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Dr.

ALESANDRU DUŢU
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989
Chronology
Dr. ALESANDRU DUŢU

THE REVOLUTION
OF DECEMBER 1989
Chronology

Second Edition, revised and completed

Editura IRRD
Bucuresti, 2012
Editor: Alexandru Oşca

Translation: Delia Anghelescu

All rights on this edition are reserved to IRRD Publishing

Copyright @ IRRD, 2012

Descrierea CIP a Bibliotecii Naţionale a României


DUŢU, ALESANDRU
The Revolution of December 1989 : chronology /
Alesandru Duţu. - Bucureşti : Editura Institutului Revoluţiei
Române din Decembrie 1989, 2012
Bibliogr.
Index
ISBN 978-606-92847-8-0

94(498)"1989.12"

ISBN 978-606-92847-8-0
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

CONTENTS

Foreword .................................................................................. 9
1917 – 1989............................................................................ 19
December 14th, 1989 .............................................................. 88
December 15th, 1989 .............................................................. 90
December 16th, 1989 .............................................................. 92
December 17th, 1989 .............................................................. 97
December 18th, 1989 ............................................................ 113
December 19th, 1989 ............................................................ 120
December 20th, 1989 ............................................................ 128
December 21st, 1989 ............................................................ 144
December 22nd, 1989............................................................ 164
December 23rd, 1989 ............................................................ 222
December 24th, 1989 ............................................................ 240
December 25th, 1989 ............................................................ 254
December 26th, 1989 ............................................................ 260
December 27th, 1989 ............................................................ 263
December 28th, 1989 ............................................................ 265
December 29th, 1989 ............................................................ 267
December 30th, 1989 ............................................................ 269
December 31st, 1989 ............................................................ 271
1990 – 1991.......................................................................... 273
BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................................................ 296

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SOMAIRE

Avant propos ............................................................................. 9


1917-1989 ............................................................................... 19
14 Décembre 1989 .................................................................. 88
15 Décembre 1989 .................................................................. 90
16 Décembre 1989 .................................................................. 92
17 Décembre 1989 .................................................................. 97
18 Décembre 1989 ................................................................ 113
19 Décembre 1989 ................................................................ 120
20 Décembre 1989 ................................................................ 128
21 Décembre 1989 ................................................................ 144
22 Décembre 1989 ................................................................ 164
23 Décembre 1989 ................................................................ 222
24 Décembre 1989 ................................................................ 240
25 Décembre 1989 ................................................................ 254
26 Décembre 1989 ................................................................ 260
27 Décembre 1989 ................................................................ 263
28 Décembre 1989 ................................................................ 265
29 Décembre 1989 ................................................................ 267
30 Décembre 1989 ................................................................ 269
31 Décembre 1989 ................................................................ 271
1990-1991 ............................................................................. 273
Bibliographie......................................................................... 299

6
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

INHALT

Vorwort ..................................................................................... 9
1917-1989 ............................................................................... 19
14 Dezember 1989 .................................................................. 88
15 Dezember 1989 .................................................................. 90
16 Dezember 1989 .................................................................. 92
17 Dezember 1989 .................................................................. 97
18 Dezember 1989 ................................................................ 113
19 Dezember 1989 ................................................................ 120
20 Dezember 1989 ................................................................ 128
21 Dezember 1989 ................................................................ 144
22 Dezember 1989 ................................................................ 164
23 Dezember 1989 ................................................................ 222
24 Dezember 1989 ................................................................ 240
25 Dezember 1989 ................................................................ 254
26 Dezember 1989 ................................................................ 260
27 Dezember 1989 ................................................................ 263
28 Dezember 1989 ................................................................ 265
29 Dezember 1989 ................................................................ 267
30 Dezember 1989 ................................................................ 269
31 Dezember 1989 ................................................................ 271
1990-1991 ............................................................................. 273
Bibliographie......................................................................... 299

7
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Foreword

The breaking down of communist/socialist-communist1


totalitarian regimes gave 1989 an exceptional importance in the
history of Europe, making the passage from dictatorship to
democracy possible, as well as the finalisation/beginning of ample
reform processes in the political, economic, social domains. At the
same time, it contributed to – within the new international context
which led to the falling of the Berlin Wall (November 9th, 1989) –
the end of the “cold war” and created the favourable conditions for
the unification of the continent. In a relatively short period of time
(1988 – 1989), the revolutions in Eastern Europe swept away the
communist regimes which had taken power by use of force with the
same rapidity, in the states under the influence/occupation of the
Soviet Union, states which had rejected the communist experience2
in the inter-war period, despite the attempts of Moscow to impose it
in various places together with the activity of the III Komintern
between 1919 – 1943.
Not before 27 years had passed, since communism was
imposed in Russia, that the Red Army could cross, in March 1944,
the eastern limits of the Soviet Union, to penetrate the territory on
the western part of the Dniester, to Romania, then to Poland,
Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Germany; even
more importantly that was the moment when Winston Churchill
signed with J.V. Stalin the terrible Percentages Agreement of 9
October 1944 through which Central, Eastern and Southern-Eastern
Europe were divided in spheres of influence, depending on the
interests of the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom; only then
could the Soviet Union impose not only its influence/ domination/

1
Prof. dr. Ioan Scurtu considers that “in the states of Central and South-Eastern Europe
where the power belonged to communist parties” did not exist a communist regime, but a
“socialist-totalitarian one” (Romanian Revolution of December 1989 in the International
Context, Editura Enciclopedică, Editura Institutului Revoluţiei Române din Decembrie 1989,
Bucureşti, 2006, p. 21-34). As the names and the appreciation that a party or a and regime is
communist are consecrated in historiography we will use them as such in the present work.
2
Communism was established (at least theoretically) for the first time, in October 1917 in
Russia, which became in 1922 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In 1924 the
Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party decided, as well, that Mongolia was to follow the
way of non-capitalist development.
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occupation in the respective areas, but also the communist regimes


in the states where the Soviet military had set foot or not (Albania,
Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, Romania, Hungary
as well as the future Eastern Germany) with the exception of
Austria. This way, J.V. Stalin’s words of April 1945 proved true as
he was supposed to have said ”whoever occupies a territory imposes
his own social system. You impose your own social system to the
limit to which your army advances”3 In Asia, except for Mongolia,
countries such as the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic
Republic of Korea and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam were to
become communist, and so would do, sometime later, Cuba (1959)
on the American continent.
If in 1939, when World War II broke out there were
170,000,000 people living in a communist regime (8-9% of the
population on Earth); in 1949, when the communists had won
political power in all the states under the domination of Moscow,
there were 845,000,000 citizens of the planet living in a communist
regime (almost 33%).4 The communist regimes in Europe, most of
the times, were the result of force and terror.5 Initially, until 1948,
for the new satellite states, future communist states, the term used
was “people’s democracy”, then the term of “proletariat dictatorship”6
was imposed. As regards the number of party members, some
communist parties in European states (Romania, Hungary, a.s.o.)
were, at the end of the war, extremely weak and, at the same time,
compromised by the anti-state activity which they developed during
the inter-war period and during the war. In other states (Yugoslavia,
Albania, Czechoslovakia) the respective parties had won the support
of the population by their anti-German resistance movement, thus
taking power before the end of the war.7
Using different methods and taking advantage of the post-war
situation (political, military, economic pressure on the part of the
Soviet Union, the so-called role of liberator played by the Red

3
Ioan Chiper, Florin Constantiniu, Adrian Pop, Sovietizarea României. Percepţii anglo-americane
[Romania’s Sovietization. Anglo-American Perceptions] (1944-1947), Editura Iconica, Bucureşti, 1993,
p. 8.
4
Jean François Soulet, Istoria comparată a statelor comuniste din 1945 până în zilele
noastre, [Histoire comparée des États communistes de 1945 à nos jours, in original] Editura
Polirom, Iaşi, p. 11.
5
Joseph Rothschild appreciates that the world geomilitary security of the Soviet Union “could
be guaranteed very easily through other means” (Coming back to diversity. The political
history of central and Eastern Europe after the WW II, Editura Antet, Oradea, 1997.115)
6
Ioan Scurtu, Istoria contemporană a României [Romania’s Contemporary History] (1918-
2005), Editura Fundaţiei România de Mâine, Bucureşti, 2005, p. 115.
7
Marea conflagraţie a secolului XX. Al doilea război mondial, [The Big Conflagration of the
20th Century] Editura Politică, Bucureşti, 1971, p. 147-162, 216-232, 332-354.
10
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Army, the poverty which most citizens in the states under Soviet
influence experienced, opportunism on the part of some non-
communist elements, etc.) resulted in the increase in number of
party members in the first years after the war, reaching in 1947,
1,300,000 in Czechoslovakia, 400,000 in Yugoslavia, 800,000 in
Poland, 710,000 in Romania, 750,000 in Bulgaria.8 All this, in spite
of the territorial pillage made by the Soviet Union (the case of
Poland in 1939 – even if in 1945 they imposed the extension of the
Polish-German border up to the Oder-Neisse line – and that of
Romania in 1940) as well as the atrocities committed by the Soviets
in some states (in the case of Poland in 1939 and in the case of
Romania-in Bessarabia and north Bukovina – in 1940 and 1941).
As the situation differed in each country, the local
communists got to power through different means, being offered or
overtaking the main ministries in the state apparatus which they
used to eliminate the democratic bourgeois parties in the opposition
or even part of an alliance (Socialist, Social-Democrat). In some
countries, where the communists benefitted from a “respectable and
indigenous”9 image, the prime-ministers were communists from the
very beginning (Klement Gottwald in Czechoslovakia), while in
other countries – only followers (Dr. Petru Groza in Romania). In
every situation, the communists balanced the lack of popularity with
the importance of the positions they held in ministries (Interior,
Justice, Defence, etc.) as well as with the support they had from the
Soviet Union.
During the period of 1944 – 1948, some coalition governments
included personalities who had activated in exile, outside the Soviet
Union (in Poland “the Londoner” St. Mikolajczyk was offered the
position of prime-minister)10. In other cases, the coalition governments
of 1945-1948 showed “moderation” towards their “bourgeois” partners
(Czechoslovakia) or they acted in a tough way (Romania) aiming at the
destruction of the respective political structures and even the physical
destruction of their adversaries. At the same time, in their race to
power, the communists controlled and managed, in almost every state,
the mass organisations, the trade unions, etc.
In some countries, the communist parties consolidated their
position following parliamentary elections which they controlled
according to their desire - with some exceptions (Hungary, on 4th of
November 1946, not to provoke the Anglo-Americans in the hope of

8
Teodora Stănescu-Stanciu, Structuri politice în Europa Centrală şi de Sud-Est [Political
structures in Central and Southern-Eastern Europe] (19182000), Editura Fundaţiei România
de Mâine, Bucureşti, 2005, p. 80.
9
Joseph Rothschild, op. cit. p. 134.
10
On October 21st 1947 he ran away to the West.
11
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getting some advantage at the Peace Conference of 1946) using


terror, putting under arrest their opponents and the latter’s
supporters and falsifying the elections they had won, as a general
rule, within a forced coalition (the National Front of Yugoslavia, the
Fatherland Front in Bulgaria, the Democratic Front in Albania, the
National Front in Czechoslovakia, the People’s Democratic Front in
Romania, the Democratic Bloc in Poland) after which they
abandoned their allies. In Hungary, in November 1945, due to a
“moderate” policy towards their political opponents, the communists
got only 17% of the votes (to the dissatisfaction of Moscow) and in
August 1947 only 22.3%. Only in May 1949, in a different historical
context and when the vote was grouped on a single governmental
list, did they get 95.6% of the voting polls. After 1948, with the
aggravation of cold war, Moscow imposed communist/socialist-
totalitarian governments in all countries, giving up the “alliance”
policy used in the first post-war years. In Czechoslovakia, where the
pluri-party system continued to function, including in the governing
powers, advantage was taken of the resignation of 12 non-
communist ministers (12th of February 1948), masses were brought
out in the streets and a pre-revolutionary situation was created
(similarly to that in Romania, in February 1945). In a few days, on
the 25th of February, there was a communist government in power
led by Klement Gottwald.
While political parties were getting rid of the “exploiting
classes”, the communists who were already in power imposed - in
the majority of the states in the system - the process of “unification”
on a Marxist basis, together with the social-democrat/socialist
parties, which led to the establishment of: the Socialist Unity Party
of Germany (21-22nd of April 1946/in the Soviet occupation area),
the Hungarian Working People’s Party (12-14th of January 1948),
The Romanian People’s Party (21-23rd of February 1948), the
Polish United Workers’ Party (15–21st of December 1948). In other
states they changed their names, resulting in the Albanian Party of
Labour – from the Communist Party in Albania (8-22nd of
November 1948), the Bulgarian Communist Party – from the
Workers’ Party (18 – 25th of December 1949), the Communists’
Union of Yugoslavia – from the Communist Party of Yugoslavia
(November 1952).
During the same period, in conformity with the general
scenario of getting the political power in the state, the majority of
European countries (and not only) in the Soviet area of influence
proclaimed themselves as a People’s Republic: Yugoslavia – on 29th
of November 1945, Albania – on 11th of January 1946, Bulgaria –
on 15th of September 1946, Romania – on 30th of December 1947;
12
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology
th
Hungary – on 18 of August 1949. Some called themselves a
Democratic-People’s Republic (in the case of Czechoslovakia on the
9th of May 1948) or Democrat (in the case of the eastern part of
Germany, on 7 October 1949). Later on, Albania, Czechoslovakia,
Yugoslavia and Romania took the name of Socialist Republic. At the
same time or later on, Constitutions were adopted after the Soviet
model: on 31st of January 1946 in Yugoslavia, on 11th of March
1946 in Albania, on 4th of December 1946 in Bulgaria, on 9th of May
1948 in Czechoslovakia, on 7th of October 1949 in East Germany, on
13th of April 1948 in Romania, on 18th of August 1949 in Hungary.
Even after getting the power in the state, in many situations
there were tensions both in the communist parties as well as between
the leading centre in Moscow and some of the smaller parties
(Yugoslavia) or even bigger ones (China). Often, the leaders in
power managed to eliminate their real opponents or imagined ones,
which resulted in arrests, trials and long-term imprisonment,
sometimes even death.
In Czechoslovakia, after he managed the “purification”
(supported by Klement Gottwald), Rudolf Slansky was himself a
victim of a resounding process, between the 12th and 27th of
November 1952, when he was tried, together with other 13
communists, as “Trotsky-Sion-Nationalist-Bourgeois spies and
saboteurs, enemies of the Czech nation, of its popular-democratic
order and of socialism”.11
In Hungary, the trial of the former Minister of the Interior
Laslo Rajk (March 1946 – August 1948) who, after fighting to get
the Hungarian communists to power in a more rapid way than the
one desired by J.V.Stalin, was arrested, in June 1949, tried and
killed by hanging in September of the same year.
In Romania, after the communist scholar Lucreţiu Pătrăşcanu
was politically eliminated in 1948 (and physically in 1954) there
came the turn of the Ana Pauker – Vasile Luca group
(both “ Moscovite”) and that of Teoharie Georgescu.
In Bulgaria, the “nationalist” Traicho Kostov was eliminated
(March 26th 1949) who, after being arrested (on June 25th) was tried,
sentenced to death and hanged on December 16th 1949.
In Albania, Koci Xoxe was tried for treason and sentenced to
death.
In Poland, Wladislav Gomulka was dismissed from his
position of secretary general, excluded from the Central Committee
(on the 21st of January 1949) and arrested on the 2nd of January
1951. The trials continued after the death of J.V. Stalin (in

11
Joseph Rothschild, op. cit. p. 198.
13
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Czechoslovakia in May 1953 and April 1954, in Romania in 1954).


Even if the majority of European communist parties accepted from
the very beginning the supremacy of the Communist Party of the
Soviet Union and the principles of marxist-leninist ideology, there
were cases and situations where some leaders tried to find and adopt
“their own ways” to socialism (J.B. Tito in Yugoslavia,12 Wladislaw
Gomulka in Poland). “Being under permanent supervision” they
would be accused of “right wing and nationalist deviations”, even
if, in Poland, for example, J.V. Stalin did not brutally intervene in
imposing the Soviet model.13 Some of the communist leaders who
angered in a way or another the “leader” in Kremlin were to be
“excommunicated” (J.B. Tito), others were dismissed as leaders of
the respective parties and arrested, although they did not contest the
essence of the communist system (Wladislav Gomulka14), and even
executed (Traicho Kostov). The only one who was kept in power
was J.B. Tito in Yugoslavia.
Where it was considered that the leaders and communist
parties had overcome “the limits” generally accepted by the leading
centre in the building of socialism, Moscow intervened brutally,
used armed forces (In Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in
1968) using in the Czech case armed forces of the Warsaw Treaty
(with the exception of the Romanian ones). However, there were
cases when, by using the favourable international context, some
communist leaders promoted, without putting in danger the appartenence
to the communist system, a domestic policy of liberalisation and
separation from the Moscow policy on a foreign level (Nicolae
Ceauşescu temporarily) or even domestic liberalisation (Janos Kadar).
They all felt the danger of the application of the “Brejnev doctrine”,
adopted after the events in Czechoslovia in 1968 which included a
rapid armed intervention, to reestablish the “values” of socialism,
where they had been threatened. A moment of change in the destiny
of the Soviet Union, and of communism15 in general, had to be
produced in the spring of 1985 when, as J.Fr. Revel showed,
following the elections of M.S. Gorbachev as Secretary General of
the CPSU and the changes proposed within the programme known
as “perestroika” (reconstruction), “glasnosti” (transparency) and

12
In 1953 he abandoned collectivization and adopted (on January 13th) a different
Constitution from the one of 31 January 1946, which he had copied almost completely from
the Soviet one.
13
This thing allowed for a “softer” attitude towards Church, the peasantry, the conservation of
traditions and national emblems, etc.
14
The Polish communist leader was released in December 1954 without being politically
rehabilitated.
15
Teodora Stănescu-Stanciu, op. cit. p. 131.
14
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

“uskorenie” (acceleration), “the wave of democratisation started to


shake the whole communist universe”. Slowly, but surely, the
change made room, even if the new Soviet leader wanted to get the
totalitarian socialism out of the crisis16. Especially so, after the
replacement of the “Brezhnev doctrine” with the “Sinatra doctrine”
which involved, for the first time, the non-intervention of the Soviet
Union in the domestic affairs of the states in its area of influence and
the implication of the western democratic states in sweeping away
the “empire of evil” and its consequences.
In this favourable international context, the majority of states
in eastern Europe were going to get rid of communism – following
ample reforming processes (Hungary and Poland), through a “velvet
revolution” (Czechoslovakia), through a very troubling revolution
(Romania) or through the peaceful stepping down of the communist
leaders (state coups) in Bulgaria and East Germany – as rapid as the
ones imposed in 1917 in the Soviet Union and between 1945 – 1948
in the states under Soviet influence.
The start was made in Poland, where, for the first time, at the
beginning of the 80’s, a communist government had to negotiate
with one trade union (“Solidarity”) which was not controlled by the
communists or by the representatives of the power. And still there,
over a decade, General Wojciech Jaruzelski – the one who, in
December 1981, had proclaimed the Martial Law and had outlawed
“Solidarity” – had to accept (on August 26th, 1988) “a round table”
with the opposition and to appoint a reformed communist (Mieczyslav
Rakovski) as head of government, an adept of the Gorbachev politics.
One year later, following the elections won by the opposition, the same
Wojciech Jaruzelski appoints Tadeus Mazoviecki, adviser of
“Solidarity” as head of government, on August 19th 1989, a government
with a majority of the opposition and a minority of communists. This
strange situation was to be accepted by M.S. Gorbachev.
The reformers had success in Hungary as well, where Kadar
Janos, leader of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party in 1956,
had adopted a more liberal policy than in other states in the system.
Even so, the Hungarian communist leader was to be replaced on the
22nd of May 1988. Moreover, in the Extraordinary Congress
between October 6-9th, 1989, the new leadership of HSWP needed
to accept and to declare that the “historic role” of the party had
ended and to decide a change of name into the Hungarian Socialist
Party. In the new international context and benefiting from the
encouragement and support of western states, especially the United

16
Ioan Scurtu, 1989 - an revoluţionar în istoria Europe [1989-Revolutionary Year in the
History of Europe],,,Clio 1989", Bucureşti, 2005, p. 15-64.
15
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States and West Germany, the Parliament in Budapest was to


decide, on October 20th 1989, the amendment of the constitution,
through which they gave up the name of people’s republic and
proclaimed the institution of market economy and multi-party
system. There followed the annihilation of party organisations at
work places and other measures, which took the Hungarian
communists out of the foreground of political life forever.
Even if they did not openly start reforms, the Czechoslovakian
communists declared themselves, at least their adepts, making
changes at the level of the people, at the level of the goverment in
November 1988, Lubomir Strugal being replaced by Ladislav
Adamec. A year later, Milos Jakes himself, General Secretary of the
Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
pronounced himself in favour of the dialogue with citizens (to
counterbalance the opposition action), whose action was getting
more radical under the influence of the Civic Forum, led by Vaclav
Havel. There were ample citizens’ manifestations in the “velvet
revolution” following which, on November 29th 1989, the Parliament
in Prague decided to eliminate the leading role of the Communist
party in society and in the state from the Constitution. Then, there
was a new government where the communists were a minority (on
December 10th 1989), the president of the Republic Gustav Husak
was dismissed (on December 11th, 1989) and Vaclav Havel was
elected for the highest position in the state (on December 29th, 1989)
as leader of the Civic Forum and the “Velvet Revolution”.
The liberalisation process was manifest in Bulgaria as well,
where the reformers made Todor Jivkov (on November 10th, 1989)
resign from the position of general secretary of the communist party,
his place being taken by Petar Mladenov who declared himself in
favour of democracy and citizens’ freedoms.
Being opposed to democratic reforms, even those of the
perestroika-type, Erich Honecker in East Germany was not
successful in the fight against the changes required by the
opposition, especially those connected to the New Forum. Having to
face hundred of thousands of East-Germans who manifested in the
streets to ask for democratic changes, the authorities had to use
dialogue. Trying to calm down the situation, Erich Honecker himself
was forced to resign (on October 18th, 1989) from his position as
general secretary of the party (on December 3rd he was excluded
from the Central Committee and from his membership to the party)
being replaced by Egon Krenz, considered to be more liberal as he
was in favour of a dialogue with the opposition and the Church for
free elections; on November 9th, 1989 the Parliament decided to
annul the provision of art.1 of the Constitution which refered to the
16
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

leading role of the communist party. As compared to the situation in


other states, east of the “iron curtain”, in Romania the fall of the
communist-socialist-totalitarian regime could not be achieved
peacefully, as Nicolae Ceauşescu held tightly to power and rejected
the idea of democratic reforms in the Romanian society.
As a result, within the revolutionary process of Eastern
Europe and the foreign scenarios regarding the sweeping off of
Nicolae Ceauşescu and his regime, in mid-December 1989, after an
attempted popular revolt which failed in Iași (on December 14th), the
Romanians went out in the streets, first in Timişoara (on December
16th), then Arad, Lugoj, Cluj etc. cheering: ”Liberty”, “Down with
the dictatorship”, “Down with Ceauşescu”, etc. fighting against the
repressive force structures of the regime, that did not hesitate to
shoot, injure and kill when ordered by the head of state, to the
indignation of the whole world that supported the people’s heroic
fight.
After five days of fight against the regime structures, the
inhabitants of Timişoara went out in the streets by thousands - on
December 20th - starting a general strike and forming the Romanian
Democratic Front, which required the organisation of free,
democratic elections, rights and liberties for the citizens, political,
economic and social reforms, the release of political prisoners and of
the arrested people. In Opera Square, contestants declared Timişoara
the first city free of communist dictatorship. There followed – on
December 21st - the uprising in Bucharest, the repression on the
night of December 20th -21st at “Intercontinental” Hotel, the
demonstration of tens of thousands of citizens of the capital (on
December 22nd), followed by the fall of Nicolae Ceauşescu and the
establishment of the National Salvation Front, whose Council
released, late at night, via television, the Statement to the country,
the most radical document of the Revolution.
On this occasion, Ion Iliescu announced the resignation of the
government and the dissolution of the power structures of the former
regime, the overtake of power by the Council of the National
Salvation Front, the renounciation to the leading role of the
communist party, the instauration of a pluralist democratic system of
government, etc. The document said that the main objective of NSF
was “to institute democracy, liberty and the rights of the Romanian
people” and that the country will be called Romania.
But just before that, forces still unknown had started terrorist
attacks, which provoked many victims, as well as material and
spiritual loss; concomitently, Romania was the victim of an intense
electronic warfare. The situation got stable after the “trial” and
execution of Nicolae Ceauşescu (and his wife) on December 25th,
17
Alesandru Duțu

1989. It took 1,104 citizens, out of whom 221 military, for the
Romanian revolution to be successful. At the same time, there were
3,321 wounded (663 military)17.
In the years to follow, the states in Eastern Europe went on, in
a more rapid or slower way, on the route to democracy and liberty,
Soviet Union included, where communism was to disappear at the
end of 1991, with the desintegration of the empire which had
imposed it. When referring to this, Henry Kissinger was to write:
“No other world power got to pieces so completely and rapidly
without losing a war”.18

17
Armata română în Revoluţia din Decembrie 1989. Studiu documentar, [The Romanian
Army in the December 1989 Revolution] Ediţia a II-a revăzută şi adăugită, Editura Militară,
Bucureşti, 1998, p.462 (from now on, it will be quoted as The Romanian Army in the
December 1989 Revolution).
18
Henry Kissinger, Democraţia [Democracy], Bucureşti, Editura All, 1998, p. 665.
18
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

1917 – 1989

1917
October 25th / November 7th. Following a state coup, started in
Petrograd – the headquarters of the provisional government led by
A.F. Kerenski – the Bolshevics took over power in the Soviet Russia
(the USSR as of 1922). The fact is made public by the appeal “To
the citizens of Russia” launched by the Military-Revolutionary
Committee (created as an annex to the Soviet of Petrograd on
October 12/25th). Immediately after, the first Soviet government (the
Council of the People’s Commissars, led by V.I. Lenin) was created.
Shortly after, the Bolsheviks were to take over power in Moscow,
Minsk, Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Lugansk, Kazan, Rostov on Donn,
Yekaterinburg, Revel, Samara, Saratov, Baku, Vladivostok, etc.
There follows a cruel civil war, to be won by the Bolsheviks
(November 1920), after the Wrangel’s army got defeated.

1918
February 22-24th /March 6th The 7th Congress of the Russian
Working Social-Democrat Party adops the name of Communist
Party of Russia.
July 10th In Bolshevic Russia, a new Constitution is promulgated,
which validates the institution of the proletariat dictatorship.

1919
December 30th 1918 – January 1st. The Communist Party of
Germany is constituted, which acts against the socialist government
and forms committees of soldiers, sailors and workers, after the
Bolshevik model, especially in the industrial areas of Ruhr, Saxony,
Bavaria and in the harbours at the North Sea. A short time after that,
the Soviet Republic of Bremen will be proclaimed (on January 10th)
as well as the Soviet Republic of Bavaria (on April 13th), which
were going to have a very short existence.
March. 2-6th In Moscow, under the leadership of V.J. Lenin
the Communist International III (the Comintern) is set up, which
intends to become “a world communist party” with the mission of
instituting socialism and communism in the whole world. The
communist parties belonging to the Comintern are considered
“national branches” and are forced to follow the decisions of the

19
Alesandru Duțu

Komintern. Komintern became a danger factor for the independence


and integrity of the neighbouring states of the Soviet Union,
including Romania.
March 21st – August.6th After the setting up of the Communist
Party of Hungary (on November 24th 1918) and in the context of the
political crisis determined by the desire to satisfy the Hungarian
requests during the Peace Conference in Paris, which opened its
works in January 1919, the Hungarian Republic of the Councils is
formed in Hungary on March 21st 1919; the government is made up
of socialists and communists; the “counter revolutionary” domestic
actions and the defeat, on the war front, in the war against Romania
and Slovakia made that the Hungarian Republic of the Councils,
constituted after the model of the Bolshevik Russia, with whom they
correlated their foreign policy, to stop its activity after 133 days, on
August 6th 1919 when a government of right wing was constituted
and the “white terror” of the “national army” started, led by Horthy
Miklos (elected in the Parliament on March 1st 1920 as Regent of
Hungary – proclaimed Monarchy on March 23rd)19.

1921
March.7th Immediately after the 10th Congress of the Communist
Party (Bolshevik) of Russia a new economic policy is adopted.
May 8-12th. In Romania, in the general congress of the
Socialist Party20 decides its transformation into the Socialist-
Communist Party. In the afternoon of May 12th, at about 17.00 hrs.,
representatives of the authorities came in the hall to arrest the
delegates, who had voted for the affiliation “without reserve” to the
Comintern III21 under the charge of “conspiracy against the state
security”22. On the Romanian political scene there appears an
extremist left political group.

1922
October 3-4th. The 2nd Congress of the Socialist – Communist
Party of Romania, which took place in Ploiești, adopts the statute of the
party and decides to call it the Romanian Communist Party. As secretary

19
Istoria lumii în date [The History of the World in Dates], Editura Enciclopedică Română,
Bucureşti, 1972, p. 373.
20
Organised until May 9th at the location of the “Socialismul”newspaper, then at the central
headquarters of the party in St. Sf. Ionica in Bucharest.
21
“Affiliation to Comintern – Denis Deletant appreciates – was a kind of “kiss of death” for
the Communist Party of the inter-war period” [Romania Under the Communist Regime],
ediția a doua, Fundatia Academia Civică, Bucuresti, 2006, p.15)
22
Those arrested will be tried between January 23rd 1922 – June 4th 1922 in Bucharest in the
trial known as “Dealul Spirii”.
20
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

general is elected Gheorghe Cristescu who is also appointed


representative of the party to the Executive Committee of the Comintern.
November 5th – December 5th. The 3rd Comintern assumes,
during its 4th Congress in Petrograd the right to interfere in the
domestic issues of the affiliated communist parties.
December 30th. Soviet Russia becomes the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics (USSR).

1923
September – December. The 3rd Comintern gives (on the
occasion of the visit of a delegation led by Gheorghe Cristescu to
Moscow) the Communist Party of Romania the task to undertake an
intense activity for the liberation “from under the Romanian
imperialist” of the “oppressed people”, on the basis of the principle
of the right of the nations to self-determination until the separation
from the Romanian state.

1924
January 21st V.I. Lenin dies. The supremacy in the Bolshevik
party and in the Soviet state is taken over by J.V. Stalin who,
adroitly manipulating and imposing his personal dictatorship
eliminates each and every adversary (Trotky23, Kirov, Zinoviev,
Buharin, Kamenev, a.s.o.); he puts an end to the New Economic
Policy (on December 26th 1927) during the 15th Congress of the
party, institutes terror among the party members and outside it,
including in the military, whose command had its head cut off (led
by Marshal Tuhacevsky).
April – July. As a result of the position adopted especially in
the national matter, the Romanian authorities watch and arrest the
main communist leaders, they dissolute territorial organisations of the
Communist party, which was to be made illegal in December 1924.
August. In Vienna the 3rd Congress of the Communist Party
of Romania takes place, when theses and slogans are created, that do
not correspond to the statute of Romania as a unitary and
independent national state. Elek Koblos is elected secretary general
of the party.

1928
June 28th – July 7th. During the 4th Congress of the Communist
Party of Romania, taking place in Harkov, the Romanian communists
continue to wrongly appreciate the domestic and foreign situation of

23
Expelled from the USSR in January 1929, Leon Trotzky was to be assassinated in Mexico,
on August 20th 1940.
21
Alesandru Duțu

Romania. Vitali Holostenko is elected secretary general, a member of


the Ukrainian Communist Party; starting with 1929 there will be
heavy within the party. In 1922, the party had almost 2,000 members,
whereas in 1928 the number dropped to 500.24

1931
December 3-24th. On the occasion of the 5th Congress of the
Communist Party of Romania which took place near Moscow, the
Romanian communists continue to manifest ideological unclarities
and make wrong appreciations about parties and political groups in
the country. Alexander Danieliuk Stefanski is elected secretary
general, a member of the Polish Communist Party.

1936
December 5th. At the 8th Extraordinary Congress of the Soviets,
the new Constitution is adopted, which confirmed the victory of
socialism in the USSR.

1939
August 23rd The Soviet Union and Germany sign the sinister
pact for non-aggression, through which the two totalitarian powers
divide their spheres of influence in Central and Southern-Eastern
Europe. The moment marks the beginning of the Soviet aggression
against the neighbouring states, materialised in the inclusion of the
Baltic states and the forceful occupation of the Finnish and
Romanian territory. 1940
Autumn. Ştefan Foriş is elected secretary general of the Romanian
Communist Party by Comintern.

1941
June 22nd. The Soviet Union is attacked by Germany.
Romania takes part in the war as well, which was to get back
Bessarabia and the northern part of Bukovina, occupied by the
Soviets the year before. A short time after, the USSR will join forces
with the United States of America and the United Kingdom, to form
the anti-Hitler coalition, which was to win the Second World War.

1943
May 5th. The presidium of the executive committee of the
Comintern decides to self-dissolute. The decision was only a formality
as, in reality, the CPSU continued to keep and extend its influence on
the communist parties and organisations, especially in the countries

24
Denis Deletant, op.cit, p. 19-20.
22
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

where the Red Army was to enter. After the troops of the Red Army
passed over the western borders of the USSR (1944), Kremlin was to
ensure total domination over the states under its sphere of influence,
acquired as a result of the Percentages Agreement of October 1944, and
to impose pro-Soviet regimes to rule the states.

1944
April 4th. Instead of the old secretariat of the Central Committee
of the Communist Party of Romania, there is a provisional leadership in
place, led by Emil Bodnăraş, Constantin Pârvulescu and Iosif Rangheţ.
June 20th. In the context of the new international situation,
when the Soviet troops occupied the northern-eastern part of
Romania in March 1944, the Communist Party becomes partner of
the National Peasants’ Party, the National – Liberal Party and the
Social Democrat Party within the new National Democrat Bloc, that
aimed at taking Romania out of the Axis to join the Allies.
August 23rd Romania gets on the side of the Allies, the act
having an exceptional importance, thus contributing to the end of the
Second World War. Lucreţiu Pătrăşcanu, an important member of
the communist party is included in the government led by general
Constantin Sănătescu, which was made up that very day.
September 9th. Following the victory of the popular insurrection,
in Bulgaria the first government of the Country’s Front (prime-
minister: Kimon Gheorghiev) is set up, with the communists having
the leading role.
October 9th During the talks in Moscow, Winston Churchill
proposes to J.V. Stalin to divide the influence spheres in Central and
Southern-Eastern Europe. The Soviet leader accepts, and as a result of
the discussions between Anthony Eden and V.M. Molotov, the Soviet
influence was established as 90% for Romania, 75% for Bulgaria,
50% for Hungary, 50% for Yugoslavia and 10% for Greece.25 In a
short while, Moscow was to impose its own political system in those
countries, as well as in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Albania.
October 12th. In Romania, the National Democrat Front
(FND) made up of the Communist Party, the Social-Democrat Party,
the Ploughmen’s Front, the Hungarian People’s Union (MADOSZ),
the United Trade Unions, the Communist Youth Union, the Patriots’
Union, the Patriotic Defence start an intense fight to get the political
power in the state.
November 4th. In the new Romanian government, presided by
General Constantin Sănătescu, the National Democrat Front, dominated

25
Istoria politicii externe româneşti în date [The History of Romanian Foreign Policy in Data]
(coordinator: Ion Calafeteanu), Editura Enciclopedică, Bucureşti, 2003, p. 342
23
Alesandru Duțu

by the communists gets the position of vice-chairman of the Council of


Ministers, a third of the ministries and three state undersecretaries.
December 6th The Romanian communists and the National
Democrat Front keep their positions in the new government led, this
time, by General Nicolae Rădescu.
December 8th. Within the provisional national government of
Hungary, made up of the Hungarian National Independence Front,
the communists occupy non-important positions.

1945
January 1st. The Polish Committee for National Liberation,
made up of communists who activated in the anti-German
movement, is transformed, with the agreement of Moscow, in the
provisional government of Poland, becoming on June of the same
year, the Provisional Government Of National Unity.
March 6th Following a tight political fight, started in October
1944 in Romania, the Soviets impose the government led by Dr.
Petru Groza where the communists had a leading role. With this, the
process of communisation/sovietisation of Romania started.
March 7th In the Yugoslav Government of National Unity,
acknowledged by the Allies, led by J.B.Tito, the leader of the
resistence movement during the World War 2, the communists have
the majority of the ministries (23 out of 28).
April 4th In the new Czechoslovakian government, made up
with the agreement of Moscow, led by Zdenk Fielinger, the
communists had four ministries.
May 9th World War II ends in Europe. A short while after, the
misunderstandings between the former allies start to deepen, so that
Winston Churchill, the British prime-minister, cautioned Harry
Truman, president of the US on May 12th that “An iron curtain has
descended across the Continent. We don’t know what is happening
behind it”.
August.19th King Michael I, encouraged by the attitude of the
big powers who were in favour of the institution of the
“acknowledged democratic” governments during the Postdam
conference, requires the dissolution of the government led by Dr.
Petru Groza and the constitution of another, representative, one. As
the prime-minister does not give in, the king refused to sign the
decrees presented by the government, which triggered the
constitutional crisis, known as the “royal strike”.
September 2nd The Democrat Republic of Vietnam is established.
October 16th-21st In Bucharest, the National Conference of the
Romanian Communist Party takes place; the new Central Committee
elects Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej as secretary general.
24
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology
th
November 4 . After the parliamentary elections in Hungary,
won by the Party of Small Agrarians, the communists get 17% of
the votes, which is why Matyyas Rakosi was to be criticised in
Moscow by J.V. Stalin himself.
November 18th. In Bulgaria, the Country’s Front (revised in
the meantime) dominated by the communists, gets a clear victory
(88.2%) in the elections for the People’s Assembly.
November 29th Following the elections for the Constituancy
Assembly by the People’s Front (on November 11th,1945 – 90% votes)
and the sending off of King Peter (on November 29th) Yugoslavia
proclaims itself as Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia.26

1946
January 11th Following the elections for the Constituency
Assembly (on December 2nd 1945 – 93.18% of the votes) won by
the Democratic Front, dominated by the communists (the new name
for the Front of National Liberation of August 1945), Albania
declares itself a People's Republic (on March 14th 1946 a new
constitution will be adopted after the Soviet model), the political
power being managed by the Albanian Communist Party (set up in
1941), led by Enver Jodja until his death, (April 12th 1985). As they
had not been invited at the establishment of Cominform (September
1947 - only the Yugoslavian communists were represented), the
Albanian communists had to stay “in the shadow” of the Yugoslav
ones (until 1948), the Soviet ones (from 1948 to 1961), the Chinese
ones (from 1961 to 1978), while Albania got completely isolated
until the end of the century.
January 31st In Yugoslavia, there is a new constitution
which includes the organization of six states within the republic:
Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia and
Herzegovina. The political reforms started by J.B. Tito will copy the
Soviet model – nationalisation, cooperativisation, censorship,
political police, and terror – with countless victims.
March 5th At Fulton, in the US, Winston Churchill delivers an
overwhelming speech, in the presence of Harry Truman, announcing
a policy “from a position of force” against communism as
represented by the USSR, a moment that came to be considered the
beginning of the cold war.
April 21st -22nd By the union of the Communist Party with the
Social-Democrat Party in the eastern area of Germany, the Socialist
– United Party of Germany is created, which will get 50% of the
votes in the elections of October.
26
In 1963 it took the name of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

25
Alesandru Duțu

May 26th Gradually consolidating its state position, the


Communist Party of Czechoslovakia is ranked first with 38% in the
parliamentary elections for the Constituent National Assembly, with
Klement Gottwald, its leader, becoming soon prime-minister (on
July).
September 15th. Following the plebiscite of September 8th,
Bulgaria proclaims itself People’s Republic (Tsar Simeon II was
exiled). After a short while (on October) the Country’s Front27
would win the parliamentary elections (78.3%), with the result that
Gheorghi Dimitrov28 would be elected prime-minister (on 22
November). At the same time, the communists started to dissolve the
pluralist party system, by arresting political adversaries, by trying
and exterminating them physically29. The sovietisation will be
finalized from 1947 to 1948, when industry, banks, mines, etc. were
nationalized and measures were taken for centralized planning.
November. In Romania, the Bloc of Democratic Parties –
electoral alliance made up of the Romanian Communist party, the
Social-Democrat Party, the National – Liberal Party (Gheorghe
Tătărescu), the National-Peasant Party (Anton Alexandrescu), the
Ploughmen’s Front and the National People’s Party, where the
communists had the main role – gets 79.86% of the votes and 378 of
the 414 seats in the Deputies’ Assembly, after the first after-war
parliamentary elections, by fraudulent means.

1947
January 19th Increasing their numbers (500,000 members in
January 1947) the Polish communists who constituted, in the
previous summer, the Bloc of Democratic Parties, win the elections
for the Polish Sejm (on February 5-6th), together with the parties of
the coalition and elect Boleslaw Bierut as president of the Polish
Republic). After a short while, (on February 19th) the country will
proclaim itself a People’s Republic.
March 12th When speaking in front of the American
Congress in favour of the aid offered to Greece, Turkey and the
“free people who opposed armed minority groups or external
pressure meant to conquer them”, president Harry Truman launches
the doctrine which will be known as the Truman doctrine and which
will constitute the starting up of firm actions meant to block the
Soviet expansion. Some months later (on June 5th), the American

27
On February 2-3rd 1948, the Country’s Front will be transformed into a social and political
mass organisation under the command of the communists.
28
Former Bulgarian communist leader. He died in Moscow on July 1949.
29
On June 1947, Nikola Petkov, the leader of the Bulgarian Agrarian Union was arrested in
the Parliament, tried, sentenced to death and hanged on September 1947.
26
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

state secretary George Marshall will add to the political “Truman


doctrine”, an economic component, that of the “Marshall plan”. On
July 2nd, Soviet Union will refuse to accept American economic
help, imposing the same attitude to the countries within its domination
sphere.
July 14th. In Romania, a group of nationalist-peasant leaders
is arrested, led by Ion Mihalache (the diversion of Tămădau) who
tries to leave the country. Using this pretext, the authorities start to
arrest the national-peasant leaders.
July 29th After the National Bank went public (on December
1946) and state-control was instituted in enterprises (in June 1947),
the Romanian government dissolves the National-Peasant Party, the
main leaders (including Iuliu Maniu) being sentenced to several
years of imprisonment. In such a context, the National-Liberal Party
will suspend its activity (August 1947). The two historical parties
that demonstrated for the reestablishment of democracy in Romania,
disappeared from the political stage of the country.
August 31st. The Hungarian communists impose themselves
partially in the elections (22.8%) and create the National Independent
Front, together with the National-Peasant Party (8.3%), the Party of
Small Owners (15.2%) and the Social-Democrat Party (14.9%).
September 22-27th. To better supervise the international
communist movement, CPSU (the Communist Party of Soviet
Union) sets up the Cominform (the Communist Information Bureau
of the and Workers Party), a structure which would activate until
April 17th 1956, when it would be dissolved. After a short while,
there will be trouble in the Cominform.
November 6th. Through a vote of distrust given by the
Deputies’ Assembly, the activity of the liberal group led by
Gheorghe Tătărescu, the representatives of this last bourgeois group
accepted in the Romanian government are eliminated from it. In
their place, “Moscow comers” Ana Pauker and Vasile Luca were
promoted.
December 30th. Dr. Petru Groza and Gheorghe Gheorghiu-
Dej forced King Michael I to resign, the action being part of the
general plan of the Soviet reaction to “Truman doctrine” and the
“Marshall plan”. The same day, the Deputies ‘Assembly proclaims
the country as a People’s Republic.

1948
February 21st-23rd The Romanian Communist Party joins the
Social-Democrat Party, on the basis of Marxist-Leninist ideology,
setting up the Romanian Workers’ Party (general secretary: Gheorghe
Gheorghiu-Dej) who will shortly impose a series of measures to
27
Alesandru Duțu

modify the state of things, already serious enough, in the Romanian


society, on the road of Soviet construction: the adoption of a new
Constitution (on April 13th 1948, after the model of the Soviet one of
1936); the nationalisation of the main industrial enterprises, mining,
banking, insurance and transport (on June 11th 1948; in reality they
took them over); the reform of education and its secularisation in the
sense of copying the Soviet model (on August 3rd 1948); the
alteration of the general regime of religious cult (on August 4th
1948); the setting up of Securitate (on August 30th 1948, after the
model of the Soviet Political Police); passing agriculture under the
control of the state (through cooperativisation/the socialist
transformation of agriculture, between 1949 – 1962), etc. At the
same time, there were domestic fights in the party, with the victory
of the group around Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, supported by J.V.
Aldea, Nicolae Dragomir, Horia Măcellariu, Ion Sichitiu and others)
religious (Ioan Suciu, Alexandru Rusu, Iuliu Hossu a.s.o) educated
people in general, who were tried (mainly without any reason) and
sentenced to many years of prison. The repression gave birth to the
national resistance movement, including the military one.
February 15th Through the “coup” in Prague, the Soviets
eliminate the opposition of Czechoslovakia and hurry the
communisation of the country. On February 29th there will be a new
government, led by Klement Gottwald and on May 9th it will
become a People’s Republic.
March. 27th J.V. Stalin starts the campaign for the defamation
of the Yugoslav communist leader J.B. Tito, who showed discontent
as to the Soviet interference in the domestic affairs of Yugoslavia
and tried to turn the Balkan Peninsula in a federation under the aegis
of Belgrade.
March 31st The deputy Soviet military governor of Berlin
announces the American governor that starting with April 1st, the
Soviets will control the whole personnel of the US and all the
transports crossing the Soviet area. Thus the “Small blockade” of
Berlin started, that would last until 1 June the same year. On June
24th, the Soviets were to ban the connections with the terrestrial links
in the American, British and French sector of Berlin and the western
occupation areas in Prussia. The almost two million inhabitants of
Berlin were left without electricity, food for as much as 36 days and
without fuel for one month and a half. The western powers, led by the
US reacted immediately, by making “the air bridge” on 28th of June,
as a way of showing their decision to oppose the Soviets. The Berlin
blockade was to end on 12th of May 1949.
April 28th. Accused of “chauvinist–nationalist policy” Lucreţiu
Pătrăşcanu, a local communist intellectual (he was not “Moscow”-
28
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

related) is arrested and tried in an ample political process where


Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej intervened (who considered him to be the
main competitor for the highest position in the party). Eventually,
after the death of J.V. Stalin, Lucreţiu Pătrăşcanu was to be
sentenced to death and executed on the night of the 16th to the 17th of
April 1954.
June 28th. In response to the attitude of the Yugoslav leader
J.B. Tito, whom he did not accept, and his attempts to consolidate
the position of his country in the Balkans, J.V. Stalin decides
interrupting the relations with the Communist Party of Yugoslavia
(the Union of Yugoslav Communists since November 1952) and
excluding it from the Communist Information Bureau of the and
Workers’ Parties (on 4th of July 1948). This was the first post-war
rupture in the communist system. In spite of the multiple foreign
attacks, the Yugoslavian Communist leader was to hold and even
consolidate his position in the party and in the state.
9 September. The People’s Democratic Republic of Korea is
proclaimed; the chairman of the Council of Ministers: Kim Ir Sen.
November 8-22nd. The 1st Congress of the Communist Party
of Albania (set up on 8th of November 1941) decides the new name
of the party to be Albanian Workers’ Party.
December 15-21st. The Polish Workers’ Party imposes the fusion
with the Socialist Polish Party (more numerous and better organized)
establishing the United Workers’Polish Party (chairman: B. Bierut).
December 18-25th. The Bulgarian Workers’ Party takes the
name of Communist Bulgarian Party. (On 4th of March 1954, Todor
Jivkov is elected prime-secretary of the party).

1949
January 25th. In order to control economically the satellite
states (as a reaction to Marshall plan), Moscow decides to set up the
Council for Mutual Economic Aid (CAER), the founding members
being: the USSR, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania and
Hungary. Later they were joined by: Albania (February 1949 – 1962),
RDG (the Democratic Republic of Germany) – October 1950, the
People’s Republic of Mongolia (July 1962) Cuba (July 1972) and the
Democratic Republic of Vietnam (June 1978). On 28th of June 1991,
the member countries decided to dissolve the organization.
March 3-5th. The Plenary of CC of PMR (the Romanian
Workers’ Party) decides the socialist transformation of the
Romanian agriculture. There will be a tough process of forced
collectivization, much tougher than in other countries, where the
peasants opposed it, which led to the repression of the masses by the
authorities, almost 80,000 people being arrested, tortured and
29
Alesandru Duțu

sentenced to many years of imprisonment (according to Gheorghe


Gheorghiu-Dej’s statement). Despite all of this, the peasants did not
stop protesting, which would often lead to local rebellions.
April 4th. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation – NATO - is
set up in Washington, as an organization for self-defence and security.
May 15th. The People’s Front of Hungary, dominated by the
communists, wins the elections for the State Assembly with 95, 60%
of the votes, as the “secret” vote was a farce. A couple of months
later, on 18th of August 1949, following the adoption of a new
Constitution, after the Soviet model, Hungary proclaimed itself a
People’s Republic (on 1 February 1946 the Republic of Hungary
was to be proclaimed).
October 1st. The People’s Republic of China is proclaimed
which will become a communist state. Mao Zedong is elected
chairman of the People’s Central Government and chairman of the
Revolutionary People’s Council. As a continuation, he will try to
promote a policy of “modernization” of China. Intending to play a
major role in Asia, over 1,000,000 Chinese “voluntaries” invaded
Korea, on 6 October 1950, with the help of Kim Ir Sen. The good
relations with the Soviet Union were to be destroyed starting with
1956, when Mao Zedong combated the criticism of J.V. Stalin.
October 7th. Five months after the constitution of the Federal
Republic of Germany (corresponding to the American, French and
British area of occupation), the Democratic Republic of Germany
was established (in the Soviet area of occupation). Similar to the
other states in the area of Soviet influence/occupation, the new state
will start the construction of the socialist/communist society,
according to the guidelines from Moscow.

1950
June. 28th On the occasion of the International Fair in Poznan,
the workers in the locality manifest and chant “Down with the
USSR”,”Religious freedom”, etc. The brutal intervention of the
Polish order forces results in over 50 dead and hundreds of injured.

1951
March 3rd.The party of those who work in Vietnam is established
officially.

1952
May 26-27th. The CC Plenary of the Romanian Workers’
Party discloses the “factionist, anti-party and anti-state group”,
made by Ana Pauker (she is warned and she is no longer elected in
the Secretariat and the Political Bureau of CC of RWP and Vasile
30
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Luca (excluded from the Central Committee and sent to the


committee of the party control), two of the best known “Moscow”-
related people, who are sent away from the party and state
leadership, as they were blamed for the “deviation to the right and
left adventurism”, undermining of the leading role of the party, etc.
On this occasion, Teoharie Georgescu, the Minister of Interior was
forced to step down, accused that he manifested “a negotiating
attitude to the deviation to the right” of Vasile Luca.

1953
January. 13th J.B. Tito is elected chairman of the People’s
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
March 5th. J.V. Stalin dies. His death will have important
consequences on the international relations, including in the communist
and workers’ international movement. As part of the “relaxing period”,
a short while later (on the 27th of March) in the USSR the amnesty
decree will be issued, through which almost 900,000 political detainees
will be freed (out of whom 2.5 million imprisoned during the
communist dictatorship; later, a large part of the people sent away to the
so-called “working villages”30; on 4 September 1953, N.S Krushchev
will be elected prime-secretary of the CPSU.
June 16-17th. The workers in East Berlin and other industrial
centres of East Germany (Leipzig, Dresden, Rostock, etc.) rebel
against the communist authorities, which increased the working
norms in industry by 10%, on May 28th. The Soviets decree the
Martial Law and take the tanks out in the streets of the capital of
East Germany, resulting in dead and wounded. At the same time,
there are many arrests and imprisonments. It was considered that
there was a link between the centres of the rebellion as almost
500,000 people manifested, rejecting the politics of the East German
communist government, which marked “the symbolic beginning of
the process of slow, but continous erosion of the legitimacy of the
communist regimes in Eastern Europe”31, in over 350 localities.
June. A short while after the death of J.V. Stalin, in Hungary,
Imre Nagy denounces, in an extremely harsh report which he
presented to the Central Committee of the party, the personality cult
and the Stalinist practices during the time of Mátyás Rákosi, the
abuses in the party and the state, the mistaken economic policy of
the Hungarian government.

30
Adrian Pop, Tentaţia Tranziţiei. O istorie a prăbuşirii comunismului în Europa de Est [The
Temptation of Transition. A history of communism falling in Eastern Europe], Editura
Corint, Bucureşti, 2002, p. 35 şi 42
31
Ibidem, p. 13-36.
31
Alesandru Duțu

1954
January 16-17th. At the Central Committee plenary of the
Communist League of Yugoslavia, J.B. Tito criticizes the position
adopted by Milovan Djilas who had considered Leninism equal to
Stalinism. Expelled from the Central Committee and from all
positions of state, Djilas was to resign from the party, as he was
harassed and even temporarily arrested.
March 4th. Todor Jizkov is elected first-secretary of the
Bulgarian Communist Party.

1955
January 31st. Fighting against the practices of J.V. Stalin,
N.S. Krushchev goes on, in fact, applying them. After eliminating
Beria (July 1953), he sends Malenkov away from the leadership of
the government (on the 31st of January 1955) then Molotov,
Kaganovici and Malenkov from the Political Bureau (June 1957),
Jukov (October 1957) and Bulganin (March 1958), consolidating
his power. For the moment only.. His model was to be used by
other communist leaders, including Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, who
considered that they had achieved de-Stalinisation, in their parties.
May 14th. In Warsaw, the representatives of the governments of
Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, D.R. Germany, Poland, Romania,
Hungary and the USSR sign the Treaty for Friendship, Cooperation and
Mutual Assistance which stated a super-national political and military
structure led by the Political Consultative Committee and the Unified
Commandment of Armed Forces of the states participating in the treaty.
During its existence, the Warsaw Treaty proved to be a counterpart of
the North Atlantic Organisation in the confrontations during the cold
war, as well as a Soviet instrument for the control and correction of the
evolutions inside the communist bloc, in the direction chosen by
Moscow. The events in Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968) are
conclusive in this respect.32
May 26th. In the process of reconciliation between the USSR
and Yugoslavia, N.S. Khrushchev visits Belgrade. In the final
statement of 2 June, the Yugoslavs were to insist on the fact that
”the differences between the social systems and the differences
between the concrete forms of socialist development are exclusively
a matter concerning the people in each country”.
June. The Soviet-Yugoslav reconciliation. J.B. Tito continues
to promote a policy of reforms and autonomy as related to Moscow.

32
Constantin Olteanu, Alesandru Duţu, Constantin Antip, România şi Tratatul de la Varşovia.
Istoric. Mărturii. Documente. Cronologie, [Romania and the Warsaw Treaty. Confessions.
Documents.Timeline] Editura Pro Historia, Bucureşti, 2005.
32
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

July. In Romania, the first political amnesty is offered, for the


benefit of a part of the former high officials, who had been arrested
and imprisoned in the first post-war years.
December 23-28th. During the 2nd Congress of RWP,
Marxism-Leninism is for the first time adapted to the local
conditions. As regards the main elements of socialism construction –
monopoly of political power, political police, repression, industrialization,
collectivization, censorship – the Soviet model was kept and developed.

1956
February 14-25th. At the 20th Congress of the CPSU, N.S.
Khrushchev presents a Secret Report (on the night of the 24th to 25th
of February) in which he presented the crimes committed by
J.V.Stalin, denouncing the personality cult of the former Soviet
leader. On the same occasion, the thesis of “peaceful cohabitation/
coexistence” is proclaimed between the two political and military
blocs. The process of de-Stalinisation (rejected by China through
Mao Zedong) was to have consequences not only for the Soviet
society, but for the peoples of satellite states as well. In the end, “the
reform”, which the new leader tried to achieve internally, would be
blocked by the conservatory members in Kremlin.
March 23-25th. Although, initially Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej
considered the Secret Report delivered by N.S. Khrushchev as a
mistake (he was afraid that the former communist leaders of J.V.
Stalin’s time were to be replaced from the leadership of the
respective parties) he expresses in the CC Plenary of RWP some
critical aspects towards the personality cult of the former leader of
Kremlin (and some of his own party), considering that Romania had
achieved de-Stalinisation in 1952 when Ana Pauker, Vasile Luca
and Teoharie Georgescu (the deviation to the right) had been sent
away. The condemnation of the personality cult and abuses during
the Stalinist epoch was made (more or less formally) by the leaders
of the communist parties of the other satellite-states.
June-October. In Poland, after the revolt of the workers in
Poznan (June 1956), as a result of the increases of prices, 53 died;
there are ample manifestations with political and social character
(some of them very violent) attended by over 500,000 people (Gdansk,
Szczecin, Poznan, Lublin, Lodz, Bydoszcz, Kielce, Wroclaw, etc.).
The increase of the anti-Soviet attitude determines the leadership in
Moscow to take into consideration economic and military sanctions.
For a better management of the situation, N.S. Khrushchev comes to
Warsaw, as head of a large Soviet delegation. Informed that the
Polish people will defend themselves against a foreign invasion, the
leader in Moscow decides to reach a compromise, assuring
33
Alesandru Duțu

Wladislaw Gomulka (elected first secretary of the CC of PUWP at


the plenary of the 19-20th of October of the same year, to replace
Edward Ochab) that he would support the new political orientation
of the Political Bureau of PUWP which, in its turn, agreed to keep
the political monopoly of the party and to keep Poland within the
system of political–military alliance dominated by Moscow. The
reforms achieved by Wladislaw Gomulka within the process of
development of the “Polish road to socialism” followed the
framework of the communist system. Despite this, Poland was the
first country where the existence of other political parties which
could present candidates to the elections of January 1957 was
acknowledged; at these elections, the opposition (and independent
candidates) obtained 18% of the votes. After a short while, the
communist party gained control over the Polish society.33
October 23rd – November 4th. In Hungary the first anti-
communist and anti-Soviet revolution from all the states under the
domination of Moscow is underway, stifled in blood by the Soviet
troops34. Started on the 23rd of October, when the students in
Budapest demostrated peacefully, asking and obtaining the return to
power of Imre Nagy,35 freedom of speech and the press, pluriparty
free elections, the release of the political detainees, the re-evaluation
of the Hungarian-Soviet relations, etc. the Hungarian revolution was
put in danger on October 24th when the Soviet troops located in the
capital city and in the surrounding areas intervened in force, at the
request of the first secretary Enrö Gerö. The hope of the Soviets that
the situation was going to settle down, as in Poland, was shattered
by the radicalisation of the revolutionary situation, as a result of the
attitude adopted by Imre Nagy when he opposed the new first-
secretary of the party, János Kádár (nominated on 25th of October).
In such a context, premier Imre Nagy, who formed a government
made up of the representatives of the former bourgeois parties,
asked the Soviets to withdraw their troops from the country,
denounced the participation to the Warsaw Treaty and declared
Hungary a neuter state. As Moscow did not accept any of the
requests, they decided to intervene with the army, which happened
on 4 November and ended with the failure of the Hungarian

33
Adrian Pop, op. cit, p. 62-72.
34
1956. Percepţii române, iugoslave şi sovietice asupra evenimentelor din Polonia şi Ungaria
[Romanian,Yugoslavian and Soviet Perceptions on the Events in Poland], (ediţie întocmită de
Corneliu Mihai Lungu şi Mihai Retegan), Editura Univers Enciclopedic, Bucureşti, 1996; vezi
şi Alexandru Oşca, Vasile Popa, România - o fereastră deschisă în cortina de fier, [Romania –
an Open Window in the Iron Curtain], Editura Vrantop, Focşani, 1996.
35
Former prime-minister between 1953 – 1955, destituted from all positions in 1955.
34
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology
36
revolution . The Soviet repression was to be condemned (12
December 1956) by the General Assembly of the UN.
October 23rd – November 2nd. In Romania, the authorities
appreciate the events in Budapest as being directed against socialism
and they manifest their openness to take part in the repression. As a
result, troops of Romanian border troops, from the borderline with
Hungary are augmented with ten infantry companies, which were
disposed at the most vulnerable passes across the border. At the
same time, the decision is taken to watch 40 important areas of 2
and 3 military regions, with sub-units of platoon size.
On October 25th. the military delegates, sent by the leadership of
the Romanian army to strengthen the command of the units and the big
units in the important garrisons in the country (Cluj, Timişoara, Sibiu,
Sf. Gheorghe, Braşov, Craiova, Iaşi, Constanţa, Târgu Mureş) read over
the instructions of the General Staff and start putting into practice the
measures included in the document. On this occasion, the fact that a
part of the military and the civil employees had “negative
manifestations” stating that: “it won’t take long before what happened
in Poland and Hungary will happen in Romania”. (Lieutenant–Colonel
Nichifor Turcu, deputy for the back positions in Regiment 132
Transilvania) “the authors of the articles (in the Polish press – our note)
are patriots who strive for the instauration of national socialism”
(General-Major Mihai Fenici of the Technical Department) “the taxes
in Hungary and Romania are due to the fact that at the leadership of
Hungary there are no Hungarian, they only call themselves
Hungarians, as well as in Romania” (Lieutenant – Major Iuliu Pentec
of the 285th Infantry Regiment)” now, who could say that in Hungary,
Poland and the other countries they govern with the help of the Soviets.
How could the Poles not rebel if the Russians conquered them
completely and took their territory as well?” (Sergeant Avram Florea
from the General Department for Constructions and Troops
Accommodation), “it was good that the Hungarians rebelled. This
should happen with us as well” (Lieutenant –Major Ludovic Tovodan,
dentist with the Military Hospital Timişoara). As the events in Hungary
started to speed up and in order to stop the infiltration of counter-
revolutionary groups in Romania, measures are taken on 27th of
October, to establish a tight connection between the military
commanders and the delegates of the CC of RWP in the area (Miron
Constantinescu, Alexandru Sencovici, Ludovic Fazekas, a.s.o.) so that
they could exchange information about the unusual events in Cluj,

36
Hosted by the Yugoslavian Embassy, Imre Nagy asked for political asylum. The moment he
left the building, after obtaining the guarantee of this freedom from the new Hungarian
government, he was kidnapped by the Soviet troops and transported to Romania. Brought
back to Hungary, he was tried, sentenced to death and executed on June 16th 1958.
35
Alesandru Duțu

Târgu Mureş, Oradea and Timişoara, a special attention should be paid


to the sector between the Crişul Alb and Beba Veche (the most exposed
to border crossing by the “counter-revolutionary” groups) prevention
and stopping of “negative manifestations” in units. However, in
Timişoara, Cluj, Bucureşti, etc. there are student meetings, where they
ask for improved living conditions and some reforms in the existing
regime. The most significant demonstration takes place in Timişoara
(on October 30th) where “reactionary student elements” (according to
the Romanian authorities) organise a “provoking” meeting at the
Politechnic School where some hundreds of students take part, the
discussions being focused on “the anti-statal and anti-Soviet” line, as
the documents of the day say. The meeting was the occasion (and the
pretext) to take urgent steps to neutralise the groups of students. The
result was to surround the Polytechnical School with troops belonging
to the military and state security, and the arrest of almost 1,000
students, who were taken to barracks in Becichecul Mic. As if under the
threat of war, Timişoara got other military sub-units from Jebel, Gătaia
and other places. At the same time, in the area of the institute and
students’ dorms, military patrols were sent, attending courses was
denied and students were not allowed to travel in groups from
Timişoara, the state security and the local representatives got order to
forbid meetings and sporting events in the city. Similar measures were
taken in Târgu Mureş and Miercurea Ciuc.
Securitate officers were ordered to arrest all delegations of
students who would try to go to Timişoara from other university
centres. The students’ attempts to draw the soldiers on their side or
to provoke them were without any success. As a result of the
restauring of the situation in Timişoara, the Romanian authorities
decide (2nd of November) that a part of the faculties resume activity,
while the military guarding students’ dorms were placed further
away, at a distance of 100 – 150 meters. The following period was
calm with the exception of some students’ attempt to leave the city
for Bucharest and Cluj or to the villages around the city (on the
pretext of going home) as well as the spreading of 14 manifestos
with “subversive character” under the signature of OSR (The
Organisation of Romanian Students).
Eventually, the exceptional state in Timişoara was to be lifted
on 10 November 1956, at 24:00, General Marcu Stan concluding
that “a decisive role” in enforcing order in the city was played by
the military, although there was an “unfriendly attitude” against the
“people’s democratic regime in Hungary, against our country and
the People’s Republic of Romania party and the government leader,
the Soviet army and the leaders of the Soviet Union”.

36
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

1957
June 28th. The plenary session of CC of RWP decides the
exclusion of Miron Constantinescu and Iosif Chişinevschi from the
Political Bureau, as they were considered guilty of conspiracy
against the party and the alteration of the lessons of the 20th
Congress of CPSU, while Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej is the
uncontested leader of the party.
June. After the repression of the revolution of 1956, the
Hungarian Working People’s Party reshuffles and takes the name of
Hungarian Socialist Working Party (HSWP), first–secretary being
Janos Kadar (between the 13th of September and 25th of June 1965
and prime-minister). Surprisingly for some, gradually, Janos Kadar
promotes a policy of moderate reforms, in the 1960’s, (at the
beginning of 1968 he launched the programme entitled The Economic
Mechanism/NME), taking advantage of the Soviet support and the
state principles, Kadar allowed the bourgening of some elements of
market economy, cooperative autonomy, etc. which were successful.
With a short interruption, over the last period of the 1970’s, NME
was resumed in 1979 so that starting with 1981 Hungary had over
10,000 private and semi-private entreprises.
Within the ideological relaxation, censorship relaxed, the
cultural and intellectual life developed without many obstacles.
Even if, at the level of foreign policy, Budapest was subordinated to
Moscow, Hungary’s relations with the West improved, especially
towards the end of the 1980’s.
November 16-19th. The conference of the representatives of
communist and working parties in Moscow acknowledges the
hegemony of the CPSU in the communist and workers’ international
movement. On this occasion, Mao Tze-Tung does not agree to give
up the Stalinist cult, requires the promotion of a radical policy
towards the capitalist states, especially towards the USA, contests
the Soviet supremacy in the international communist movement and
requires a better role for the Chinese Communist Party in the
international communist movement. N.S. Khrushchev, however,
stays loyal to the detente policy in his relations with the US.
Moreover, at the end of the 1950’s he has good relations with
India, he visits the USA, he reduces the Soviet military assistance
and refuses to cooperate with China on a nuclear plan, as Mao Tze-
Tung wanted. As a result, the bilateral relations between the Soviet
Union and China deteriorate rapidly, the break occuring on 20 July
1963, after the tripartite conference held in Moscow (with the
participation of the USSR representatives, the United Kingdom and
the United States of America) where the discussions included the
conclusion of the nuclear experience. “The Schism” between the
37
Alesandru Duțu

Soviet Union and China is interpreted by the political analysts as


marking “the end of the world revolution dream”.37

1958
February 17th. A decree is issued in Romania on the measures
for the defence of state order (confinement in working colonies for a
period of 2-4 years of the people who endangered the state order).
The repressing activity will be hardened by a new decree, on the 21st
of July of the same year.
June-August. The Soviet troops located in Romania since the
autumn of 1944 leave the country, following negotiations which
took place between the party and state leaders of the two states. The
event had a special importance for the development of Romania.38
July 9-13th. The plenary of CC of RWP discusses the topic
“the fight against the bourgeois ideology” and criticises the
manifestations of “apolitism”,”negativism” “eclectism”, “servilism”
and “snobbism”, perceived in the works of some of the intellectuals,
writers, graphic artists, etc. The decision adopted required the party
organisations to fight continuously “against revisionism and any
influence of the foreign ideology under any form they would manifest
against nationalism, idealist conceptions, reactionary bourgeois
aesthetics, manifestations of the bourgeois moral” to focus on “the
thorough study of Marxism–Leninism, to strengthen vigilence against
any manifestation of foreign ideology”.
In China, Mao Tze-Tung starts the campaign of accelerated
development of the country, called the Great Leap Forward which
will end in an economic disaster (27,000,000 people died of
starvation, the industry was reduced to bankruptcy), the experiment
being interrupted in 1961. In order to compensate for the decrease of
prestige, the Chinese leader imposed an exaggerated cult of
personality.

1959
January 1st. The revolutionary army enters Santiago de Cuba and
Havana and achieves the victory of the “anti-imperialist revolution”.
On 16 February, Fidel Castro-Ruz becomes prime-minister.

37
Stelian Tănase, Miracolul revoluţiei. O istorie politică a căderii regimurilor comuniste,
[The miracle of the revolution. A political history of the fall of communist regimes], Editura
Humanitas, Bucureşti, p. 24.
38
România. Retragerea trupelor sovietice. 1958 (coordonator: prof. univ. dr. Ioan
Scurtu),[Romania. The withdrawal of Soviet troops]Editura Didactică şi Pedagogică, R.A.,
Bucureşti, 1996.
38
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

1960
February 24th – March. 1st In Romania, the trial of a group of
intelligentsia headed by Constantin Noica for “conspiracy against
social order” is underway. The defendants are accused of using
books and philosophical manuscripts of some Romanians “from the
other side” and keeping in touch with the personnel of British,
French, American embassies, etc.
June. 20-25th The 3rd Congress of RWP stated that the economic
basis of socialism has been laid in Romania. At the same time, on the
24th of June, at the initiative of N.S. Khrushchev, a reunion of the
representatives of communist and workers’ parties from the socialist
countries takes place in Bucharest, where the policy of the Chinese
Communist Party is criticised and condemned (Gheorghe Gheorghiu-
Dej does not share N.S. Khrushchev’s position).
November 30th – December 5th. Trying to justify the repressions
which had taken place in Romania, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej states,
during the plenary of the CC of RWP, that nobody had to be
rehabilitated post-morten, as de-Stalinisation had taken place during
J.V. Stalin’s time. On the same occasion, the Romanian communist
leader proposes to take down all the statues of Stalin. The plenary is
the starting point for the deterioration of the relations between
Bucharest and Moscow, the process being deepened by the Soviet
attempt to change the Comecon – CAER – in a super-national body,
where some states deliver industrial products while others (among
which Romania), raw materials.

1961
August. 12th With Moscow's agreement, the German
Democratic Republic [East Germany] closes the border between
western and eastern Berlin and starts building the wall which will
become famous, thus trying to put an end to the exodus of eastern-
German citizens to the German Federal Republic. The event, of
extreme gravity, surprised the Westerners, leading to a war-breaking
point, when American and Soviet tanks were facing one another at
the "Charlie" border, on the 26 – 27th of October.
October. 17-31st The 22nd Congress of CPSU states the
aggravation of the Soviet-Chinese conflict. On the same occasion,
the policy and working methods of the Albanian communist leaders
come under criticism as they started to drift away from" the
accepted line of communist movement at world-level".
November 30th – December 5th During the enlarged plenary
of CC of RWP Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej focuses on the strengthening
of educational activity. The Romanian communist leader restates his
thesis according to which Romania had achieved de-Stalinisation
39
Alesandru Duțu

between 1952 - 1953 when Ana Pauker, Vasile Luca and Teohari
Georgescu had been sent away and in 1957 when Miron
Constantinescu and Iosif Chişinevschi had been eliminated.
December 10th Following a quick process of deterioration of the
bilateral Soviet-Albanian relations, the two states break any diplomatic
relations. After a short while, Albania will receive political, military
and economic aid from China (until the end of 1970's).

1962
April 27-30th The extraordinary session of the National
Assembly acknowledges the conclusion of collectivisation in the
Romanian agriculture (3,201,000 families were included in
cooperatives, 96% of the cropland and 93.4% of farmland).
June 6-7th The Conference of the representatives of communist
and workers' parties in the member states of the Warsaw Treaty,
organised in Moscow, will adopt the document entitled "The
Fundamental Principles of Socialist International Work Division"
and underlines the necessity to turn Comecon into a super-national
body, with full rights to coordinate the national economic policies.
The Romanian-Soviet misunderstandings will be revealed during the
official visit paid by N.S.Khrushchev to Romania between 18 –
25the of June of the same year. The Romanian position of rejection
of the creation of a supernational body under disadvantageous
conditions for some states was repeated during the enlarged plenary
of CC of the 5-8th of March 1963 as well as by Alexandru
Bârlădeanu during the meeting of the Executive Committee of
Comecon in Moscow (15th of February 1963) and Gheorghe
Gheorghiu-Dej during the Conference of first-secretaries of the Central
Committee of communist and workers' parties and government heads
of the Comecon member states (24 – 26th of July 1963).
October The instauration by the Soviets of the missiles
launching to Cuba provokes “the missiles crisis’ which is about to
start war between the two superpowers of the world and their allies.

1963
April 7th The Federal People's congress adopts a new
Constitution which proclaims the Socialist Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia.

1964
April 15-22nd The enlarged plenary of CC of RWP adopts the
Declaration regarding the position of the Romanian Workers' Party
on the issues of communist and workers' international movement,
which focuses on the events developed by the political and state
40
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

leadership of Romania for the defusing of the conflict between the


Soviet Union and China and militates, for the first time, for the
implementation of the principles "national independence and
sovereignity, equality of rights, mutual advantage, comrade help,
non-interference in domestic affairs, observance of territorial
integrity". The document and the discussions which took place on
the occasion of its adoption constitute the political expression for
emancipation limited by Moscow's hegemony. "the Declaration of
April" had a big impact, determining the improvement of Romania's
international position. Internally, there followed a process of
political relaxation (on 24th of July 1964 the last political detainees
were released) and liberation in the cultural life.39 Significant were
the statements made by Nicolae Ceauşescu a short while after the
adoption of the Declaration:" We will put an end to the KGB agency
in Romania and from now on any deviation will be sanctioned by the
Military Tribunal".
October 14th. The plenary of the CC of CPSU decides to
dismiss N.S. Khrushchev from the position of first-secretary, to be
replaced by L.J. Bredznev.

