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 the Romanian communist regime in 1948, becoming the dominant, and later single ruling party until 1989.
In 1947, the Communist Party absorbed much of the Social Democratic Party, while attracting various new members. In the early 1950s, the PCR's dominant wing around Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, with support from Joseph Stalin, defeated all the other factions and achieved full control over the party and country. After 1953, the Romanian Communists did not apply De-Stalinization, and, in time, theorized a "national path" to Communism. This nationalist stance was continued under the leadership of Nicolae Ceauşescu. Following an episode of liberalization in the late 1960s, Ceauşescu again adopted a hard line, and imposed the July Theses. At the time, the PCR massively and artificially increased in size, while being entirely submitted to the will of its general secretary. Its disappearance was a direct consequence of the 1989 Revolution.
The PCR coordinated several organizations during its existence, including the Union of Communist Youth, and organized training for its cadres at the Ştefan Gheorghiu Academy. In addition to 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).
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 Romanian Social Democratic Party (the latter was refounded in 1927, reuniting those opposed to communist policies). 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 Flueraş, Iosif Jumanca, Leon Ghelerter, and Constantin Popovici) left at different intervals beginning in May 1921.
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). 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 or as little as 500; at the end of World War II, it had only around 1,000 members.
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). 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; 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.)
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: 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. Actual or perceived ethnic discrimination against these minorities added to the appeal of revolutionary ideas in their midst.
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 Soviet Union at various intervals (Romanian groups in Moscow and Kharkiv, the sources of a "Muscovite wing" in the following decades). The interior party only survived as an underground group after it was outlawed by the Brătianu government through the Mârzescu Law (named after its proponent, Minister of Justice Gheorghe Gh. Mârzescu), passed in April 1924; Comintern sources indicate that, around 1928, it was losing contact with Soviet overseers. 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 (see Balkan Communist Federation).
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.
Through regained Comintern control, the interior wing began organizing itself as a more efficient conspiratorial network. The onset of the Great Depression in Romania, and the series of strikes infiltrated (and sometimes provoked) by the interior wing signified relative successes (see Lupeni Strike of 1929), but gains were not capitalized—as lack of ideological appeal and suspicion of Stalinist directives remained notable factors. In parallel, its leadership suffered changes that were meant to place it under an ethnic Romanian and working class leadership—the emergence of a Stalin-backed group around Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej before and after the large-scale Griviţa Strikes.
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. 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. In 1934, Petre Constantinescu-Iaşi and other PCdR supporters created Amicii URSS, a pro-Soviet group reaching out to intellectuals, itself banned later in the same year.
During the 1937 elections, the Communists backed Iuliu Maniu and the National Peasants' Party against King Carol II and the Gheorghe Tătărescu government (who had intensified repression of Communist groups), finding themselves placed in an unusual position after the Iron Guard, a fascist movement, signed an electoral pact with Maniu; participation in the move was explained by Communist historiography as provoked by the Social-Democrats' refusal to collaborate with the PCdR.
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.
Until 1944, the group active inside Romania became split between the "prison faction" (detainees who looked to Gheorghiu-Dej as their leader) and the one around Ştefan Foriş and Remus Koffler. 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. It was to be Ana Pauker's mission to take over and reshape the surviving structure.
As Romania came under the rule of Ion Antonescu and, as an Axis country, joined in the German offensive against the Soviets, the Communist Party began approaching traditional parties that were engaged in semi-clandestine opposition to Antonescu: alongside the Social Democrats, it began talks with the National Peasants' and the National Liberal parties. At the time, virtually all the interior leadership was imprisoned at various locations (most of them interned near Târgu Jiu). In June 1943, after troops were suffering major defeats on the Eastern Front, the PCdR proposed that all parties form a Blocul Naţional Democrat ("National Democratic Bloc"), in order to arrange for Romania to withdraw from its alliance with Nazi Germany. The ensuing talks were prolonged by various factors, most notably by the opposition of the 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 Ştirbey with the United States and the United Kingdom).
