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Romanian Communist Party

Romanian Communist Party
Partidul Comunist Român
General Secretary (s) (last) Nicolae Ceaușescu
Founded May 8, 1921 (1921-05-08)
Dissolved December 22, 1989 (1989-12-22)
Headquarters Bucharest
Youth wing Union of Communist Youth
Paramilitary wing Gărzile patriotice
Ideology Communism
National communism (after 1960)
Political position Far-left
International affiliation Comintern (1921–1943),
Cominform (1947–1956)
European affiliation Balkan Communist Federation (1921–39)
Colours      Red      Gold
Party flag
Politics of Romania
Political parties

The Romanian Communist Party (Romanian: Partidul Comunist Român, PCR) was a communist party in Romania. Successor to the Bolshevik wing of the Socialist Party of Romania, it gave ideological endorsement to communist revolution and the disestablishment of Greater Romania. The PCR was a minor and illegal grouping for much of the interwar period, and submitted to direct Comintern control. During the 1930s, most of its activists were imprisoned or took refuge in the Soviet Union, which led to the creation of separate and competing factions until the 1950s. The Communist Party emerged as a powerful actor on the Romanian political scene in August 1944, when it became involved in the royal coup that toppled the pro-Nazi government of Ion Antonescu. With support from Soviet occupation forces, the PCR was able to force King Michael I into exile, and establish undisguised Communist rule in 1948. From then until 1989, it was for all intents and purposes the only legally permitted party in the country.

In 1947, the Communist Party absorbed much of the Joseph Stalin, defeated all the other factions and achieved full control over the party and country. After 1953, the Romanian Communists gradually theorized a "national path" to Communism. At the same time, however, the party did not join its Warsaw Pact brethren in de-Stalinization. The PCR's nationalist and national communist stance was continued under the leadership of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Following an episode of liberalization in the late 1960s, Ceauşescu again adopted a hard line, and imposed the July Theses, consolidating virtually all power in his hands. Over the years, the PCR massively and artificially increased in size, becoming entirely submitted to Ceaușescu's will. From the 1960s onward, it had a reputation for being somewhat more independent of the Soviet Union than its brethren in the Warsaw Pact. However, at the same time it became one of the most (and according to some accounts, the most) hardline parties in the Soviet bloc. It disappeared in the wake of the 1989 Counter-Revolution.

The PCR coordinated several organizations during its existence, including the Scînteia, its official platform and main newspaper between 1931 and 1989, the Communist Party issued several local and national publications at various points in its history (including, after 1944, România Liberă).


  • History 1
    • Establishment 1.1
    • Communist Party of Romania (1921–1948) 1.2
      • Comintern and internal wing 1.2.1
      • World War II 1.2.2
      • 1944 Coup 1.2.3
      • In opposition to Sănătescu and Rădescu 1.2.4
      • First Groza cabinet 1.2.5
      • 1945 restructuring and second Groza cabinet 1.2.6
    • Romanian Workers' Party (1948–1965) 1.3
      • Creation 1.3.1
      • Internal purges 1.3.2
      • Gheorghiu-Dej and de-Stalinization 1.3.3
      • Gheorghiu-Dej and the "national path" 1.3.4
    • Romanian Communist Party (1965–1989) 1.4
      • Ceaușescu's rise 1.4.1
      • Ceaușescu's supremacy 1.4.2
      • Late 1970s crisis 1.4.3
      • 1980s 1.4.4
      • Downfall 1.4.5
  • General Secretaries (1921–1989) 2
    • Party Congresses 2.1
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5



Criticism among socialist groups, as illustrated in a December 1922 caricature by Nicolae Tonitza. The mine owner to the miner: "A socialist, you say? My son is a socialist too, but without going on strike..., that is why he already has his own capital..."

The party was founded in 1921 when the Bolshevik-inspired maximalist faction won control of Romania's Social-Democratic party—the Socialist Party of Romania, successor to the defunct Romanian Social-Democratic Workers' Party and the short-lived Social Democratic Party of Romania (the latter was refounded in 1927, reuniting those opposed to communist policies).[1] The establishment was linked with the socialist group's affiliation to the Comintern (just before the latter's Third Congress): after a delegation was sent to Bolshevist Russia, a group of moderates (including Ioan Flueraș, Iosif Jumanca, Leon Ghelerter, and Constantin Popovici) left at different intervals beginning in May 1921.[2]

The party renamed itself the Socialist-Communist Party (Partidul Socialist-Comunist) and, soon after, the Communist Party of Romania (Partidul Comunist din România or PCdR). Government crackdown and competition with other socialist groups brought a drastic reduction in its membership—from the ca. 40,000 members the Socialist Party had, the new group was left with as much as 2,000[3] or as little as 500;[4] after the fall of single-party rule in 1989, Romanian historians generally asserted that the party only had around 1,000 members at the end of World War II.[5] Other researchers argue that this figure may have been intentionally based on the Muscovite faction figures, and, as such, underestimated in order to undermine the influence of the internal faction so as to reinforce a stereotypical image of the regime as illegitimate.[6]

The early Communist Party had little influence in Romania. This was due to a number of factors: the country's lack of industrial development, which resulted in a relatively small working class and a large peasant population; the minor impact of Marxism among Romanian intellectuals; the success of state repression in driving the party underground and limiting its activities; and finally, the party's "anti-national" policy, as it began to be stated in the 1920s—supervised by the Comintern, this policy called for the breakup of Greater Romania, which was regarded as a colonial entity "illegally occupying" Transylvania, Dobruja, Bessarabia and Bukovina (regions that, the communists argued, had been denied the right of self-determination).[7] In 1924, the Comintern provoked Romanian authorities by encouraging the Tatarbunary Uprising in southern Bessarabia, in an attempt to create a Moldavian republic on Romanian territory;[8] also in that year, a Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, roughly corresponding to Transnistria, was established inside the Soviet Union.

At the same time, the left-wing political spectrum was dominated by Poporanism, an original ideology which partly reflected Narodnik influence, placed its focus on the peasantry (as it notably did with the early advocacy of cooperative farming by Ion Mihalache's Peasants' Party), and usually strongly supported the post-1919 territorial status quo—although they tended to oppose the centralized system it had come to imply. (In turn, the early conflict between the PCdR and other minor socialist groups has been attributed to the legacy of Constantin Dobrogeanu-Gherea's quasi-Poporanist ideas inside the latter, as an intellectual basis for the rejection of Leninism.)[9]

The PCdR's "foreign" image was due to the fact that ethnic Romanians were a minority in its ranks until after the end of World War II:[10] between 1924 and 1944, none of its general secretaries was of Romanian ethnicity. Interwar Romania had a minority population of 30%, and it was largely from this section that the party drew its membership—a large percentage of it was Jews, Hungarians and Bulgarians.[11] Actual or perceived ethnic discrimination against these minorities added to the appeal of revolutionary ideas in their midst.[12]

Communist Party of Romania (1921–1948)

Comintern and internal wing

Shortly after its creation, the PCdR's leadership was alleged by authorities to have been involved in Dealul Spirii Trial.[13] Constantin Argetoianu, the Minister of the Interior in the Alexandru Averescu, Take Ionescu, and Ion I. C. Brătianu cabinets, equated Comintern membership with conspiracy, ordered the first in a series of repressions, and, in the context of trial, allowed for several communist activists (including Leonte Filipescu) to be shot while in custody—alleging that they had attempted to flee.[14] Consequently, he stated his belief that "communism is over in Romania",[15] which allowed for a momentary relaxing of pressures—begun by King Ferdinand's granting of an amnesty to the tried PCdR.[16]