1965
March 19th. Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej dies. Later (on the 22nd
of March) the CC plenary of RWP elects Nicolae Ceauşescu as first-
secretary of the CC of RWP. He will continue the process of
liberalisation and ideological relaxation (until 1971).
July 19-24th. During the 9th Congress (re-numbered on this
occasion) the Romanian communists decide to change the name of
the Romanian Workers Party (RWP) into the Romanian Communist
Party (RCP). Immediately after that, some party officials were
removed from leadership as they had been part of Gheorghe
Gheorghiu-Dej's team. Nicolae Ceauşescu, elected general secretary
of CC of RCP will take over, very soon, all important positions in
the party and the state, concentrating all the power in his hands and
the hands of his family (Elena Ceauşescu was elected in the Political
Executive Committee, becoming the second person at the leadership
of the party and the state).
November 10th. In China, Mao Tze-Tung launches "the Cultural
Revolution" which proved to be a vicious attack against true intelligentsia, a
means of destroying those who opposed the Communist party.

39
Alexandru Oşca, Vasile Popa, op. cit.; vezi şi Florian Banu, Liviu Ţăranu, Aprilie
1964.,,Primăvara de la Bucureşti". Cum s-a adoptat,,Declaraţia de independenţă " a
României?, [The Bucharest Spring. The way the Declaration of Independence Was Adopted],
Editura Enciclopedică, Bucureşti, 2004.
41
Alesandru Duțu

November 18-20th. In Hungary, the CC of HSWP discusses the


issues regarding the implementation of the New Economic Mechanism
(the reform of the system of prices, salary differencies, the peasants'
working their own land, the workers' payment depending on
productivity, the profit of entreprises, etc) starting with the 1st of
January 1968. Eventually, the Central Committee meeting of the 14 –
15th of November 1972 was to decide to temporarily stop this reforming
process (its promoters were to be eliminated in the spring of 1974).

1966
May 7th. On the occasion of 45 years since the setting up of
RCP Nicolae Ceauşescu criticises the intervention of the Comintern
in the domestic affairs of the party. In a process of liberalisation, for
the next period, some measures will be taken as regards “ the
relaxation” – controlled – in the domain of culture, private initiative
encouragement (July 1967 was allowed, for a short while, to open
private restaurants, shops and boarding houses), the intensification
of relations with the capitalist states, etc.

1967
June 26-27th. The CC of RCP plenary decides on the
constitution of a committee to analyse “the Lucreţiu Pătrăşcanu
case” and investigate the Securitate abuses. Beyond the positive
aspect of the decision, the fact should be mentioned that by using
these methods which affected the image of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-
Dej and other communist leaders, Nicolae Ceauşescu wanted to
strengthen his own position in the party and state. The results of the
committee’s investigation were presented in the CC of RCP plenary
of 22 – 25th of April 1968.
December 6-8th. In the RCP National Conference, Nicolae
Ceauşescu expresses his distrust in experiments with rudiments of
market economy, he restates the role of socialist property on the
production means and the leading role of the communist party over
the whole society.
December 9th. The Great National Assembly elects Nicolae
Ceauşescu as president of the State Council, thus violating the
provisions of art. 13 of the RCP statute which forbade cumulation of
positions.

1968
January 3rd. In Czechoslovakia, Alexander Dubcek is elected
first secretary of the CC of CCP. The moment marks the beginning
of a reforming process in the Czechoslovak society (The Prague
Spring), which is supported by more and more citizens, especially
42
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

the intellectuals. Shortly after that, the CC of CCP announces


through the Action Programme of April 1968: “We want to commit
ourselves to the building of a new model of socialist society,
profoundly democratic and adapted to the Czechoslovak conditions”.
Against this background of political openness, taking place in the
Czechoslovak society, non-communist parties impose themselves in the
spring of 1968 (the Socialist Czechoslovak Party, the Czechoslovak
People’s Party) as well as civic bodies (Club 231, the Non-Party
Members’s Club, etc.). Loyal to this new democratic orientation,
Alexander Dubcek was to declare on television, on 18 July 1968 “We
won’t give up any of our principles expressed in the Action Programme”.
February 26th – March. 5th The Romanian delegation led by
Paul Niculescu-Mizil, attending the consulting meeting of the
communist and workers’ parties in Budapest, leave the reunion
because the Syrian Communist Party representatives’ criticized and
accused the RCP (regarding nationalist manifestations) and the
participants did not accept the proposal to give up the practice of
blaming the activity of “ brotherly” parties.
March. 8th In Warsaw, almost 1,000 students manifest and
scan: “Long live Czechoslovakia”, “Poland is waiting for its
Dubcek”, “Democracy” “Liberty”. The order forces intervene with
brutality. Immediately, the authorities start eliminating the
reforming elements in the main institutions of the state.
April 22-25th. The plenary of the CC of RCP analyses the
abuses and the crimes committed against “the enemies of the
working class” between 1945 – 1965 and even within the party (the
emphasis is on Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Iosif Chişinevschi, Teoharie
Georgescu, Alexandru Drăghici, a.s.o) and the rehabilitation of some
party activists. There is no mention, however, of the tens of thousands
of political detainees who were tried and imprisoned during that period.
May. 27th General Ion Gheorghe, the head of the Romanian
General Staff points out in a discussion with the Soviet General G.P.
Romanov: "There is nothing to worry about the situation in
Czechoslovakia. We know the position of our party in this respect,
we do not interfere in their affairs. Let them build socialism the way
they understand it".
June. 27th The Czechoslovak intellectuals issue the
declaration "Two thousand words" in which they accuse the
dictatorial policy of the communist party and require acceleration of
reforms. Even if it had an international impact, the document
irritated Moscow, L.J. Brezdnev warning on 3rd of August that "we
won't be indifferent to the fate of socialism in another country". A
little while before, on 11th of July, "Pravda" had compared the
situation in Czechoslovakia to of October 1956, in Hungary.
43
Alesandru Duțu

July. 14-15th The leaders of five member states of the


Warsaw Treaty discuss the issue of liberalisation in Czechoslovakia
and appreciate that a dangerous situation for the basis of socialism
has been created in this country. At the same time, the Soviets
announce big military maneuvres near Czechoslovakia.
August 15-27th. Even if he had doubts about the content of the
reforms taking place in Czechoslovakia, during the official visit he
paid to Czechoslovakia Nicolae Ceauşescu told Alexander Dubcek,
General Secretary of the CCP and Ludvik Svoboda President of the
Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia, that he endorses the right of
the Czechoslovakian party and the people to act according to
national interest.
July 29th - August. 1st On Cierna nad Tissu, L.J. Brezdnev
threatens Alexander Dubcek with Soviet military intervention,
stating that the USSR and its allies won't allow the instauration of a
bourgeois democracy in Czechoslovakia. The Czechoslovak
communist leader rejects the Soviet pressure and foreign intervention
in the domestic affairs of his country.
August. 20-21st Important military forces (22 divisions) Soviet,
Bulgarian, Eastern-German, Polish and Hungarian members of the
Warsaw Treaty (without the Romanian ones) invade Czechoslovakia
occupying, in a matter of hours, the capital city Prague and other
important cities. Alexander Dubcek, Oldrich Cernick (premier) and
close collaborators are transported to the Soviet Union, later to be
sent back to the country, as a result of the unbending attitude of
president Ludvik Svoboda40.
August 21st. The Praesidium of the CC of CCP states that
foreign troops crossed the border without the president, the
government and the first-secretary of the party being notified, that
the action comes against the principles regarding relationships
between socialist countries and the fundamental norms of the
international law. A similar statement is made by Ludvik Svoboda,
the president of the Republic. In Romania, the CC of RCP, the
government and the State Council discuss, in a joint session, the
situation in Czechoslovakia. The declaration sent to the press
includes the fact that "this act represents a breach of national
sovereignity of a brotherly socialist state, free and independent, of
the principles governing the relationships between socialist

40
Ion Pătroi, Alexandru Oşca, Vasile Popa, Ingheţ în plină vară-[Frost in mid-summer]
Editura Paideea, 1998; Alexandru Oşca, Teofil Oroian, Vasile Popa, Tentaţia libertăţii.
Operaţiunea Sumava,[The Temptation of freedom.The Sumava operation] Editura
Enciclopedică, Bucureşti, 1998; Mihai Retegan, 1968. Din primăvară până în toamnă, [From
spring to autumnEditura RAO, Bucureşti, 1998.]
44
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

countries, of the norms unanimously acknowledged of the


International Law". Then, in an impressive meeting organised in the
Palace Square of Bucharest, Nicolae Ceauşescu and the population
of the capital city (almost 100,000 citizens) condemn the military
intervention in Czechoslovakia. At the same time, the Praesidium of
the Great National Assembly states that the action of the allied
troops was a breach in the sovereignity of the Czechoslovak state
and asks the presidents, governments and parliaments of the five
countries to withdraw their troops from Czechoslovakia. The next
day, on 22nd of August, the Great National Assembly will adopt "The
Declaration of the main principles of Romanian foreign policy"
which expressed "the disapproval against the interference in the
domestic affairs of the Czechoslovak people, against a military
intervention of the five countries in Czechoslovakia" and announced
the fact that in the future, international treaties as well as stationing
and crossing the Romanian territory was to be approved by the
supreme forum of the state.
August. 28th In Washington, After telling Anatolin Dobrinin
that there had been "unusual movement" of Soviet troops at the
border with Romania over the last 24 hours and that the American
government considered that a Soviet invasion of Romania would be
unavoidable, Dean Rusk mentioned "In the name of humanity, I urge
you not to do it, as consequences are hard to foresee".

1969
January. 16th In the Venceslas Square in Prague, student Jan
Palach sets himself on fire, thus protesting against the invasion of
Czechoslovakia of August 1968 and the resumption of old
communist practices.
April. 17th Alexander Dubcek is replaced by Gustav Husak as
first-secretary of CC of CCP.
August 6th-12th. The 12th Congress of the RCP marks an
important moment for the strengthening of Nicolae Ceauşescu's
position in the party by the introduction in the superior levels of
leadership of some people devoted to him. On the same occasion it
was decided that, in the future, the general secretary of the party would
be elected by the Congress and not by the Central Committee. The road
to the personality cult of Nicolae Ceauşescu was thus opened.

1970
December. 14th In Poland, following the announcement of a
new increase of prices, Polish workers on the Baltic seashore start an
ample strike (on 18th of December it encompassed the whole country).
In Gdansk they scanned, among other things, "Down with Gomulka",
45
Alesandru Duțu

"Bread, bread". The authorities intervened in force, a curfew was


declared in Gdansk (16th of December) and opened fire from
helicopters in Gdynia (17th of December) where there were also fights,
during which 36 people were killed, 1,200 wounded, 2,300 arrested.
As a result of such serious incidents, on 18th of December, Wladyslaw
Gomulka resigns from the leadership of the communist party
(following a heart attack), to be replaced by Edward Gierek (21st of
December) who suspended the exceptional measures and offered
imunity to the strikers. Trying to accelerate the industrialisation of the
country, Gierek will borrow foreign money, his policy working with
good results until the mid-70's, when the oil crisis had serious
repercussions on the Polish economy as well. Because the difficulties
with exports, caused the debt of the country to reach 20 billion
dollars, while the material state of the population worsened again.

1971
February 10th. During his meeting with people working in the
artistic and cultural field, Nicolae Ceauşescu emphasizes that "the
duty of writers and artists is to actively contribute to the shaping of
the new man... to creating an advanced kind of man, ready to fight
for the happiness, liberty and independence of his country, for the
cause of socialism".
March – July. In Czechoslovakia there are a series of political
trials against Petr Uhl and his friends. One year later, other similar
trials would take place, this time against Jaroslav Sabata, Karel
Bartosh, Jan Tesar, a.s.o.
May 3rd. Erich Honecker becomes the general secretary of the
Eastern-German Communist Party.
July. 6th Under the impression of the grandiose manifestations
(meetings, parades, demonstrations, etc.) which had been organised
by the hosts during his visit to China (1-9 June) and North Korea (9-
15th of June), Nicolae Ceauşescu imposes, in the meeting of the
Executive Committee of CC of RCP the so-called "July Theses"
inaugurating the "cultural revolution" (anti-cultural, in fact) during
which the focus was on indoctrination and ideologisation, nationalism
and personality cult. The measures adopted put an end to the period of
domestic liberalisation of the communist regime, started at the
beginning of the 60's. Later on, (15th of July) the party control over
cultural activity and creation gets more strict. At the same time,
because his opposition to the ideological excesses imposed by Nicolae
Ceauşescu, Ion Iliescu, the secretary for propaganda of the CC of
RCP and candidate member of the Executive Political Committee of
the RCP was accused of " intelectualism" and "liberalism", and
dismissed from his position and demoted to the leading structures of
46
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

the county committees of Timiş county (1971 - 1974) Iaşi (1974 -


1979), and then manager of the National Water Council and finally of
the Technical Publishing House.
November. 3rd-5th At the RCP plenary Nicolae Ceauşescu
presents the Exposition of the RCP programme for the improvement
of the ideological activity, the improvement of the general level of
knowledge and socialist education of the masses. The moment
marks the beginning of the total control of the party on the
economic, political, social, cultural activities conducted in Romania,
the consolidation of the personal power of the Romanian communist
leader. To get total control over the dignitaries and party activists,
the principle of rotation of people in party and state positions was
adopted at the RCP plenary of the 20 – 21st of April 1972.

1973
June 18-19th. During the RCP plenary Elena Ceauşescu is
elected member of the Political Executive Committee. For the
period to come, Nicolae Ceauşescu's wife was to be elected in
several positions, becoming the second person in the party and the
state, with a negative influence on all fields in which she was more
or less involved.
October 15-16th. In Hungary the purging of contestant
intellectuals, especially the philosophers of Budapest, started.

1974
March. 28-29th Nicolae Ceauşescu gets the title President of
the Socialist Republic of Romania, position newly created by the
amendment of the Constitution.
November 25-28th The 11th Congress of RCP adopts the
Programme of the Romanian Communist Party for the building of
the socialist multilaterally developed society and Romania's
advancement towards communism.

1975
April 8th. In Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel sends an Open
Letter to Gustav Husak (on 25th of May of the same year, he will be
elected president of the Republic to replace Ludvik Svoboda),
published in several newspapers in the world, in which he contested
the omnipotence of the Power. "I really fear-the pointlessly harsh
and long-lasting consequences which the present violent abuses will
have for our nations. I fear the price we are all bound to pay for the
drastic suppression of history, the cruel and needless banishment of
life into the underground of society".
August. 1st During the Conference on Security and Cooperation
47
Alesandru Duțu

in Europe taking place in Helsinki, the heads of state and


government of 33 European countries, the US and Canada sign three
sets of documents referring to: European security; economic and
scientific relations; free circulation of people and ideas and human
rights. The agreements from Finland's capital city confirmed, again,
the division of Europe into the two big blocs, including the
acknowledgement and legitimacy of the Soviet occupation in
Central and Eastern Europe. The provisions of the document on
human rights would be only slightly observed by the governments of
the communist states, including the Romanian one.
December. In Poland, 59 intellectuals require the restauration
of fundamental freedoms. 40,000 Polish people sign protest petitions
against the introduction of the principle of the leading role of the
Polish United Workers' Party in the Constitution.

1976
June. 25th Following a new decision to increase prices, the
Polish workers rebel (in Ursus, Radom, etc). As usual, the authorities
react in force and there are casualties. To calm down the situation, the
party leadership gives up the planned increase of prices.
June 29-30th. In Berlin, during the Conference of the European
communist and workers’ parties, Nicolae Ceauşescu insists on the
need for full equality, of each party’s right to draw up its general
policy, its tactics and strategy according to the specific of the
respective country.
September 9th. In China, the death of "the great leader" Mao
Tze-Tung, who had been ill and isolated for the last period of this
life, by "the gang of the four" (Jian Qing - Mao's wife, Jang
Chunciao, Wang Hangwen and Yao Wenyan) gives birth to a fierce
fight for power; soon, the four are arrested (October 1976), tried and
sentenced to many years of imprisonment. In 1978, the power will
be taken over by a "troika" made up of Hua Guofeng - prime-
minister, Deng Xiaoping and Marshall Ye. One year later, in 1979,
Deng Xiaoping, the most influential leader of China, victim of the
cultural revolution and favourite of Chou En-lai (dead in February
1976) was to launch the "four modernisation paths" (agriculture,
industry, national defence, science and technology) to reintroduce
private property and elements of market economy. In order to get
out of the isolation imposed by Mao, China signs the Treaty for
peace and friendship with Japan on 12 August 1978, makes an
exchange of ambassadors with the USA in 1979, increases the
number of international economic and commercial agreements thus
becoming a big economic power, threatening to replace the Soviet
Union, not only in the communist system.
48
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

September 23rd. In Poland, the Committee for the Defence of


Workers (K.O.R) is officially set up, which will be changed into the
Committee for Social Self-Defence (K.S.S. - K.O.R) on September
29th 1977. Both structures had an important role in informing the
public opinion about the main economic, social and political issues
the Polish society had to face.

1977
January. 1st The Czechoslovak dissidents publish the manifesto
on human rights and freedoms (Charta 77). Philosopher Jan Patocka
is one of the spokespersons (at his funeral, the same year, some
hundreds of people expressed their commitment to human rights)
along with writer Vaclav Havel (on October 18th 1977 he will be
sentenced together with Ota Ornest and Jiri Ledarer for "subversive
instigations") and former minister Jiri Hajek. During the year, the
spokespersons of "Charta 77" will publish 33 documents.
Immediately after that, 34 Hungarian intellectuals launch a letter of
support for the founders of "Charta 77".
January. In Romania the "Goma movement" for solidarity
with the signatories of "Charta 77" is launched. In February of the
same year, disillusioned by the attitude of his co-nationals, who had
refused to support the ideas of "Charta 77", out of fear of securitate,
Paul Goma sends an Open Letter to Nicolae Ceauşescu asking him
to send "a statement of support with Charter 77" as he was
"convinced that millions of Romanians" would follow his example
and would "support the Czechs and the Slovaks". Intimidated and
threatened, even arrested, the Romanian writer will be expelled from
the country that same year.
August. 1-3rd Almost 35,000 Romanian miners from Jiu
Valley (especially Lupeni) go on strike, asking for better working
and living conditions. The attempts for negotiations (with Ilie
Verdeţ and Gheorghe Pană who were kept hostage) fail. Although
on 3 August Nicolae Ceauşescu was to be booed (who went on the
site and was given the title "Honorary Miner"), the miners gave in,
by accepting the " special regime for Jiu Valley, with full rights41".
However, the repressive measures against the miners of Jiu Valley
and their leaders were to go on. At that time, hardly anything was
known of the miners' strike, the most ample workers' movement
after 1948. Even less known were the strikes in the Motru Valley

41
The miners asked and managed to obtain promises for keeping their 2nd and 3rd degree
pensions, the retirement age at 50; Sunday rest, more places in spas; free uniforms and
protection equipment; hot meals when entering the mine, work places for women in the light
industry, rhythmic food supply for the population, immunity for the strikers, etc.
49
Alesandru Duțu

(October 198142) and others of the same kind, which took place
before the Braşov rebellion of November 15th 1987.

1978
January. In Poland the Society for scientific courses was
established, also known as the “Itinerant University” (T.K.N.), that
will activate in six large Polish cities. Shortly after that, Kayimiers
Switonia will establish the first free union (on 25 February), and then
the Founding Committee of the Gdansk Free Union, on April 29th.
April 24th. In Czceckoslovakia, the Committee for the Defence
of the Unjustly Prosecuted (V.O.N.S.) is set up.
April. The HSWP Plenary decides to resume NME but four
years will pass before it would be put into practice.
June. 7th On the occasion of the visit of West German Chancellor
Willy Brandt to Romania,, the Department V of Securitate draws up the
plan called Action Z - 197843 according to which USLA received the
mission to safeguard "the locations and the vulnerable places such as:
hotels, places attended by students and foreign citizens, the sights and
itineraries on the agenda of the visit and other places fit for
preparation and action" so that "combat teams” are ensured for the
duration of the visit „during the journey and on site". On the same
occasion, the security devices at venues and along the journey route
"should be conceived and organised with maximum discretion" and
"the officers in uniform, with the exception of the strictly necessary
positions, should not be placed <in the open>" 44.
October 16th. The Polish Cardinal Karol Vojtila, Archbishop
of Krakow is elected head of the Holy See as Pope John Paul II.
The event brings about much hope, most of which was going to be
achieved behind the "iron curtain".

42
The local strikes and the rebellions of the miners were caused by the reduction of the
portions of bread per inhabitant and the annulment of the right for commuters to buy bread
from other localities.Revolted, the miners devastated the headquarters of the town party
committee, chanting „Ceauşescu – RCP- where is our bread?”. In the end, they were „calmed
down” by the intervention of the force structures of the regime. In December 1981 „ the
heads of revolt” (Gheorghe Sârbu,Valu Neşulescu, Constantin Talvovshi, Nicolai Gaidos,
Constantin Controloru, Valerica Maciucă, Constantin Soare, Dumitru Tătaru, Vasile Ursan)
were sentenced to 7-8 years of imprisonment. (Teodor Brates, Trilogia Revolutiei Romane,
[The Trilogy of the Romanian Revolution], vol.3, p.196 – 197).
43
On the basis of the information that the members of the terrorist organisation Baader-
Meindorf could be infitrated in Romania.
44
Apud Alex. Mihai Stoenescu, Din culisele luptei pentru putere. 1989-1991. Prima
guvernare Pete Roman, [From the Backstage of the Struggle for Power.1989-1991. The first
government Petre Roman], Editura RAO, Bucureşti, 2006, p. 108.
50
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

1979
June. 2nd The visit of Pope John Paul II to Poland provokes
much enthusiasm among the Polish people, the authority of the
communist regime is seriously diminished.
October 3rd. In Warsaw, 15 members of the democratic
opposition start a hunger strike in solidarity with the defenders of
human rights of Czechoslovakia.
November 19-23rd. In Bucharest, the 12th Congress of the RCP
takes place. On the last day of the congress, Constantin Pârvulescu, one
of the founders of the party, criticises Nicolae Ceauşescu and states his
disagreement with his re-election as general secretary of the party. The
brief speech delivered by Constantin Pârvulescu was very virulent.
After stating that "he was amazed by the way the congress had been
prepared and the congress itself", that “comrade Ceauşescu had the
nerve to make all preparations before the congress and during the
congress and during conferences to be re-elected general secretary of
the party", that “such a thing was unheard of"; after being interrupted
and as the audience chanted "Ceauşescu re-elected at the 12th
Congress", Constantin Pârvulescu concluded: "Comrades, I won't vote
for Ceauşescu to be elected as leader of the party!"45.
December 24th. Almost 25,000 Soviet military (6 divisions)
invade Afghanistan. In Kabul, the capital city of the country, the air-
borne troops occupy the presidential palace, the radio and television
stations. To replace president Hafizullah Amin, ousted and
assassinated (who had tried to negotiate with the Muslin opposition,
with Pakistan and the United States), Babrak Karman, loyal to
Moscow, is elected. Several days later (on December 29th) the
government in Moscow states that the Soviet troops had been
required by the Afghan government in order to defend them against
the counter-revolutionary actions organised in China, Pakistan and
the USA. At the same time, Moscow was going to justify its
invasion of Afghanistan in terms of the security and defence of the
republics in southern USSR from Muslim influence and
peneration46. The Soviet invasion, similar to that of East Germany of
1953, Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 was to lead to
the end of the detente policy between the USA and the USSR,
especially as this time the intervention of the Red Army took place
outside "the Soviet zone of influence", settled and accepted after
World War 2. The reaction of the international community was, this
time, quick and firm, the UN General Assembly votes, in mid-

45
Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei Române în direct, [The Trilogy of the Romanian
Revolution live], vol. 2, p. 383-384.
46
Stelian Tănase, op. cit., p. 7-8.
51
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January 1980 a Resolution in which they required the immediate and


unconditional withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan.

1980
July – December. The price increase announced by the Polish
government (July 1st) is followed by a series of protests and strikes
started by the workers in Poznan and Szczecin. The authorities
intervene violently, with tens of dead and wounded as a result. On
August 14th the workers, led by Lech Walesa, occupy the naval
shipyards in Gdansk, they barricade themselves inside and ask to
discuss with the leaders. Among the 16 requirements (abolition of
censorship, observance of freedom of expression, right to strike,
liberation of activists from prison, etc.) there is also the setting up of
free trade unions. Thus, the economic requirements of the strikers,
endorsed by the Church, were accompanied by trade union and
political requests. In spite of the promisses made by Edward Gierek,
on 18 August the strikes expand to Szczecin and other cities, that
support Gdansk. Intellectuals come to the defence of the strikers.
Eventually, after many hesitations, the representatives of the power
give in and sign, on the 30th - 31st of August and 3rd of September
respectively, the agreements of Szczecin, Gdansk and Jastrezebie.
The strikes stop, the workers get a definite victory. The moment was
to be appreciated by Milovan Djilas as "the most important event
taking place in Eastern Europe after World War 2".
On 17th of September there was to be set up the free trade
union "Solidarnosc/the Solidarity", the only one in the whole
country which was to be joined by millions of Polish people,
including communists (a third of the party members) and members
of the forces of order (including the military). Beaten in the
confrontation with the strikers, the conservative communists lose the
first-secretary Edward Gierek who suffers on 5th of September a
heart attack. His place will be taken by Stanislaw Kanya who had
expressed his willingness for negotiations. At the same time, over
1,000,000 Polish communists resign from the party, many of them
joining the "Solidarity", asking for its legalisation. Finally, on 10th of
November, the "Solidarity" is allowed to register legally. The next
day, several millions of Polish people celebrate the Victory. Poland's
situation will become worse and worse. Even if, initially, Moscow
lets the Polish people solve their own domestic problems, at the end
of the year the Great Soviet General Staff had plans to invade
Poland. The order for attack was not given. When Kremlin adopted
the decision for a non-armed intervention, they took into
consideration the poor domestic economic situation, as well as the
international reproaches regarding the Afghanistan intervention. An
52
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

important role in this sense was due to the position of the United
States, the United Kingdom and Pope John Paul II47.
After some years of reforms that changed the face of China,
the communist regime, especially Deng Xiaoping (in 1987 he will
withdraw from all positions, with the exception of the Military
Committee of the party) starts to feel the pressure of numerous social
categories, pressure which often turns into ample demonstrations
(1986 the students in Shangai, Beijing). As a reaction, the protestants
are often arrested and the Chinese universities resume teaching the
Marxist-Maoist ideology.

1981
January. In Romania the austerity policy strengthens, as a
result of Nicolae Ceauşescu's decision to pay, in a very short period,
the whole external debt (almost 10 billion dollars).
March. 19th In Poland, the forces of order intervene against
the trade unionists from Bydgoszcz, thus starting a deep polical
crisis, increased by the military maneuvres of the United Armed
Forces of the Warsaw Pact called "Soyuz - 81". On 2nd of April the
first issue of the weekly "Solidarnosc" would be published in
500,000 copies.
May 16th. In Poland, Stanislaw Kanya is accused of tolerating
"revisionism and counter-revolution". In turn, L.J. Brezdnev warns
all Polish communist leaders that they should be ready to defend the
cause of socialism.
July 12th. For the first time in the history of the Polish United
Workers' Party the election of the leaders is made by free and secret
ballot. The result is disastrous for the communists: 90% of the
members of the old Central Committee are no longer elected
(moreover, a fifth of them are members of the Solidarity trade union)
and 7 out of the 11 members of the Political Bureau were changed.
Even so, PMUP is unable to solve the issues which Poland faces, that
would soon lead to the radicalisation of the Solidarity activity.
September 18th. Moscow requires the Polish government to
take measures to annihilate the Solidarity trade union.(in a short
while, the leader to be elected will be Lech Walesa) considering that
they promoted an anti-Soviet policy.
October 18th. In Poland, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, Prime-
Minister (since February 9th 1981) and Minister of Defence
becomes First-Secretary of PUWP (to replace Stanislaw Kanya),
thus concentrating all state powers in his hands. To defuse the
situation in the country, he starts negotiations with "Solidarity" and

47
Stelian Tănase, op. cit, p. 56-70.
53
Alesandru Duțu

the Church (17th of November) proposing the creation of a Front of


National Unity, but he also prepares an intervention in force, which
he starts on 2nd of December.
December 3rd-4th. During the meeting of the Committee of
Defence Ministers of the Warsaw Pact, General Constantin Olteanu,
the Romanian Minister of Defence does not agree with the
proposition of the Soviet minister Dmitri Ustinov, the minister of
USSR Defence to introduce in the final statement the following
addition: "The Committee of Defence Ministers endorse the actions
undertaken by the Polish government to stop the interference of the
foreign counter-revolutionary forces and NATO states, that
endanger the existence of socialism in Poland". Correlated with the
mention that General Wojciech Jaruzelski would have asked for help
(in a telegramm), the addition required by the Soviet marshall would
have meant, undoubtedly, the armed intervention of the Warsaw
Pact in Poland. Being aware of this, Constantin Olteanu opposed the
proposition, informed Nicolae Ceauşescu on the situation, who
asked him to keep his position.48
December 11-12lf. The " Solidarity" council meets in Gdansk
where they ask for a referendum in which the population would be
asked about the governing methods; at the same time, the Polish
people are summoned to general strike. On the night of 12th to 13th
of December, after Wojciech Jaruzelski requested and received L.J.
Brezdnev's approval to start "Operation X" (the code name for the
introduction of Martial Law in Poland) the authorities intervene in
force, arresting the majority of the "Solidarity" leaders.
December 13th. In the morning, General Wojciech Jaruzelski
proclaims, at the radio, the "state of war" on the whole national
territory (lifted on 22nd of July 1983), bans the activity of
"Solidarity" and of other organisations and associations. The leaders
are arrested (Lech Walesa will be liberated on 14th of November
1982 and will be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace on 5th of
October 1983; other leaders of the „Solidarity" and K.O.R. will be
pardoned on 22nd of July 1984). At the same time, a Military
Committe for National Salvation is established. Although there were
thousands of arrests and over 10,000 people were sent to prison, tens
of strikes broke out, reprimanded fiercely by the military and militia,
to the satisfaction of the party leaders of the communist states. Most
of the western governments had no reaction, a firm intervention
being recorded only from the American President, Ronald Reagan,

48
Constantin Olteanu, Alesandru Duţu, Constantin Antip, Romania si Tratatul de la Varşovia,
Istoric. Mărturii. Documente. Cronologie. [Romania and the Warsaw Treaty. History.
Confessions. Documents.Timeline], Editura Pro Historia, Bucuresti, 2005, p. 213-215
54
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

who announced economic sanctions and embargo on Polish


products. When explaining his decision, General Jaruzelski was to
state that he thus avoided the invasion of Poland by the Soviet
troops. Trying to avoid "the inferno" as he would declare later,
Jaruzelski chose military dictatorship. It was the first of its kind
implemented by a communist leader.

1982
April 22nd. In Poland the leadership of the "Solidarity" is
established outside the law (on October 8th the same year the trade
union is dissolved and declared illegal).
June 1st -2nd. During the enlarged RCP plenary, Nicolae
Ceauşescu presents the document "Regarding the present state of
socialism building in our country, theoretical, ideological matters,
and the political educational activity of the party," adopted as
manifesto document for the activity of the whole party. Between the
24 – 25th of June, the 2nd Congress of political education and
socialist culture will adopt a programme of measures to be taken, in
order to shape the new man, with high socialist conscience, devoted
builder of socialism and communism in Romania.
November 10th. L.J. Brezdnev dies (his death will be announced
the next day);
On November 12th Yuri Andropov, former KGB head, will be
elected as general secretary of CPSU (after his death, on February
9th 1984, general secretary will be Konstantin Chernenko).

1983
February. A group of students in Iaşi spread the manifesto
"Courage, Moldovan citizens" in the whole city; the text had a
strong anti-Ceauşescu character.
March 28th. The State Council of RS Romania adopts the
Decree regarding the regime of copying machines, necessary
materials for writing reproduction and typewriters, that establishes
the control of the state over their use.
July 26th. The RCP Political Executive Committe approves the
Programme of measures on the improvement of ideological and
political-educational activity for communists, working people in
cities and villages.

1984
October. In Romania, a group of reservists (but active as well)
with high ranks and positions (led by General Ion Ioniţă, former
minister of the military) conceive the scenario of a military coup
which aimed at removing Nicolae Ceauşescu.
55
Alesandru Duțu

November. 19-23rd The 13th Congress of the RCP adopts the


Ideological Programme of the party which focuses on the
implementation of the party policy in science, culture and education.

1985
March 11th. Following the death of Konstantin Chernenko
th
(10 of March) the CC of CPSU elects M.S. Gorbachev as general
secretary. The moment marks the beginning of relaxation of East -
West relations and many political and social transformations in the
communist system. In line with the new Soviet domestic policy, the
new leader of Kremlin will make, on April 23rd a first appeal, in the
Central Committe, to perestroika (restructuring) of the economy.
The terms uskornie (acceleration) and glasnost (transparency) will
soon follow. M.S. Gorbachev will shock the world when he will
propose, on January 15th 1986, the total clearance of nuclear weapons.
April 11th Enver Hodja first-secretary of the Albanian Party of
Labour dies. His successor Ramiz Alia will initiate a feeble
programme of reform Gorbachev-style.
June 8th. In Hungary, the first parliamentary elections are
organised, with two or more candidates in each electoral
constituency. Then, after the reunion of the democratic opposition
which is held in Monor on June 14-16th 1986, at mid-1987 the
Beszelo circle (the Future) published The Social - Contract -
requirements of the management of the political crisis, a programme
of political action in which Kadar was directly urged "to leave"49.
September 21st. Engineer Gheorghe Ursu is arrested in
Bucharest for anti-communist manifestations; he died later while in
prison (November 17th 1985) as a result of the maltreatment he
suffered.
November 21st Arh.Grigore Ionescu and historians Dinu C.
Giurescu, Răzvan Theodorescu, Vasile Drăguţ and Virgil Cândea
sign a protest against the tearing down of the Văcăreşti Monastery,
considered to be "an architectural and artistic work of first rank, the
last of a series of voivodal buildings started in 14th and 15th
centuries through the foundations of Curtea de Argeş, Târgovişte
and Putna". "The destruction of that monument - the Romanian
intellectuals said - is an irreversible loss for the Romanian culture
and creation, an injustice made to our history and national identity".
The demolition of the architectural complex of Văcăreşti was not the
only one. According to a list made by Prof. dr. Dinu C. Giurescu in
1988, the following churches and historical monuments were
destroyed in 1977 - Biserica Enei and Casa Cerchez; în 1984 -

49
Adrian Pop, op.cit.p.230
56
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Biserica Schitul Maicilor, Biserica Postăvari, Biserica Spirea Veche,


Biserica Izvorul Tămăduirii, Biserica Cotroceni, Casa Soare, Casa
Mirea, Hanul Galben, Ruinele Curţii Arse; in 1985 - Spitalul
Brâncovenesc, Biserica Pantelimon, Biserica Sf. Mina, Biserica Sf.
Nicolae Sârbă; 1986 - Biserica Sf. Nicolae, Biserica Adventiştilor,
Complexul Mânăstirea Văcăreşti; Sinagoga Sefardică, Biserica Sf.
Paraschiva, Biserica Sf. Vineri, Biserica Olteni, Biserica Sf.
Spiridon Vechi, Biserica Bradu Stoica, Biserica Sf. Treime Dudeşti.

1986
January. In Bulgaria Todor Zhivkov announces a new “economic
mechanism" which meant the new regrouping of the ministries.
February. In the Soviet Union, M.S. Gorbachev starts to
attack the administrative command system.
September 5th. In Poland, Woyciech Jaruzelski decides to
liberate all political detainees.
December 16th. The Soviet dissident Andrei Saharov, exiled
in Gorki in January 1980 by L.J. Brezhnev is called by M.S.
Gorbachev who informs him he could come back home.

1987
January 27th. M.S. Gorbachev makes public the political reform
plan in the USSR which includes, among others, several candidates at
the elections and secret ballot. In front of the CC of CPSU the Soviet
leader states in a televised speech: "We need democracy like air".
February 16th. The students of Iaşi go out on the streeets and
scan "Light, to be able to study" "Water, to wash" etc. and they sing
the national anthem in Unirea Square. The same day, the workers of
the works "Nicolina" start a spontaneous strike, asking for better
working and living conditions50.
February. 28th The western press announces that the
Romanian dissident Mihai Botez was hospitalised because he was
wounded by an agressor from Bucharest.
March.18th Trying to mime the Gorbachev reform, the
Czechoslovakian communists launch a programme which proposes
to democratise the society.
May 25-27th. On the occasion of M.S. Gorbachev's visit to
Bucharest, Nicolae Ceauşescu states that Romania had already
achieved all reforms at the end of the 60's. Speaking about the visit

50
Alex. Mihai Stoenescu, Istoria loviturilor de stat în România, vol. 4, partea I,,,Revoluţia
din decembrie 1989" - o tragedie românească, vol.4, part. I [The history of state coups in
Romania,”The Revolution of December 1989”- a Romanian Tragedy], Editura RAO,
Bucureşti, 2004, p. 211.
57
Alesandru Duțu

he had paid to Bucharest, M.S. Gorbachev would say on 4 June in


the meeting of the Political Bureau of CC of CPSU. "He was quite
insolent. He is self-sufficient and a blusterer with a tendency to
teach others what to do and to give advice. In international matters
chaos and trouble. Among other things, he pronounced himself
strongly against the concept of <self-reliance> in our military
doctrine. The question could be asked if it was us who should have
gone to him. I think not, in this situation" 51
Spring. President Jambin Batmunh assures M.S. Gorbachev
that he would apply "creatively" the Soviet experience in Mongolia.
In this spirit, economic reforms, especially concerning cooperatist
property, were to be initiated.
June 26th. CC of CPSU approves the economic reform plan
proposed a day before by M.S. Gorbachev.
June. In Gdansk, Pope John Paul II states "The word
Solidarity is your honour, people of Gdansk and Gdynia, you who
kept in memory the events of 1970 and 1980". 7 July. The Amnesty
International organisation publishes a Report on the violation of
human rights by the Romanian state.
July 27-28th. At the plenary of the Central Committe, Todor
Zhivkov proposes measures for political descentralization and
development of economic self-management. In the same line of
thought, in August the same year, the Political Bureau will adopt
measures to limit the personality cult, and in December 1988, Todor
Zhivkov himself would announce that the time had come to reform
the Bulgarian political system. In reality, there were few
achievements. Moreover, on February 1st 1989, the reformist prime-
minister Gherghi Atanasov was forced to resign.
July. To reorganise the economy, the Hungarian authorities
launch The programme for social and economic evolution,
continued in the year to come (as a first for the states in the
communist system) with the introduction of the value-added tax
(VAT). Almost at the same time, in Bulgaria Todor Zhivkov
proposes a programme of reform to CC of BCP, which aimed at
descentralising power, diminution of bureaucracy, economic self-
management, more independence offered to entreprises and banks,
the setting up of national associations of producers, the change of
rapport between the party and the state, etc.
September 1st. In East Germany, discontented with the
situation in the country, many east-Berlin inhabitants manifest in
front of the Brandenburg Gate.

51
Apud Grigore Cartianu, Sfârşitul Ceauşeştilor. Să mori împuşcat ca un animal sălbatic,
[The end of the Ceauşescus. To die shot like a wild animal] Editura Adevărul, 2010, p. 35.
58
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

September 27th. In Lakitelek in Hungary, the reformist


communists and "populist" intellectuals adopt a declaration in which
they recommend the set up of the Hungarian Democratic Front.
November 15th. In Romania, in Braşov, the workers from the
Steagul Roşu truck works rebel, manifest on the streets and chant
"Down with the dictatorship" "We want bread", "Down with
Ceauşescu", etc., they sing "Desteapta-te romane" [Awaken Thee,
Romanian] and take by storm the headquarters of the Townhall and
the County Party building. The forces of order intervene and arrest a
part of the participants and leaders. This time, the events had a large
international impact (on February 1st 1988 the population of Prague,
Warsaw, East Berlin and Budapest, organised by the opposition,
demonstrates as a sign of solidarity")52 in spite of the attempts of the
Power to "hide" them53.
November 1987. On one of the walls of the Timiş County
Council somebody wrote "Down with the king of hunger and
darkness". At the same time, always in Timişoara, somebody hung
on Decebal's neck in the Liberty Square a loaf of stale bread and a
notice with the question: "Decebal, during your time, the bread
looked like that?"54
December. 2nd The "Antena 2" television channel broadcasts a
document about the situation in Romania in which Doina Cornea,
Mihai Botez, Radu Filipescu and others explain the reasons of the
opposition to the totalitarian regime of Romania.
December 17th. In Czechoslovakia, Gustav Husak is replaced
by Milos Jakes. But he keeps the position of member of the
Praesidium and president of the Republic.

1988
January 15th. In Prague, some thousands of people go out in
the streets. Over 90 of them are arrested. Among those, writer
Vaclav Havel is also present; on February 21st he will be accused of
"incitement to participation to a forbidden meeting", of "obstruction
of the agencies of public forces" and sentenced to 9 months of
imprisonment.
January 16th. In Bulgaria, The Independent Society for
Human Rights is set up. At the end of the year (November) the
52
The foreigners were informed about what happened in Braşov by Silviu Brucan by means of
the radio:”Voice of America”, “Free Europe”, BBC, and by means of “The New Times”, “Le
Monde”, “The Independent”, “Time”. As a result, the authorities in Bucharest imposed forced
residence, forbade any correspondence and any phone conversation.
53
Mărturii braşovene, în,,Caietele Revoluţiei", [Confessions from Brasov] nr. 3/2006, p. 7-
15.
54
Timişoara, 16-22 decembrie 1989,[Timişoara, December 16th-22nd 1989], Editura Facla,
Timişoara, 1990, p. 87
59
Alesandru Duțu

Association for Human Rights is set up as well and in 1989 many


groups for civic, ecologist, religious freedoms are established (over
50). They all fight for the reformation of the Bulgarian society.
January 18th. The Minister of Home Affairs from Austria
makes public the fact that in December 1987 a number of 112
people from Romania requested political asylum.
February 15th. "Liberation" publishes the interview with Dan
Petrescu in which the opponent to the regime in Bucharest states "It
is easier to kill Ceauşescu than to change the system"55.
February 26th. The US government announces their decision
to take away from Romania, the most favoured nation clause,
starting with 3 July.
February. At the initiative of the signatories of "Charter 77"
several Romanian embassies are picketed in protest to the policy of
the regime in Bucharest. In USSR a break between the reformist
group and the radicals is underway.
March. The Hungarian political stage starts to be dominated
by The Free Democrat Alliance (SzSSz), the Hungarian Democrat
Front (F.D.M.), the Alliance of the Young Democrats (F.I.D.E.S.Z.)
- an alternative to the Socialist Youth - the Party of the Small
Owners, The National Peasant Party.
April. Nicolae Ceauşescu presents the plan regarding "the rural
systematisation", according to which 7,000 out of 12,000 villages, had
to be replaced by 550 agro-industrial settlements, by 2000.
May 10th. The HSWP plenary decides to make important
changes at the level of the party leadership. Following the
resignation of Janos Kadar (19 May, who keeps his position as CC
member), Károly Grósz will be elected (May 22nd) as general
secretary of the CC of HSWP. Although he was in favour of the
Gorbachev-style reforms, the communist leader was confronted with
a trend in the party, led by Imre Pozsgay who was even more of a
reformist.
June 16th. In celebration of 30 years since the execution of
Imre Nagy, the Hungarian revolution leader of 1956, meetings are
organized in Budapest and Paris, when people scan "Down with the
police state", "Multi-parties", "Democracy". The committee for Historical
Justice (T.I.B.) requires the rehabilitation of the martyrs of 1956.
June 28th. At the National Conference of CPSU, M.S.
Gorbachev presents a plan for a new structure of leadership, which
includes a strong presidential regime and the resumption of the
name of the Congress of the People's Deputies.

55
Vartan Arachelian, În faţa dumneavoastră. Revoluţia şi personajele ei, [Here I am. The
Revolution and its characters], Editura Nemira, Bucureşti, 1998, p. 186.
60
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

June. Romania opposes the final form of the Agreement


regarding human rights, accepted by 35 states at the Conference on
Security and Cooperation in Vienna.
July 9th. In Hungary, Reszö Nyers, member of the Political
Bureau requires in the party press "a clear break from the Stalinist
past".
August 15th. After the strikes which took place in May 1988 in
Poland, the miners of Silesia, the ship-builders of Gdansk and
Szcecin go on strike and scan "there is no freedom without
Solidarity". This time, Jaruzelski prefers the dialogue, taking into
consideration an association of the trade union to the leadership. In
turn, the "Solidarity" leaders agreed on September 10th, to negotiate,
Lech Walesa and General Czeslaw Kiszack, Minister of Home
Affairs, deciding on the agenda of September 15th. In the same line
of thought, CC of PWUP was to discuss, on December 20th, the
issue of the "Round Table".
August 21st. In Prague, on the occasion of 20 years since the
invasion of Czechoslovakia by the troops of five states of the
Warsaw Pact, some thousands of people march in protest and scan
"Dubcek", "Freedom".
August. The Political Bureau of the Bulgarian Communist
Party adopts measures referring to the renounciation to the
personality cult, in December of the same year there are public
statements of intention regarding the reform of the political system.
September 3rd. In Hungary, the Hungarian Democrat Forum
is set up as an independent political movement. Two months later,
on November 10th, the Hungarian authorities made public a draft law
regarding the authorisation of political party formation.
From Switzerland, King Michael I requires a strong position
against the plan to "systematize the villages", to demolish churches
and to implement the nutritional policy in Bucharest.
September 15th. In Poland, the Power is forced to start the
dialogue with the Opposition. To distract the attention of the public
opinion from economic issues, premier Zbigniew Messer is replaced
by Mieczyslaw Rakowski, an adept of the Gorbachev-style reforms.
October 23rd. In Hungary, the Power and the Opposition (already
accepted) commemorate (separately) the Hungarian Revolution of
1956.
October 28th. After the visit to Moscow and the meeting with
M.S. Gorbachev, Nicolae Ceauşescu restates his opposition to reforms
in Romania. In Czechoslovakia, the population protests against the
regime. Hoping to redress the situation, prime-minister Lubomir
Strougal is replaced by Ladislav Adamec, and the ultra-conservative
Vasilli Bilak is eliminated from the Political Bureau (November 1988).
61
Alesandru Duțu

October – November. Silviu Brucan goes to Washington


(where he delivers several conferences and meets some
representatives of the Bureau for Eastern Europe of the State
Department), to London (where he offers an interview to "Free
Europe" radio station which was not aired "for the time being") and
Moscow (where he claims to have met M.S. Gorbachev56).
Everywhere he went, he made "contacts" with representatives of the
structures which planned to oust Nicolae Ceauşescu. 57
November 11th. In Poland, the Z.O.M.O. troops (special units
for intervention against street demonstrations, strikes, etc) use force
against the population which manifested in celebration of 70 years
of independence.
November 29th. In Szeged, a group of intellectuals from
HSWP announce the formation of the first "reform circle" of the
party.
December 1st. In the Soviet Union, a constitutional reform
takes place, which includes a presidential regime following a
western model. In East Germany, Erich Honecker states that the
living standard of the East-German inhabitants is higher than in
West Germany.
December 18th. In Poland, under the leadership of Lech
Walesa the Civic Committee is formed to gather personalities of the
opposition, from "Solidarity" and the civil society, and which aimed
at preparing elections and negotiations with the government.

1989
January 4th. In Bucharest, Constantin Oancea, deputy
minister of Foreign Affairs reminds the Soviet ambassador E.M.
Tiazhelnikov that the Romanian party appreciated previously, that
"it was not right to keep relations" with Silviu Brucan and had
recommended that "it was not the case" that he should be received
officially in the USSR and “be offered by the representative
institutions the chance to express appreciations contradicting the
Romanian policy and the spirit of relations of profound friendship
and trust existing between our two countries". "Contrary to such
recommendations - the Audience Note includes - the Institute for
World Economy of the USSR, official institution of the Soviet Union

56
The visit was permanently supervised by the Romanian Securitate, convinced that it
wasorganized by the Americans. Once home, it was noticed that he had no visa on the
passport to prove his going in and out of the UK and the Soviet Union.
57
Referring to this, Silviu Brucan would state, on February 8th 1994 in front of the
Commission of the Senate for the investigation in the events of December 1989. “Gorbachev
agreed with our attempt to oust Ceausescu, but he said on several occasions that PCR had to
be the politica lleading force of the country”.
62
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

received him and opened its gates to this person as an official guest.
In this official position he was received by the manager of the
institute. He organised meetings at the Institute for Economy of the
World Socialist System where he had discussions and expressed his
opinion on issues of leadership. <Personal> appreciations were
made contradicting the party and state documents of our country.
He was also received at this institute by a head of sector. The
Romanian party is surprised. It was amazing the way this person got
in and out of the USSR as his passport does not include any stamp
from the Soviet border officials. As friends, we wonder, rightfully,
what the reasons were for the Soviet party to offer this person such
a special treatment".
The visit was permanently supervised by the Romanian
Securitate, convinced that it was organized by the Americans. When
back into the country, it was noticed that he had no visa on the
passport to prove his going in and out of the UK and the Soviet
Union.
January 11th In Hungary, the law of associations is passed to
allow the formation of political parties, independent trade unions,
civic associations, etc. Thus, the government in Budapest legalises
the Opposition and pledges to observe the principle of free elections.
January 15th The population of Prague manifests for the
memory of Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in 1969, in protest to
the Soviet invasion. The authorities intervene brutally; the next day
Vaclav Havel is arrested again.
In Romania, the Power makes public the fact that they do not
feel bound to take into consideration the clauses of the Final Act of
the Conference in Helsinki of 1975 with reference to human rights.
January 18th. CC of PUWP accepts, under the pressure of
General Jaruzelski the resumption of trade union activity and annuls
the decree of 1982 which banned "The Solidarity".
January 26th. In Romania, Nicolae Ceauşescu rejects the idea
of any political and economic reform.
January. Several Romanian journalists among whom Petre
Mihai Băcanu, Andrei Uncu, Mihai Creangă and others are arrested
for writing, printing and spreading political manifestos.
February 6th. In Warsaw, the Power and the Opposition start
a dialogue under the name of "Round Table", finalised with the
signing of the Agreement of the 5th of April which announced the
reestablishment of trade union pluralism, the "controlled" acceptance of
"the Solidarity" in the parliament and the democratisation of the state
institutions. On 18 April, the free trade union "the Solidarity" was to
be registered as political body.
February 10-11th. In Hungary, CC of HSWP accepts the
63
Alesandru Duțu

gradual passage to pluripartism, free elections, renounciation to the


monopoly of the communist party.
February 15th. The last Soviet troops leave Afghanistan.
February.21st Vaclav Havel is sentenced to nine months of
imprisonment (eventually he will be released after four months).
Even so, the communist regime in Prague will not be able to stop the
manifestation of the opposition, even if it was rather feeble (at the
beginning of the spring the reformatory communists, led by Dubcek
will form the " Obroda/The Renaissance" group).
February 24th. CC of HSWP accepts the Constitution would
not include "the leading role" any more.
February. In Bulgaria, in Plovdiv, the first independent trade
union (Podkrepa) is established.
March. 6th The UN Human Rights Commission adopts a
Resolution for the constitution of a commission of inquiry regarding
the situation in Romania.
March 10-11th. The "Free Europe" radio station and "BBC"
broadcast the Open Letter, in which six former personalities of the
RCP (Gheorghe Apostol, Alexandru Bârlădeanu, Corneliu Mănescu,
Constantin Pârvulescu, Grigore Răceanu, Silviu Brucan)58 criticise
Nicolae Ceauşescu for undermining the ideas of socialism, that
through the policies he chose to follow, he isolated Romania at an
international level, that he did not observe the provisions of the
Final Act of Helsinki of August 1st 1975 regarding human rights and
those of the Romanian Constitution. The signatories of the Letter
referred directly to the negative consequences of the policy of
"village systematisation", the interdiction that Romanian citizens
should communicate with foreigners, the construction of the Civic
Centre, the repressive actions of the Securitate, the breach of
correspondance privacy, the agricultural policy, the forced
assimilation of the Germans, the Hungarians and the Jews who were
thus forced to emigrate, etc. In case the "systematisation policy" was
stopped, the export of food was put an end to and the rights of the
citizens were observed, the six signatories showed their openness to
take part "in a constructive way to a dialogue with the government
on the ways and means to overcome the crisis"59. After a short
while, the signatories of the Letter were to be placed under
supervision at home, Nicolae Ceauşescu not wanting to aggravate
the relations with the USA and the USSR.60

58
For the way in which the letter was drawn up see Grigore Cartianu, op.cit.p.55 – 61.
59
,,Clio.1989", I, nr. 1-2/2005, p. 163-165
60
Referring to the true purpose of this initiative, Silviu Brucan was to state on 8 February
1994: “ The letter of the six” had as strategic purpose the break between the party mass and
Ceauşescu, to create a reformist wing in our country –as in Poland, Hungary, Czeckoslovakia
64
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

In Hungary, in the presence of several communist leaders, the


first National Congress of the Democratic Forum is organised, followed
on March 15th, by a demonstration in Budapest of almost 100,000
people on the occasion of the new National Day of Hungary.
March. 17th "Liberation" publishes an interview with Mircea
Dinescu, where the dissident poet condemns, in his personal style,
the communist regime of Romania, approaching, in an ironical way
multiple tragic realities the Romanians have to face.
March. 23rd The Hungarian National Assembly passes a law
which allows the organisation of strikes and work conflicts; in April
the press will publish the draft law for the functioning of the
political parties. During the same period (March - April) FDM and
SZDSz decide to form a coalition under the name of The Round
Table of the Opposition. At the end of the month, CC of HSWP will
accept the idea of dialogue, presenting the date of April 8th for a
possible meeting.
April 9th. In a letter sent to the chairman of the Writers' Union,
seven Romanian writers express their support for Mircea Dinescu
who had criticised the regime in Bucharest.
In Tbilisi, the Soviet forces intervene brutally against the
demonstrators, 20 people being killed.
April 12-14th. On the occasion of the RCP plenary Nicolae
Ceauşescu announces that Romania paid, at the end of March, the whole
foreign debt. Even so, the economic-social situation was to worsen61.
April 16th. In Hungary, the Alliance of Free Democrats organises
the first congress.
April 22nd As the Chinese authorities closed down the Tien
Anmen Square of Beijing, to prevent the students from taking part in
the funerals of Hu Yaobang, the general secretary of the Chinese
Communist Party who had expressed his openness to reforms in the
Chinese society, they occupied the area on April 27th, the number of
protesters reaching 100,000. The protest is intensely covered by the
media, as on May 15th M.S.Gorbachev was to arrive in Beijing.
Hoping the Soviet leader would make the Chinese communist
leadership to negotiate, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in
the Square, on the 15th and 17th of May.
April. In Romania, a group of Romanian writers - Geo Bogza,

– which should change things after the Revolution. This action on a domestic plan was
coordinated with foreign actions.To the end of 88’s I made that trip to Washington, London
and Moscow, while I visited Gorbachev who had the intention of an international concerted
action to destroy Ceauşescu. This was the purpose”.
61
On October 21st 1993, Ion Dincă, the former communist dignitary stated that Nicolae
Ceauşescu refused to use the surplus of almost one billion dollars to satisfy the needs of the
population, stating:” No! the money should go to the industry. It doesn’t mean if we paid our
debt, we should loosen our belt and eat what we produce”.
65
Alesandru Duțu

Ştefan Augustin Doinaş, Dan Hăulică, Octavian Paler, Andrei Pleşu,


Alexandru Paleologu, Mihai Şora - write a letter addressed to the chairman
of the Writers' Union, Dumitru Radu Popescu where they defended the
poets Dan Deşliu, Ana Blandiana and Mircea Dinescu who had been
subjected to house arrest as a result of their attitude to the regime.
May 2nd. Hungary destroys the barbed wire fence at the
border with Austria (350 km), thus allowing the East-Germans to go
to West Germany. A first breach is created in "the Iron Curtain",
completed with the opening of the border between the two states
(10th of September). Showing the importance of these acts, chancellor
Helmut Kohl will state on September 12th "What Hungary did on
those days for us won't be ever forgotten". In turn, the US President
George Bush decided to grant Hungary the most favoured nation
clause starting with 18 September.
May 8th. In Hungary Janos Kadar is excluded from the Central
Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (he will die on
June 6th 1989). At the same time, the government receives the right
to name non-party members for different positions.
May 12th. A number of 172 members of the US Congress request
president George Bush to revise the relations with Romania who was
considered "one of the most repressive countries in Eastern Europe".
May 25th. For the first time, the works of the Congress of
People's Deputies in Moscow are broadcast on television.
May 26th. In Bulgaria several members of the independent
groups are arrested. Despite all this, the pressure of the civic groups
(especially of Ecoglasnost led by Petar Slabakov) on the communist
regime was to increase, especially on the occasion of the Conference
on Environment organised by OSCE in Sofia between October 16th
and November 3rd 1989.
May 31st In the Newsbulletin the Hungarian television informs:
"During the Conference in Paris of the European states with regard to
human rights, Romania was directly criticised by Italy and Switzerland
for the violation of the principles of human rights. Although Romania
tries all kinds of subterfuges, it won't be able to avoid observing the
provisions of the final document signed in Vienna".
June 2nd "France Press" news agency published the letter
written by Doina Cornea in which the well-known dissident
protested against the policy promoted by the Romanian authorities.
June 4th. As the negotiations between the Chinese communist
leaders and the protesting students in Tien Anmen Square failed, even if
some of the communist leaders were willing to compromise with the
students (Zhao Ziang, who was excluded from the leading structures) in
the morning of 4 June, the Chinese army, including tanks, intervene in
force, ending in a tragic way the “Spring" in Beijing.
66
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

In Poland, free legislative elections are organised (for the


Sejm for which elections were organised and the great majority of
those in the Senate). From that moment on, the Polish people
officially rejected the communist regime.62 In the second round of
the ballot, of 18th of June 1989, "the Solidarity" confirmed its
resounding victory. The success registered in defeating the Polish
communist regime was immediately received by the West, the
French president François Mitterrand coming to Warsaw soon after
that, as well as the American president George Bush. For the
moment, M.S. Gorbachev kept silent.
June. 9th During the visit to Belgium, Wojciech Jaruzelski
delivers the speech "Poland under change in a changing Europe".
June 10-11th. The Polish head of state continues his visit to
Great Britain where Margaret Thatcher refers to "the fascination"
with which she watched the events taking place in Poland.
June. 13th HSWP and nine groups of the Opposition start
negotiations at a "round table" regarding the organisation of multi-
partitism and the future free elections. The discussions are finalised
on September 19th 1989, but SzDSz and FIDESZ did not sign an
agreement, refusing the compromise with the communist party,
whereas the Hungarian Democrat Forum accepted it. In order to
avoid the possibility that Imre Poszgay be elected as president of
Hungary, in general elections, SzDSz and FIDESZ managed to
gather 200,000 signatures for a referendum, programmed at the end
of November 1989 in which the decision to elect the future president
should be attributed to the parliament.
June 14-16th. During the visit made to Poland, the French
president François Mitterand states: "I wish that what is happening
in Poland, Hungary and partially USSR, contaminated the rest of
the countries in Eastern Europe"63.
June. 16th In Hungary, 200,000 people attend the reburial of
Imre Nagy and other victims of 1956 in a cementry on the outskirts
of Budapest. The ceremony is televised. The opposition gets new
positions in the fight against the Power. Referring to this moment,
the Romanian ambassador to Budapest, Traian Pop notes: "The day
of 16 June 1989 may be considered as a peak moment in the fall of
the socialist society in Hungary".
June 23-24th The HSWP plenary decides to establish a
praesidium made up of four members among whom presidency

62
Adrian Pop, op. cit., p. 205-206.
63
1989. Principiul dominoului. Prăbuşirea regimurilor comuniste europene (ediţie de
Dumitru Preda şi Mihai Retegan), [The Domino Theory. The fall of European communist
regimes.], Editura Fundaţiei Culturale Române, Bucureşti, 2000, p. 114.
67
Alesandru Duțu

should be attributed to Reszö Nyers who becomes number one in the


party and that of general secretary to Károly Grósz.
June 28th. On the occasion of 600 years since the battle at
Kosovo Polie, Slobodan Milosevic, who took over the leadership of
the communists in Serbia in May 1986, delivers an exaggerated
nationalistic speech, to the discontent of the Constituting Republics
of the Yugoslavian Federation.
June. In Czechoslovakia, the petition "Some Words" claims
the democratisation of the country, the release of political detainees,
the banning of censorship, dialogue with the opposition. Further on,
the Opposition will radicalise rapidly, with new organisations, such
as the Democratic Initiative, the Democratic Forum of the
Hungarian Minority, the Circle of Independent Intelligentsia, the
Moravian Ecology Club, the Club of the Greens.
In Romania, Marin Ceauşescu, head of the Economic Agency
of Romania to Vienna warns Nicolae Ceauşescu: "There is no
escape, Nicule, as the Russians and the Americans are both
involved!! Each of them has people here who collude, you know, but
they haven't found the right moment, yet, but they won't miss the
opportunity..Don't make it easy for them! Don't play as they expect
you to do, it will be the end for us and of the whole country. Save
yourself! Resign on illness reasons and put Iliescu in your stead,
anyway he is the one designated to come"64. The older brother’s
warning was not taken into consideration by Nicolae Ceauşescu.
July. 2nd The Czechoslovak premier Ladislaw Adamec delivers a
speech in the parliament with a feeble reformatory shade.
July 6th The Supreme Court of Hungary judicially rehabilitates
the memory of Imre Nagy. Janos Kadar dies on the same day.
In front of the European Council in Strasbourg, M.S.
Gorbachev rejects the "Brezhnev doctrine" of 1968.
July 7-8th. In Bucharest, on the occasion of the Political
Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Pact an extremely tensioned
discussion takes place between Nicolae Ceauşescu and M.S. Gorbachev.
Peter Mladenov, the Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs
uses the occasion to get from M.S.Gorbachev his sympathy for the
reformatory cause in Bulgaria, who said "We understand you but
this is your own problem".
July 8th. At the University in Warsaw the representatives of
the PUWP organisations of the capital city of Poland form "The
Initiative of July 8th " through which they require changes at the top
of the party leadership and the change of its name.

64
Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 22 (pe larg: Mihaela Ceauşescu Moraru, Nu regret, nu mă
jelesc, nu strig), I don’t regret, I don’t lament, I don’t shout], Editura Meditaţii, 2008).[
68
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology
th
July 9-11 . During his visit to Poland, George Bush, president
of the USA states: „Your achievements surpassed any expectations
and won our admiration. You have my gratitude for what you have
achieved since my previous visit: the first free elections in post-war
Poland. America is ready to help Poland, as it advances on the road
to reform"65.
July.12th On his visit to Budapest, US President, George
Bush, stated "The season of liberty has started for Hungary now."
July 19th In Poland, General Woychiech Jaruzelski is elected
as president of the Republic by the Polish parliament (with a majority
of one vote), with an important contribution of the "Solidarity"
deputies. Immediately, the general withdraws from the head of the
party, in favour of Mieczyslaw Rakowski. During the negotiations
for the formation of the new government, after the failure of General
Kiszczak, Lech Walesa announces on August 7th the decision of
"Solidarity" to form the new government, but without communists.
Summoned by Rakowski, the new leader of the Polish communist
party, M.S.Gorbachev refuses to intervene in the domestic policy of
Poland.
August. 3-4th The Hungarian television broadcasts an interview
of King Michael I in which he criticises the situation in Romania.
August 17th. During the discussions for the formation of the
first non-communist government of Poland and in the Moscow area
of influence, Lech Walesa draws the attention that "Poland should
not forget where it lies on the map and to whom it is endebted. We
are in the Warsaw Pact. This cannot be changed."
August. 18th Following the resignation of Czceslaw Kiszczak
th
(17 of August), in Poland, Tadeusz Mazowiecki is proposed to be
head of the government in Warsaw (on the 24th of August he will be
confirmed by the parliament). The moment the parliament voted the
list of the new government (12th of September), the first non-
communist prime-minister of the Warsaw Pact member states, he
would say "The 40 years of communist ruling have ended".
August 19th Within the process of self-reformation, CC of
HSWP (on July 28th it had officially gave up to its atheist character),
adopts the document entitled the Learning of our historic road,
through which it was announced the party was giving up "situation
as monopoly and the role of state party, considering itself part of the
democracy with several parties". The "Declaration- Programme"
drawn up on the same occasion, mentioned as main target of the
party the passage to "democratic socialism".
August. 19-20th In a Message sent to the leaders of the

65
1989. Principiul dominoului, [The Domino Theory] p. 136-137
69
Alesandru Duțu

communist parties of the states participating in the Warsaw Pact,


Nicolae Ceauşescu states that RCP does not consider the evolution
in Poland as "a strict domestic" matter of the country, that what
happened there "was of interest to all socialist countries". As a
result, they should adopt a position to the effect that " the leaders of
the Solidarity should not be allowed to be in charge of establishing
the Polish government", to stop "the course of events which
attempted to destroy socialism in Poland". The next day, on August
21st, in the meeting of the Political Executive Committee, Nicolae
Ceauşescu was to ask "that an emergency programme should be
drafted" to stop the "loss of Poland"66. In Prague, in the Venceslav
Square, some thousands of young people chant "Long live freedom",
"Long live Poland".
August. 24th Premier Nemeth Miklos informs the West-
German chancellor Helmut Kohl and the Austrian chanceller Franz
Vranitzky that Hungary will open its borders with Austria. When
informed, the officials in Berlin did protest, while those in Moscow did
not object67.
September 10th. The Hungarian government annuls the
Convention of 1968 signed with the government of East Germany
regarding the limitation of East-German citizens passing from a
third country, thus giving the chance to tens of thousands of
refugees from East-Germany to go to Austria and West Germany.
September 12th. In East Germany, the New Forum is formed,
an independent political group, dominated by leftist intellectuals,
which is attended only by former communists who follow the
dialogue with the Power and participation to free elections in a
socialist democratic pluralist society. Even so, the Power declares it
illegal (21st of September). The measure does not stop the formation
of other parties (The Social-Democrat Party) organisations, groups
and independent groups (the Initiative for peace and human rights,
the Democratic Opening, the Anonymous Student Federation,
Democracy-now, etc.) which demand reforms.
September. 15th In Czechoslovakia, 22 of the signatories of
the petition Some Words (launched in August) send a letter to
premier Ladislau Adamec in which they request the undertaking of
negotiations between the government and the opposition.
September 18th. George Bush states in a press conference that
the USA is "firmly engaged to support the process of reforms in
Eastern Europe". In Hungary, the Power and the Opposition agree
on six texts of law which refer to the democratic transition.
66
Clio.1989", I, nr. 1-2/2005, p. 167-170.
67
Ioan Scurtu, Revoluţia Română din decembrie 1989 în context internaţional, [The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989 in International context] p. 114.
70
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

September 19th. At the CPSU plenary M.S. Gorbachev said


he was in favour of increasing the autonomy in the case of the
Republics of the USSR, but he cautions that "no manifestations of
nationalism and chauvinism"68 would be allowed.
September 25th. In East Germany, in Leipzig abput 10,000 -
15,000 citizens require the legalisation of the New Forum and scan
"Gorby", "Gorby". Other manifestations take place during the
following days in Dresden, Potsdam, Jena, Halle, Magdeburg, etc. The
Power mobilises the repression forces, that make arrests but they do not
use repression69. Erich Honeker's position is more and more unstable.
September 26th At the federal ministry of foreign affairs of
Czechoslovakia, the heads of diplomatic missions accredited to
Prague are presented the document "Present issues of the economic
restructuring in Czechoslovakia" in which reference is made to the
democratisation of the Czechoslovak society, at the drafting of a
new Constitution, which should take into account the provisions of
the Universal Declaration of human rights. On the same occasion, it
was said that "in the future the keeping and the increase of the
leading role of the Communist party in the Czechoslovakian
society"70 will be of consequence.
October 2nd. In the main cities of East Germany there is a series
of almost uninterrupted anti-governmental demonstrations. They will
continue in Dresden -4 and 16th of October, in East Berlin -7th of
October, 4 and 6th of November, Leipzig - 9, 16, 23rd of October,
Magdeburg – 16th of October, during which they require the observance
of rules and democratic principles, dialogue with the authorities, etc.
October 3rd. At the headquarters and in front of the West
Germanan Embassy in Prague, there are over 4,000 East-German citizens
who try to use the Czechoslovak territory to reach West Germany.
Octobe 7th r. In an extraordinary congress, the Hungarian
Socialist Workers' party (PMSU) transforms into the Hungarian
Socialist Party (chairman: Reszö Nyers) who renounces the
democratic centralisation and pronounces himself for a pluralist
society, for market economy. In his speech at the congress, Reszö
Nyers mentioned the fact that in the context of changes taking place
in the Hungarian society, "the historical role of HSWP gets to an
end" as it is necessary to have "a new party which should not

68
M.S. Gorbaciov, Memorii, [Memoirs], Editura Nemira, Bucureşti, 1994, p. 242.
69
Referring to the political evolution of East Germany, the spokesperson of the White House
announced that on October 12th 1989 the Americans watched the events in this country”with
interest and concern”, that they hoped the East German government would find “the will to
answer, humanely and positively to the overwhelming desire for change” and that they
“admire those who seek liberty and democracy in one way or another.” Principiul
dominoului…, p.224 [The Domino Theory..]
70
1989. Principiul dominoului, [1989. The Domino Theory], p.207
71
Alesandru Duțu

continue the HSWP policy", "a party which could not be communist"
which "should get involved in the reforms of all domains"71.
At the same time, Erich Honecker organises the celebration of
40 years since the formation of East Germany, inviting all leaders of
Warsaw Pact member states to Berlin. A special welcome was made
by the East-German citizens to M.S. Gorbachev72 who - in the
context where he noticed that the East-German leader did not leave
any hope for change (in the speech he delivered) - he said with
double meaning - "the one that reacts late is punished by life".
Hearing this, Erich Honecker replied "The USSR is a big country
that is why perestroika will need ten years to destroy it. In East
Germany it will need less than ten days. That is why I say no"73. At
the same time, the East-Berlin citizens went out in the streets with
banners demanding freedom, democracy, the legalisation of the New
Forum74, etc. On the same occasion, the demonstrators referred to
the unification of Germany75.
October 10th. At the closure of the CEE summit in Strasbourg,
François Mitterand says that "the issue of some provinces such as
Silesia, Moravia, Prussia, etc. is untouchable. The issues between
Hungary and Romania in the matter of Transylvania, on the other
hand there should not be omitted, or the issue of Bessarabia..
France and the USSR have to resume their role of keeping the
balance in Europe, as they did for centuries".
October 11-12th. At the CCP plenary, Milos Jakes criticises
those who wanted "to destabilise socialism, to weaken the leading
role of the party and to discredit it" as well as the evolutions of
Hungary and Poland. He admits that there is a necessity to
restructure for the "development of the socialist society" and
emphasizes that he will not accept giving in positions in "favour of
anti-socialist" and he won’t allow "the party to lose its influence on
the evolution of the events"76.
October 12th. A month before the organisation of the 14th
Congress of RCP, the Disposition concerning the party, the
organisational and educational work, issued by the Commandment of

71
Principiul dominoului…[The Domino Theory],.215-216
72
The moment he presented the wreath of flowers at the Monument of the Soviet Heroes, the
crowd shouted:”Help us Gorbachev”.
73
Françoise Thom, Sfârşitul comunismului [Les Fins du communisme], Editura Polirom, Iaşi,
1996, p. 66.
74
Referring to these manifestations, the East German agency ADN sent the following
message:”hooligans, in collaboration with western media tried to disturb people’s festivities
on the occasion of the East Germany anniversary” (Principiul dominoului..), [The Domino
Theory], p.118)
75
Helmut Kohl, Am vrut reunificarea Germaniei,[I wanted Germany reunited] Institutul
European, Iasi,1999,p.86
76
Principiul dominoului.[The Domino Theory].p.235
72
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Military Aviation, presents a worrying prognosis for any Romanian: "1.


