Group Reader Guide: Government

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky–Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat Minor, Op. 23-1. Allegro Non Troppo

INTROWORLD HISTORYGEOGRAPHYECONOMICSGOVERNMENTWORLD LITERATURECREATIVE WRITINGMEDIA STUDIESMUSIC

GOVERNMENT:
A. COMMUNISM IN ROMANIA: 1947-1989
  • Communism and Fascism are both forms of totalitarian government in which one leader controls every detail of the citizen’s life from birth to death through a one-party dictatorship and a strong secret police, suppressing personal rights and freedoms, promoting racism and disregard for justice.
  • Communism and Fascism are used to exalt the nation, or race, or culture with the intent to promote unity and strength. At the same time, the political ideology denigrates an opposing nation, or race, or culture of opponent groups.
  • Nationalism is the feeling of patriotism and pride in one’s country. However, when nationalism is twisted to the extreme, it causes negative results: international disagreements, conflicts, wars, and religious intolerance.
  • In 1947, the Communist Party forced King Michael to abdicate and leave the country to Switzerland. Romania remained under the military and economic control of the USSR. During this period, Romania’s vast natural resources were continuously drained by mixed Soviet-Romanian companies.
  • From 1947 to the early 1960s, the Romanian Communist government established a reign of terror, carried out mainly through the secret police, the Securitate. Historical records show hundreds of thousands of abuses, deaths and incidents of torture against a wide range of people, from political opponents to ordinary citizens. The estimated number of victims of communist repression during this period is two million people
  • In 1965, Nicolae Ceausescu, came to power and started to pursue independent policies from Russia and foster close ties with Arab countries and the PLO. This policy allowed Romania to play a key role in the Israel-Egypt and Israel–PLO peace processes.
  • Romania’s foreign debt sharply increased between 1977-1981, and the dictator imposed policies that impoverished Romanians. He also increased the authority of the Securitate and police state.
  • This led to a dramatic decrease in Ceausescu’s popularity with the Russian government and culminated in his overthrow and execution in the bloody revolution of 1989.
  • Romania was the only Soviet-bloc country to violently overthrow its Communist regime.
B. DEMOCRACY IN ROMANIA: 1989-present
  • After the revolution in December 1989, the political Party, the National Salvation Front, led by Ion Iliescu, took some democratic and free market measures.
  • However, in the Spring of 1990, there was a protest to Iliescu’s government and a sit-in protest that contested the results of the recently held elections, accusing Iliescu’s government of being made up of former Communists and members of the Securitate. The protesters did not recognize the results of the election, deeming them undemocratic, and asked for the exclusion from the political life of the former high-ranking Communist Party members. The protest rapidly grew to become an ongoing mass demonstration and degenerated into violence. Coal miners from the Jiu Valley marched into Bucharest to what is remembered as the June 1990 Mineriad.
  • Iliescu remained a powerful head of state until 1996.
  • In 2004, Traian Basescu was elected president and re-elected in 2009.
  • During the 2000’s, Romania enjoyed one of the highest economic growth rates in Europe. This has been accompanied by a significant improvement in human development. The country has been successful in reducing internal poverty. However, Romania still faces issues related to infrastructure, medical services, and particularly corruption, which is regarded as a legacy of the Communist era.