The PCdR was thus unable to send representatives to the Comintern, and was virtually replaced abroad by a delegation of various activists who had fled to the Andrei Oţetea's publishing of Karl Marx's Russophobic texts (uncovered by the Polish historian Stanisław Schwann),[151] the PMR itself took a stand against Khrushchevite principles by issuing, in late April, a declaration published in Scînteia, through which it stressed its commitment to a "national path" towards Communism[152] (it read: "There does not and cannot exist a «parent» party and a «son» party or «superior» party and «subordinate» parties").[153] During late 1964, the PMR's leadership clashed with new Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev over the issue of KGB advisers still present in the Securitate, and eventually managed to have them recalled, making Romania the Eastern Bloc's first country to have accomplished this.[154]

These actions gave Romania greater freedom in pursuing the program which Gheorghiu-Dej had been committed to since 1954, one allowing Romania to defy reforms in the Eastern Bloc and to maintain a largely Stalinist course.[155] It has also been argued that Romania's emancipation was, in effect, limited to economic relations and military cooperation, being as such dependent on a relatively tolerant mood inside the Soviet Union.[156] Nevertheless, the PMR's nationalism made it increasingly popular with Romanian liberalization.[157]

Romanian Communist Party (1965–1989)

Ceaușescu's rise

Nicolae Ceaușescu and other PCR leaders in August 1968, addressing the Romanian public at a rally to oppose the invasion of Czechoslovakia

Gheorghiu-Dej died in March 1965 and was succeeded by a collective leadership made up of

  • "The Communist Party" from the US Library of Congress' Country Study of Romania, 1990; retrieved 5 July 2007
  • Lucian Boia, ed., Miturile comunismului românesc ("The Myths of Romanian Communism"), Editura Nemira, Bucharest, 1997–1998. ISBN 973-569-209-0. See:
    • Daniel Barbu, "Destinul colectiv, servitutea involuntară, nefericirea totalitară: trei mituri ale comunismului românesc" ("Collective Destiny, Involuntary Servitude, Totalitarian Misery: Three Myths of Romanian Communism"), p. 175–197
    • Eugen Negrici, "Mitul patriei primejduite" ("The Myth of the Fatherland in Peril"), p. 220–226
  • Adrian Cioroianu,
    • (Romanian) " ("Communism and the Man Who Lived the Illusion")Comunismul și cel care a trăit Iluzia", in Revista 22, Nr.25 (641), June 2002; retrieved 5 July 2007
    • Pe umerii lui Marx. O introducere în istoria comunismului românesc ("On the Shoulders of Marx. An Incursion into the History of Romanian Communism"), Editura Curtea Veche, Bucharest, 2005. ISBN 973-669-175-6
  • (Romanian) Radu Colt, "80 în București și mai puțin de 1000 în toată țara" ("80 in Bucharest and Less throughout the Country"), in Magazin Istoric, June 1999; retrieved 5 July 2007
  • Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2006. ISBN 1-4039-9341-6
  • Dennis Deletant, Mihail Ionescu, "Romania and the Warsaw Pact: 1955–1989", in Cold War International History Project, Working Paper No. 43, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C., April 2004; retrieved 5 July 2007
  • Victor Frunză, Istoria stalinismului în România ("The History of Stalinism in Romania"), Humanitas, Bucharest, 1990
  • Constantin Iordachi, The Anatomy of a Historical Conflict: Romanian-Hungarian Diplomatic Conflict in the 1980s, Central European University, at the Romanian Institute for Cultural Memory; retrieved 5 July 2007
  • T. A. Pokivailova, "1939–1940. Cominternul și Partidul Comunist din România" (1939–1940. The Comintern and the Communist Party of Romania"), in Magazin Istoric, March 1997
  • , 4(44)/2000 Dosarele Istoriei" ("Siguranța and the Specter of Communist Revolution"), in Cristian Troncotă, "Siguranța și spectrul revoluției comuniste
  • Francisco Veiga, Istoria Gărzii de Fier, 1919–1941: Mistica ultranaționalismului ("The History of the Iron Guard, 1919–1941: The Mystique of Ultra-Nationalism"), Humanitas, Bucharest, 1993