With a view to creating the conviction that the aggression against the
socialist countries has a justified "liberator" character and to increase
and keep the morale of the troops making up the GPA West and South,
the enemy conducts an intense activity of psychological influence, by
presenting way the realities in socialist countries in a wrong way,
misinforming troops and public opinion of NATO member states that
socialist countries make efforts to regulate the tensions and conflicts
through political and diplomatic treaties, while insisting on giving up
the use of force and threat with force, at the same time minimising the
military capability to fight and resist socialist countries, among which
our country, as well. It is to be expected that, for the days to come,the
psychological propaganda will increase, diversify its forms and
methods, especially by means of the radio and television, by launching
false rumours, by defaming the party and state leadership of the
country by all means of mass information. The enemy will use probably
groups of research-diversion, terrorist elements and reactionary
elements to create a state of tension and fear. In the offensive air
operation manifestos will be spread to urge the population and the
troops to give up resistance and collaborate with the “liberator"
enemy. 2. The moral-political state of the army is good, the military and
the civil population are determined to oppose the enemy, to defend the
revolutionary achievements, the independence and sovereignity of the
country, going to the supreme sacrifice".
October 16th. Taking advantage of the Conference on Environment
organised by OSCE in Sofia (until November 3rd) the Bulgarian civil
society protests against the Bulgarian communist regime.
October 18th. After October 12th, the Political Bureau of
GSUP reconfirmed the commitment of the party to the values of
socialism, Willy Stoph, East-German prime-minister requires, in the
Political Bureau, Erich Honecker's resignation. Not to be humiliated,
the East-German leader gives up power, by resigning "on health
reasons". He is replaced by Egon Krenz77 (an adept of the
Gorbachev style) who promises certain changes, including the
dialogue with the opposition78. The change "at the top" does not lead
to the reform of the ruling system.
October 20th. The Hungarian parliament brings some
amedments to the Constitution on which the representatives of PMSU
and the opposition had agreed: the changing of the name of the state
into the Republic of Hungary (giving up that of People's Republic),

77
The new East German leader proclaims the leading role of the communist party,
appreciating that “socialism is the only alternative to capitalism”(Principiul dominoului…[The
Domino Theory], p.244.
78
He meets Werner Leich, the leader of the Evangelican Church in East Germany.
73
Alesandru Duțu

the adoption of the pluriparty and market economy principles, the


increase of attributions of the National Assembly, etc..
October 23rd. In Hungary the day of the 23rd of October when
the revolution broke out in 1956 becomes national day. The moment
symbolises the fall of the communist regime in Hungary.
Edward Sevardnadze, the Soviet minister of foreign affairs
pronounces himself in front of the Supreme Soviet for "absolute
freedom of the Eastern-European peoples".
Whereas at the beginning of October, Stanko Todorov,
president of the Bulgarian National Assembly addressed a letter to
the Political Bureau in which he criticised the slow pace at which
the process of reform took place, the leader of the reformist group of
the leading structures Peter Mladenov presented his resignation from
the government79, along with a letter highly critical of the situation
in the country and the policy promoted by Todor Jidzkov.
Hundreds of thousands of East German citizens of Leipzig get
out80 in the streets and ask for authentic democratic reforms. They
will be followed on 4 and 6 November by East-Berlin citizens.
October 24th. At the enlarged RCP plenary, Nicolae Ceauşescu
speaks against the changes in the Romanian political system.
October 28th. The Czechoslovak opposition (almost 80 groups
of different orientations) manage to gather almost 10,000 people in
Wenceslas Square in Prague, to mark the foundation of the
Czechoslovak state.
October 30th. On the basis of a document drawn up by
Dumitru Mazilu, the rapporteur for Romania of the Center for
Human Rights close to the UN Office in Geneve gives the
Romanian minister of foreign affairs a Note in which there were 131
cases of human rights breach in Romania, including measures taken
against political opponents (Gabriel Andreescu, Petre Mihai Băcanu,
Ana Blandiana, Andrei Pleşu, Doina Cornea, Radu Filipescu, etc.)
Immediately afterwards, Dumitru Mazilu is placed under supervision
by the Securitate.
October. The Romanian dissident Dan Petrescu speaks, in an
interview offered to the radio station "Free Europe" against the re-
election of Nicolae Ceauşescu as general secretary of the RCP81.
November 3rd. In Bulgaria over 500,000 supporters of the

79
The same does Stanko Todorov, the chairman of the National Assembly.
80
The situation of Todor Zhidkov was to become worse, at the beginning of November, M.S.
Gorbachev refused to receive him, telling him that „Bulgarian issues should be solved by the
Bulgarian communists”.
81
As a result, after being detained for a short period of time, the Romanian authorities
imposed him forced residence. Later on, Dan Petrescu was joined in his protest by other 11
Romanian intellectuals.
74
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Ecoglasnost group manifest in Sofia and present a Petition at the


headquarters of the National Assembly. Aso active are The Club for
the support of glasnost and perestroika The Association of the
Human Rights, the free trade unions, as well as the newly founded
Helsinki and 33 Clubs. In five days (November 8th) some members
of the Political Bureau of the Bulgarian Communist Party were to
require Todor Jidzkov to present his resignation.
November 4th. In a televised meeting, almost 300,000 citizens
of East Berlin require the resignation of the government and of the
PSUG leadership.
November 7th. The East Germany government resign "as a
whole", Willy Stoph being replaced with the reformatory Hans
Modrow who included non-communists in the government.
The Service for Foreign Intelligence of the Department of
State Security of Romania informs that the French president
François Mitterand and the German chancellor Helmut Kohl decided
to intensify the implementation of the measures established within
the NATO to stimulate the evolutions in Eastern Europe, especially
by the formation of a joint front of the opposition forces in socialist
countries.
November 8th. The new East German government announced
that starting the next day, the East-German citizens could leave the
country by any border crossing point.
November 9th. The citizens of East Berlin attack the border
crossing points with West Berlin without any restrictions. Thus, the
Berlin Wall falls, symbol of the cold war.
November 10th. Under the pressure of the street and their own
comrades, Todor Jidzkov is replaced from the position of general
secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party (on December 13th he
was eliminated from the Central Committee and from the list of
party members82). The new leadership of the party was to be held by
Peter Mladenov, who promised moderate reforms, within the limits
of socialism83. Wishing for more, the population continues to
demonstrate, demanding a multiparty system, the right to free
association (November 30th); on the 25th of November the trade
unions proclaimed their independence.
November 13th. The Service for Foreign Intelligence informs
that the American Administration established the following missions
of the main member states of NATO. "The events of Eastern Europe
develop very rapidly, a closer coordination between states being
82
On January 18th 1990, Todor Zhivkov was to be under arrest at home.
83
During the meeting with the intellectuals, Peter Mladenov mentioned that the reforms he
had in mind aimed at „creating a socialist, modern, just state” (Principiul dominoului.. [The
Domino Theory....], p.297).
75
Alesandru Duțu

necessary in order to control the situation and accelerate the course


favourable to the interests of the West. In this sense, a redistribution
must be made of the roles of western states and a higher
involvement in the actions of influencing the evolutions in different
socialist countries. The US will concentrate on the situation in the
USSR, so that West Germany and the United Kingdom should
concentrate on East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, while
France and Italy on Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania"84
November 14th 1989. The Service for Foreign Intelligence
informs that CIA set up "Trust Organisation" which proposes "to
encourage and support the dissident movement in the socialist
countries; the organisation and management of informative activity
among the immigration coming from these countries; the initiation
of actions against socialist states through the means of hostile
elements among the immigrants or dissidents".
November 15th. In Budapest, in front of the Romanian
Embassy, the Federation of Young Democrats (FIDESZ) organised
a protest demonstration against the situation in Romania, with the
participation of almost 400 people, who held torches and candles
and who scanned "Down with the regime" "Communist criminals",
"Freedom for Transylvania", "God, don't let us lose Transylvania".
At the same time, in a park close to the embassy there were banners
with the following text "Down with the communist dictatorship",
"Down with the slavery in Romania", etc. 85
November 16th. In front of the Romanian Embassy in Prague,
a group of "European Radical Party" protests against the violation of
human rights in Romania.
The Service for Foreign Intelligence informs that the French
president F.Mitterand intends "to adopt a unitary position at the
level of the EEC against the evolution in some Eastern-European
countries, starting from the fact that the present context offers
favourable conditions to the initiation of new coordinated measures
which allow more influential positions in the respective states; the
further involvement of the community countries in the actions of
destabilisation of the situation in Eastern-Europe; the warning
against a separate agreement between the US and the USSR
regarding the imposition of a new Bălance on the continent which
should take into consideration the long-term objectives of Western
European community; the support of the Eastern European

84
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia română din decembrie 1989 retrăită prin
documente şi mărturii, [The Romanian Revolution of December 1989], Editura Axioma
Eddit, Bucureşti, 2001, p. 104 (în continuare se va cita: Revoluţia română din decembrie
1989).
85
According to a synthesis made by the Defence Intelligence Department.
76
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

countries which had started on the road of reforms, both by offering


limited financial aid and by making them to adopt measures to
extend the implementation of market economy; the non-stimulation
of people flow from the East to the West, on the one hand in order
not to create economic issues, even social conflicts in Western
Europe and on the other, to encourage the constitution in the
socialist countries of a “ maneuvre mass", made up of dissatisfied
citizens, usable for protesting actions".
November 17th. In Czechoslovakia, "the velvet revolution"
starts. The population heads to Wenceslas Square in Prague,
scanning "Freedom", "Free elections", "Out with Jakes", “Stop the
CCP monopoly". Initially, the forces of order did not react, but as
already planned86, at about 20.00 they intervene brutally, make
arrests and wound over 500 protesters.
In the USSR, Edward Shevardnadze states in the Committee
for International Relations of the Supreme Soviet that "nobody had
the right to change the realities in Europe unilaterally".
In Romania, the Minister of Foreign Affairs gives "precise
instructions" to the heads of diplomatic missions in connection with
their behaviour: "For the time being, watch carefully the evolution
of events and select, from the contacts you have, the tendencies for
the period to come, the position of different political parties in the
country where you reside,as well as the position of other countries
towards such events and evolutions. We are especially interested in
the position of the US, the USSR, France, the UK, West Germany, of
the countries in the Common Market, the position of the countries in
Middle East to the events in the area, of African countries to the
solution of the conflict in Southern Africa etc.; the position of the
big powers against the situation in Central and Latin America;
initiatives and positions of the countries in Latin America against
the international events and others. Pay attention and be careful in
the way you interpret the positions of the US and the USSR, their
possible "coordination" in connection with the perspective of
international issues solution. 4. There are possible some recrudescences
and intensifications of actions hostile to our country, the publication
and transmission of materials through mass media means with
inappropriate character. In connection with this, you are requested

86
As he intended to replace Milos Jakes with the reformer Zdenek Mlynar, General Alois
Lonec, the head of secret police, and Viktor Grusko, the deputy head of KGB made a plan
which included that, as a result of the intervention in force of the Czeckoslovakian police to
announce that a student (in reality a Securitate officer) was “killed” to escalate the revolt of
the population. The plan partially succeeded, as the real Martin Smidt admitted to having lied
about his “death” and Zdenek Mlynar refused to take Milos Jakes’ place. (Ioan Scurtu,
Revolutia Romana din decembrie 1989 in context international, [The Romanian revolution in
International Context], p.125)
77
Alesandru Duțu

to follow carefully the developments, to take immediate measures to


reject them, by presenting arguments for the real situation, the state
and party policy. If necessary, present a protest on the part of the
embassy".
November 18th. The new East-German government includes
11 non-communist ministers (out of 28).
In Czechoslovakia, the universities and the theatres go on
strike.
The People’s Assembly of Bulgaria (the Parliament) decides
to form a commission for the drawing up of a new Constitution,
mentioning that all measures to be taken should focus on the
consolidation and development of “the socialist order”, the
Communist party keeping his role of avangarde.
November 19th. Almost 100,000 citizens of the Czechoslovak
capital city go out in the streets. Late at night, due to the initiative of
Vaclav Havel, the Civic Forum is formed which gathers 12
independent organisations and movements.
November 20th. In Buchares,t the works of the 14th RCP
Congress start. The delegates applaud Nicolae Ceauşescu frantically,
who declares he won’t allow “socialism be endangered” (on 24
November he will be re-elected unanimously as general secretary of
RCP).
“Radio Free Europe” informs at 08:00 “on the eve of the 14th
RCP Congress, that special security measures had been taken all
over the country. The western news agencies, Yugoslavian and
Hungarian signal cases of foreign citizens who were refused entry in
Romania. At the Hungarian-Romanian border a number of
Hungarians, Poles, Czeckoslovians, Soviets, Dutch, West-Germans
and Turks were sent back without any explanation on the part of the
Romanian border officers.87 Several hours later, Alexandra Polizu
makes public the following message at the same radio station:”The
diplomats of 12 member states of the European Community
accredited to Bucharest boicott the 14th RCP Congress as a sign of
protest to the violation of human rights in Romania. A similar
decision was taken by the US Embassy in Bucharest”.
In Prague, almost 200,000 people go out in the streets asking,
among others, the elimination from the Constitution of the leading
role of the Communist Party, social dialogue, political pluralism.
“Radio Free Europe” broadcasts the statement made by
Roland Dumas, French minister of foreign affairs in the Senate:
”Yesterday Budapest, Warsaw and Berlin, then Sofia! Today
Prague. Tomorrow it will be Bucharest!”:

87
E un inceput in tot sfarsitul [There Is a Beginning in Every Ending...], p.19
78
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology
st
November 21 . In Czechoslovakia, the Civic Forum makes the
first contacts with premier Adamec with a view to organising a
“round table” after the Polish model. In turn, cardinal Frantisek
Tomasek makes public the Declaration (glued to the walls in the
capital city) which reads: “We cannot trust a state leadership which
refuses to tell the people the truth and give them the rights and
liberties which are right for developing countries as well”.88
From Moscow, ambassador Ion Bucur informs about the visit
to Moscow of the French minister of foreign affairs: ”R. Dumas was
received by M. Gorbachev and had a meeting with Shevardnadze. As
a deputy director in the ministry of foreign affairs of the USSR said,
R. Dumas was sent to Moscow by the French president to get an
exchange of opinions with M. Gorbachev on the evolutions of some
European socialist countries, especially on how the Soviets perceive
the issue of Germany’s reunification. Both parties acknowledged the
unity of opinions in what post-war borders in Europe are concerned,
as well as about the fact that Germany is not a topical issue. M.
Gorbachev drew the attention on the lack of perspective of the views
of political circles in West Germany as regards the unification of
Germany, underlying the fact that the conquering powers should
present their position on this matter. M. Gorbachev focused on the
significance of a balanced, constructive approach on the part of
western countries concerning the events in some socialist countries,
showing that the time hasn’t arrived yet to destroy the political and
economic organisations of Europe. He repeated his thesis, according
to which the contemporary world is not made up of two civilisations
excluding each other, but only one, at world level where human
general values and freedom of choice prevail”.
In Washington (according to the words of ambassador Ion
Stoichici on the following day) Hans Dietrich Genscher, the foreign
minister of West Germany requires president George Bush and the
State Secretary J.Baker to confirm that during the Soviet-American
high level meeting of the 2-3rd of December “there is no intention on
the part of the two presidents to convene on new decisions regarding
the future of Europe without asking for the Europeans’opinion”. At
the end of the visit, officials of the American Administration stated
that the West-German diplomat was promised that no unilateral
decision concering Europe’s future would be taken during the talks in
Malta. During the visit, Hans Dietrich Genscher expressed his
position as regarding the fact that “in the West, there is interest that
the reformatory movements succeed and the West won’t do anything
to trouble these actions” and “we won’t try to get unilateral

88
Principiul dominoului. [The Domino Theory], p.319
79
Alesandru Duțu

advantages from the issues that might arise”, that the West
understands and accepts that “the USSR security nterests and is, just
like the USSR, interested in keeping stability, under the conditions of
reformatory processes.” Referring to the German issue, the West-
German minister stated “we are one people, there is no capitalist
German nation and socialist German nation; this single German
nation lives together in two different states”.
November 22nd. The Political Bureau of GSUP proposes to the
parties participating to governing and to the bodies of the opposition
to take part in the “Round Table” to discuss a new electoral law and a
new Constitution89. Immediately after that, new political bodies are
set up.
• In Bratislava, the organisation The Public Against Violence is
set up, which is similar to the Civic Forum in Prague.
• In the USSR, the first secretary of the Regional and Town
Committe Leningrad states:”we break away from the Stalinist
ideology, ideology of stagnation, but we are convinced: our flag is
and will be red and it reads Lenin, October, Socialism”.90
President of France François Mitterand states in the Parliament
in Strasbourg: “We hear the call of the crows in Prague and if we
don’t hear the voice of the Romanian people yet, we feel this silence is
very important”.
President Bush mentions the fact that he will ask M.S.
Gorbachev while in Malta “to build together a new world” that “freedom
has come” in Europe and that “a new Europe must rely on democratic
values”, that “the peace we are buidling together must be different from
the present one” and that „it is time we had historic changes”.
The Service of Foreign Intelligence in Bucharest considers that
the decisions adopted at the reunion in Paris by the heads of
government and state of the EEC member countries speak, as far as
Romania is concerned about “the intensification of actions aiming at
the creation of destabilizing domestic tensions, by the use of a state of
discontent among the Hungarian minority, thus considering that
Romania could be determined not to stop the processes taking place
in Europe anymore”.
Novembe 23rd. Dimitri Stanishev, secretary of the Bulgarian
Communist Party considers that after November 10th 1989, a “new
stage of Bulgaria’s development” has been achieved in which the
focus was “on expansion of democracy” and “citizens’ freedoms”, the
reforms taking place within the “socialist norms and for the building

89
Egon Krenz appreciated that the new electoral law had to”ensure free elections, general,
democratic and secret” When referring to the Constitution, he considered that the role of a
party is not that of drawing up laws and decrees, but to act for the development of the society.
90
Principiul dominoului, [The Domino Theory],.p.385
80
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

of the socialist order” under the leadership of the communist party,


“as its role of avangarde and political force grew”.91
November 24th. In Prague, Vaclav Havel states “We want
liberty”, “We want free elections, and we want pluralism” in front of
over 300,000 people. During the evening, the the whole leadership of
CCP resigns. Karel Urbanek takes Milos Jakes’ place (on 1 December
he will be excluded from CCP).
Oleg Bogomolov, economic adviser of president M.S. Gorbachev
states in an interview taken by Radio France International “the process
which is taking place in some of Europe’s countries has an irreversible
and general character. Some political leaders may be aware of the
necessity of such changes, but life will impose it on them. That is why I
regard the future evolution of Romania with some optimism”.
November 25th. In Bulgaria, the official trade union proclaim
their independence. A short while after that, within the frame of
freedom for association, almost 50 parties were going to set up. At the
same time censorship is banned.
In Czechoslovakia, almost 1,000,000 protesters (in Prague,
Bratislava Plzen, Brno, etc) require Gustav Husak’s resignation.
Vaclav Havel requires, on television the annulment of the leading role
of the communist party and free elections.
November 26th. The protesters in Czechoslovakia make public
the document “What we want”. A delegation of the Civic Forum, led
by Vaclav Havel discusses with the representatives of the authorities
led by premier Ladislau Adamec requiring the liberation of the political
detainees, freedom of the press, access of the opposition to the media.
At the same time, the CCP extraordinary plenary decides to eliminate
from the positions they hold those who had been installed after the
Soviet invasion of 1968, to form a government of coalition (at federal
level in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia) as well as the summoning
of the extraordinary congress of the party for January26th 199092.
In Hungary, the population expresses its opinion through
plebiscite to dissolve the party organisations in working place. The
opposition gets, on the same occasion, a victory as regards the way of
electing the future president of the republic (presidential elections,
after the parliamentary ones93)
In Pravda, M.S. Gorbachev synthesizes the essence of the
society he wanted to build in the USSR: ”the socialism we are
heading for in the process of restructuring is a society relying on

91
Principiul dominoului [The Domino Theory]..p.330
92
Ioan Scurtu, Revoluţia română din decembrie 1989, în context internaţional, [The Romanian
Revolution..], p.149.At the same time, in the Czeckoslovak Communist party the Democratic
Forum of Communists is set up which is in favour of dialogue with the Opposition.
93
On December 21st it was decided that free elections take place on 25 March 1990.
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Alesandru Duțu

efficient economy, on the highest achievements in science and


technology, culture, humanised social structures, which could lead to
the democratisation of all parts of social life and to create the
conditions for a life and activity intensely creative for the people”.
According to the Soviet leader, CPSU had to remain “the political
avangarde of society”, to be transformed into “a centre of elaboration
for political and ideological platforms”.
November 27th. The general strike of Czechoslovakia “paralyses”
the whole country.
Nadia Comăneci, the famous Romanian gymnast who had
obtained the first 10 in a competition, in Montreal in 1976, leaves
Romania with foreign help94. When she arrived in the US, Nadia was
to declare the following:”I am very happy to be here, I have wanted to
come here for a long time95”.
November 28th The Czechoslovak Premier Ladislau Adamec
shows his approval of al most all the requests of the opposition:
organisation of free elections (accepted on 3th of November), freedom
of association (accepted on 30th of November), freedom of the press,
the rejection of the Soviet invasion of 1968 (fact achieved on
December 1st, at the same time with the request for the withdrawal of
the Soviet troops from the country), the renounciation of the leading
role of the party in the state and society (approved by the National
Assembly on November 29th).
November 29th. Helmut Kohl, the West German chancellor
presents a plan with 10 points for the unification of Germany96.
The Czechoslovak military attache in Belgrade warns his
Romanian counterpart, ”Pay attention, there are demonstrations of
the Hungarians in your country”.
November. Ramiz Alia, the leader of the Albanian communists,
opposes the reforms of any kind.
In Romania, General Iulian Vlad the head of the department of
Securitate informs Nicolae Ceauşescu that the agenda of George Bush
and M.S. Gorbachev meeting will include “primarily issues regarding
the redefinition of influence spheres and the elaboration of a joint
strategy which should ensure their important role in all international
matters”. An the end of the document, the two leaders were supposed
to “discuss the issue of exercising new pressure on those socialist

94
Talking about this, Alex Mihai Stoenescu would say on August 2nd 2009: “The Magyar
secret services were not acting on their own in the case of <Nadia’s defection>. They
implemented a plan conceived by the Americans and based on corrupting the border officers
responsible for the <defection track>” (apud Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 64).
95
E un început în tot sfârşitul... p. 25..[There is a Beginning in Every Ending]. p.25.
96
He had previously got the acceptance and support of the American President, George Bush,
who promised economic and financial assistance to the USSR, ensuring M.S. Gorbaciov that
the united Germnay “would have no intentions of becoming a great power”.
82
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

countries which did not start applying <real> reforms, with focus on
People’s Republic of China, Cuba and Romania. In relation with our
coutry, George Bush will show that the NATO member states will
continue the implementation of restrictions in their relations with
Romania and he will require that the USSR does the same, especially
through the reduction of Soviet delivery of oil, gas and iron ore”97.
December 2nd 1989. The Foreign Intelligence Office informs
the higher officials about the appreciations made by the American
President George Bush when referring to the situation in Romania ”I
wish I could see some actions in this country as well. I don’t know
when such a thing might happen. I sent to Romania a new
ambassador Allan Green, who is a friend of mine. I sent him to
Romania as he is a is a firm, determined man, who knows my
opinions about democracy and freedom. I think that Allan Green left
on 29.11.1989 for Romania and he will present our viewpoint and my
own, to president Nicolae Ceauşescu, in any case we will try, but it
will be very difficult98. The same happens in the case of Raymond
Selz, the deputy of the State Secretary of US on European and
Canadian matters, who appreciates in a press conference "I can't
anticipate what is going to happen in Romania. It is a country
insensitive or immune to all changes happening in Eastern Europe".
Informed about the agenda of the talks in Malta, Nicolae
Ceauşescu asks Constantin Olteanu, secretary of CC RCP and head of
the Foreign Relations to summon the Soviet ambassador to Bucharest,
Evgeni Tiadzelnikov and inform him on the wish of the Romanian
party that M.S. Gorbachev should not discuss about all socialist
countries as he was not empowered by anybody to do it.
December 2-3rd. In Malta, G. Bush and M.S. Gorbachev
discuss issues referring to disarmament, cooperation, international
situation, etc. The American leader manifests his interest for the
political evolutions in Eastern Europe and the Soviet leader states that
he does not desire to influence the situation in Central America.
Praising M.S. Gorbachev's activity, George Bush says: "You are the
real catalyst of change in Europe, constructive changes". In turn, the
Soviet leader concludes: "We have to act together - and we act
together - in a real spirit of responsibility and with much prudence
during this period, when Europe is so troubled99". After the reunion,

97
Ioan Scurtu, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989 în context internaţional, [The
Romanian Revolution..], p.160 - 162
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989, [The Romanian
Revolution of December 1989], p.106
98
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989, [The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989], p.106
99
M.S. Gorbaciov, Memorii, [Memoirs],Editura Nemira, 1994, p. 80..
83
Alesandru Duțu

at the joint press conference George Bush declared he would support


the restructuring policy led by M.S.Gorbachev.
December 3rd. In Czechoslovakia, a new government is formed
where the leaders of five ministers (out of 20) are not communists.
The opposition does not agree with the members of the new
government, the Civic Forum requiring the formation of a real
coalition government.
The plenary session of CC of GSUP decides to exclude Erich
Honecker, Willy Stoph and other collaborators from the party; the
whole leadership of the party resigns.
December 4th. In Moscow, on the occasion of the meeting of
the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Pact, M.S.
Gorbachev informs the leaders of the states which were part of this
body about the content of the discussions with George Bush in Malta,
generally referring to peace, disarmament, United Europe. At the
same time, he condemns the invasion of 1968 in Czechoslovakia and
offers guarantees with regard to the non-interference in the domestic
affairs of the member states. Nicolae Ceauşescu reiterrated the fact
that Romania did not take part in the respective aggression, which he
appreciated as "a serious violation of the sovereignity and
independence of a state, an aggressive act, contrary to norms and
principles of the relations between the states, which harmed
socialism, including the Soviet Union", which was immediately
approved by Resz Nyers. On the same occasion, Nicolae Ceauşescu
expressed his opinion about the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from
Czechoslovakia100 and from the other countries, fact which surprised
the Soviet leader and produced rumour in the hall. During a break,
Egon Krenz addressed Nicolae Ceauşescu with double meaning: " I
don't know if we shall meet again"101.
Later on, a meeting takes place, in a tensed atmosphere,
between Nicolae Ceauşescu and M.S. Gorbachev (with the
participation of prime ministers Constantin Dăscălescu and Nikolai
Rishnikov) where the Romanian leader insisted on the organisation of
a meeting of the representatives of communist parties (with Soviet
participation) and that the Soviet Union should increase the quantities
of raw materials delivered, especially oil and gas or that a new
bilateral meeting should be established on January 9th 1990. Again
with double meaning, M.S. Gorbachev said "Let's wait and see if we
live so long". Referring to the revolutionary process in Europe,

100
M.S.Gorbachev replied that this matter was to be regulated in a diplomatic way in a
bilateral talk between the Soviets and the Czechoslovaks Grigore Cartianu, op.cit.p.30
101
Grigore Cartianu, op.cit.p.30. „Then”, M.S. Gorbachev was to mention in his memories – “I
got convinced that Ceauşescu was, clearly and simply, not able to start on the way of
democratization, openness, renewal”.
84
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Nicolae Ceauşescu showed "We are very preocuppied by what is


happening in some socialist countries of Europe; we understand
improvement, renewal but this is not what I am talking about, the
form under which they act is a serious danger not only to socialism,
but to the existence of communist parties in the respective countries. If
we let them continue like this, a serious situation will result".102
In Czechoslovakia, the protesters scan: "Out with the
communists", "Without communists", "Shame on you" "Mafia",
"Leave" "Husak, this time don't rely on the Soviet tanks".
Imre Pozsgay, Hungarian state minister states at the Antenne 2
televion that "Hungary has no other road to take but democracy, to
the end. Liberty will be preserved".
December 5th. Peter Mladenov states, in Moscow, to M.S.
Gorbachev that in Bulgaria "everybody, with the exception of a small
part of the population supports perestroika warmly". Restating his
position against the necessity of a "sincere and honest dialogue with
the society" which will contribute to "the strengthening the authority
of the party", the Soviet leader says that changes did not need to be
made "in a rush" and recommends Mladenov to study his article “The
Socialist idea and the Revolutionary perestroika”, which contains his
"long term" orientation and relies "on our socialist values, on a
contemporary interpretation of the Marxism classics".
From Washington, the Romanian ambassador Ion Stoichici
informs that D. Quayle, vicepresident of the USA appreciated that
"things develop rapidly in Eastern Europe in a positive way" and the
Americans should be prepared "for unexpected evolutions, in the
situation where events could take a negative turn" as "we deal with
totalitarian governments".
December 6th. M.S. Gorbachev deals with François Mitterand
in Kiev about issues referring to the political situation of Eastern
Europe103.

102
„Then”, M.S. Gorbachev was to mention in his memories – “I got convinced that Ceauşescu
was, clearly and simply, not able to start on the way of democratization, openness, renewal”.
“„The second important meeting – Alex.Mihai Stoenescu appreciates – was that of 6
December 1989 in Kiev, between Gorbachev and Mitterand, when they agreed to remove
Ceauşescu by force, their collaboration being in terms of intelligence and military. (Mitterand
added comando groups of the French army, so that the possibility of any intervention with
Soviet troops or Hungarian ones seem an attack of the forces of the Warsaw Pact) as well as
the confirmation of the status-quo as regards the territory, the frontiers established in Yalta,
including the rights of USSR over Bessarabia and north Bukovina” (Alex.Mihai Stoenescu,
Istoria loviturilor de stat in Romania, vol.4, partea 1, „Revoluţia din decembrie 1989” – o
tragedie românească, [The Revolution of December 1989-a Romanian Tragedy], Editura
RAO, Bucuresti, 2004, p.268).
103
„The second important meeting – Alex.Mihai Stoenescu appreciates – was that of 6
December 1989 in Kiev, between Gorbachev and Mitterand, when they agreed to remove
Ceauşescu by force, their collaboration being in terms of intelligence and military. (Mitterand
added comando groups of the French army, so that the possibility of any intervention with
85
Alesandru Duțu

Egon Krenz resigns from the position of president of the State


Council104 and the Defence Council of East Germany.
December 7th. In Bulgaria, the independent groups unite under
the name of The Union of Democratic Forces (UFD), led by Jelio
Jelev who militates for the western type of democracy.
In East Germany, there are not less than 14 parties and
opposition political groups together with the PSUG representatives at
"the Round Table". A short while later the feared political police
STASI was to be dissolved.
In Czechoslovakia, premier Ladislau Adamec presents his
resignation.
The press in Budapest publishes the text of the letter addressed
by Matyas Szuros to Nicolae Ceauşescu in which the interim
president of Hungary made public the fact that the reformed priest
Lászlo Tökes "is harassed, threatened and maltreated in a serious
way" (together with " the members of the presbyter he is supporting)
fact which provokes "serious worry among the Hungarian public
opinion".
Eventually, the head of the Hungarian state drew the attention
of Nicolae Ceauşescu that "the treatment of the Romanian authorities
is against the spirit of Helsinki, the obligations and principles in this
domain, signed by Romania as well" and required “insistently" that an
intervention be made "with a view to stopping the harassment by the
authorities and the threats against Lászlo Tökes and his family, to
give his position in the church back and to make possible the free
exercition of his official and human rights".
December 8th. Elected in the extraordinary GSUP congress as
president of the party Gregor Gysi pronounces himself "for a third
way", different from the " Stalinist socialism and the domination of
the traditional monopolies" its sources being "social-democrat,
socialist, non-Stalinist communist, anti-fascist and pacifist". In the
same framework, prime-minister Hans Modrow pronounces himself
for “a state of East Germany sovereign and socialist"105.
Decembe 10th. In Czechoslovakia, the government led by M.

Soviet troops or Hungarian ones seem an attack of the forces of the Warsaw Pact) as well as
the confirmation of the status-quo as regards the territory, the frontiers established in Yalta,
including the rights of USSR over Bessarabia and north Bukovina” (Alex.Mihai Stoenescu,
Istoria loviturilor de stat in Romania, vol.4, partea 1, „Revoluţia din decembrie 1989” – o
tragedie românească, [The Revolution of December 1989-a Romanian Tragedy], Editura
RAO, Bucuresti, 2004, p.268).The position was taken, interim, by Manfred Gerlach, the
chairman of the Liberal-Democrat Party.
104
The position was temporarily taken over by Manfred Gerlach, President of the Liberal
Democrat. Party. Principiul dominoului.[The Domino Theory], p.418 -419.
105
Principiul dominoului…, [The Domino Theory], p. 418-419. Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta
pentru putere, Decembrie 1989, [The Struggle for Power, December 1989], Editural All,
Bucuresti, 2005, p.54.
86
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Calfa (after Adamec's resignation) is formed where the communists


are no longer the majority. The second day Gustav Husak will be
replaced from the position of president of the state. On " Radio Free
Europe" station Mircea Carp speks of the fact that "on the occasion of
the international day of human rights, the «Romanian anti-communist
league», one of the Romanian organisations of refugees in Hungary
published an appeal in which they called all Romanians as well as the
international public opinion to condemn theviolation of human rights
in Romania".
Nicolae Ceauşescu tries to relax at a pheasants' hunting in the
Ogarca forest near Bucharest.
December 10 to 11th On the streets of Timişoara, non-identified
people spread manifestos with anti-Ceauşescu content „Down with the
dictatorship", „Down with the Ceauşescu tyranny", „Death to the
dictator"106.
December 11th. The Foreign Intelligence Service on Romania
appreciates that, as regards Romania, the Dutch government acts for
"the intensification of the propanga campaign of denigration of the
realities in Romania, the stimulation through all possible media,
including the possibilities of the Embassy of The Netherlands to
Bucharest of the protesting elements in our country" to "support the
organisation in the Netherlands of anti-Romanian manifestations,
especially on the issue of non-observance of human rights and the
programme for the modernisation of localities" for "tolerance of the
activities of Hungarian irredentist groups in the Netherlands"107.
Decembe 13th. In Poland, at the call of "the Solidarity" bells
and alarms are blown, thus marking 9 years since the state of siege.

106
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere, Decembrie 1989, [The Struggle for Power,
December 1989], Editural All, Bucuresti, 2005, p.54.Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac,
Revoluţia română din Decembrie 1989…[The Romanian Revolution ], p.107.
107
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia română din Decembrie 1989…[The
Romanian Revolution ], p.107.In some variants it appeared as “To all citizens of good faith”.
87
Alesandru Duțu

December 14th, 1989

In Iaşi, the authors of the manifestos/fliers and the document


entitled "Call to all Romanian of good faith"108 (signed by the Front
of National Salvation/or the Romanian People's Front) call the
population of the city to a demonstration in Unirii Square and from
where the participants were to go to Culture Palace Square to protest
against "the terror unleashed by the Ceauşescu dictatorship", etc. The
intervention of the authorities and the forces of order who blocked the
area and arrested the leaders brought the failure of the action.
The call had the following text: "The hour of our unchaining
has arrived. Let us put an end to hunger, cold, fear and darkness
which have ruled for over 25 years. Let us put an end to the unleashed
terror of the Ceauşescu dictatorship which led the whole people to
dispair. We are the last country in Europe with the Stalinist nightmare
still haunting us and amplified by an incompetent and mean
leadership. Let us show that, the last will be the first. That is why we
call all citizens of good faith on Saturday December 16th 109 at the
protest meeting, at 18.00, which will take place in Unirii Square. We
want the meeting to unfold in complete silence and, at 19.00, to start
to the Culture Palace Square where the meeting ends, to meet again,
in the same place on December 23rd at the same hou,. The last
meeting will take place on December 30th at 18.00 when we request
the resignation of Ceauşescu from the leadership of the state. We
summon the Army, the Militia and the Securitate to prove courage,
patriotism and political vision and to support our action of salvation
for our people, belong to us all".110
108
In some variants it appeared as “To all citizens of good faith”.Inexplicably, the date was
mistaken.
109
Inexplicably, the date was mistaken.Apud Alex. Mihai Stoenescu, Istoria Loviturilor de stat
in Romania, vol 4, partea I, Revoluţia din decembrie 1989” – o tragedie românească, [The
History of State Coups in Romania-A Romanian Tragedy], Editura RAO, Bucuresti, 2004,
p.223 – 234. The author considers that the Proclamation in Iaşi represents the first document
of the Romanian Revolution, which started in the capital city of Moldova, on 14 December
1989 (Ibidem, p.248 – 249).
110
Apud Alex. Mihai Stoenescu, Istoria Loviturilor de stat in Romania, vol 4, partea I,
Revoluţia din decembrie 1989” – o tragedie românească, [The History of State Coups in
Romania-A Romanian Tragedy], Editura RAO, Bucuresti, 2004, p.223 – 234. The author
considers that the Proclamation in Iaşi represents the first document of the Romanian
Revolution, which started in the capital city of Moldova, on December 14th 1989 (Ibidem,
p.248 – 249). At the request of the Archibishop of the Reformed Church Oradea, confirmed
by the Department of Cults, pastor Laszlo Tökes was revoked from his position as
88
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Even if it failed, as a result of the measures taken by the


authorities, the meeting, the content of the Call and of the manifestos
as well as the whole activity of the leaders of the Romanian People's
Front shows the anti-communist and anti-Ceauşescu attitude of the
Iaşi people and represents actions which preceded the revolt of the
Timişoara people on December 16th 1989.
In Timişoara, finding out that the authorities intend to put in
practice the Tribunal decision regarding the eviction of reverend
Lászlo Tökes, 30 - 40 parishers (mostly old people) of the reformed
church protest in front of the house in St.1 Timotei Cipariu111. Colonel
Ion Deheleanu, the head of county Militia proposes to Radu Bălan,
first-secretary of the Timiş Party County Council to stop the action of
eviction lest the situation, already tense enough, inflames due to the
international echo of the conflict, especially in the Hungarian media.

supplementary pastor at the Parish in Timişoara and obliged to leave the house allotted to him
from St.Timotei Cipariu that was to be given to Makay Botond, who was to replace him. As
Laszlo Tökes refused to accept, the Archibishop sued him, and the Tribunal Timişoara
decided that he should evict the house (Six days that shattered Romania. The ministry of
interior in December 1989. Speech for history, vol I, Bucuresti, 1995, p.68-69to be
quoted:”Şse zile care au zguduit Romania..)
111
At the request of the Archibishop of the Reformed Church Oradea, confirmed by the
Department of Cults, pastor Laszlo Tökes was revoked from his position as supplementary
pastor at the Parish in Timişoara and obliged to leave the house allotted to him from
St.Timotei Cipariu that was to be given to Makay Botond, who was to replace him. As Laszlo
Tökes refused to accept, the Archibishop sued him, and the Tribunal Timişoara decided that
he should evict the house (Six days that shattered Romania. The ministry of interior in
December 1989. Speech for history, vol I, Bucuresti, 1995, p.68-69to be quoted:”Şse zile care
au zguduit Romania..) Referring to this, Gazda Arpad would to remember later: „On the
morning of 15 December people gathered. First three or four, who had no courage to stay in
front of the house (there were policemen there). They walked around in the area, entered the
drugstore, got out, got into the food shop, got out. At a certain moment, Tökes went to the
window and then all who were scattered, gathered and asked him if he needed something”
(Marius Mioc Revolutia din Timişoara, Aşa cum a fost si falsificatorii istoriei revolutionare.
Editura Sedona,Timişoara, 1999, p.8; to be quoted:Revolutia din Timişoara..)
89
Alesandru Duțu

15 December 1989

In the morning. In Timişoara, in front of Lászlo Tökes' parish,


there are groups of parishers who gather to protest against the court’s
decision to evict the reverend to another locality112.
During the day The number of protesters in front of the house
is growing.
In Timişoara, Denis Currie comes, secretary II of the US
Embassy to Romania (accompanied by "a press correspondent" from
the Embassy of the United Kingdom) - followed by the Securitate
officers - who try to contact Lászlo Tökes.113.
In Timis county, at the border crossing points from Yugoslavia
there are massive groups of tourists (Soviet, Hungarian, a.s.o.) who
travel in groups of 20 - 30 cars; some transit the county, some others
stay. At the same time, in Timişoara the activity "of some people
known as Soviet agents" is intensified.
A similar phenomenon is registered in Brăila county where the
customs officers notice that in many Lada vehicles there were two-
three people, generally young athletic men.
The structures responsible act "with a view to understanding
the purpose and the sense of a huge number of citizens from Hungary
who come into the country, much more than during the previous
periods". At the same time, they notice "an unprecedented growth of
the number of events at the border"114.
In the afternoon. In the area of the reformed parish on St.1 Timotei
Cipariu there are over 100 people115 gathered with candles in their hands.

112
Referring to this, Gazda Arpad would to remember later: „On the morning of December
15th people gathered. First three or four, who had no courage to stay in front of the house
(there were policemen there). They walked around in the area, entered the drugstore, got out,
got into the food shop, got out. At a certain moment, Tökes went to the window and then all
who were scattered, gathered and asked him if he needed something” (Marius Mioc Revolutia
din Timişoara, Aşa cum a fost si falsificatorii istoriei revolutionare. Editura Sedona,Timişoara,
1999, p.8; to be quoted:Revolutia din Timişoara..)
113
Militia and Securitate staff said that Denis Currie did not succeed to get in touch with
Laszlo Tokes,while Gazda Arpad stated that the American diplomat talked to the pastor,at his
entrance, in English. Sergiu Nicolaescu, Inceputul adevarului, [The Beginning of the Truth]
p.22 – 23.
114
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Inceputul adevarului, [The Beginning of the Truth] p.22 – 23.
Depending on the sources and perception, the number of demostrators is presented differently
in historiograhy and memoirs.
115
Depending on the sources and perception, the number of demostrators is presented
differently in historiograhy and memoirs. Grigore Cartianu, op.cit.p.78
90
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Coming back from Buzău, and Iasi respectively, where they


took part in the swearing in of the new unit of military, generals
Ştefan Guşă and Vasile Milea see a large number of Lada with Soviet
registration numbers. Amazed, Vasile Milea askes Ştefan Guşă: "What
could they be doing here? Are they celebrating Christmas here?"
Referring to the same thing, General Iulian Vlad was to relate on
October 19th 1993 an event with Caransebeş militia, where a Soviet
citizen who had produced a traffic accident addressed captain Ruset
who wanted to get more information: "Come on, comrade, we are
military, as you are"116. During the same period, an intense movement
of foreign diplomats was noticed, especially in the Western part of
Romania and the arrival of numerous foreign journalists.
Evening. To calm down the atmosphere (in the meantime, there
were confrontations between the provokers sent among the protesters
and the Militia and Securitate people) in the area of the parish house,
there come Petre Mot, the mayor of Timişoara, and Ion Rotărescu
secretary with organisational matters of the Municipal Party Council
who assures reverend Lászlo Tökes that he will not be evicted. The
crowd boo the representatives of the power and those of Militia. Then
they scan anti-Ceauşescu texts being dissatisfied with the living and
working conditions.
" Desteaptă-te Române" is sung. At the entrance of the parish
house, candles are lit up. From one window above the pharmacy near
by a cameraman records the events. Late at night, after the reverend
himself announces an agreement had been reached, at his request, the
majority of the parishers go home117.
In turn, Radu Bălan informs Emil Bobu about the events in the
city.

116
Grigore Cartianu, op.cit.p.78. Costel Balint, 1989 Timişoara în Decembrie [Timişoara in
December], Editura Helicon, Timişoara,1992, p.8-9.
117
Costel Balint, 1989 Timişoara în Decembrie [Timişoara in December], Editura Helicon,
Timişoara,1992, p.8-9. 73).
91
Alesandru Duțu

December 16th, 1989

08:00. In Timişoara, Radu Bălan informs his collaborators


about "the case" Tökes and in spite of the fact that at that moment it
was silence in front of the parish house, 400 - 500 trustworthy people
were about to be brought to annihilate his supporters.
09:00. Parishers start to come on the st.Timotei Cipariu.
10:00. From Bucharest, Nicolae Ceauşescu asks Radu Bălan to
take measures to re-establish the order in Timişoara and to evict reverend
Lászlo Tökes. More realist, the first-secretary of the Timis Party County
Council postpones the action hoping not to increase the conflict.
At the same time, the power structures (party, securitate and
militia) send officers and military in the area of the parish house, fact
which makes the situation even worse.
13:00. In Timişoara, in the area of St.Timotei Cipariu hundreds
of protesters gather to scan messages with social and economic, anti-
dictatorship and against Nicolae Ceauşescu requests.118
16:00. In the area of the parish house a group of 60 - 70 trade
unionists arrive, sent by the mayor of Timişoara to oppose Lászlo
Tökes' supporters and the other protesters, among whom there are
people who are just curious to see what is happening. A little while
later, they will manifest their discontent.
17:00. Nicolae Ceauşescu accuses Radu Bălan to misinform
him about the situation in Timişoara.
The first-secretary of the Timiş Party County Committee
requests the introduction of the Patriotic Guards in the defence system
of the Party County Council.
17:15. Lászlo Tökes goes to the window of his house and asks
the parishers to leave. When they scan "Freedom" the reverend tells
them: "But I am free..you.go home, don't put your life in danger for
me. They will not take me. They assured me.".
17:30 - 18:00. The revolt of the Timişoara people extends
towards Maria Square where the traffic is stopped after Ion Monoran
blocks a tramway119. The protesters accuse the regime violently.

118
Sergiu Nicolaescu considers this moment as the “beginning of the people’s revolution"
(Lupta pentru putere, Decembrie, 1989, p.5. Caietele Revolutiei, [The Notebooks of the
Revolution], nr./2006, p.24-25.
119
Caietele Revolutiei, [The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr./2006, p.24-25.When referring
to the character of the actions of 16 December 1989, Prof. dr. Ioan Scurtu appreciates that the
92
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

People scan anti-dictatorship and social messages: "Liberty", "Down


with the dictatorship", "Down with Ceauşescu", " Down with the re-
elected", "Today in Timişoara, tomorrow in the whole country", "We
want bread", "We want milk", "We want heat"120, etc. At the same
time, they sing "Awaken Thee, Romanian" and "Union Hora". In the
meantime, the "order" troops in blue uniforms, with helmets, white
shields and rubber bats appear in the area, managing to part the people
in front of the parish house of those on Maria Bridge. Even so, red
flags, portraits and books written by Nicolae Ceauşescu are set on
fire. The revolt becomes violent, and Timişoara - "the detonator of the
Romanian revolution121". In the meanwhile, Nicolae Ceauşescu asks
Radu Bălan if the troops are in the streets.
19:00 - 20:30. In Timişoara, the situation gets even more
complicated. The conflicts between the protesters and the "order"
forces continue122. Especially in Maria Square where the militia
intervention platoon is placed (80 people), equipped with rubber bats,
shields and protection helmets. The shield-bearers attack the
protesters, who do not leave the area (even if Lászo Tökes asks them
to do so) and regroup after the attack. The repressive measures have
an obvious illegal character.
Joining peaceful protesters there are also violent citizens (most
of them young men) who block the traffic, break down windows,
bookshops (they throw Nicolae Ceauşescu's books in the street and
they set them on fire) shops, etc123.

demonstrators in Timişoara ”did not rise against the socialist regime.Their claims had a
limited character, aiming at the observance of constitutional rights and the improvement of the
living conditions for those who work (Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989 în context
internaţional, editia I).
120
When referring to the character of the actions of December 16th 1989, Prof. dr. Ioan Scurtu
appreciates that the demonstrators in Timişoara ”did not rise against the socialist regime.Their
claims had a limited character, aiming at the observance of constitutional rights and the
improvement of the living conditions for those who work (Revoluţia Română din Decembrie
1989 în context internaţional, editia I).Claudiu Iordache, Detonatorul Timişoara. Calea spre
libertate, [Timişoara Was the Trigger. The Way to Freedom], în Agora social democrată, p.
33; vezi şi “Caietele Revoluţiei”, [see also The Notebooks of the revolution], nr. 3/2006, p.
16-35.
121
Claudiu Iordache, Detonatorul Timişoara. Calea spre libertate, [Timişoara Was the
Trigger. The Way to Freedom], în Agora social democrată, p. 33; vezi şi “Caietele
Revoluţiei”, [see also The Notebooks of the revolution], nr. 3/2006, p. 16-35.Among the
demonstrators who acted around the house of Laszlo Tökes, the espionage officers identified
agents of foreign espionage.In the process, they denied the existence of foreign agents who
had involved in the revolt of the Timişoara people.
.122 Among the demonstrators who acted around the house of Laszlo Tökes, the espionage
officers identified agents of foreign espionage.In the process, they denied the existence of
foreign agents who had involved in the revolt of the Timişoara people.
123
Referring to the origin of the violent groups, Sergiu Nicolaescu says there were four
possibilities: ”groups of furious people, made up as reaction to the tough actions of the forces
of repression, occasion for the professional robbers to take advantage;groups of mercenaries
in diversion action; diversion made by the Securitate to justify some actions to stop the
revolt;diversion made by the MAPN, the DIA for the same reason; (Lupta pentru putere,
93
Alesandru Duțu

A group of protesters go towards the headquarters of the Party


County Committee, they reject dialogue with the mayor Petre Moţ
(sent by Radu Bălan to welcome them) who tries to stop them on
Michelangelo Bridge, they scan "Without fear", "Liberty! Liberty!",
"We want heat", "We want food", ”Down with Ceauşescu", "We want
bread", "Today in Timişoara, tomorrow in the whole country" and
attack with stones, bottles, etc. the building of the Party County
Council, the militia troops (almost 80 - 100 officers, the intervention
platoon - 30 people124) as well as firefighters, who try to stop them
with water sprays, the tear gas and break down the communist signs.
Finally, the protesters are pushed back towards the Post Office, by
using tear gas.
Another group of protesters stay back in the area of the
Reformed Church where 70-80 militia workers are sent.
Other protesters go towards the Opera Square where shield-
bearers are assaulted. Other groups go towards the students' dorms
where they scan "Down with the dictatorship", "Down with
Ceauşescu", "Students, come with us", "We want freedom", etc. and
they sing "Awaken Thee, Romanian". The students (most of them
were away on holiday) do not react as the protesters want them to125.
In front of the Electrotechnical Faculty they scan "Down with
Ceauşescu", "We want freedom".
Groups of protesters trash the shops between the Railway
Department and the North Railway Station, they attack a firefighters'
vehicle.
To re-establish the situation, "order" forces intervene (Militia,
Securitate, Firefighters, Border officers126). Although no fire was
ordered, numerous physical aggressions were registered (on both

Decembrie 1989 [The Struggle for Power]…p.58). Talking of the same thing, the authors of
Şase zile care au zguduit România.[Six Days that Shattered Romania], Ministerul de Interne
în decembrie 1989, vol. 1, note at page 72: ”As citizens got more and more involved in street
actions, the core of violent individuals would withdraw from front actions, only to be found in
other places, also as initiators of violent actions”.
124
At about 20:00 after replacing the intervention platoon of the Securitate troops (without
war ammunition) the intervention platoon of the militia (in grey-blue uniforms and equipped
with rubber bats, helmet and shield) was deployed in the area of Maria Square and the
Cathedral, where there was a unit “triangle with the angle forward” to bridge Maria.
About the formation and movement of the columns of demonstrators, see Alexandru Osca
(coord.) Revoluţia Română din decembrie 1989 în Banat, Craiova, Editura Sitex, 2009,
p.131.-136.
125
About the formation and movement of the columns of demonstrators, see Alexandru Osca
(coord.) Revoluţia Română din decembrie 1989 în Banat, Craiova, Editura Sitex, 2009,
p.131.-136.
According to the words of the heads of Securitate, this concentrated its activity on the
intelligence missions (intelligence, counter-espionage,etc).
126
According to the words of the heads of Securitate, this concentrated its activity on the
intelligence missions (intelligence, counter-espionage,etc).
Among whom: Virgil Hossu, Marius Mioc, etc.
94
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

sides) and many arrests were made (almost 180 people127) including
by the military patrols who had been sent in the streets, some of the
protesters being beaten and arrested. In the repressive action, the
"order" forces used tear gas. In the end, the protesters re-group
themselves in front of the cathedral. The situation stay tensed during
the night, when a part of the protesters go to the different
neighbourhoods of the city to gather the population for the next day.
20:45. Radu Bălan, first-secretary of the Timiş Party County
Committee requires Lieutenant-Colonel Constantin Zeca, at the
command of the 18th Mechanised Division to take the tanks and
people out in the streets to participate, together with the forces of the
ministry of domestic affairs, to re-establish order in the city.
Informed, the commander of the 3rd Army, General Dumitru Roşu
orders no measures should be taken without the order of the minister
of national defence.
In front of the parish house on St.1 Timotei Cipariu, the
Timişoara protesters continue to scan anti-Ceauşescu and anti-
dictatorship slogans.
21:00. In Bucharest, General Iulian Vlad gathers the heads of
Securitate department and orders an operational group to be sent to
Timişoara to act in matters specific to the department.128
21:30. General Vasile Milea, the Minister of National Defence,
approves the request presented by Radu Bălan as regards the use of
armed military patrols (each of them with 10 people) led by officers
but without ammunition.
21:45. A firefighters' vehicle heads for Maria Square (from St.
Kuttl where the crowds had built a barricade which was on fire)
which covers the people in water while the shield-bearers spread the

127
Among whom: Virgil Hossu, Marius Mioc, etc.
The operational group DSS went to Timişoara by special train, starting with 23:00 in the
following formation: General Emil Macri, head of Economic Counterintelligence Directorate,
Colonel Filip Teodorescu, deputy head of Counterintelligence Directorate, Colonel Dumitru,
Lieutenant-Colonel Dan Nicolici, head of Information and Documentation Center within
D.S.S., Lieutenant-Colonel Gheorghe Glăvan, head of Information Service of U.S.L.A.,
Lieutenant-Colonel Gabriel Atanasiu, head of Internal Intelligence Directorate.
128
The operational group DSS went to Timişoara by special train, starting with 23:00 in the
following formation: General Emil Macri, head of Economic Counterintelligence Directorate,
Colonel Filip Teodorescu, deputy head of Counterintelligence Directorate, Colonel Dumitru,
Lieutenant-Colonel Dan Nicolici, head of Information and Documentation Center within
D.S.S., Lieutenant-Colonel Gheorghe Glăvan, head of Information Service of U.S.L.A.,
Lieutenant-Colonel Gabriel Atanasiu, head of Internal Intelligence Directorate.
Panicked and determined to stop any action which could have imposed the adoption of any
reforms and initiation of a dialogue (with the Romanian society – Prof. dr. Ioan Scurtu
appreciates – the Ceausescu regime acted in force, believing that thus they will keep and
control the situation in the country(Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989 în context
internaţional, p. 182). see Viorel Domenico, Ordinele lui Ceauşescu, în,,Caietele Revoluţiei",
nr. 3/2006, p. 51-53.
95
Alesandru Duțu

people. The protesters fight back, throwing stones from the pavement
and other objects towards shield-bearers and firefighters.
22:00. Nicolae Ceauşescu requires General Iulian Vlad to
inform him about the situation in Timişoara.
The Minister of the Interior orders the application of situation
no. 2 (order no.0230 of 15 May 1973) which includes the state of
allert for the troops and the intensification of the specific activities for
the prevention and discovery of anti-social facts, to strengthen
guarding and public order.
The Minister of National Defence sends the order for the
operational groups gathering to all headquarters, big and small units.
23:30. In Timişoara, the confrontations between the protesters
and the "order" troops continues, sometimes looking like street fights.
In the end, the troops of militia and Securitate withdraw rather
"ragged out". At the same time, groups of civilians continue to
devastate the city.
At the Town Hall Radu Bălan informs the party people and the
managers of companies in the city about the way in which the
headquarters of the Party County Committee was attacked and
presents a document referring to the "anti-state activity of reverend
Lászlo Tökes and the way in which his eviction was prepared".
Towards midnight, the protesters who re-grouped themselves
towards the Cathedral, sing "Awaken Thee Romanian", "Union Hora".
Then, several groups of protesters go towards different areas of
the city to mobilise the citizens for the next day. They scan "Get
down", "We fight", " Romanians, come with us", "Don't be cowards",
"Liberty", "Down with Ceauşescu".
During the night. In Bucharest, Nicolae Ceauşescu discusses
on several occasions with the Minister of National Defence, general
Vasile Milea and the head of Securitate, general Iulian Vlad the ways
to solve the crisis129. He orders general Vasile Milea that the next day
the army should demonstrate in the centre of Timişoara with military
units to intimidate the population.
Military intelligence bodies make public the fact that in
Hungary the battallions of search-diversin in the corps 1 and 3 army
prepare, near the border with Romania for combat actions specific for
fighting behind the enemy troops130.

129
Panicked and determined to stop any action which could have imposed the adoption of any
reforms and initiation of a dialogue (with the Romanian society – Prof. dr. Ioan Scurtu
appreciates – the Ceauşescu regime acted in force, believing that thus they will keep and
control the situation in the country(Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989 în context
internaţional, p. 182). see Viorel Domenico, Ordinele lui Ceauşescu, în,,Caietele Revoluţiei",
nr. 3/2006, p. 51-53.
130
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Începutul adevărului, [The Beginning of the Truth], p. 23.
96
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

December 17th, 1989

02:00. Nicolae Ceauşescu criticises General Iulian Vlad for


lack of total involvement of the Securitate in solving the crisis in
Timişoara.
03:00 - 04:00. Following Nicolae Ceauşescu's order, pastor
Lászlo Tökes is evicted and transported (with his family) to Mineu,
Sălaj County131.
04:00. The military patrols who had been sent in the streets
during the night are withdrawn in the barracks.
06:00. Nicolae Ceauşescu requires General Vasile Milea to
take the troops in the streets of Timişoara, to intimidate the protesters.
06:30. In Timişoara, the special train with the operational group
of the Ministry of the Interior led by General Emil Macri comes to the
city, and they are informed (8:00 - 8:30) about the situation in the
city132. Realistically, Colonel Ion Deheleanu, the head of County Militia
reports to his superiors: "The whole General Inspectorate of Militia
may come, everything is over, the accounts have been settled"133.
General Iulian Vlad orders that information is gatheredon the
events of Timişoara, the involvement of foreign espionage, the morale
of the population, etc.
06:45. Nicolae Ceauşescu asks General Vasile Milea, again, to
organise a military parade in Timişoara, then (07:30) he reproaches him
that the army did not get involved in solving the situation in Timişoara.
In the morning. Radu Bălan asks (ordered by Nicolae
Ceauşescu) the commander of the 3rd Army of Craiova, by phone, to
take out military sub-units in the streets in Timişoara. General
Dumitru Roşu answers there is no order from the hgher echelons in
this respect. The same answer will be given by General Vasile Milea
who comes back after a short while with the mention that the troops
had to be taken out without ammunition and weapons.
08:00. General Vasile Milea orders the constitution of military
patrols in garrisons Cluj-Napoca, Oradea, Bistriţa and Zalău.

131
The pastor and his wife were transported in a Dacia and the furniture in a truck.Gazda
Arpad stated that Laszlo Tokes was beaten and those who were with him were arrested and
harassed. Vezi „Caietele Revoluţiei", nr. 3/2006, p. 43-44.
132
A little later, in Timişoara came from Bucharest by train and plane other Securitate and
Militia officers„Caietele Revoluţiei", nr. 3/2006, p. 43-44.şi Miliţie.
133
Şase zile care au zguduit România..[Six days that shattered Romania]., p. 82
97
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The sub-units of the Securitate troops in Cluj-Napoca start


implementing the measures included in Situation no.2 regarding the
supplementary preparation for the completion of the specific mission.
09:05. In Timişoara an operational group of the Chief of Staff
arrives led by Colonel Dumitru Ionescu and other officers of the
Superior Political Council of the Army and the Inspectorate of
Military Music; a little while before Gheorghe Diaconescu, the deputy
of Romania General Prosecutor arrived as well.
10:00. In Bucharest, Nicolae Ceauşescu informs the Permanent
Bureau of the Executive Political Committee that the situation in
Timişoara was solved and pastor Lászlo Tökes was evicted.
10:00 - 13:00. In Timişoara, the military sub-units (organised
in detachments) with brass band, fighting flag and weapons (guns)
without ammunition, march through the city (up to 13:30). In some
places the military are received with threats and foul language, in
other places they are attacked by violent people, who urge them to kill
their officers134.
Before noon the protesting actions increase, the number of
protesters reaching almost 4,000 people. They chant "Liberty", "Down
with Ceauşescu", "Don't be afraid", "Now or never".
The forces of order (Securitate and Militia) react toughly, by
using tear gas, water jets, etc. At the same time, violent groups, armed
with bats, Molotov bottles, destroy commercial locations in the
area135.
The protesters head for the headquarters of the Party County
Committee where Radu Bălan's attempts to negotiate fail.
Following the persistent requests of Radu Bălan, General
Vasile Milea orders the 18th Mechanised Division to intervene in
force, to block the access ways to the Party Committee136.
11:00. In Braşov, General Ion Florea, the garrison commander,

134
At the order of the commander, the military took fighting position around the flag, then
after the situation calmed down, they continued their way (Alexandru Oşca - coordinator -,
Op.cit., p. 138-139; Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie
1989 retrăită prin documente şi mărturii [The Romanian Revolution of December 1989
Relived through Documents and testimonies], Editura Axioma Edit, Bucureşti, 2001, p.
135
After asking rhetorically „Were these groups spontaneous or organised?” Sergiu
Nicolaescu cocludes: „this is a question nobody could answer, not even SRI or the
Prosecutor’s office or the ministry of the interior. After so many years since the Revolution it
is inadmissible not to be able to have some clues, contrary we have to admit the spontaneity of
these groups which we won’t fiind in Bucharest on the night of 21-22 with few exceptions and
in some cities in Transylvania (Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989 [The struggle for
Power], Editura ALL, Bucureşti, 2005, p. 63).
136
"As a result, subunits UM 01197, 0112, 01115 block the traffic on Michelangelo bridge,
subunits 01115, 01103, 01185 patrol on the itinerary Stadium 1 May –St. Avrig- St. Cluj –
campus. Sergiu Nicolaescu says that: “the army becomes the main force fighting against the
population” (Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989, [The Struggle for Power], Editura ALL,
Bucureşti, 2005, p. 63).
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THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

receives order from the 1st Army, to take measures to strengthen the
guarding of the military units under their supervision starting with
12:00.
12:00. As a result of the announcement of Nicolae Ceauşescu's
official visit to Iran137, General Vasile Milea orders the implementation
of the provisions required by the indicative the ABC Table "ANA"
(strengthening the guard and defence of military units, establishing
operational groups).
13:00 - 13:15. the Minister of National Defense, Vasile Milea,
tries to obtain, without success, more information about the situation
in Timişoara from General Iulian Vlad, the head of the Department of
State Securitate and from Tudor Postelnicu, the Minister of the
Interior. The latter reproaches him that he had informed Ion Coman
about the disorder in the city on the Bega and assures him that the
structures of the Ministry of the Interior handle the situation
successfully.
General Ilie Ceauşescu, the head of the Superior Military
Political Council states, in the meeting of the Bureau of the Board of
the Ministry of National Defence that the events in Timişoara "are
initiated and conducted with foreign support, from Hungary and other
countries, including the USSR".
13:30. Nicolae Ceauşescu accuses General Vasile Milea that the
army did not react as it should have and informs him that he decreed the
"state of alert". Immediately, the Minister of National Defence
announces the commander of the 18th Mechanised Division of
Timişoara that the situation "got worse", that the order was the army
should "intervene", as they went into "combat readiness" and Timiş
county was in "alert" (without issuing the legal presidential decree). As
a result, numerous military sub-units are taken out in the city, including
with combat equipment TABs [amphibious armored carriers], tanks,
etc.. At the same time, joint units are created with troops of the Ministry
of National Defence and the Ministry of the Interior.
13:40. The Minister of National Defence orders by phone to
the comanders of the big units in Timişoara to take other military
units in the streets to defend the Party County Committee, the
Intercontinental hotel, the Post Office the Bank, the ammunition
warehouse of the Patriotic Guards, a.s.o.
13:55.138 General Vasile Milea gives a direct order to the
commander of UM 01115 Giroc, to take 10 training tanks to town to

137
Referring to this visit, General Iulian Vlad the head of DSS appreciates that “Nobody, not a
normal head of state, would have left the country in such situation, despite all the reassurance
given, even if the visit was important and beneficial (Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere
[The Struggle for Power], p.112).
138
In some sources it is 14:05, see Alexandru Osca, op. cit.p.141.
99
Alesandru Duțu

defend the headquarters of the Party County Committee. In half an


hour, the tanks head for the centre of the city, from Decebal bridge
being directed to the 18th Mechanised Division command of
Libertăţii Square. This fact irritates the protesters, who attack the
tanks and block them. One of the tanks is set on fire139, only to be
recovered later, at 15:55, with the help of a Securitate sub-unit in the
area. Later on, the protesters try to break the defence of the military
unit on Decebal bridge. The sub-unit reacts by using fire warning.
Unidentified people execute fire from the Copiilor park and from the
park in front of the Militia building.
14:00 - 14:20. A part of the protesters assault the headquarters
of the Party County Committee. The fight with the forces of "order" is
extremely tough. They shout "Down with Ceauşescu", "Down with
the goverment", "Liberty". They break the entrance door and they
enter the council room, they take the flag down and they cut out the
emblem, as well as Ceauşescu's portraits. They set everything on fire
and they ransack everything. Eventually, the protesters are sent away
by the intervention of the forces of order.
Ilie Matei, the former first-secretary of the party escapes by
jumping out of the window, and Radu Bălan, goes to the Inspectorate of
Militia, to inform Nicolae Ceauşescu about what happened in the city140.
In his turn, Gheorghe Diaconescu informs the head prosecutor of
Romania that in Timişoara "there is something different...it is a matter of
a different kind.. it is political". Informed, as a result of conversation
interception, Elena Ceauşescu requests that the deputy general prosecutor
be removed from his position and sentenced for treason.
14:25. The units and the big units of Timiş County receive the
code name "Radu cel frumos" - partial fighting alarm.
14:30. Nicolae Ceauşescu decides to send Ion Coman, secretary
of CC RCP so that together with the leadership of the Party County
council to solve the issues in the city, so that next day the situation "to
get to normal". By informing about the situation in Timişoara, the
general secretary of the party says: "A group of vandals, of hooligans,
on the payroll of the foreigners try to destabilise Romania. They
ransacked shops, the set on fire military units, they set on fire the Party
County Committee, they tried to take the fighting flag of the unit. In this
situation, we decided the state of emergency in Timişoara and we
ordered Milea and those from the Interior to send a group of
trustworthy generals to execute the orders141.

139
The moment he tried to get out of the tank, Lieutenant-Major Ion Banicioiu was hit with an axe”.
140
Costel Balint, op.cit.p.25.
141
General Ştefan Guşă stated later that before going to Timişoara, General Vasile Milea told
him that the group of generals and Romanian officers will be in the „ command” of Ion
Coman,who represents Nicolae Ceauşescu.
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THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

15:00. The forces of order re-establish the situation at the


headquarters of the Timiş Party County Committee142. The streets of
Timişoara are still crowded with protesters. 143
Ceauşescu' books are put on fire at Mihai Eminescu bookshop.
Troops of UM 01233 of Buziaş, 01140 of Lugoj, 01380 of Arad are
directed to Timişoara. Non-identified people shoot some troops,
injuring them.
15:15. General Vasile Milea drew the attention of General
Iulian Topliceanu that in Hungary there are forces "preparing an
aggression at the western border of the country" and asks "firm
measures should be taken to raise the fighting capacity of the units".
In his turn, the comander of the 4th Army appreciates that "they can
act in the border area anytime". Then, he informed the border officers
about "the troops deployment towards the western frontier of
Romania". After showing that "the situation got worse in Timişoara"
where "hooligans devastated and ransacked shops" by attacking
military units as well, Vasile Milea mentions that it is only him who
approves "all demands for forces" for different missions, the first-
secretaries from the county should ring him and tell him "what they
need".144
In Timişoara, in Libertăţii and Opera Square, the protesters
chant "Down with Ceauşescu", “We want free elections”.
15:22. By order of Vasile Milea, two military helicopters fly
over the air space of Timişoara to observe the situation in the city and
report it to the commander of the 18th Mechanized Division145.
15:25. the Minister of National Defence orders partial fighting
alarm for all units in the capital city.
15:30. General Vasile Milea orders General Ştefan Guşă, first-
deputy of the Minister of National Defence and chief of General Staff
to go to Timişoara together with a group of generals and officers
(General Victor Atanase Stănculescu, first-deputy of the minister of
defence, General Mihai Chiţac, commander of the Chemical Troops
and commander of the Bucharest garrison, etc.)146.

