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.

The Tismaneanu Commission’s Final Report, Television, and the Terrorists (IV)

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

In episode one, Nicolae Stefan Soucoup related the capture and interrogation of terrorist suspect Silviu Dutu, a sergeant major from UM 0530 Rosu, a Securitate special unit (in this respect, readers may recall the references in December 1989 and in the initial months thereafter according to which the “terrorists” were members of Securitate “special units”).  Far from a unique case, Dutu was to later escape prosecution based on the medical diagnosis of having “exercised poor judgment” as a result of “shock”:

In episode two, Soucoup related the words of the mortally-wounded rugby player Bogdan Serban Stan, who insisted that “I was shot by a civilian near me,” while defending the Television Station.  Elsewhere in 1990, Soucoup was one of those who discussed the use of 5,6 mm caliber ammunition by those they were fighting against, the terrorists.  Elena Bancila, the tenacious, grieving mother of Bogdan Serban Stan, detailed how the medical records at the hospital to which her son was taken showed he had been hit with a bullet smaller than 6 mm:

In episode three, we looked at video evidence from 24 December 1989 in the streets surrounding the Television building.  In one of the videos, a revolutionary demonstrates for the camera the difference between the size of the bullets the enemy, the terrorists, were firing, and the standard ammunition the military and civilians were using.  In the second, a draftee described the difference between the weapons they were using and those of the terrorists:


see, in relation to this topic, from 2008 and 2009: The Romanian Revolution for Dum-Dums (Part I) by Richard Andrew Hall ; The Romanian Revolution for Dum-Dums (Part II) by Richard Andrew Hall; The Romanian Revolution for Dum-Dums (Part III) by Richard Andrew Hall; The Romanian Revolution for Dum-Dums (Part IV) by Richard Andrew Hall; Bullets, Lies, and Videotape: The Amazing, Disappearing Romanian Counter-Revolution of December 1989 (by Richard Andrew Hall)

Prin televiziune s-au făcut majoritatea diversiunilor, cea mai eficientă fiind reprezentată de „pericolul de moarte” omniprezent întruchipat de „teroriştii fideli dictatorului Ceauşescu”; acesta a fost arestat în 22 decembrie, într-o unitate militară din Târgovişte. Pericolul părea total credibil întrucât în perioada 22-27 decembrie au fost înregistraţi 942 de morţi şi mii de răniţi. Majoritatea au fost ucişi şi răniţi pe străzile din centrul capitalei şi al altor oraşe martirizate ca urmare a acestei diversiuni. Ulterior nu a fost acuzat şi judecat nici un terorist….Potrivit declaraţiilor generalului-magistrat Dan Voinea…„În decembrie 1989 scopul era deturnarea caracterului anticomunist al revoluţiei şi preluarea puterii prin teroarea instalată”17.  [pp. 623-624]

The 2006 Final Report of the Presidential Commission for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania (also known as the Tismaneanu Report, after its Chairman, Professor Vladimir Tismaneanu) stridently alleges that Romanian Television and those who appeared on it beginning the afternoon of 22 December 1989 were intentionally responsible for creating the “majority of the diversions” through which 942 people died in the days which followed (versus 162 before 22 December under orders from Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu) by claiming that “terrorists loyal to the Ceausescu dictatorship” posed a lethal threat. The authors of the Report then add, as if to confirm their contention that the “terrorists” were an invention of those who took power in December 1989:  “Later not a single terrorist was charged or tried.”  To bolster their argument, they invoke the findings of Military Prosecutor General Dan Voinea [who led the investigation of the December 1989 events for much of the post-communist era], who states “In December 1989, the goal was to divert the anticommunist character of the revolution and to seize power through the terror they had installed.”

The Tismaneanu Report misunderstands and misrepresents both the “terrorists” and the role of Romanian Television.  In fact, not only does it get the “terrorists” wrong overall, it doesn’t even manage to get right what happened in and around the Television building itself.  Here’s why:

From what I have been able to gather over time, it does not appear to be true that all members of the U.S.L.A. (Securitate “special unit for antiterrorist warfare”) opposed the Revolution after the Ceausescus fled on the afternoon of 22 December 1989 (in this, I believe Silviu Brucan, General Nicolae Militaru, and others were either sloppy, lazy, glib, or desirous of tarring the entire unit).  The U.S.L.A. clearly were not the only forces that constituted the “terrorists,” even if U.S.L.A. members were clearly among the “terrorists.”  On the other hand, Martyn Rady’s astute observation in his 1992 volume is less clear than it may appear at first blush:  Rady suggested a split between supporters and opponents of the Revolution among U.S.L.A. forces.  I say less clear because not all members or compartments of the U.S.L.A. may have been assigned an operative role in the context of the so-called “lupta de rezistenta” (“resistance struggle”) that was to be activated to counter a presumed Soviet/Warsaw Pact occupation/invasion.

In this context, the observations of Nicolae Stancu and Major Ion Iliuta about the weapons used by the “terrorists” in the area surrounding the Television station are very important.  Marius Mioc, Nica Leon, Iulian Nastasache, and former Military Prosecutor Teodor Ungureanu (trumpeted by Mioc)–among many others–zealously maintain that military officers and recruits, local and foreign doctors and medical personnel, and civilians who attest to the use, finding, and wounding and killing of demonstrators, civilians, and soldiers with unusual/atypical weapons and caliber bullets DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT (such a view has, not accidentally I would argue, been maintained and promoted by, among others, General Dan Voinea, Pavel Corut, and Vladimir Belis!  see ).  The same cannot be said of Stancu and especially Iliuta.  Either they are lying or they are telling the truth:  they know their craft and it can’t be said credibly, they don’t know what they are talking about.  In episodes 2 and 3 in this series, we saw references to the use of uncharacteristic munitions under 6 mm.  Stancu and Iliuta talk about the use of 5,6 mm Heckler-Koch guns in specific detail.


Ulterior au fost ,curatate’, ‘periate’ vilele din jurul Televiziunii, precum si cele situate pe Calea Dorobanti, pina la piata.  Din toate acestea nu s-a mai tras.  Cu acest prilej s-a descoperit ca de pe casa scarii, in zilele precedente, se executase foc asupra locuintei unui scriitor.  Specialistii unitatii au ajuns la concluzia ca s-a folosit un pistol Heckler-Koch, cal. 5,6 mm, cu tub cartus cu ardere, completa, ceea ce confera gloantelor o mare putere de patrundere…


Maior Mihai Floca, “Reportaj la U.S.L.A.,” Tineretul Liber, 5 ianuarie 1990, p. 4.

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