  1. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.23-27; Frunză, p.21-22
  2. ^ Frunză, p.25-28
  3. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.45; Communist press, 1923, in Frunză, p.30
  4. ^ Allegations in the Social-Democratic press, 1923, in Frunză, p.30; Iordachi I.2
  5. ^ US Library of Congress: "The Communist Party". According to PCR leader Iosif Rangheț: "[...] on August 23, 1944, our party had, in Bucharest, 80 party members, not more, not less. And throughout the land our party had less than 1,000 party members, including our comrades in prisons and concentration camps." (Rangheț, 25–27 April 1945, in Colt). In the late 1940s, Ana Pauker gave the same estimate (Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.45; Frunză, p.202).
  6. ^ Dumitru Lăcătuşu, "Convenient Truths: Representations of the Communist Illegalists in the Romanian Historiography in Post-Communism", in Brukenthalia. Supplement of Burkenthal. Acta Musei, No. 4, Sibiu, 2014, p.199-200
  7. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.18-45; Frunză, p.38-48, 63–72; Iordachi, I.2; Pokivailova, p.48; Troncotă, p.19-20; Veiga, p.222
  8. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.36; Frunză, p.71; Troncotă, p.19; Veiga, p.115
  9. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.47-48
  10. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.18, 44
  11. ^ Iordachi, I.2; Pokivailova, p.47
  12. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.18
  13. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.27-30
  14. ^ Troncotă, p.18-19
  15. ^ Argetoianu, June 1922, in Troncotă, p.19
  16. ^ Troncotă, p.19
  17. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.37, 44; Deletant & Ionescu, p.4-5; Frunză, p.38-39
  18. ^ Frunză, p.32-33
  19. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.38-39; Frunză, p.49-50
  20. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.41; Frunză, p.51-53
  21. ^ Troncotă, p.20-22
  22. ^ Frunză, p.58-62
  23. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.41-43; Frunză, p.53-62
  24. ^ Frunză, p.85; Pokivailova, p.48
  25. ^ a b Veiga, p.223
  26. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.110-118; "Comunismul și cel care a trăit Iluzia"
  27. ^ Veiga, p.235
  28. ^ Frunză, p.84
  29. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii.., p.43, 170–171; Frunză, p.84, 102–103
  30. ^ Pokivailova, p.48; Veiga, p.223-224
  31. ^ Pokivailova, p.47
  32. ^ Pokivailova, p.46-47
  33. ^ a b c Pokivailova, p.48
  34. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.42, 44, 48–50; Deletant & Ionescu, p.4-5
  35. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii.., p.42-43; Frunză, p.90-91, 151, 215; Pokivailova, p.45
  36. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.43, 52, 171–172; Frunză, p.103-104, 149–154, 215
  37. ^ Frunză, p.72; Pokivailova, p.48
  38. ^ Frunză, p.72, 105–107, 127
  39. ^ Frunză, p.106-107
  40. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.52; Frunză, p.103, 402
  41. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.42-52, 132–134, 332, 335–336, 343–344; Deletant, p.196, 238–239, 303; Frunză, p.122-123, 138
  42. ^ C. Bărbulescu et. al., File din istoria U.T.C, 1971, Bucharest: Editura Politică. p. 199
  43. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.52; Deletant, p.116, 123, 196–198, 219, 225, 254, 303, 311, 332–333, 335–336, 340
  44. ^ Deletant, p.196-197, 225
  45. ^ Frunză, p.123
  46. ^ Frunză, p.123-125; 130–131
  47. ^ Frunză, p.125
  48. ^ Frunză, p.131-133, 139
  49. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.49-50, 62; "Comunismul și cel care a trăit Iluzia"; Frunză, p.400-402
  50. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.50; Frunză, p.213, 218–221, 402
  51. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.50-55; Chant, p.84-85, 124–125, 303; Deletant, p.3-4, 241–246, 265–266, 343–346; Frunză, p.128-137
  52. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.51; Deletant, p.243-245, 257; Frunză, p.126-129
  53. ^ Deletant, p.243, 265–266, 269, 344; Frunză, p.130-145
  54. ^ Frunză, p.171, 178–190
  55. ^ Frunză, p.163-170
  56. ^ Frunză, p.201-212; according to Rangheț: "After 3 months of our party's legal existence, in October, we had almost 5–6,000 party members. [...] What is this to say? That we expanded the cadres, party members, by only very, very little, if we are to keep in mind the present legal situation, if we keep in mind that, through our party's work, thousands, tens and hundreds of thousands workers were rallied. [...] During this time, when our party only had 5–6,000 party members, we held large, huge protests against the [daily] realities in our country, in Bucharest as well as throughout the land..." (Rangheț, 25–27 April 1945, in Colt)
  57. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.297; Frunză, p.208
  58. ^ Barbu, p.190
  59. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.51-52; Deletant & Ionescu, p.4-5; Frunză, p.218-219
  60. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.45, 59–61
  61. ^ Frunză, p.176
  62. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.106-148
  63. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.154
  64. ^ Barbu, p.187-189; Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.55-56; Frunză, p.173-174, 220–222, 237–238, 254–255
  65. ^ Frunză, p.186-190
  66. ^ Barbu, p.187-188; Frunză, p.174-177
  67. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.56; Frunză, p.180-181
  68. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.157; Frunză, p.180-184
  69. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.156-157; Frunză, p.181-182
  70. ^ Frunză, p.183-184
  71. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.57
  72. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.93; Frunză, p.187-189
  73. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.61-64, 159–161
  74. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.63, 159–160
  75. ^ Cioroianu, p.161-162
  76. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.58-59; Frunză, p.198-200, 221
  77. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.58; Frunză, p.200, 221
  78. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.295-296; Deletant, p.245-262; Frunză, p.228-232
  79. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.77-93, 106–148; Frunză, p.240-258
  80. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.67-71, 372–373; Frunză, p.381
  81. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.62, 91–93, 174–176, 194–195; Frunză, p.219-220
  82. ^ Barbu, p.190-191
  83. ^ Frunză, p.220
  84. ^ Frunză, p.233
  85. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.62; Frunză, p.233
  86. ^ Frunză, p.234
  87. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.64-66; Frunză, p.234-239
  88. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.64-66; Frunză, p.287-292
  89. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.95-96; Frunză, p.287-308
  90. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.97-101
  91. ^ Cioroianu, p.99; Craig S. Smith, "Romania's King Without a Throne Outlives Foes and Setbacks", in The New York Times, 27 January 2007; Retrieved on 7 December 2007
  92. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.93-94; Frunză, p.259-286, 329–359
  93. ^ US Library of Congress: "The Communist Party"; Frunză, p.274, 350–354
  94. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.2
  95. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.292; Frunză, p.355-357
  96. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.72-73
  97. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.73-74
  98. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.74
  99. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.74-75
  100. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.75-76
  101. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.76, 251–253; Deletant & Ionescu, p.3-4; Frunză, p.393-394, 412–413
  102. ^ US Library of Congress: "The Communist Party"; Deletant & Ionescu, p.3
  103. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k US Library of Congress: "The Communist Party"
  104. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.194-195, 200–201; Frunză, p.359-363; 407–410
  105. ^ Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, in Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.299
  106. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.297, 298–300
  107. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.180
  108. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.180-182, 200–203; Frunză, p.403-407; Tismăneanu, p.16
  109. ^ Cioroianu, p.299
  110. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.5
  111. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.5-6; Frunză, p.403-407
  112. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.103; Deletant & Ionescu, p.3
  113. ^ 1952 Constitution, in Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.103-104
  114. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.195-196; Tismăneanu, p.19, 22–23
  115. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.204
  116. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.197-198
  117. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.76, 181–182, 206; Frunză, p.393-394
  118. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.391-394; Deletant & Ionescu, p.7, 20–21; Tismăneanu, p.12, 27–31
  119. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.201
  120. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.210-211
  121. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.207, 375; Frunză, p.437
  122. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.375; Frunză, p.437
  123. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.204; Deletant & Ionescu, p.7; Tismăneanu, p.10-12
  124. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.206, 217–218; Deletant & Ionescu, p.7-8, 9; Frunză, p.424-425; Tismăneanu, p.9, 16
  125. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.206, 217; Deletant & Ionescu, p.8, 9; Frunză, p.430-434; Tismăneanu, p.15-16, 18–19
  126. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.136, 206–207; Deletant & Ionescu, p.8-9; Frunză, p.425; Tismăneanu, p.11-12, 16–19, 24–26
  127. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.136, 208; Tismăneanu, p.22, 23–24, 27
  128. ^ Tismăneanu, p.29-30
  129. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.198-200, 207; Deletant & Ionescu, p.9-13; Frunză, p.426-428-434; Tismăneanu, p.19-23
  130. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.10-11, 34; Tismăneanu, p.21, 31
  131. ^ Frunză, p.429
  132. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.291-294; Deletant & Ionescu, p.4
  133. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.221, 314–315; Deletant & Ionescu, p.19
  134. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.268-318; Frunză, p.367-370, 392–399
  135. ^ Barbu, p.192
  136. ^ a b c Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.313
  137. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.300-319; Frunză, p.394-399
  138. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.212-217, 219, 220, 372–376; Frunză, p.440-444
  139. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.208
  140. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.218-219, 220; Deletant & Ionescu, p.19; Frunză, p.456-457
  141. ^ Frunză, p.442
  142. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.345-352; Deletant & Ionescu, p.13-15
  143. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.214; Frunză, p.442, 445, 449–450
  144. ^ Tismăneanu, p.37-38, 47–48
  145. ^ Tismăneanu, p.34-36
  146. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.215, 218; Frunză, p.437, 449, 452–453; Tismăneanu, p.14-15, 43–44, 50
  147. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.215; Frunză, p.437, 449; Tismăneanu, p.14-15, 50
  148. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.215; Frunză, p.438
  149. ^ Frunză, p.452-453
  150. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.216; Frunză, p.440-441, 454–457; Deletant & Ionescu, p.17; Iordachi I.2, II.1; Tismăneanu, p.45-46
  151. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.220; Deletant & Ionescu, p.18; Frunză, p.453
  152. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.220, 321–325; Deletant & Ionescu, p.18; Iordachi I.2, II.1; Tismăneanu, p.34, 48–49
  153. ^ Scînteia, 1964, in Iordachi I.2; in Tismăneanu, p.49
  154. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.18-19
  155. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.216-217, 220–221; Deletant & Ionescu, p.15-19; Frunză, p.445-449, 458–461; Tismăneanu, p.32-34
  156. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.320-325
  157. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.221-223, 275–276; Frunză, p.458
  158. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.392-394
  159. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.393-397; Deletant & Ionescu, p.29-30; Frunză, p.472
  160. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.393-397; Deletant & Ionescu, p.29-30; Tismăneanu, p.51-53
  161. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.398-399; "Comunismul și cel care a trăit Iluzia"; Deletant & Ionescu, p.25; Frunză, p.472-474
  162. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.397-400; Frunză, p.473-474
  163. ^ Deletant, p.266-269; Frunză, p.474, 504–509, 513–518
  164. ^ Frunză, p.474
  165. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.25-26
  166. ^ Barbu, p.193-195
  167. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.403-412, 414; Deletant & Ionescu, p.27; Frunză, p.475; Negrici, p.221
  168. ^ a b c d e US Library of Congress: "The Communist Party"; Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.414
  169. ^ a b Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.409
  170. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.27
  171. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.409; Frunză, p.516-518
  172. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.405-406
  173. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.404, 412–415; Deletant & Ionescu, p.22; Frunză, p.513-514; Iordachi, II.1
  174. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.22
  175. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.404-405; "Comunismul și cel care a trăit Iluzia"
  176. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.412-414; "Comunismul și cel care a trăit Iluzia"; Deletant & Ionescu, p.29, 46; Iordachi, II.1
  177. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.79-80, 429, 431, 489–490; Deletant & Ionescu, p.28-29
  178. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.436
  179. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.416, 424, 434–442, 488–492; "Comunismul și cel care a trăit Iluzia"; Deletant, p.266-269; Negrici, p.221-226
  180. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.489; Deletant & Ionescu, p.30-31; Negrici, p.221
  181. ^ Frunză, p.476
  182. ^ Frunză, p.482-483
  183. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.23-24; Iordachi, I.3
  184. ^ Frunză, p.476, 510–511
  185. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.31; Frunză, p.472, 475, 476–478, 479–480, 483, 511
  186. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.30; Frunză, p.483
  187. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.491; Frunză, p.480
  188. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.489; Deletant & Ionescu, p.31; Frunză, p.483-484
  189. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.416, 489–490
  190. ^ US Library of Congress: "The Communist Party"; Deletant & Ionescu, p.26
  191. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.32
  192. ^
  193. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.26, 32; Frunză, p.510-512
  194. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.467; Deletant & Ionescu, p.32-33
  195. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.467-468; Deletant & Ionescu, p.33-34; Frunză, p.512
  196. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.468-469; Frunză, p.512
  197. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.468; Deletant & Ionescu, p.33
  198. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.471
  199. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.469; Deletant & Ionescu, p.47-49
  200. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.470
  201. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.42-44
  202. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.471-474; Deletant & Ionescu, p.24
  203. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.473; Deletant & Ionescu, p.24
  204. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.486; Frunză, p.516, 518
  205. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.478; Frunză, p.524
  206. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.478-479; Frunză, p.525-526
  207. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.479; Deletant & Ionescu, p.34-35; Frunză, p.526
  208. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.479; Deletant & Ionescu, p.35
  209. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.487-488; Frunză, p.486-489
  210. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.38; Frunză, p.525-525
  211. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.35
  212. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.479; Deletant & Ionescu, p.42-43
  213. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.37-39
  214. ^ Frunză, p.482
  215. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p. 41–42; Frunză, p. 481–483
  216. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.415, 426–432; Frunză, p.521
  217. ^ US Library of Congress: "The Communist Party"; Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.416
  218. ^ US Library of Congress: "The Communist Party"; Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.428; Frunză, p.504-518, 520
  219. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.491-494; Deletant & Ionescu, p.32, 44–46; Frunză, p.520; Iordachi, II.3
  220. ^ Frunză, p.523
  221. ^ Iordachi, I.3, III
  222. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.426-431; Deletant & Ionescu, p.30; Frunză, p.485-486
  223. ^ Frunză, p.485-486
  224. ^ a b
  225. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.35-36
  226. ^ a b Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.486-487; Deletant & Ionescu, p.36
  227. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.487-488; Deletant & Ionescu, p.37, 40–41
  228. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.39-40; Iordachi, III.4
  229. ^ Deletant & Ionescu, p.39-40
  230. ^ Iordachi, III
  231. ^ Cioroianu, Pe umerii..., p.488, 493–494
  232. ^
  233. ^