142
According to the statements of Lieutenant-Colonel Constantin Zeca, in the area of county
party committee there were at that time 1,500 military from the forces of „order”, including
tanks and TABs.
143
Referring to this, Sergiu Nicolaescu says:”From that moment on, any foreign interference
has no importance. In the streets, the will of the people is most important. (Lupta pentru putere
[The Struggle for Power], p.66).
144
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluția Română din Decembrie 1989, [The
Romanian Revolution..], p. 196 -197.
145
At 17:10, the helicopters flew over the Timişoara sky.
146
From the operational group of the Chief of Staff present there were also: Colonelul
Gheorghe Radu,deputy head of Direcţiei Operaţii, Colonel Gheorghe Cârneanu, deputy
commander of the Air Defence Command of the Territory.In Timişoara arrived General
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Alesandru Duțu

16:30. Ion Coman, generals Ştefan Guşă, Victor Stănculescu,


Mihai Chiţac, Florea Cârneanu and Colonel Radu Gheorghe, of Ministry
of National Defence, as well as generals Constantin Nuţă, Velicu
Mihalea, Emil Macri from the Ministry of the Interior and colonels Filip
Teodorescu and Ion Moraru arrive in Timişoara by a special plane.
In the central area of the city, especially close to the
headquarters of the 18th Mechanized Division, a violent group, of 10-
12 people, attack the building of the division, trying to get inside. At
the same time they put fire to some of the buildings nearby (Military
Club, military restaurant, etc.) Informed about this, the Minister of
National Defence orders the sentinels to fire. In turn, General Ştefan
Guşă (who could not get into the 18th Mechanised Division as it was
surrounded by protesters) makes public the fact that he will get to the
big unit even if he has to use the tank. Initially, he went to the Oituz
barracks which was in the Communications Battalion of the division,
from where all cable connections were ensured. Later, on a different
itinerary, he reached the command of the mechanised division.
In Sibiu, Nicu Ceauşescu requires Lieutenant-Colonel Aurel
Dragomir, the commander of the garrison to prepare tear gas that
should be transported by helicopter to Timişoara.
17:00. In the meeting of the Political Executive Committee147,
Nicolae Ceauşescu minimises the seriousness of the situation in
Timişoara by saying that there were "some events" in the city, related
to the eviction of pastor Lászlo Tökes from his home, appreciating
that "the serious incidents in Timişoara" were organised by the
"revenging, revisionist circles and agents from the east and west"
who aimed at "destabilising the situation in Romania and determine it
to destroy the independence and territorial integrity of Romania".
After he mentioned that the headquarters of the Party County Council
had been devastated, he accuses General Vasile Milea, the Minister of
National Defence and Tudor Postelnicu the Minister of the Interior148

Constantin Nuţă, sent at the request of Nicolae Ceausescu as he “was more of a warrior”
(according Tudor Postelnicu).
147
The recordings of the meetings are somewhat different. In the variant of the recording
presented by Sergiu Nicolaescu, (Revoluția. Începutul adevarului. Un raport personal [The
Revolution. The beginning of the Truth. A Personal Report], Editura Topaz Grup, Bucuresti,
1995, p.274-288) at the meeting took part: Nicolae Ceauşescu, Elena Ceauşescu, Emil Bobu,
Lina Ciobanu, Nicolae Constantin, Constantin Dăscălescu, Ion Dincă, Miu Dobrescu, Ludovik
Fazecaş, Manea Mănescu, Paul Niculescu-Mizil, Olteanu Constantin, Gheorghe Oprea,
Gheorghe Pană, Dumitru Popescu, Ion Radu, Gheorghe Rădulescu, Ioan Totu, Ştefan Andrei,
Silviu Curticeanu, Mihai Gere, Nicolae Giosan, Vasile Milea, Ana Mureşan, Cornel Pacoste,
Tudor Postelnicu, Ion Stoian, Iosif Szasz, Ioan Toma, Ioan Ursu (invited there were also
Vasile Bărbulescu, Constantin Radu and Iulian Vlad).
148
General Constantin Olteanu, who was in the hall, said in „The Files of History” no.1/2000
p.58, that Tudor Postelnicu stated that „those from the ministry of the interior searched the
laws, regulations, other documents, without saying what, but did not fiind anything to allow
them to act in a different way than they already did”.
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THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

of "defeated and surrendering attitude" reproaching them that they


did not execute the orders he gave during the night of December 16th
to 17th to take mechanised troops and even tanks and deploy them in
the city, that the troops sent in the city had only blank bullets instead
of solving rapidly "all this"149. General Vasile Milea was also accused
that he sent the troops to the western border instead of making on the
streets of Timişoara "a demonstration of force". When referring to the
Militia, Nicolae Ceauşescu says that "they should have fired, they
should not have accepted to be beaten". Going on with the
reproaches, Nicolae Ceauşescu refers to what was most on his mind:
"The enemy won't be defeated with sermons, you have to beat him.
Socialism is not built with misinformation, with prayers but with fight.
With fight we have to build it. Now there is a situation of capitulation
in Europe, of negotiation with the imperialism to finish off
socialism"150. Then, he accuses generals Vasile Milea, Iulian Vlad and
Tudor Postelnicu of treason, cowardice and non-execution of orders,
he proposes their destitution151, and announces he will take over the
command and he asks for immediate measures, to place the troops on
"alert" so that "wherever there is an attempt of aggressive actions" to
"radically terminate it, without any discussion" as "there are actions
organised both from the east and the west which act to destroy
socialism". Highly determined, he concludes: "We will fight to the last
and we have to obey the party approval as independence and
sovereignity are conquered through fight".
After Gheorghe Rădulescu, Constantin Dăscălescu and
Gheorghe Oprea propose to postpone the destitution of the Minister of
Defence, of the Interior and of the Head of Securitate, Nicolae
Ceauşescu acts as if he wanted to resign, saying: "All right then, you
should elect another general secretary!" and went to the door to the
amazement of the Executive Political Committee, that made its best to

149
„You didn’t execute the order –Nicolae Ceauşescu said –I ordered in my position as
supreme commander, an order which is compulsory for you, for all units of the ministry of
defence and ministry of the interior. How is such a situation possible? Some hooligans to get
inside the Party County Committee, to beat the soldiers, the officers, and they didn’t
intervene? When General Vasile Milea said that the military did not get ammunition, Nicolae
Ceauşescu said: “Why didn’t you give it to them? I ordered you to shoot warning fire! Why
didn’t you give them ammunition? Without ammunition, you’d better have left them at home.
What kind of minister are you? What kind of minister of the interior are you Postelnicu? You
told me you gave them ammunition for training. They received order to fight not to make
maneuvers. You didn’t tell me the truth. It would have been better to mobilize 500 workers as
we did in Bucharest in 1945...They should have killed the hooligans, not to be beaten by
them”. In turn, Elena Ceauşescu said: ”You should have shot at them, kill them, take them and
lock them in cellars. Were you not told to do this? Nobody should have escaped”.
150
Angry, Nicolae Ceauşescu threatened them:”Do you know what I should do? Place you in
front of the firing squad! This is what you deserve for fraternizing with the enemy”.
151
In addition, Elena Ceauşescu said: „Radical measures must be taken, no tolerance can be
accepted here, as it would mean we gave in”.
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convince him to change his decision: Silviu Curticeanu - "This is not


right, comrade general secretary! I'll never leave you, I will always
stay with you". Constantin Dăscălescu: "it is not possible, comrade
general secretary! we did not want that! we won't go further without
you". Emil Bobu: "We beg you not to be angry with us, comrade
general secretary" Tudor Postelnicu: "we are on your side". Elena
Ceauşescu: "Look what you've done to the comrade152". A similar
position had Manea Mănescu, Gogu Rădulescu, Gheorghe Oprea,
Emil Bobu, Cornel Pacoste, Ana Mureşan and Lina Ciobanu (who
started to cry). Coming back, Nicolae Ceauşescu informs he asked
"for the interruption of all touristic activity" (this meant the closing of
borders) as the tourists who came to Romania (including those from
socialist states153), "transformed themselves into espionage agents";
he also told them that the military structures of the country "were all
in state of alert" and concludes: "Everybody should know we are at
war. Everything that happened and happens in Germany, in
Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria now, in Poland and Hungary in the
past, has been organised by the Soviet Union with the help of the
Americans and the West. It should be clear that what happened in the
last three countries - East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria - were
coups organised with the help of the dregs of society, with the dregs of
society which had foreign help. This is how things should be
understood. There is no other way to judge them".
17:45. Nicolae Ceauşescu holds a teleconference with the first-
secretaries of the party county councils, with the participation of all
candidate members of the Executive Political committee, secretaries
of CC RCP and garrison commanders in the main cities of the
country. During the conference, he informs about the situation in
Timişoara, he condemns the attitude of Lászlo Tökes who refused to
be evicted and who previously "made anti-Romanian statements in
Budapest and allied himself to revisionist circles hostile to Romania's
integrity", he states the situation had to be solved "in an hour or two"
and appreciates that everything was a pretext prepared in advance "by
the agents from abroad and the anti-socialist circles from the East
and the West". To solve the situation, he announces that he ordered
the troops to be equipped with armament with "war ammunition", that
the "state of alert" was established and that all military units were on
"alert"154. Then, he asks Radu Bălan, first-secretary of the Timiş Party

152
Grigore Cartianu, op.cit.86 -87.
153
With the exception of those in China, Korea and Cuba.
154
„Anyone attacking a soldier, an officer –Nicolae Ceauşescu said – must feel the
consequences! Whoever gets into a people’s council, party headquarters, breaks windows,
must be fought back! No justification! I say: being humane does not mean giving in to the
enemy! Being humane means to defend people, the integrity of the country and
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THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

County Council to report on the situation, who assures him "all


measures were taken to carry out your order". The same does Ion
Coman, who had just arrived in Timişoara and reports:"We are
organising things as you said...We ordered soldiers to fire155".
Dissatisfied that the generals who had come from Bucharest were not
in the hall of the teleconference, Nicolae Ceauşescu says that the
headquarters of the Party Council is "headquarters" and says to Ion
Coman: "Please, act on my behalf, take over the command and report
to me every 15 minutes about the developments. You call everybody
and give them the orders they have to carry out! Every unit should be
in the centre and re-enforce order! Is it clear156?" Then speaking to
everybody he says: "Please, call every commander and implement the
measures! Don't wait for other orders from Bucharest! These are the
orders compulsory for everybody! Whoever he is, report; who does
not act accordingly, should be destituted immediately". In the second
part of the conference he asks the patriotic guards be equipped with
fighting weapons, adopt a firm position against "any anti-socialist
manifestation", against economic negligence, constitute groups to
patrol in the villages, etc. Eventually, he states again that "reactionary
circles concentrate their attention to undermine socialism in Romania,
independence and the integrity of the country" and concludes "It is a
true coup, a so-called peaceful one! An anti-socialist one, it is". 157
In Sibiu, immediately after the teleconference, Nicu Ceauşescu,
first-secretary of the Party County Council cautions: "We are in a
state of alarm ! We have to fire without warning! It is state of war, not
of necessity"158. Informed about this, General Hortopan ordered

socialism...Anyone who tries anything, should be immediately summoned, arrested and then
we talk to what it is about, no doubt”.
155
Following the order given by Nicolae Ceauşescu and conveyed by General Vasile Milea,
tthey were shooting in Timişoara, at the time, mostly warning shots but with victims as well
(dead and woudned, among whom: Lepa Bărbat – killed, Vasile Bărbat, Traian Orban –
wounded).
156
Referring to what followed, Stefan Guşă said:”After some minutes Ion Coman called and
reprimanded me for not following the order to be present at the county headquarters saying
(roughly): „I warn you, quite seriously, on how you carry out the orders! Let’s be clear! They
have to shoot! Shooting without any discussion! We must reinstate order very quickly!” In
turn, Ion Coman says: „I didn’t understand that I was going to become the commander of all
the generals with a view to carrying out Ceauşescu’s order to use weapons to re-establish
order and quiet in Timişoara. Everybody knew what they had to do when they arrived in the
city, as Ceauşescu had sent them the message via their ministers. I kept in touch with them
only over phone, sometimes face to face”. As in many cases, the truth is somewhere in the
middle this time as well”.
157
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia română din decembrie 198 9 [The Romanian
Revolution of December 1989…], p.146 -151
158
Later on, he asked the commander of the garrison:”let’s use bullets..let’s shoot, it’s war”.
According to some reports, on Decembe 19th r, Nicu Ceauşescu would have said that „in case
there will be demonstrations in the Sibiu county, we shoot and do not let them fool with us, as
they won’t defeat us. We shoot at everything”. (Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere, [The
Struggle for Power], p.322).
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Lieutenant-Colonel Dragomir that "any intervention outside the units


will take place only with the approval of the Minister of National
Defence, at the request of the first-secretary and only after checking
the validity of the approval".
In Bucharest, the chief of staff of the Patriotic Guards makes
clear how they had to act in this tense situation existing in the country.
An order is given, to make up joint patrols together with militia troops
that should have the necessary ammunition (ten cartridges for each
soldier159).
In Braşov, General Gheorghe Zagoneanu, head of the County
Inspectorate of the Ministry of the Interior, assures the first-secretary
that the forces of the Ministry of the Interior are capable to intervene
and annihilate the groups of protesters before reaching the
headquarters of the Party County Council.
17:00 - 17:30. In Timişoara, the force structures of the regime
intensify fire, making victims. The tanks and the TABs create panic.
There is shooting, especially after sunset.
In Libertăţii Square, in front of the Military Restaurant, Lepa
Bărbat is killed; the husband, Vasile was wounded in the stomach,
and the daughter - in her arm160.
Almost at the same time, Sergeant Adrian Zaharia from UM
01125 and soldier Florin Nicoară of UM 01039 Timişoara161 are also
wounded.
At the Cathedral, a young man goes up the stairs with the flag.
They sing "Awaken Thee, Romanian”, Union Hora; they chant "Long
Live Free Romania", "Ceauşescu and his wife, we don't want them in
Romania, anymore", "We are the people, down with the dictator". In
the area, there are border subunits of UM 02840 from Timişoara,
militia and securitate sub-units of UM 0805 Timişoara, a detachment
of UM 01233 Buziaş, Militia officers and NCOs. Although the
military in the area claimed they fired only warning fire, the inquiry
officers concluded that "the protesters were shot at, but not with gun
bursts, only isolated shots". The victims were hit "by one single bullet
and in vital parts of the body - head, chest" (the military prosecutors
concluded that "they intended to kill some of the protesters found in

159
At Elena Ceausescu’s request, the ammunition taken by the patriotic guards from the
warehouses of the military units was given back on the morning of December 19th 1989.
160
In historiography, the moment the first fire was shot is recorded at different times. Sergiu
Nicolaescu states that this happened between 15:25 – 16:00, saying that the first victims also
appeared – the Bărbats (Lupta pentru putere, [The Struggle for Power], p.574). In turn, Vasile
Bărbat says that he got to Libertăţii Square, at 17:00 – 17:30, so he was wounded after that
hour (Marius Mioc, op.cit.p.33).
161
The majority of the wounded stated that they were shot by fire coming from military
dispositions, others indicated other directions (Teodora Miroslav was shot dead from a
building).
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THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

different parts of the square, to produce panic, and to drive protesters


away, which is what happened”). As a result of the fire shot at the
Cathedral, seven people were killed and 35 wounded162.
At the Opera House there was a detachment of military from
the Militia-Securitate group (UM 0805 Timişoara) and a detachment
of UM 01185 Timişoara, Militia officers and NCOs. During the
inquiries which followed, the military who acted in the area stated that
they fired warning fire, some armed civilians who were near the
military used their weapons as well as middle-aged people, dressed in
military uniform, mingling with the military under different reasons.
Some people stated that the fire was opened by three civilians who
were on the Opera House roof, others said that fire came from a
Dacia, red-coloured, parked next to the Opera House163.
At the crossroads of Blv. Republicii and St. Paris there was a
detachment from UM 1121 Timişoara and a detachment of the
Militia-Securitate groups. Some witnesses stated that older people,
dressed in military uniforms without military insignia, fired as well.
Two people were killed and nine wounded (some of the wounded
stated that the fire came from the roofs of the buildings)164.
Timişoara 700 Square. Two dead and nine wounded people
by shooting were registered.
On Decebal Bridge, troops from military units 01185, 01008,
01115 and 0805, all from Timişoara, placed themselves in a circular
defence position, to block access to the Party County Coincil. At
about 20:00, they gave a warning and then shot at the protesters. Four
citizens are killed and 19 wounded by shotfire, although the military
claimed they fired only warning fire (some wounded and the
witnesses stated that the fire was shot from the Central Park nearby,
from the other bank of the Bega river and from cars behind the groups
of protesters165).
In Traian Square, two people were shot and 11 wounded (some
witnesses stated that fire was opened by armed civilians from an ARO
vehicle, of a light colour166)
On Girocului Way, at about 19:00 five tanks belonging to UM
01115, equipped with war ammunition167, heading for the headquarters

162
Sinteza rezultatelor efectuate de Parchetul Militar in perioada 1990 – 1994 in cauzele
privind evenimentele din Decembrie 1989, p.49-50 (to be quoted as Synthesis.) [The Synthesis
of the Results of the Military Prosecutor’s Office Investigation between 1990 – 1994 on the
Causes of the events of December 1989].
163
Sinteza, …[Synthesis...], p.48-49.
164
Ibidem, p.50.
165
Ibidem, p.53.
166
Ibidem, p.54.
167
In case of explosion, the shells would have destroyed, according to military assessments,
everything on a range of some hundreds of metres.
107
Alesandru Duțu

of the Party County Council are blocked (iron bars were introduced
into the engines), set on fire and damaged (six tankers were seriously
wounded168), close to the Central Post Office, by the protesters who
had blocked the street with trolleybuses and other vehicles. In order to
save themselves, the tankers left the armoured cars equipped with 275
war shells169. To recover the damaged tanks170, at about 20:00, a
military sub-unit under the command of Major Vasile Paul was sent
and they were received with hostility and violence by some
citizens.171 Deployed as lines of shooters, the military respond with
fire, which results in 9 dead and 26 wounded people.172 The Military
Prosecutor’s Office inquiry was to conclude that among the troops
there were also "people who were older, in military uniform,
unidentified, who had powerful torches with which they lit the
balconies and then shot. At the same time, there were unidentified
civilians, who shot from the courtyards of some houses or from
roofs”173. Finally, the damaged tanks were towed away at about
01:00.
On Calea Lipovei after the protesters ransacked the shops and
made a barricade, the troops fired, killing 6 and wounding 28.
On St. Budai Deleanu, a group of armed people, dressed in
short kaki vests shot a citizen, other two being shot on St.
Transilvania (one in his house, another one on his way home)174.
In the Students' Dorms a student is killed and two others are
wounded (with fire coming from a military unit)175.
On Buziaşului Way, two people are wounded (one of the

168
When referring to the state of the tanks, Vasile Paul related the following:”It was a disaster
with the tanks, as I had never expected. Everything that could be torn, was torn and taken
away Half a meter long of spare parts was on the pavement, the oil was burning, the parts of
the energy chamber were burning, the lids were open. Inside I saw the shells thrown
everywhere” (Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din decembrie
1989..[The Romanian Revolution of 1989…], p.293).
169
Referring to that, General Ştefan Guşă was to state:”If they took fire, they would have
blown like bombs. They would have destroyed the entire district. I ordered that the tanks
should be taken away at any cost. I admit I gave the order: at any costs. An entire district was
in danger”.
170
Sinteza..[The Synthesis] p.55
171
Speaking of the behaviour of the civilians on Girocului Way, Major Vasile Paul would say
later: ”All sorts of citiyens gathered around us. They started to insult us, to throw stones at us.
They had explosive devices, iron bats, wood, stones. They hit us directly, they swore at
us…They started to shout at the soldiers <Kill your commanders>”, <Give us your rifles>,
<Come with us, we know what we have to do>... Near 21:00, the aggressiveness of the young
people became very dangerous. They were already just one meter away, they jumped at us,
some soldiers had been wounded, they threw Molotov bottles on two armoured cars”.
(Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrei 1989...[The
Romanian revolution of December 1989...], p.294).
172
Sinteza..., [Synthesis...], p.55.
173
Ibidem.
174
Ibidem, p.57.
175
Ibidem.
108
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

victims who was arrested and taken to the headquarters of the Timiş
county inspectorate) stated that the fire came from a car.176
As a result, the hospitals in Timişoara are filled with dead and
wounded, the majority by one bullet only. The big number of people
killed (over 50 at the Morgue of the County Hospital on the morning
of 18 December) was taken as pretext for the coroners to stop making
authopsies and fill in only corpse examination reports.177
17:45. After arriving at the headquarters of Division 18
mechanised general Ştefan Guşă takes over command of the forces in
Timişoara. He orders that every sub-unit be equipped with a fire unit,
ammunition being distributed down to the level of soldier. Then he
says " in case of attack, we fire warning fire first, in the air, and then
at the legs178".
At the same time, general Constantin Nuţă states in front of the
commanding staff at the headquarters of the Timiş County "from now
on, it is the army's job. We, if we go out in the streets, we won't do but
make it worse179".
18:00. In Timişoara the protests continue, the protesters
chanting messages against Ceauşescu, etc. At the same time, violent
elements attack military locations and provoke the sub-units in the
streets.
The military units of Braşov receive the order " partial fighting
alarm".
18:30. By order of the Minister of National Defence, general
Vasile Milea, the whole Romanian army implements the orders
included under the codename "Radu cel Frumos" (alarm partial fight)
which involves armament with war ammunition.
The atmosphere in Timişoara is described by captain Marcel
Rusu of UM 01380 Arad as follows: "The first impression was that
we are in full street fighting. The city was covered by a net of tracers;
fires and smoke was everywhere; in the air you could smell gun
powder. We passed in our T.A.B. over supermarket trolleys full of tins
and bags, we saw tables and chairs from the restaurants burning in
the street; all newsagents' were on fire; in the centre of the city
between the Opera House and the Cathedral there was no
shopwindonw in its place and all shops were burning. The streets
were covered in smoke and there were many firefighters' vehicles. "
19:00. To carry out Nicolae Ceauşescu's orders, the forces of
"order" in Timişoara, including the Army start the repression on the

176
Ibidem.
177
Ibidem, p. 61.
178
Armata română, in Revoluţia din decembrie 1989, [The Romanian Army in the Revolution
of December 1989] p.61.
179
Şase zile care au zguduit Romania, [Six Days that Shattered Romania], p.89.
109
Alesandru Duțu

protesters, opening fire with war cartridges (there were hundred of


thousands) even after the provokative actions stopped. 59 people were
killed and 185 injured (especially until 21:00)180.
In the meantime, in Bucharest the order is given that military
be prepared to fight like the infantry. In Brăila, the commander of the
garrison summoned the military personnel, who are briefed by the
first-secretary of the Party County Council, Anton Lungu, on the
situation in Timişoara, the measures ordered by Nicolae Ceauşescu,
asking them to establish joint patrols (troops armed with war
ammunition, militia men and troops of the patriotic guards) to act
against those disturbing "public order". Securitate troops are in state
of alert (all training shooting, holiday leaves, and all other types of
leaves are suspended). The personnel have to stay in commands and
units, in civilian dress, armed with light armament (including the
necessary ammunition). The officers who operated in economic
counterintelligence are sent to the locations they were responsible for,
and those from stakeout went out in the streets to watch the activity of
foreigners in their respective areas. At the same time, Militia
personnel are also in alert.
19:35. General Vasile Milea orders the commander of the 4th
Army Corps to ensure that "the cable and radio connections are
functional" to intensify "radio and radiolocation surveillance" to
check and to prepare, especially, "the tanks, the MLI-s and TAB-s,
cars, electricity units, maps" to strengthen the guard and defence of
"airports and other important locations".
21:00. General Vasile Milea requests increased protection of
the barracks and ammunition warehouses, the use only of warning
shots, after the legal warning, in as far as possible to aim for the legs
but only in case units are attacked and if there is the certainty that the
locations, the equipment and the fighting technique are in danger.
22: 00. In Timişoara, Ion Coman, General Ştefan Guşă and
representatives of the Party County Council take a ride through the
city (onboard of a TAB and a truck) only to see the disastrous
situation181. Once back to barracks, the head of the chief of General

180
Sergiu Nicolaescu thinks that: „In Timişoara they fired on order or out of their own
initiative. Party members, army officers, militia officers would shoot, as well as soldiers under
their command. Surely, there were also diversion experts, who had the mission to escalate
violence, but it is clear that the military did not receive order to shoot with all their fire
power.The zealous ones were the first to shoot, those who could lose their favours, those who
were promoted to higher social and political ranks at the will of the dictator and not due to
their own capacity; the harassed ones, those frightened by the fury of the masses, as well as
the coward ones would also shoot”. (Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989, Editura ALL,
Bucureşti, 2005, p. 66). [The Struggle for Power], p.66).
181
„The city – Sergiu Nicolaescu sums up – looked like after the war – broken windows,
devastated shops, broken tramways, DAC trucks, probably belonging to the sub-units of
border officers, burnt down. The hospitals and the morgue were overcrowded. Hundreds of
110
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Staff summoned all unit commanders and ordered them to order all
tanks back to barracks. At the same time, he establishes the line of
action for the next day, ordering that in case the military were
attacked or there was the danger of being disarmed "only warning
shots should be fired,, in the air, and only if the aggressors do not
obey orders to shoot at the legs". He also recommended "to avoid as
much as possible contact with violent people". On the same occasion,
General Mihai Chiţac informed that if it was necessary they could use
grenades with tear gas brought from Sibiu.
Around 22:00, while going on Arad Road in Timişoara, a
group of protesters were summoned by voice and with warning fire
by the troops of military unit UM 01024 (who guarded the Textile
Entreprise of Timişoara). While they sought refuge in a building in
the area (with "Tudor Arghezi" bookshop on the groundfloor) two
people were killed, and 9 wounded. Some witnesses stated that fire
came from an ARO vehicle182.
In Braşov, Colonel Dumitru Popescu Ionel, the chief of staff of
UM 01107 receives an order from the 1st Army Corps to have
intevention sub-units ready to act when needed. At night, the order is
sent to other military units in the city as well.
22:30. The Chief of Staff orders "the units should stay in the
alert formation; the defence of all military units should be increased;
the readiness status should be kept with a view to the protection of
airports and works of art; four-troops patrols should be organised,
both for inside the barracks and in the outside area; the protection of
all units should be increased and measures taken in line with the
indicative "Vigilence"183.
In Bucharest, at the headquarters of the Ministry of National
Defence, the army corps commanders and the heads of central
departments are summoned and briefed on the situation in the
country, including Timişoara, and are given directions as to how
military personnel and conscripts should act.
23:00. Cornel Pacoste, vice-prime minister of the government
and candidate member of the Executive Political Committee, arrives
in Timişoara, by a special plane, and goes to the headquarters of the
Timiş Party County Council.
23:10. General Vasile Milea orders that "All ammunition
should be kept in the sub-units; the military would only get it when the

civilians were detained and investigated in inhuman conditions.A state of dispair had covered
the whole city”. (Luptapentru putere. Decembrie 1989, Editura ALL, Bucureşti, 2005, p. 66).
(Lupta pentru putere, [the fight for power], p.677).
182
Sinteza…[Synthesis], p.56-57.
183
To prevent recce on military objectives, by foreigners (through direct observation or by
taking photographs).
111
Alesandru Duțu

fighting order is issued, including for guard missions, patrols or


interventions; xetra care that the ammunition should stay in sub-
units; irrespective of branch, all sub-units must be prepared to carry
out Infantry-like missions; all officers and generals will have weapon
and ammunition according to procurement regulations, the NCOs
should not keep ammunition on them; all military personnel are
summoned to return come from leaves and come to their units; the
people of DLEN (the Department for Works in the National
Economy-author’s note) will also be summoned. The warning system
to be used by subunits should be the following "Stop! Stop or I'll
shoot" - they shoot in the air – then they shoot at the legs. Act with
determination!"
During the night. In Timişoara the violent manifestations
continue. The torrential rain washes the pavements of the blood of the
protesters.
In Hungary, the Hungarian Socialist Party (former communist)
reduced to only 65,000 members, as a result of the numerous
resignations, adopts a new statute and elects Gyula Thurmer as
chairman.
International reactions:
Nemeth Miklos, the Hungarian premier declares at the press
conference held along with the West German chancellor Helmut
Kohl, that "we have information of protests taking place in several
Romanian cities and that secret police and the military are in alert".
Gyula Keszthelyi talks on the phone with BBC, from Budapest,
saying: "Tourists coming back from Romania speak about trouble in
Timişoara. From what they say when they came back to Budapest, we
found out that the authorities used jets of water to break the masses of
protesters". The Austrian radio starts to broadcast (on December 17-
18th 1989) news referring to "violent crashes", which took place
between the forces of order and the protesters in Timişoara and
Arad184.

184
The information was sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the ambassador Trandafir
Cocârlă.
112
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

December 18th, 1989

01:00. The chief of staff of the Patriotic Guards orders that


every joint patrol that was going to include militia troops as well,
should consist of three Patriotic Guards armed with G. P. type rifles
and 20 cartridges.
While a column of protesters was heading for the centre of
Timişoara, on Calea Lipovei (at the crossroads with St. Ialomiţa), they
went towards the troops of UM 01140 Lugoj who defended the
warehouses in the area (ICRA, ICRM, Mobila). After summoning the
civilians to stop, the military opened fire killing one and injuring six
others 185.
01:30-2:00. In Timişoara, a group of civilians who tried to
recover their dead family members from the Morgue of the County
Hospital, is rejected with violence.
02:00 - 2:30. General Ştefan Guşă analyses, together with
commanders of the military units, the situation in Timişoara and asks
them not to open fire unless they are attacked.
05:20. Ion Coman informs Emil Bobu that the situation in
Timişoara was "under control" (at 06:00 he will report the same thing
to Nicolae Ceauşescu and tell him that he could go to Iran - where an
official visit was programmed - "without any worry"), the patrols and
the military sub-units occupying such locations as the Bread Factory,
the building of the Post Office, the Bank, the Opera House, the
Cathedral, Maria Bridge, Michelangelo Bridge, Girocului Way, Unirii
Square, etc.
Early in the morning. In Timişoara the authorities order the
removal of the disaster reaces of the previous nights: the streets are
cleaned, the broken windows are replaced, the shops (supermarkets and
bakeries) start to work even if they had doors and windows anymore (in
spite of the fact that Elena Ceauşescu had asked Ion Coman "Let them be,
foreign tourists should see what the vandals did").
The military dispositions ordered by General Ştefan Guşă a
little while before are modified.
According to General Constantin Nuţă’s order, the forces of the
Ministry of the Interior set up eight joint units (code name D.1-8) led

185
Sinteza... [The Synthesis...], p.56.
113
Alesandru Duțu

by militia personnel, assigned to act in differing areas of the city.186 At


the same time, there are five mobile patrols (in ARO vehicles, Dacia
and Lada) made up of militia (Z. 1-5).
In the morning. "Scânteia Tineretului" publishes the following
text, written by Sorin Preda under the title Some advice for those who
are at the seaside now, which is completeley inadequate in December,
given the situation in Romania, and susceptible of many interpretations:
"Avoid staying too long in the sun. It is preferable to start with much
care, in episodes of 10 - 15 minutes - on the one side, and on the
other. Thus, we will make sure you have a pleasant and uniform tan
on your body. Don't go too far away in the sea. Anyway, in case of
danger, don't shout. It is useless. The chances that anybody willing to
help you might be around are slim. Take advantage of the ultraviolet
rays. As you know, they are more active between 5:30 and 7:30. It is
recommended mainly to frail people. If you are sentimental and you
like the sunset, the bookshops at the seaside offer you a large variety
of postcards on this theme. And something more - if these pieces of
«advice» might make you ponder and you have second thoughts,
thinking of giving the seaside up in favour of the mountains, it means
you don't love the sea enough".187
07:30. On the Giarmata airport 41 conscripts from UM 01171
Buzău (The 404th Battalion of the Military Intelligence Department)
arrive, divided into five groups, specialised in search and diversion
actions, who will be used for the following period as follows: the
County Hospital to observe the mood of the people who are looking for
their deceased relatives and in the city (Operei Square, Maria Square,
Girocului Way, the industrial zone, etc.) to get information about the
activities of the protesters. Some of them were sent to mingle with the
people in some companies, to establish the causes of the revolution and
the intentions of the workers. As they were unprepared, they were
easily discovered and sent back to the headquarters.
Aurelian David Mihuţ described the atmosphere in Timişoara,
where "the forces of order" continue to keep their positions, while in
Opera Square teams of reporters record on film as follows: "The city
looked derelict. Shop windows broken. Impression of deserted city. In
the centre, at the Cathedral, in front of the shoe shop, there was a
firefighter's vehicle, with flat tyres and broken windows; as if it itself
had suffered from the fire. In Libertăţii Square, in front of the Military
Club - some TABs stand in line; the troops were arranging their
equipment. The newspaper stands and the commercial stalls had

186
They acted until 15:00, on December 20th 1989. The research made by SRI showed that fire
was opened against the demonstrators from some military dispositions.
187
Interpretations in Grigore Cartianu, op.cit.66-68.
114
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

disappeared. Instead, you could see metallic frameworks and a lot of


burnt things which, in that humid atmosphere after the rain, made the
square unrecognisable"188.
08:00. Party people are briefed by Radu Bălan, Ilie Matei and
Cornel Pacoste, at the Timişoara Municipal Party Committee (with
the participation of the entreprises managers), on the situation in the
city, asking that the employees should take care of the production
instead of going in the streets, should criticise hooligan acts and
solidarize with the central party and state leadership.
In Bucharest, Nicolae Ceauşescu has a new meeting with
Vasile Milea, Tudor Postelnicu, Emil Bobu and Iulian Vlad before
leaving for Iran. Emil Bobu assures him that in Timişoara the
situation is under control.
Constantin Olteanu, member of the Executive Political Committee
goes to Iaşi to take care (according to his own statement) "of supplies
for the population, of the technical and material supplies for
entreprises, in the counties of Iaşi, Vaslui, Suceava and Botoşani" and
to discuss "with the leadership of the respective counties also of the
measures ordered by Nicolae Ceauşescu, during the teleconference of
the night of 17 December, in order to keep peace and public order"189.
08:30. Convinced that he calmed things down in Timişoara,
Nicolae Ceauşescu leaves on an official visit to Iran, leaving Elena
Ceauşescu in charge, together with Manea Mănescu. At the airport, he
asks Vasile Milea "In connection with the damages in Timişoara,
comrade Milea, don't fix anything! Film everything and when I come
back we will present everything on TV190".
09:00. In Timişoara, the situation starts to get tense again. Even
if the city is still under siege, the protesters organise themselves in
massive groups and head for the centre of the city, blocked by the
"order" troops. In some areas barricades were raised. When describing
the atmosphere in the city, Vasile Popovici says: "the next day,
Timişoara was under military occupation. The whole city had been
covered in military and civilian cordons. However, that was a sign for
all the people (who were moving to and fro) to see that for a period of
time, the civilian population had defeated the armed population.191"

188
Miodrag Milin, Timişoara în revoluţie şi după, [Timişoara During and After the
Revolution], p.70.
189
Referring to the relations with the military commands in the area, General- Constantin
Colonel Olteanu was to write years later: ”I was neither asked, nor suggested and it never
crossed mz mind to take the initiative, for example, to ask some military units to increase their
capability or to take some measures..Moreover, all the time I was in the area, from 18 to 22
December, I didn’t enter any military unit, neither of the defence ministry nor of the ministry
of the interior.”
190
Grigore Cartianu, op.cit.p.94.
191
Ibidem, p.52.
115
Alesandru Duțu

At Universitate Cornel Pacoste meets with the leadership of the


faculties, and students get official holiday.
General Ilie Ceauşescu, secretary of the Superior Military
Political Council analyzes the situation in the city with Ion Coman
and General Victor Stănculescu at the headquarters of the Party
County Council; then they go to the commander of the 18th
Mechanized Division, where they meet with the officers.
At the same time, the commanders of the big units of the
Ministry of National Defence order that in similar situations with that
of Timişoara to use force. Significant for this situation is Fighting
disposition no. 2 issued by UM 01030 (division) of Brăila which,
included among others; "11. If intervention on the protesters is
necessary, the commanders should speak loud, summon with warning
fire, and eventually to shoot at the legs (author's underlying). 12.
Those who have to intervene (sub-units or colons) should avoid doing
so at the head of the protesters columns, where there usually are the
women and children (author's underlying) and should take measures
to block them, while the main forces should execute flank and rear
maneuvres (author's underlying; as in war) from the adjoining
streets. 13. Units and sub-units from different branches should act as
units with infantry armament and ammunition (author's note)192".
10:30. In Timişoara, the "state of emergency" is declared officially.
At the same time, in the Department of State Security they discuss
the implementation of the measures included in plan "Orient 89".
12:00. Ion Coman and Ilie Matei go to different entreprises in
Timişoara to see and check the presence of workers.
15:00. At the American Embassy in Bucharest the ambassadors
of NATO member states discuss the situation in Timişoara.
Elena Ceauşescu requests that the corpses of the revolutionaries
of Timişoara be transported to Bucharest and incinerated („Operation
Rose”).
15:30 - 18:00. Defying the military cordons which blocked the
crossroads and the traffic, a column of youth wearing flags, without
the socialist emblem, manages to reach the Cathedral in Timişoara
where they light candles in the memory of the victims of the previous
night and chant: “Down with Ceauşescu”, "Liberty, liberty", We are
the people”, "Today in Timişoara, tomorrow in the whole country”.
The "defence"193 unit was made up of military, militia and securitate
troops, including TABs, which roared their engines to intimidate the

192
Sinteza...[Synthesis], p.119.
193
A militia detachment and securitate troops were deployed across the street from the
Cathedral, while border troops from UM 02840 Timişoara and military of UM01233 Buziaş
were deployed on the way to the townhall.
116
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology
194
protesters. After 17:00, when General Mihai Chiţac arrived in the
area to scatter the protesters, they start to fire, some of the bullets
coming from the TABs and being shot by unidentified people195; the
result is three dead and five wounded, while no acts of vandalism
were registered. Leia Sorin is shot dead on the steps of the cathedral,
whereas Nemţoc Vasile Marius and Măriutac Ivan were shot near the
cathedral. Tear gas is used, without much effect196.
During the day. Just returned from Timişoara, writer Petru
Iliesu draws up in Florin Iaru's apartment together with the latter, with
Nicolae Prelipceanu, Denisa Comănescu and Elena Ştefoi a
programme called Protest (which is sent through diplomatic courier,
to the West) with the following contents: "1. Intervention of UN
troops in Romania; 2. Making a list with those who fired and killed
people in Timişoara; 3. An international declaration that what
happened in Timişoara was a crime against humanity; 4. Declaring
the second Christmas day as day of national mourning".197
18:40. In Heroes' Square in Budapest there is a demonstration
in which the organisers and speakers speak of the violation of human
rights in general and of the the violation of human rights of national
minorities in Romania in particular and call for action against the
Romanian party and state leadership.
19:15. Arriving at the County Hospital in Timişoara to take
their killed relatives, a group of citizens is scattered by the troops
from the guard positions with tear gas.
20:00. In Timişoara, the protesters try to get into the buildings
of the Party County Council and Municipal Council. Fire is set at the
Oil Plant. On Girocului Way, in front of the Chemistry Highschool, a
group of 30-40 young people are warned with gunfire shot by the
troops („who were sitting back to back to avoid being attacked with
Molotov bottles from the buildings surrounding them198).
20:30. In front of the Romanian Embassy in Budapest,
thousands of demonstrators scan against the high party and state

194
Cristian Popa, from Buziaş mentions that in the area there were „many civilians armed
with machine guns”.
195
Informed by Ion Coman about the situation in the city, Elena Ceausescu replied: „Use the
tanks to destroy the cathedral, let’s finish it all for good”.
196
They exploded and were only smoking. Frightened, the demonstrators fell down to the
ground then ran through the Central Park, while a part of them (almost 20) were caught and
taken away to Militia. General Mihai Chițac participated in this action, with the rifle in hand.
He had inspected the combat dispositions and asked the troops to be tough. Paul Catalin
Marin, a conscript, stated that Mihai Chițac would have said the following: ”Do these rascals
need a revolution? We’ll show them revolution” (Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere [The
Struggle for Power], p.83).
197
Alex.Mihai Stoenescu, Istoria loviturilor de stat in Romania, [The History of State Coups
in Romania], vol.4,p.656
198
Miodrag Milin, Timişoara [Timişoara], p.107.
117
Alesandru Duțu

leadership of Romania ("Ceauşescu must leave", "Your time has


come, Dracula", "Freedom and protection for Tökes199), they chant
messages with "anti-Romanian and anti-socialist" contents and ask
"the change of the political regime in Romania and liberty for
Transylvania" - as resulting from a synthesis of the Intelligence
Directorate of the General Staff.
22:45. The Minister of National Defence orders General Iulian
Topliceanu to take measures to "augment the combat capability and
to send the combat units to the border" and "to send troops for the
protection of institutions, buildings, bridges, which could be
destroyed or set fire to, by terrorists and diversionists". He repeats the
fact that approval for using forces will be given only by himself. The
commander of the 4th Army Corps reports that "there are attempts to
the use of the military units in an abusive way"200.
At night. The Forces of order continue to patrol in Timişoara
and to make arrests.
International reactions
King Michael I sends a message to the Romanian people
through the "Free Europe Radio” station: "I am by your side in my
soul and in my mind! I am, as you are, worried when I find out about
the cruelty of those in power when you only ask for your basic rights
(however, I have as you also have high hopes, because you
demonstrate for your rights, you are not afraid, as the violence of the
repression itself proves that they are afraid of you. Demonstrate
peacefully, with banners which tell them about your hopes! Weapons
cannot break souls, cannot destroy ideals".
Alois Mock, the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs states on
television that the incidents in Timişoara could represent the
beginning of a change in Romania, which could be not so "peaceful"
as in Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Bulgaria.
In Austria again, "Die Presse" refers to a letter of the Mayor of
Vienna, Helmut Zilk, addressed to the Romanian Embassy in which
they protest against the violation of human rights in Romania.
Margater Tutwiller, spokesperson for the American State
Department says that the Romanian government "lacking the support
of the people commits a terrible error by using securitate forces to
repress a serious manifestation of popular discontent".
"Associated Press" sends to Vienna, at 05:01: "The
demonstration on Saturday to Sunday night is considered to be one of
the most powerful anti-government protests in Romania, in the last
two years ".

199
E un început în tot sfârșitul, [There Is A Beginning In Every Ending], p.445.
200
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revolutia..., [The Revolution... ], p.195.
118
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Radio "Free Europe" comments on the events in Romania in


the programme "Romanian Present Day News”. "There is a beginning
in every ending! Timişoara is now the name of the Romanian city
written and uttered in every language of the world. The people of
Timişoara went out in the streets to remind the Romanians and the
international public opinion that it is necessary to radically change
things in Romania as well as in the other communist countries. So,
this is not only the protest of some personalities such as Mircea
Dinescu and Doina Cornea, it is a mass action. This is the
significance of the events in Timişoara201". On another occasion, they
say: "The revolt was the most serious one at the address of the
communist regime of president Nicolae Ceauşescu, after the protests
of the workers in Braşov on November 1987".
The Soviet television announces that the Hungarian press
agency (MTI) broadcast that there were fights in Timişoara between
the forces of order and the protesters who tried to prevent the eviction
of pastor Lászlo Tökes, that there were incidents and there were
messages chanted against the political regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu.
The Soviet agency TASS Bulletin (with restricted circulation)
mentions the news referring to the anti-government demonstration in
Timişoara and the clashes between protesters and forces of order.

201
E un inceput in tot sfarsitul, [There Is A Beginning In Every Ending].p. 31, 39, 129.
119
Alesandru Duțu

December 19th, 1989

00:30 - 1:30. In Timişoara, General Ştefan Guşă calls all unit


commanders and assigns the missions to be carried out. On this
occasion he orders a reduction in number of the forces in the city and
their replacement with patrols. The forces in the area of the Party
County Council and the Municipal council and some other locations
are kept in place. Informed of the continued forced entry attempts in
military units and weapons and ammunition warehouses, the chief of
the General Staff ordered that in such situations, the troops should
shoot, after the legal warning.
01:00. In an attempt to wipe out all traces of the repression of
the night of 17 December and acting on Elena Ceauşescu’s order, they
start to load the corpses of 43 revolutionaries 202, from the morgue of
the County Hospital in Timişoara, in a truck to take them to "Cenuşa"
crematory in Bucharest203, as part of operation „The Rose”.
07:00. The protest manifestations of the workers in Timişoara
start to get a mass character and to extend, especially to the factories
"6 Martie", "Azur", "Elba", "Solventul". The workers organise protest
meetings and even strikes (in Elba and Electrobanat, etc.) where they
express their economic and political demands and chant anti-
dictatorship slogans204. Even if there are no such violent actions as in
the previous days, people still die and get wounded.
Opera Square is under the control of the army, militia and
securitate.
In Cluj Napoca, the Chief of Staff of the 4th Army Corps
studies the action options in order to block a possible military
intervention from the West in Romania.
09:00 - 11:00. In Timişoara, General Ştefan Guşă orders the
recce troops of the detachment from Buzău to get into the factories
under cover to see how people’s morale was and find out workers’s
demands.205
Informed by General Iulian Vlad about the situation in

202
Most of them dead by shooting, some with bayonet and knife cuts or broken legs and
heads.
203
The list with the corpses at the Cenuşa crematory is published in „Caietele Revoluţiei”
[The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr.3/2006, p.57-58.
204
For details, see: Claudiu Iordache, Isus s-a născut la Timişoara, [Jesus Was Born in
Timişoara],Timişoara, Editura Helikon, 1994.
205
They entered the „Azur”, „Elba”, „Solventul”, „6 Martie”. Some of them were discovered.
120
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Timişoara, Elena Ceauşescu says "What are doing those who are
there, what are they waiting for?"
In the meantime, Radu Bălan and other party activists go to
"Elba" plant trying to calm down the workers who had gone out in the
company yard, alarmed by the rumours that weapons are unloaded
from a military truck (in fact they were loading the armament of the
patriotic guards lest it got into workers’ hands). Seeing they could not
defuse the situation, the first-secretary starts to jot down the workers's
demands (especially women’s) who scan: "We won't work at rifle
point”, "Out with the military from the city", "Where are the arrested
people?", "Where are our dead?”, "We are not hooligans", "We want
heating", „We want meat", "We want chocolate for our children,
"Down with Ceauşescu”. TABs with the turret heading towards the
yard arrive at the two gates of the plant, that start patrolling around.
Coming back to the headquarters of the Party County Council, the
first-secretary tells Ion Coman: "You can't have peace as long as the
troops are here". Then he goes back to "Elba" (at 10:40) where, by
accident (as claimed) or not, a TAB fires, wounding a woman and a
child. Angry, he sends a message to Ion Coman again:"If the military
doesn't not leave the premises and stop shooting, I decline any
responsibility". Then he leaves the company (at 11:30)206.
At the same time, Cornel Pacoste and Ilie Matei go, on Ion
Coman's order, to UMT factory, where the workers continue to scan
"Freedom", "Democracy," „Ceauşescu''s resignation”207.
11:30. At IPROTIM institute, Claudiu Iordache protests during
the meeting organised to accuse the demonstrators, stating that there
are no hooligans in the streets, but representatives of the people.
During the day. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs notifies (in
fact, misinforms) the heads of the Romanian diplomatic missions
abroad, on how to present the situation in Romania:” In case you are
asked, during your various meetings, (we repeat, only if asked) of the
so-called events from Timişoara, you would simply answer, clearly
that you do not know anything about such things. After such a short
answer and without accepting to get dragged into a discussion on this
issue, you will present firmly the following: We firmly reject any
attempt of interference in the Romania’s internal affairs, a free and
independent country, any attempt to disregard the fundamental
attributes of independence and national sovereignity, any attacks
against the national security interests, breach of order and its laws.
Firm measures will be undertaken in Romania against such attempts,

206
Miodrag Milin, Timişoara, 15-21 decembrie 89, [Timişoara, December 15-21st `89], p.111.
207
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989, [The Struggle for Power.
December 1989], p.85.
121
Alesandru Duțu

against any provoking and acts of diversion, initiated by reactionary,


anti-Romanian circles, by foreign special services and espionage
agencies. The socialist state, our society won't tolerate, under any
circumstances, that our vital interests and the provisions of our
Constitution be affected and the necessary measures will be taken to
observe the law, the rule of law, without which the normal conduct of
activities would not be possible. Nobody, irrespective who he might
be, is allowed to break the law, without suffering the consequences of
his acts. Speak to all collaborators so they act in strict conformity
with the above instruction. Immediately inform about any discussion
you have related to the above mentioned." 208
In Iaşi, at the headquarters of the County Council, Lieutenant-
Colonel Ioan Cioară, the shief of Staff at the 10th Mechanized
Division, returned from his holidays, informs Colonel General
Constantin Olteanu that no ammunition is distributed to the troops
of his unit, as ordered and asks if he should do it or not. The former
Minister of National Defence says: "Let it be, nothing will happen.
What should you do with it? You don't intervene at all. Only if they
attack or put fire at military objectives, then it woul;d be something
else.. but you won't need the weapons in the streets". As a result, in
the respective counties no military sub-units were used in the streets
and no shot was fired.
Along the same line, Constantin Olteanu answered Ion
Catrinescu, first-deputy of the Organisational Section of CC of RCP,
present in Iaşi; who asked him how he thought the situation in
Timişoara should be solved: "Trough political methods. Not with the
guns, that should be clear. These are not matters to be diffused
threatening people with guns". He gave similar advice to the leaders
of the four counties, where he had been sent, by emphasizing that
"the street belongs to the protesters", that the forces of order had to
"protect the important objectives against any possible violent
actions".
12:00 - 13:00. At the command of the 18th Mechanized
Division in Timişoara, General Ilie Ceauşescu, head of the Superior
Military Political Council informs military personnel of the danger of
an external aggression against the territorial integrity of Romania,
about the existence of an international ploy against Romania, about
the penetration of almost 2,000 people on the national territory with
the intention of starting violent actions209, etc. He continues by asking
that the military stay in the streets and states that "the turbulences are

208
Principiul dominoului... [The Domino Theory...], p.456.
209
Constantin Sava,Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989… [The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989], p.185-186.
122
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

produced by terrorist elements, in the service of capitalist countries,


their purpose being to overturn socialism and establish capitalism"210.
13:50. Following the discussion with General Vasile Milea and
after obtaining his approval, General Ştefan Guşă orders the withdrawal
of the tanks, TABs and a part of the troops from the areas with high
traffic in Timişoara, so that the workers could demonstrate peacefully;
at the same time, he orders the total interdiction of weapon use.
14:00. In Timişoara, at the order of Ion Coman211, General
Ştefan Guşă goes to "Elba" where he is received with hostility. After
ordering (at the request of the workers) that the platoon accompanying
him (that was left at the gate of the company) leave the area, the chief
of the General Staff talks to the crowds, then he goes to the
headquarters of the Division (on board of a staff officer’s car from the
patriotic guards).
15:30. Ioachim Moga, first-secretary of the Cluj County Council
asks General Iulian Topliceanu over the phone for military support in
the case the students in the city start to demonstrate. The commander
of the 4th Army Corps does not follow this request.
In Sibiu, Nicu Ceauşescu, party first-secretary states the
following in front of this close collaborators and the head of the
County Militia: "If something happens here we will shoot at them, we
won't be defeated by them. You won't be the ones to shoot - you
securitate and militia people from Sibiu - as you are too stupid to do it
- I'll call my specialists from Bucharest"212. Then he asks to be
connected to Tudor Postelnicu, Minister of the Interior.
18:00. In Timişoara a detachment of parachuters arrives from
Caracal.
In Buzău, military patrols are formed, equipped with armament
and war ammunition that are disposed in the centre of the city, in the
industrial area, at the railway station, bus stations, etc.; no special
events are reported.
19:00. At the "Cenușa" crematory in Bucharest, the incineration
of the corpses of the 40 revolutionaries killed in Timişoara starts; the
dreadful action finished the next day at 10:30213.
19:30. In Timişoara, unit UM 01185 is attacked with gun fire,
an officer being wounded.

210
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989, [The Struggle for Power.
December 1989], p.86.
211
Some sources mention that the order was given earlier (at 13:00), as the general had to
leave the plant at 14:00 (see: Alexandru Oșca, Revolutia...[The revolution...], p.150).
212
Apud, Şase zile care au zguduit România…[Six days that Shattered Raomania...], p.149-15
(the authors did not say if the „specialists”had ever been sent, considering that the
information obtained from the Ministry of the Interior could not „clear things up”.
213
The ashes were thrown in the sewage near Popesti Leordeni.
123
Alesandru Duțu

21:50. General Ştefan Guşă orders "It is forbidden to shoot at


people".
23:50. Based on General Vasile Milea’s decision, General Ştefan
Guşă orders: "TABS and a part of the forces should return to barracks.
When the workers go out in the street, the troops should withdraw near
buildings and vehicles, letting the columns pass freely"214.
At night. In the streets of Timişoara, 13 military patrols
continue to be in action. Other forces take part in putting out the fires
set at the IAEM company, etc.
In some cities in Transylvania (Sibiu, Alba Iulia, Sebeș, Deva,
Târgu Mureş, Braşov, etc.) a manifesto is launched with an anti-
Ceauşescu message, signed the SLOMR - National Committee of
Liberation, in which people were summoned to go on strike, on
December 21st 1989, at 9:00 to ask "that power be handed over over
to people chosen by us".
International reactions:
A Declaration is adopted by the European Economic
Community in Brussels on behalf of the 12 ministers of foreign
affairs, in which they make public the fact that "they acknowledge
with emotion and consternation the information referring to the brutal
and violent repression of the people's manifestations by the Romanian
authorities" and condemn "firmly the attitude of a regime which,
disregards all the commitments it made related to the human rights
under the framework of OSCE, and all it can do is stifle by force the
Romanian people’s legitimate aspirations to freedom". The Declaration
goes on saying that "the Community expressed its disapproval of the
regime of Romania, in different ways, especially by suspending the
negotiations for an agreement on economic collaboration. The
Community reserves its right to take the necessary measures,
depending on the further developments in this country" 215.
The Polish Parliament (SEJM) adopts a decision, at the
proposal of the Seniors' convent, presented by Nikolai Kazakievici, in
which they mention: „A tragedy happened yesterday in Romania. In
Timişoara and in other localities of Romania the army and the police
were used against the protesters. The number of the victims is
unknown. We express our firm protest against the violation of human
rights in Romania. We summon the Romanian authorities to stop the
repression. We declare our solidarity with the participants in the
manifestations and we call the international public opinion to
condemn the actions of the Romanian authorities" 216.

214
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989..., [The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989], p.246.
215
Principiul dominoului...,[The Domino Theory...], p.470.
216
Ibidem, p.459.
124
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Roland Dumas, acting president of the EEC member states


Foreign Affairs Ministerial declares to the press that he asked the
EEC members to interrupt their works in order to publish "a protest
against the situation in Romania". The French diplomat appreciates
that "it is extremely sad to think that a people can be treated in this
way by its own leaders, as it now happens with the Romanian people,
while the entire Europe, especially Eastern Europe benefits from a
vast movement of liberalisation and when the wind of freedom blows
inspired by the principles underlying the Final Act from Helsinki".
Then, he concludes: "A regime which treats its own people like this is
a dying regime. In any case, the moral condemnation of the
community with regard to the eventsthat occurred and are still
occurring in Romania is an unequivocal condemnation" 217.
Jacques Blot head of the Department for Europe in the French
Ministry of Foreign Affairs declares to Petre Gigea, the Romanian
ambassador to Paris, that the events in Timişoara "provoke a great
emotion in France and if it is confirmed that repressions took place in
several cities of Romania with victims as a result, all this might
determine France to express its disapproval and total condemnation
of the facts". As the other ambassadors, Petre Gigea "firmly rejected"
the protest of the French diplomat and expressed „his regret” that the
French government and "the 12" make such statements and take
decisions without knowing "the official position of the Romanian
government".
Eduard Shevardnadze, the Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs
declares in Brussels, that he does not have many data about the events
in Romania and that, if human victims have resulted, he expresses
"his deep regret".
King Michael I says, in an interview offered to François
Ponchel from "Antenne 2" TV channel, that "If the Romanians ask me
to come back, I have always said that I am ready to take my
constitutional responsibilities. But for me, the main purpose is the
liberation of the country, my person only comes second"218.
Vadim Perfiliev, deputy chief of the Intelligence Depatment of
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs makes public the fact that Moscow
considers that the events in Romania and in the other socialist
countries "are the business of the respective people, the parties and
the social organisations in the respective countries".219.
Erich Schmidt, a director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in
Vienna, presents to Marian Radu the concern of the Austrian people

217
Ibidem, p.470.
218
E un început în tot sfârșitul... [There Is a Beginning in Every Ending...], p.339.
219
Ibidem, p.452-453.
125
Alesandru Duțu

and government over the situation in Timişoara and Arad, over the
fate of pastor Lászlo Tökes and professor Dumitru Mazilu, as well as
over the situation of some groups of Austrian people in Romania.
Faced with the refusal of the representative of the Romanian
ambasssy to take the Austrian aide-memoire, Erich Schmid declares
that he will inform the leadership of the 33 states participants in the
CSCE process of Romania’s position.
Colonel Keleti Gyorgy, spokesperson of the Hungarian Ministry
of Defence states on television that "Obviously, the Hungarian military
contonue to watch and assess the events in Romania. If needed, they
will adopt the necessary decisions".
Playwright Eugene Ionesco addresses a message to the
Romanian people, broadcast by Neculai Constantin Munteanu at
Radio Free Europe: "Long live Greater Romania, free and independent!
I am with you all! I am far away, but my soul suffers together with
you! I wish you victory, which I am convinced you will get in the end!
It will surely soften Gorbachev's heart and warm up the heart of
America and the state leaders in Europe! Long live the Romanian
people! I sympathise with you, I am at your side" 220.
Helmut Frauendorfer addresses the following message in his
name and on behalf of the 10 German writers of Romanian origin:
"To the troops of the Army, the Militia, the Securitate! You are the
ones shooting at the people! Why do you still serve this criminal and
his family? You are also part of this nation and your obligation would
be to defend the nation and not the criminal! Do not forget that ! Look
around you, get rid of the criminals, there is still time! Don't shoot at
the people" 221.
Judith Dempsey writes in "Financial Times": "Until now,
Romania has been the only country in Eastern Europe, except for
Albania, which was untouched by the wave of protests for democracy
over the last months...President Ceauşescu is the only leader in
Eastern Europe who refused the reforms that took place in the other
countries in the region. His regime, dominated at the top by his
family, is known for its abuses and violation of human rights".
Dominique Garraud writes in "Libération": "The Westerners
have forgotten the favours reserved to the Romanian dictator due to
his independence from Moscow. On the contrary, they already have to
deal with the zeal of the new Hungarian leaders, overcome by the fate
of their minority in Romania".
Árpád Madarász broadcasts from Novisad for radio "Budapest":
"Romania is tightly closed for the world. This I can confirm from here,

220
Caietele Revoluţiei, [The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr. 2/2005, p.33.
221
E un început în tot sfârşitul, [There is a beginning in every ending], p.357, 138.
126
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

from Yugoslavia, from Novisad, from a distance of 120 km by air from


Timişoara and 25 km from the border. But to get there, it is impossible!
This experience was similar for many journalists from various
publications in Yugoslavia and from Taniug who, together with the
British and American colleagues tried to cross the border at two
different border check points. In vain!"
In front of the Romanian embassy in Sofia there is a demonstration
where they chant messages "with denigrating character at the address of
our country and its leadership" as ambassador Vasile Pungan informs.
"Die Welt" writes: "Except for Albania, the Ceauşescu regime
is the last fortress of totalitarianism in Europe. The demonstrations in
Timişoara can be the beginning of the end for this system".
"Financial Times" concludes:"Ceauşescu refuses to open the
road to the reforms present in the other Eastern-European countries".
"Baltimore Sun" concludes: "The political unrest in Eastern
Europe pulled down, eventually, the last domino piece, Romania, the
country which experienced the harshest treatment. At the end of the
week, in the distant city of Timişoara, the events would take further
the echoes of the Tiananmen square. On Saturday night, the streets
were filled with people who protested and rebelled. On Sunday
morning the troops started to shoot. People fell on the ground. There
were dead, their number, between ten and some hundred.. And if this
is not the end, not yet, at the right moment it will come. The last
domino is shattered".
The French newspapers (Le Figaro, Le Quotidien de Paris,
Liberation, La Croix, etc.) publish on the first page, headlines in big
letters and articles referring to the tragic events in Romania. In turn,
the radio stations and the televion channels broadcast news and
present interviews which reflect the same events.

127
Alesandru Duțu

December 20th, 1989

01:00. General Iulian Topliceanu reports to General Vasile


Milea that the 4th Army Corps was in the final phase of finishing the
measures for "improved combat capability" and working on it
"24/24". Towards the morning, the minister of national defence points
out again "the military should act at the request of the first-secretaries
and the representatives of the Executive Political Committee to avoid
the destruction of buildings" but only on his approval.
07:00 - 07:30. Timişoara is on general strike. Large numbers of
workers from the Optical and other plants such as Electrotimiş, AEM,
IMT, FAEM, Spumatum, Electromotor, Decembrie 13th, IRA, Fabrica
Banatul, Fabrica de Autoturisme, Cooperativa Progresul, Azur,
Ambalajul metalic, Guban, etc. head for the centre of the city,
organised and divided in groups corresponding to the plant they come
from, and the workshops they work in, with white bands on their arms
chanting "Down with Ceauşescu”, "Liberty”, "Down with communism”,
"No violence”, "We are no hooligans”, "Ceauşescu and his wife,
destroyed our childhood”, "The army is on our side”. Communist
inscriptions are taken down from the buildings facades.222 In some
areas air alarms are set on.
The troops are still in the streets (in some places - Küttl - they
shout "The military should leave”, "Assassins”), in their dispositions,
but they do not react anymore. "At the crossroads of Bld. Victoria and
St.Oneşti - Aurelian David Mihuţ says - somewhere on the left of the
way we took, there were three TABs with engines on. We expected
them to start shooting any moment. We were in the first rows. As we
saw that they did not intend to withdraw, some guys got round the
tanks and climbed on them. We stuck the pole of a flag with the
emblem torn away in the turret and knocked at the closed lid, pulling
it up. The lid went up and we saw the scared faces of some conscripts.
We calmed them down by saying that we were their brothers. We
asked them to get out. Their fright turned into tears of joy when we
hugged. It was the most impressive moment I have ever lived. General
elation, people offering one another biscuits, bread, cigarettes, even

222
Remembering the events, Nicolae Bădilescu writes: „The joy was immense; you had the
impression that the city was flowing in a river of people, as never before” (Miodrag Milin,
Timişoara, 15-21 decembrie 89 [Timişoara, December 15-21st ‘89], p. 97).
128
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

money...We went to the Opera House together with that TAB. It was
the first sign the military was on our side"223.
In front of the Yugoslav Consulate, the protesters ask to be filmed
and photographed and scan "Yugoslavia", "Yugoslavia", "The Serbs are
with us", "We are neither fascists nor hooligans". The viceconsul
Slobodan Kreckovic tells them: "This is a domestic Romanian issue, and
the Romanian people is capable to solve its own issues".224
The troops withdraw from the Town Hall to Bld. Victoria. At
the Cathedral, they scan „God exists! God exists!", „God is with us”.
A great number of revolutionaries come from the market
heading for the Opera House. The military detachment, under the
command of Vasile Paul deployed with his line of shooters close to
the building, summons in vain the people to stop, telling them they
have order to shoot. From the crowd, Claudiu Iordache tears his shirt
open and speaks to the military: "Shoot! Shoot at me!” The soldiers
hesitate and then they gradually withdraw225.
The crowds chant "The military is on our side", "We are the
people", "Who do you defend?", "Liberty! Liberty!", "Let them be
tried for the dead in Banat", „Let them be tried here in Banat",
"Without violence", "We are Romanians as well". The soldiers
continue to withdraw towards the walls of the Opera House.
Ioan Lorin Florescu unfolds the banners they had previously
prepared which read "Where are our dead?", "Down with Ceauşescu",
"This is Timişoara - Where is the rest of the country?" and offers them to
the citizens present there. The crowd kneels and prays "Our Holy Father"
(urged to do the same, the troops remain standing, but start to withdraw)226.
A group of protesters, among whom Ioan Lorin Fortuna,
Claudiu Iordache, Ioan Chiş, Ştefan Ivan, Sorin Iordăchescu and
others go to the entrance of the Opera House, without encountering
any opposition227. They get into the building through two separate
entrances and they appear in the balcony.
Other columns reach the Party County Council where they scan

223
Miodrag Milin, Timişoara în Revoluţie şi după, [Timişoara During and After the
Revolution], p.99.
224
Idem, Timişoara, 15-21 decembrie 89 [Timişoara, December 15-21st, ‘89], p. 119.
225
Miodrag Milin concludes:”It was the most exciting moment of the revolution” (Timişoara
în Revoluţie şi după [Timişoara During and After the Revolution],.p.209).
226
Aurelian David Mihuţ writes: ”It was, I think, a moment of common revelation, which
made us touch in spirit, to feel human, irrespective of what part of the barricade we were. It
was the right moment for forgiveness and for reconciliation”. (Miodrag Milin, (Timişoara în
Revoluţie şi după [Timişoara During and After the Revolution], p.100).
227
Remembering the events, Ioan Lorin Fortuna writes:”It was clear to me that the crowds
had to be organised. A committee of initiative had to be established, to coordinate the crowds,
to summon the factories and to represent the core of victory political organisations. It was the
moment for the transformation of the revolt into a revolution and it was not to be missed”.
(Miodrag Milin, Timişoara în Revoluţie şi după [Timişoara During and After the Revolution],
p106-107).
129
Alesandru Duțu

"The army is on our side” and offer bread, water and flowers to the
troops228
11:00. With the approval of General Vasile Milea, General
Ştefan Guşă repeats the order that weapons should not be used under
any circumstances and that the protesters of Timişoara be allowed to
use the main roads of the city. By 12:00, the troops would be
withdrawn from the centre of the city, with a few exceptions.
General Borsics L., the chief of the General Staff of the
Hungarian army asks, over the phone229, General Nicolae Eftimescu,
first-deputy chief of General Staff and head of the Operations
Department if "it was true that the Romanian army was ordered to get
to increase its combat capability and to use tanks and TABs against
the people". He was answered that measures were taken to increase
the combat capability of the Romanian military as a result of "some
incidents provoked in Timişoara by hooligans and wrongdoers, who
attacked the official headquarters and military units" that the
Romanians "had no territorial demands against anybody", that they
did not intend to attack anybody, but they would defend themselves if
attacked, that the news sent by the foreign agencies (including the
Hungarian ones) regarding the concentration of the Romanian army at
the border was not real and the troops do their combat training in the
garrisons where they were deployed230.
General Ilie Ceauşescu arrives in Arad and presents the
situation in Timişoara to the troops of UM 01380. On this occasion
the head of the Superior Military Political Council requires the factory
directors to "organise meetings of condemnation of the hooligans,
irredentists and fascists in Timişoara" to increase vigilence, as it was
possible that "something similar" might happen in Arad as well.
In Cluj Napoca flyers with the following contents are spread: "
Romanians, the time has come to be free”, "Down with Ceauşescu”,
"Down with the communism”. The people gather, they are scattered
by the militia patrols, who keep repeating: “Move forward, move,
move, please"231.
During the day. Ion Stoian, Minister of Foreign Affairs invites
the ambassadors of the Warsaw Pact and CAER member states to a
meeting when he asks them "firmly" that the states they represent "do

228
Speaking about the atmosphere of the day, Claudiu Iordache would say later:”The day of
December 20th is a masterpiece of spontaneity. So we should not look for merits.We look for
people more or less inspired, more or less inhibited”. (Miodrag Milin, Timişoara în Revoluţie
şi după, [Timişoara During and After the Revolution], p.91).
229
Lieutenant-Colonel Gheorghe Lungu was the translator.
230
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia română din Decembrie 1989, [The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989], p.216-217.
231
Iosif Zagrean, Revoluționarii clujeni: mit sau realitate? [The Cluj Revolutionists: Myth or
Reality?], Editura EIKON, Cluj-Napoca, 2005.
130
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

not interfere in the development of the events in Romania and do not


support a possible penetration of the Soviet troops in Romania".
The bodies of military intelligence make public the fact that in
the south-west of the Black Sea, Bulgarian Naval forces carry out, in
cooperation with the Soviet fleet in the area, combat training
exercises.
12:30. The balcony of the Opera House becomes the centre of
the Timişoara revolution232. At the proposal of Ioan Lorin Fortuna a
Committee of Initiative of the Revolutionaries233 and the Romanian
Democratic Front 234are set up as political organisations, meant to
"have a dialogue with the government with a view to establishing
democracy in the country235". Taking advantage of the loudspeakers
prepared for Prime-Minister Constantin Dăscălescu, who had arrived
in Timişoara as well, Ioan Lorin Fortuna urges the crowds and the
factories to mobilize themselves, to designate delegates, who could
represent them in the Romanian Democratic Front to start a general
strike. Then, after the formation of the Executive Bureau of the
Romanian Democratic Front236, the first leaders of the Timişoara

232
Lorin Fortuna, Semnificaţia zilei de 20 Decembrie 1989, [The Significance of December
20th ], Caietele Revoluției, [The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr.5/2006.
233
Consisting of Ioan Lorin Fortuna, Ioan Chiș, Claudiu Iordache, Nicolae Bădilescu, Mihaela
Trăistaru, Traian Vrăneanțu, Traian Trofin, Mihaela Munteanu, Adriana Jebeleanu, Ștefan
Ivan, Alexandru Ciura, Adrian Sanda and others (Caietele Revolutiei, [The Notebooks of the
Revolution], nr.2/2005,p.11).
234
When referring to the establishment of FDP, Ioan Lorin Fortuna would state: ”The name
came to me spontaneously, but as a result of some concerns I had ever since the beginning of
the revolution on how to form an organisation for the masses, vital in such a moment, which
could take over the leadership of the revolt and organise it, and become an organisation
bringing together the opposition in the entire country, something similar to what was
happening in the whole Eastern Europe. I could not see yet (I did not think it possible) a
viloent break with the past, only a relatively calm passage to democracy, as it happened in the
other neighbour countries”, (Miodrag Milin, Timişoara în revoluţie şi după, [Timişoara
During and After the Revolution], p. 105-106).
235
For details, see Ioan Lorin Fortuna, Frontul Democratic Român, Timişoara,[ The
Romanian Democratic Front, Timişoara], Editura Artpress, 2008, passim. Remembering those
moments Ioan Lorin Fortuna says: ”I consider this is the moment of its birth (without being
called RDF, yet. It was sometimes around 13:00, on Wednesday, 20 December 1989”.
(Miodrag Milin, Timişoara în Revoluţie şi după, [Timişoara During and After the Revolution].
p.110).
236
Initially, the Executive Bureau of RDF was made up of Ioan Lorin Fortuna, Claudiu
Iordache, Ioan Chis, Nicolae Bădilescu, Mihaela Trăistaru; the number incresed later, after the
revolutionaries from the Party County Council arrived, with Ioan Marcu and Corneliu
Eustaţiu. When referring to the relations among the members of the Executive Bureau, Ioan
Lorin Fortuna would say later: ”However, the solution didn’t work as well as expected. Both
the two recently included and the others (Ioan Savu, Sorin Oprea, Petru Borosoiu, Florin
Marton) acted for destabilisation, with a view to removing the group from the Opera House
from leadership and replacing it”. (Miodrag Milin, Timişoara în revoluţie şi după, [Timişoara
During and After the Revolution], p.111). Later, the composition of the bureau changed
several times. Then, they set up the RDF committee (70 members in the beginning, then 100).
Nicolae Bădilescu was to talk about the misunderstandings appearing among the members of
the leadership. (Miodrag Milin, op. cit., p.119-120).
131
Alesandru Duțu

revolution express their opinion at the microphone237. The first to start


is Ioan Lorin Fortuna: "Distinguished citizens, this is the moment
when the first political body of opposition against the Ceauşescu
dictatorship is formed. Be proud that, together with us, you will
contribute to the establishment of a democratic regime, through a
fight without violence". Claudiu Iordache appeals to solidarity "The
only solution is to stay together". Nicolae Bădilescu speaks about the
European significance of the moment: "In a civilised way, due to the
commitment proven by each of you through your refusal to continue
living under the terror of Ceauşescu’s dictatorship, we ensured our
entrance in Europe. We are finally Europeans". Others to speak are:
Ioan Chiş, Maria Trăistaru and others.
The crowds scan "Down with Ceauşescu" "We will not go",
"Today in Timişoara, tomorrow in the whole country", "The military
is on our side".
At the same time, the people in Arad protest in silence, in
groups, in squares and in the streets and they form the Romanian
Democratic Front as well.
12:40. General Nicolae Eftimescu requires General Borsics L.
to explain the meaning of the declaration made by the interim
president of the Republic of Hungary Szurös on 19 December, to the
effect that "the Hungarian authorities will support the movement for
the autonomy of Transylvania".
The military official from Budapest answers that the Hungarian
military has nothing to do with this matter and, he personally, cannot
explain the president's statement. At the question referring to the
appeal of the Hungarian Democratic Front addressed to all Hungarian
ethnics outside the national territory that on December 22nd they
should raise black flags in memory of the victims in Timişoara, the
Hungarian general replied that he could not give any answer. He
added that the Hungarian military conducts its training in their
respective garrisons in preparation for the winter holidays238.
In Timişoara, General Ştefan Guşă orders the withdrawal of the
military forces and the fighting equipment back into the barracks, the
measure being approved by the Minister of National Defence, General
Vasile Milea. In the city, there are only some small sub-units for the
guard of the warehouses and the important economic locations.
14:30. In Timişoara, Prime Minister Constantin Dăscălescu
arrives by a special flight, accompanied by Emil Bobu and three other
ministers. When he sees the situation in the city, he addresses Ion

237
Claudiu Iordache, Balconul Operei, în Caietele Revoluției [The Balcony of the Opera
House], in The Notebooks of the Revolution, nr. 5/2006.
238
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989..., [The
romanian Revolution of december 1989...], p. 217.
132
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Coman: "Where are the troops? Why don't they defend us? Have you
lost control over the situation?" Faced with such accusing questions Ion
Coman tells the truth:"Timişoara is in the hands of its inhabitants".
14:00. In front of the Timiş Party County Council, the
protesters chant: "Liberty", "The military is on our side", etc. and try
to have a dialogue with Radu Bălan. Ion Marcu, wrapped in a white
sheet which read "Liberty", "Democracy", "Down with Ceauşescu"
mobilises the crowds who chant anti-Ceauşescu slogans. To the
surprise of the crowds, an activist announces that the prime-minister
is willing to receive a delegation of three people. After a moment of
confusion, a larger group of demonstrators is formed, who are
allowed to get into the meeting room where they speak to Constantin
Dăscălescu. The members of the group did not know one another. For
their safety (lest they be arrested), a part of the demonstrators entered
the building to protect their representatives at the negotiations. They
form a Citizens' Committee, draft a list with their names to be made
public. The list included: Ioan Savu, Ioan Marcu, Petre Boroşoiu,
Sorin Oprea, Virgil Socaciu, Mircea Mureşan, Dan Carp, Petre
Petrişor, Nicolae Vartan, Mihai Bădele, Adela Săbăilă, Corneliu Pop,
Valentin Vinter and others.239). Constantin Dăscălescu tries to
patronize them: "What do you want ? What do you want, comrades,
with the mob outside?" Some of them are intimidated. Ioan Savu goes
to one side of the room and puts some requirements down on paper,
which he then presents to the prime-minister, asking him: „Who
ordered to shoot at the protesters?", „What is the number of dead and
wounded?", „Where are our dead to bury them according to
tradition?" Surprised and trying to buy some time, Constantin
Dăscălescu tries to avoid answering by saying he had just arrived in
Timişoara a couple of hours before and he does not know the situation
and cannot answer immediately. Then he hits the table with his fist
and threatens with death by shooting (as do the other activists in the
room). Courageously, Ioan Savu adds: "Mister prime-minister, you
misunderstood my colleagues. We don't want small changes, we don't
accept concessions. Our discussion can start with the following two
articles: 1. the resignation of the present government; 2. the
destitution of Ceauşescu". Terrified, Constantin Dăscălescu interrupts
him and exclaims: "You are crazy". But Ioan Savu cannot be stopped
and goes on (despite the interruption from the prime-minister): 3. the
formation of a government of national salvation; 4. information about
the number of dead and wounded; 5. release the people arrested; 6.

