Filaj si investigatie’ de la Securitatea Timis, declaratia din 13 ianuarie 1990:  …la ordinul col. Sima Traian, am primit…misiuni de a observa si sesiza aspecte din masa manifestantilor, din diferite zone ale orasului in sensul de a raporta daca sint straini (ceea ce nu prea au fost) care incita la dezordine, acte de violenta sau altfel de acte…


25 iunie 1991

“Desi ne-am straduit nu am putut raporta col. Sima implicarea completa a vreunui cetatean strain in evolutia demonstratiilor cit si fenomenlor care au avut loc la Timisoara,..”


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


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

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


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

Declaratie 2 ianuarie 1990:

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



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…



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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! (I)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on August 10, 2013

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

From the outside, it might seem to be obvious disinformation or misinformation:

In the dead of winter, a dictatorship has closed its borders with its neighbors. The dictator believes that protests against his rule are the work of foreign agents.  Therefore, the dictator declares all citizens of surrounding countries to be spies and bans their entry into his country for the foreseeable future.
Yet several days later, with a serious uprising against the dictatorship underway in the country, what are described as, several dozen, conspicuous, tall, athletic young men from a large neighboring country arrive at the airport in the country’s capital with lots of bags of various sizes…and they board a plane, a larger one than is usually used, in order to assure they can fit on the flight (how thoughtful of the country’s national airline).  Their destination?  The city where the dictator’s son is in charge.
Nobody, not the airport staff, not the country’s national airline staff in this police state, thinks to make a phone call, to question the presence of this large number of foreign tourists.  Not when the tourists are going through airport security, not when the tourists are lining up to check their bags in and receive their boarding passes.   Nope, they get their boarding passes and when they get to the plane, nobody stops them from boarding.
No, the large group of suspicious tourists makes their flight.  And nobody at the receiving airport in the city controlled by the dictator’s son seems to have any questions when they land there.  It is then alleged that these athletic young men, with their bags of various sizes, containing presumably guns, participated in the violence in the city of the dictator’s son over the next few days, and when they were finished, they left the city and eventually the country, without anybody really noticing, let alone attempting to stop them.
And, of course, none of this even explains how did they get to the capital’s airport or even enter the country in the first place, without anybody in this police state detecting them or intervening?
For the outsider, it must sound like a bad joke then.  And yet the informational/narrative space about December 1989 in Romania is so amazingly confused and contaminated, that many people believe just the fantastical, magical scenario outlined above.  And many of these are reasonably smart people with good heads on their shoulders…

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