See also

Name/Period Location
Ist (May 1921) Bucharest
IInd (October 1922) Ploiești
IIIrd (August 1924) Vienna
IVth (July 1928) Kharkiv
Vth (December 1931) Moscow
VIth (February 1948) Bucharest
VIIth (December 1955) Bucharest
VIIIth (June 1960) Bucharest
IXth (July 1965) Bucharest
Xth (August 1969) Bucharest
XIth (November 1974) Bucharest
XIIth (November 1979) Bucharest
XIIIth (November 1984) Bucharest
XIVth (November 1989) Bucharest

Party Congresses

General Secretaries (1921–1989)

Many former members of the PCR have been major players in the post-1989 political scene. In nearly every other Eastern Bloc country, the former ruling parties recast themselves into social democratic or democratic socialist parties, and remain major players to this day. The Romanian Communist Party (present-day) and the Socialist Alliance Party both claim to be the successors of the PCR.[232][233] However, neither they, nor any other party claiming to be the PCR's successor, have won any seats in the revamped Parliament since the 1989 Revolution.

Only a month later, both Ceaușescu and the party were overthrown in the Romanian Revolution of December 1989, begun as a popular rebellion in Timișoara and eventually bringing to power the National Salvation Front, comprising a large number of moderate former PCR members who supported Gorbachev's vision.[231] Having fled the PCR's headquarters under pressure from demonstrators, Ceauşescu and his wife were captured, tried and executed by the new authorities in Târgoviște. No formal dissolution of the PCR took place. Rather, the party simply disappeared. The speed with which the PCR, one of the largest parties of its kind, dissolved, as well as its spontaneity, were held by commentators as additional proof that its large membership provided a highly inaccurate image in respect to actual convictions.[168]

In the face of the changes that unfolded in the rest of Eastern Europe in 1988 and 1989, the PCR retained its image as one of the most unreconstructed parties in the Soviet bloc. It even went as far as to call for a Warsaw Pact invasion of Poland after that country's Communists announced a power-sharing agreement with the Solidarity trade union—a sharp reversal of its previous opposition to the Brezhnev Doctrine and its vehement opposition to the invasion of Czechoslovakia 21 years earlier.[224] It initially appeared that the PCR would ride out the anti-Communist tide sweeping through eastern Europe when on 24 November—two weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the same day that Communist rule effectively ended in Czechoslovakia—Ceaușescu was reelected for another five-year term as general secretary.