239
“Caietele Revoluţiei”, [The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr.2/2005, p.10. A little later,
there were disagreements between some members of the citizens’ committee and the
executive bureau of the RDF, which would come to a climax later.
133
Alesandru Duțu

our dead be given to us so that we could bury them; 7. ensure the live
broadcast on radio and television of the events in the city; 8.
communicate a list of the members of the citizens' committee and their
requirements to the Yugoslav consulate". Eventually, Constantin
Dăscălescu threatens again: "You are to blame for whatever happens
next. If the people downstairs come in, the soldiers in the building will
fire, this is the order and you will be responsible for all the trouble
that happens next. Is it clear?". But it has no effect on Ioan Savu, who
addresses the crowd from the balcony of the building and he is
cheered. Then he goes back into the room and says: "Gentlemen,
would you try to get the exact dimension of what is happening? Do
you hear them ?... Do you want a disaster? Are you taking over the
responsibility of the tragedy that might happen if you do not start a
dialogue with us? What we do here is serious enough, that is why we
ask you to put down everything on paper. Take a pen, a pencil and put
down our requirements article by article. Please!" Willy-nilly, the
prime-minister starts to write and then he withdraws to confer with his
collaborators. He comes back and threatens again. And so does Savu:
"Whatever you do, Mr. Dăscălescu, you should know it is in vain, as
the power, despite all your troops in the building and outside it, is in
the hands of the thousands of demonstrators in the street" 240.
In the meantime, the leaders of the revolutionaries in the balcony
of the Opera House are invited by the leaders of the revolutionaries at
the Party County Committee to take part in negotiations with the
governmental delegation led by Constantin Dăscălescu. Nicolae
Bădilescu is sent with a minimal list of requirements (Nicolae
Ceauşescu's destitution, the immediate release of the arrested ones, the
restitution of the dead, etc.) accompanied by some hundreds of people.
At the headquarters of the Party County Council, Nicolae Bădilescu
answers back to Constantin Dăscălescu: "for us, president Nicolae
Ceauşescu does not exist anymore". Then he comes back to the Opera
House where he informs about the failure of the mission, he asks the
crowds to stay over night "on this Plain of our Freedom" and summons
to a general strike starting the next day. In the evening, another
delegation is formed (Ioan Lorin Fortuna, Claudiu Iordache, Nicolae
Bădilescu, Mihaela Munteanu and others) who, accompanied by some
hundreds of demonstrators, go to the Party County Council between
17:00 - 18:00, being received with cheers by the protesters in the area.
In other parts of the city they scan "Down with the criminal", "Down
with the jerk", "Ceauşescu hanged, here in Banat", "Down with the
shoe-maker". At the same time, from the balcony of the Opera House,

240
The description of this episode is presented in different ways by those present at the
negotiations. (See also Alexandru Oşca, Revoluţia… [The Revolution…], p. 151-152, 353).
134
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Petre Borosoiu scans "Down with Ceauşescu", "Down with the


government". On the other hand, Constantin Dăscălescu is booed at.
The demonstrators ask, in a document as valuable as a
proclamation, the resignation of Nicolae Ceauşescu and the
government, free elections, the formation of a "centre for inquiry on the
order situation in Timişoara", the "criminal sentence for those guilty",
the release of the political prisoners, the acknowledgement of those
who ordered the shooting in Timişoara, the restitution of the corpses to
the mourning families so that they "could be buried in a Christian
way", the information of the public opinion about the "real situation" in
Timişoara by Nicolae Ceauşescu (on TV), freedom of the press, the
freedom of radio and television, the reform of education, etc241.
The claims, written by Ioan Savu are presented to the people by
Petre Petrişor.
In order to be sure the world knows what their claims are, in
case of a tough repression on the part of the Romanian authorities, the
revolutionaries have a list of claims and the names of the leaders,
which is taken at the Yugoslavian consulate (the leaders of the
revolutionaries in the Opera House balcony had done the same).
In the meantime, the crowds scan anti-Ceauşescu and anti-
dictatorial slogans "Down with Ceauşescu", "Down with the illiterate",
"We want bread for our kids", "Liberty", "Who is to blame for the dead
in Banat?", "Ceauşescu and his wife have no room in Romania", "We'll
get rid of this madman by Christmas", "Give us our arrested ones". the
prime-minister informs by phone Nicolae Ceauşescu only about the
restitution of the dead and the release of the arrested ones.
Candles are lit.
From all the claims the premier242 informs Nicolae Ceauşescu
on the phone about the restitution of the dead and the release of the
arrested ones243,. The head of state approves, so that at 18:00 a part of
the arrested ones are released and go to Operei Square, where they are
received warmly by the protesters.
After Constantin Dăscălescu, Emil Bobu and Ilie Matei go to the
cabinet of the first-secretary to listen to the teleconference with Nicolae
Ceauşescu at 19:00, (listened to by the demonstrators who were in front
of the Party County Council through the loudspeakers), the delegation
of the revolutionaries (including the ones at the Opera House) continue
the discussion with Radu Bălan, Cornel Pacoste and other party

241
„Caietele Revoluţiei, [The Notebooks of the Revolution], p. 9.
242
Characterised by Nicolae Bădilescu as: ”Cheeky, self-assured, perfumed, dressed
impecably”. (Miodrag Milin, Timişoara în Revoluţie şi după, [Timişoara During and After the
Revolution], p.118).
243
Ioan Scurtu, Revoluţia Română din decembrie 1989 în context internaţional [The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989 in International Context], p. 206.
135
Alesandru Duțu

activists. Seeing that the representatives of the power were at the "beck
and call of Nicolae Ceauşescu" Ioan Lorin Fortuna invites the
demonstrators from the Party County Council to join them at the Opera
House as it was "a building of culture, and offered more protection and
diminished the risk of repression"244. The revolutionaries from the
County Council stay in place. The ones at the Opera House leave,
accompanied by almost 2,000 people. Late at night, the leaders of the
revolutionaries at the Party County Council were evacuated by force
from the building and they went to the Opera House.
14:40. They speak about Nicolae Ceauşescu's return.
In the afternoon. In Cluj Napoca anti-dictatorial manifestos are
spread, slogans are written on the walls in paint or chalk, around the
same message "Down with Ceauşescu", "We want bread, meat and
heat"; in entreprises they discuss about going out in the streets to
demonstrate in support of Timişoara.
At the command of the 4th Army Corps, General Ilie Ceauşescu
informs about the events in Timişoara, mentioning that a diversionist
and terrorist action is underway, organised by the authorities in
Budapest, with American, Soviet and Western support, with the
purpose of starting an armed conflict and Transylvania's annexation to
Hungary245.
On the same occasion, the secretary of the Superior Military
Political Council asks Ioachim Moga to organise meetings of the
working people (at section, shift and workshop level) where a stand
should be taken regarding the events in Timişoara. At the request of
the party first-secretary, the chief of staff of the 4th Army Corps
draws up an action plan for the participation of the military units (with
10% of the forces) in "the defence of the public order" together with
the Securitate and Militie troops.
In Warsaw, starting with 15:15, in front of the Romanian
Embassy, almost 300 people scan anti-communist slogans, condemning
the repressions in Timişoara, lighting candles in the memory of the
victims, breaking the windows and throwing paint on the walls,
setting fire to the electrical installation (intercom and bell), throwing
stones, bottles, flyers and manifestos in the yard of the embassy,
asking the Polish government to break any economic relations with
Romania, etc. 246

244
Miodrag Milin, Timişoara în Revoluţie şi după, [Timişoara During and After the
Revolution], p.296.
245
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989, [The Struggle for Power], p. 296.
246
In the report he made to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ambassador Ion Teșu mentioned
he considered that the demonstrators represented radical and extremist organisations and
groups (The Confederation of Independent Poland - KPN, the Anarchist Federation, the
Socialist Polish Party, the Socialist Polish Party - Democratic Revolution, the Independent
Party of the Greens, NZS- the Independent Association of Students) as well as the
136
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

18:00. In Bucharest, in a teleconference with the party activists


in the counties, Nicolae Ceauşescu appreciates that the events in
Timişoara "were organised and conducted by the revenging, revisionist
circles, foreign espionage services, with the clear purpose of provoking
disorder, of distabilising the situation in Romania, of eliminating the
independence and territorial integrity of Romania247" and he asks for
the organisation of meetings in entreprises to "adopt blaming motions
for those who serve the interests of the foreigners, of the foreign
circles" to establish special groups to defend order in entreprises and
institutions, mentions the fact that "the army should clearly understand
that it has a big responsibility to the people, to defend and reject any
action which could be against independence, sovereignity and
territorial integrity, peace, socialist construction in our country248".
19:00. As he continues to think that the events in Timişoara were
the consequence of the actions of the anti-national and terrorist groups in
the service of foreign agencies, Nicolae Ceauşescu delivers a speech on
radio and television appreciating that the events in Timişoara, especially
those of the night of December 17th had a "terrorist character" being
"organised and triggered by reactionary, imperialist, irredentist,
chauvinist circles together with espionage services from different
countries" with the purpose of "provoking disorder with a view to
destabilising the political, economic situation, to creating the conditions
for the territorial dismembering of Romania, to destroying the
independence and sovereignity of our socialist country", of "stopping the
course of socialist development of Romania". After emphasizing the role
of the military, that "did its duty to the country, to the people and the
achievements of socialism", Nicolae Ceauşescu addressed "every citizen
of the country – irrespective of nationality - with the urge to prove full
understanding of the serious situation created by the terrorist actions in
Timişoara and act, in unity and solidarity, to defend socialism, to do all
the best to prevent such things from happening again". Then he pledges
to act "in the interest of the people, for the welfare and happiness of the
people, in the interest of socialism construction, independence and
sovereignity of the country"249.
19:20. In Lugoj, while a column of demonstrators was heading

representatives of the leadership of „the Solidarity”, also that in the area there were Polish and
foreign journalists, shooting teams, and cars from the US embassy.
247
Nicolae Ceauşescu continues to refer to the activity of „circles” and „groups” from
Budapest, that „intensified their anti-national character” and „the statements” of the US
President who „discussed with Gorbachev about Romania”. Even if the latter „didn’t say
anything, it means he approved him”.
248
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989, [The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989], p.176-178.
249
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989, [The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989], p. 179-184; vezi şi,,Caietele Revoluţiei” [See also,
The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr. 2/2005, p. 9-15.
137
Alesandru Duțu

for the industrial area of the city, a soldier from UM 01140 Lugoj
opened fired (without being ordered to) and killed two people
(Valentin Rosada and Darie Brocea who became "the symbol of
liberty for the people of Lugoj"250) and hurting two others (Nicolae
Simion Stoica and Nicolae Mircea Bejan)251.
20:00. Nicolae Ceauşescu calls the Soviet Charge d'Affaires to
Romania and accuses the Soviet Union and the other Warsaw Pact
member states that they coordinated the activities directed against
Romania252.
20:30. Nicolae Ceauşescu signs the presidential decree
declaring the State of Necessity in the entire Timiş county, according
to which "all military units, the units of the Ministry of the Interior
and the patriotic guards units are in a state of alarm". At the same
time, there is a ban "on public meetings, as well on circulation in
groups larger than five people" (with the exception of the people who
worked in night shift, circulation during the night was banned after
23:00)253, etc. Then, he orders the establishment of detachments of
fighters belonging to the patriotic guards in the counties of Dolj, Olt
and Vâlcea (almost 25,000 people) armed with bats, who would be
sent to Timişoara to supress the demonstrations254 and asks Barbu
Petrescu to organise a meeting for next day in Bucharest with the
participation of 100,000 people who should condemn the events in
Timişoara.
21:00. Once returned to the centre of the city, the column of
demonstrators in Lugoj goes to the headquarters of the Party County
Council where Petrică Balint forces the door letting inside almost 50
demonstrators, who ransack the building and send the party activists
away. At about 22:30 a part of the demonstrators go to the
headquarters of the Militia, where they are received with fire. For the
hours to come, the overexcited demonstrators (and not only) did a lot
of shop damage and rioting in the city, including in the town hall
(until around 02:00 at night). Eventually, the forces of order
intervened and arrested almost 50 people 255.

250
Nicolae Toma, 20 decembrie 1989. Lugojul. Al doilea oraş liber [December 20th. Lugoj, the
Second Free City], p.26.
251
Sinteza..., [The Synthesis...], p. 63.
252
Ioan Scurtu, Revoluţia română din Decembrie 1989 în context internaţional, [The
Romanian Revolutionof December 1989 in International Context], p.205.
253
,,Caietele Revoluţiei”,[The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr.2/2005, p. 16-17. According to
some testimonials, when Nicolae Ceaușescu left the CC building late at night, would have
mumbled, rather to himself: „I’ll teach those in Timişoara a lesson”.
254
Learning about this, General Vasile Milea tells Colonel Corneliu Pârcălăbescu: “The
Patriotic Guards are made up of workers, those they fight against are workers as well”.
(Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989 [The Struggle for Power. December
1989], p. 117).
255
Nicolae Toma, op.cit. p. 28.
138
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

23:00. The decree regarding the state of alarm in the entire


Timiş county comes into effect.
At Nicolae Ceauşescu’s order, Ion Coman256 designates general
Victor Stănculescu as military commander of Timişoara (position not
included in the regulations) and asks him to read the decree declaring
the state of alarm, from the balcony of the Party County Council.
Victor Stănculescu tries to avoid this and goes to hospital, due to a
liver crisis. As a result, the decree is read by General Mihai Chiţac257.
At night. There are only some hundreds of people258 left in
Opera Square in Timişoara. From the balcony, Petre Boroşoiu asks
them "Romanians gather up", "We need you", "You should not be
cowards tonight". The slogans on the banners read "Europe is with
us", "Long Live Perestroika" (a strange banner, never to be repeated
in Timişoara or elsewhere), "Without violence". The leaders of the
Timişoara revolutionaries wait for the reactions of the authorities259.
Some of the members of the Executive Bureau of the Romanian
Democratic Front go down to the Opera Square and stay together with
the young people, who lit a fire, creating "a youthful atmosphere, full
of optimism, very lively - as Lorin Fortuna remembers. They sang,
they told jokes". Although the order for capturing of the revolutionary
leaders had been given, those who had to carry it out delayed it.
International reactions:
François Mitterand the President of France, states on television
during his visit to East Germany: "It is not an ideological regime. It is
a personal, family regime which has no reason to exist. I am
convinced that the days of this regime, in a Europe in full evolution
are numbered. But at what price? In conclusion, I condemn this
regime"260.
Laurent Fabius, the chairman of the National Assembly of
France expresses his conviction that "the liberty of the Romanian
people will prevail". The deputies keep a minute of silence as a sign
of protest against the repression of the demonstrators in Timişoara.
Michel Rocard, French Prime-Minister states in front of the

256
Previously, Ion Coman had informed Nicolae Ceaușescu that the state of alarm could not
be enforced in Timişoaraas as there were tens of thousands of people in the streets.
257
Armata română în Revoluţia din Decembrie 1989, [The Romanian Armed Forces during
the Revolution of December 1989], p. 72.
258
„As the night fell - Ioan Lorin Fortuna was to remember – the number of people left in
Operei Square dropped visibly. The fact started to worry us. Then we started to use the
microphone to make an appeal to the crowd to stay with us; it is the only way we could
succeed”. (Miodrag Milin, Timişoara,..p.121)
259
Some years later, Claudiu Iordache would write:’the resilience of the balcony meant the
stage,the first to risk, the first to lose,the first not to lose. If the balcony was destroyed on 20,
it would have meant a great loss” (Miodrag Milin, Timişoara în Revoluție și după, [Timişoara
During and After the Revolution], p.91).
260
E un început în tot sfârşitul...,[There Is a Beginning in Every Ending], p. 400.
139
Alesandru Duțu

National Assembly "I want to express the feelings of horror and


indignation I feel and we all feel for this regime. The Romanian
people has the right, as any other people, to democracy, liberty and
the observance of its rights! France and the National Assembly
support the Romanian opressed people! The regime of Ceauşescu will
not be able to continue disregarding Europe and the most basic
human rights. The fate destined to such dictators is that of all
infamous regimes. It will fall! The sooner, the better"261.
Robert Besson, deputy in the French National Assembly
expresses his conviction that "the Ceauşescu regime will end by
falling, as the Victory of a people in its fight for justice is unbeatable".
Edourd Balladur, former minister of economy and finances
declares in the French National Assembly: "In this moment when the
movement for freedom gains so much importance in the entire Europe,
we have to be hopeful that we could reconstruct the moral unity on the
basis of the same values of civilisation. The Europeans have the duty to
not be passive. We have to act (...). It is necessary that the governments
of Europe study together the way in which the Romanian government
could be forced to stop repression. The Romanians, as the other
peoples of Central and Eastern Europe have the right to hope to a
better fate, more just. We don't have to accept passively a situation
which seems insolvable because we are shy and accept defeat, in fact
all Western governments, by diplomatic postponements. The moment
the President of the French Republic takes a journey to East Germany,
the government has to consider that France was given the chance to
invite the governments of Europe to get united. Thus, France will show,
in a concrete and wonderful way, that they are interested in the fate of
this unhappy people. Our country should keep loyal to its two century-
old message on the observation of human rights262."
The delegations of the 16 NATO member states condemn "the
brutal repression of the Romanian authorities against the undeniable
rights and freedoms of the Romanian people263".
William Waldgrave, the deputy secretary of the UK Foreign
Office Kingdom states for BBC: "The correct and comprehensive
information of the Romanian citizens has an immense importance.
Only in this way could we prove to the Romanians that the
international public opinion follows the behaviour of the regime in
Bucharest and only thus could we show that, according to our
opinion, the days of the regime are numbered and quite son the
persecutions the people suffered will come to an end"264.

261
Ibidem, p.334.
262
Ibidem, p.402.
263
Ibidem, p.425.
264
Ibidem, p.385.
140
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Eduard Shevardnadze appreciates - in a letter addressed to


M.S. Gorbachev - that the information referring to the events in
Romania is "often contradictory and does not give the possibility to
form a real image on what is happening", whereas the Soviet attempts
to obtain "the official version from Bucharest" did not lead to "any
result". In this context, I.P. Aboimov, the deputy Minister of Foreign
Affairs asks the Romanian ambassador Ion Bucur to present "a report
on the real situation for the orientation of the Soviet party". "Pravda"
informs its readers that in the streets of Bucharest there are joint
patrols made up of militia and patriotic guards. In turn, "Sovetskaia
Rassia", "Selskaia Jiznii", "Sotialisticeskogo Indutria" publish articles
which refer to "tension" and "disorder" in Romania.
Franz Vranitzky, the Austrian chancellor announces the plan to
reduce the economic relations with Romania.
Alois Mock, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria, states
for "Times" that "The brutal violantion of the most elementary human
rights in Romania created a dangerous state forthe peace in
Europe"265.
Toshiki Kaifu, Prime-Minister of Japan, expresses his worry in
connection with the situation in Romania. The Japanese press
condemns the use of weapons against the peaceful population.
Dennis Decincini and Stan Hoyer, American Congressmen,
members of the Helsinki Committee – a body of the US Congress –
appreciate, in a joint declaration, that "by using violence”, the
Romanian government „does nothing else but focus on the failure of
its own ideals, which prove to be too far apart from the aspirations of
the Romanian people. As opposed to the meanness of a regime that
hides behind the jets of water and fire weapons, the people who
protested in Timişoara proved courage and the conviction that they
get to see the day when Romania has broken the ties with the Stalinist
past, joining the reborn Europe and the principles of the human
rights"266.
Eugen Ionescu states to Radu Portocală, the correspondent in
Paris of "The Voice of America" radio station: "I am terrified. I think
Ceauşescu lost the game. He realised that Romania does not love him
and this is a kind of a horrible revenge; he makes everybody pay!"
Asked if he has a message to the Romanian people, the well-known
writer adds "Yes! They will prevail, in spite of the difficulties and the
sacrifice, and I think in the end everything will be all right, it will be
all right"267.

265
Ibidem, p.389.
266
Ibidem, p. 435.
267
Ibidem, p.344-345.
141
Alesandru Duțu

Patrik Boyer, member of the Canadian Federal Parliament and


adviser to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, condemns the
repression in Romania: "And now, when I heard the news about
Romania I am overwhelmed by the brutality with which the
authorities reacted against the demonstrators, by rejecting all the
claims similar to those which manifested in Eastern Europe. It is clear
for the regime in Bucharest that they did not accept the broadcast of
any news about the events which took place in Romania over the last
days. In all aspects of life we see that it is about a regime which, now,
uses military force to keep its domination on the people which is no
different from all the other peoples in Eastern Europe and who felt it
was about time to overthrow the oppressive regime"268.
William Armstrong, Senator of Colorado, states: "I am really
horrified at the way in which the Ceauşescu regime reacted, as well
as by the way in which they reacted at almost any attempt by the
Romanian people to get back their religious rights, the freedom of
speech and the freedom of circulation. It is an intensification of
repression, it is a systematic practice continued by the Ceauşescu
regime, almost a syndrome, which, personally I find revolting and
offensive at the address of the international public consciousness"269.
Eugen Mihăescu calls from New York and declares for the
radio station "The Voice of America": "It is an unbelievable crime,
the whole Europe speaks about it, and I think that, eventually, the
truth will come to light! I am proud that a part of the Transylvanian
blood runs through my veins, as Transylvania has always been the on
top".
Radu Câmpeanu, chairman of the Association of the Former
Political Prisoners of Romania with headquarters in Paris sends a
message to the Romanian people by means of the radio "Free
Europe": "The bloody repression in Timişoara shattered the
consciousness of the Romanians in the country and abroad!
Everybody bows to the sacrifice of those who died for freedom and
the dignity of the Romanian people. Their sacrifice is in history and it
won't be useless. The whole world condemned the repression in
Timişoara and the one in whose name it was made! We, the
Romanians abroad, will not stop asking the western governments the
political and diplomatic to isolate Ceauşescu and to boycott his
regime. We will do whatever it takes to increase the international
pressure on the present regime in Bucharest. Our co-nationals back
at home should know that we are close to them in our hearts and we
won't spare any effort to help them anytime, to contribute together to

268
Ibidem, p.391-392.
269
Ibidem, p. 436.
142
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

the liberation of Romania from under the burden of a tyranny without


precedent in our history"270.
Christopher Schmidt, a Colorado congressman accuses and
declares he is optimistic and offers help: "I think this is another proof
of the way in which Ceauşescu uses assault troops, just as Nazis used
to or as in the Stalinist period. I hope the Romanian people is aware
of the fact that the free world and the reformers in the Soviet Union
and the Eastern-European countries support their aspirations and the
claims for complete freedom, to live in peace and to fulfill their own
happiness. The American people and the US delegation to the UN
manifests its support for the Romanian people, a feeling shared with
the other delegates. Citizens of Romania, do not forget! I am close to
you at this difficult time"271.
Frank Woolf, deputy of Virginia appreciats: "what is happening
now in Romania is absolutely preposterous, especially now when the
wind of freedom is felt in the whole of Eastern Europe, Poland,
Hungary and East Berlin where the Berlin Wall fell down! It is
revolting that the regime in Bucharest, led by Nicolae Ceauşescu did
what it did! I consider that the Romanian decision-makers led by
Nicolae Ceauşescu must be harshly punished by the western world. I
think it is the duty of the Soviet Union and the free world to condemn
the actions of the regime in Bucharest and make sure that the people
of Romania will also have the benefit of the fundamental rights of
mankind: freedom for association and organisation, freedom of the
press and freedom to express their religious convictions. I am sure
that Bush administration will impose economic sanctions against
Ceauşescu’s regime and that, first of all, it will ban any imports of
food"272.
Adrian Niculescu makes known to the world the following, by
means of the radio station "Free Europe": "The emotion is immense and
continues to grow here in Italy at the same time with the indignation
and revolt for the Ceauşescu's inconceivable atrocities"273.
Radio Belgrade informs at 16:00 that the Praesidium of the
Central Committee of the Yugoslav Communist Union expressed "its
deep concern for the situation in Romania and condemns the bloody
repressions". On the same occasion they decided to interrupt all
connections with the Romanian Communist Party, by withdrawing its
invitation to participate in the 24th extraordinary C of CUY.

270
Ibidem, p. 356.
271
Ibidem, p. 437.
272
Ibidem.
273
Ibidem, p. 418.
143
Alesandru Duțu

December 21st, 1989

02:00. In Bucharest, the Patriotic Guards and the personnel of


the plants in the industrial zone, in Pipera and Băneasa platform, are
under alarm.
03:00. In the lobby of the Opera House in Timişoara, the leaders
of the revolutionaries finalise the Proclamation of the Romanian
Democratic Front which was presented to the population on the second
day, at 9:00 by Ioan Lorin Fortuna and then, on every other hour.
Remembering those moments, Ioan Lorin Fortuna would write: "Sitting
by the fire, I realised that we had not time to draw up a programme, a
written document which should acknowledge the setting up of the
Romanian Democratic Front and to make it public. We thought of a
draft programme and then, at about 02:00 at night, we went again in
the Opera House building. We gathered everybody around (some of
them were sleeping) presented them the necessity to adopt an official
action programme, which should represent the RDF Proclamation. I
don't remember exactly who took part in the drawing up of the RDF
Proclamation, but I know that among them was Nicolae Bădilescu,
Luminiţa Milutin, Petre Boroşoiu, Claudiu Iordache, Mihaela
Munteanu...At about three (on Thursday, 21 December) the text of the
Proclamation was finalized"274.
03:40. Prime-minister Constantin Dăscălescu leaves the
headquarters of the Party County Council furtively and flies back to
Bucharest.
Early in the morning. In Timişoara railway station several
trains arrive, full of Patriotic Guards detachments from Olt, Vâlcea
and Dolj counties (almost 16,000 people equipped with bats) assigned
to take part in the annihilation of the demostrators (initially they were
told that "the Hungarians and the Serbians got in Banat"275). A part of
them are taken over by the revolutionaries and sent to Opera Square,
where they make friends with the Timişoara people scanning together
"Freedom", "Long Live Timişoara", "We shall overcome".
06:00. Groups of demonstrators come to the main Lugoj
entreprises (Mondial, IUPS, IURT, TCM, Abator etc) and call the
workers to get out in the streets. Accompanied by the organisers (who

274
Miodrag Milin, Timişoara în revoluţie şi după, [Timişoara During and After the
Revolution], p.123.
275
Some of the trains transporting the patriotic guards were stopped on their way to Timişoara.
144
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

had white stripes on their arms) the columns head to the centre of the
city, asking for "freedom, bread and a better life". At UNIC, Iosif
Kovacs speaks to them: "You are Romanian, he is Serbian, she is
German, I am Hungarian but we should not forget one thing, we are
all from Lugoj". They scan "Down with the communism", "Down with
Ceauşescu", "We shall overcome or die". In front of the townhall, the
leaders speak to the people: Kovacs Iosif, Doru Ursulescu, Gheorghe
Burada, Marius Kurin276.
07:00. The Workers of the Industrial Watch Factory in Arad
refuse to start working. Led by Danilă Onofrei, they head for the
centre of the city while chanting "Awaken Thee Romanian". On the
way to the centre other workers join them, from different factories
(Uzina de strunguri, U.T.A., Uzinele de vagoane, Combinatul de
prelucrare a lemnului, Tricoul Roşu, I.M.A.I.A), etc. In front of the
Post Office, the military try to no avail to stop them by shooting
warning fire. The leaders with stripes on their arms manage to keep
order. Speeches are delivered, they chant "Awaken Thee Romanian",
anti-Ceauşescu slogans: "Ceauşescu who are you – a crook from
Scorniceşti", "Down with the shoemaker", "Timişoara, Timişoara",
"The army is on our side", "Ceauşescu will be judged for the spillt
blood", "Down with the dictatorship", "Down with communism", "We
are the people". At the request of Elena Pugna, the first-secretary of
the Party County Council, a protection unit is placed around the Party
County building made up from sub-units belonging to USLA, Militia,
the firefighters and the defence ministry, including TABs.
The Workers of the plant Uzina de strunguri of Lipova refuse
to start working and ask for means of transportation to go to Arad.
In Timişoara, the call for general strike in the whole country is
given and messengers are sent to other cities (to Bucharest especially)
to inform the population about what had happened and is happening
in the city.
08:00. Arrived from Timişoara, Constantin Dăscălescu and
Emil Bobu inform Nicolae Ceauşescu about the situation in the
revolutionary city on the Bega.
Workers in Braşov and Sfântu Gheorghe entreprises start
protest movements against the party and state leadership. Petre
Preoteasa, first-secretary of the Party County Council and Gheorghe
Pană secretary CC RCP try to bring military units under their
command. The action fails due to the Minister of National Defence
who asks the local commands to execute his orders only.
Protest movements start (initially in the industrial units and
later in the streets) in Târgu Mureş as well.

276
Nicolae Toma, op.cit., p.32.
145
Alesandru Duțu

In Bucharest, Dan Nicolae, finding out that Zincografia where


he worked had to send 10 people to the meeting at the Central
Committee, says: "How could I go and applaud when in Timişoara
they shoot at the demonstrators? How coud I do such a thing? I won't
go". Other colleagues of his had a similar attitude.277
8:10. General Vasile Milea asks, again to the commander of
Army 4 that the military use force only when ordered and only to
counterattack the terrorist elements and keep the public order (in this
sense he will intervene at 10:40, 11:50 and 13:40).
9:00. In Timişoara, the text of the RDF is read from the balcony of
the Opera House, in front of almost 100,000 people: "I. The Romanian
Democratic Front is a political organisation, set up in Timişoara meant
to have a dialogue with the Romanian government, for the
democratisation of the country. The RDF conditions the dialogue on the
resignation of president Nicolae Ceauşescu. II. We propose the following
claims to the Romanian government, as a basis for discussions: 1. free
elections; 2. freedom of speech, press, radio and television; 3. the
immediate opening of the state border; 4. Romania's integration among
the states that guarantee and observe the fundamental human rights; 5.
the immediate release of all political prisoners and dissidents in
Romania; 6. the revitalisation of the national economy; 7. the reform of
education in democratic spirit; 8. the right to free manifestation 9. real
freedom for religious cults; 10. the improvement of healthcare and public
nutrition III. As to the events in Timişoara: 1.we firmly ask to punish
those who shoot at people 2. we ask the restitution of the deceased and
their burial according to tradition;3. we ask for the immediate release of
those arrested after the manifestation; 4. we ask for no repression on the
participants to the demonstrations in Timişoara; 5. we ask the authorities
the official acknowledgement of the Committee of action of the RDF, set
up in Timişoara and the initiation of a dialogue; 6. ee thank the staff of
the National Theatre in Timişoara for the help offered; IV. RDF
addresses the people the following: 1. We summon the whole Romanian
people to join us in the fight for the democratisation of the country; 2.
Establish RDF Committees in all cities, in entreprises and institutions
committees, to ensure the coordination of the process of national
democratisation. 3. Ask for constitutional rights peacefully and without
any violence.. 4 Go on general strike starting today, 21 December 1989,
until the final victory, with the exception of the sectors where work
cannot be interrupted".278

277
Luneta [Luneta], nr. 11/Februarie 1990.
278
Apud Politica Naţională I, nr.1/2004, p. 61. The text read by I.L. Fortuna contained some
amendments as compared to the variant drawn a couple of hours earlier (for other variants see
„Caietele Revolutiei”, [The Notebooks of the Revolution], no. 2/2005, p. 12-13, Costel
Balint,op.cit. facsimil).
146
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

The crowds are enthusiastic. They scan "We are no hooligans",


"We are young and we work and we don't want to die", "Without
violence", "Down with Ceauşescu", "Today in Timişoara, tomorrow
in the whole country", they sing "Awaken Thee Romanian". Then they
kneel and pray "Our Lord". Ioan Lorin Fortuna remembers: "It was a
unique moment when almost one hundred thousand people reacted
like one, one heart, one voice, one breath. It was, I think, the climax of
this revolution, equal to (maybe), but not surpassed by the news that
the insurrection started in the capital city.279"
Handwritten in several copies, the text of the Proclamation is
sent to the Yugoslavian consulate280. Other copies (almost 100) are
multiplied by computer (at the Electronics Faculty) and sent at the
railway station to be sent in the country. A copy is sent to the Printing
House where the authorities, through the troops of border guards and
parachuters try to prevent the demonstrator’s documents being
multiplied. Eventually, under the pressure of the demonstrators (some
thousands) who proceed slowly but surely to the Printing House, the
Proclamation is printed in the form of a manifesto ("The tyranny has
fallen") with "alterations from unauthorised people" as Ioan Lorin
Fortuna would say later, which caused the "printed text be quite
different from the original text of the Proclamation".281
In Sibiu, in front of the Dumbrava department store, a group of
demonstrators (20-30 people led by Nicolae Fesan and Ioan Oană
from the "Balanţa" factory) sing "Awaken Thee Romanian", they
chant anti-dictatorial slogans and declare their solidarity with the
revolt of the Timişoara people. In the hours to come, the number of
demostrators grows considerably. Finding out about this, Nicu
Ceauşescu, the first-secretary of the Sibiu Party County Council asks
that the intervention platoon („Shield”) made up of 20 people, be sent
in the streets; it is booed by the protesters. An ARO vehicle belonging
to the Militia is overturned and set on fire by the protesters. Informed
about the situation in the city, by Lieutenant-Colonel Aurel Dragomir,
the commander of the garrison and the "Nicolae Balcescu" Officers’
Military School (UN01512), the Minister of National Defence orders:
"All right, you do what the first-secretary tells you to. You defend the
objectives of the city but you don't shoot at the people282. "As a result,
the military sub-units armed with war ammunition, belonging to the

279
Miodrag Milin, Timişoara în Revoluţie şi după, [Timişoara During and After the
Revolution], p. 124.
280
As the consulate was under surveillance, at the request of the consul, the text of the
proclamation was leftin the mailbox.
281
Miodrag Milin, Timişoara în Revoluţie şi după, [Timişoara During and After the
Revolution], p. 127.
282
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989, [The Struggle for Power.
December 1989], p. 323.
147
Alesandru Duțu

military schools283 are sent in the street at 10:25, where they face the
hostility and aggressiveness of the demonstrators284. At the order of
the Chief Inspector of the County Inspectorate of the Ministry of the
Interior the anti-terrorist platoon285 and the intervention reserve286
(one platoon) are called, the first going through Republicii Square to
take part in reenforcing the order. A firefighters sub-unit and a patrol
canine unit from the Dog training centre also get out in the streets. In
their attempts to control the demonstrators, who throw bottles, jars,
chains at them, the forces of "order" (belonging to the Ministry of
National Defence and the Ministry of the Interior) shoot warning fire,
throw jets of water and tear gas at the crowds in Libertăţii Square.
After the warning fire, the commander of the military school "Nicolae
Bălcescu" shouts "Don’t touch us, we won’t shoot at you". The
demonstrators applaud and chant "the army is on our side". However
two people are killed and other two wounded.287
10:00. In Arad, the anti-Ceauşescu meeting continues, the
population chanting:
"Without violence”, "Timişoara - Timişoara", "Down with the
dictatorship", "Down with communism", "We are the people". The
attempt to have a dialogue (led by actor Valentin Voicila) and first-
secretary Elena Pugna fails. To avoid violence, the sub-units
commanders order removal of magazines and setting weapons in the
"at rest" position, which allows the young people to climb on the
TABs with flags and to cheer for the army.
In Cluj-Napoca, Nicolae Constantin, member of the Executive
Political Committee asks General Iulian Topliceanu to act with tanks
even from the gates of the entreprises on all roads leading to the centre
of the city and the station. The request will be repeated several times.
In Turda, the demonstrators gather in front of Militia
headquarters where they express their solidarity with Timişoara and
chant anti-dictatorial slogans.
In Mediaş, the apparition of Militia vehicles in the town
square triggers violent actions, resulting in the aggression of the
militia people and the setting the cars on fire.
10:30. Nicolae Ceauşescu informs the members of the Executive
283
The „Nicolae Balcescu” Active Officers’ Military School, the Military School for
Communications Officers and the „Ioan Vodă” Military School for Artillery Officers,
284
On December 21st 1989 over 2,000 military were brought to the city, 20 TABs, 22 trucks
and 10 cars.
285
Onboard ABIs and two TV vans, equipped with winter overalls and armed with the ususal
weapons (the ammunition was sealed in boxes).
286
Transported by truck (the troops were dressed in grey-blue uniforms and equipped with the
usual guns.
287
At Nicu Ceauşescu’s trial, the wounded people declared they had been shot by fire coming
from another direction (from behind or sideways) than the direction where the military were
disposed.
148
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Political Committee that he decided to increase the minimum salary and


child support allowance.
10:45. General Iulian Topliceanu reports to General Vasile
Milea that in Arad, at the request of the first-secretary, almost 1,500
military were sent into town, who were surrounded by several thousand
civilians who had "leaders with straps" and who did not allow the
citizens to get closer "than 10 meters away from the soldiers"288. In turn,
the Minister of National Defence asks that measures should be taken so
that "no incidents should occur", approves the presence of troops in the
centre of Cluj-Napoca (not in entreprises, works and station as Ioachim
Moga, the first-secretary of the Party County Council, had requested)
and draws attention on the defence "of the state border" as he was
worried about the information regarding "a possible aggression
combined with terrorist actions in the country, especially in the border
cities such as Cluj-Napoca, Târgu Mureş and Miercurea Ciuc".
In Cugir, a part of the workers of the Mechanic Entreprise
leave the working places, go out in the streets where they chant anti-
Ceauşescu slogans and go to the People's Council and the Party Town
Council, where they break the windows and take the emblems of the
institutions down.
11:30. Finding out that some helicopters that were under
revision, had to take off to Caransebeş and thinking they might be
used against the people in Timişoara, the workers from ICA Ghimbav
gathered on the runway and forced the control tower and the
leadership of the entreprise to take the helicopters back into their
hangars. At the urge of Demi Ioan they decided to travel to Braşovas a
token of solidarity with the population of Timişoara. The military of
UM 01199, sent to stop them, does not use force. At the bridge over
the Ghimbăşel, the troops shoot vertically, warning fire, but the
demostrators continue to move towards Braşov.289
Towards noon. In Târgu Mureş, the military commands are
ordered to take the sub-units in the city to block the movement of the
demonstrators to the headquarters of the Party County Council.
In Reşiţa, there are many Soviet cars waiting at important
crossroads.
12:00 - 12:51. In Bucharest, hoping to get the approval of the
people for his policy and totalitarian regime, Nicolae Ceauşescu
organises a meeting with the participation of tens of thousands of
people. After the speech of the representatives of the "working people"
who condemn "the hooligans" in Timişoara and express their decision

288
About the events in Arad see Alexandru Oşca, Revoluţia …, [The Revolution], p. 209-282.
289
Sinteza aspectelor rezultate din anchetele efectuate de Parchetul Militar…, [The
Synthesis...].p.93
149
Alesandru Duțu

to fulfill the duties established at the 14th Congress of RCP and the
instructions of the general secretary as well as after the slogans chanted
according to directions ("We will work and fight, the county we will
defend", "Ceauşescu - Peace", "We condemn firmly the traitors and
those who sell the country", "Let's stop the chauvinist manifestations of
the foreign circles", "Romania has chosen. Socialism, peace, progress",
"Our esteem and pride, Ceauşescu - Romania", etc.) at 12:30, Nicolae
Ceauşescu starts his speech expressing his decision to re-establish order
in the country and ensure the victory of socialism in Romania. Shortly
after that, a huge noise is heard, followed by panic (produced by
previously organised groups) and the scattering of the crowds.290
Amazed, Nicolae Ceauşescu repeats several times "Hello!Hello" and
asks the crowds (tapping the microphone) to stand still. Then, while
trying to regain control, he promises he will increase salaries with 200
lei, pensions with 100 lei, social aid with 300 lei, state allowance for
child support with 30 - 50 lei, that he will establish a birth allowance
worth 1,000 - 2,000 lei but nobody listens to him, the participants in the
meeting flee the square. From that moment on, for the whole country it
was clear that Nicolae Ceauşescu could no longer control the situation.
Around the Party County Council of Cluj-Napoca the first
TABs are placed.
In Târgu Mureş, the workers of AMTEX and METALO
TEHNICA, spontaneously organised in groups head to the centre,
joined by other people, all chanting anti-Ceauşescu slogans. In front
of the Party County Committee, defended by a strong military unit,
the firefighters throw jets of water and florex. In the afternoon, some
demonstrators broke the windows of the shops in the centre and stole
some alchoholic drinks, armed themselves with pointed bats from a
construction site nearby, thus becoming very aggressive.291.
12:40. In Braşov. at order of General Gheorghe Zagoneanu, the
chief of the County Inspectorate of the Ministry of the Interior,
Securitate sub-units are sent to Metrom (100 troops) to stop people
from going to the centre of the city and in Tractorul Park (100
people), to stop the workers from Tractorul and Rulmentul factories.
At about 13:00 the columns of people start their way to the centre.
13:00. After the meeting was stopped in Bucharest Nicolae
Ceauşescu withdraws from the balcony of the Central Committee and
announces generals Vasile Milea, Iulian Vlad and Tudor Postelnicu
that he takes over the command of the forces of "order"292. In total
disagreement with the situation in the streets he states: "We will

290
Detailed in Grigore Cartianu, op. cit. p. 114-119.
291
Sinteza... [The Synthesis...], p.89.
292
Referring to Nicolae Ceauşescu’s state after the meeting was interrupted, Mihai Hârjău
shows that he ”was paralysed. He couldn’t utter a word”.
150
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

defend the cause, we will defend socialism, weapon in hand, as we are


in a tougher war than that against Hitler. So, we are in a state of war
and not just alert. The army, the interior, the securitate should do
their duty"293. At the request of Nicolae Ceauşescu, the Minister of
National Defence orders the troops in Bucharest to support the troops
of the Ministry of the Interior to defend the position where the general
secretary of the party was and to ensure public order in the capital
city. As a result, in the central area of the city numerous military sub-
units are placed, including armoured cars.
In Arad, some demonstrators climb on the TABs, scanning "we
are the people", "the army is on our side". At the same time, they
draw up a Call to the Army with the following text: "We are your
brothers, fathers, children and lovers! You are our flesh and blood.
You are with us! You are the only capable to stop the bloodshed! The
horrible dictator uses you as a shield, as a tool! He does not trust you,
that is why, during the congress, the majority of the officers of the
General Staff were not allowed to leave home! From the same reason,
the border guard troops were placed under the command of the
Ministry of the Interior. Turn your weapons, under their threat the
criminal will fall, that who wants to cover your hands in the blood of
the people, your own blood"294.
Towards evening, when the demonstrators scatter, the military
succeed in ensuring the control over a part of the Central Square,
without using force, as some authorities had required. Ilie Matei asks
the commanders to scatter the demonstrators with the rifle butts,
saying: "Hit them as the soldiers of Stephen the Great did".
Fortunately, major Diaconescu from Lipova refused to execute the
order, being temporarily dismissed; he was followed by major
Popescu, the commander of the military unit of Gai295. Elena Pugna
requires the manufacture of bats to scatter the demonstrators away.
13:00- 14:00. In Bucharest, the participants to the meeting
regroup themselves in several places close by (Romană Square/
initially near restaurant "Gradiniţa"296, Universităţii Square, Hotel
Intercontinental/Dalles Hall, Hotel Bucuresti, Cişmigiu Park, Central
Military Club, Unirii Square) chant anti-Ceauşescu slogans ("Down
with Ceauşescu", "Down with the shoe-maker", "Come with us",

293
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989, [The Struggle for Power.
December 1989.], p. 125; see also Şase zilecare au zguduit lumea…[Six Days that Sghattered
the world...], p. 168.
294
Emil Simardan, Întrebătorul din Agora. În amintirea eroilor martiri ai revoluţiei de la
Arad, [The Wonderer of Agora. In Memory of the Martyr Heroes of Arad], Fundaţia Culturală
Ioan Slavici, Arad, 2003, p. 15.
295
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989. [The Struggle for Power.
December 1989.], p. 347.
296
Alex.Mihai Stoenescu, Interviuri despre revoluţie, [Interviews on the Revolution], p. 202 -203.
151
Alesandru Duțu

"Romanians, don't give up", " Timişoara, Timişoara", " Don't be


afraid, Ceauşescu will fall").
In the area of "Grădiniţa", Gelu Voican Voiculescu, who initially
went out in the streets „out of curiosity”, sees "some 20-30 young people
in front of a cordon of shield-bearers agitating themselves and chanting
slogans among which <Death to Ceauşescu>”. Among the "agitators"
was the actor Andrei Finţi. Asked by the young people to chant with
them, the future vice-prime-minister joins them. Cazimir Ionescu urges
him to say that "in Arad there isa general strike", although it was not
true. Even so, the young people scan with enthusiam "Arad joined
Timişoara", "Don't be afraid, Ceauşescu will fall".
In front of "Grădiniţa" restaurant, Dan Nicolae (who had left
the Poligrafic Complex after the meeting was stopped) sees that the
young people are scanning "Down with Ceauşescu", "Freedom or
death". Climbing the fence of the restaurant, he sees along Magheru
Boulevard "a number of cars, armoured cars, smoke, war-like
atmosphere, military, officers, militia people, special troops with
helmets and shields, and at the end of the boulevard a dark crowd
which not be clearly seen". Next to him, he sees a student "who had
torn away his shirt and threw himself in front of a car" being drawn
back, at the last moment lest he be crushed. Other demonstrators
scanned "Soldiers, soldiers, you are our brothers", "The army is on
our side", "Yesterday in Timişoara, today in the whole country" and
sang "Awaken Thee Romanian" or they danced on "Union Hora"297.
At about 15:30, the shield-bearers reject the demonstrators towards
Romană Square and to St. Nikos Beloianis and arrest some of them,
succeeding to clear the square before the night.
In front of the fountain at the Architecture Institute leaders
appear, unknown at that moment, who play an important role in
keeping the decision of the population to stay in the streets and
oppose the forces of "order".
In the centre of the capital there is a group of revolutionaries
from Timişoara who wave the flag with the cut out emblem and urge
the citizens of Bucharest to fight.
Forces of the Ministry of the Interior and the Securitate are
ordered to block the Palace Square and not allow access to the CC
RCP where a large quantity of armament had been stored. Arrests are
made; at hotel „Negoiu" the first victim is shot.
From 14:00, in Palace Square and in other central areas of the
city, troops belonging to the Ministry of National Defence including
tanks and TABs can be seen.
The unit of repressive forces at the crossroads St. 13 Decembrie –

297
„Luneta” [Luneta], no. 11/February 1990.
152
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Batiştei - Dalles Hallis consist of several cordons of shielded troopsbearers,


militia, military and staff of the Ministry of National Defence (with
shotguns and war ammunition), being augmented with 5 tanks and
numerous TABs. Similar units were in other parts of the capital city.
A Single Military Commandment is set up, under the command
of Vasile Milea, to lead the forces of order there, with the contribution
of the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of the Interior, the
chief of the Department of State Security, the Securitate Chief of
Bucharest and the chief of Staff of Patriotic Guards.
In Braşov, with the exception of the traffic agents, the militia
patrols are withdrawn to the headquarters; only an intervention
platoon (30 people) is left to defend the headquarters of the Party
County Council (until 22nd of December, 12:00).
At about 13:00, in Cluj -Napoca, almost 300 workers from the
Heavy Equipment Enterprises (CUG) gather in the yard asking better
working and living conditions. At the same time, they express their
discontent for being lied to related to the situation in Timişoara. The
attempts made by Ioan Aurel Stoica, propaganda secretary at the RCP
County Council and Mihai Tălpeanu, the director of the entreprise to
determine them not to go out in the streets fail. Informed about this
thing, Ioachim Moga, first-secretary of the Party Council asks the
chief of the County Inspectorate of the Ministy of the Interior to take
measures to re-establish order. As a result, an "intervention platoon",
securitate and militia forces and two firefighters cars are placed in the
proximity of the entreprises. To no avail. Moreover, the workers from
other entreprises go in the streets heading towards the centre where a
group of citizens, among whom Călin Nemeş try to organise a meeting
of solidarity with Bucharest and Timişoara. They scan: "Victory!
victory", "Timişoara! Timişoara", "Down with the dictatorship". They
sing "Awaken Thee Romanian". At the main crossroads military units
are gradually placed. In the area of hotel Continental, the
demonstrators start the dialogue with the military, chanting "Go away,
go away back to the barracks"298.
In Dej, a group of demonstrators enter the headquarters of the
Party Municipal Committee.
13:30. Around the Party County Council in Braşov, behind the
disposition consisting of Ministry of the Interior units, students from
the Military School of Artillery Officers in town are placed.
14:00. In Cluj-Napoca, Ioachim Moga requires the intervention
of the army for the defence of certain institutions. As he had no
confirmation from Vasile Milea, Iulian Topliceanu does not take the
request into consideration. A little later (15:00) the Minister of National

298
Iosif Zagrean, op.cit. p. 38.
153
Alesandru Duțu

Defence will approve that military sub-units from Cluj-Napoca, Târgu-


Mureş, Alba Iulia, Cugir, Miercurea Ciuc, Arad, Oradea, Zalău, Baia
Mare, Bistriţa garrisons be taken out in the streets.
In Caransebeş, almost 3,000 workers from Intreprinderea
Constructii Metalice factory and other companies in the city head for
the Town council, requiring the destitution of Nicolae Ceauşescu,
liberty and better living conditions. The peaceful demonstrators are
joined by violent elements. After entering the headquarters of the
People's council, the demonstrators head towards the headquarters of
the militia, asking for the release of the people arrested some days
before for spreading anti-communist manifestos. As they tried to enter
by force, the militia troops opened fire, killing one person and
wounding some others.299
In Sibiu, a numerous group of demonstrators arrives in front of
the Militia building where they scan anti-Ceauşescu slogans and
require the release of the arrested people. There were no incidents
after the dialogue.
14:30. In the defence unit of the Braşov Party County Committee
three other Securitate units are introduced. At the same time, at the
order of General Gheorghe Zagoneanu, two criminologist officers film
(until late in the evening and the next day until noon) in the central area
of the city (from Hotel Carpaţi). Between the demonstrators and the
shielded troops some incidents appear, the latter hitting the
demonstrators with rubber bats and shooting warning fires.
15:30. After some TABs had passed at full speed on Boulevard
Magheru, in Bucharest (15:09), the shielded troops attack in force,
pushing the demonstrators to the Romană Square.
In Cluj-Napoca, the manifestation at the Piaţa Libertăţii extends.
Actor Călin Nemeş addresses the citizens, asking them to manifest their
solidarity with the Timişoara people. They chant "Down with the
dictatorship", "Liberty", "Timişoara", and they sing "Awake, Thee,
Romanian". A little later, at the crossroads of St. Napoca and
Universităţii a military sub-unit appears, which is booed by the people,
who scan at the same time: "Don't shoot, we are your brothers! Dont'
shoot". Călin Nemeş takes out his shirt and shouts "Shoot! Come on
shoot! What are you waiting for!" Then he is shot and wounded during
an altercation with captain Dando Carp, the commander of the sub-unit in
the area (the actor tried to take his weapon away) who orders "Fire". The
inevitable happens. The troops shoot. The first 8 demonstrators are killed
and 3 are wounded300. The access of ambulances which try to take the

299
Sinteza…, [The Synthesis...]. p. 81.
300
According to some testimonies, a part of the people ofn Cluj were aggressive to the
military, trying to hit them and asking them to shoot their commanders.
154
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

wounded away is stopped by the troops. Amazed and frightened, a part of


the protesters scatter, going to different districts of the city301. Others try
to speak to the commanders, asking them not to order fire. The incidents
resulting in victims continue, in Cluj Napoca 26 people being killed and
55 wounded: 4 dead and 8 wounded in the St. Horea area, Metropol,
Hotel Astoria; 1 dead, 2 wounded in Mărăşti Square; 1 dead and 6
wounded in Libertăţii Square, the second-hand bookshop, the cathedral;
11 dead and 23 wounded in Libertăţii Square, St. Napoca, St.
Universităţii; 9 dead and 11 wounded in St. Moţilor, the Brewery.302
In Braşov, the columns of workers from "Autocamionul",
"Tractorul", etc. (from Ghimbav as well) reach the area of the Party
County Council where the commanders of the military sub-units ask
the leaders of the demonstrators not to force their entry in the building
and to avoid violence acts. They promise in exchange not to open fire.
Initially an agreement was reached, the demonstrators having their
own order cordons. In the area of "Modarom" shop, a group of young
people, chanting anti-Ceauşescu slogans urge the population to break
the cordons of shield-bearers, who have to intervene with rubber bat
blows. The first-secretary of the Party County Council requests that
the defence unit of the building should be augmented.
The troops of the Ministry of the Interior in Târgu-Mureş
intervene in force to scatter the demonstrators, by freeing the area of
the Party County Council until 19:30. 340 military and 12 TABs were
used, belonging to the Ministry of National Defence.
16:00. In Sibiu, almost 300 demonstrators (some of them
drunk)303 overturn and set on fire several cars in front of the Militia
building, then attack (with stones, bottles, etc), enter by force in the
headquarters of the County Inspectorate of the Ministry of the Interior
(near "Nicolae Balcescu" Military School) and destroy everything
there. It takes tear gas and warning fire to repel them and 5 people are
wounded. Lieutenant-Colonel Aurel Dragomir, Military School
commander, climbs on a TAB and makes appeal to calm and order.
Then he allows, with the approval of General Ion Hortopan, that some
leaders from the Ministry of the Interior to work in the building of the
school under his command.
A numerous group of demonstrators in Cugir require the release
of the prisoners, who are in the building of the Militia; some, known for
their criminal record, attack the headquarters with stones, Molotov
bottles, putting the building on fire, together with the cars nearby.
Withdrawn on the first floor of the building, after taking the armament

301
Iosif Zăgrean, op. cit. p. 39-41.
302
Sinteza... [The Synthesis...], p. 86.
303
Ibidem, p. 65.
155
Alesandru Duțu

from the ground floor, the militia forces shoot warning fire, which
irritates the demonstrators. Not to be burnt alive, some militia men pass
through flames, later to be caught and beaten up. Captain Valentin Pop,
the commander of the local militia and Ilie Stancu are brutally hit, gas is
spread on them and they are set on fire, only to die an hour later (the
corpses of the two were desecrated). While a large quantitiy of
armament was taken away, 70%304 of the Militia building is destroyed.
In Braşov, in the area of the Party County Council, almost
5,000 - 6,000 people demonstrate. At the request of the first-secretary
new forces of order are brought for the defence of the building,
including Securitate troops. Towards the evening, some demonstrators
try to disarm the military in the defence disposition and to force their
entry in the building. The troops resist and shoot upwards. Thinking
the soldiers will not fire, the demostrators scan "The army is on our
side", "Without violence". Then they hand in a 5 points petition to the
mayor and get his promise that he will send it to the leadership of the
county to be analysed and solved. As they did not get any answer,
they remained in the centre of Braşov until mid-night scanning anti-
Ceauşescu slogans, lighting candles and torches in memory of those
killed in the country. After midnight, groups of demonstrators headed
for the Braşov entreprises to mobilise the workers for a general strike
and new demonstrations.305
In Reşiţa, almost 200 workers from the factories Maşini
electrice and Intreprinderea de construcţii de maşini, as well as other
people, scan in front of the Party County Council anti-dictatorial and
pro-Timişoara slogans. A part of the demonstrators remain in front of
the Party County Council during the night.
16:30. In Bucharest, a DAC military truck, full of ammunition
crates, is blocked by the crowds on its way from Universităţii Square
to Hotel Intercontinental. Hit on the head, soldier Nicolae Cismaru
(the driver) loses conscience and control on the truck which continues
to run, hitting a part of the demonstrators and the troops in the
disposition, with the result of 7 dead and 5 wounded. In this
confusion, when the crowds get face to face with the military, a part
of them panic and fire without order; there are victims again (8 dead
and wounded by shooting). Finding out about this, General Vasile
Milea orders: "No fire and no troops in the first row. If the shield-
bearers leave, the troops leave as well"306. Shortly after, he requires
the military detachments of the centre of the capital to scatter the

304
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989, [The Struggle for Power.
December 1989 ], p. 342.
305
Sinteza…[The Synthesis..], p. 95.
306
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989, [The Struggle for Power.
December 1989], p. 128.
156
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

demonstrators. On this occasion manifestos are spread with a pro-


Ceauşescu message. Arrests continue, TABs run at full speed on the
main boulevards.
17:00. In Bucharest, in the area of Intercontinental Hotel a
barricade is being raised307, that came to represent, in the hours to
come, the symbol of the fight against Nicolae Ceauşescu. Among the
organisers is Dan Iosif, Dumitru Dincă, Romeo Raicu, Ionel Pop,
Radu Silaghi, etc. who address those around, under the dramatic
circumstances of siege, using improvised means (through a pipe).
In Cluj Napoca, a group of demonstrators gets closer to the troops
(protected by some containers), who withdraw in disarray. In the area of
ther second-hand bookshop and the cathedral, the troops give warnings
and shoot in the air (according to the statements of the troops), killing one
and injuring seven. The demonstration continues until midnight. At the
same time, fights start between the protesters, who scan "Timişoara”,
"Come with us", "Down with the dictatorship", and the troops on the
bridge over the Someș river, in the area of Metropol restaurant and hotel
"Astoria". Under the pressure of the crowds, the troops shoot warning fire
and aim at the legs. Three people are killed and eight wounded. The
crowds chant "Assassins", "Criminals".
17:30. In the area of Modarom shop in Braşov, a group of
violent young people try to break the cordon of the shield-bearers,
who use the rubber bats, while the firefighters use jets of water.
18:00. During the last video conference he holds, Nicolae
Ceauşescu repeats that in Romania "we deal with an organised and
targeted action, aiming at destabilizing the country and attacking the
integrity and independence of Romania", which leads to the declaration
of general mobilisation "of all whole of party and state staff, of all the
forces of the ministry of the interior, militia and securitate - including
military units", for the elimination, as soon as possible, of "these
coordinated actions against the integrity, independence, socialist
construction and welfare of the people". To "defeat the reactionary
forces" he asks that the groups and detachments defending "the
property and wealth of the whole people, of socialism, independence
and sovereignity of the country" should be used. By stating that "now it
is the moment to verify the quality of party member" Nicolae
Ceauşescus points out:"There is only one way to do it – by fighting".
Then he states: "Whoever is disturbing the order, the peace, has to get a
firm answer that nobody can endanger the integrity of the country, the
peace of the people, the welfare of the people". Referring to the lack of
coordination between the forces of the Minister of National Defence
and those of the Ministry of the Interior, Nicolae Ceauşescu accuses

307
They used containers, furniture from the restaurants and the shops nearby, cars.
157
Alesandru Duțu

again: "It is, in fact, unacceptable that we were not able to eliminate, in
the last 4 or 5 hours, the group here at the Universitate, which should
have been eliminated a long time ago, by now"308. Then, he announces
that from that moment on, there is a unique command, under his
leadership, as supreme commander of the whole activity conducted by
defence ministry (General Vasile Milea), the minister of interior (Tudor
Postelnicu) state secretary at the ministry of the interior (Iulian Vlad)
and the head of the Patriotic Guards (Corneliu Pârcălăbescu); Silviu
Curticeanu was assigned secretary of the unique command. In the end,
he asks that in half an hour the members of the unique command
present "all measures that were taken and should be taken" and act to
"rapidly settle the situation here” (in Bucharest). In the teleconference,
Ioachim Moga required that "for a number of days, at least, the state of
emergency should be declared in Cluj as well309", while Anton Lungu
reported that in the meetings held in Brăila "the communists, the
working people expressed their indignation and condemned the
manifestations of the reactionary elements".
In Mărăşti Square, in Cluj Napoca, they chant anti-Ceaușescu
slogans and require freedom and democracy. At the same time, the
protesters (and the citizens from the buildings in the area) throw
stones, bottles, jars, etc. at the troops in the military disposition. They
shoot warning fire, but the attacks do not stop. Again, peopke are
killed and wounded. In the area of St. Moților and the Brewery, the
main way of access to the centre of the city from Mânăștur, the
protesters (almost 1,000) sing "Awaken Thee, Romanian" they scan
"Timişoara don't forget, Cluj is on your side" and they try to force the
military troops cordon; they are ordered to fire. There are clashes
between the two sides, until about 22:00.
At Cisnădie, the protesters (received with hostility by the
mayor) use violence, by setting the town hall on fire and attacking the
militia headquarters. Weapons are used and two people are killed and
11 wounded310.
19:00. In Bucharest, the revolutionaries concentrated in front
of "Intercontinental" Hotel heroically confront the forces of
repression, especially around the barricade, which is in process of
consolidation. Other groups of revolutionaries in the neighbouring

308
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989…, [The
Romanian revolution of December 1989], p. 197-203.
309
Silviu Curticeanu pointed out that it was not necessary to declare the state of emergency in
Cluj, but Nicolae Ceaușescu replied that he would analyse the proposal but the measures he
ordered „were more than a state of emergency”.
310
The militia forces fired, killing two people. The authors of Şase zile care au zguduit
România…[Six Days that Shattered Romania…] appreciate that some of the people who
attacked the militia building „were shot from behind, as there are clues that they shot from the
church tower nearby”. (p. 151).
158
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

streets scan anti-Ceauşescu slogans. At the same time, the repression


takes an extremely violent character (initially they shoot warning fire,
in the air, with tracer bullets; people dressed in civilian capture
protesters with brutality and get them on trucks.
Similar scenes take place in Victoriei Road, witnessed by dr.
eng. Veronica Radu from Iaşi, from the 6th floor of Hotel Athenee
Palace. "I was terrified to see how young protesters - caught with the
help of dogs - were brutally hit and kicked with bats in the head and
the stomach. Those hitting them were civilian agents and militia
people. After that, the victims were put into three blue IMS vehicles
with bars. Among the maltreated were a young woman in a red jacket
and a man with a greyish winter cap. The violence of the blows was
incredible and could not be justified but the desire to extermine them.
All the people who were watching were crying. I think that many of
those who were hit like could not have survived"311.
In Carasenbeş, a part of the protesters attack and set the Militia,
the Tribunal and the building of the Prosecutor’s Office on fire. At the
Militia building, hoping to calm down the aggressive elements, warning
fire was shot, then the protesters got into the building and they fired and
one person was killed and 13 wounded. Later, the turmoil in the city
grows, as buildings, shops and houses are devastated.
19:30. In Cisnădie, a group of people attacks the headquarters
of the Militia. Following the fire of the militia people and their
withdrawal in the military unit close by, the building was occupied
and devastated. On this occasion there were 2 dead and 11 wounded.
20:00. At the Central Committee Ilie Verdeţ, the chairman of
the Central Commission for Control proposes to Nicolae Ceauşescu to
discuss with the revolutionaries at the barricade.
20:30. After the destruction at the Militia building, the
protesters in Cugir go towards the People's Council which they set on
fire. The violent actions continue during the night as well.
21.00. In Bucharest, Vasile Milea, Tudor Postelnicu, Iulian
Vlad and Colonel Corneliu Pârcălăbescu (the chief of Staff of the
Patriotic Guards) are called to Nicolae Ceauşescu who reprimands
them for the unsatisfactory way in which they had acted to stop the
revolutionaries at the Intercontinental in Bucharest.
In Romană Square, some civilians burn their party licence. The
teams of shield-bearers start, in assault to capture the revolutionaries
from the area of "Intercontinental". Initially they were gathered in
front of hotel Negoiu and the area of the troleybus stop at the Piaţa
Universităţii, then got into vans belonging to the Militia and sent to
the Militia Capitalei, then to the Jilava prison.

311
„Adevărul” of 3 March [„Adevărul” newspaper], 1990.
159
Alesandru Duțu

In Târgu Mureş, aggressive elements from among demonstraters


throw stones, bottles, iron bars at the forces of „order”, pass through
the first two cordons, wounding a soldier, then reach the TABs, which
they attack and damage (some of them). Though they were not
ordered to, the troops shoot warning fire (for 40 seconds). Due to an
error, the fire of a rifle from a TAB kills 4 people and wounds two
others. Infuriated, the protesters withdraw and devastate the shop
"Romarta Tineretului" and the coffee house "Cafe Lux"312. During the
following unfortunate events, two other people are killed and 19
wounded. Most of them died by shooting. Of the 55 people arrested,
52 had body wounds 313.
21:50. The detachment UM 01380 from Arad, which operated
in Timişoara, leaves the city, heading for their garrison314.
22:00. In Bucharest, Nicolae Ceauşescu requires the arrest of
the leaders of the revolutionists at the barricade. General Vasile Milea
inspected the area several times315.
In Cluj-Napoca, on the steps of the National Theatre, Doina
Cornea speaks to the crowds about the importance of throwing the
dictatorship down. Slogans against Ceauşescu and communism are
chamted316.
22:45. Two detachments of armed officers and cadets (784
people placed in buses) from the Military Academy in Bucharest are
taken, at the order of General Vasile Milea, to the CC RCP and
deployed behind the troops, the shield-bearers, the militia and the
securitate people in the area of "Intercontinental" Hotel.
23:30. General Vasile Milea is again in the area of the
barricade at Intercontinental. Different things are thrown at him and at
the other troops in the area. In this context, the Minister of National
Defence orders Major Dorel Amăriucăi that his troops should fire in
the air317 several times. Other shooters who did not belong to the
military fire from the roofs, from balconies and windows. Gelu
Voican Voiculescu’s comment to this is illustrating: "There was fire
shot from «Creditul Minier» building. While in that part of the street,
on its right side, towards Intercontinental Hotel, several young people
were up on the barricade, when one fell dead to the ground near me.
312
When referring to the fact that atypical ammunition was found in a woman’s body, Sergiu
Nicolaescu says, ”at the time, there were other shooters as well in the area, who fired at the
people, for diversion, maybe.” (Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989, [The Struggle for
Power. December 1989], p. 432).
313
Sinteza…[The Synthesis…], p. 91.
314
During the period to come, other military units were withdrawn from Timişoara.
315
General Iulian Vlad appreciates that in those moments the minister of national defence was
„extremely affected”.
316
Iosif Zăgrean, op. cit., p. 103.
317
Gelu Voican Voiculescu considers that General Vasile Milea had personally led the
repression at Intercontinental Hotel, on the night of 21-22 December.
160
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

He was wounded without any explanation. They took him quickly to


Colțea. If somebody shot from the barricade, they would have hit the
ones on the barricade, from above and behind it. That one fell to my
right. Out of instinct I raised my eyes, looked straight ahead at the
side of the building of «Creditul minier» in St. Batiștei. They could not
have fired from the barricade or from behiond it. My opinion is that
these dead were only meant to escalate the situation"318.
The protesters (men, women, children) arrested by the forces of
repression are beaten (some maltreated) and directed to the "collecting
points" from Hotel Negoiu and near the building of the Ministry of
Foreign Trade (near the bus station), from where they are sent in vans
for selection, registration and identification at the Militia Headquarters
(where they are again beaten) and then to Jilava prison. Also abusive
were the staff of (especially) the 1st, 14th, 10th and 18th Militia
sections as well as of the 11th and 19th precincts.
Gelu Voican Voiculescu, accompanied by some friends goes to
poet Adrian Paunescu' s house and tells him: "Come on, Adrian, they sing
your lyrics there. Your thundering voice is needed at the barricade".319
International reactions:
King Michael I addresses a new appeal to the Romanian people
by means of radio BBC: "I make an appeal to the Romanian army to
overthrow the family regime of the imposters and their Securitate! I
ask all workers to start and conduct a general strike in the whole
country, to form a government of generals and party elements,
opposed to this regime! I am and will be on your side! Michael"320.
M.S. Gorbachev states in the Soviet parliament: "We watch closely
what is happening in Romania. We stay in touch with our Embassy in
Bucharest... We have a surprise to announce in parliament". I. Aboimov,
the deputy Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs tells the Romanian
ambassador to Moscow, Ion Bucur, that the statements regarding the
interference of Soviet Union in the domestic matters of Romania "are
groundless and are not in agreement with reality".
Helmut Kohl, the West Germany chancellor considers that the
repressions in Romania are a "terrible thing", he condemns the
repression of the manifestations in Romania, expresses his sympathy
for the families of the victims, urges that violence should stop and starts
a dialogue with the protesters. "The Romanian leadership - the West
German chancellor says - should immediately meet the obligations
assumed at the Conference for Security snd Cooperation in Europe"321.

318
Alex. Mihai Stoenescu, Interviuri despre revoluţie, [Interviews about the Revolution], p.
213, 214.
319
Ibidem, p.205.
320
E un început în tot sfârşitul..., [There Is a Beginning in Every Ending], p. 339-340.
321
Ibidem, p. 408-409.
161
Alesandru Duțu

Gyula Horn, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary states that


the Hungarian government studies the possibility to denouce the
Romanian-Hungarian treaty of friendship and collaboration.
Richard Boucher, the spokesperson of the State Department of the
US states in a press conference that the unofficial news of the previous
day indicates that "the demonstrations in Timişoara against the regime
continue, as does the repression of the protesters", the actions being
"barbarian". According to Nestor Rateș’ radio "Free Europe" report, the
spokesperson "revealed that phone conversations with the Soviets take
place, dedicated to the situation in Romania, the American government
asking Moscow to use its influence to stop the violence".
Martin Fitzwater, spokesperson of the White House, addresses
the Romanian government on behalf of President George Bush with
the request "to stop the brutal repression of the demonstrations, to
open the borders and to comply with the obligations assumed in
Helsinki"322.
Joe Clark, state secretary in the Canadian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs announces that they would recall the Canadian ambassador to
Bucharest, suspend the imports tariff facilities and annul the official
contracts signed with Romania.
The Polish government condemns the repressive actions of the
Romanian government and asks the leadership in Bucharest to
observe the provisions of the international conventions regarding
human rights.
MPs from the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova ask the
parliament and the political leadership in Moscow to condemn
officially the repression actions in Timişoara and the policy of the
Romanian government.
In Belgrade, 500 - 600 people manifest against the political
regime in Romania and light candles in the memory of the victims of
the repression in Timişoara323.
At the demonstration in front of the Romanian Embassy in
Paris several ministers and French MPs ask to be informed on the
events in Romania; on the pretext that the working houyrs were over,
Ambassador Petre Gigea refuses to receive them and requires new
instructions from Bucharest in connection with "the attitude he has to
adopt in this situation"324.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia expresses
"his deep concern" and protests "against the use of the army and of
the forces of order for scattering the demonstrators" in Romania.

322
Ibidem, p. 441.
323
Ambassador Dumitru Popa appreciated that this manifestation, organised by the Union of
Yugoslavian Youth had an „ anti-Romanian character”.
324
Principiul dominoului..., [The Domino Theory...], p. 480.
162
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

The participants to the extraordinary Congress of the Communist


party in Czechoslovakia require the Central Committee of the party to
immediately interrupt any connection with the RCP leadership.
The Polish Sejm condemns again "the repression of the Romanian
authorities" and expresses its solidarity with the peaceful demonstrators.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the People's Assembly of
Bulgaria expresses its concern over the situation in Romania.
The State Council of East Germany decides to take back the
order "Karl Marx" previously offered to Nicolae Ceauşescu.
Eugen Ionescu, Emil Cioran and other 50 Romanian writers in
exile write a letter of solidarity with the Romanian people, read at
radio "Free Europe" by Șerban Orăscu: "The exiled Romanian writers
or of Romanian origin protest with deep indignation against the
fearsome repression of the demonstrations for freedom in Timişoara
and other cities of Romania, show their solidarity with all
demonstrators and, similarly to the whole of Europe, demand the
right of the Romanian people to determine their own fate through free
elections, which should put an end to the communist rule"325.
Viorica Cortez, opera singer of Romanian origin shows her
feelings via radio "Free Europe": "I am Romanian and I feel like a
Romanian! At this time of trouble I am thinking of you, my dear
Romanians! Wake up and don't shoot at your brothers any more!
Forced by the past, maybe, or surely, think of the future, the day of
tomorrow, while it is not too late, but stop the carnage. Today, under
the sign of time, from our close neighbourhood, would you like
Romanian, to stop the wheel of history? Would you like Romanian, to
be the tool of a so-called leader, in reality a madman blamed by a
whole world? Romanian men, for centuries you have whispered the
chorus of the prisoners in "Nabucco" by Giuseppe Verdi. I am ready
to be the first to sing the anthem of liberty! Romanians dear, stop
shooting at your brothers, my brothers, our brothers!"326.
Lev Zaikov, member of the Political Bureau and secretary of
CC of CPSU states that the events in Romania were to be expected as
"the people of this country sees that there is a process of
democratisation everywhere, sees the restructuring of the Soviet
Union; its natural desire is to start it in his own country". 327

325
E un început în tot sfârşitul..., [There Is a Beginning in Every Ending], p. 358.
326
Ibidem, p. 359.
327
Ibidem, p. 63.
163
Alesandru Duțu

December 22nd, 1989

00:00. Towards midnight in Bucharest, in the area of the


barricade at Intercontinental Hotel, among the revolutionaries - the
future prime-minister Petre Roman was there as well - the first
victims appear, shot in the chest328. At the same time, tear gas is
thrown at them and the Minister of National Defence orders Major
Valentin Roșca, commander of a tank company, to destroy the
barricade, already in flames. The events become dramatic for those
who confront the armoured cars with bear hands.
00:25. The barricade raised by the revolutionaries of Bucharest
is shattered by the tanks of the army329, in a terrible rumble. Then, land
forces appear in the area, scattering the demonstrators brutally near
Unirii Square and in the adjoining streets where the “hunt” continues.
Many revolutionists are killed at the Batiştei subway gate. Until 03:00,
48 people were killed (39 died of gunfire) and over 100 other were
wounded. Others were beaten, maltreated, arrested and sent to the arrest
cells of the Militia headquarters, on Calea Victoriei, then to Jilava
prison. At the same time, the workers for the city cleaning services,
under the supervision of the Mayor Barbu Petrescu wash the streets of
blood, of the blood of the revolutionists, they cover the slogans with
paint – the slogans on the walls of the buildings in the area.
• 01:00. The resistance of the Bucharest revolutionists is
stifled, generals Vasile Milea and Iulian Vlad informing Nicolae
Ceauşescu about this thing. A little later, numerous groups of
revolutionaries travel to different districts of the capital city, where

328
Dan Iosif, who was in the centre of the dramatic events, states: „Until 12 at night, there
wa only random shooting, only warning fire. After 12, they fired for real.” The same was
reported by Gelu Voican Voiculescu, Petre Roman and other revolutionaries in the area.
329
Dan Iosif said that the barricade was shattered like a „nut shel”l. Mihai Montanu
remembers that they „came after us and fired”, while Gelu Voican.Voiculescu declares:”At
00:25, two tanks shattered the barricade and they started to fire directly at people, the shells
producing that kind of spinning noise, a bullet which rotates rapidly in the air and they
passed on my left and my right. Some fell to the ground. I stood up as I wanted to see the
scene and at a certain moment when a bullet passed next to my right ear, I understood that it
was suicide. But during those moments of lucidity when I kept looking at the barricade while
the people were running I could notice the catching effect of panic. The crowd was running
like hell, as they say and the road got empty. It was a matter of seconds. I started to run as
well (Alex. Mihai Stoenescu, Interviuri despre revoluție, [Interviews about the Revolution],
Editura RAO, București, 2004, p. 205).
164
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

they relate about the atrocities committed at Intercontinental Hotel


and ask the population to come in the morning to the centre of the
city, to protest, to ask and determine the overthrow of Nicolae
Ceauşescu330.
02:30. In Arad, the chief Inspector of the County Inspectorate
of the Ministry of the Interior orders the scattering of the almost 1,000
demonstrators of Central Square by using tear gas and by retaining
their leaders. To their honour, those who had to put into effect this
order did not do it, allowing the demonstrators to intensify their
actions during the day. In the morning, actor Valentin Voicilă, the
leader of the revolutionists of Arad, thanks the troops for their
attitude.
• 02:50 In Caransebeş, unknown individuals try to set the
Central Post Office on fire.
03:00. In Bucharest, the vehicles of the Salubritate (city
cleaning service) start to wash the pavements of the blood of the
demonstrators killed, while the forces of „order” start restructuring
their positions.
• While at the headquarters of the Central Committee, General
Iulian Vlad proposes General Vasile Milea to „do something
together” (the army and the securitate, in the sense of ousting Nicolae
Ceauşescu)331, but he refuses: „My dear, I can’t, I am no longer able
to do anything"332. At the headquarters of the Central Committee, a
highly anxious Ion Dincă informs General Vasile Milea that a column
of almost 500 workers march on Moșilor Way and head for the centre
of the city and he asks they be stopped by the army.
• 03:15. In Caransebeş three TABs and 22 troops are taken in
the streets (by 05:55) with the mission to enforce public order and put
an end to vandalism. One of the officers is shot at.
• 03:30. At the order of General Ilie Ceauşescu, military sub-
units from Râmnicu Vâlcea and mountain troops (at 06:00) come in
town to augment the military forces of Sibiu.
• 05:00. Coming back to Timişoara by plane (at 02:00), General
Victor Stănculescu tries to avoid the missions he was to get, by going to
the Central Military Hospital where he got his leg cast in plaster.