In early 1944, as the Red Army reached and crossed the Prut River (see Battle of Târgul Frumos), the self-confidence and status gained by the PCdR made possible the creation of the Bloc, which was designed as the basis of a future anti-Axis government. Parallel contacts were established, through Lucreţiu Pătrăşcanu and Emil Bodnăraş, between the PCdR, the Soviets, and King Michael. A seminal event also occurred during those months: Ştefan Foriş, who was still general secretary, was deposed by with Soviet approval by a the rival "prison faction" (at the time, it was headed by former inmates of the prison in Caransebeş); replaced with the troika formed by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Constantin Pîrvulescu, and Iosif Rangheţ, Foriş was discreetly assassinated in 1946. Several assessments view Foriş' dismissal as the complete rupture in historical continuity between the PCdR established in 1921 and what became the ruling party of Communist Romania.
On August 23, 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 into a safe and seized control of the government (see King Michael Coup). 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. 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).
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 Pătrăşcanu as Minister of Justice—the first Communist to hold high office in Romania. The Red Army entered Bucharest on August 31, 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).
The Communist Party, engaged in a massive recruitment campaign, was able to attract ethnic Romanians in large numbers—workers and intellectuals alike, as well as former members of the fascist Iron Guard. By 1947, it grew to around 710,000 members. Although the PCR was still highly disorganized and factionalized, it benefited from Soviet backing (including that of Vladislav Petrovich Vinogradov and other Soviet appointees to the Allied Commission). After 1944, it was leading a paramilitary wing, the Patriotic Defense (Apărarea Patriotică, disbanded in 1948), and a cultural society, the Romanian Society for Friendship with the Soviet Union.
On PCdR initiative, the National Democratic Bloc was dissolved on October 8, 1944; instead, the Communists, Social Democrats, the Ploughmen's Front, Mihai Ralea's Socialist Peasants' Party (which was absorbed by the former in November), the Hungarian People's Union (MADOSZ), and Mitiţă Constantinescu's Union of Patriots formed Frontul Naţional Democrat (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. 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).
Sănătescu resigned in November, but was persuaded by King Michael to form a second government which collapsed within weeks. General Nicolae Rădescu was asked to form a government and appointed Teohari Georgescu to the Ministry of the Interior, which allowed for the introduction of Communists into the security forces. The Communist Party subsequently launched a campaign against the Rădescu government, culminating in a February 13, 1945 demonstration outside the Royal Palace, and followed a week later by street fighting between Georgescu's Communist forces and supporters of the National Peasants' Party in Bucharest. In a period of escalating chaos, Rădescu called for elections. The Soviet deputy foreign minister Andrey Vyshinsky went to Bucharest to demand to the monarch that he appoint Communist sympathizer Petru Groza as Prime Minister, offering that Romania would be given sovereignty over Transylvania if he agreed, and intimating a Soviet takeover of the country if he did not. King Michael, under pressure from Soviet troops who were disarming the Romanian military and occupying key installations, agreed and dismissed Rădescu, who fled the country.
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"). 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 Haţieganu) as Ministers without Portfolio (January 1946). 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.
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). 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.
It was also then that, through Pătrăşcanu 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. 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. 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.
Party control over the security forces was successfully used on November 8, 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. Demonstrators were faced with gunshots; around 10 people were killed, and many wounded. The official account, according to which the Groza government responded to a coup attempt, was since dismissed in many researches.
The PCR and its allies won the Romanian elections of November 19, although there is evidence of widespread electoral fraud. 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. On December 30, 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. 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.
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 fused 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). Nevertheless, Social Democrats were excluded from most party posts and were forced to support Communist policies on the basis of democratic centralism; it was also reported that only half of the PSD's 500,000 members joined the newly-founded grouping. 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).