Inaugurated by Alexandru Bârlădeanu, Grigore Răceanu and Corneliu Mănescu, sent Ceaușescu their so-called Letter of the Six, publicized over Radio Free Europe.[227] At around the same time, systematization provoked an international response, as Romania was subjected to a resolution of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which called for an inquiry into the state of ethnic minorities and the rural population; the political isolation experienced by Communist Romania was highlighted by the fact that Hungary endorsed the report,[228] while all other Eastern bloc countries abstained.[229] This followed more than a decade of deteriorating relations between the PCR and the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party.[230]

Announced by a February 1987 protest of workers and students in Iași,[225] the final crisis of the PCR and its regime began in the autumn, when industrial employees in Brașov called a strike that immediately drew echoes with the city's population (see Brașov Rebellion).[226] In December, authorities convened a public kangaroo trial of the movement's leaders, and handed out sentences of imprisonment and internal exile.[226]


While some elements of the PCR were receptive to Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms, Ceaușescu himself wanted nothing to do with glasnost or perestroika. As a result, the PCR remained an obstinate bastion of hardline Communism. Gorbachev's distaste for Ceaușescu was well known; he even went as far as to call Ceaușescu "the Romanian führer." In Gorbachev's mind, Ceaușescu was part of a "Gang of Four" inflexibly hardline leaders unwilling to make the reforms he felt necessary to save Communism, along with Czechoslovakia's Gustáv Husák, Bulgaria's Todor Zhivkov and East Germany's Erich Honecker. At a meeting between the two, Gorbachev upbraided Ceaușescu for his inflexible attitude. "You are running a dictatorship here," the Soviet leader warned. However, Ceaușescu refused to bend.[224]

Especially during the 1980s, clientelism was further enhanced by a new policy, rotația cadrelor ("cadre rotation" or "reshuffling"), placing strain on low-level officials to seek the protection of higher placed ones as a means to preserve their position or to be promoted.[222] This effectively prompted activists who did not approve of the change in tone to retire, while others—Virgil Trofin, Ion Iliescu and Paul Niculescu-Mizil among them—were officially dispatched to low-ranking positions or otherwise marginalized.[223] In June 1988, the leadership of the Political Executive Committee was reduced from 15 to 7 members, including Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife.[103]

As recorded in 1984, 90% of the PCR members were ethnic Romanians, with 7% Hungarians (the latter group's membership had dropped by more than 2% since the previous Congress).[103] Formal criticism of the new policies regarding minorities had also been voiced by Hungarian activists, including Károly Király, leader of the PCR in Covasna County.[220] After 1980, the nationalist ideology adopted by the PCR progressively targeted the Hungarian community as a whole, based on suspicions of its allegiance to Hungary, whose policies had become diametrically opposed to the methods of Romanian leaders (see Goulash Communism).[221]

At the same time, the ideological viewpoint was changed, with the party no longer seen as the vanguard of the working class,[217] but as the main social factor and the embodiment of the national interest.[218] In marked contrast with the Perestroika and Glasnost policies developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Gorbachev, Romania adopted Neo-Stalinist principles in both its internal policies and its relations with the outside world.[219]

By 1983, membership of the PCR had risen to 3.3 million,[214] and, in 1989, to 3.7–3.8 million[168]—meaning that, in the end, over 20% of Romanian adults were party members,[103] making the PCR the largest communist group of the Eastern Bloc after the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[168] 64,200 basic party units, answering to county committees, varying in number and representing various areas of Romanian society, were officially recorded in 1980.[103] Statistics also indicated that, during the transition from the 1965 PMR (with 8% of the total population) to the 1988 PCR, the membership of workers had grown from 44 to 55%, while that of peasants had dropped from 34 to 15%.[103] In the end, these records contrasted the fact that the PCR had become completely subservient to its leader and no longer had any form of autonomous activity,[168][215] while membership became a basic requirement in numerous social contexts, leading to purely formal allegiances and political clientelism.[216]

A major act of discontent occurred inside the party during its XIIth Congress in late November 1979, when PCR veteran typewriters to the authorities.[212] This coincided with a noted popular rise in support for outspoken dissidents who were kept under house arrest, among whom were Doina Cornea and Mihai Botez.[213]

Ceaușescu and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985


Although Romania adhered to the Helsinki Final Act, Ceauşescu also intensified political repression in the country (beginning in 1971).[204] This took a drastic turn in 1977, when, confronted with Paul Goma's movement in support for Charter 77, the regime expelled him and others from the country.[205] A more serious disobedience occurred in August of the same year, when Jiu Valley miners went on strike, briefly took hold of Premier Ilie Verdeţ, and, despite having reached an agreement with the government, were repressed and some of them expelled (see Jiu Valley miners' strike of 1977).[206] A newly created and independent trade union, SLOMR, was crushed and its leaders arrested on various charges in 1979.[207] Progressively during the period, the Securitate relied on involuntary commitment to psychiatric hospitals as a means to punish dissidence.[208]

Two other programs initiated under Ceaușescu had massive consequences on social life. One of them was the plan, announced as early as 1965, to "systemize rural areas", which was meant to urbanize Romania at a fast pace (of over 13,000 communes, the country was supposed to be left with 6,000);[199] it also brought massive changes for the cities—especially Bucharest, where, following the 1977 earthquake and successive demolitions, new architectural guidelines were imposed (see Ceaușima).[200] By 1966, Romania outlawed abortion, and, progressively after that, measures were endorsed to artificially increase the birth rate—including special taxes for childless couples.[201] Another measure, going hand in hand with economic ones, allowed ethnic Germans a chance to leave Romania and settle in West Germany as Auslandsdeutsche, in return for payments from the latter country.[202] Overall, around 200,000 Germans left, most of them Transylvanian Saxons and Banat Swabians.[203]

The renewed industrialization, which based itself on both a dogmatic understanding of Marxian economics and a series of autarkic goals,[193] brought major economic problems to Romania, beginning with the effects of the 1973 oil crisis, and worsened by the 1979 energy crisis.[194] The profound neglect of services and decline in quality of life, first manifested when much of the budget was diverted to support an over-sized industry,[195] was made more drastic by the political decision to pay in full the country's external debt[196] (in 1983, this was set at 10 billion United States dollars, of which 4.5 was accumulated interest).[197] By March 1989, the debt had been paid in full.[198]

Late 1970s crisis

Despite the party's independent, "national communist" course, the absolute control that Ceaușescu had over the party and the country led to some non-Romanian observers describing the PCR as one of the closest things to an old-style Stalinist party. For instance, Encyclopaedia Britannica referred to the last 18 years of Ceaușescu's tenure as a period of "neo-Stalinism," and the last edition of the Country Study on Romania referred to the PCR's "Stalinist repression of individual liberties." [192]

At the XIth Party Congress in 1974, Mayor of Bucharest, proposed to extend Ceaușescu's office as General Secretary for life, but was turned down by the latter.[187] Shortly before that moment, the collective leadership of the Presidium was replaced with a Political Executive Committee, which, in practice, elected itself; together with the Secretariat, it was controlled by Ceaușescu himself, who was president of both bodies.[103] During the same year, the general secretary also made himself President of the Socialist Republic, following a ceremony during which he was handed a sceptre;[188] this was the first in a succession of titles, also including Conducător ("Leader"), "supreme commander of the Romanian Army", "honorary president of the Romanian Academy", and "first among the country's miners".[189] Progressively after 1967, the large bureaucratic structure of the PCR again replicated and interfered with state administration and economic policies.[190] The President himself became noted for frequent visits on location at various enterprises, where he would dispense directives, for which the termed indicații prețioase ("valuable advice") was coined by official propaganda.[191]