330
Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu stayed in the building of the Central Committee, during
the night.
331
Ioan Scurtu, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989 în context internaţional, [The
Romanian Revolution in international context], p. 224.
332
On February 7th 1994, Mihai Hârjău described the state of Vasile Milea after the
repression from Intercontinental as follows: “Milea was depressed. Dirty with oil, and dust
on his uniform, he was a mess. Troubled, he told me something like ”Well, boy! Be happy you
didn’t see what I saw. What we’ll do tomorrow … we start again”. (Grigore Cartianu, op. cit.,
p. 130).
165
Alesandru Duțu

• 06:30. In Bucharest, at the Central Committee, General Ilie


Ceauşescu addresses Nicolae Ceauşescu: “The situation is critical.
Columns of workers keep coming. We need to do something. The
government must be destituted… Don’t fight the Soviets, it is clear
that the Soviets want to change you! Appoint Iliescu!” Then, the chief
of Superior Military Political Council goes to the headquarters of the
Ministry of National Defence, where he speaks to his deputy:”The
Soviets want my brother’s head”. A bit later, he would draft a list
with the members of the future government, where Ion Iliescu was
prime-minister and asked the vice-admiral Ştefan Dinu to summon
the military attachees of the Soviet Union and China333.
Informed about the columns of workers going to the centre of the
capital city, Nicolae Ceauşescu says: “If they are in the underground,
use tear gas!334.
• 07:00. In Bucharest, tens of thousands of workers from
Pantelimon, Militari, Grivița, Berceni, Pipera, etc. got out in the
streets335 and head for the centre of the city chanting, “Down with the
dictator”, “Down with Ceauşescu”, “We will die and we will be
free”, “We are the people, down with the dictator”, “Join us!”, etc336.
The forces of order do not intervene brutally anymore, but they start
to discuss to the demonstrators.
• In the following morning, Dumitru Mazilu is taken away
from his home, brutally, together with his family, chained and sent to
the Militia in Alexandria.
• The workers from Cluj go out in the streets, heading towards
the centre of the city, grouping at the cathedral, where some of them
start to talk about dissidents, among whom Doina Cornea. General
Iulian Topliceanu asks that the troops should defend their positions
without making use of weapons, which should be used only if the life
of the troops is in danger and if they are disarmed.
• The people of Sibiu do the same, gathering in the centre of
the city.
• In Alba Iulia, the workers head to the headquarters of the Party
Municipal Council and the Party County Council chanting “Down with
Ceauşescu”,”Down with the tyrant”,”The army is on our side”.
• In Arad, the demonstrators (almost 20,000) gather and fill the
central square, many wearing slogans, including two coffins with the
names of Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu. The priests hold a religious
service, while the demonstrators kneel and pray. The military do not

333
Read Admiral Ştefan Dinu’s story.
334
According to Mihai Hârjau of 7 February 1994(Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 160).
335
Despite the fact that some factories welded their gates in an attempt to stop the night shift
get out in the streets.
336
The workers from „23 August” forced the depot of the patriotic guards and took 43 guns.
166
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

carry out the order given by Ilie Matei to use tear gas and allow the
young people to climb on the TABs. In the meantime, the leaders of
the revolution express their opinions using loudspeakers.
In Braşov, thousands of demonstrators go, in order, towards the
centre of the city. Petre Preoteasa asks for the strengthening of the
defence disposition with the words “weapons should not be used
against the demonstrators”. The same thing is done by the Minister
of National Defence who asks that only his orders be carried out. As a
result, the troops remove the magazines. In this context there are no
incidents, the population offering flowers, cigarettes and food to the
soldiers. A group of demonstrators present a petition with seven
demands, among which: the resignation of Nicolae Ceauşescu from
all party and state positions, free democratic elections (including party
members and non-members), freedom of speech, improvement of the
living conditions, the banning of food rationalization; the truth about
the demonstration of 15 November 1987; the immediate ceasure of
the criminal process against the demonstrators and the annulment of
their sentences; the publication in the local press of the requirements
above. The representatives of the workers ask that the demands be
sent to Bucharest, personally to Nicolae Ceauşescu.
• Protesting manifestations are registered, peacefully in Craiova,
too.
• In Cugir, they demonstrate peacefully as well.
• In Reşiţa, columns of workers from factories such as
Intreprinderea Construcții de Mașini, Combinatul siderurgic,
Intreprinderea județeană de construcții și montaj metalic, as well as
from other enterprises head, peacefully towards the center of the
town, asking for the improvement of working and living conditions.
• The workers in the industrial area of Turda stop working and
go to the centre of the town.
• In Târgu Mureş, there are the workers who go out, scanning
anti-dictatorial slogans and ask for freedom and democracy.
• The people of Cluj go out in the streets again. In “Libertăţii
Square”, although the streets were “cleaned” during the nightr, the traces
of the repression of the previous day are still visible. Vasile Ailenei is
shocked ”there were pools of blood, traces of blood, etc. corpses drawn
next to the gates and a priest delivering a mass. Tension was in the air. It
was 8 o’clock, the people were talking about a strike” 337.
• While at the headquarters CC RCP, General Vasile Milea asks
(on the phone) Constantin Olteanu (who was in Iaşi) whether to send 50
soldiers to Suceava or not. ”What shall they do with the soldiers?” –
Constantin Olteanu asks. ”Just to have some. You know they don’t have

337
Iosif Zăgreanu, op.cit. p. 97.
167
Alesandru Duțu

soldiers as there are no operational units in Suceava” - the Minister of


National Defence answers. “My opinion is to send nothing”.
• 08:30. At the Central Committee of RCP in Bucharest, there
is a short meeting during which Nicolae Ceauşescu, extremely
irritated – as he had seen a set of pictures taken in Timişoara where
you could read the slogans on the walls (“Down with Ceauşescu”,
“Down with communism”) – asks General Vasile Milea and Tudor
Postelnicu to take all necessary measures to prevent the demonstrators
from getting into Palace Square and even use the armament if
necessary. As a result, the Minister of National Defence orders that
armoured units be brought to Bucharest from Târgovişte, Mihai Bravu
and Slobozia, while in the centre of the capital city several tanks
should be displayed. During this time, military helicopters fly over
Bucharest and throw flyers in which they urge the population not to
answer to provocations. At the Universitate, massive groups of
workers start to discuss with the troops in the military disposition.
• 09:00 – 12:00. In Timişoara, the first military man, Major
Viorel Oancea appears in the balcony of the Opera House, out of their
own initiative, who declares the following (Nicolae Ceauşescu had not
been sent away from the Central Committee): ”Brothers! I am a major
in the Romanian army and I want to inform you that the officers, the
troops, the NCOs, the civilian personnel and the conscripts of UM
01955 took the decision not to act against the people, under no
circumstances, ands demand the higher echelons the following: 1. The
guarantee that the military will not act against the people. 2. That no
other forces will act against the people. 3. In case other forces attack
the people, our unit is determined to get out of the barracks, to fight
and defend the people! Down with Ceauşescu!"338. In two hours,
General Ştefan Guşă would threaten to send him to ”court”, whereas a
prosecutor had already appeared339 at the unit headquarters”.
• The people of Sibiu resume demonstrations in front of the
county Inspectorate of the Ministry of the Interior, requesting the
liberation of the people arrested; they force their entry into the
building from where tear gas was thrown, increasing the agitation
among the demonstrators and the forces of order.
• The workers in Caransebeş, scanning anti-Ceauşescu and
anti-communist slogans head towards the centre of the city (in front of
the military units they chant “The army is on our side”) where they
occupy the headquarters of the People’s Council.
• From “Libertăţii Square” and other areas of the city, the
people of Cluj head to Mihai Viteazu Square, where speeches are

338
„Caietele Revoluţiei", [The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr. 3/2006, p. 37.
339
Miodrag Milin, Timişoara, 15-21 decembrie 89, [Timişoara, 15-21 December `89], p. 162.
168
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

delivered. Trying to draw up a list of claims, the leaders head towards


the cathedral, where priest Popovici delivers a religious mass in
memory of the dead of Timişoara and Cluj-Napoca, the Lord’s Prayer
is said, people kneel, prayers are said for the souls of those who were
killed. Because of the crowd, the leaders cannot draw up the list of
claims. As a result, they go to the Ortodox Seminar nearby, where
they set up a first leading committee.
• 09:20 After being reprimanded by Nicolae Ceauşescu,
General Vasile Milea – tired and depressed – asks about the situation
of the troops (summoned to Bucharest) from across the country, then
he goes to level six of the Central Committee, where, after discussing
with several officers he asked (at 09:10) that message be sent
(Codename “Rondo”): “Don’t shoot at people. The military should
stand close to the equipment, not to provoke and not to respond to
provocation"340. Then, he asked for a pistol, after which he entered the
office of Colonel Corneliu Pârcălăbescu with whom he discussed for
some minutes341. He asked to be left alone, then he committed suicide,
dying on the way to the Central Military Hospital342. Some consider
that the circumstances of defence minister’s death are unclear.
Referring to the implications of General Vasile Milea’s suicide,
Sergiu Nicolaescu says: ”His deed made it easier for the military to
get on the side of the revolution, breaking the chain of command and
preventing the orders of the supreme commander to get to the troops.
A great blow to the Ceauşescu regime"343. Informed about this fact by
Colonel Corneliu Pârcălăbescu, Nicolae Ceauşescu considers him to
be a traitor344, he takes over the leadership of the armed forces and
decides declaring the state of emergency in the whole country. Then
he calls General Victor Stănculescu to the Central Committee.
• 09:30. Universității Square in Bucharest is occupied by tens
of thousands of people who scan “Down with Ceauşescu”. The
military forces do not oppose resistance.
• 09:45. Nicolae Ceauşescu summons the last meeting of the
Executive Political Committee in which he announces that General
Vasile Milea “shot himself” after “sabotaging the implementation of

340
After mentioning that following the meeting at the CC at 8:30 General Vasile Milea was
“destroyed”, Major Alexandru Rafailescu added: ”He started to shout at me, he was another
man. He shouted that people should not be shot at, we should not respoind, the troops should
stay grouped around their equipment. We sent this order immediately”. (Sergiu Nicolaescu,
Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989, [The Struggle for Power], p. 151).
341
From Captain Marius Tufan.
342
Details in: Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 131-144.
343
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989, [The Struggle for Power.
December 1989], p. 161.
344
Elena Ceaușescu asked Colonel Cornel Pârcălăbescu if Vasile Milea left any “note” or if
he told him “anything.
169
Alesandru Duțu

the measures and he worked in tight connection with foreign forces”.


Then he asks the members of the Executive Political Committee if
they are determined to fight or not (without saying about what) and
proposes to state immediately the state of emergency in the whole
country, without summoning the State Council. In one way or another
they all agreed 345 to what Nicolae Ceauşescu said and proposed.
• 9:54 Later, after being informed that “the people climb on the
tanks”, General Nicolae Eftimescu, first deputy chief of General Staff
orders:”All units of the army shall carry out the orders of the supreme
commander. All units of Târgovişte and Mihai Bravu concentrate in
Bucharest, in the barracks on Olteniței Route"346.
• 10:00 – 10:20. Nicolae Ceauşescu orders General Victor
Stănculescu (summoned at the Central Committee347) in the meantime:
”Dear comrade Stănculescu, I called you to work with me... The army
shall not surrender! The army uses all means to re-establish order.
Go there and give the necessary orders"348.
• With “a heavy heart”, Victor Atanasie Stănculescu goes to the
commanding office where generals Eftimescu, Voinea and other staff
officers were. Asking about the state of the troops, the general tries to
avoid carrying out the orders, “intentionally leaving the events «flow»,
to buy time, and to act in favour of the revolution” (according to his
own statement). In the meantime, he is called several times by Nicolae
Ceauşescu who insists: “What is the army doing, comrade Stănculescu?
They should do their duty... Why don’t they act?“ Using the indicative
of the Minister of National Defence “Rondo”, – General Victor
Stănculescu orders (at 10:07):”Nobody shoots at anybody – talk things
over"349. The order defuses immediately the relations between troops
and demonstrators, who climb on tanks and start to put flowers at the
soldiers’ collar, including on their rifles.

345
Paul Niculescu Mizil tried to dodge (“Shall I fight or not”), Tudor Postelnicu was firm (“I am
determined to fight to the end, comrade General Secretary”), as did Manea Manescu (This was the
ideal of our lives, so we will fight, to the last drop”) and Ștefan Andrei (”We fight Comrade
General Secretary). Gogu Radulescu asked to take measures to avoid “blood shedding”.
346
Alex. Mihai Stoenescu, Istoria loviturilor de stat în România, [The history of state coups in
Romania], vol, 4, partea II,,,Revoluţia română din decembrie 1989" - o tragedie românească, [The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989 – A Romanian Tragedy], Editura RAO, Bucureşti, 2005, p. 377.
347
On December 28th 1993, Constantin Milea related the following reply given by Nicolae
Ceausescu: ”With broken legs he should come! He should be here in five minutes, he should
not play with me or I shall arrest him!”
348
Dorian Marcu, Moartea Ceauşeştilor dezvăluită de Gelu Voican Voiculescu şi Victor
Atanasie Stănculescu, [The Death of the Ceaușescus as Revealed by Gelu Voican Voiculescu
and Victor Atanasie Stănculescu], Editura Excelsior S.A., Bucureşti, 1991, p. 27.
349
Alex. Mihai Stoenescu, Istoria loviturilor de stat în România,.[The History of State
Coups in Romania] vol, 4, partea II,,,Revoluţia română din decembrie 1989" - o tragedie
românească, [The Romanian Revolution of December 1989 – A Romanian Tragedy], Editura
RAO, Bucureşti, 2005, p. 379.
170
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• Faced with the new political situation in Timişoara where the


population went out in the streets, the authorities annul the plan to
capture the leaders of the revolution, action which was meant to take
place on the night of 22 to 23 December350.
• Almost at the same time, the leadership of Securitate and
Militia adopt a similar position, General Romeo Câmpeanu, the deputy
chief of the General Inspector of Militia, sending the following
message, at the order of General Iulian Vlad.351 “The order is that you
will not make use of weapons and no other form of violence against the
workers who demonstrate. In case the headquarters or you yourself are
attacked by anarchist elements, hooligans you answer according to the
law, by preventing them from entering the headquarters"352.
• A delegation of the demonstrators in Turda, talk twith the
commander of the military sub-unit on the bridge near Institute
I.R.E.C. After promising they would demonstrate peacefully, the
troops allow them to continue their trip to the center of the town.
• The square in front of the townhall in Lugoj is already full.
They decide to go in the proximity of the military units to determine
the troops to fraternize with the demonstrators.
• 10:25. The military sub-units in the centre of the capital city
start to withdraw in the face of the tens of thousands of demonstrators,
allowing them to get into the Palace Square, where they take over a
loudspeaker installation to address the people gathered there. At the
same time, at General Victor Atanasie Stănculescu’s order, the
columns of mechanized units and tanks heading towards the capital
city, are directed to the barracks of some units in Bucharest353.
• 10:30. Colonels Suceavă and Rădulescu and Marian Gostin
sign a document, on behalf the General Inspectorate of Militia and the
demonstrators, respectively, having the General Inspectorate of the
Militia to declare officially that “Militia gets on the side of the
revolution, endorsing it."354
• In front of the building of the General Inspectorate of the

350
Shortly, the final Resolution of the Meeting in Timişoara, drawn up by Prof. Motica, is
proposed and adopted.
351
“After the suicide of General Vasile Milea, General Iulian Vlad ordered the county
structures of the securitate: “Do not get involved in street actions. Get in contact with the
leaders of the demonstrators, collaborate with them, protect your archives, do not let the
equipment be destroyed”.
352
Alex. Mihai Stoenescu, op. cit, p. 409.
353
A little later, General Victor Stănculescu disinformed Nicolae Ceauşescu by telling him that
“the units are on their way and they will arrive in time”. Then, he proposed he should leave the
headquarters of the CC, as “the pressure of the masses in the square increases”. (Generalul
revoluției cu piciorul in ghips - [The Plastered-Leg General of the Revolution], p. 41).
354
Ion Suceavă, In numele adevărului, [In the Name of the Truth], Editura Venus, Bucureşti,
1991, p. 256.
171
Alesandru Duțu

Militia in Sibiu, about 300400 demonstrators demand to check the


building, in order to release political prisoners.
• General Iulian Topliceanu orders the troops in Cluj-Napoca,
to regroup in the barracks while avoiding “any kind of accidents".
• 10:51. The presidential decree declaring the state of
emergency in the country is presented on radio and television: “due to
serious breach of public order through acts of terrorism, vandalism
and destruction of public goods”, all units of the Ministry of National
Defence, of the Ministry of the Interior and the Patriotic Guards are
“in a state of alert” as stipulated by Art. 75, item 4 of the Constitution
of the Socialist Republic of Romania". “Public meetings and groups
larger than five people are forbidden", as is travelling by car during
the night, after 11:00 p.m. (except people working night shifts). “All
socialist units" had “to take immediate action to bring to normality
the economic production, the protection of public goods and the order,
discipline and working hours". People’s councils at municipality, town
and village level “have to strictly observe public order, to protect the
socialist and cooperative goods and property, the economic and
social activity”, while all people “have to observe the laws, public
order and peace, to participate actively in the normal conduct of
economic and social activities"355.
• Immediately afterwards a press release informs that “the
minister of defence acted like a traitor, against the independence and
sovereignty of Romania and realizing he was discovered, committed
suicide"; also, an appeal was launched to “all people who love their
country, who should act firmly against any traitors". “All roumors and
lies were directed by Milea, the traitor, in close cooperation with the
country’s traitors and the imperialist circles; he organized all these
challenges, he told lies and gave false information on the situation in
the country". Eventually, an appeal was made to “the working class, the
peasants and intellectuals, the nation, who should act responsibly for
more order and for peace", to solve the problem “closely united,
without outside intervention", for “the defence of sovereignty,
independence and integrity of Socialist Romania". The press release
was shortly repeated three more times, adding that General Vasile
Milea said nothing of the “crimes and destruction in Timişoara".
• Outraged by the statement on General Vasile Milea’s suicide,
the troops fraternize, in many instances, with the demonstrators. This is
how Gelu Voican Voiculescu describes the situation in front of cinema
theater “Scala": “You could hear people chant «The Army is with us!»
at the University". At some point, as if at a signal, the police with riot

355
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989. [The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989...]. p. 211.
172
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

shields run away, the TABs withdraw and people fill the boulevard...
they come out in the boulevard, in Bălcescu, in Magheru boulevard, in
that area, and I see the TABs coming with people standing on them. I
also get up on a TAB, go as far as Grădiniţa, I pass by my insitute and
start shouting at my colleagues in the windows, to see me. We waved at
each other and they shouted at me: «Gelu, Gelu, well done, Gelu!" It
was my moment of glory. I did my number. The TAB continued to
Romană Square and stopped. Somebody from the inside told us: «All
right, this is it, get down as we have to go back»"356.
• 11:00. General Borscis L., chief of General Staff of the
Hungarian Army asks General Costache Codrescu, chief of section in
the Romanian General Staff, over the phone357 if the entire Romanian
Army is in alert and if there is any danger for Hungary. He then asked
if the Romanian military needed help. At the end of the discussion,
General Ilie Ceauşescu interferes and requests that the Hungarian
media should no longer make anti-Romanian propaganda. General
Borsics said the Hungarian military do not do such things358.
• The workers from the industrial zone of Cluj-Napoca arrive in the
center of the city and chant anti-Ceauşescu and anti-dictatorship slogans.
• Military sub-units in Turda, deployed along the bridges over
Arieş, are called back to barracks; at 02:00 p.m. the rest of the
military in the streets are also called back to barracks.
• 11:20 Informed by General Victor Stănculescu that the
demonstrators arrived in Palace Square, Nicolae Ceauşescu replies:
,,Why did you let them? Who let them go there?"359.
• General Mircea Mocanu, commander of the Territory Air-
Defence Command, orders the troops of the Air-Defence Officers’
School in Braşov should withdraw and have no more contacts with the
demonstrators360.
• 11:15 In Bucharest, demonstrators headed by Mihai Voicu
enter the coutyard of the television building (having the permission of
the Securitate sub-units that were protecting it and were ordered by
General Ghiţă to let them pass), discuss with Petre Constantin, general
director of the institution, who agrees to the installation of an
amplification station there.

356
Alex Mihai Stoenescu, Interviuri despre revoluţie [Interviews on the Revolution], Editura
RAO, Bucureşti, 2004, p. 208.
357
Translator Mircea Dumitru.
358
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia română din Decembrie 1989....,.[The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989...]. p. 218
359
In the meantime, General Nicolae Eftimescu conceives a plan for the evacuation of
Nicolae Ceauşescu from the Central Committee with the help of armored trucks, that were
going to approach Entrance B of the building „hatches lifted".
360
At 11:50 a.m. the troops were ordered back to barracks and the order was repeated that
weapons should not be used.
173
Alesandru Duțu

• 11:30-12:00 General Victor Atanasie Stănculescu orders


that all units withdraw to barracks. Then, he informs Nicolae
Ceauşescu that „the troops can no loger enter the square" (as it was
already surrounded by demonstrators) and proposes that he leave by
helicopter,,to one of the command centers in the country". The chief
of state refuses, tells him that, as the Commander of the Armed
Forces, his „commanding” post was in the Central Committee and
sends a message to the troops through the officers of the 5th
Directorate protecting him, that they had to resist the pressure of the
masses. General Iulian Vlad takes a different attitude and asks
Colonel Octavian Nae, chief of the guards, to take measures to block
the entrance doors in such a way as to have the possibility „if need
be, to open them". In the meantime, General Victor Stănculescu
discusses with General Neagoe and orders General Iosif Rus, the Air
Force commander, to have two helicopters sent to them. After the
helicopter flown by pilot Vasile Maluţan361 landed, Nicolae
Ceauşescu tries to address the crowd in Palace Square (about 70,000
– 80,000 people), but people boo, whistle and chant (,,Down with
Ceauşescu!",,,Milea is no traitor!"). After this new failure, Nicolae
şi Elena Ceauşescu head for the elevators, go up to the terrace and
into the helicopter. In the meantime, Elena Ceauşescu demands
„Shoot them, Shoot them!". Tudor Postelnicu orders the guards that
in case „the hooligans enter the building, they should open fire
using, of course, live ammunition”. According to some sources,
General Iulian Vlad, chief of Securitate would have said to Colonel
Nae: „No, Nae, do not use the weapons, not even for a deliquent act,
do what you can. No, there was enough bloodshed". Then, when the
demonstrators force the doors of the building, he orders again: „Do
not use your weapons!"
• Almost at the same time, General Ilie Ceauşescu writes
Telephone Note No. 37, while in the office of the defence minister,
with the following contents: „All military units should be on alert and
act according to the requirements of the «state of emergency»"362.

361
A second helicopter flew over the square and threw fliers with the following contents:
„Young men and women! The enemy lured you into harming your country. They wish chaos
and disorder so that they could conquer Transylvania, the whole Romania. Stop the
irrational actions before it is too late!";,,Workers! Do not let yourselves be deceived by the
demagogical promises of our people’s enemies. Be vigil and expose those who wish to divide
us, to create panic and disorder"; „Romanians! Christmas is three days away. Wouldn’t it be
better if we waited for it in peace, at home?"
362
Shortly, the order would be annuled by General Victor Stănculescu, who would reconfirm
in - Telephone Note No. 38 – the order that troops should withdraw to barracks and would
demand through - Telephone Note No. 39 – that only orders issued by the Ministry of
National Defence would be carried out; it was him as well, who ordered that Ilie Ceauşescu
be arrested.
174
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• 12:00 Lieutenant-Colonel Grigore Blaga, Militia commander


of Cluj-Napoca reassures the demonstrators that militia is on the side
of the revolution and allows some officers to accompany him on his
way downtown.
• Demonstrators in Sibiu ask that the demonstrators arrested the
previous day be released. Personnel of the Ministry of the Interior
allow two delegations to enter the building to see that there were no
more arrested people there. Despite this, the tension between the two
sides rises and some demonstrators force their entry in the building.
From the County Inspectorate of the Ministry of the Interior and the
Militia, grenades are thrown and guns are fired, which results in
victims and panic (according to some testimonies, people were
shooting from the building of the Medical Center and other
buildings). As among the victims were students and military troops of
the,,Nicolae Bălcescu" Active Duty Officers’ School across the street,
the students defending the unit start shooting in the direction of the
fire.
• General Ilie Ceauşescu summons Rear Admiral Mihailov,
Soviet military attachee, and General G.N. Bogaciaev, deputy
commander in chief of the United Armed Forces to Bucharest363, at
the defence ministry, to inform them that during the day a new
government would be established in Romania and requests that the
Soviet Union „show a lot of restraint... a lot of understanding", to be
supportive „at this time of great confusion" and to use its influence so
that,,elements hostile to socialism should not violate the achievements
of the Romanian people" or,,establish the imperialist way of life".
Then, he declares that,,foreign imperialist circles organized an
international conspiracy, aiming at destroying socialism, at diverting
Romania from the path of building a new life, removing it from the
socialist system and the Warsaw pact", etc. He reassures them that
Romania would be loyal to the Warsaw Pact and all the assumed
international agreements364.
• 12:06 Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu leave the building of the
Central Committee in Bucharest365, the symbol of communist power
for decades, in a helicopter (flown by Lieutenant-Colonel Vasile
Maluţan), that had landed ealier on the terrace of the building. The
news of Nicolae Ceauşescu’s departure from the Central Committee
triggers a wave of enthusiasm all over the country.

363
General A.C. Gaponenko was away to Chişinău.
364
For details: Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din decembrie
1989.,.[The Romanian Revolution of December 1989...]. p. 218-222. Rear Admiral Ştefan
Dinu, chief of Defence Intelligence Directorate participated in the discussion.
365
Together with Emil Bobu and Manea Mănescu.
175
Alesandru Duțu

• People in the Palace Square in Bucharest jubilate and chant


„Victory, Victory, Victory!",,,Ole, ole, Ceauşescu is gone!" With
Nicolae Ceauşescu’s flight from the symbolic building of the
Romanian communism, the leading role of the Romanian Communist
Party ceases366. The building is soon occupied by demonstrators.
Daniel Păcuraru goes up on the building and removes the RCP flag.
• Most of the securitate men in the building367 leave their
weapons behind368 and get out of the building369; some of them,
including some of the leaders, mix with the demonstrators (Tudor
Postelnicu, Ion Dincă, Constantin Dăscălescu, etc). From the balcony of
the Central Committee, the demonstrators begin to deliver speeches.
Dan Iosif makes an appeal to order and proposes that a moment of
silence be kept for,,the victims who fell for our liberty". Meeting his
friend Harosa in Dorobanţi St., Gelu Voican Voiculescu, tells
him:,,Run, go quickly to Casa Scânteii and bring Iliescu here!"370
• Demonstrators in Buzău enter, peacefully, the building of the
Party County Council and locations of the Ministry of the Interior. In
the afternoon, the new bodies of the local power are established.
• The Militia in Braşov, gets the order signed by General
Romeo Câmpeanu, deputy chief of the Militia General Inspectorate
that weapons should not be used, that the population should not be
aggressed, that demonstrators should be stopped from entering their
locations and disarm the military troops. At the same time, troops are
ordered back to barracks. Taking advantage of this, demonstrators
enter the building of the Party County Council and start talking of the
new political and administrative structure of the municipality and
county.
• The population of Constanţa gets out in the streets, heading
for the political and administrativ center of the town, in a joyful and
enthusiastic mood.
• Demonstrators in Craiova enter the building of the Party
County Council, left voluntarily by First Secretary Ion Traian
Ştefănescu.

366
Prof. Ioan Scurtu, Ph.D. considers that with Nicolae Ceauşescu’s departure from the
Central Committee „that symbolized the vital center of the Romanian political power, the
socialist-totalitarian regime collapsed" (Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989 în context
internaţional – [The Romanian Revolution of December 1989 in International Context], p.
234).
367
About 1,000, completely equipped with machine-guns, grenades, automatic weapons, etc.
368
Some of them were taken by the demonstrators.
369
Some of them resurfaced only on December 24-25th 1989.
370
In an interview Alex Mihai Stoenescu took to Gelu Voican Voiculescu, the latter
confessed:,,I saw Ceauşescu’s successor in him. I was interested in the character, in getting
in touch with him" (Alex Mihai Stoenescu, Interviuri despre revoluţie [Interviews on the
revolution], Editura RAO, Bucureşti, 2004, p. 213)
176
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• Though the demonstrations in Hunedoara County were


peaceful, pressure groups succeed entering the buildings of County
Militia in Deva, Hunedoara and Petroşani, releasing arrested and
convicted people.
• The Party County Council in Cluj-Napoca is assaulted by
demonstrators. First Secretary Ioachim Moga starts crying, but
demonstrators comfort him and establish a leading committee (actor
Dorel Vişan - president - and Doina Cornea – honorary president);
effective measures are taken so that economic, social and
administrative activities of the town function normally. Doina Cornea,
Matei Boilă and others go to the Command of ther 4th Army Corps
and General Iulian Topliceanu receives them. In the meantime, the
crowd forces their entry into the securitate building and release the
convicts. In front of the University Bookshop people chant: „Down
with Ceauşescu!", „Down with the dictator!", „Death to criminals!"
and sing „Awaken thee, Romanian”. At Dorel Vişan’s request,
General Iulian Topliceanu comes to the former Party County Council
and reassures the crowd (from the balcony) that the military won’t
shoot at people anymore and asks them to go home.
• When the demonstrators in Lugoj arrive at the gates of
military unit UM 01428, the troops place amplifiers on the terrace so
that people hear live about Nicolae Ceauşescu’s flight from the
Central Committee of the RCP.
• 12:15 About 25-30 men come running out of the two
buildings of the Ministry of the Interior Inspectorate (Securitate and
Militia) in Sibiu; they are dressed in civilian and military uniforms
(kaki uniforms like a conscript’s, U.S.L.A overalls-special units of
antiterrorist combat, etc) and shoot their weapons (pistols and AKs);
some of them (those coming from the Militia building), escalate the
fence of the „Nicolae Bălcescu" Active Duty Officers’s School,
organized in three groups, heading for the main building (with the
school flag) and the telephone exchange, while continuing to shoot at
the people around. Taken by surprise, the troops in the school defence
formation open fire as well371.
In the meantime, at 12:30, Colonel Petrişor Teodor, chief of
County Securitate asked the troops inside the building to hand over
their weapons „and to find ways of getting in touch with the
demonstrators". Local and central military echelons are contacted and
asked to cease fire. At the same time, in different visible points of the
building, white sheets were displayed. The exchange of fire continued

371
The troops and the Militia men in the building and in the area continued shooting at the
demonstrators hidden between the two TABs and the military school fence; the fire then
extended to the school area.
177
Alesandru Duțu

until 12:00 a.m., when the building of the Ministry of the Interior was
almost completely destroyed. The crossfire killed and injured civilians
in the area, including people in their homes. Until 22 December 1989,
49 people were killed and 47 injured in the area of the Militia,
Securitate, Officer’s School and side streets (27 dead and 4 wounded
from militia and securitate, 1 dead and 7 injured from the defence
ministry, 21 dead and 36 injured among the civilian population)372.
• Demonstrators in Mediaş occupy the Securitate building, with
no serious incidents; weapons and ammunition are handed over to
demonstrators’ representatives.
• As a result of the commanders’orders to remove the bullet
magazine from the weapons, people huf the troops in Târgu Mureş
and chant „The Army is with us!". A part of the demonstrators enter
the building of the Party County Council while others head for the
buildings of the County Militia and Securitate, where they steal
weapons and ammunition.
12:21 The Dauphin 203 helicopter under the command of
Vasile Maluţan lands in the courtyard of the presidential palace in
Snagov; there, Nicolae Ceauşescu speaks on the phone with several
party first secretaries from Olt, Constanţa, Târgovişte, Dolj counties
etc, asking what the situation is in the area. For his personal safety, he
tries to summon (through Vasile Maluţan) several helicopters with
troops on board, but the Air Force commanders would not follow his
orders anymore. He speaks with General Ilie Ceauşescu, who was just
speaking with the Soviet military attachee, whom he asks not to get
involved in the events in Romania and to put a word to the
government in Budapest not to send troops in Romania. Not knowing
of this, Nicolae Ceauşescu asks him to take measures and solve the
„situation” but hangs up hearing of the meeting with the Soviet
military attachee373.
• 12:30 Petre Roman who was in the area of the „Intercontinental“
Hotel the evening before, declares from the balcony of the Central
Committee:,,Fellow countrymen! Now and here, we declare the fall of
Ceauşescu’s dictatorship! Now and here, we decide that power belongs
to people". Then, General Voinea, commander of the 1st Army Corps,
makes clear: „Brothers! The Army – accomplished its mission, it’s
over! Now, you have to say what is to be done!"374.
• 12:45 Military sub-units in front of the Party County Council
in Arad start withdrawing to barracks.
• The Timişoara garrison commander, Lieutenant-Colonel

372
Parchetul Militar [Military Prosecutor’s Office] p. 187.
373
Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 178.
374
Alex. Mihai Stoenescu, op. cit., p. 397.
178
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Constantin Zeca, declares in front of over 100,000 demonstrators:


„The military belong to the people, the military are the sons of the
people, the military have the same interests and salutes the victory of
the revolution in the entire country". Eleven officers are included in
the Romanian Democratic Front Council.
• The Patriotic Guards in Braşov are ordered to hand over their
weapons and ammunition on 19 December.
• 12:47 Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu (accompanied by Major
Florin Raţ and Captain Marian Rusu) leave Snagov Palace (by the
same helicopter)375. Under the pretext that they were detected by
radars and risked being hit by air-defence artillery, Vasile Maluţan
lands at Sălcuţa, near Boteni (at 01:09 p.m.) leaving them and the two
adjutants near Bucureşti-Piteşti highway and takes off heading for
Bucharest. After several adventures, Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu
traveled (first, at 01:32 p.m, in doctor Nicolae Decă’s car to Văcăreşti,
then at 01:55 p.m. by Petrişor Nicolae’s car) to Târgovişte376, finally
arriving (at 02:26 p.m.), at the Plant Protection Center377. In the
meantime, hearing the news on the radio, Nicolae Ceauşescu bursts:
„It’s a coup! They sold themselves for a handful of dollars!" At the
center he listens what was broadcast on TV and bursts again: „Turn
off the TV! It’s all lies, do not believe the authors of the coup"378.
• 12:55-13:25 The first group of demonstrators appear on TV,
among them actor Ion Caramitru379, who says that „with God’s help
(he made the sign of the cross) we are now in the television studios"
and he introduces disident poet Mircea Dinescu. The latter says that
„the dictator ran away”, that in ten minutes an appeal/ proclamation
to the people „the heroic Romanian people"380 would be read and
requires the troops of the Ministry of the Interior to „hand over their
weapons and retreat to barracks".

375
When they parted, Manea Mănescu kissed Nicolae Ceauşescu’s hand.
376
They were abandoned at Sălcuţa by Marian Rusu, who also took a large envelope with 7
savings accounts of Elena Ceauşescu (in her children’s name) worth 3,5million lei. After
arriving in Bucharest, via Târgovişte, Marian Rusu handed over the accounts to Colonel
Teacă, commander of the Border Troops who, in turn, handed it over at the Ministry of
National Defence (Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 19-199).
377
More details in: Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 185-220. After Nicolae and Elena
Ceauşescu got in Nicolae Decă’s car to go to Târgovişte), engineer Marius Popescu, who had
seen them in Sălcuţa, gets in touch with the television (from a pharmacy in Titu-Târg)
announcing (George Marinescu) that they were heading for Târgovişte (initially, he told
Teodor Brateş they were heading for Piteşti (Ibidem, p. 195).
378
Ibidem, p. 223.
379
Later, actor Ion Caramitru spoke on several occasions in studios 4 and 5 of the Television
and in Palace Square.
380
The attempts made in this respect by Mircea Dinescu resulted only in appeals to the
population to be calm, to watch what was said on TV (but also to get in the streets „quietly"),
to delegate representatives, who should go to the Television, etc.
179
Alesandru Duțu

• Alexandru Mironov breaks the news on the radio. Entire


Romania is delirious.
• Further, the Television bradcasts simultaneously images from
the courtyard, from Studios 4 and 5, that was full of people chanting
„Liberty!", „We are Romanians!", „Down with Ceauşescu dynasty!",
„He should be judged for the spilled blood!", Ole, ole, ole, Ceauşescu
is gone!" etc. Mihai Voicu speaks, in the courtyard of the Television,
of the establishment of a Citizens’ Committee, covering a wide range
of professions, of free elections, of citizens’ freedoms and keeping a
moment of silence in memory of the people killed.
• Ion Caramitru tries to make order (always in the courtyard)
and appeals to the Christian feelings of the people saying: „God is
with us! It’s Christmas Eve. Jesus Christ is born on Earth....
Securitate troops have not gave in, yet".
• From Studio 4, well-known film director Sergiu Nicolaescu
makes an eulogy of the heroism and sacrifice of people of Timişoara,
makes an appeal to the military and the Ministry of the Interior, to be on
the side of the people, to pledge themselves to the people. He asks
workers to stop working in order to help the demonstrators in the streets
and at the Television („There are 2 million people in Bucharest...a
million should be here! Please!...Get out in the streets, Romanians!
Come here at the Television") and reassures that „nobody shoots at
people anymore". He declares: „We wish to fight for liberty and
independence... No country is free unless its people are free"381. Then,
he gives the floor to Mircea Dinescu, who reads a short Declaration to
the Country. Addressing to the supporters of the United Workers’ Front
(non-existent), to the entire people, the poet calls to calm and order,
asks the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of the Interior
to be on the side of the revolution and to send their representatives to
the Television. Then, he informs that in Sibiu „they still fire at people"
and makes a last appeal „to these criminals, to stop the bloodshed".
• 13:00. Demonstrators in front of the Party County Council in
Târgovişte chant anti-dictatorship slogans.
• Demonstrators in Cluj-Napoca group themselves at the
Mayor’s Office and enter it (13:00), devastating it. Then, at 14:00,
some of them head for the Securitate and Militia buildings.
• Demonstrators in Dej occupy the building of the Municipal
Party Committee.
• Ana Blandiana speaks on the radio in Bucharest: „It is hard
to believe that after so many years of humility, we, alone, not by some
political arrangement, not with the support of those, of others bigger
and stronger than us, us alone, with the strength of our souls, which I

381
Revoluţia Română în direct [The Romanian Revolution Live], vol. I, Bucureşti, 1990, p. 27.
180
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

didn’t believe in anymore, were able to do this. The victims in


Timişoara and Bucharest have suddenly gave us back the most
beautiful of our dreams; as the image Eminescu had of the Romanian
people, today, in the streets, in Palace Square, on Magheru Blvd. in
Militari district"382.
• 13:25. Captain Mihai Lupoi makes an appeal to order on TV,
declaring: „The entire people of Romania, especially young people,
who are enthusiastic about these changes, have be calm, reasonable,
to understand that arson, vandalism, damages do no good to
anybody". He then reassures that „the military is on the side of the
people", that „the military did not shoot anybody" (at that moment,
there is a stir in Studio 4). After misinforming that „the Ministry of
National Defence has no leadeship", he demands that patriotic guards
„defend the revolution we now make", which „is our revolution, for
us... Otherwise, there will be a blood bath and chaos of which the old
elements would take advantage", etc. At the end of his first television
intervention, Captain Mihai Lupoi makes an appeal to securitate men
„to stop acting against the population", reassuring them that „nobody
would do them any harm"383. While Mihai Lupoi was speaking,
Mircea Dinescu interfered with the request that „national defence
guards should be created in each town, that people take power and
create self-defence committees in each town". Then he says „new
trustworthy commanders should be elected"384.
• In the meantime, Romanian mobilizing music is played in the
courtyard of the television;,,Deşteaptă-te române!" [Awaken Thee,
Romanian!],,,Pui de lei!" [Lion Cobs], Hora Unirii!" [Union Hora],
Trei culori! [Three Colors]", etc.
• When the TV broadcasting is resumed from Studio 4, reporter
Petre Popescu announces that the employees in the television (he
implies that the statement includes the workers at the radio) are „in
the service of the people". He declares: „We wish to make up for our
mistake and now, 25 years later, we promise that from now on, we
would only tell you the truth".
• The same from Teodor Brateş as well, who summons the
population to come to the Television („So that we should not be
challenged. Come and support the voice of the truth!").
• An engineer from Lugoj asks the Television to broadcast live
from Timişoara as well („from the people who have suffered for more
than a week").

382
Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei Române în direct [The Trilogy of the Romanian
Revolution Live], vol.1, p. 310.
383
The wrong and dangerous statements Captain Mihai Lupoi made at the time created a
commotion in the military, determining General Victor Stănculescu to order contermeasures.
384
Revoluţia Română în direct [The Romanian Revolution Live], vol. I, Bucureşti, 1990, p. 30.
181
Alesandru Duțu

• 13:30. Arriving at the Ministry of National Defence, around


13:00, General Victor Stănculescu asks that the plaster cast be
removed from his leg. Then, he signs two telephone notes that would
prove highly important for the military: Telephone Note no. 38 („All
military units across the country withdraw to barracks in order,
calmly and would not let themselves be disarmed or dispersed.
Military units deployed for the protection of the party county councils
will try to calm people down, without shooting, then withdraw to
barracks. Military units will organize the defence of barracks and all
military objectives".) and Telephone Note no. 39 („Only the orders of
the Minister of National Defence385 will be carried out. According to
these orders, military commanders should ensure the protection of
highly important civilian objectives with armed sub-units, who should
only fire in case they are attacked by armed groups. Military
commanders will establish the defence priorities in agreement with
the representatives of local authorities. The troops protecting these
objectives should wear tricolor armbands"386.

385
The reaction came in response to the previous declaration of Captain Mihai Lupoi on TV,
„that the Ministry of National Defence has no leadership anymore".
386
Talking of Telephone Note no. 39, Sergiu Nicolaescu states: „It is the moment when the
military officially passed on the side of the revolution. By not recognizing Nicolae
Ceauşescu’s supreme command, the military legalized the revolution...That was the moment
when the higher command of the military effectively took over the prerogatives of the supreme
commander, at a time when the minister of national defence had not yet been appointed. It is
the moment when the Constituion falls officially. General Stănculescu has the entire
responsibility for the document" (Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989, [The Struggle for
Power] p. 94, 175). Alex. Mihai Stoenescu considers telephone note no. 39 as „the
fundamental and decisive document of the military coup... faithfully carried out by the entire
military, for the taking over of the prerogatives of the supreme commander by the defence
minister" (Istoria loviturilor de stat în România, [The History of Coups d’Etat in Romania]
vol. 4, partea a II-a,,,Revoluţia română din decembrie 1989" - o tragedie românească [The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989 – A Romanian Tragedy], Editura RAO, Bucureşti,
2005, p. 403-404). Prof. Ioan Scurtu, Ph.D. considers that the telephone notes signed by
General Victor Stănculescu were the result of the situation created „by the larger part of the
population, that dominated the streets", as they were sent after Nicolae Ceauşescu „already
abandoned power, was no longer the military supreme commander or general secretary of the
RCP or president of the Socialist Republic of Romania ". This way, there was „no one to give
a coup to – given it had been his intention – as it lacked the target”. Among other arguments
brought by Prof. Ioan Scurtu, Ph.D., to the idea that it was not a coup, is that General Victor
Stănculescu did not take a high position in the state, nor did he appoint someone to lead the
government or other political and administrative structures" (Revoluţia Română din
Decembrie 1989 în context internaţional, [The Romanian revolution of December 1989 in
International Context], p. 239 şi 240). I personally believe (author’s note) that Prof. Ioan
Scurtu, PH.D., is right and that the two telephone notes were both natural and necessary, as
they were sent at a trying time for the military, as the television sent troubling messages to the
troops, especially for those in command, who were considered guilty of the reprisals in
Timişoara, Cluj, Sibiu, Arad, Bucharest, etc. The two telegrams had a calming effect on the
military (especially commanders), established exact action goals, creating the legal frame
182
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• Prof. Răzvan Theodorescu, Ph.D., makes an appeal on TV for


the salvation of the national heritage387.
• A group of demonstrators occupy the securitate building in
Braşov, without meeting any resistance; a part of the demonstrators
(most of them teenagers) break into a weapon and ammunition depot
and arm themselves.
• 13:45. Ion Iliescu, director of the Technical Publishing House
and a well-known adversary of Nicolae Ceauşescu, talks on the phone
with General Victor Stănculescu, inquiring on the situation in the
military and what is happening in the country (including Sibiu),
etc.388.
• 13:50. County Militia from Târgovişte is announced over the
telephone (by the daughter of engineer Păun, chief of the Plant
Protection Center) that Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu are in the area of
the Plant Protection Center389 outside the town, but she was not been
taken seriously.
• In Palace Square in Bucharest, they ask, among other things,
that the former Foreign Affairs Minister, Corneliu Mănescu, be
appointed Secretary General of the RCP or Prime Minister, while
governments are done and undone in the Central Committee (led by
Constantin Dăscălescu390, Ilie Verdeţ391, Corneliu Mănescu etc.),
political structures are established, that had never existed before, and
would never really come into being (Front of the People’s Unity,
initiated by Petre Roman, Civic Forum, a wish of Dumitru Mazilu,
Council of National Democracy announced by Alexa Visarion, etc.).

necessary to continue the military activities and to establish relations with the representatives
of the new local authorities.
387
After speaking on TV, Răzvan Theodorescu left, accompanied by military troops, to
Nicolae Ceauşescu’s residence in Primăverii district.
388
Speaking of this episode, Alex. Mihai Stoenescu thinks that at that moment, General
Victor Stănculescu had decided „which political nucleus he would hand over the power to"
(Istoria loviturilor de stat în România, [The History of Coups d’Etat in Romania] vol, 4,
partea a II-a,,,Revoluţia română din decembrie 1989" - o tragedie românească, [The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989 – A Romanian Tragedy], Editura RAO, Bucureşti,
2005, p. 486). In turn, Gelu Voican Voiculescu reveals in an interview, speaking of the same
moment, that Hegheduş showed him the respective phone and said:,,This telephone is
historic, this is the phone from which Iliescu called Stănculescu".
389
Engineer Păun had been announced (by phone) by engineer Şeinescu.
390
Constantin Dăscălescu informed that he ordered securitate commanders „to stop any
hostilities" and the release of all convicts. Eventually, under pressure from Dan Iosif and
Alexa Visarion, he announced from the balcony of the Central Committee that he and the
government he led resigned.
391
In the „program” presented, Ilie Verdeţ showed that he wanted „renewal”, but that, for
the time being, „we have to accept, willy-nilly, a period of respite if we want that the existing
bodies work normally". He is in favor of maintaining the old party and state structures.
Among the ministers taken into account were Doina Cornea, Mircea Dinescu, Ana Blandiana,
Corneliu Mănescu, General Voinea, Dumitru Mazilu, Silviu Brucan a.o.
183
Alesandru Duțu

• Demonstrators in Cluj-Napoca enter the buildings of the


County Party Council and the Mayor’s Office. Other groups head for
the buildings of securitate and militia. The situation is held under
control, peacefully, by the military, who took over the weapons and
ammunition of the Ministry of the Interior, whose troops was detained
in military units. The individuals arrested and held at the General
Inspectorate of the Ministry of the Interior392 are released.
• At the time the military withdrew its troops fron the square
and the County Party Council393, almost the entire population of Arad
was in the streets, in a general state of elation. Revolution leaders
enter the building of the County Party Council. From a balcony there,
Valentin Voicilă declares Arad a free town and makes an appeal to
calm and peace. An announcement is made that the two local
newspapers change their names from „Flacăra Roşie" into,,Adevărul"
and from,,Voros Lobogo" into,,Jelen". Also, the Committee of the
Romanian Democratic Front is enlarged to include workers’
representatives and military men. Valentin Voicilă is elected president,
Dănilă Onofrei and Mircea Crişan, vicepresidents. The new committee
of local authorities requests military support for the defence of the
council building394 and other important objectives of the town: airport,
hospital, the electric plant, the main post office, bridges, the printing
house, the chemical plant, etc. A part of the RCP activists join the
revolution and some of them are accepted395.
• The local securitate commander in Brăila, orders its agents to
go home.
• A delegation of the over 1,000 demonstrators in Braşov,
gathered in front of the Militia building, enters the building only to
find out that there are no arrested demonstrators there.
• In the afternoon, the workers of the main factories (IMASA,
IAIAM,,,Oltul" etc.) of Sfântu Gheorghe form a detachment that
would later participate in several meetings and demonstrations in
town.
• Peaceful demonstrations continue in Reşiţa, Moldova Nouă,
Oraviţa, Oţelul Roşu, Băile Herculane, Bocşa and other localities
from Caraş-Severin County, where the new revolutionary bodies take
over the power.
• A part of the demonstrators in Târgovişte, enter the buildings
of the County Inspectorate of the Ministry of the Interior and the

392
Weapons, ammunition and police evidence were stolen on that occasion.
393
Elena Pugna, First Secretary of the County Party Council requested military support and
left the building.
394
Later, weapons and ammunition were distributed to civilians from the depot of the
patriotic Guards.
395
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989, p. 349.
184
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Militia from Târgovişte, where they tear down Nicolae Ceauşescu’s


portraits and take the building under their protection.
• The inhabitants of Craiova also get out in the streets. Due to
panic (at 02:00 p.m.) some of the participants in the meeting start
shoving and hitting each other.
• 14:00-14:15. In Studio 5 of the Television in Bucharest,
revolutionist Petre Roman, a lecturer at the Polytechnical Institute,
presents the document called People’s Declaration: „Fellow
countrymen! Today, 22 December 1989, dictator Ceauşescu was
overthrown by the united people and with the direct support of the
military. At this time, the people together with the military demand that
political power be taken over by democratic institutions elected by the
free people. We make an appeal to the entire population, on behalf of
the inhabitants of Bucharest who now demonstrate in the Palace
Square and have control over the Central Committee, that calm and
public order be maintained, in order to be able to organize a free and
democratic life"396.
• Further, on TV screens, General Voinea, commander of the
1st Army Corps can be seen making an appeal to all troops „to obey
fully the orders of their chain-of-command" asking commanders „that
no reprisals be ordered against the population". He also requests the
structures of the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of the
Interior to „support the political trend in our country” and „to be
able to respond with determination to any attempt that might try to
shatter our new political direction, that is socialist democratic, of our
country". He finally addresses all garrison commanders „where there
still are conflict spots, especially in Sibiu but others as well, to get in
touch with popular forces and take urgent steps for the immediate
termination of any violent military operations or otherwise, as they
are really pointless"397.
• After several other interventions, Ion Caramitru announces
that Nicolae Ceauşescu, „our people’s executioner is on Titu airfield,
trying to escape. He is in Titu now. Whoever is in the area, go get the
bastard so that he does not run abroad". Mircea Dinescu requests that
an appeal be made to the military, while General Mihai Chiţac

396
Revoluţia Română în direct [The Romanian Revolution Live], vol. I, Bucureşti, 1990, p.
34-35. After he went off the air and at Ion Iliescu’s proposal, who had just arrived at the
television, Petre Roman, together with Gelu Voican Voiculescu and Mihai Montanu, went to
the Ministry of National Defence where, „on behalf of the demonstrators in the Central
Committee" and as messengers of Ion Iliescu, they got in touch with General Victor
Stănculescu, who reassured them that the military is on the side of the people. Mihai Montanu
stayed, while Petre Roman and Gelu Voican Voiculescu returned to the television.
397
Revoluţia română în direct [The Romanian Revolution Live], vol. I, Bucureşti, 1990. p.
35.
185
Alesandru Duțu

addresses military units in the area „to respond to the call of the new
political orientation" (a voice asks from off:,,Let us not allow the
dictator to escape without judgement! Let’s capture him and bring
him to trial!").
• Petre Popescu announces that in Sibiu „in George Coşbuc St.
and other areas in town, heavy battles take place between the forces
of securitate, militia and the military", while in Sighişoara „the old
leadership was overthrown and a new democratic leadership has
been established".
• Belu Zingher reads an Appeal of the Romanian Democratic
Movement that Romanian asks people to go on demonstrating
until,,Ceauşescu government falls", to demand a new provisional
government that „should organize free elections”, to occupy mayor’s
offices, editorial offices, printing houses, radio and television stations
and use them „for the benefit of the people". He proposes a that a
„general strike" be organized. He addresses the military, to not shoot
at the Romanian people, to defend them against „dictator
Ceauşescu’s gangs of killers". He calls the representatives of the RCP
to leave the „criminal leadership" and realease political prisoners.
• In a harsh voice, Gelu Voican Voiculescu, the future Prime
Vice Prime Minister, thinks of „the people now lying in prisons
convicted with false sentences of petty crimes" and demands the
amnesty and revision of all judicial cases of the people recently
arrested. Warning that „the eyes of the entire world are watching us"
he demands that „we should show them we are respectable people,
who know what order, hierarchy and legality means". He says
that,,though we suffered we should not be vengeful", but that „we
have to get the securitate archives, the archives of the Ministry of the
Interior, to start checking and condemning those who acted against
us". He demands that „self-defence committees be organized to
ensure peace, order and discipline at all levels". He praizes Aurel
Dragoş Munteanu, who desolidarized with the RCP „in a dignified
manner”.
• The Radio station in Timişoara resumes its activity.
• At the Mayor’s Office in Arad the local committee of the
Romanian Democratic Front is established. Together with the military
commanders, the new local authorities start improving the protection
of the strategic objectives in town (airport, chemical plant, water
plant, railway depot, etc.); air-defence sub-units enter the 1st stage of
combat readiness. Most of the inhabitants of Arad are in the streets.
• 14:15. General Victor Stănculescu orders that Infantry and
Paratroopers units secure the building of the Romanian Televison.
Later, troops would be placed to guard many of the important
objectives in the capital city.
186
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• 14:25-14:40. Dressed in uniform, General (R) Nicolae


Militaru declared on TV that he couldn’t have stayed aside, „at a time
like this and after such a crime was committed against the Socialist
Republic of Romania", in which „the Romanian military was
involved”. He then cautions that „should it be later proved that the
Romanian military was shooting at people, that would be really bad.
Bad for the military in general, bad for each and every unit commander
and conscript that carried out such an order". He goes on appealing to
„the comrade generals" in high military positions (generals Guşă,
Topliceanu, Voinea, Dândăreanu, Rus) to put an end to the
„bloodshed". He asked generals Guşă and Voinea to come to the
„Radio and Television Station”, „immediately" and order that
„everything stopps" and send troops back to barracks. He addresses
generals Vlad and Bucurescu asking them to take „the necessary steps”
in their line of duty at the Ministry of the Interior. Then, his tone
becomes adamant:,,Stop the bloodshed. Stop shooting, no matter what.
Send the troops back to barracks!" He finally addresses the entire
Romanian people: „Express yourselves, my brothers, express your joy,
but peacefully, not destroying shop windows. Dance, express your joy
but not by destroying goods. Do not give them the opportunity to attack
you for something like that". He concludes with a sentence full of
ambiguity and meanings:,,If I made myself understood, I’d like the
comrades I nominated acknowledge my plea"398.
• Commander Dumitrescu-Cico addresses an appeal to Vice
Admiral Muşat, Rear Admiral Petre George and all his Navy
colleagues to stand by the people and help the country. He then asks
„comrade Ion Iliescu, a former colleague of mine, to come to the
Television", because, „comrades, we have to get organized. I use this
word, comrade, because comrade means a lot, a lot, it means true
friendship, soul to soul, it means everything, it means giving all
you’ve got to your neighbour"399.
• TV anchor George Marinescu announces that an agricultural
engineer phoned to say Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu stepped out of
an elicopter in the proximity of Titu and embarked in a red Dacia,
heading for Highway no. 6.
• In a new TV intervention, Sergiu Nicolaescu asks the military
leadership to send an official delegate to the Television in order to

398
The televised speech of General Nicolae Militaru stirred a lot of comments and fears
among Romanian military men, especially commanders involved, in one form or another, in
the reprisals that had taken place up to that moment. That same evening, the Televison would
break the news that General Militaru was going to be the interim leader of the Ministry of
National Defence (the appointment was made official the next day, at noon).
399
Revoluţia Română în direct [The Romanian Revolution Live], vol. I, Bucureşti, 1990, p.
30-40.
187
Alesandru Duțu

inform,,who took over the leadership of the Ministry of National


Defence". He makes another appeal to General Victor Stănculescu,
whom he asks to,,contact us immediately" and say,,how things are" at
the ministry.
• 14:30. In Braşov, the troops of the Ministry of National
Defence and the Ministry of the Interior are sent to barracks.
• In Constanţa, protesters broke into the buildings of the
County Militia (releasing 113 convicts and destroying things) and the
Securitate. Half an hour later they forced their entry into the building
of the municipal Militia, where they molested several employees.
Then they guarded them until they were taken over by the Navy
Command (18:00).
• 14:35. In Studio 4 of the Television, Ion Iliescu appears
(perceived, in some circles, long before that, as a possible predecessor
of Nicolae Ceauşescu)400, blaming Nicolae Ceauşescu for his policy
and declaring: „Nobody expected that this regime, that considered
itself almighty, omniscient and an all maker, that showed no
reasoning and did not see the drama of the Romanian nation, would
even try to solve the critical problems the economy, the social
situation, the people of all social standings are facing, in a natural
and peaceful way, through an understanding with the citizens. It
pushed the social and economic situation of the country and the
political tensions into an abyss and it is ultimately guilty of genocide.
Ceauşescu is the first one to be blamed. This man, lacking heart, soul,
brains or reason, who would not give up, was a fanatic, who ruled
this country with medieval means, and went as far as order that his
own people be shot at. And he had the nerve to speak on behalf of his
people! To speak in the name of the defence, of national sovereignty
and independence! Who? Him? He who endangered the future of this
country and pushed its people into misery and now, as you can see, he
fled, unashamed, at a time when he should have taken responsibility
in front of the people. An irresponsible man!"401. Then, he emphasizes
that „a time will come for clear, lucid judgement, based on a
righteous judgement" and that it is important now,,to have the
situation under control, to some extent", as General Victor Stănculescu,
told him over the phone. He continued, this time addressing the
Securitate units and men who ”should finally see the light and deny
this rogue clique of traitors", stating that,,there are guarantees that

400
The moment Gelu Voican Voiculescu saw him at the door of TV Studio 4, he „grabbed"
him (in his own words) and told him,,From now on you are under our protection" and never
let go of the president to be of the country.
401
Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei Române în direct [The Trilogy of the Romanian
Revolution Live], vol. 1, p. 161.
188
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

the military would stand by its people" and asks the population,,to
stay calm and be socially disciplined so that order could be made",
announcing that ”a National Salvation Committee” would be created,
”that would start to put order into things". At the end, he makes an
appeal to the effect that ”responsible people who wish to get involved
in this constructive work”, (”including the six party militants, true
patriots, who addressed the nation and tried to reason with
Ceauşescu”) should meet at the Central Committee, where the
”people’s representatives”402 were, at 05:00 p.m.
• 14:50. Mircea Dinescu introduces Silviu Brucan, one of the
authors of the „Letter of the six” stating:,,I use the word mister
because the word comrade has, unfortunately, been tainted". In a
coherent speech, Silviu Brucan declares that the Romanian people
lives,,a historic moment”, that „a dark era of feudal dictatorship
came to an end", that the priority of the moment was „to ensure a
passage from dictatorship to democracy that avoids disorder and
anarchy". In order to do that, each and every village and town was
supposed to create „citizens’ committees of honest people, who had
authority and were not tainted by the years under Ceauşescu’s
dictatorship” which should prove that „democracy does not mean
disorder and anarchy”. As „we have no government, no leadership”,
a government should be created „to ensure the leadership and
administration of the country until free elections would be organized,
as decided by the people”, „a temporary program„ should be drafted,
„focusing on those critical issues for the population that had been
neglected so far, namely food, heating, electricity supply, etc"403.
• As soon as TV anchor Petre Popescu appealed Captain
Niculescu from Ploieşti,,to head for Bucharest" (why and on whose
orders? – author’s note) together with the troops under his command,
who were going ”to wear tricolor armbands", Captain Mihai Lupoi
informs as well, that Nicolae Ceauşescu was somewhere in the area of
Titu and makes an appeal to the population to put an end to
„vandalism” and then, the following stupefying announcement:,,The
military decided (who did? - author’s note) that for the moment, as an
interim, reins be taken, Army commander should be comrade
Colonel-General Militaru. This is why, I ask all troops to carry aut
the orders of this Colonel-general. Trust the Army, that is your
defender and allow it to be the organizer of the new order, as
whoever is going to rule the country, it needs order and discipline.
Army commander Colonel-General Militaru ordered that units
withdraw to the barracks. You should not forget you are military men

402
Revoluţia Română în direct [The Romanian Revolution Live] vol. I, Bucureşti, 1990, p. 44.
403
Ibidem, p. 45-46.
189
Alesandru Duțu

and your present commander, ordered you to go back to barracks. Or


there will be consequences”404.
• Further on, Răzvan Theodorescu demanded that the national
patrimony should not be destroyed „as it was predated and we should
recover it, love and cherish it, then exhibit it in museums as a
historical landmark that can never, but never ever, be confiscated".
• Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu are taken over from the Plants
Protection Center by a Militia crew from Târgovişte (consisting of
Sergeant Constantin Paisie and Sergeant Major Ion Enache405) then
led to (after more adventures, first in Răţoaia forest/ 15:25-16:50.406)
at the Militia headquarters in Târgovişte.
• 15:00. A group of demonstrators from Braşov seize the
building of the County Inspectorate of the Ministry of the Interior,
from where they steal arms and ammunition.
• 15:00-15:25. In Bucharest, Ion Iliescu can be seen on TV
again (in Studio 5) cautioning against the danger of anarchy407, saying
that public goods and institutions, shops should be secured. He
demanded that order should be enforced „by workers…by people”,
not by those „who claimed to be leaders, to have been chosen by the
people, to have been communists, but have never had anything to do
with socialism or the ideology of scientific socialism", those who
desecrated „the name of the Romanian Communist Party”and „the
memory of those who sacrificed themselves in the name of socialism
in this country". He asks citizens to „get organized and ensure the
safety of public goods, shops and all institutions, that is of everything
related to the normal conduct of our activities "408.
• The securitate troops in Cluj-Napoca are set under the control
of military and revolutionary forces.
• Further on, Teodor Brateş announces that in Sibiu,,the military
is out of ammunition, while securitate forces continue to attack
404
Ibidem, p. 46
405
Ion Enache, announced by Petrişor Nicolae, informed, in his turn, Colonel Ion Georgescu,
chief inspector of the Dâmboviţa County Inspectorate, who dismissed the news saying it was
„rubbish”..
406
During their hiding in Răţoiaia forest (until it got dark and they were safe from the fury of
the demonstrators in Târgovişte, who had seen them in the Militia car and chased them in
their own cars), Elena Ceauşescu asked:,,Why are they mad at us? Why are they so angry with
us? They had food, they had everything". When Ion Enache said things were not exactly like
that, Elena Ceauşescu retorted:,,That’s not true, I’ve never seen anybody starve" (Grigore
Cartianu, op. cit., p. 239).
407
Pointing out that „disorganized groups of turbulent citizens vandalize shops and break
windows", Ion Iliescu warned that „this is not a good sign in terms of the shift, the
transformation taking place in the country", that it is necessary that „people act as an
orderly and organized force, to send the message that order is being enforced here".
408
Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei Române în direct..[The Trilogy of the Romanian
Revolution Live]., vol. 1, p. 170.
190
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

military units... the county hospital is under the fire of Securitate


forces that shoot at our Army, which is now truly the people’s
Army"409. Along the same line, Petre Popescu comes back demanding
that:,,Captain Niculescu from Brazi...from Ploieşti, should head
immediately for Bucharest, for the Television and his men should
wear tricolor armbands".
• Colonel Ruşi (dressed in a uniform with torn epaulets)
announces, on behalf of the Militia, that „Militia stands by the people
(people in the TV studio shout,,Hurrey!",,,Bravo!",,,Long live").
Militia respects the people, defends the people, defends that which is
the fruit, the role, the effort of the people’s creative work".
• George Marinescu informs that in Sibiu,,there is intense
fighting at the Military Club, between securitate and military forces",
that „in the proximity of the hospital ambulances are shot at by snipers
of securitate and militia", that,,there is crossfire in Banatului street,
near the airport, in the lower area of the city". He is followed by
Teodor Brateş who says that „in Sibiu, military units ask for immediate
help, from the Air Force, whoever can help stop the carnage"410.
• 15:20. There were rumours about Nicolae Ceauşescu’s
defending forces, about commando units and terrorists and then, in
Arad the word spread that the drinking water was poisoned and
people were cautioned not to drink tap water.
• 15:23. In Cluj-Napoca people were chanting „Ceauşescu
should be shot for the spilled blood”. In the meantime, a citizen
announces from a truck platform, speaking in a military amplifier, that
in the morning of that day, an action committee was created, in front
of the cathedral. Then he says something of a Social Democrat
Committee/Front (having Matei Boilă as chairman and Doina Cornea
as honorary chairman) that would send a delegation to Bucharest in
the afternoon. Next, Doina Cornea addresses the people of Cluj as
follows: „My dear friends, I wish to assure you of all my love. Please,
be disciplined, let us all be mature, in order to be able to respond
responsibly at this time, that can be so easily missed. Young people
died and by acting irresponsibly, with violence, we can ruin
everything. I beg of you, go to your homes. I beg of you not to acclaim
me, because I cannot help thinking of a certain family and..."411.
• 15:30. From the Television, a part of those who addressed the
people (Sergiu Nicolaescu, Silviu Brucan and others) headed for the
headquarters of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist

409
Revoluţia română în direct [The Romanian Revolution Live] vol. I, Bucureşti, 1990, p. 47.
410
Ibidem p. 48.
411
Apud Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei Române în direct [The Trilogy of the Romanian
Revolution Live], vol. 3, p. 220.
191
Alesandru Duțu

Party, while others (Ion Iliescu, Petre Roman, Gelu Voican


Voiculescu, General Nicolae Militaru and others) went to the Ministry
of National Defence first.
• 15:30-17:00. Just returned from Timişoara, General Ştefan
Guşă declares on TV that „a murder was committed against General
Milea", that in the city on river Bega „things quieted down", as all
troops withdrew to barracks. Then, the chief of the General Staff
appealed to „the reason of military men", asking them „to go back to
barracks immediately and follow orders coming only from the
military", to resume their military training „for the defence of the
nation". At the end of his speech he orders: „Everybody should return
to barracks", reassuring that „Not one bullet will be shot"412.
• After more speeches, Alexandru Bârlădeanu followed, a
former militant of the communist party, one of the group that signed
the „Letter of the six", who opposed the economic policy promoted by
Nicolae Ceauşescu, who considered that the Romanian Communist
Party ”became unable to govern", that „there are honest people
among the thousands of party members" who should „close ranks
now with the entire nation in support of this liberation movement,
which is a Christmas holiday gift". He then told people they should
show „we are a civilized people, able to build its future without
making use of the brutality and violence that were the mark of the
former regime"413.
• General Romeo Câmpeanu, deputy chief of the Militia
General Inspectorate, acting commander of the institution, informed
that he already ordered that „all troops return to barracks, that there
should be no use of guns or force". He reassured that the Militia
would continue to „enforce order and discipline”, that they would be
wearing a tricolor armband on the left side and demanded that
„people should not force their entry into our units".
• Teodor Brateş reports: „We are told that many securitate men
took off their uniforms and are now looting. This aims at discrediting
the people. It is intolerable...It is said that these hostile elements, these
securitate people, poisoned drinking water from Sibiu to Timişoara".
• Lieutenant Colonel Gheorghe Stan, a Securitate officer,
appeals to his colleagues not to make use of guns and to surrender as
„we do not need a massacre".
• Florin Filipoiu, a protester from the barricade raised at the
„Intercontinental" hotel on the night of December 21 to 22, 1989,
announced that he created a group called Dreptatea socială [Social

412
Revoluţia Română în direct [The Romanian Revolution Live], vol. I, Bucureşti, 1990, p. 49.
413
Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei române în direct [The Trilogy of the Romanian
Revolution Live], vol. 1, p. 194-195.
192
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

justice], that militates against any future form of dictatorship, for the
release of political prisoners, ending food exports and redirecting it
for domestic use; putting an end to the closed circuit shops of
nomenclature, reducing electrical consumption of large industrial
consumers, so that no more electricity saving be made at the expense
of the population, no more spying on people by Securitate, freedom of
traveling inside the country and abroad, independent television,
freedom of speech, abolition of censorship, freedom of the arts,
allowing personal cars to run on Sundays, no more oil ratios, creating
a new food distribution system for the population, resuming normal
working hours for public services, economic liberties for small
owners and peasants, no more conditioning in supplying peasants,
eliminating political and ideological education from schools, ceasing
the criminal demographic policy and freedom of abortion, ceasing the
demolition of villages, the right to free association, establishing
commissions for the investigation of abuses committed by the former
decison-makers, for a review of national history, changing the name
of the country into the Republic of Romania, establishing a comittee
to draft the Constitution, warranting that no dictator will ever rule
Romania again, appointing specialists as ministers, organizing free
elections.
• Teodor Brateş, reserved as to the truth of the information,
announced that Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu were captured and held
in Târgovişte.
• Again, General Ştefan Guşă orders that all units accross the
country stay in barracks and not open fire “under any circumstances
against the people". Commanders are asked to „take the necessary
measures to guard and protect all military objectives, all objectives that
are vital for normal activity in the country". He asks citizens to clear
the streets „in order to be able to resume our normal life course,
supplying the population, the children, the schools, so that everything
goes back to normality". He leaves us to believe military units will be
involved in „supplying the population and defending some objectives ".
That is why he asked that the population clear communication routes414.
• Teodor Brateş announces that in Sibiu, „Securitate continues
to shoot at the military"415.
• Nifon Ploeşteanu states that „the ancestral Orthodox Church
takes our side, the side of the people, as it always did in its two
millenia history, when we were suffering and in debt". The Church
calls to „fraternity, understanding and peacefulness".
• Teodor Brateş keeps coming back to the events in Sibiu,

414
Revoluţia Română în direct [The Romanian Revolution Live], vol. I, Bucureşti, 1990, p. 56.
415
Ibidem, p. 56
193
Alesandru Duțu

where „the military continues to be shot at” and pleads ”once more,
on behalf of all the people, that nearby military units intervene to stop
the bloodshed”. Then, he speaks of „certain ex-militia groups, loyal
to Ceauşescu” that „attempt to come to the capital city and organize
a counter-strike. Now,...the Army. We heard the generals’ point of
view. Let them take action! This is the will of the people! Whoever can
do it, just do it, before another tragedy happens! This is it, this is the
number one priority of the moment! This is fundamental! We will
confer, we will agree on the articles of the program. This is not
something we have to solve here and now”416.
• Coman, an engineer from Sibiu as he claims, asks the inhabitants
of the town to stop securitate „to continue shooting at the military” and
announces that the drinking water of the town had been poisoned.
• A journalist from „Scânteia" [The Spark], the RCP daily,
publishes that from that moment on, the newspaper would be called
„Scânteia Poporului" [People’s Spark] (while some of the people in
the TV studio ask that it is called „Adevărul” [The Truth]).
• Petre Mihai Băcanu informs that he just got out of prison,
after having been arrested the previuos year for establishing a
newspaper called,,România" [Romania],,,a forum of the alliance for
reconstruction, restructuring and recovery".
• Cazimir Ionescu proposes,,that the whole country takes a
minute of silence for our brothers, parents and friends run over by
tanks and shot dead". He then asks that „citizens’ committees be
organized in every town and every village, to enforce order so that the
passage from the feudal dictatorship of Ceauşescu’s regime to a
democratic and popular one, be accomplished peacefully", that
„industrial objectives and all institutions” should be defended, „as
they will be truly yours from now on”, that „the defence of all public
goods should be ensured during the night ", so that „theft and acts of
vandalism be prevented". He asked citizens to be „on guard as
diversion acts might be staged by what was left of Ceauşescu’s
dictatorship". He announced that „a provisional government is in the
making, that would run the country just until free elections would be
organized" and that „a program of new measures” would be
developed „addressing primarily our critical problems such as food
supply, electricity, transports and all the other necessities we had
been deprived of before”. He asks people’s and ministries’
representatives „to join us in order to establish a Committee that
shoud be able to decide what urgent measures should be taken, so
that the country could not be destabilized”. He makes an appeal to
discipline, in order to avoid anarchy. He then speaks of the Army and

416
Ibidem, p. 58.
194
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

announces:,,Immediate measures would be taken for the depolitization


of the military. No Party cells in the Army! The Army does not belong
to a political party. It belongs to people only, serving the people and it
is given a line of action by the people’s ruling forums". He speaks of
„The people’s Militia” as well, „as the only body with responsibilities
in ensuring that citizens’ rights are being observed", an institution
that would be kept under control so that no more abuses take place.
He makes an appeal to the people so that they should use their „better
judgement” and „spirit of justice”, reminding that demonstrators
were able to enter the courtyard of the Television with the help of
securitate men, who „welcomed us, were nice to us and it is due to
them that we are here now". He speaks for the separation of the state
powers. And again an appeal to all Romanian people:,,Trust the
people of this country! We were thrown back into feudalism by the
stupidity that became the law and acted as a state! Promote
intelligent people! Promote free thinking! Rely on the staff trained by
the nation! Rely on the people whom we encouraged to go to school...
We need our intelectuals". Last, he requested that an oath be taken to
the effect that „all measures would be taken so that never again
would there be possible to set up a dictatorial system, no matter how
small or incipient on Romanian soil and that any dictatorship embrio
would be promptly abolished!"417.
• Teodor Brateş speaks of the perils lurking over the staff of the
Television: „I heard that bombs have been placed here at the Television,
to blow us up. We will all be, all of us here, the victims of terror”.
• General (Retired) Nicolae Doicaru addresses the staff of the
Ministry of the Interior, warning them: „Be extremely careful how
you act at this time of utmost importance for our nation. The
dictatorship is over. All loathsome activities, lies and falsehood are
over. It is time to ponder on your being Romanian citizens, soldiers,
men of the securitate, so that you would not do anything undignified
or against the nation. Hand over your weapons. You saw and listened
the words of Ion Iliescu, of Militaru, who spoke on behalf of the Army,
follow these pieces of advice, I tell you as a soldier, as a Romanian
citizen, who put his soul and everything I had in the service of the
country and from now on, for as long as I live, I will do the same"418.
• Colonel Apostolescu, chief of Intelligence Service within the
State Department for Security, makes an appeal to General Iulian
Vlad to order all securitate staff „to take all necessary precautions in
order to prevent a catastrophy for national economy as well as human
lives". He asks all intelligence officers of securitate „to put all their

417
Ibidem p. 60-61.
418
Ibidem, p. 62-63.
195
Alesandru Duțu

abilities and efforts in the service of the people, to serve the cause and
interests of the nation".
• Captain Mihai Lupoi comes back with information „from the
National Defence Committee" and announces that,,due to the special
situation created, measures have been taken in order to control and
defend the Television and the Central Committee headquarters, the
Palace of the Socialist Republic of Romania and the Telephone
company". In this respect he says the Army is going to send armoured
carriers and paratroopers that „are not offensive” and that „they
would wear tricolor flags". He asks the cooperation of the population,
so that the military men could get in defensive formation.
• Immediately after that, Teodor Brateş announces: „But caution
is needed as we are informed that columns of armoured vehicles,
detachments of terrorists, those terrorists…these detachments of
criminals are heading for the headquarters of the Radio and Televison
station". He goes on saying: „Securitate people should now make up
for what they did to this nation and come defend this institution, that
now belongs to the people ". He asks the same thing from militia men.
Referring to the Army he emphsizes:,,and the Army people shoud talk
less and do more. Now is the time to show what you can do419. The
population is asked to get organized „in self-defence detachments in
neighborhoods, plants, institutions, so that no turmoil is produced".
After a while, speaking of „these detachments of terrorists” he asks
them to „leave and stop, because they would not escape people’s fury ".
• Costin Ţugui asks that the broadcast should not be stopped as
announced by Teodor Brateş, due to overhating of machines, and says in
panic: „2,000 terro…antiterror…antiterror brigade…head for the
television, help us, help us, the Army should come and defend us,
somebody!". Shortly after that, Teodor Brateş comes back from Studio 5
saying: „Terrorists are heading for the Television, the Army has to do its
duty. The military should inform the Radio station on the development of
the situation, every five minutes...as well as on what is going to
happen...We interrupt broadcasting for one hour, no, nothing hapapened,
don’t panic. The Television is still under the control of the people and we
hope it would stay that way. So, we would be back in one hour”.
• In less than an hour, the Television resumes broadcasting
when Petre Popescu announces that in the evening „the National
Salvation Committee meets to decide upon the first measures to be
taken for maintaining order during the transition period from
dictatorship to democracy".
• Teodor Brateş announces that representatives of the Ministry

419
Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei Române în direct [The Trilogy of the Romanian
Revolution Live], vol. 1, p. 407.