A new series of economic changes followed: the National Bank of Romania was passed into full public ownership (December 1946), 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). The Marshall Plan was being overtly condemned, while nationalization and a planned economy were enforced beginning June 11, 1948. The first five-year plan, conceived by Miron Constantinescu's Soviet-Romanian committee, was adopted in 1950. 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). In 1950, the party, which viewed itself as the vanguard of the working class, 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.
The move against Pauker's group echoed Stalinist purges of Jews in particular from other Communist Parties in the Eastern bloc—notably, the anti-"Cosmopolitan" campaign in which Joseph Stalin targeted Jews in the Soviet Union, and the Prague Trials in Czechoslovakia which removed Jews from leading positions in that country's Communist government. At the same time, a new republican constitution, replacing its 1948 precedent, legislated Stalinist tenets, and proclaimed that "the people's democratic state is consistently carrying out the policy of enclosing and eliminating capitalist elements". Gheorghiu-Dej, who remained an orthodox Stalinist, took the position of Premier while moving Petru Groza to the Presidency of the People's Republic. Executive and PMR leaderships remained in Gheorghiu-Dej's charge until his death in 1965 (with the exception of 1954-1955, when his office of PMR leader was taken over by Gheorghe Apostol).
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).
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. At a party meeting in March 1956, two members of the Politburo who were supporters of Khruschevite reforms, Miron Constantinescu and Iosif Chişinevschi, criticized Gheorghiu-Dej's leadership and identified him with Romanian Stalinism. They were purged in 1957, themselves accused of being Stalinists and of having been plotting with Pauker. Through Ceauşescu's voice, Gheorghiu-Dej also marginalized another group of old members of the PMR, associated with Constantin Doncea (June 1958).
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. The Hungarian rebellion also sparked student protests in such places as Bucharest, Timişoara, Oradea, Cluj and Iaşi, which contributed to unease inside the PMR and resulted in a wave of arrests. 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.
Despite Stalin's death, the massive police apparatus headed by the Securitate (created in 1949 and rapidly growing in numbers) 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. 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). Estimates for the total number of victims in the 1947/1948-1964 period vary significantly: as low as 160,000 or 282,000 political prisoners, and as high 600,000 (a great number were killed or died in custody—according to one estimate, about 190,000 people). Notorious penal facilities of the time included the Danube-Black Sea Canal, Sighet, Gherla, Aiud, Piteşti, and Râmnicu Sărat; another method of punishment was deportation to the inhospitable Bărăgan Plain.
The change in policies was to become obvious in 1964, when the Communist regime offered a stiff response to the Valev Plan, a Soviet project of creating trans-national economic units and of assigning Romanian areas the task of supplying agricultural products. Several other measures of that year also presented themselves as radical changes in tone: after Gheorghiu-Dej endorsed Andrei Oţetea's publishing of Karl Marx's Russophobic texts (uncovered by the Polish historian Stanisław Schwann), 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 (it read: "There does not and cannot exist a «parent» party and a «son» party or «superior» party and «subordinate» parties"). During late 1948, 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.
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. 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. Nevertheless, the PMR's nationalism made it increasingly popular with Romanian intellectuals, and the last stage of the Gheorghiu-Dej regime was popularly identified with liberalization.
In 1965, Ceauşescu declared that Romania was no longer a People's Democracy but a Socialist Republic and changed the name of the party back to the Romanian Communist Party - steps which were meant to indicate that Romania was following strict Marxist policies while remaining independent. He continued Romanianization and de-Sovietization efforts by stressing notions such as sovereignty and self-determination. At the time, Ceauşescu made references to Gheorghiu-Dej's own personality cult, while implying that his was to be a new style of leadership. In its official discourse, the PCR introduced the dogmas of "socialist democracy" and direct communication with the masses. 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. 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.