Members of the upper echelons of the party who objected to Ceaușescu's stance were accused of supporting Soviet policies; they included Alexandru Bârlădeanu, who criticized the heavy loans contracted in support of industrialization policies.[184] In time, the new leader distanced himself from Maurer and Corneliu Mănescu, while his career profited from the deaths of Stoica (who committed suicide) and Sălăjan (who died while undergoing surgery).[185] Instead, he came to rely on a new generation of activists, among them Manea Mănescu.[186]

At the time, a new organization was instituted under the name of Front of Socialist Unity (eventually renamed the Front of Socialist Unity and Democracy). Ostensibly a popular front affiliating virtually all non-party members, it was actually tightly controlled by party activists. It was intended to consolidate the impression that the entire population was backing Ceaușescu's policies.[182] As a result of these new policies, the Central Committee, which acted as the main PCR body between Congresses, had increased to 265 full members and 181 candidate members (supposed to meet at least four times a year).[103] By then, the general secretary also called for women to be enrolled in greater numbers in all party structures.[103] In parallel, the political doctrine in respect to minorities claimed interest in obtaining allegiance from both Hungarians and Germans, and set up separate workers' councils for both communities.[183]

Ceaușescu developed a cult of personality around himself and his wife Elena (herself promoted to high offices)[177] after visiting North Korea and noting the parallel developed by Kim Il-sung,[178] while incorporating in it several aspects of past authoritarian regimes in Romania (see Conducător).[179] During the early 1970s, while curbing liberalization, he launched his own version of China's Cultural Revolution, announced by the July Theses.[180] In effect, measures to concentrate power in Ceaușescu's hands were taken as early as 1967, when the general secretary became the ultimate authority on foreign policy.[181]

The 1974 ceremony marking Ceaușescu's investiture as President of Romania: Ștefan Voitec handing him the sceptre

Ceaușescu's supremacy

While it appears that Romanian leaders genuinely approved of the Prague Spring reforms undertaken by Alexander Dubček,[172] Ceaușescu's gesture also served to consolidate his image as a national and independent communist leader.[173] One year before the invasion of Czechoslovakia, Ceaușescu opened up diplomatic ties with West Germany, and refused to break links with Israel following the Six-Day War.[174] Starting with the much-publicized visit by France's Charles de Gaulle (May 1968),[175] Romania was the recipient of Western world support going well into the 1970s (significant visits were paid by United States Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, in 1969 and 1975 respectively, while Ceaușescu was frequently received in Western capitals).[176]

A seminal event occurred in August 1968, when Ceaușescu highlighted his anti-Soviet discourse by vocally opposing the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia; a highly popular measure with the Romanian public, it led to sizable enrollments in the PCR and the newly created paramilitary Patriotic Guards (created with the goal of meeting a possible Soviet intervention in Romania).[167] From 1965 to 1976, the PCR rose from approximately 1.4 million members to 2.6 million.[168] In the contingency of an anti-Soviet war, the PCR even sought an alliance with the maverick Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito—negotiations did not yield a clear result.[169] Although military intervention in Romania was reportedly taken into consideration by the Soviets,[170] there is indication that Leonid Brezhnev had himself ruled out Romanian participation in Warsaw Pact maneuvers,[169] and that he continued to rely on Ceaușescu's support for other common goals.[171]

In 1965, Ceaușescu declared that Romania was no longer a People's Democracy but a personality cult, while implying that his was to be a new style of leadership.[164] In its official discourse, the PCR introduced the dogmas of "socialist democracy" and direct communication with the masses.[103] From ca. 1965 to 1975, there was a noted rise in the standard of living for the Romanian population as a whole, which was similar to developments in most other Eastern bloc countries.[165] Political scientist Daniel Barbu, who noted that this social improvement trend began ca. 1950 and benefited 45% of the population, concluded that one of its main effects was to increase the citizens' dependency on the state.[166]

[162] The change in policies was to become obvious in 1964, when the Communist regime offered a stiff response to the

An drastic divergence in ideological outlooks manifested itself only after autumn 1961, when the PMR's leadership felt threatened by the Soviet Union's will to impose the condemnation of Stalinism as the standard in communist states.[144] Following the Sino-Soviet split of the late 1950s and the Soviet-Albanian split in 1961, Romania initially gave full support to the Khrushchev's stance,[145] but maintained exceptionally good relations with both the People's Republic of China[146] and Communist Albania.[147] Romanian media was alone among Warsaw Pact countries to report Chinese criticism of the Soviet leadership from its source;[148] in return, Maoist officials complimented Romanian nationalism by supporting the view that Bessarabia had been a traditional victim of Russian imperialism.[149]

Nationalism and Emil Bodnăraş persuaded the Soviets to withdraw their remaining troops from Romanian soil.[142] As early as 1956, Romania's political apparatus reconciled with Josip Broz Tito, which led to a series of common economic projects (culminating in the Iron Gates venture).[143]

Foreign leaders attending Zhou Enlai and Anastas Mikoyan are among them

Gheorghiu-Dej and the "national path"

Despite Stalin's death, the massive police apparatus headed by the Securitate (created in 1949 and rapidly growing in numbers)[132] maintained a steady pace in its suppression of "class enemies", until as late as 1962–1964. In 1962–1964, the party leadership approved a mass amnesty, extended to, among other prisoners, ca. 6,700 guilty of political crimes.[133] This marked a toning down in the violence and scale of repression, after almost twenty years during which the Party had acted against political opposition and active anti-communist resistance, as well as against religious institutions (most notably, the Romanian Roman Catholic and Greek-Catholic Churches).[134] Estimates for the total number of victims in the 1947/1948-1964 period vary significantly: as low as 160,000[135] or 282,000[136] political prisoners, and as high 600,000[136] (a great number were killed or died in custody—according to one estimate, about 190,000 people).[136] Notorious penal facilities of the time included the Danube-Black Sea Canal, Sighet, Gherla, Aiud, Pitești, and Râmnicu Sărat; another method of punishment was deportation to the inhospitable Bărăgan Plain.[137]

On the outside too, the PMR, leading a country that had joined the Warsaw Pact, remained an agent of political repression: it fully supported Khurshchev's invasion of Hungary in response to the Revolution of 1956, after which Imre Nagy and other dissident Hungarian leaders were imprisoned on Romanian soil.[129] The Hungarian rebellion also sparked student protests in such places as Bucharest, Timișoara, Oradea, Cluj and Iași, which contributed to unease inside the PMR and resulted in a wave of arrests.[130] While refusing to allow dissemination of Soviet literature exposing Stalinism (writers such as Ilya Ehrenburg and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn), Romanian leaders took active part in the campaign against Boris Pasternak.[131]

In this context, the PMR soon dismissed all the relevant consequences of the Twentieth Soviet Congress, and Gheorghiu-Dej even argued that De-Stalinization had been imposed by his team right after 1952.[125] At a party meeting in March 1956, two members of the Constantin Doncea (June 1958).[128]