196
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

of National Defence declare that „they are commited to serve the


interests of the people and of the people only, to promote a policy of
peace and cooperation, not just at declarative level, but as the main
political line, meant to support peace, not the personality cult and not
for the glory of the one who was and still is a shame for our nation".
He emphasizes that AGERPRES „will send no more false news,
statements and atitudes that are completely unreal and for which it
had to get special approvals and visas", that „the agency will do its
duty of informing realistically and honestly the entire politi...internal
and international public opinion, on the events taking place in
Romania and in the world".
• Petre Popescu sends a message from the National Salvation
Committee „addressed to all citizens, Romanian, Magyar, German and
other nationalities who should not let themselves be provoked in any
way and should be united for the sake of supreme national interests".
• The position of the Romanian Orthodox Church is presented
by Patriarch Teoctist, who says: „My dears, our forefathers’ church
had to be present here, represented by us, its hierarchs, in these
glorious moments for the Romanian people. That is why, while
presenting our complete solidarity with this wonderful moment, I
make an appeal to all hierarchs, priests and believers of the
Romanian Orthodox Church to cooperate with and follow the
guidance of local committees, as the great work lying before us, for
the implementation of decisions taken in these historical moments, for
the Romanian people, has to be completed "420.
• In a short while, the connection is made with Palace Square,
namely the balcony of the Central Committee, where Dumitru Mazilu
speaks, making a synthesis of the main points of the Political
Platform of the Civic Forum, which he would resume again later, in
the same place.421.
• 16:00. Once he arrived at the Ministry of National Defence,
Ion Iliescu (together with Petre Roman, Gelu Voican Voiculescu,
Constantin Ispas, Mihai Montanu, General Nicolae Militaru and
others422) is received by General Victor Stănculescu423who, in the

420
Ibidem, Trilogia Revoluţiei române [The Trilogy of the Romanian Revolution], vol. 1, p. 255.
421
,,Clio.1989", I, nr. 1-2/2005, p. 196.
422
General Victor Atanasie Stănculescu declared in 1991 that the Ministry of National Defence
created „a highly united team, where each seemed to have well established
responsibilities".,,Determined, serious, responsible – he continued – their eyes showed the courage
and decision specific to those who assume the destinies of a great mission". He was impressed by
Gelu Voican Voiculescu’s „determined, sharp look, the penetrating eyes and the quasimilitary
attire". (Dorian Marcu, Moartea Ceauşeştilor dezvăluită de Gelu Voican Voiculescu şi Victor
Atanasie Stănculescu [The Death of the Ceauşescus Exposed by Gelu Voican Voiculescu and
Victor Atanasie Stănculescu], Editura Excelsior S.A., Bucureşti, 1991, p. 13).
197
Alesandru Duțu

words of Gelu Voican Voiculescu „reported to the cabinet", standing


to attention424 and being recognized as a leader by those present425.
Then, Ion Iliescu makes a brief presentation of the political situation
in the country, given the power vacuum resulting from Nicolae
Ceauşescu’s flight from the Central Committee and proposes the
establishment of a provisional body (the names suggested for it
including People’s Party, Democrat Party, Revolution Party, Front of
National Rebirth, Democrat Action Romania, but no final decision
was taken) that would have the prerogatives of state and administrative
power and a single Military Command that would have General Guşă
as commander (who requests closing the borders and including border
troops in the armed forces again), generals Ghiţă and Câmpeanu, who
would ensure that order is reestablished426.
• In the meantime, General Nicolae Eftimescu informs the
Hungarian defence minister, Karpati, that General Victor Stănculescu
is the acting commander of the Armed Forces, that everything is
under the control of the National Defence (Salvation) Front427,
supported by „the entire Army", and that, if he is willing to help the
Romanian people, he should make an appeal to the „Magyar
population to refrain from any hostile manifestations" against Romania.
• In Bucharest the first issue of the daily,,Libertatea" is
published (former „Informaţia Bucureştiului").
• In Timişoara, the military take over securitate headquarters.

423
,,This first contact between civilians and generals, on their ground – noted Sergiu
Nicolaescu – gives an «advantage» to Ion Iliescu’s group as compared to the group of
activists of the Central Committee. This is something that might give birth to comments"
(Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989 [The Struggle for Power], p. 173).
424
,,His entire bearing -Gelu Voican Voiculescu remarked further –exuded his desire to be
accepted as defence minister by Iliescu. Stănculescu treated Iliescu as if he were already the
president... None of the generals had the courage to speak".
425
Speaking of this decision, Ion Iliescu would declare later: „I realized the only institution
we could rely on was the military. They had the special telephone network, covering the entire
territory of Romania" (Marele şoc în finalul unui secol scurt..[The Big Shock at the End of a
Short Century…]. p. 188). In turn, General Victor Stănculescu noted: „Truth is I trusted him
but I never said anything like: «Take over the leadership and get to work», but I let him relax
and do what he meant to do, so it was nothing like «I am appointing you and take care from
now on...or something»" (Generalul Revoluţiei cu piciorul în ghips, [The Plastered-Leg
General of the Revolution], p. 59).
426
At the time, at the Ministry of National Defence there were other representatives of the
Ministry of the Interior: General Ghiţă, commander of Securitate-Militia troops, Colonel
Raţiu, Lieutenant Colonel Stan, deputy chief of the 2nd Directorate (General Nicolae
Militaru’s neighbor). Generals Victor Stănculescu, Ştefan Guşă, Mihai Chiţac, Gheorghe
Logofătu, Iosif Rus, Nicolae Eftimescu, Dafinescu and others participated in the discussions
on behalf of the defence ministry.
427
At that time the establishment of the National Salvation Front was not public knowledge
yet but Ion Iliescu, who had already proposed its establishment, was at the Ministry of
National Defence.
198
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• As a result of the agreements with plant managers in


Constanţa Municipality, the military secure and guard civilian
objectives (along with the Patriotic Guards and demonstrators). Also,
streets patrols are resumed.
• 16:30. Dumitru Mazilu is brought back to Bucharest by
securitate forces. Shortly after that he will be acclaimed by the
population and taken to the Central Committee, while a nucleus of
young protesters gathers around him428.
• Diversion activities begin in Cluj-Napoca where many false
information, news, rumors are launched. Rumors and false information
are spread in Brăila429 as well.
• In Sibiu, after the fire on the building of the county securitate
ceased, a part of the securitate men tried to escape through a window
on the ground floor, but are seen by demonstrators, who attack and
hand them over to the Officers’ School „Nicolae Bălcescu"; there,
they are taken to the gym where most of them were treated violently
and some of them had to be taken to hospital.
• Violent actions take place in Harghita County as well, where
Sergeant Gabi Dănăilă, chief of Militia unit of Zetea, was killed with
his own gun, after being disarmed, in his own house. Sergeant
Alexandru Copre, chief of the Militia unit of Căpâlniţa, was also
badly beaten in his own apartment (the door was broken with axes by
aggressors) but he was finally saved by the local Catholic priest and
doctor (the victim declared later that the aggressors said: „It’s over for
the Romanian authorities!". In order to save himself, Captain Iosif
Florea, chief of detachment in Ciceu (molested along with other
troops in the building) used his gun and shot the individual who
attacked him from behind430.
• 17:00. General Nicolae Eftimescu asks General G.N. Bociaev
over the phone if there are Soviet troops concentrated at the border
with Romania.
• 17:40. General Karpati, the Hungarian Defence Minister
reassures General Nicolae Eftimescu that no troops have been or are
being gathered at the border with Romania, that the Hungarian Armed
Forces salute the actions of the Romanian Armed Forces and that the
Hungarian Defence Ministry was ready to assist in any field necessary,
that on that day the Hungarian Prime Minister, Nemeth, was going to
be on TV to say that he saluted the changes taking place in Romania

428
Teodor Brateş, Trilogia revoluţiei Române [The Trilogy of the Romanian Revolution],
vol. 1, p. 151.
429
Launching paratroopers, a train full of securitate troops heading for Brăila along with
groups of helicopters and columns of carriers full of terrorists, Ianca airfield being bombed,
drinking water being poisoned, etc.
430
Parchetul Militar [Military Prosecutor’s Office],, p. 207.
199
Alesandru Duțu

and would make an appeal to the Hungarian people to refrain from any
actions and to start collecting for a fund of material support. He stated
in the end that no actions would be taken against Romania431.
• 17:45. Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu are brought (from
Răţoaia forest432) to the County Inspectorate of the Ministry of the
Interior by a militia crew from Târgovişte. There they are searched433
by military troops and protesters. Ilie Ştirbescu is the bitterest, asking
him why he ordered fire against innocent people be open in
Timişoara, why he left „the people without food, heating and
electricity", why he ordered that „villages and towns be demolished",
why „he took people’s land from around their houses", etc.
Then, after several tensioned scenes, Nicolae şi Elena
Ceauşescu were taken to the barracks of UM 01417 (commander
Colonel Andrei Kemenici, also garrison commander434) and left,
under guard, in the office of the deputy for services (06:30 p.m.)435.
Informed by Andrei Kemenici, General Victor Stănculescu asked him
the following:,,Good! Keep them there and stay in touch. But keep
this an absolute secret, nobody should find out. Nobody! Keep them
there no matter what the risks!... Block them there! You are
responsible for them with your life. You defend them as if your life
depended on it and keep in touch with me. Careful, you are
responsible for them with your life!". At the affirmative answer of
Andrei Kemenici („Comrade general, before they die, we die too. We
won’t let them go unless dead!), Victor Stănculescu ordered him:
„Yes, if need be, you resort to that, too"436. In the meantime, Andrei
Kemenici437is called by Ion Iliescu as well, who tells him: „You keep
them there until we send someone to take them!"

431
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din decembrie 1989..., p. 223.
432
When Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu were detained in Răţoaia forest, Colonel Andrei
Kemenici (military) and Colonel Gheorghe Dinu (securitate) were looking for them at th
outskirts of Târgovişte.
433
Elena Ceauşescu had on her medicine, a lipstick, a mirror, a comb, makeup, etc. while
Nicolae Ceauşescu had two notebooks, a handkerchief, two pens, a watch, etc. (Grigore
Cartianu, op. cit., p. 250).
434
Lest they should be seen by the revolutionaries who manifested in the streets
chanting,,Ole, ole, Ceauşescu nu mai e!" [Ole, ole Ceauşescu is gone], the two were made to
sit on the floor of the ARO vehicle (with Securitate Colonelul Gheorghe Dinu as driver) and
hidden behind Major Ion Boboc and Sergeant Constantin Paisie.
435
During the time spent under arrest in unit UM 01417 in Târgovişte, Nicolae and Elena
Ceauşescu were moved, for personal security reasons, from place to place, with a T.A.B.
[Amphibious Armoured Personnel Carrier], that was traveling inside the unit.
436
Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 269.
437
Because he did not inform of the fact that Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu were detained in
his unit, Colonel Andrei Kemenici was accused of being a traitor by Colonel Alexe, who had
taken over the leadership of Dâmboviţa county, and was threatened he would pay for it.
(Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 268).
200
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

05:30-08.00 p.m. Ion Iliescu and Petre Roman, Gelu Voican


Voiculescu, who arrived from the Ministry of National Defence,
addressed the people gathered there, from the balcony of the Central
Committee:,,Dear comrades!..."438 The people have a negative
reaction to this and chant,, No more communists!", No more
communists!" Sergiu Nicolaescu breaks into his speech saying, with a
remarkable presence of mind", - as Gelu Voican Voiculescu would
recall later - („Fellow citizens, do not take this the wrong way") and
„he span things around"439.
Ion Iliescu starts again:,,Dear fellow citizens! The dictatorship is
over...". People applaud440. He goes on: „Two more words. Esteemed
fellow citizens. The process that has just begun is irreversible. Practically
speaking, securitate no longer exists (people shout „Hurreeey!"). The
staff of the Ministry of the Interior is now part of the military. That is
why, we ask you...from now on we have one law enforcing force: the
Armed Forces and the public order forces that are now part of the
military (people chant again „Hurreey!”,”The military are with us!")".
• General Ştefan Guşă confirms once more that „the Armed
Forces all over the country stand by the people, belong to the people",
that „all troops are back to barracks” and that all towns are
„peaceful”. He asks people to help the troops „to get where they have
to for their missions". Then, after he declares that „the Armed Forces
will always be with us, with you” the crowd chants „Sibiu!",”Sibiu!").
• Petre Roman asks the chief of the General Staff to make an
oath and Ştefan Guşă does that. The future Prime Minister insists:
„We swear to always defend the interests...just say that".
• Ion Iliescu announces: “We will now go to establish the
Council of the National Liberation Front... National Salvation. We will
take measures for the organization, provisional for the time being, of
the leadership, the public administration at central and local level, in
438
Sergiu Nicolaescu (as the crowd chanted his name several times, the well-known film
director said:,,No!,,,No",,,No!". From now on let us not shout, chant, cheer a particular name,
because we are glad to see that person we love, but instead let us chant Romania, Romania"),
Alexa Visarion and Petre Roman took the initiative that each of them would draw the
attention of Ion Iliescu every time he uses the old addressing form.
439
Talking of this episode, Sergiu Nicolaescu recalled: „I poked him with my elbow and I
think he did not forget it. «What the hell, mister? What’s with all this comrade word anyway?
What the hell?». It was a key-moment, when he could compromise himself. If I would have let
him continue his speech the way he started it, then that would have been the end of his
political career ".
440
In 2004, Gelu Voican Voiculescu appreciated that „otherwise, Iliescu would have had the
fate of Verdeş, he would have lost everything and disappeared from the political scene. The
moment they shouted: „No more communists! "... the masses, Alex, the masses!...all this
scared them. It was one thing to change a ruler, Ceauşescu, and another to change the
system" (Alex Mihai Stoenescu, Interviuri despre revoluţie [Interviews on the Revolution],
Editura RAO, 2004, p. 193).
201
Alesandru Duțu

all counties. I make an appeal to citizens and local administrations to


see that activities unfold in a normal manner, in the interest of citizens.
I make an appeal to you, who have been so actively involved, to see that
activities are conducted in a normal manner in the next couple of days.
Our goal is to create a new structure of the political power. All old
structures are practically dissolved: party, government and so on (the
crowd chants „Down with communism"). We make an appeal to your
support and wisdom during the upcoming period of organization. We
will establish some provisional structures to ensure that we go on
functioning as a society. We have to prepare free elections, to... a life
where the people are the real decison makers in public life... (the crowd
chants „Freedom! Freedom!"). Ceauşescu, as you know, made his
escape by helicopter, away from the capital. We have information that
he was captured somewhere near Târgovişte... it will be...when the
information is confirmed we will make it public. (the crowd chant
• „Hureeey!") he will be arrested and tried in a public trial!" (the
crowd demand: „her, too! her, too!" – she should be tried as well)441.
• In Palace Square in Bucharest, diversion crossfire starts
(around 18.00), that made no victims at first442. The crowd chants:
,,We won’t leave!, We won’t leave!"
• UM 01060 receives (around 18.00, according to the log of
combat actions) ”the combat mission to defend the building of the
former Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party and the
Palace of the Republic, to destroy hostile elements in those buildings
and to hand them over to the higher echelons"443.
• Several speakers take turns at the microphone in the balcony
of the Central Committee, which is lit by reflectors, from time to time.
Peace, quiet and panic prevention are invoked. The young men in the
balcony start singing Three colors and are soon followed by the
crowd. Engineer Şerban from the Mayor’s Office proposes that
December 22 be the national day of Romania, while the 23 August
stadium should be called „22 decembrie”. A young man waves a
large tricolor flag over the balcony. Someone shows the first issue of
the newspaper „Libertatea", reading from it. Someone else exclaims:
„My God! I lived to see this". The crowd chants „Ole, ole, ole, olee...
441
Revoluţia Română în direct [The Romanian Revolution Live], vol. I, Bucureşti, 1990, p. 84-85.
442
Sergiu Nicolaescu considers that the fire was ordered by a securitate chief or maybe an act
committed by foreigners to scatter the demonstrators and take over power. He asks
rhetorically: „Who could have taken such a decision, if not those in the Central Committee
headquarters, who were inconvenienced by revolutionaries?" (Lupta pentru putere.
Decembrie 1989 [The Struggle for Power], p. 172 şi 439). Gelu Voican Voiculescu in turn
says the fire started after Iliescu spoke in the square and shouted „No more communists!”.
(Alex Mihai Stoenescu, Interviuri despre revoluţie [Interviews on the Revolution]. Editura
RAO, Bucureşti, 2004, p. 193).
443
Sinteza...[Synthesis...], p. 131
202
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Ceauşescu is goooone...". Other voices indicate the place the shooting


comes from. Bogdan Popovici asks people to make room for a
military truck, and announced that „the troops do not have any
ammunition left". After a young man says that „the radio station asks
for help", the one who read from newspaper „Libertatea" proposes:
„Let’s go to the radio station and give them a hand ", then he
announces: „City of Iaşi asks for help". Bogdan Popovici encourages
them: „A column of people should leave the square and go to the
radio station" (a part of the citizens head for the radio station). People
chant „The military are with us!". Actor Ernest Maftei reads
„Manifesto for Mircea Dinescu” which he wrote „just two months
ago". While some people shout „We are shot at! We are shot at!",
others urge him: „Go on, go on, pops". Ernest Maftei continues:
„Don’t panic! „The military are with us, nobody can hurt us now!.
Voices: „We are not leaving!", „The military are with us!",,The Army
should do something!", „Here are the tanks!",,,Free-dom!, Free-
dom!" (shots can be heard more often), „We are not leaving!",
„Romanians are no cowards!", „Shots are fired from the top of the
palace!", „Be calm, the military will intervene!", „It’s the military
shooting at the palace!" (gun shots get more frequent), „The military
are shooting!", „Do not go away!", „Do not run away!", „We are not
running away!" (shots are less frequent, isolated)444.
• Later, terrorist acts extend all over Bucharest and the whole
country, especially in industrial areas and areas covered by air-
defence, airports, military objectives, including the buildings of the
Ministry of National Defence, the Television and Radio. Mainly at
night, they are accompanied by electronic and psychological warfare.
Radar screens, especially in the west of the country, show different
„air targets", whose number increases dramatically towards midnight.
Air-defence fire do not shoot down anything.
• In the building of the Central Committee, Ion Iliescu, Silviu
Brucan, Petre Roman, Nicolae Militaru, Gelu Voican Voiculescu,
Mihai Montanu and others discuss the new state organization. Ion
Iliescu emphasizes that a „National Salvation Council” should be
established. Petre Roman proposes that the new structure should be
called People’s Unity Front, others say National Democratic Front.
General Nicolae Militaru insists for the name National Salvation Front,
saying that „it has already been working for six months"445. After
Nicolae Militaru points out that it was supposed to be „a party and state
body", Petre Roman replies: „No way party and no state. It sounds

444
Revoluţia Română în direct [The Romanian Revolution Live], vol. I, Bucureşti, 1990, p. 77-84.
445
In fact, he had nothing to do with the people involved in discussing the problem at that
moment.
203
Alesandru Duțu

really bad". When they reached the point where a person had to be
appointed to lead the front, Petre Roman and Nicolae Militaru proposed
Ion Iliescu, but Silviu Brucan emphasized: „I don’t think it could work
with just one leader”. After Silviu Brucan and Petre Roman exchanged
several remarks as to who should sign the Proclamation (and be the
NSF leader)446, they went on to another topic.
• As to the program of the new structure, after several
contradictory discussions and an attempt to use the draft developed by
Apostoiu and Nicolcioiu (which Petre Roman considered „as
absolutely impossible, something between utterly ridiculous and
downright monstruos")447, a decision is reached that the „message to
the people” would be based on the ten-steps „Proclamation”, already
drafted by Dumitru Mazilu. Partially modified by Silviu Brucan, Ion
Iliescu and several others, the Mazilu448 „draft" was then updated and
completed (with an introduction, etc.) to become the Statement of the
newly-established Council of the National Salvation Front.
• While at the Central Committee, at „someone’s suggestion" –
as he declared on December 16, 1994, in front of the Senate
Committee for the investigation of the events of December 1989 - Ion
Iliescu speaks on the phone with the Soviet Embassy to Bucharest,
informing him on the „nature of the movement", about the beginning
of restructuring,,..an organized framework for a new state structure",
and to „avoid any possible intention of «brotherly assistance», which
none of us wanted"449.
• After the Iliescu „group" leaves the balcony of the Central
Committee, in the Palace Square the name of Corneliu Mănescu is
chanted, while Dumitru Mazilu gets out in the balcony proposing that
a moment of silence is kept for ”all martyrs of the nation, martyrs of
Timişoara, martyrs of the capital, martyrs of the country...for all

446
From this point of view, the following remarks are interesting: Ion Iliescu:,,You are right,
we have to customize this somehow"; Petre Roman:..led by Ion Iliescu. We decided this
there... Listen: who signs it exactly?; Nicolae Militaru: The Council of the National Salvation
Front led by Ion Iliescu; Petre Roman: What do you mean, comrade Iliescu, are you
declining the responsibility now?; Ion Iliescu:No, dear; Petre Roman: So?; Silviu Brucan: „I
don’t think it could work with just one leader” (Apud Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei
Române [The Trilogy of the Romanian Revolution], vol. 1, p. 273).
447
Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei Române, [The Trilogy of the Romanian Revolution],
vol.1, p.267274.
448
,,Caietele Revoluţiei" [The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr. 2/20005, p. 16-17.
449
Speaking of this, Ion Iliescu specified the following later:,,Yes, I spoke on the phone with
the Soviet Embassy, first of all because I wanted to reassure any suspicions as to who we
were and what the National Salvation Front stands for, so that the leadership of the
neighboring country was informed, so that we would not have surprises or be face with any
intentions to be of help, that was not needed and to avoid such things. So, it was about a
political opportunity." (Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din
Decembrie 1989...[The Romanian Revolution of December 1989...], p. 473)
204
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

those who suffered... for our dead ones” (all the time the crowd in
Palace Square recollects, while some people carry lit candles). He
then highlights the „need to get organized" and proposes that the
national flag should be „what it has always been, with no emblem".
He declares that Romania „has never been communist" and asks
„let’s finish with all those who served the tyrany"450, that „burning
documents that are proof of the crimes and wrongdoings of the
tyrant” should be prevented, that airports should be secured so that
Nicolae Ceauşescu should „not get away" (people in the balcony and
in the square chant,,Freedom!, „Freedom!"), to ask the whole world
for „the necessary support so that we can get and consolidate the
rights that have been ours for centuries, the rights of the Romanians
to freedom and dignity". He requests: „Let’s put an end to lies. Let’s
rise for freedom, let’s defend our country, let’s be strong and go all
the way but without violence. We should not let the criminals get back
in key leading positions. Let us defend the Television! Let us defend
the Radio! Let us defend the main institutions of the country!" He
proposes that the following day, at 12:00, „The nations’s bells, all
bells in all churches toll while cars honk the horns". He then proposes
a coherent political program, organizing free elections „next year at
the latest", separating legislative, executive and judiciary powers,
election of political leaders for one or two mandates, at most,
restructuring national economy „based on efficiency criteria",
reorganizing the education system, free media, radio and television,
observing the rights of all citizens, irrespective of nationality, putting
foreign affairs policy and commerce in the service of people. He then
declares: „We should focus on people. Respect for the MAN. We
should be the ones rejoicing the dignity of living in this land. We
should be proud, let us be proud of our Romanian descendance!... The
Victory is yours". He concludes: „Let us have our national forum,
fro... A citizens’ forum. We need no other titles. The citizens should be
in the center of this forum, the Citizens’ National Forum. Victory!"451.
• Next, actor Ernest Maftei states, in a brief speech on behalf of
the Provisional Committee (he doesn’t say which): „A revolution took
place like no other...the whole country is free. Let us keep, what was
gained, through discipline. The Army saved us. I wish the whole
country good luck...may you be lucky ".
• Other speakers follow at the microphone, most of them
unknown persons, who express their wishes, make different
propositions, anounce different committees are extablished. Many are

450
Revoluţia Română în direct [The Romanian Revolution Live], vol. I, Bucureşti, 1990. p.
87-89.
451
Source: Colonel Mircea Dumitru.
205
Alesandru Duțu

incoherent. People shout: „They are shooting!", „No, they are not
shooting!"... and yet, the shooting gets worse. People are determined
to stay in the square and chant: „We are not leaving!", „The Army
should intervene!", „The military are with us!".
• In the meantime, the Television resumes broadcasting from
Studio 4, from where, General (R) Nicolae Tudor informs that
securitate troops under the command of General Ghiţă are „all loyal to
the people", while there still are „other troops, of the former leadership,
few, not many, but really bad, operating in several hotspots"452.
• In the streets, the situation becomes dramatic, military tanks
firing at one another (a tank belonging to military unit UM 01060 of
Bucharest fires at a T.A.B of UM 01220, also of Bucharest, despite
the fact that it was carrying the same type of military badge), killing
two and injuring another two453.
• Inside the building of the CC of RCP. several people are
killed or wounded because of the guns fired inside the building. „Due
to the particulars of the building – as mentioned in the Synthesis [of
the results of inquests made by Military Prosecutor’s Office], – as
well as the lack of experience in combat under such circumstances,
the premises were created for all sorts of failures: initial passwords
and then their subsequent changes (frequent) were not known; lack of
information on where troops were placed on staircases, in hallways
or rooms. On the taller, central buildings military troops and civilians
climbed, who did not know each other, each thinking the others are
«terrorists». For instance, from the upper floors of the Telephone
Company (where there were military troops) they were shooting at
the higher floors of the ”Union" Hotel (where there were civilians
and troops)and at the Police HQ (there were military troops). Or,
from „Lido" Hotel (civilians) at „Ambasador" Hotel (troops), or at
the Tourist Agency (shop called Eva) where there were military
troops as well. In the residential buildings in the area, mixed groups
of civilians and army people entered with a «search» mission, who
open fire at random, wounding or even killing innocent indwellers".

452
In 2004, asked by Alex Mihai Stoenescu who the terrorists were, Gelu Voican Voiculescu
declared:,,As time goes by, I come to believe more and more that the terrorist phenomenon
was the work of the military... If Securitate wanted bloodshed, we would have had bloddshed.
The military created the terrorist phenomenon as a diversion with a view to maintaining a
threatening situation, that would give them the opportunity to serve the new leadership...
People from within the military told me that after the attempt to kill Reagan, Ceauşescu
established a secret structure that operated within the military. He lost his trust in Securitate,
after Pacepa’s defection and organized a parallel structure. Its members were reserve officers,
still young, experienced people, party activists, called «combat groups». They had houses
with false walls that hid weapons, ammunition, food". (Alex Mihai Stoenescu, Interviuri
despre revoluţie [Interviews on the Revolution], Editura RAO, Bucureşti, 2004, p. 192, 200).
453
Sinteza..[ Synthesis...]., p. 132.
206
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• 18:30. Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu are transferred from


Securitate headquarters of Târgovişte, to military unit, UM 01417,
under the command of Colonel Andrei Kemenici.
• 18:40. General G.N. Bociaev sends a telephone message for
General Nicolae Efitimescu454 containing the statement of General
Moiseev, chief of the General Staff of the Soviet Army, that there are
no troops concentrations at the Soviet-Romanian border, in the area of
Iaşi and no military activities are planned to be conducted in that area,
but that he is ready to offer assistance in any respect455. Fifteen
minutes later, the Soviet general sends a new message emphasizing
that in case Romanians wanted one more conformation they could
address directly to the General Staff of the Sovier Army.
• 19:30. Colonel Andrei Kemenici reports to General Victor
Stănculescu that Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu are under arrest. The
first deputy of the Minister of National Defence orders additional
security measures be taken as well as measures of disinformation as to
the place of their detention.
• The commander of the Territorial Air-Defence Command
oders fire against all unidentified air targets, flying over the territory
of Romania456. As soon as they reach the conclusion that the targets
were decoys, an order is issued that no more rockets would be
launched, while air-defence artillery and machine guns would fire at
visible targets.
• The radar of the Air-Defence Artillery Division in Timişoara
is on the highest alert when a large number of air targets were seen
heading for Romanian borders. After disappearing from radar screens
in the proximity of the border, they usually reappear in the country,
mainly in the vecinity of airfields, rocket and air-defence units457.
• 20:00. The Television continues to broadcast news and
information on the heroic and dramatic events taking place in the

454
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989 [The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989], p. 223.
455
Viorel Domenico, Ceauşescu la Târgovişte 22-25 decembrie 1989, Bucureşti, 1999,
[Ceauşescu at Târgovişte, December 22nd – 25th 1989], p. 125.
456
By December 25th 1989, they carried out 52 fighter sorties - only in five cases radars
discovered one or more targets -, 26 helicopter sorties and air-defence and artillery fire, 53
different types of air-defence rockets were launched, 60 per cent of which exploded,,on
target",,which shows – according to the opinion of the authors of a document of the
Prosecutor’s Office from 1999 – either the existence of flying objects or that effective
jamming was made on the rocket heads, resulting in their explosion".
457
Institutul Central pentru Tehnică Militară [Central Institute for Military Technology]
appreciated that such forces were not part of Romania’s defence system as „resources
existing in the Romanian military did not have the technical characteristics that would enable
the electronic warfare troops to conduct such actions in the country" (Parchetul Militar
[Military Prosecutor’s Office], p. 203).
207
Alesandru Duțu

country; television editors and staff work under constant pressure, as


gunfire can be heard in the courtyard and all around the building.
Often, the news that is broadcast was not checked, for instance about
the conflicts and the battle between the military and securitate, about
things that were not really happening (that the blood stocks have been
blown up, that different objectives were mined, that securitate forces
attacked students in Grozăveşti campus, etc.), most of them attributed
to securitate members. The population is summoned in the area of the
attacked objectives (at night), that were surrounded by numerous
military troops (the Radio, the Television, etc). Different military
units in Bucharest are asked to take action, while others are requested
to come to the capital city. Appeals are made, the significance of
which would only be perceived later.
• Ion Iliescu, Silviu Brucan, Dan Marţian, Petre Roman and
others were on the 11th floor of the Television building when
Dumitru Mazilu comes in only to be met by Silviu Brucan with:
„Where are you rambling, mister? We need the Political Platform
and you are nowhere to be found"458. Silviu Brucan, Ion Iliescu, etc.
begin to work on Dumitru Mazilu’s text (as well as the list of the
persons who will be in the National Salvation Front Committee, that
would be announced on TV later by Ion Iliescu)459.

458
Silviu Brucan said about this in his book De la capitalism la socialism şi retur [From
capitalism to socialism and back]: „We changed the Citizens’ Forum in the text with National
Salvation Front. Under article 5 on agriculture, we wrote: supporting peasants’ small
properties, stopping the destruction of villages, under article 8 I replaced the words that
sounded too technical with: To this end we will stop exporting agricultural and industrial
products, we will reduce the exports of oil products, making a priority of people’s needs for
house heating and electricity; under article 9 on foreign policy, I added: integrating into the
process of creating a unified Europe, the common house of all European countries. We will
observe Romania’s international committments, especially those related to the Warsaw Pact.
At the end I took out: So help us God, as we were addressing the entire nation not just
Christians... Later (after the text was read on TV), at legal advisers’ suggestion, a paragraph
was added, with political and juducial character, concerning the dismisal of all old members
of the former regime and the establishment of a new one, at central and local level". In turn,
Dumitru Mazilu, wrote the following in his book of memoirs, Revoluţia furată [Confiscated
Revolution]: „Practically snatching it from my hand, he took it and added a new page to it,
saying: «President of the Committee is Ion Iliescu». «Well, but Ion Iliescu has not even been
elected as a member of the new body...How can he be president?» -I retorted. «So what. It’s a
revolution... Who knows who elected whom, anymore? After all, we consider Ion Iliescu is the
most suitable person to be president. He already is the new leader. This is unquestionable".
459
In his book, Cui îi este frică de adevăr [Who’s afraid of the truth], Constantin Bebe
Ivanovici wrote the following on the subject: „The list we are talking about was drafted «on
the spot». Each of those present would say a name, the others gave their opinion on it, while
Mister Dan Marţian put that name on a piece of paper, the very piece of paper Mister Iliescu
brought with him at Studio.4... I remember that both Mr. Iliescu and Mr. Mazilu uttered
almost simultaneously the name of Doina Cornea. Silviu Brucan proposed Lászlo Tökes. We
all agreed to add Mircea Dinescu and Ion Caramitru to the list. When the list had about
208
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• The marathon-demonstration in Opera Square of Timişoara


goes on and on. Flyers are disseminated with the Proclamation of the
Romanian Democrat Front, under the title „Tyranny is over", in four
languages; just before 12:00, before the dictator’s flight, the final
Resolution was presented of the People’s Assembly in Timişoara,
concerning the establishment of true democracy and freedom in
Romania460. The commander of Timişoara garrison oders that five
tanks be deployed in Opera Square, to participate in neutralizing
saboteurs and defending the new revolutionary power, located in the
Opera Square; other two tanks are placed in front of the County
Council, other three at the Mechanized Division Command. Later,
troops were augmented and Timişoara was divided into areas of
military responsibility.
• In Arad there are more and more rumors and misinformation
(attacks against the Inspectorate of the Ministry of the Interior, the
Main Post Office, etc.; helicopters heading for the town along Mureş
River valley, a column of securitate men coming from Timişoara to
Arad; the railway bridge over Mureş River was mined, etc.).
• 20:00. After arriving in Buzău, at the Command of the 2nd
Army Corps (coming from Iaşi), Constantin Olteanu finds out that
intense preparations are made for the deployment of two regiments to
Bucharest. When he asked on whose orders, General Ion Dândăreanu,
Army Corps commander, replied: „We carry out the supreme
commanders’ orders". „What supreme commander - retorted Olteanu
-, there is no supreme commander?" „Well, we have a telephone
message, received at noon, signed by General Ilie Ceauşescu. Beyond
that, nothing".
• 20:55. A new clarification is given by the Hungarian minister
of defence at 08:30 p.m., that the next day 500, 000 meat cans could
be sent and he asks how things are in Bucharest. General Nicolae
Eftimescu replies that the food could be sent to Timişoara, through the
border point in Nădlac and that in Bucharest „there is heavy fighting
at the Ministry of National Defence between Army and Ministry of the
Interior units "461.
• 21:00. In Cluj-Napoca, unidentified forces attack important
objectives in town, spread information on aggressions carried out by
Magyar nationals against Romanians in Satu Mare, Carei, Arad,
Târgu Mureş, Miercurea Ciuc.

30names, some asked that it stopped there. Ion Iliescu and Petre Roman insisted that the list
stay open".
460
Some works sustain that the Resolution was presented after the dictator’s flight. Anyway,
the document was finished by 12:00.
461
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989..[The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989]., p. 224.
209
Alesandru Duțu

• At Brăila, the garrison commander takes measures so that


military units from Focşani and Râmnicu Sărat be ready to deploy,
when ordered, to Bucharest.
• In Braşov the County Council of the National Salvation Front
is established, under the command of General Ion Florea.
• 21:07. A target flying at low altitude is identified in
Hunedoara County. Air-defence fire is carried out against it, but it is
not destroyed. Many other similar situations would continue to occur
despite the fact that rockets were launched against them.
• 21:45. Air-defence artillery units in the area of Târgovişte
enter „alert stage 1", with the express order to open fire against
unauthorized air targets that entered their action range.
• 22:00. The Television in Bucharest introduces Nicu Ceauşescu,
Nicolae Ceauşescu’s youngest son, First Secretary at the Party County
Committee in Sibiu, who had been captured, assaulted and stabbed at
one of the „check points" at the outskirts of Bucharest462.
• Sirens in Timişoara sound the air-raid alarm. Radar screens
show unauthorized air targets. Aircraft and helicopters carrying
combat live ammunition take off, only to find out that the targets were
not real. „At the coordinates sent by radio – tells Vasile Marcu, a
helicopter pilot – there were targets that had lights and signaling
systems resembling those of helicopters. I aimed at it and reported. I
was ordered, with no hesitation, to open fire...I did...the target
disappeared. Two seconds later the enemy reappeared shooting at
me. I expected to be destroyed, but nothing of the sort happened".
Such bizzare situations repeated several times, both for the helicopter
under the command of Vasile Marcu, and in other tens and hundreds
of situations that were going to be registered across the country463.
• Military units in Reşiţa are attacked with live and simulated
fire from individual weapons, they respond.
• The disinformation nightmare starts in Lugoj. „The phone –
remembers Nicolae Toma – kept ringing to announce us that we
would be attacked by terrorists"464.
• 23:00. Ion Iliescu presents the Statement of the National
Salvation Front Committee to the Country on TV. The document (the

462
Before being introduced to the television audience, Nicu Ceauşescu was taken to the 11th
floor of the television, where, according to his own testimony, Ion Iliescu would have
said:,,Let’s go on with the statement while he is guarded by the military". As his situation
worsened, he was taken to the military hospital to surgery.
463
Sergiu Nicolaescu considers that the electronic warfare could only have been conducted
by „special units, which, in order to be able to cover the entire territory of the country, could
only have belonged to a neighboring country" (Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989 [The
Struggle for Power], p. 97).
464
Nicolae Toma, op. cit., p. 37.
210
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

most important of the Romanian Revolution, so far) stated that the


goal of the National Salvation Front was „to institute democracy,
freedom and the dignity of the Romanian people", that from that
moment on „all power structures of the Ceauşescu clan are
dissolved", the government „is dismissed", the State Council and its
institutions „cease their activity", the entire state power being taken
over by the National Salvation Front Committee with its subordinate
structure, the Superior Military Council (that would coordinate the
activity of the military and the Ministry of the Interior), as well as the
other ministries and central bodies („with their present structure").
National Salvation Front Committees were going to be established
across the country at county, town and village level as „bodies of the
local power", having the mission to ensure „that the population was
supplied with food, electricity, heating, water, transportation, medical
assistance and that the commercial network was functional". Public
order was to be ensured by Militia and citizens’ committees.
The National Salvation Front proposed the following
program, to the Romanian people: no single party should have the
leading role, instead a pluralist democracy should be instituted;
organizing free elections; separation of state powers into legislative,
executive and juducial, and electing all political leaders for one or a
maximum two mandates, restructuring national economy based on
criteria of profitability and efficiency; eliminating beaurocracy and
central economic management and promoting initiative and competence
in all economic sectors; restructuring agriculture and encouraging
peasants’ small production; reorganizing the education system, in
terms of democratic and humanistic modern requirements; eliminating
ideological dogma; promoting the true values of mankind; eliminating
lies and imposture, establishing competence and just criteria in all
fields of activity; creating a new foundation for the development of
the nationl culture; media, radio and televison should be „in the hands
of the people"; observing the rights and liberties of national minorities
and ensuring their equality to the rights of the Romanian people;
promoting a foreign affairs policy that should serve good neighborly
relations, friendship and world peace, that should be part of „the
process of building a united Europe, as a house for all the people on
the continent"; continue the international committments Romania
assumed („especially those related to the Warsaw Pact"); promoting
an internal and foreign affairs policy that,,meet the needs and interests
of the human being", observing the,,right to free circulation";
restauration of the civil society; warranting the „triumph of
democracy, freedom and dignity for all inhabitants of the country". A
proposition was made on behalf of the National Salvation Front

211
Alesandru Duțu

Committee, whose structure was to be announced later465, that the


country should be named Romania and the announcement was made
that a committee, which would draft a new Constitution „would start
working immediately"466.
• Once the Statement of NSFC to the country was read, a text
was delivered at Studio 4 of the Free Romanian Television, with the
title the Final Resolution of Timişoara467 that informed that the
People’s Assembly of all inhabitants from Banat and other parts of the
country, who gathered in Timişoara between 15-22 December 1989,
to declare the establishment of true democracy and freedom in the
entire country, deciding that Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu, as well
family members, be dismissed from all party and state positions, that
they should go on trial by a competent instance, as provided by law;
that missing persons and the bodies of killed people should be
identified; that political prisoners and disidents should be discharged;
that a provisional government should be instituted, while the most
competent citizens should take over the local state leadership;
organizing free and democratic elections; creating a,,truly democratic
regime"; separating political and state activity; resuming diplomatic
and consular relations with all countries that put an end to it, etc. At
the end of the document it is said that the People’s Assembly in
Timişoara salutes „with patriotic enthusiasm" the entire population of
the country and the soldiers of,,our brave military", and,,humbly bows
to the memory of the heroes who shed blood to make our dreams
come true", etc. It concludes that „a new PARLIAMENT should be
established, representing the entire Romanian nation, that should be
authorized to take all necessary measures in the interest of the
nation"468.

465
In the order announced on TV, the National Salvation Front Committee included the
following persons: Doina Cornea, Ana Blandiana, Mircea Dinescu, Lászlo Tökes, Dumitru
Mazilu, Dan Deşliu, General Ştefan Guşă, General Victor Stănculescu, Aurel Dragoş
Munteanu, Corneliu Mănescu, Alexandru Bârlădeanu, Silviu Brucan, Petre Roman, Ion
Caramitru, Sergiu Nicolaescu, Mihai Montanu, Mihai Ispas, Gelu Voican Voiculescu, Dan
Marţian, Captain Mihail Lupoi, General Voinea, Captain (Navy) Emil Dumitrescu, Vasile
Neacşa, Cristina Ciontu, Marian Baciu, Bogdan Teodoriu, Eugenia Iorga, Paul Negruţiu,
Gheorghe Manole, Vladimir Ionescu, Adrian Sârbu, Constantin Cârjan, Domokós Géza,
Magdalena Ionescu, Marian Mierlă, Constantin Ivanovici, Ovidiu Vlad, Valeriu Bucurescu
and Ion Iliescu. After announcing the structure of NSFC (most of the disidents have never
been consulted), Ion Iliescu said the,,list stays open", while „all social categories and forces
who fought and won” are expected to make propositions.
466
,,Caietele Revoluţiei" [The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr. 2/2005, p. 19-21. Later,
some of the provisions of the Statement to the country were altered or completed.
467
Edited on the same day by Radu I. Motica, with a doctor’s degree in law.
468
Ion Iliescu, Revoluţia trăită [The Revolution as I Lived It], Editura Redacţiei
Publicaţiilor pentru Străinătate, Bucureşti, 1995, p. 125-128; see also „Clio.1989", I, nr. 1-
2/2005, p. 201-201.
212
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• In the meantime, the Television, as well as other important


institutions of the country, was under terrorist attack and Victor
Ionescu launches an appeal to the population to come and support the
military forces. He declares in this respect: „No one in Romania is
allowed to sleep tonight. We have to be in the streets to stop hostile
activities. Night is the friend of traitors and people’s enemies. Come
out in the streets, esteemed Romanian citizens! We expect you to
defend us so that, together, we defend democracy, Romania and avoid
any future terrorist dictatorship". A similar appeal is made by TV
anchor Petre Popescu for the defence of the Radio.
• After the Statement to the country was presented on television,
fliers with mobilizing contents are spread. One of them had the
following contents: „Citizens! Soldiers! The Romanian people’s
revolution that overthrew the most hideous dictatorship in the history of
the country, has succeeded! Eternal glory to the people who sacrificed
their lives for the victory of this revolution! Long live the heroic
Romanian people! Long live its brave military! Let us follow, with trust,
the call of the National Salvation Front Committee! Be determined in
carrying out the orders of the Superior Military Council!"
• In Arad, those who created diversion open machine gun fire
against the headquarters of the new structure and other important
buildings in the city, making the first victims and provoking a lot of
panic (sirens sound, church bells are tolled. The crowd in the square
continue to chant: „Ole, ole, ole, Ceauşescu is gone!"
• 23:25. The commander of the Territorial Air Defence
confirms once more the order that air-defence units enter a state of
alert, emphasizing that any targets seen north of Mureş River be fired
upon with all means.
• 23:30. In Sibiu, by midnight, about 120 individuals belonging
to the Ministry of the Interior, were handed over to the Officers’
Military School „Nicolae Bălcescu" (military and civilian personnel)469.
Shortly after that, armament and ammunition found in locations of the
Ministry of the Interior, after demonstrators entered them470, were
brought to the military school.
• Towards midnight, the Television starts to broadcast from
Palace Square, where dramatic events take place. People are shooting,
with machine guns, some even from the tanks, while the chant can be
herad:,,Down with Ceauşescu!",,,Down with communism!", „People

469
Later, another 469 persons, considered suspect, were brought to,,Nicolae Bălcescu"
school (some had weapons and ammunition on them).
470
Balistic analysis showed that most weapons were fired, as there was smoke and residue.
At the same time, many cartridges from the bullets fired were found at Securitate and Militia
locations.
213
Alesandru Duțu

would not be shot at!" Television screens show the upper part of the
walls of the Royal Palace, riddled by bullets and in fire. People chant:
„No violence!", „Do not shoot!", „Stop shooting! It’s our military
troops up there" (on the roof of the Palace-author’s note), „You
criminals, come down, surrender!" From the balcony of the Central
Committee, Ion Caramitru attempts at some order: „Stop shooting!”,
„Stop shooting! Be calm. The military should direct the lights towards
the palace... The military should delegate some men to capture them.
Stop shooting. The military are with us. Your only chance is to
surrender. Be calm, you stand no chance. The square is surrounded
by troops, tanks, guns, machine guns and people with bare hands, so
stay calm. Get together, stay by twos, come down and you will be
taken over by the military, guarranteeing for your physical integrity.
Stay calm. We do not need panic. The Revolution was a success. It
would be a pity. God is with us!... Stop shooting. We should dance
and rejoice. We do not need physical revenge...The military should
head for the Palace with the tanks. Stop all shooting...There may be
our men who took refuge there. We do not know exactly. The
armoured vehicles and men should go there and take them over...Stop
shooting...The whole world and Europe are watching us. No more
bullets should be heard. Be calm. We need order. It’s the only way we
can manage...Don’t shoot. It’s useless...We have to safeguard our
freedom...The world has to know Romania is a civilized country, with
a great history, spiritual and a sense of humor...Do not play with
guns...We do not need killings...We have to take care of this Palace of
ours. It hosts the Art Museum (there is heavy shooting in the square).
Stop shooting. Stop the fire, it’s useless. Officers, send men to guard
our museum. Let us not forget we are a civilized country. We do not
need murders or devastations. This is the symbol of our lives, our
forefathers’ heritage. Our palace, Our Palace, our fortune...It is time
to sing, To dance. Awaken thee, Romanian!... Folks, take care of our
museum (shooting gets worse) Stop shooting, why are you shooting,
soldiers? Stop shooting. It’s your own men inside the Palace. Stop
shooting...It’s only our military men in the Palace. Don’t shoot...Stop
shooting...Stop the fire...You’re endangering the lives of our soldiers".
Further, other speakers, more or less coherent, calmer or choleric,
call to order and try to put an end to shooting. People chant,,Ole, ole
ole, Ceauşescu is gone!", „Long live Free Romania!",,,Freedom!",
„Timişoara, Timişoara!", „Bucharest, Bucharest!" In the square,
under bursts of fire, a spontaneous round dance begins with people
singing „Union Hora!", a proposition is made to keep a moment of
silence for those who sacrificed their lives for freedom, but the fire

214
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology
471
continues . In the end, a part of the Royal Palace would be destroyed
as was the Central University Library.
• At night. In Bucharest, French journalist, Jean Louis
Calderon, is crushed by a tank.
• In Moghioroş Square, troops of military units UM 01210 and
UM 01270 open fire against the car in which Vasile Giurcanu was,
killing him. The same happened to Ilie Georgescu472. Such
inadmisible mistakes would happen in many other places in Bucharest
and all over the country.
• In Constanţa there are more and more rumors about the
existence of terrorists and their actions, about poisoning of drinking
water, attempts at the destruction of some works of art, economic
objectives, mining ships at anchor in the port, attempts to land by a
significant force, destruction of the maritime platform, etc. As a
result, the air defence opens fire against some air targets, that were
flying over Midia port at some 6,000 meters altitude. Maritime
sweepers and submarine hunters open fire against unannounced and
unidentified naval targets.
• In Opera Square in Timişoara unindentified persons open
fire, injuring five people.
• At Târgovişte, Nicolae Ceauşescu, finding out that the military
carry out General Ştefan Guşă’s orders bursts out: „Do not carry out
Guşă’s orders! He is a traitor, he didn’t follow my orders in Timişoara.
He was unable to manage the situation. He betrayed. You should carry
out Stănculescu’s orders, he is your minister, I signed his appointment
this morning". When he finds out about Ion Iliescu he loses his temper
and addresses Elena Ceauşescu: „See? I told you I should finish him but
you said marginalizing him was enough". After they began to shoot at
the military unit he was in, Nicolae Ceauşescu asked Ion Boboc to find
an armored vehicle to leave for Voineşti, in the area of Câmpulung. He
promised him money, rank, anything he wanted473.
• International reactions:
The White House presents its position as to the events in
Romania in a Declaration read by Spokesman Marlin Fitzwater: „The
terrible burden of a dictatorial ruling was taken from the shoulders of
the Romanian people. The USA joins the Romanian people in its joy,
with the hope in a peaceful transition to democracy. We deplore the
tragic and useless loss of human life in the past week and request that
any violent acts should stop. The USA salutes the decision of the
Romanian Government to end the brutal repression and Ceauşescu’s

471
Revoluţia Română în direct [The Romanian Revolution Live], vol. I, Bucureşti, 1990, p.
121-130.
472
Sinteza..[Synthesis...]., p. 149.
473
Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 261, 272, 284-285.
215
Alesandru Duțu

dictatorship. We hope the Romanian Government would respond


now, as soon as it is possible, to the desire of the people for
democratic changes and would engage on the road towards a
peaceful transition. The tragedy in Timişoara would be never
forgotten! This tragedy would serve as a permanenet reminder of the
fundamental aspirations of a people, that cannot be destroyed by the
force of arms. The USA are ready, as they always were, to establish
good relations with Romania. Should Romania choose the road to
true democracy, the USA pledge themselves to strongly support
Romania and give it all the help possible. We hope Romania would
soon join the other countries in the Center and Eastern Europe,
countries that have opened the way to a new era of cooperation
between East and West "474.
Asked what should be done next, Lawrence Eagleburger of the
US State Department answers: „I think that first of all, we should wait
for a few days until the liberty forces in Romania get organized. Then
we can consult these forces and see what we can do to help "475.
Allan Green jr., U.S. Ambassador to Bucharest declares at
radio „România": „The USA joyfully salutes the news that Ceauşescu’s
brutal regime was overthrown, by the brave and sustained fight of the
Romanian people. We hope that we will be able to continue on this
victory road during these hard times when you are still subjected to
brutal repression. We will seek and try to assist as much as possible a
people determined to step on the road of political and economic
reforms. The USA supports the way to democratic reforms but also
the human rights. The US Government is committed to support
Romania by sending medicine, food and others, as soon as things
settle down and our governments agree on what the priorities are.
American citizens are also willing to be of help and I myself will
contribute with 25,000 USD. The White House is ready to support the
democratic Government of Romania"476.
David Funderburk, former US ambassador to Romania sent a
message of solidarity with the Romanian people through,,Radio Free
Europe", before the overthrow of Ceauşescu regime: „Dear Romanian
friends, I heard what happened in Timşoara, Arad, Braşov, Iaşi,
Bucureşti and other towns in Romania. We are solidary with your
actions for liberty, dignity, human rights, from America. The
American people and the Romanians in America take care of the
people in Romania. You should know that there were recent street
demonstrations in Cleveland, Washinghton, New York, Los Angeles,

474
Presented by „Radio Free Europe", at 07:00 p.m. by Neculai Constantin Munteanu.
475
E un început în tot sfârşitul [There Is A Beginning in Every Ending], p. 443.
476
Ibidem, 443-444.
216
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Huston, Chicago and other cities. I think the freedom bell will toll for
the liberty of the Romanian people in 1990. In 1990, I think we shall
be able to say: «Welcome, Liberty!». I wish you a «Happy Christmas»
and «A Happy New Year!». God bless you!"477
François Mitterand, President of France, declared, while
descending from the plane on his return from D.R. of Germany:
„Romanians are free! Europe gives a sigh of relief; this is good news
for everybody".
Elizabeh II, the Queen of the United Kingdom, annuls the
,,Bath" title in the Peerage of Great Britain, awarded to Nicolae
Ceauşescu in 1978 and announces that she would send back the
decoration Ceauşescu, in his turn, offered her.
Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Great Britain, congratulates
Romanians (whom she considers „true heroes") for the courage they
showed, considering that they take part in one of the most important
chapters of their history and expressses hope that the new leadership
of Romania „will follow the exemple of the other countries,
organizing free elections in the country".
Douglas Hurd, British Foreign Secretary, appreciates the
overthrow of Nicolae Ceauşescu as „excellent news" for Romania and
Eastern Europe, regretting that it happened „after a bloodbath". „Now
– the British diplomat appreciated – it is of the essence that violence
stop and a dialogue begin between the different political groups, with
a view to creating free institutions".
Pope John Paul II said he was „horrified" by how violently
Romanian authorities treated the demonstrators and launches an
appeal in favour of radical changes, based on human rights.
Mario Soares, President of Portugal, declares that „the entire
public opinion is relieved that dictator Ceauşescu and his entire
clique was overthrown" and appreciates that „freedom, so often
fettered, finally triumphs in Bucharest and in entire Romania".
Carlos Andres Perez, President of Venesuela, salutes the
overthrow of Nicolae Ceauşescu highlighting that this is the proof that
„nothing can hinder people to advance on the path to democracy",
that the events in Romania „are in keeping with the wave of freedom
that sweeps Eastern Europe, an evolution that no one can stop".
M.S. Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of
the Soviet Union, informs the Congress of People's Deputies on the
events taking place in Romania and submitts for its approval, the
following message addressed to the Romanian people: ,,At this
turning point in the destiny of Romania, the Congress of People's
Deputies of the USSR offers its determined support to the just cause of

477
Ibidem, p. 441-442.
217
Alesandru Duțu

the Romanian people. We assure Romanian citizens of our friendship


and good neighborly feelings and I reaffirm our sincere wish for close
cooperation in the interest of socialism and peace". Received with
applause, the text was approved unanimously.
I.P. Aboimov, Soviet deputy foreign affairs minister, declares
the following to Romanian ambassador Ion Bucur – before the
overthrow of Nicolae Ceauşescu: „We firmly repel any declaration
that there may be an anti-Romanian campaign led in the USSR, not to
mention the allegation that actions against Romania are planned
within the Warsaw Pact. Such allegations are totally unfounded and
quite unacceptable. Equally absurd are the declarations of certain
Romanian officials concerning the intention of the USSR to make a
military intervention in Romania".
Vadim Perfiliev, spokesman of the Soviet Foreign Affairs
Ministry declares for „Reuters": „We have no doubt that the Romanian
people, that shows enough wisdom to maintain calm and stability
despite the dramatic events, will create the necessary conditions for a
normal life"478.
In a press release, the European Economic Community honors
the courage, sacrifice and victory of Romanian people, sending
condolences to victims’ families and states that it expects the new
leadership of Romania to adopt a policy in compliance with the
Helsinki agreements on European cooperation and security.
The Government of the D.R. of Germany congratulates the
Romanian people for their victory against dictatorship, expressing
condolences for the large number of victims and states that Romanians
can rely on the solidary support of the Germans.
The Dutch Government expresses „sympathetic thoughts and
feelings for all the people in Romania who suffered“ and pledges
itself to support the process of change in Romania „in all the fields
possible". Prime Minister, Ruud Lubbers, declares that the Executive
in the Hague offered 87,000,000 Dutch florins (44,000,000 USD) for
the assistance of Eastern European countries in 1990.
The Yugoslav Government salutes the road to democracy and
freedom the Romanian people took.
• The Red Cross of Yugoslavia announces that it would support
the Red Cross of Romania.
The Canadian Government is happy to hear the news of
Nicolae Ceauşescu’s overthrow and announces it suspended all
measures against the regime from Bucharest taken the previous day.
The Polish Government condemns the brutal repression against
demonstrators in Romania, saying that in future „a new chapter will open

478
Ibidem, p. 387.
218
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

in the history of Romania, a country which Poland has old friendly


relations with" and announces that it is ready to offer medical support.
Petar Mladenov, General Secretary of the Bulgarian Party
declares for a correspondent of the Bulgarian Press Agency BTA: „I
received the news of the overthrow of Ceauşescu’s regime with sincere
and deep relief. The news came after days of worrying, anxiety,
accusation and repulsion for the bloody repression of the Romanian
people, who raised to fight for freedom and democracy, which resulted in
thousands of victims. We take a bow to the people who sacrificed their
lives so that Romania could finally rejoice, a joy entire Europe shares.
We congratulate our Romanian brothers who overthrew the tyrant and
are now taking the road to democracy. I am convinced Friday events
open the way for active and fruitful relations between Bulgaria and
Romania"479.
Manfred Wörner, NATO Secretary General states that,,NATO
was happy to find out of the fall of Ceauşescu regime", as from that
moment we could say that „freedom and democracy ideals prevail all
over Central and Eastern Europe" and expresses his hope that
„Romania will achieve authentic democracy in a peaceful way".
Enrique Baron Crespo, President of the European Parliament,
salutes the ending of dictatorship in Romania expressing „the
profound satisfaction that Romanian people succeeded in ending a
dictatorial system" and his hope that „this new stage would lead to a
gradual instauration of democracy, which should finally ensure,
supported by the organization of free elections, the fundamental rights
of this people who suffered too much".
Jacques Delors, President of the European Economic Commission
considers Nicolae Ceauşescu’s overthrow as „an extraordinary thing"
and appreciates that „it is a day for celebration!", that „there is no
reason why we should discriminate Romania".
Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Foreign Affiars Minister of the F.R.
of Germany declares that the Romanian people won „a great victory
against the regime of the contempt for people" and announced
immediate support „in the spirit of solidarity".
Rita Sissmuth, President of the German Federal Parliament
(Bundstag), appreciates: „The brutal dictatorship in Romania, bastion
of Stalinism, that seriously violated human rights, was overthrown".
Otto Lambsdorff, President of the West German Free Democratic
Party, considers Ceauşescu fall as „a blessing for Romania".
Alois Mock, Austrian Foreign Affairs Minister, expressed his
hope that in future, economic and political reforms would be initiated
and human rights observed.

479
Ibidem, p. 390-391.
219
Alesandru Duțu

Uffe Ellemann Jensen, Danish Foreign Affairs Minister, said


the news of Nicolae Ceauşescu’s fall „is wonderful news".
Fernando Ordonez, Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister declares
that Romania is the last member of the Warsaw Pact, where freedom
enters.
Giani de Michelis, Italian Foreign Affairs Minister expresses his
admiration for the brave fight of the Romanian people, his profound
regret for the many victims and offers future solidarity support.
Pertti Asio, Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister expressed, on
behalf of the Government in Helsinki, the hope that the events in
Romania would develop in a peaceful way.
• The Finnish Red Cross announces it is ready to assist
Romania with blood and medical personnel, a contribution estimated
at 1,000,000 Finnish marks.
Vaclav Havel addresses the following telegram to the Romanian
people: „In the name of our revolution, I address all Romanian citizens
the request to not respond to violence with violence and to cruelty with
cruelty. During our street demonstrations, the thousands of participants
would often chant: «We are not like them»!"
Bruno Kreisky declares that he „feels great relief due to
Ceauşescu’s fall" whom he likens to a „tyrant whose brutality
bordered insanity". The former chancellor of Austria, cautions of the
perils of „a terrible civil war” that has to be avoided „as hatred must
be incredibly strong".
Gyula Horn, Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister states: „We
are interested in a really democratic change of Romania! In this
respect I wish to regulate our relations with Romania and set them on
a new basis, in the spirit of good neirghborly relations. So, we need to
regulate Hungarian-Romanian relations, including issues concerning
reestablishing the rights of Magyar nationals in Romania... The
Hungarian Government will not use this for any other political
interests"480.
Lech Walesa, leader of „Solidarity", declares that he sensed
Nicolae Ceauşescu would fall: „It wasn’t really a surprise for me to
hear of Ceauşescu’s overthrow"481.
The Presidium of the Hungarian Socialist Party expressed their
hope that Nicolae Ceauşescu’s overthrow would be followed by the
establishment of democracy in Romania and a normal return to close
relationships between Hungarian and Romanian people.
The Academy of Science of Greece excluded Elena Ceauşescu
from among its members.

480
Ibidem, p. 450.
481
Ibidem, p. 431.
220
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions


(ICFTU) salutes „the victory of the Romanian people and working
people over Ceauşescu’s bloody dictatorship". John Vanderveken,
Secretary General of the organization declares that ICFTU is ready to
assist in creating free and independent trade unions in Romania.
At Chişinău, thousands of candles are lit in the square in front of
the Cathedral, that evening. After the mass, held by Archpriest Petre
Buburuz, a meeting of the Pople’s Front takes place, and participants
keep a moment of silence in memory of the victims in Romania. Mihai
Botez, an American professor of Romanian origin, declares the
following at the round table organized at „Radio Free Europe": „Like
everybody else, I am extremely moved by what happened! I dare say –
it is a wonderful Christmas present, Romanian people was offered and I
would have said it, was it not obtaind with so much bloodshed and
suffering! I am simply enthusiastic of the courage of our fellow
countrymen showed once more and I think that with, how shall I put it,
with our humble bow to those who fought and those who died,we have
to nurture the hope for the better, as the difficult part is yet to come!"
Historian and Professor Dinu C. Giurescu, Ph.D., sends a message
from the USA through „Radio Free Europe": „Seldom does it happen
that a whole nation is happy. Today, on the 22nd of December 1989,we
are living an extraordinary day. At dawn, today, when I saw the images
from the Romanian television at the American television and I heard
people sing «Awaken Thee, Romanian!», I was extremely touched! An
entire nation, all of us, we are trying to return to normality, to our usual
course of life. It is such a joy and so much hope that I, for one, am not
capable to put it into words! Yes, today, with respect and gratitude,
history writes in the great book of the nation, the deeds of the Romanian
citizens. They open now the road to freedom. The forces of the dark and
of slavery sometimes clutch desperately at power. But let me say today:
Long live Romania! Long live liberty! So help us God!"482
The Television in Belgrade broadcasts the events in Romania live,
connecting, on its own initiative, to the program of the Romanian
television.
BTA, the Bulgarian Press Agency transmits that Nicolae
Ceauşescu’s overthrow will be a new page in the history of the
Balkan Peninsula, that a normalization of the relations among the
states in the region is anticipated, while the Bulgarians say „We salute
you!" to Romanians.
In turn, Press Agencies TASS (USSR), Taniug (Yugoslavia),
MTI (Hungary), APA (Austria), MENA (Egypt), etc. give extensive
coverage of the events in Romania.

482
Ibidem, p. 361-362
221
Alesandru Duțu

December 23rd, 1989

• 0:05-0:30 The commander of the 4th Army Corps in Cluj-


Napoca receives several notifications on the discovery of air targets in
the air space of Hungary and in the area of Satu Mare, Oradea, Dej,
etc. Air defence units fire and targets disappear from radar screens.
Most of the information, including that related to an air landing in the
area of Satu Mare airfield proved false.
• 0:15. Unidentified individuals open fire against military unit
UM 01417 in Târgovişte, where Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu were
detained, injuring four soldiers.
• 0:35. Military forces in Focşani are ordered to deploy to
Bucharest.
• 01:00. Assuming that there was a group of terrorists at Hotel
„Parc" in Arad (where generals Nuţă and Mihalea had been together
with several collaborators), a mixed team of antiterrorist troops,
military men and protesters come in the area. While the team was in
the building, fire was opened against the hotel, which determined
other troops (including from nearby barracks of UM 01380) to open
fire. „Searching the building – concludes the Synthesis of the Military
Prosecutor’s Office – did not lead to the identification of any
terrorists"483. At the same time, machine gun fire continues (until
morning) from the attic of the Cultural Palace against the headquarters
of the Provisional Committee of the NSF Council. The staff from the
building panics and shoots at any sound. There is heavy shooting also
between the troops defending Arad airfield.
• 01:14. Arad airfield receives an order from U.M. 01942 of
Timişoara, that reads: „Anything flying in the airspace is enemy". As
a result, air and ground recce continues, while the airfield area is
attacked repeatedly by diversion forces that remained unidentified.
Simultaneously, the other military units in town are subjected to a
flow of misinformation, like impending air attacks from Deva. Mixed
teams of military men and demonstrators were formed, but with no
results.
• 01:15. In Bucharest, in front of the Ministry of National
Defence another tragic incident takes place, with five dead and eight
injured; this time the victims were students of the technical Military

483
Sinteza..[Synthesis...]., p. 211.
222
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Academy, who were summoned for help. At the same time, on


Mangalia Lake, a tow and salvation boat of UM 01232A, patroling to
discover „terrorist” frogmen or boats is attacked with gunfire of
different calibers, from some of the many ships in the area. As a
result, WO Dumitru Stan was killed. Later it was said that the boat did
not respond correctly to recognition signals.484.
• 01:45. In Arad, there is a new and violent crossfire in the
besieged building of the NSF Council.
• 02:30. In different points of downtown Braşov random fire is
opened (unordered, initially) against different targets (residential
buildings, hotels, private homes, attics, etc.), anywhere muzzle fire
can be seen, based on the assumption those are terrorists. „The
investigation – as mentioned in the Synthesis of the Military
Prosecutor’s Office –found that each shooter fired in the direction he
thought the shootings came from, without knowing who was there. It
easy to seethat this way, soon there were tens of dead and injured in
the center of the town. At the examination, the conscripts admitted
that being terrified, they shot at anything moving, so that the number
of injured people kept increasing. The people caught in the line of
fire, who tried to take refuge seeking shelter in bushes, shrubberies,
trees in the central park, or crawled towards side streets or trying to
escape during moments of respite, became victims of the gunfire"485.
After gunfire started, military troops and armed civilians entered the
buildings of the Central Post Office, the Municipality Council,
„Capitol" Hotel, „Parc" Hotel, „N" Wing of the Polytechnical
Institute, „Unirea" Highschool, etc., placing themselves in position in
the attics and started to shoot at the areas where the shootings came
from, which triggered a response, that led to the extention of the
points of conflict in Braşov. Things got worse when civilians were
given weapons and ammunition from the patriotic guards and military
units UM 010107 Bartolomeu. Some of the civilians threw grenades
in Republicii Street, towards „Modarom" building. As a consequence,
during the night of the 22nd to 23rd of December, 1989, 39 people were
killed (10 soldiers) and 82 injured (35 soldiers) in downtown Braşov.
According to the Military Proscutor’s Office, the panic of the people
in Braşov was fueled by the helicopters flying over the town. Things
did not get better in the following days either, when „they went as far
as to shoot at anyone curios enough to lift the corner of a window
curtain, who went out in balconies or on the building roofs, etc."486.
As a result, another 27 people got killed and another 54 wounded. The

484
Ibidem, p. 214.
485
Ibidem, p. 172-173
486
Ibidem, p. 180.
223
Alesandru Duțu

troops of the Patriotic Guards are armed again to “defend" different


objectives in town (at 02:40. At 03:30, the military disposition around
NSF County Council strengthens, an additional securitate company
two Armored Intervention Vehicles are summoned (at 04:45). Fire
exchanges diminish towards morning.
• 02:40. Air targets appear in the proximity of the air-defence
rockets dispositions in the area of Reşiţa town. Electronic devices
show that the launched rockets hit the targets but no traces were
found.
• 03:00. In Craiova, due to panic, lack of communication
between military formations and random fire, etc. there are victims
especially near the military units in Caracal Street and Valea Roşie
districts. Rumors about snipers shooting from the tall buildings, of 9
and 10 stories, as well as the fire opened by unidentified persons,
resulted in random fire that produced new victims.
• Radar screens of UM 01456 Craiova signal the presence of
helicopter groups against which heavy fire is opened, but no „aircraft"
is hit (although electronically it was signalled that 5-6 helicopters
were hit)487.
• At Eforie Sud, a sub-unit within UM 01727 Constanţa is in
defending disposition (in the area of the television station); another
sub-unit, belonging UM 012123 Mangalia, is sent to defend the
objective as well and approaches „in combat formation, crawling and
running". The tragedy happened the moment a soldier from the
defending disposition used his gun, in compliance with regulations,
and shot dead Lieutenant Commander Ion Servăianu488.
• Colonel and pilot Aristotel Popa was ordered to light (for 60
minutes) the beaconing system of the military airfield in Bacău (later
he was told that meant the recognition and identification signal of the
landing strip, needed by the airborne Soviet troops that were coming
in support of the protesters in Bucharest489.
• 04:00. In Bucharest, Petre Roman announces on TV that Tudor
Postelnicu and Ion Dincă have been arrested, while „Iulian Vlad is on
our side, together with General Guşă". In turn, Gelu Voican
Voiculescu appreciates that: „Ion Iliescu, the man catalyzing the trust
of the nation, controling the situation and coordinating resistance.
• Despite the fact that Petre Roman reassured that everything is
under control, people are asked, both in the country and in the capital,

487
Ibidem, p. 200.
488
Ibidem, p. 214.
489
Commander (R) aviator Dorin Ionescu, Revoluţia din Decembrie 1989 în context
internaţional [The Romanian Revolution of December 1989 in International Context]
(dissertation), Bucureşti, 2009, p. 134.
224
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

from the television, „to come with what they can – wagons, bycicles,
motorcycles, tractors, whatever they posses – to come as quickly as
possible to join us in this great battle, to join people who for the time
being, who will always, who now dominate the streets and pose this
resistance, to defeat these odious, criminal attempts to supress our
revolution in the bud, our truely democratic revolution".
• 04:30. Air targets, having the reflection characteristics of
helicopters, appear in the area of UM 01417 Târgovişte and air-
defence artillery opens fire against them (a luminiscent baloon was
shot down).
• 05:00. The Council of the National Salvation Front
communicates on TV that „The military and securitate cooperate
fully to ensure stability in the country and the peace of our citizens".
• 06:00. The declarations of generals Ştefan Guşă and Iulian
490
Vlad are broadcast on radio and TV, requesting their subordinate
units to join the Revolution. „The military and the people control the
situation in almost the entire country, the chief of the General Staff
emphasized. There still are some isolated points where desperate
individuals try to destroy what we achieved. They do not and will not
succeed. The whole population should get back to work, in order and
in peace so that we can keep supplying children, old people, women,
all people with everything necessary. Let us reinstate order in these
historical but difficult times. Please, behave like true patriots, loving
their country. Let us begin our new life as quickly as possible.
Everything has to get back to normal as quickly as possible. Take
position against those who try to vandalize shops. Defend our
national values. Let us act to ensure peace in the country, to ensure
the sovereignity and territorial integrity of Romania". Then they say
that „Securitate units have all changed sides to the revolution and
they have helped us and continue to help the military", that „the
military and securitate will act together", that „securitate is now
subordinated to the military", that „they are honest people". Finally
he requests „that all attempts to seize their locations (belonging to
securitate) in various towns should end" and a warning is given that
otherwise „we may lose everything in a minute"491. General Iulian
Vlad states: „At these historical times, the Ministry of the Interior, all
its units, together with the Romanian military, fight shoulder to
shoulder for the salvation of our national being, of the Romanian
people. The Ministry of the Interior distanced itself of those loyal to

490
Recorded at the Central Committee, at the request of the Revolution „Command" on the
11th floor of the Television building.
491
Daniela Veronica Guşă de Drăgan, Condamnat la adevăr. General Ştefan Guşă
[Sentenced to Truth. General Ştefan Guşă] Editura RAO, Bucureşti, 2004, p. 24-25.
225
Alesandru Duțu

Ceauşescu clan. Romanian brothers! Let us be united in these


decisive moments, trust us. Support us and we won’t let you down".
• 06:30. A real tragedy happens at the international airport
Otopeni, near Bucharest, when troops of the defence ministry,
defending the airport, killed 37 gendarme cadets deployed from
Câmpina, for assistance.
• In different areas of the country, air-defence artillery shoot at
air targets that succeed to escape.
• In Târgovişte, Colonel Andrei Kemenici receives a threatening,
anonymous phone call announcing that, unless he hands over the
„traitors” within half an hour, the barracks would be wiped from the
face of the earth. When asked on behalf of whom he was speaking, the
caller answered: „Special forces. And see that we are not in the mood
for jokes. You have half an hour". Five minutes later, five air targets,
resembling helicopters, could be seen in the sky but were not visible on
radar screens. Air-defence guns started shooting immediately. In the
end, the special forces „representative” called again to give the
warning: „You thought we were joking? This is just the beginning". In
reality it was just diversion meant to make the command of the large
unit and the troops in the barracks hysterical, as in other similar cases.
Significant from this point of view is the declaration of Lieutenant-
Major Iulian Stoica, concerning the fire exchange between the troops in
the barracks and the „terrorists” in the building of the Technical
Highschool across Castanilor Boulevard: „The Investigation Commission
of 1990 only found bullet traces from us to them. There is nothing from
them to us. We searched carefully. Even more interesting is that the
building looked as if painted at the order of Colonel Kemenici, to look
as if riddled by bullets. It can be easily noticed even now, that it was
done up to a certain level, up to where the painter’s ladder reached".
The fact is confirmed by Colonel Andrei Kemenici: „While the
highschool building was riddled to pieces, the building of the barrackes
was almost intact. There were a couple of bullet traces, invisible from
the street. Any passer-by who could look around, what would they have
said? That we fired as mad men with no reason. Then I thought, what
was there to be done? I ought to save the face of the military! A couple
of brushes and the image of the military is saved!". We cannot but trust
this as the commander of the unit admits it492. That same morning, still
at Târgovişte, Colonel Andrei Kemenici orders majors Ion Mareş and
Ion Ţecu: „Ion, you execute Nicolae, and you, Elena! In case the
barracks fall"493.