A seminal event occurred in August 1968, when Ceauşescu highlighted his anti-Soviet discourse by vocally opposing the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia; a highly popular measure with the Romanian public, it lead 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). From 1965 to 1976, the PCR rose from approximately 1.4 million members to 2.6 million. 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. Although military intervention in Romania was reportedly taken into consideration by the Soviets, there is indication that Leonid Brezhnev had himself ruled out Romanian participation in Warsaw Pact maneuvers, and that he continued to rely on Ceauşescu's support for other common goals.
While it appears that Romanian leaders genuinely approved of reforms undertaken by Alexander Dubček, Ceauşescu's gesture also served to consolidate his image as a national and independent communist leader. One year before the invasion of Czechoslovakia, Ceauşescu opened up diplomatic ties with West Germany, and refused to break links with Israel following the Six-Day War. Starting with the much-publicized visit by France's Charles de Gaulle (May 1968), 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 Ceauşescu was frequently received in Western capitals).
Ceauşescu developed a cult of personality around himself and his wife Elena (herself promoted to high offices) after visiting North Korea and noting the parallel developed by Kim Il-sung, while incorporating in it several aspects of past authoritarian regimes in Romania (see Conducător). During the early 1970s, while curbing liberalization, he launched his own version of China's Cultural Revolution, announced by the July Theses. In effect, measures to concentrate power in Ceauşescu's hands were taken as early as 1967, when the general secretary became the ultimate authority on foreign policy.
At the time, a new political body was instituted under the name of Front of Socialist Unity (eventually renamed Front of Socialist Unity and Democracy); tightly controlled by party activists, it was meant to affiliate virtually all non-party members, and thus consolidate the impression that the entire population was backing Ceauşescu's policies. 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). By then, the general secretary also called for women to be enrolled in greater numbers in all party structures. In parallel, the party line in respect to minorities claimed interest in obtaining allegiance from both Hungarians and Germans, and set up separate wokers' councils for both communities.
Members of the upper echelons of the party who objected to Ceauşescu's stance were accused of supporting Soviet policies; they included Alexandru Bârlădeanu, who criticized the heavy loans contracted in support of industrialization policies. 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). Instead, he came to rely on a new grouping of activists, one which included Manea Mănescu.
At the XIth Party Congress in 1974, Gheorghe Cioară, the Mayor of Bucharest, proposed to extend Ceauşescu's office as General Secretary for life, but was turned down by the latter. 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 Ceauşescu himself, who was president of both bodies. During the same year, the general secretary inaugurated the office of President of the Socialist Republic, following a ceremonial during which he was handed a sceptre; this was the first in a succession of titles (they also included "supreme commander of the Romanian Army", "honorary president of the Romanian Academy", and "first among the country's miners"). Progressively after 1967, the large bureaucratic structure of the PCR again replicated and interfered with state administration and economic policies. The President himself became noted for frequent visits on location at various enterprises, where he would dispense directives, for which the termed indicaţii preţioase ("valuable advice") was coined by official propaganda.
Two other programs initiated under Ceauşescu 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); it also brought massive changes for the cities—especially Bucharest, where, following the 1977 Earthquake and successive demolitions, new architectural guidelines were imposed (see Ceauşima). By 1966, Romania outlawed abortion, and, progressively after that, measures were endorsed to artificially increase the birth rate—including special taxes for childless couples. 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. Overall, around 200,000 Germans left, most of them Transylvanian Saxons and Banat Swabians.
Although Romania adhered to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (1973) and signed the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, Ceauşescu also intensified political repression in the country (beginning in 1971). 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. 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). A newly-created and independent trade union, SLOMR, was crushed and its leaders arrested on various charges in 1979. Progressively during the period, the Securitate relied on involuntary commitment to psychiatric hospitals as a means to punish dissidence.