Uncomfortable and possibly threatened by the reformist measures adopted by Stalin's successor, personality cult and encouraged Stalinists to self-criticism).[124]

Nikita Khrushchev (front row, right) upon the close of the PMR's 7th Congress (June 1960)

Gheorghiu-Dej and de-Stalinization

From the moment it came to power and until Stalin's death, as the Cold War erupted, the PMR endorsed Soviet requirements for the Eastern Bloc. Aligning the country with the Cominform, it officially condemned Josip Broz Tito's independent actions in Yugoslavia; Tito was routinely attacked by the official press, and the Romanian-Yugoslav Danube border became the scene of massive agitprop displays (see Tito-Stalin split and Informbiro).[116]

[115] The move against Pauker's group echoed

During the period, the central scene of the PMR was occupied by the conflict between the "Muscovite wing", the "prison wing" led by right-wing deviationism".[108] Out of a membership of approximately one million, between 300,000[109] and 465,000[103] members, almost half of the party, was removed in the successive purges. The specific target for the "verification campaign", as it was officially called, were former Iron Guard affiliates.[110]

Internal purges

A new series of economic changes followed: the National Bank of Romania was passed into full public ownership (December 1946),[96] and, in order to combat the Romanian leu's devaluation, a surprise monetary reform was imposed as a stabilization measure in August 1947 (with disastrous consequences on the livelihoods of middle class citizens).[97] The Marshall Plan was being overtly condemned,[98] while nationalization and a planned economy were enforced beginning 11 June 1948.[99] The first five-year plan, conceived by Miron Constantinescu's Soviet-Romanian committee, was adopted in 1950.[100] Of newly enforced measures, the arguably most far-reaching was collectivization—by 1962, when the process was considered complete, 96% of the total arable land had been enclosed in collective farming, while around 80,000 peasants faced trial for resisting and 17,000 others were uprooted or deported for being chiaburi (the Romanian equivalent of kulaks).[101] In 1950, the party, which viewed itself as the vanguard of the working class,[102] reported that people of proletarian origin held 64% of party offices and 40% of higher government posts, while results of the recruitment efforts remained below official expectations.[103]

In February 1948, the Communists ended a long process of infiltrating the Romanian Social Democratic Party (ensuring control through electoral alliances and the two-party Frontul Unic Muncitoresc—Singular Workers' Front, the PCR had profited from the departure of Constantin Titel Petrescu's group from the Social Democrats in March 1946). The Social Democrats merged with the PCR to form the Romanian Workers' Party (Partidul Muncitoresc Român, PMR) which remained the ruling party's official name until 1965 (when it returned to the designation as Romanian Communist Party).[92] Nevertheless, Social Democrats were excluded from most party posts and were forced to support Communist policies on the basis of democratic centralism;[93] it was also reported that only half of the PSD's 500,000 members joined the newly founded grouping.[94] Capitalizing on these gains, the Communist government banned almost all other political parties after winning purely formal elections in 1948 (the Ploughmen's Front and the Hungarian People's Union dissolved themselves in 1953).[95]

Nicolae Ceaușescu stands to his left)


Romanian Workers' Party (1948–1965)

The PCR and its allies won the Romanian elections of 19 November, although there is evidence of widespread electoral fraud.[88] The following months were dedicated to confronting the National Peasants' Party, which was annihilated after the Tămădău Affair and show trial of its entire leadership.[89] On 30 December 1947, the Communist Party's power was consolidated when King Michael was forced to abdicate and a "People's Republic", firmly aligned with the Soviet Union, was proclaimed.[90] According to the king, his signature was obtained after the Groza cabinet representatives threatened to kill 1,000 students they had rounded up in custody.[91]

Party control over the security forces was successfully used on 8 November 1945, when the Bucharest populace gathered in front of the Royal Palace to express solidarity with King Michael, who was still refusing to sign his name to new legislation, on the occasion of his name day.[84] Demonstrators were faced with gunshots; around 10 people were killed, and many wounded.[85] The official account, according to which the Groza government responded to a coup attempt,[86] was since dismissed in many researches.[87]

The Communist Party held its first open conference (October 1945, at the national interest.[83]

1945 restructuring and second Groza cabinet

It was also then that, through Pătrășcanu and Alexandru Drăghici, the Communists consecrated their control of the legal system—the process included the creation of the Romanian People's Tribunals, charged with investigating war crimes, and constantly supported by agitprop in the Communist press.[78] During the period, government-backed Communists used various means to exercising influence over the vast majority of the press, and began infiltrating or competing with independent cultural forums.[79] Economic dominance, partly responding to Soviet requirements, was first effected through the SovRoms (created in the summer of 1945), directing the bulk of Romanian trade towards the Soviet Union.[80]

In the meantime, the first measure taken by the cabinet was a new land reform that advertised, among others, an interest into peasant issues and a respect for property (in front of common fears that a Leninist program was about to be adopted).[76] Although contrasted by the Communist press with its previous equivalent, the measure was in fact much less relevant—land awarded to individual farmers in 1923 was more than three times the 1945 figures, and all effects were canceled by the 1948–1962 collectivization.[77]

As a result of the Potsdam Conference, where Western Allied governments refused to recognize Groza's administration, King Michael called on Groza to resign. When he refused, the monarch went to his summer home in Sinaia and refused to sign any government decrees or bills (a period colloquially known as greva regală—"the royal strike").[73] Following Anglo-American mediation, Groza agreed to include politicians from outside his electoral alliance, appointing two secondary figures in their parties (the National Liberal Mihail Romaniceanu and the National Peasants' Emil Hațieganu) as Ministers without Portfolio (January 1946).[74] At the time, Groza's party and the PCR came to publicly disagree on several agrarian issues, before the Ploughmen's Front was eventually pressured into supporting Communist tenets.[75]

On 6 March, Groza became leader of a Communist-led government and named Communists to lead the Petre Constantinescu-Iaşi) and Finance (Vasile Luca).[71] The non-Communist ministers came from the Social Democrats (who were falling under the control of the pro-Communists Lothar Rădăceanu and Ștefan Voitec) and the traditional Ploughmen's Front ally, as well as, nominally, from the National Peasants' and National Liberal parties (followers of Tătărescu and Alexandrescu's dissident wings).[72]

The Communist Party's National Conference of October 1945. Pictured, left to right: Gheorghe Vasilichi

First Groza cabinet

[70] agreed and dismissed Rădescu, who fled the country.[69] King Michael, under pressure from Soviet troops who were disarming the Romanian military and occupying key installations,[68] if he agreed, and intimating a Soviet takeover of the country if he did not.Transylvania as Prime Minister, offering that Romania would be given sovereignty over Petru Groza went to Bucharest to demand to the monarch that he appoint Communist sympathizer Andrey Vyshinsky In a period of escalating chaos, Rădescu called for elections. The Soviet deputy foreign minister [67] Sănătescu resigned in November, but was persuaded by King

On PCdR initiative, the National Democratic Bloc was dissolved on 8 October 1944; instead, the Communists, Social Democrats, the Ploughmen's Front, Mihai Ralea's Socialist Peasants' Party (which was absorbed by the former in November),[63] the Hungarian People's Union (MADOSZ), and Mitiţă Constantinescu's Union of Patriots formed the National Democratic Front (FND), which campaigned against the government, demanding the appointment of more Communist officials and sympathizers, while claiming democratic legitimacy and alleging that Sănătescu had dictatorial ambitions.[64] The FND was soon joined by the Liberal group around Tătărescu, Nicolae L. Lupu's Democratic Peasants' Party (the latter claimed the legacy from the defunct Peasants' Party), and Anton Alexandrescu's faction (separated from the National Peasants' Party).[65]

[62].Romanian Society for Friendship with the Soviet Union and a cultural society, the [61], disbanded in 1948),Apărarea Patriotică After 1944, it was leading a paramilitary wing, the Patriotic Defense ([60]).Allied Commission and other Soviet appointees to the Vladislav Petrovich Vinogradov it benefited from Soviet backing (including that of [59] was able to attract ethnic Romanians in large numbers—workers and intellectuals alike, as well as former members of the fascist [56] The Communist Party, engaged in a massive recruitment campaign,

After having been underground for two decades, the Communists enjoyed little popular support at first, compared to the other opposition parties (however, the decrease in popularity of the National Liberals was reflected in the forming of a splinter group around National Liberal Party-Tătărescu, who later entered an alliance with the Communist Party). Soon after 23 August, the Communists also engaged in an increasingly violent campaign against Romania's main political group of the times, the National Peasants' Party, and its leaders Iuliu Maniu and Ion Mihalache. The conflict's first stage was centered on Communist allegations that Maniu had encouraged violence against the Hungarian community in newly recovered Northern Transylvania[55]—at a time when the region's status was being assessed by the Paris Peace Conference.

October 1944 rally in support of the National Democratic Front, held at Bucharest's ANEF Stadium

In opposition to Sănătescu and Rădescu

The King named General Constantin Sănătescu as prime minister of a coalition government which was dominated by the National Peasants' Party and National Liberal Party, but included Pătrășcanu as Minister of Justice—the first Communist to hold high office in Romania. The Red Army entered Bucharest on 31 August, and thereafter played a crucial role in supporting the Communist Party's rise to power as the Soviet military command virtually ruled the city and the country (see Soviet occupation of Romania).[54]

On 23 August 1944, King Michael, a number of Romanian Armed Forces officers, and armed Communist-led civilians supported by the National Democratic Bloc arrested dictator Ion Antonescu and seized control of the state (see King Michael's Coup).[51] King Michael then proclaimed the old 1923 Constitution in force, ordered the Romanian Army to enter a ceasefire with the Red Army on the Moldavian front, and withdrew Romania from the Axis.[52] Later party discourse tended to dismiss the importance of both the Soviet offensive and the dialogue with other forces (and eventually described the coup as a revolt with large popular support).[53]

In early 1944, as the Constantin Pîrvulescu, and Iosif Rangheț, Foriș was discreetly assassinated in 1946.[49] Several assessments view Foriș's dismissal as the complete rupture in historical continuity between the PCdR established in 1921 and what became the ruling party of Communist Romania.[50]

People in Bucharest greet Romania's new ally, the Red Army, on 31 August 1944

1944 Coup

In June 1943, at a time when troops were suffering major defeats on the Eastern Front, the PCdR proposed that all parties form a Blocul Național Democrat ("National Democratic Bloc"), in order to arrange for Romania to withdraw from its alliance with Nazi Germany.[45] The ensuing talks were prolonged by various factors, most notably by the opposition of National Peasants' Party leader Iuliu Maniu, who, alarmed by Soviet successes, was trying to reach a satisfactory compromise with the Western Allies (and, together with the National Liberals' leader Dinu Brătianu, continued to back negotiations initiated by Antonescu and Barbu Știrbey with the United States and the United Kingdom).[46]

As Romania came under the rule of Pompiliu Ștefu. A statistic of the Siguranţa reports that, in Bucharest, between January 1941 and September 1942, 143 individuals were tried for communism, of which 19 were sentenced to death and 78 to prison terms or forced labour.[42] The antisemitic Antonescu regime established a distinction between PCdR members of Jewish Romanian origin and those of ethnic Romanian or other heritage, deporting the majority of the former, alongside Romanian and Bessarabian Jews in general, to camps, prisons and makeshift ghettos in occupied Transnistria (see Holocaust in Romania).[43] Most Jews from the PCdR category were held in Vapniarka, where improper feeding caused an outbreak of paralysis, and in Rîbnița, where some 50 were victims of the authorities' criminal negligence and were shot by retreating German troops in March 1944.[44]

In 1940, Romania had to cede Bessarabia and Francs-tireurs' Olga Bancic, Nicolae Cristea and Joseph Boczov.[40]

Political prisoners of the Ion Antonescu regime, photographed in Târgu Jiu camp in 1943 (Nicolae Ceaușescu, future leader of Communist Romania, is second from left)

World War II

Until 1944, the group active inside Romania became split between the "prison faction" (Ștefan Foriș and Remus Koffler.[34] The exterior faction of the party was decimated during the Great Purge: an entire generation of party activists was killed on Stalin's orders, including, among others, Alexandru Dobrogeanu-Gherea, David Fabian, Ecaterina Arbore, Imre Aladar, Elena Filipescu, Dumitru Grofu, Ion Dic Dicescu, Eugen Rozvan, Marcel Pauker, Alexander Stefanski, Timotei Marin, and Elek Köblös.[35] It was to be Ana Pauker's mission to take over and reshape the surviving structure.[36]

Consequently, the Executive Committee of the Comintern called on Romanian Communists to infiltrate the National Renaissance Front (FRN), the newly created sole legal party of Carol's dictatorship, and attempt to attract members of its structures to the revolutionary cause.[33]

In the years following the elections, the PCdR entered a phase of rapid decline, coinciding with the increasingly pacifism or support for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War), were severely drained—by political difficulties at home, as well as, after 1939, by the severing of connections with Moscow in France and Czechoslovakia.[32]

[28]' refusal to collaborate with the PCdR.Social-Democrats as provoked by the historiography participation in the move was explained by Communist [27], a fascist movement, signed an electoral pact with Maniu;Iron Guard finding themselves placed in an unusual position after the [25] During the

In 1934, Stalin's Popular Front doctrine was not fully passed into the local party's politics, mainly due to the Soviet territorial policies (culminating in the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) and the widespread suspicion other left-wing forces maintained toward the Comintern.[24] The Communists did, nevertheless, attempt to reach consensus with other groupings on several occasions (in 1934–1943, they established alliances with the Ploughmen's Front, the Hungarian People's Union, and the Socialist Peasants' Party), and small Communist groups became active in the leftist sections of mainstream parties.[25] In 1934, Petre Constantinescu-Iași and other PCdR supporters created Amicii URSS, a pro-Soviet group reaching out to intellectuals, itself banned later in the same year.[26]

Through regained Comintern control, the interior wing began organizing itself as a more efficient conspiratorial network.[21] The onset of the Grivița Strikes.[23]

Around the time of the party's Fifth Congress in 1931, the Muscovite wing became the PCdR's main political factor: Joseph Stalin replaced the entire party leadership, including the general secretary Vitali Holostenco—appointing instead Alexander Stefanski, who was at the time a member of the Communist Party of Poland.[20]

[19]).see Balkan Communist Federation In 1925, the question of Romania's borders as posed by the Comintern led to protests by Cristescu and, eventually, to his exclusion from the party ([18]

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