A major act of discontent occurred inside the party during its XIIth Congress in late November 1979, when PCR veteran Constantin Pîrvulescu spoke out against Ceauşescu's policy of discouraging discussions and relying on obedient cadres (he was subsequently heckled, evicted from the Congress hall, and isolated). In 1983, Radu Filipescu, an engineer working in Bucharest, was imprisoned after distributing 20,000 leaflets which called for a popular rally against the regime, while a protests of miners in Maramureş County against wage cuts was broken up by Securitate forces; three years layer strike organized by Romanian and Hungarian industrial workers in Turda and Cluj-Napoca met with the same result. Also in 1983, fearing the multiplication of samizdat documents, Minister of the Interior George Homoştean ordered all citizens to hand down their typewriters to the authorities. 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.
By 1983, membership of the PCR had risen to 3.3 million, and, in 1989, to 3.7-3.8 million—meaning that, in the end, over 20% of Romanian adults were party members, making the PCR the largest communist group of the Eastern Bloc after the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. 64,200 basic party units, answering to county committees, varying in number and representing various areas of Romanian society, were officially recorded in 1980. 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%. In the end, these records contrasted the fact that the PCR had become completely submitted to its leader and no longer had any form of autonomous activity, while membership became a basic requirement in numerous of social contexts, leading to a purely formal allegiances and political clientelism.
At the same time, the ideological viewpoint was changed, with the party no longer seen as the vanguard of the working class, but as the main social factor and the embodiment of the national interest. In marked contrast with the Perestroika and Glasnost developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Gorbachev, Romania revived Stalinist policies in both its internal policies and its relation to the outside.
As recorded in 1984, 90% of the PCR members were ethnic Romanian, with 7% Hungarians (the latter group's membership had dropped by more than 2% since the previous Congress). 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. 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).
Especially during the 1980s, clientelism was further enhanced by a new policy, rotaţia 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 promote. 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. In June 1988, the leadership of the Political Executive Committee was reduced from 15 to 7 members, including Nicolae Ceauşescu and his wife.
Announced by a February 1987 protest of workers and students in Iaşi, the final crisis of the PCR and its regime began in the autumn, when industrial employees in Braşov called a strike that immediately drew echoes with the city's population (see Braşov Rebellion). In December, authorities convened a public kangaroo trial of the movement's leaders, and handed out sentences of imprisonment and internal exile.
Inaugurated by Silviu Brucan's public criticism of the Braşov repression, and inspired by the impact of changes in other Eastern Bloc countries, protests of marginalized PCR activists became notorious after March 1989, when Brucan and Pîrvulescu, together with Gheorghe Apostol, Alexandru Bârlădeanu, Grigore Răceanu and Corneliu Mănescu, sent Ceauşescu their so-called Letter of the Six, publicized over Radio Free Europe. 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, while all other Eastern bloc countries abstained. This followed more than a decade of deteriorating relations between the PCR and the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party.
Eventually, both Ceauşescu and the party were overthrown in the Romanian Revolution of December 1989, begun as a popular rebellion in Timişoara and eventually bringing to power the National Salvation Front, comprising an important number of former PCR members who supported Gorbachev's vision. The general secretary was executed together with Elena Ceauşescu, and the PCR disbanded. The spontaneity of the latter move and the rapid pace at which the PCR, one of the largest political parties of its kind, dissolved itself were held by commentators as additional proof that membership provided a highly inaccurate image in respect to actual convictions.
|Ist (May 1921)||Bucharest|
|IInd (October 1922)||Ploieşti|
|IIIrd (August 1924)||Vienna|
|IVth (July 1928)||Kharkiv|
|Vth (December 1931)||Gorikovo|
|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|
|Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej||October 1945–April 20, 1954|
|Gheorghe Apostol||April 20, 1954–September 30, 1955|
|Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej||September 30, 1955–March 19, 1965|
|Nicolae Ceauşescu||March 22,1965–December 22, 1989|
Taking Aim at the Hydra: Why the "Allied-Party Doctrine" Should Not Apply in Qui Tam Cases When the Government Declines to Intervene
Jul 01, 2004; I. INTRODUCTION It seems since antiquity every lawyer has been force-fed the notion that litigants have a right to uncover what...