492
Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 285-286, 289; See also Viorel Domenico, Ceauşescu la
Târgovişte [Ceauşescu at Târgovişte], Editura Ion Cristoiu, 1999.
493
Ibidem, p. 290 (Ion Mareş’s testimony of 21 April, 2008).
226
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• It’s morning. At Corneliu Coposu’s, some members (Ion


Diaconescu, Ion Puiu and others) of the former National Peasants’
Party, outlawed in 1947, draft an Appeal to the nation, that presents
the main „creeds" of the party once led by Iuliu Maniu („national
independence and integrity, pluralist democracy, rule-of-law and
strict lawfullness, social justice, national rebirth in the spirit of the
Christian morals, free market economy, separation of state powers
and free election of leading bodies"). At the end of the document – as
made clear by Ion Diaconescu in the second volume of his book of
memories, După temniţă [After Prison]- it was highlighted that „The
National Peasants’ Party endorses the democratic ideas expressed in
the Proclamation of the National Salvation Front and is willing to
cooperate with all groups fighting for the establishment of true
democracy".
• TV reporter Popescu reads an appeal of the former minister
of Internal Affairs, Tudor Postelnicu (arrested at the time) addressed
to Securitate troops: „Stop any terrorist actions and establish ways to
surrender effectively, together with your commanders, with Colonel
Pavelescu. Whoever dares to continue these terrorist acts will be
punished without mercy. It is the last warning I give you, in order to
save your life..."494.
• About one hour after Tudor Postelnicu’s appeal was
broadcast, Colonel Pavelescu comes to the Television in person to
declare that he is „flabbergasted" by the declaration of the former
minister of the Interior who is „highly responsible for everything that
happened in this important period", as he is „responsible for the
actions of these bandits and criminals, which he thoroughly planned,
for he was the dictator’s loyal servant", who „shamelessly slanders
the troops...the supreme sacrifice of many troops of the interior
ministry, who died while doing their duty at this turning point in our
history. This way, this bandit tries to distance the troops of the
interior ministry and the military from the people, as the last act of
diversion he can stage". Both declarations are susceptible of
interpretations.
• Diversion and terrorist acts continue in Timişoara, where
shootings continue in the area of the students’ campus, the Music
Highschool, central hospital, the tower building near the skating ring,
etc. At the same time, individuals who remained unidentified, open
fire from moving vehicles.
• In Arad, diversion and terrorist actions get scarce. Check
points („filters”) are set at the main crossroads and town entrances, at

494
Teodor Brateş, Trilogia revoluţiei Române în direct [The Trilogy of the Romanian
Revolution], vol. 2, p. 240.
227
Alesandru Duțu

citizens’, mainly students’ initiative, that check and control passers-


by; individuals carrying arms or not having their IDs in order are
detained and handed over to the military, who take them to the
County Council of the NSF and to the Cetate, then arrested and left in
Militia cells. Simultaneously, the status and the arms of securitate
men are checked, only to discover that some officers did not report to
headquarters and that some of the weapons had been recently used495.
• In Buzău, representatives of the military take over the
headquarters of the County Inspectorate of the Ministry of the
Interior.
• At the Black Sea, torpedo boats and helicopters carry out
naval and air recce and surveillance over the area between Mangalia
and Neptun. The Navy Command takes special measures for the
protection of the maritime platform – with a base mine sweeper and a
guided missile frigate patrol, – Giurgiu, Brăila, Galaţi harbors and the
hydroelectric power stations Porţile de Fier I and II. Disinformation
continues and many targets can be seen, both on radar screens and in
the sky (in the range of Midia port, near Mangalia town and lake, in
the roadstead of Constanţa harbor, Tuzla, south of Sfântu Gheorghe,
etc.); that are fired at by air-defence artillery on board of combat
ships.
• In Bucharest diversion and terrorist actions extend.
• There is loss of human life because of the lack of
coordination between troops belonging to different military structures.
An example in this respect is what happened in Moş Adam Street (the
address of Marioarei Agache’s house, Nicolae Ceauşescu’s sister).
Suspecting that there were doubtful individuals (although the house
had been checked), troops from UM 02666, UM 02652 and UM
01315 were sent in that area and they started shooting at each other
(even with the gun and a machine gun from a tank). The result was
that four people were killed and other 12 injured (three of which were
military, the other 9, civilians). Other deaths caused by friendly fire,
that same day, (in some places it was a tank to tank battle or tank to
T.A.B) occured in 13 Septembrie Square, Rombului and Mărgeanului
streets, Antiaeriană Road, also in Bucharest, most of them producing
victims. On Antiaeriană Road, the troops fire at civilians who
responded to the calls from radio and TV, to go to the military units in
their area and arm themselves. Some civilians were shot in their own
homes, as a consequence of bursts of fire shot from military units or
stray bullets496.

495
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989 [The Struggle for Power.
December 1989], p. 354.
496
Sinteza... [Synthesis...], p. 155-157.
228
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• 07:00. Heavy battles take place at the Romanian Television


Station (inside the building as well) between terrorists and the troops
defending it.
• Some members of the National Salvation Front Council497,
headed by Ion Iliescu, get into the two armored vehicles General
Victor Stănculescu sent for them, and go to the headquarters of the
Ministry of National Defence.
• In Buzău, after asking General Ion Dândăreanu if anybody in
Bucharest was aware of his presence there at the 2nd Army Corps
Command, Constantin Olteanu is told that General Victor Stănculescu
knows and he advised him „Be a good host"498.
• 08:15..The Soviet General Staff informs that there are no
ongoing military actions at the Soviet-Romanian border.
• 10:30. TV anchor George Marinescu speaks on TV: „We are
informed that the Soviet Embassy was contacted, that promised immediat
military support, as there are foreign agencies that took the liberty of
sending armed troops onboard helicopters to distroy what the Romanian
people conquered". Shortly after that, Gabriela Neagu announces on the
radio: „We are informed that the support of the Soviet military was asked
through the Soviet Union Embassy, as the terrorists asked for helicopters
through foreign interventionists"499. Though none of the reporters
mentioned who asked for Soviet support and under what circumstances,
the news had a great emotional impact on the Romanian people, who had
no desire for foreign interventions, especially a Soviet one, and was
instantly taken over by foreign press agencies, who interpreted it in
various ways, some of them even communicating that the Soviets have
already offered military support to Romania.
• 11:40. Some military documents contain some very interesting
information related to Soviet helicopters flying over Romanian
territory, heading for Bucharest; the Training Center for Military
Aviation of the Military Aviation Command in Bacău even received
the notification (at 11:50 a.m.): „Do not shoot, even if they land". The
study of these archive documents would have to confirm whether
such records were real or it was all about creating confusing situations
meant to generate incidents.
• At noon. General Nicolae Eftimescu asks the chief of the
Soviet General Staff over the phone, „whether one could rely on the
Soviet military support against terrorists, if need be". General

497
Ion Iliescu, Petre Roman, Gelu Voican Voiculescu, Silviu Brucan, Mihai Ispas a.o.
498
Constantin Olteanu was held in Buzău until December 31st, 1989,...in order „to be
protected against terrorists”, as he was told.
499
Apud Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei Române în direct [The Trilogy of the Romanian
Revolution Live], vol. 2, p. 249.
229
Alesandru Duțu

Moiseev answers that such a matter can only be discussed between


the two governments, the Romanian and the Soviet one500.
• In Buzău, unidentified individuals open fire from the
proximity of the Central Post Office and the Communal Palace, as
well as from different vehicles, against the troops organized in
defending disposition; shooting comes from Crâng forrest, Eroilor
Cemetery as well, and from different blocks of flats.
• The Television announces that „committees for order
enforcement and defence of university heritage were created” at
Bucharest University. An appeal is launched to the effect that „for
their proper working, all students of this institution, who are in
Bucharest, should present themselves at the University, at their
respective faculty secretariat".
• At Târgovişte, Nicolae Ceauşescu, hearing that General
Nicolae Militaru is the head of the Armed Forces, bursts out again:
„Who??? He is a KGB agent, he is the Russians’ man!" He gets mad
when he hears again of Ion Iliescu and snaps at Elena Ceauşescu: „It
is you who did not let me, it is because of you that all this is
happening... You did not let me finish him, now you will see that he
finishes us!" Harsh words from Elena Ceauşescu as well, about
Mircea Dinescu: „Who is that poet? Why would he be there for? He’s
insane". About Sergiu Nicolaescu she said: „See? We allowed him to
travel, he had a passport to go abroad, he had freedom of action from
us...bastard..., ungrateful bastard..., a pervert! All those whores in his
bed... ! The hands this little poor country fell into!"
• In the afternoon. Considering „the creation of the National
Salvation Front in the capital city”, the Committee of the Romanian
Democrat in Timişoara decides the affiliation to the National
Salvation Front platform and integrating into it; at the same time, it
announces the new members of the executive office of the National
Salvation Front Committee in Timişoara, namely: Lorin Fortuna -
president; Claudiu Iordache - vicepresident; Mihaela Munteanu -
secretary; Ştefan Iovan and Petrişor Morar - members501.
• In Bucharest, a leaflet announces the creation of the Christian
National Peasants’ Party, a declared follower of Iuliu Maniu’s principles.

500
Talking of the request for Soviet military support, Constantin Sava and Constantin Monac
note in their work „Revoluţia română din Decembrie 1989 retrăită prin documente şi
mărturii” [The Romanian Revolution of December 1989, Relived through Documents and
Testimonies] (p. 224), that General Nicolae Eftimescu made the phone call „from the defence
minister’s office, at the request of the chief of the National Salvation Front Council and the
prime minister (who had not been appointed yet), in the presence of other members of the
Front leadership", while the translation was made by „Colonel Mircea Dumitru". Ion Iliescu
always denied having made such a request to the Soviets.
501
„Caietele Revoluţiei" [The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr. 2/2006, p. 28.
230
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• During the day, in Sibiu, there is shooting coming from the


buildings near military commands and units (even from vehicles
moving around the area), that produce victims, both military and
civilian. As a result, Military School „Nicolae Bălcescu" organizes
patrols with eight TABs. The shooting continues into the night. At the
same time, the helicopter unit surveilles the air space of the town of
Sibiu502.
• Terrorist attacks intensify in Arad, where they fire against the
local Council of NSF (from the attic of the bank across the street),
against the barracks of UM 01286 from Gai (from a white Dacia
break). The response of the troops triggered similar reactions in other
areas of the town503.
• During the meeting organized at Sfântu Gheorghe, the
population chants „Liberty!",,,Down with communism!", etc. In the
meantime, the new leading structures of the NSF are organized.
• A reconnaissance-interception aircraft takes off in order to
destroy an air target seen above the Black Sea.
• Because of the lack of coordination between military
formations deployed in the area of Constanţa, of the railway station
and due to random shooting, in the afternoon and in the evening
several civilians are shot, among which Păun Stanca, Achif Deveriş,
Aidun Sali504. Păun Stanca from Independenţa is shot dead in the area
of the Constanţa railway station, while he was crossing the railway.
• 13:30. After his return from the headquarters of the Central
Committee to the Ministry of National Defence, General Ştefan Guşă
also talks with General Moiseev, telling him that, in his capacity as
chief of the Romanian General Staff, he has not and would not request
Soviet military support505. Then, he discusses with General Karpaty,
the Hungarian Minister of Defence and the chief of the Bulgarian
General Staff.
• 13:45. While the „terrorists” from Parc Hotel in Arad are
captured, a TAB shoots at the building and there are even three AG 7
shots. In the end, just two officers are found and detained, from the TV
military show „Pentru Patrie" of the Ministry of National Defence.
• 14:00. Gheorghe Ghelmez speaks on Radio Bucureşti: „The
Soviet Embassy to Bucharest, denied during the telephone discussion
with Spanish Agency EFE, that it ever offered military support to the
new Romanian authorities. An embassy clerk specified there was a

502
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989 [The Struggle for Power.
December 1989], p. 328-329.
503
Ibidem, p. 356.
504
Parchetul Militar [The Military Prosecutor’s Office], p. 215.
505
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989..., [The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989], p. 225 (Colonel Mircea Dumitru translated).
231
Alesandru Duțu

discussion with the new government of Romania, related only to


«Soviet material aid» -the Spanish press agency reported"506.
• 15:00. In this state of general confusion, aggravated by
rumors and suspicion, Petru Boar507 is shot dead by mistake, by
membrs of the patriotic guards and armed civilians in the railway
station Blaj.
• 16:25. Colonel Mircea Dumitru notifies508 General Pănescu,
Romanian representative to the United Armed Forces Staff, that the
new defence minister is General Nicolae Militaru and says that the
commander-in-chief and the chief of the United Armed Forces
Staff509 should be informed about it.
• 17:00. Terrorist elements in Buzău attack UM 02233, and the
Command of the 2nd Army Corps at 09:55 p.m. At night, they fire
against another military objective, from a freight train stationed in the
triage, from the church in Eroilor Cemetery and the Clothing Factory.
• 17:15. At Brăila, unidentified individuals open fire against
important military and civilian objectives. At the same time, it was
found that somebody interfered with the military telephone and radio
networks (especially those of commands). Terrorist activities continue
well into the night with attacks at the County Military Council, the
County NSF Council (from the Romarta building, Tineret Hotel,
Agronomului House, the Main Post Office building, etc), especially
when troops and military sub-units arrive in the area.
• 17:30. Dumitru Popa, Romanian ambassador to Belgrade,
informs that on that day, he officially presented, as instructed, the Federal
Secretariate for Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia a declaration to the effect that the embassy staff „is solidary
with the National Salvation Front Council and endorses its program", as
well as a similar declaration „of the staff of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs". Milovoic Maksici, deputy Federal Foreign Affairs Secretary of
the SFR Yugoslavia, expressed „the admiration and sympathy of the
Yugoslav authorities for the Romanian National Salvation Front
Council" and „the conviction the Romanian-Yugoslav friendly and
cooperatin relations have very good perspectives". He then added:
„Romania can rely on Yugoslavia, on its support and help;Yugoslavia is
not only a neighboring country but a friendly and reliable one as well".
Earlier, he had declared his country was ready „to offer immediate aid
consisting in medicine, medical instruments and food".

506
Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei Române în direct [The trilogy of the Romanian
Revolution Live], vol. 2, p. 251.
507
Parchetul Militar [The Military Prosecutor’s Office], p. 219.
508
At the order of General Nicolae Eftimescu.
509
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989...[The
Romanian Revolution of December 1989], p. 225.
232
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• 19:00. Different information, related with the data from radar


surveillance, lead to the conclusion that a big naval operation is on the
way at the Black Sea. As a result, warships are taken out again, to
shoot at maritime targets that proved to be false.510.
• 19:50. In the central area of the town of Brăila, a stupid
shooting incident makes the troops in the Prefect’s Office disposition
open sudden and erratic fire that resulted in killing nine civilians and
wounding other 19 demonstrators511.
• In the evening. Talking of terrorists, Ion Iliescu declares the
following on TV: ”Criminal activities of terrorist groups, trained in
guerilla warfare against the masses and in defence of the dictator,
hindered us, the Council, to function normally during the day. We had
to give priority to coordinating the activities to counter terrorists. The
existence of these terrorist groups, of these zealots, who act with
unprecedented cruelty, opening fire against people’s homes, citizens,
killing, even military men, is more proof of the anti-popular character
of Ceauşescu’s dictatorship, who harmed people badly and used huge
resources and premeditated actions to create such groups of
repression... Diversion, terrorist and criminal activities of the
terrorist groups, who aim at destabilizing our society is the last
convulsion of this monstrous creation of the dictatorship against the
people. In fact, we have to tell you that we are not talking of a large
number of terrorists, but that they are trained and equipped for this
very type of activities... They are civilians. In their attempt to create
confusion, they even put on armbands, so that they are taken for
members of the defending formations organized by citizens, creating
confusion. they would should from any position". He then informs that
General Nicolae Militaru was appointed Minister of National Defence
(with generals Ştefan Guşă and Victor Stănculescu as deputies), that
Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu were arrested and are guarded by the
military, as were Ilie and Nicu Ceauşescu, Ion Dincă, Tudor
Postelnicu, Emil Bobu a.o., that steps were made for the good
functioning of the economny, that political prisoners were released.
• In Arad, a TAB of UM 01380 opens fire against an ABI-
Intervention Armored Vehicle-having a Militia team and a civilian
onboard, kiling one officer and injuring three other people512.
20:00. The helicopter having onboard Generals Constantin

510
Due to strict surveillance measures and maritime control, a Soviet maritime tugboat was
identified, 8 km east of Tuzla, towing a Soviet decommissioned tugboat. It remained in the
area until December 26th, 1989, 03:00 p.m. (Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere.
Decembrie 1989 [The Struggle for Power. December 1989], p. 412).
511
Sinteza aspectelor rezultate din anchetele efectuate de Parchetul Militar..., [Synthesis of
the of the results of inquests made by Military Prosecutor’s Office ], p. 224.
512
Ibidem, p. 211.
233
Alesandru Duțu

Nuţă, deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and chief of Militia General


Inspectorate and Mihalea Velicu, his deputy, who were arrested 513,
took off from Deva at 07:35 p.m., only to be shot down by fire from
the ground514.
• 21:30. The Patriotic Guards, now called National Guards,
subordinated to County Councils of the National Salvation Front,
were assigned to guard factories, institutions and objectives, to form
mixed patrols with the military troops for the prevention of vandalism
and terrorist activities, for enforcing public order, etc.
• 23:00. During a tense discussion with Sergiu Nicolaescu (at the
defence ministry), General Ştefan Guşă takes out the red party member
card out of his pocket and says: „I owe my military uniform to this
party. I owe everything to this party and I will be loyal to the party".
• Hearing of the possibility that the group of civilians at the
defence ministry be arrested, Sergiu Nicolaescu left the building in a
hurry (through Ghencea military cemetery), after having established a
„code" with Ion Iliescu, concerning the release of the civilians in the
ministry, in case the troops arrested them.
• 23:30. Two ABIs belonging to USLA-Antiterrorist Special
Units-summoned at General Nicolae Militaru’s order to offer support,
are destroyed by the tanks guarding the Ministry of Natiuonal
Defence, most of the crew members being killed515.
• Ciprian Bărbieru from Bucharest is killed in his own car, in
Lujerului passage, during a crossfire between troops and members of
the patriotic guards in the area516.
• During the night. Radar screens of military units in the area
of Timişoara show 365 air targets517.
• Having received the information that two (stolen) Dacia 1300
cars, transporting terrorists, are going pass in Ghencea Boulevard in
Bucharest, the troops in the area fire and shoot dead Marioara Anghel,
driving her own car and her three-year old daughter, Cătălina
Anghel518. Also in the capital, Toma Poenaru, raised his hands as told
by a soldier (near Post Office 2) but at some point lowers his hands
and is shot dead519.

513
Handcuffed and tied with rope to the back seats of the helicopter.
514
The two generals were charred, as were the members of the helicopter crew.
515
In the days that followed, the dead bodies were left in the street and were desecrated by
passers-by who thought they were terrorists.
516
Sinteza aspectelor rezultate din anchetele efectuate de Parchetul Militar...,..., [Synthesis
of the of the results of inquests made by Military Prosecutor’s Office ], p. 151.
517
Sergiu Nicolaescu, Lupta pentru putere. Decembrie 1989 [The Struggle for Power], p. 98.
518
Sinteza aspectelor rezultate din anchetele efectuate de Parchetul Militar......, [Synthesis
of the of the results of inquests made by Military Prosecutor’s Office ], p. 143144.
519
Ibidem, p. 149.
234
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• In front of the Administrative Palace in Târgovişte, Cornelia


Danciu is wounded by a gun burst shot from a helicopter flying over
the area.
• International reactions:
M.S. Gorbachev informs participants at the 2nd Congress of USSR
People’s Deputies on the latest developments in Romania, mentioning
that on the 22nd and 23rd December, 1989 the situation has seriously
deteriorated520, that the representatives of the NSFC declared they are
willing to cooperate with the USSR, that Romania would meet the
former leadership’s commitments, including those related to Warsaw
Pact. He specifies that government bodies and community organizations
in the USSR analyze the ways in which aid can be offered (medicine,
especially), other countries in the Warsaw Pact being contacted in this
respect). He also mentions that one of the locations of the Trade
Representation of the USSR to Bucharest has been attacked, one Soviet
citizen was wounded and a fire started in the building.
Vadim Perfiliev, spokesman of the Soviet Foreign Affairs
Ministry declares: „Soviet Union is ready to offer unconditional and
effective humanitarian aid to Romanian people, as relief after the
tragic events of the last few days.(...) Soviet people are solidary with
the Romanian people in achieving their ideals of freedom, democracy
and sovereignty"521.
The Soviet Government drafts a Declaration (sent by TASS
Agency as well) saying that: „News from Romania show that the
Romanian people have decidedly broke up with the totalitarian
regime and engaged on the road to democratic renewal of the
country. The National Salvation Front was created, that took over the
power and addressed the people an appeal to endorse the
procclaimed program of ample transformation. Working people in the
entire country participate actively in creating the new power
structures. Enemies of the revolutionary changes try to resist, they are
not shy of making use of guns, with no regard for the innocent victims
they make among the peaceful population. Soviet people are solidary
with the Romanian people defending the ideals of freedom,
democracy and national dignity.
The USSR Government endorses the efforts of the National
Salvation Front Council to instate peace and order in the country.
The Soviet Union is ready to send immediate and effective

520
According to the Agerpres news of December 24th, 1989, M.S. Gorbachev emphasized
that „the National Salvation Front considered they need help from abroad with the lack of
ammunition. Despite that, the Romanian chief of General Staff pointed out later that the
military control the situation in the country and no outside help was needed any more".
521
E un început în tot sfârşitul...[There Is A Beginning in Every Ending], p. 459.
235
Alesandru Duțu

humanitarian aid to the Romanian people, to the new leadership of


the country, as relief after the tragic events of the last few days"522.
Presenting the situation in Romania and the large number of
victims, TASS Agency sends: „The USSR cannot be indifferent and
asks that an end be put to the terrorist attacks".
Moscow. Solidarity demonstrations with the Romanian people
take place in front of the Romanian Embassy, a priest is even holding
a religious service in memory of the victims.
• „Memorial" Association hands over a letter to the embassy
saying: „As an expression of the the will of thousands of Moscow
inhabitants, please send our congratulations to the Romanian people
for the overthrow of Ceauşescu’s tyrant regime. Shame on them who
killed peaceful citizens! We believe in Romania’s democratic future!
The democratic forces of the USSR are on your side!" The European
Economic Community emphasizes again: „The European Economic
Community and its members solemnly declare their intention to give
immediate suport to the Romanian people, so that Romania could
follow its destiny"523.
The Czechoslovak Government recognizes the National Salvation
Front Council as „the sole and the representative government of the
Romanian people" and withdraws the Order of the White Lion 1st
Class, with collar, awarded to Nicolae Ceauşescu.
The Hungarian Government proposes that the UN Security Council
should meet. And declares that it „carefully and compassionately watches
the heavy fighting that takes place for the creation of democratic
Romania", that it will observe Romania’s territorial integrity.
The Australian Government decides to send 40,000 USD worth
of medicine to Romania.
The Turkish Government expresses its satisfaction for the
overthrow of Ceauşescu regime.
The Dutch Government appreciates Nicolae Ceauşescu’s
overthrow as „the end of an annihilated dictatorship" and states that it
will support with all its power ”the process of changes taking place in
Romania".
The Japanese Government condemns the brutal repression of
the demonstrators in Romania and considers that the measures of the
dictatorial regime to repress the will of the Romanian people eager for
freedom is a systematic violation of human rights.
Ingvar Carlsson, Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister, declares

522
Ioan Chiper, Documente privind poziţia conducerii U.R.S.S. faţă de revoluţia română
(23-24 decembrie 1989) [Documents regarding the USSR Leadership Position Towards the
Romanian revolution (December 23-24th, 1989)], în Clio 1989, nr. 1-2/2005, p. 206.
523
E un început în tot sfârşitul...[There Is A Beginning in Every Ending ], p. 399.
236
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

that „last days’ events proved how a popular movement can


overthrow a regime, no matter how brutal it may be".
Brian Mulroney, Prime Minister of Canada, is „very happy"
that Nicolae Ceauşescu was overthrown and considers he should be
tried by a „jury made up of Romanian citizens".
Gyula Horn, Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister, announces
that Hungary recognizes the National Salvation Front Council „as the
sole representative of state power".
Gareth Evans, Foreign Affairs Minister of Australia says
Nicolae Ceauşescu’s overthrow is a nice Christmas gift for the
Romanian people.
Franz Vranitzky, the Federal Chancellor of Austria, congratulates
the Romanian people and considers that 22 December, 1989, will be
„a historical day” for all Europe, due to the fall of the brutal regime in
Romania.
Chancellor Josef Riegler, in his turn, appeals to all democratic
forces to help with Romania’s reconstruction.
Rene Felber, the Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister announces that
the entire Swiss Intervention Corps is ready to act in Romania in case
of a catastrophy.
The Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister announces – through its
spokesman – that the Chinese people watch closely the events in
Romania, considered to be an internal affair and expresses his hope
that the friendly relations of the two countries won’t be affected.
The Czechoslovak Foreign Affairs Minister salutes the victory
of the Romanian people against dictatorship, stressing out that it
„opens the road to the democratization of the country" and reassures
that the Romanian people „can fully rely on the support and solidarity
of the Czechoslovak people".
The Tunisian Foreign Affairs Minister voices his wish for the
Romanian people’s victory in its struggle to remove the traces of the
dictatorial regime.
Arnaldo Forlani, National Secretary of the Italian Christian
Democrat Party, says he is confident democratic changes can be
achieved peacefully in Romania.
Acchille Occhetto, General Secretary of the Italian Communist
Party showed his joy as to the fall of the regime led by Nicolae
Ceauşescu and pays homage to „all those who opposed the dictator,
who maintained, through violence, a regime that disregarded
people’s liberties and gave socialism a bad name".
Neil Kinnok, leader of the British Labour, said that Nicolae
Ceauşescu’s removal is the most wonderful Christmas present for the
Romanian people, as well as a triumph of liberty.
Yehudi Menuhin, honorary chairman of „George Enescu"
237
Alesandru Duțu

Society in West Berlin, affirms his solidarity with the Romanian


people, announcing his intention to give a concert at the Romanian
Athenaeum as a homage to the victims of Romania.
Horst Jager, Mayor of Gera town in the DR of Germany, forms
a Citizens’ Committee under his own sponsorship, in support of the
inhabitants of Timişoara.
The Red Cross of Austria sends a first shipment of medicine
and special medical equipment the seriously wounded.
The Bishop of Greek-Catholic Romanians in the USA sends a
message via „Radio Free Europe": „My dear Romanian brothers and
sisters, I bring you the salute of the Greek-Catholic Romanians in
America!... I can tell it is all tears of joy here, for this unexpected turn
of events... like a lightening from the sky, in favour of those who
fought last Sunday to liberate Romania of communists. (...) Today we
can hope that our prayers, our sacrifice and the persecution of our
believers bring a new light in Romania, the hope that our Church
would be restored as would be the government, a government after
the liking of the people. We will pray for those who fought this week,
who sacrificed their lives for such a just and right cause. I will pray to
God for their peaceful rest, a peace they deserve so much "524.
Print Media. The West German newspapers („Nordsee Zeitung",
„Frankfurter Rundschau", „Deister und Weserzeitung", „Badische
Zeitung", etc.) publish many articles related to the regime led by
Nicolae Ceauşescu and the perspectives opening for the Romanian
people. „Augsburger Allegemeine" highlights that „liberty and
democracy do not spring from new bloodshed but from justice and
respect for human dignity".
• Ample space is allotted to the events in Romania by the East
German press as well („Berliner Zeitung", „Junge Welt", etc).
• The same goes for the French press („Liberation", „Le
Figaro", etc.). „Le Quotidien de Paris" notes: „History will remember
that a starved people, subdued, but above all, unarmed, succeeded, on
its own, to put an end to one of the most cruel dictatorships at the end
of this century. But Romania did not finish its course and has not even
got rid of all its demons. What needed the most courage is done, but
not what is most difficult. A bleeding country has to be revived,
Romania has to get her life back".
• In England, „Times" notes: „The Romanian people, the most
isolated, the most oppressed and unhappy of the Warsaw Pact
countries, is once more the master of its own destiny and ended
Ceauşescu’s tyranny". Articles on Romania include also „Independent",
„The Mirror", „Daily Star", „Guardian", etc.

524
Ibidem, p. 362-363.
238
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• In Sweden, „Dagens Nyhter" appreciates: „The determined


action of the Romanians against such a terrible system crowned the
image of this year of freedom, without precedent in our epoch".
• In Vienna „Die Presse" concludes: „Ceauşescu’s fall puts an
end to the transformation process of Eastern countries".
• In Italy, „Corriere della sera" considers the fall of the regime
in Romania as „as the final act of the 1989 revolution".
• In Poland, „Gazeta", the newspaper of the „Solidarity", says
in the feature article suggestively entitled Romania is free: „Romanians
paid a terrible price for their liberty and democracy. In doing it, they
proved that there are no people in Europe, that are less European
than others, willing to accept the rule of the evil". The author of the
article concludes: „Romanian brothers, you have achievd more than
anybody could have imagined...Mankind bows at your greatness".
• „Tribune de Geneve", from Switzerland, informs that
Ceauşescu family is said to have deposits of 400,000,000 USD in gold
in the banks of Zürich, while Romania would only have officially
70,000,000 USD in Swiss banks. According to the same daily
newspaper, Romanians in exile in Switzerland were said to have
approached socialist deputy Moritz Leuenberger, asking him to
submit a formal request to the National Bank of Switzerland and the
federal government to block those funds.
• Kuweit newspaper „Al Rai Al Aam" salutes Nicolae
Ceauşescu’s overthrow and appreciates that „History showed liberty
is deeply rooted in peoples’ consciousness and cannot be repressed
by sheer force".
• Foreign press agencies continue to inform on the developments
in Romania.
• France Presse writes about the fight of the Romanian
military against “actions of fanatical groups" and presents the main
articles of the Statement of NSFC to the country.
• Taniug offers information on the fight of the military against
terrorists, but disinforms by stating that in the first days of the
revolution 4,632 people were killed by automatic weapons fire or by
bayonet or that 13,200 people were arrested later, 7,614 of which
were executed immediately.

239
Alesandru Duțu

December 24th, 1989

• 01:20. Military units in Caransebeş are sent to augment the


troops from Reşiţa and Haţeg.
• 01:30 – 02:48. Missile and air-defence artillery units in
Floreşti shoot at air targets moving from west to south-west. Though
it seemed they were hit, no traces of them were found.
• 02:00. Unidentified individuals set the fuel depot of UM
01074 in Craiova on fire and shoot dead four soldiers, injuring other
three.
• 03:00. A military detachment heading for Bucharest is
attacked at the north entrance of Buzău town.
• In the morning. The situation in Timişoara municipality
continues to be tense because of the terrorist and diversionist attacks,
mainly against military objectives, despite the fact that they decreased
in number. Special teams, consisting of securitate officers and
protesters are put up, in order to identify the terrorists.
• A similar situation is found in Cluj-Napoca and the
surrounding area, where General Iulian Topliceanu participates in a
meeting of the County Council of NSF, led by an actor, Dorel Vişan,
when they decide on a unified defence system of the building.
• At Brăila, the former County Council First Secretary of the
Romanian Communist Party is surprisingly appointed chief of the
County Council of the NSF.
• At Târgovişte, unidentified individuals fire at UM 01417; two
soldiers are wounded one of which died later.
• 08:00. In Brăila, a speed boat of the border patrol is fired at
from the left bank of the Danube (km 172). At the same time, troops
of UM 01763, UM 01294, UM 01267, UM 01478, UM 01481 and
UM 012043 conduct an ample search operation in the nearby
buildings, that were fired upon, which resulted in the death of four
civilians (three killed in their own apartments, another on the
staircase) and three wounded soldiers. The search operation „did not
result in capturing any individuals or diversion materials they might
have used (simulators, arms, ammunition, etc.)" – according to the
Synthesis of the Military Prosecutor’s Office525.
• 10:00. General A.C. Gaponenko, Supreme Commander of the

525
Sinteza... [Synthesis...], p. 234.
240
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

United Armed Forces representative in Romania demanded that he be


received by the defence minister, General Nicolae Militaru526.
• In Bucureşti, Major Florică Murariu from UM 02317 is shot
dead (in the area of Moghioroş Parc) because he had suddenly
lowered his hands after having been stopped for control, by one of the
numerous teams that were established in the capital those days527.
• Towards noon. In front of the barracks of Târgovişte, where
Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu were kept, demonstrators chant:,,Ole,
ole, Ceauşescu is gone”, „Ceauşescu will spend the New Year’s Eve
in the grave”, „Death to the dictatorship”, etc. Nicolae Ceauşescu
may have understood things differently, because he tried to remove
the blanket covering the window and open it (which was some 25 m
away from the street), telling Captain Ion Boboc: „When they see me
they will stop the mascarade...I have to tell the people that the country
is being betrayed!". There was a hustle between the two and Nicolae
Ceauşescu fell, hurting himself, even bleeding a little528. For that
reason Captain Ion Boboc was replaced for a short while by
Lieutenant-Major Ion Boboc, whom Nicolae Ceauşescu promised
„one million dollars and any rank and position he wished in the
Romanian Armed Forces" provided he takes him in the area of
Voineşti, at the 1st Army Corps Command Point for war situations.
• 12:00 The Romanian Television broadcasts the Statement of
the National Salvation Front Council saying that from a military point
of view, „the situation in the capital and in the counties across the
country is under control", that the military and the troops of the
Ministry of the Interior „conduct operations meant to quickly solve
the still existing problems in neutralizing terrorist cells, which, out of
a demented instinct, continue to hold a finger on the trigger", that
Romanian society is „irreversibly engaged on the road to revolution
and democracy". Then, it demands that „any individual actions in the
name of an absurd revenge should stop, for good". The NSFC
informs that „there is a national consensus: all social categories, the
military, militia and units of the ministry of the interior are on the side
of the Revolution". Then, it emphasizes: „The Revolution is definitely
a triumph. Let us do everyting in our power to make it al happen
sooner. United, we shall overcome!"529.
• During the day. NSFC decided that the units of the Ministry of
the Interior, securitate included, pass to the Ministry of National Defence.

526
He was received only on December 27th 1989.
527
Sinteza... [Synthesis...]., p. 149.
528
Viorel Domenico, Ceauşescu la Târgovişte [Ceauşescu at Târgovişte], Editura Ion
Cristoiu, 1999.
529
Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei Române în direct [The Trilogy of the Romanian
Revolution Live], vol. 3, p. 262.
241
Alesandru Duțu

• At Christman Eve, representatives of the Patriarchate send a


message to believers on TV, stating: „The Romanian Orthodox
Church – that shared, along the centuries, the fate of the Romanian
people, in sickness and in joy – is on its side during these crucial
times and expresses its total agreement with the program and actions
of the NSF, that are meant to ensure the victory of liberty and dignity
of all nation’s sons.... We are determined to rebuild our forefathers’
historical sanctuaries – churches and monasteries –that fell victim to
tyrannt Ceauşescu’s buldozers, to raise new churches in the districts
from where they disappeared, where we were not allowed to build
others. We will celebrate our holy Christian days in peace and joy
and will give the clergy and our flock the word of God, like water for
life, as they expect us to... As we look up, in spirit, to our good Lord,
we kindly ask Him to strengthen, with His divine grace, the will and
spirit of those who are now fighting, even sacrificing themselves, for
the total victory of liberty and democracy on Romanian land. So help
us God! "530
• In Sibiu, isolated gun fire continues, especially where military
units are deployed. Petru Băeşan is injured in his house by a projectile
shot from a helicopter. There are victims among soldiers as well,
Private Cătălin Niţă was shot dead while in the defending disposition.
• In Constanţa, unidentified individuals attack, with individual
armament, military and civilian objectives, as well as patrols in
mission, from the top of the buildings, from green zones; there are
wounded people.
• The USA offer (through Corneliu Bogdan) protection and
political asylum to Nicolae Ceauşescu and Elena Ceauşescu531.
• 15:00. Virgil Măgureanu presents a statement on TV,
announcing that NSFC decides „adopting exceptional measures,
imperative at this moment": „1. A complete and immediate ceasefire
in the entire country. Whoever violates this disposition is guilty of
crimes against the Romanian people and can be punished promptly
and mercilessly. Not one more drop of blood shall be shed! Also, any
act of vandalism, destruction or personal revenge is outside the law,
tainting the noble character of our revolution. The guilt of the dictator
and his lackeys, in terms of history and lawfullness, will be
established by courts of law that will decide with maximum severity
their adequate punishment for the destruction of our nation. 2. The

530
Ibidem, p. 325.
531
In an interview taken by Alex Mihai Stoenescu to Gelu Voican Voiculescu in 2004, the
latter emphasized: „But did you know that Ceauşescu was also under American protection?
They asked us to not execute them and I foud out that they had been offered asylum." (Alex
Mihai Stoenescu, Interviuri despre revoluţie [Interviews on the Revolution], Editura RAO,
Bucureşti, 2004, p. 200)
242
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

military are the only ones entitled to carry weapons, in their position
as the firm arm in defending peoples’ interests. Whoever came in
possession of fire arms and ammunition these days, under no matter
what circumstances, should hand them over urgently by Monday, 25
December, 05:00 p.m. Those who would not follow these provisions,
are guilty of a serious breach of law and will be punished with utmost
severity. 3. The units of the Ministry of the Interior will come under
the Ministry of National Defence, this way we will have a unified
command over national troops and combat means. Militia and
Firemen bodies maintain their specific responsibilities, which they
have to exercise with determination. 4. The leadership and the
working people are summoned to protect economic, commercial,
medical, educational, scientific and cultural institutions. Romanian
society has to function normaly, with the help of each and every one
of us. We also call all citizens to support order enforcing bodies to
ensure the security of embassies and the immunity of diplomats. 5.
The new democratic structures should start immediately their activity
for the restauration of the country. They should get organized
immediately and come under the leadership of the Council, to take,
together, political, social, administrative and economic measures,
imperative for the first stages of reconstruction. May the first free
New Year bring Romania the peace, the calm, along with the joy of
liberty, that would allow us to pledge ourselves to our responsibilities.
National consensus, cooperation of all creative forces of the country,
of all social categories, irrespective of nationality, is a prerequisite
and a guarantee in reaching the fundamental goals of the
revolutionary process in Romania"532.
• During the day, Gelu Voican Voiculescu approves and signs
the document entitled Organizing measures for countering the activity
of terrorist groups, that provided that „urgent checking and individual
selection of USLA troops that could be used in the operative
counterring of terrorist groups"533. Each antiterrorist group would
include troops of the Ministry of National Defence as well, and

532
Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei Române în direct, [The Trilogy of the Romanian
Revolution Live], vol. 3, p. 264-265.
533
The account of Colonel Remus Ghergulescu, former commander of the 404th Recce
Battalion from Buzău, is very interesting as regards the terrorist issue of the Revolution of
December 1989, according to which the terrorists were part of: Troops of the „R" and „S"
Networks, the first belonging to the military, the latter to securitate. These two secret
networks, of which few people were aware, were activated as a last resort. The decision
could have only been taken in case of a real danger of invasion or, to simply eliminate them
and then, if still necessary, the invasion might have followed. It is worth mentioning that the
activity of these troops began at the same time with the electronic warfare and
misinformation over the telephone and communications networks and from the Television"
(apud Dorin Ionescu, op. cit., p. 125).
243
Alesandru Duțu

„similar measures would be taken related to the troops assigned to


protecting dignitaries", etc.534
• 17:00. The dispositions of military units in Hunedoara
County are once more attacked by terrorists with fire arms, every one
or two hours (until midnight), resulting in military loss of lives.
• The barracks in Târgovişte, where Nicolae and Elena
Ceauşescu were held are once more in a crisis. Captain Ion Boboc,
who was with the couple in the building of the command, recounts:
„There was gun fire from the high school across the street. Then,
concentrated fire unleashed from the inside of our building. It was an
indescribable uproar. Perfect chaos. There was shooting from the
hallways, from the offices, the dormitories, from upstairs. Terrible
echo. Being inside, I had the impression that there was fighting in the
hallway, that terrorists entered the Command. In fact I was only
hearing the noise from the inside. No shooting from outside. At that
point, the commander runs by me saying: «The Command is
falling!...Kill them and take your positions!... Save yourselves as you
can!...». And away he was!"535
• 17:30. In Timişoara, a military detachment from Buziaş,
augmented with troops of the patriotic guards, organize check points
for the annihilation of possible terrorist attacks.
• In the evening. Ion Iliescu signs the Decision for the
Organization of an Exceptional Military Court, that has to „urgently
begin the procedures for the trial of CEAUŞESCU NICOLAE AND
CEAUŞESCU ELENA for their actions", considered to be „particularly
serious". The document mentions that the Court was going to judge
the case „in compliance with the legal provisions of the criminal laws
in force", that it will have „a structure in compliance with the law in
force on judicial organization", seeing that „the lawful right to
defence of the perpetrators is observed"536. Specifically, in charge
with the organization of the process and carrying out the death sentence
(established before the trial)537 was General Victor Stănculescu.
• 19:00. Petre Popescu shows the new flag of Romania on TV
(the Tricolor flag without an emblem).
• At Târgovişte, Colonel Andrei Kemenici informs his men that
the barracks were going to be attacked during the night and he

534
Apud Alex. Mihai Stoenescu, Din culisele luptei pentru putere, 1989-1991. Prima
guvernare Petre Roman [In the Backstage of the Struggle for Power, 1989-1991. The First
Petre Roman Government], Editura RAO, Bucureşti, 2006, p. 105-106.
535
Apud Viorel Domenico, Ceauşescu la Târgovişte [Ceauşescu at Târgovişte], Editura Ion
Cristoiu, 1999.
536
,,Caietele Revoluţiei" [The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr. 2/2006, p. 30.
537
Gelu Voican Voiculescu was especially persistent in this respect, while Ion Iliescu was
hesitating.
244
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

decided to take Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu to Bucharest, in a


column of armored vehicles. He informed General Victor Stănculescu
of his intention, who did not agree to it and ordered him to wait for his
instructions. Despite this, Andrei Kemenici orders that the preparations
for the departure be continued.
• At night. As a consequence of the fact that people received
weapons (based on an ID or work permit), in Sfântu Gheorghe intense
shooting started, even the troops from UM 01048 fire (at the block of
flats across the street and in Olt river meadows) assuming that there
were terrorists.
• There is a first attack against the military units from
Caransebeş. The troops respond with fire; there are no victims.
• A bus did not stop when summoned in the area of Moghioroş
Square in Bucharest so the troops of UM 01270 Focşani fire, killing
Constantin Andrei and wounding another five passengers538.
• At Târgovişte, after ordering the preparation of the armored
column that was to take Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu to Bucharest,
Colonelul Andrei Kemenici demands again that Nicolae and Elena
Ceauşescu be shot, then „disappears" for a couple of hours inside the
unit, as he noticed the two TABs from the gate of the Command were
gone. According to the account given by Lieutenant Major Iulian
Stoica, in front of the „Decembrie 1989" Committee, in 1994: „Me,
personally, I suspected the unit commander for the mission he
assigned to me. I was accused of treason in the morning of 25
December. I was ordered to kill the Ceauşescus, without trial on the
night of the 24th to the 25th of December. Colonel Kemenici ordered
me this. It all happened during the cannonade between us and the
highschool. He came to me, when I was in the hallway and told me:
«We lost everything! They are coming to get us.You go and empty one
charge into one and another one into the other!». And he left. Next
day he told me I was a traitor. In the morning of 25. I had not carried
out the order and that was well. An officer declared he was ordered to
shoot me. He said the Colonel made him turn the carrier with the gun
towards the window of the room where the couple was, telling him
that if he heard gunshots in the office, he should fire with the 14,5 m
machine gun"539. Talking of his strange behaviour, to say the least, on
the night of 24 to 25 December, 1989, Andrei Kemenici said, without
convincing the audience:,,Starting the evening of 22 December, the
TABs never left the two entrances. I was terrified. At the same time,
heavy fire unleashed from the railway station against the unit. Then I

538
Sinteza...[Synthesis...], p. 148.
539
Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 291-292; Viorel Domenico, Ceauşescu la Târgovişte,
Editura Ion Cristoiu, 1999.
245
Alesandru Duțu

said to myself: «That’s it! This is treason!». And I don’t know how but
from that moment on I lost it. I went crazy, crossing the inside
courtyard, towards the shooting position, all by myself, looking for
the TABs... I was alone, confused... As if I was drugged. Everything
was spinning. It was like a halucination. I got lost in the unit cortyard
though I knew like the back of my hand. I have lived there for 26 years
but I was completely lost. I do not remeber what I was thinking. I only
remember the running, the desperate running towards the second
protection ring of the unit. I was running towards people, running in
the dark... In response to the shots fired from the railway station, the
troops in the command started shooting as well. I couldn’t go back.
Bullets were whizzing by my ears. I had the impression they were
shooting at me, I was running like a hunted dog, amidst the bullets.
Me, the unit commander, running like a fugitive. There was dispair
and terror in my soul...I saw a TAB near a shed. I thought I could take
it and go back to the Command with it, but it was heavy shooting
there, so I hadn’t many chances, so I continued, onboard of the TAB,
to head for the shooting position"540. There he ordered Sergeant
Constantin Stoican to shoot Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu. „«Hey,
you - remembers Constantin Stoican -, do you know who’s in that
TAB?». Shall I say, or not? I know what I heard... But I am not sure.
And he tells me: «If you want to make history, you go and shoot them
both!»"541.Captain Ion Boboc and Lieutenant Major Iulian Stoica
were in that TAB...
• In Bucharest, at the Ministry of National Defence headquarters,
the members of the new political and military team leading the nation,
decide the fate of Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu in the minister’s
bathroom with the water runnig: establishing an Exceptional Military
Court, followed by a brief trial and the death sentence, with the
immediate execution by shooting542.
• International reactions:
Addressing the situation in Romania, Pope John Paul II,
appreciates that the serious tensions between people and leadership
causes worries.

540
Apud Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 314.
541
Ibidem, p. 294.
542
Gelu Voican Voiculescu proposed to pretend they escaped from under escort and killed
(“as in the case of Zelea Codrenu", according to his own testimony of 30 May 1994). Sergiu
Nicolaescu proposed the „Mussolini method":You give him to me in a car. I stop, leave the
car, people are busy with me, while others kill Ceauşescu. It’s as simple as that". Very
determined in this respect was Silviu Brucan as well, who told Victor Stănculescu: „If he
remains as a monument in people’s memories, they may be sorry at one point and turn
against us”. Talking of Ion Iliescu’s position in the matter, Siviu Brucan would declare on 4
February 1994:,,I would define Iliescu’s position like this:he agreed without being firm and
determined in the matter".
246
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

George Bush, President of the USA, addresses a message to the


Romanian people, presented on TV by Ambassador Allan Green jr. at
15:00..: „A terrible burden seems to have been lifted from the
shoulders of the Romanian people, the burden of a dictatorial regime.
The United States share the Romanian nation’s joy and are on its side
hoping for a peaceful transition to democracy. We regret the tragic
and pointless loss of human lives of the past weeks and wish that
street violence stop. The United States salute the decision of the
Romanian Government representatives to put an end to the brutal
police repression and bring a peaceful ending to Ceauşescu’s
dictatorship. We hope the Romanian Government would mobilize
quickly in order to meet the demands of the people for democratic
changes and will be itself dedicated to the idea of peaceful
transformation. The tragedy in Timişoara will never be forgotten. It
will serve as a peaceful reminder that striving for the fundamental
human rights cannot be repressed by the force of arms anymore. The
United States are ready, as always, to have better relations with
Romania. If Romania takes the road to truthful democratic reforms,
the Unites States pledge themselves to offer their strong support and
assistance. We hope Romania will soon join the other nations in
Central and South Europe, that have entered a new era, that of the
cooperation between East and West"543.
The US State Department announces that Washington sees
NSFC as „an expression of people’s democratic will and urges all
Romanians to support this government" and that the USA „have
consultations with allies and other countries, including the USSR, on
the developments in Romania"544.
James Baker, US Secretary of State declares during an NBC
TV show that „The United States (that had invaded Panama not long
before that, to overthrow dictator Noriega – author’s note) would not
object if the Warsaw Pact considered an intervention in Romania was
necessary".
Allan Green jr. wishes Romanian people „A Happy Christmas,
the Happiest New Year, as you did not have in a long, long time".
The French Government recognizes the Council of the National
Salvation Front as the only legal authority in Romania.
Roland Dumas, French Foreign Affairs Minister declares that
France is ready to make an intervention in Romania if so requested.
Jacques Chirac, former Prime Minister of France expresses his
sympathy and solidarity with the Romanian people.

543
Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei Române în direct [The Trilogy of the Romanian
Revolution Live], vol. 3, p. 277.
544
E un început în tot sfârşitul..[There Is A Beginning In Every Ending]. p. 444.
247
Alesandru Duțu

The Czechoslovak Government, meeting in an extraordinary


session, expresses its support for the struggle of the Romanian people
for liberty and democracy and the fact that it is ready to offer material
support.
The Hungarian Government recognizes NSFC as the power
representative and defender in Romania.
• The same goes for the Norwegian Government.
The Swedish Government decides to allott about 20,000,000
Swedish Crona worth of medicine and food as aid for Romania. The
Swedish Red Cross and the religious organization Star of Hope also
collect solidarity funds. At the same time, in Stockholm, Göteborg
and Malmö demonstrations take place where participants express
support and solidarity with the transformations in Romania.
The spokesman of the Thai Government appreciates that
Nicolae Ceauşescu’a overthrow represents „a new step" towards
democratic reforms in Eastern Europe.
Nikolai Ryzhkov, the Soviet Prime Minister declares for TASS:
„The transformations taking place in Romania should be supported.
Medical and food aid should be provided"545.
I.P. Aboimov, deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of the Soviet
Union, receives US ambassador to Moscow, Jack Matlock, who
appreciates546 that „in the opinion of the American leadership, the
Soviet Union and the USA should continue exchanging views on the
developments in Romania", where the situation is „quite uncertain".
Talking of the „clash between securitate forces and military troops"
and the increasing number of wounded civilians, the American
ambassador pointed out „the positive significance of the fact that the
Soviet Union and the USA shared the same opinions concerning the
necessity to support the group trying to lead Romania and put into
practice the will of the Romanian people". Then, Jack Matlock
declares that the USA „paid attention to the opinion expressed by the
Soviet Union that a military intervention is out of the question", that
they „were equally interested in the declaration of the Soviet
Government on its willingness to offer immediate humanitarian
assistance to the Romanian people". He also states that the American
side „would be highly interested in knowing the viewpoint of the
USSR on the events in Romania as well as on the best ways to support
Romanian people and the new leadership of Romania". I.P. Aboimov
says Soviet Union is „in contact with the representatives of the new
Romanian leadership, be it only on the phone", informing it of the
„steps" taken for „the humanitarian assistance to be offered the

545
Ibidem, p. 460-461.
546
According to the Note written by the Soviet diplomat.
248
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Romanian population", that „the new leadership was repeteadly


asked of the urgent neccessities they have"547, but that: „We were
given no clear answer to our question. It seems the Front Council
does not have a clear ideea in this respect, yet".
In turn the American ambassador says that the United States of
America „is looking for optimal solutions as to how to offer Romania
assistance"548 and says that „The American side is highly interested in
being updated on any new ideas the Soviet side might have regarding
this subject". Jack Matlock continues by asking whether „the
possibility of some Soviet military assistance to the Romanian
Salvation Front is completely excluded" and what „the Soviet Union
would do if it were requested to do so by the Front". Before he getting
an answer to that, he mentioned that „under the circumstances, a
military involvement of the Soviet Union in Romanian affairs might
not be regarded as part of «Brezhnev doctrine»". I.P. Aboimov
replies that the Soviet Union does not take into account „such a
scenario, not even theoretically” as the leadership at Kremlin is
„against interfering in the internal affairs of another country" and
that he intends to go along that line „firmly, without deviation". He
then suggests, ironically, that the American side could
consider,,Brezhnev doctrine" as a gift from the Soviets and highlights
that the Soviet Union „was and still is against convening the Security
Council to discuss the situation in Romania". At Jack Matlock’s
insistence to know Moscow’s position „in case the National Salvation
Front itself would ask that the Security Council convene", I.P.
Aboimov replies that the Soviets are not ready to take into account
„such a virtual possibility"549.
Roland Dumas, Foreign Affairs Minister of France, declares on
television that „everybody motivated by the situation in Romania,
feels the need to fight". As a consequence, he considers that „the
principle of non-intervention should be changed as to allow the
intervention in defence of the human rights", the situation in Romania
requesting „introducing this notion in the international judicial
arsenal". He emphasizes that France would agree to an intervention
of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact member states in Romania
(perhaps in the form of a multinational brigade), and could even agree

547
I.P.Aboimov mentions in the Note written after his discussion with J.Matlock that
hospitals were the established in towns near the border with Romania, to receive wounded
people from Romania, and that a first transport, of about 500,000 Rubles’ worth (11 railcars)
was already sent by rail.
548
Food, medicine and „the logistics for transporting the aid".
549
Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din Decembrie 1989...[The
Romanian Revolution of december 1989...], p. 337-340.
249
Alesandru Duțu

to be part of it550. The proposition is endorsed by James Baker as well.


Jacques Chirac, Mayor of Paris, declares that President François
Mitterand (also President in office of the EEC) should „request the
USSR to send, together with EEC member states, military material to
the Romanian Armed Forces".
• At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris a „crisis cell” is
established for the situation in Romania, while Minister Roland
Dumas discusses with other French officials ways in which France
could help the Romanian people551.
The Romanian Church in Paris holds a religious service in
memory of the victims of the tragic events in Romania, that is
attended by ministers and other French officials.
Gyula Horn, the Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister, opposes
the request of the Hungarian Democrat Front to contact the National
Salvation Front with a view to sending „some antiterror international
units"552 in Romania.
Radio Budapest broadcasts that the Hungarian Minister of
Defence, Ferenc Kárpáthy, is „in permanent contact with the
Raomanian military leadership” and that General Nicolae Militaru
„thanked the Hungarian people and Government for the support they
have already given and for their willingness to continue this support".
Wilfried Martens, the Belgian Prime Minister, informs that the
government he leads officially recognized the National Salvation
Front as the „legal authority" in Romania and voices the hope that it
„will be able to completely keep the situation under control"553.
Fidel Castro, chief of the Cuban state, authorizes the urgent

550
Principiul dominoului [The Domino Theory], p. 492.
551
Petre Gigea, Romanian ambassador to Paris, informs that „many French citizens of
Romanian origin volunteer to come to Romania to fight” and suggests that Romanian
authorities in charge should award Jean Louis Calderon, the French journalist from Le Cinq
Television, killed in Bucharest, the symbolic title of „Honorary citizen of Romania”.
552
The Hungarian diplomat would note the following on the subject: „On 24 December
1989 I was called by the Hungarian Television and told they received a letter from the HDF,
signed by Antall Jozef and Jeszenszky Geza, requesting that the TV audience be informed,
among others, of a request addressed to the Hungarian Government to contact the already
known NSF, in order to offer the services of the Republic of Hungary concerning organizing
some international antiterrorist units under the high command of Romania. In case Romania
would agree to this, Warsaw Pact and NATO member states might be requested to send
military units to Romania. I was completely outraged and after many unseccessful attempts, I
succeeded to reach Jeszenszky Geza, whom I shared my displeasure at his not having
complied to our previous understanding to consult me related to any public statements
concerning the situation in Romania. I tried to make him see that such a proposition is sheer
madness but he kept saying he is not authorized to withdraw the letter. I was compelled to go
to the television and say I was against the reading and broadcasting the HDF letter. Involving
the two military pacts in the matter was pointless, because we had to think to the following
day and we know not even God could help the leaders who get to power with foreign aid”.
553 E un început în tot sfârşitul...[There Is A Beginning In Every Ending], p. 390.
250
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

shipment to Romania of humanitarian aid consisting in 22 tons of


medicine and food, needed by people.
Franz Vranitzky, the federal Chancellor of Austria, announces
that an emergency relief fund for Romania is being created.
Alois Mock, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria emphasizes
that Austria intends to offer material aid to Romania and assistance in
regulating international relations.
Jon Baldvin Hannibalsson, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland,
expresses satisfaction for Romania’s taking the road to democracy.
Yaacov Tsur, Israeli Minister of Health announces that solidarity
committees with the Romania people are being organized in Israel.
Andrzei Kosinjan-Kamvsz, Minister of Health and Social
Security of Poland addresses an appeal to the Polish society to offer
humanitarian aid to the Romanian people. His call was effective and,
as a result, 200 liters of blood were being collected in Lublin. At the
same time, medicine, money, different objects and gifts are sent to the
Polish Red Cross branches, while several doctors volunteer to help
Romanians.
Jan Ornogurski, Prime Vicepresident of Czechoslovak Government
says, while talking of the events in Romania, at a meeting organized
in Bratislava, that a new kind of internationalism is emerging, based
on general human qualities and rights. Alexander Dubcek, in turn,
expresses his confidence in the victory of the Romanian people.
The Minister of Defence of Bulgaria sends a field hospital in
Romania, and is ready to send other medical equipment as well.
Wojciech Jaruzelski declares on the radio: „The tragedy of the
Romanian people worries deeply the Polish people, who are
indignant and blame all the guilty ones. We offer our full support to
the movement striving for a democratic rebirth of brotherly Romania!
I am solidary with humanitarian initiatives and all actions supporting
the Romanian people, who went through such tragic suffering"554.
Lech Walesa, leader of „Solidarity" declares: „The Romanian
people deserves to be helped" and urges the Polish Government to
address an appeal to the people in order to „offer immediate help to
Romania".
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs,
takes stand against the repression exercised by Ceauşescu’s
dictatorship and expresses his solidarity with the Romanian people.
He announces that an amount of 8,000,000 Danish Krone are
available to the Danish Red Cross for the aid to Romanian people.
Ali Akbar Velayati, Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs declares
that Iran is solidary with „the cause of the Romanian people" and

554
Ibidem p. 433
251
Alesandru Duțu

states that together with the country’s president, they expressed their
„dissatisfaction at the events in Romania” to Nicolae Ceauşescu.
King Mihai I addresses a message to the Romanian people
through „Radio Free Europe": „In the turmoil of the events we are
passing through –now with wonderful news, next with terrifying ones,
- I cannot but think of us all, my dear fellow countrymen, who are
facing the bloody attacks and thus preparing for the future liberty and
democracy of our homeland. My thoughts go particularly to the
young ones. Your impetus, as young men, triggered the fight for the
liberation of the people; if it has become terribly bloody it is not your
fault but of the tyrants that enchained you and were thinking it was
forever. I am so proud of you! Through you, for you and with you, our
country would be free again, democratic again and once more
respected in this world and respectful of the world’s laws! I have
relations with heads of nations who are finally listening to my plead
for help with everything in their power. My and my entire family are
praying for you, the young warriors who are saving the nation of its
former tyrants! Contact me with any suggestions you might have as to
how to help you! May God protect you! May our motto: «Nihil sine
Deo» - «Nothing without God», guide us all! Long live free Romania,
the Romania that you are creating! I wanted to tell you how I feel
about this, to tell you how much I admire you and how dear you are
to me!"555.
Eugen Ionesco, Marguerite Duras, Emil Cioran, Costas-Gavras,
Alain Touraine, Jean Lacouture and five other French intellectuals
urge „the democratic states of the international community to come to
the aid of the Romanian people through all the proper means –
humanitarian, medical, food" – and ask French authorities „to take
initiative in proposing that all countries, that expressed their solidarity,
Soviet Union included, join in offering their joint assistance to the
Romanian people".
The Romanian World Congress expresses, through Radio Free
Europe, „their solidarity with those who dared take their fate in their
own hands today and in the last days, attempting to shatter the
foundations of criminal Ceauşescu’s dictatorship".
The Evangelical Church in Berlin expresses its consternation
and shock at the assasination of peaceful protesters in Romania and
demand that the Security Council and the World Council of Churches
be convened to tackle this situation.
The International Red Cross Committee issues a press release
announcing that many national societies of the Red Cross (from
Canada, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Great

555
Ibidem, p. 343.
252
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Britain, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, etc.) mobilized


in support of Romania.
At Charles University in Prague, Czechoslovak students and
railwaymen participate in the joint effort to help the Romanian
people.
North-Coreean Press Agency ACTC sends for the first time a
piece of news on the events of 17 December, 1989, in Timişoara,
which it labels as an „anti government coup”.
World Press.
„Rabotniceskovo Delo", „Trud", etc. from Bulgaria publish
wide coverage of the situation in Romania under titles like: Romanian
People’s Tragedy and Triumph, Honest Sympathy, solidarity and
Support for Romania’s Liberty, Romania Comes Out of the Dark
Ages, etc.
• „Romanian people – writes,,Policy" from Yugoslavia –
proved that it wanted what others already had – namely, democracy,
a better life, safe living and these ideals are stronger than the most
powerful weapons". „Borba", in turn, notes that „the Romanian
exemple demonstrated the reality of the fact that refusing any type of
reform, is necessarily paid with people’s blood, in any circumstances".
Information on Romania can be found in Czechoslovakia - „Rude
Pravo", „Prace", „Lidova Demokracie", „Mlada Fronta", in Sweden
- „Svenska Dagbladet", „Dagens Nyheter", „Aftonbladet", „Expressen",
in Dubai - „Al-Bayan", etc.

253
Alesandru Duțu

December 25th, 1989

• 03:30. Colonel Ştefan Gheorghe, of the Intelligence Directorate


of the Armed Forces comes to the military unit in Târgovişte, where
Nicolae Ceauşescu was arrested, handing over a sealed envelope to
Colonel Andrei Kemenici (with no sender, receiver or address written
on it) demanding that it be opened only after his departure from the
unit. Enclosed in the envelope there were two other, smaller, envelopes:
one containing medicine (some rose vials of insulin and disposable
needles556) for Nicolae Ceauşescu (suffering of diabetes), the other a
note that read: „he forgot to take his medicine when he left. If he does
not take it immediately he is in danger of going into a coma. You
deliver it to him, personally (the envelope) immediately". Confused,
Kemenici gets in touch with Vice-Admiral Ştefan Dinu who confirms
having sent an envelope with medicine, as he had been asked several
times during that morning (by generals Nicolae Militaru and Victor
Stănculescu) if Nicolae Ceauşescu had been administered his insulin557.
As the decision of Nicolae Ceauşescu’s trial and death sentence had
already been taken, the task assigned to Colonel Ştefan Gheorghe, in
the middle of the night is suspect, to say the least, all the more so as the
same Colonel arrived at Târgovişte on the same day, together with the
panel of judges and comes again in possesion of the medicine.
• 07:30. Colonel Andrei Kemenici is informed that a committee
arrives from Bucharest to take over Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu.
• 08:00. The persons designated to go to Târgovişte for the trial
of Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu begin to arrive at the Ministry of
National Defence.
• In Bucharest, General (Reserve) Vasile Ionel is recommissioned
and replaces General Ştefan Guşă as chief of General Staff558.
556
Testimonies, on whether the vials have been used, are not conclusive. Colonel Andrei
Kemenici says Nicolae Ceauşescu confirmed they were all right but he refused the drug
administration by the military unit doctor (requesting his personal doctor). Vice-Admiral
Ştefan Dinu notes that one of the needles was a used one.
557
Later, General Ştefan Guşă noted that the respective vials came from Elias Hospital in
Bucharest, from doctors Iulian Mincu and Georgescu, and that it was General Nicolae
Militaru who ordered sending them to Târgovişte (Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 315-322).
558
The decision on General Ştefan Guşă’s dismissal was taken in the evening of December
24th 1989. Speaking of the reasons behind it, Ion Iliescu said at the hearing of December 16th
1994, in front of the Senatorial Commission for the research of the events of December 1989,
that General Ştefan Guşă was „overwhelmed" by the events, „tired" and „probably self-
254
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

• Colonel Remus Ghergulescu, Commander of the 404th Recce


Battalion from Buzău, who was on a mission at the Ministry of
National Defence, goes to Ghencea military cemetery to find „at least
one trace" of the terrorists, as the previous day they were shot at from
tanks, armored carriers, even helicopters and aircraft. He did not find
anything indicating the presence „of the enemy". On the other hand,
the cemetery looked „as if had been ploughed”.
• Still, in Bucharest innocent people continue to be killed. Around
10 o’clock, Aurel Postelnicu was near his car in the area of the Italian
Heroes Cemetery, when he was killed by the troops of UM 01246.
• Something similar happens in Brăila, where local sub-units
within UM 01346 and UM 01297, resume „searching” the area
around UM 01030, with the support of UM 01314 Galaţi, and start a
„crossfire at a house were terorists were hiding". Six people were
wounded559.
• 12:10. Two PUMA 92 helicopters with Major Cristian
Mateiciuc and Captain Mircea Militaru as pilots take off from the
Ghencea Sports Center heading for Târgovişte. In the meantime,
Colonel Andrei Kemenici was ordered the following by General
Mocanu, commander of the Territorial Air-Defence Command: „You
shoot at anything that flies! I have information that the unit would be
attacked by helicopters. This is an order: You shoot everything down!".
A similar information came to him from General Iosif Rus, commander
of the Military Aviation: „All flights are suspended. There are no
sorties, not one of our own aircraft! Everything that flies is the enemy!".
Informed by General Victor Stănculescu that two helicopters fly
towards the unit, Colonel Kemenici called off the fire order and calmed
down seeing the established recognition signal (a three-four meters long
yellow „scarf") flying under one of the helicopters. After getting off the
helicopter (at 01:00 p.m.), General Victor Stănculescu established the
place where Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu were going to be shot and
designated three paratroopers (Captain Ionel Boieru, Sergeant Dorin
Cârlan and Sergeant Major Octavian Gheorghiu) to be included in the

conscious because of what he had been through", did not have „the necessary analyzing
capacity or the strength which would make him reliable in a coherent leading position".
Moreover, he offered „a presentation of the military situation in an alarmist way, revealing
the lack of coherent thinking concerning the circumstances and what had to be done", and
while on TV he asked people in the capital „to get away from the streets, to go home or to
their working places” so that the military can enforce the order. Ion Iliescu considered this to
be „a blunder, a big political mistake” because „the revolution was accomplished by the
people who went out in the streets” and saying that could be interpreted as „a signal that the
military wanted to seize the power”. General Ştefan Guşă declared repeatedly that he was
marginalized. According to Sergiu Nicolaescu, General Ştefan Guşă „did not have much
consideration for Iliescu", as he was „one of Verdeţ people".
559
Sinteza...[Synthesis...], p. 235
255
Alesandru Duțu

execution platoon, emphasizing that they would have to use automatic


fire (30 cartridges) shooting „from the hip", he decided where the
„trial” would be conducted and other „details”. In the meantime,
Captain Liviu Verdeş, M.D. (who arrived with the panel of judges from
Bucharest) and Lieutenant Florin Olteanu (the unit doctor) checked the
state of health of the accused while General Nicolae Militaru kept
asking if „it was over” yet.
• 13:20. At Târgovişte, The Exceptional Military Court560,
begins „the trial”561 and accuse Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu of
genocide (64,000 deaths), undermining state power and the national
economy, of diversion acts (by organizing military actions against the
people and the state power, by destroying public goods and damaging
buldings, explosions in towns)562. Finally, the court sentences them to
„capital punishment and confiscation of all possesions". After the
recess of the court, Nicolae Ceauşescu exclaims: „What an injustice!...,
We took care of them!... That’s how it happens!" and recites: „We’d
rather die fighting while glorious than be slaves on our old land..".
They both refuse to have their hands tied up and say they wish to die
together: „we fought together, we die together! You want to kill us,
kill us both, together, not tied!"563. Nicolae Ceauşescu shouted near
the execution wall: „Death to the traitors! Long live the free and
independent Socialist Republic of Romania! My death will be
avenged!". Then he started to sing „The Internationale”: Stand up,
damned of the Earth / Stand up, prisoners of starvation.... ", until he
was shot dead by the hail of bullets of the execution platoon (Elena
Ceauşescu as well), at 02:50 p.m. After execution, the bodies were
covered with tent sheets and taken in one of the helicopters, that
brought the panel of judges, to Bucharest and left in the area of the
sports ground Ghencea (the next day the bodies were taken to the

560
The panel of judges is made up of Colonel (Justice) Gică Popa - chairman, Colonel
(Justice) Ioan Nistor - judge, Major (Justice) Dan Voinea – military prosecutor, Captain
Corneliu Sorescu, Lieutenant Major Daniel Condrea and Lieutenant Ion Zamfir – people’s
assessors; Sergeant Jan Tănase – court clerk. Nicolae Teodorescu and Constantin Lucescu
were assigned as pro bono defence lawyers. Also present in the „court” room were General
Victor Stăculescu, Gelu Voican Voiculescu, Virgil Măgureanu (as representatives of the
National Salvation Front), Major (Justice) Mugurel Florescu, Colonel Ion Baiu and others.
561
Speaking of the circumstances in which the trial was organized, Ion Iliescu pointed out:
„We were often asked by foreign journalists if it wouldn’t have been better to organize the
trial in less of a haste. Well, of course it would have been better...Of course we can judge
things differently later" (Constantin Sava, Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din
Decembrie 1989...[The Romanian Revolution of December 1989], p. 474475).
562
During the trial, Nicolae Ceauşescu did not recognize the legitimacy of the Exceptional
Military Court, because, he said, as President of the Socialist Republic of Romania and in
compliance with the Constitutional provisions, he could only be held accountable by the
Grand National Assembley.
563
Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 388.
256
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

morgue of the Central Military Hospital and then, - on 30 December –


they were buried in Ghencea cemetery.
• At 20:45. the population of Romania was informed of the
trial, the sentence and execution of Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu
through a press release delivered on TV by reporter Petre Popescu.
• A military check point was established near the railway
crossing at Brădeşti (east of Craiova); (at 04:30-05:00) a column of
eight vehicles registered in the USSR approaches the checkpoint and
does not stop when summoned, so the troops fire at them, blocking
six of them (most of the passangers and two vehicles succeeding to
escape). Shortly after that, another column of Soviet vehicles was
directed to Bucharest on a route avoiding the main road.
• In Sibiu (as in other towns across the country), though there is
less fire shot by isolated snipers, actions of psychological warfare
type continue. Starting on 22 December 1989 several buildings in
town were totally or partially destroyed, among them those at 5, 7, 11,
15A, 17, 17A, 21, 27 Ştefan cel Mare St., 2 Negoiu St., 47 Moldovanu
St., the Kindergarten and buildings in 24, 18, 20, 14, 42, 16, 2, 8
Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej St., 3 Oituz St., 9 Armata Roşie St., the
building of the Medical Center, the location of the Militia and
Securitate, etc. „Later searches – concludes the Military Prosecutor’s
Office – showed no fire was shot from the destroyed buildings against
the military units, there was no proof of that".564. A County Military
Command is established in town to enforce order, together with the
NSF, at county and town level.
• Shots are still fired in the town of Sfântu Gheorghe.
• In Hunedoara County military units are attacked again.
Simultaneously, luminous air targets are located but nobody shoots at
them anymore.
• International reactions:
Eduard Shevardnadze, Foreign Affairs Minister of the USSR,
considers the suggestion of the western countries to make an
intervention in Romania as „at least stupid if not downright sinister",
as it would make a martyr out of Nicolae Ceauşescu565.
In a press conference, I.P. Aboimov presents the declaration of
the Soviet Foreign Affairs Ministry according to which the Soviet
Union watches most closely the developments in Romania, that the
Soviet Government has permanent and consulting relations with the
Warsaw Pact member states governments and other statess, which are
all supporting the revolutionary renewal of Romania and the activity
of the National Salvation Front, emphasizing – as noted by Ion Bucur,
564
Sinteza...[Synthesis...], p. 192.
565
Eduard Şevardnadze, Opţiunea mea [My Choice], Bucureşti, Editura Presa naţională,
2003, p. 9.
257
Alesandru Duțu

the Romanian ambassador to Moscow, - that „it is desirable to avoid


any form of collective action that could be a reminder of past
practices". Answering the journalists’ questions he pointed out: „The
USSR declared it does not interfere with the internal affairs of
another state, whether it is an allied state or not. The USSR not only
voiced this principle, but it also observes it. The Soviet side is aware
of the US Secretary of State’s statement on the intervention in the
internal affairs of another state. We need to be especially cautious not
only in actions but in declarations as well". When asked whether the
possibility of a military intervention in Romania had been discussed
with the allies, the deputy minister of foreign affairs replied that the
subject had not been analyzed. Speaking of the direct relations with
the National Salvation Front, he declared that the relations have been
established, from the beginning, through the USSR Embassy and that
the initiator had been the „Front Council" which pointed out that they
only needed „political support". On the same occasion it was
emphasized that M.S. Gorbachev had no previous contacts with the
Romanians, that the Soviet Union starts from the recognition of the
NSFC (even if the Soviet Government had not done it formally until
then) and that the consultative meeting of the Foreign Affairs
ministers of the Warsaw Pact states was no longer neccessary.
The F.R. of Germany recognizes the NSFC officially, considering
it the legitimate representative of the Romanian people.
The Swiss Federal Council „approves" the new leadership of
Romania represented by the NSFC.
Michel Rocard, French Prime Minister declares on the radio
that France will continue sending humanitarian aid to Romania but
that it „excludes any military interference".
Lech Walesa, leader of „Solidarity", declares again:,People are
dying in Romania...they die by the hands of the members of the former
repressive apparatus, that defended the totalitarian power and the
privileges related to that power. The people of Romania raised
against bloodshed, against the cruel and vile dictatorship of
Ceauşescu. We are solidary with the Romanian people! Making this
declaration of solidarity is an affirmation of our readiness to help the
families of the people killed. The international public opinion is
horrified by the proportion of the crimes. But declarations are not
enough! The most firm decisions have to be taken. The Romanian
people deserve to be helped. As a Christian, a winner of the Nobel
Prize and a leader of «Solidarity», I urge our country’s government
to make an appeal to the UN Security Council to grant emergency aid
to Romania"566.

566
E un început în tot sfârşitul...[There Is A Beginning In Every Ending...], p. 433.
258
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

The Albanian Minister of Foreign Affairs informs the Romanian


Embassy in Tirana that Albania respects the right of the Romanian
people to solve its problems on its own, in its land, in liberty,
independence and sovereignty.
Alois Mock, Austrian Foreign Affairs Minister declares the
following at the meeting organized in support of the Romanian
Revolution in Vienna: „Romania does not fight for itself, but for
liberty and the democracy of us all".
Pertti Paasio, Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs informs that
the Government of Finland hopes the situation in Romania would
evolve peacefully, that the wishes, rights and fundamental liberties of
the people would be observed.
Wolfang Meyer, spokesman of the East-German Government
says the D.R. of Germnay recognized the National Salvation Front
Council.
The Union of the Bulgarian Journalists express their most
ardent support for the heroic struggle of the Romanian people.
„Le Temps" (Tunisia) writes in a feature article entitled The
Romanians’ Martyrs: „The courage of the Romanian people deserves
the entire consideration of the justice and liberty loving people. The
evil forces have to be neutralized so that the hope of the heroic
Romanian people heals its wounds and rise again to consolidate what
it gained in terms of liberty and democracy".

259
Alesandru Duțu

December 26th, 1989

• Shortly after midnight (at 01:30, on 25 to 26 December


1989), a brief presentation is made on TV (5 minutes and 16 seconds)
of the video of Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu’s trial, but not the
execution. As a result of the people’s and some of the television
editors’ reaction, in the next period larger parts of the process and
some of the execution moments were presented.
• Terrorist activities, that resulted in more deaths than produced
by the repression forces until December 22nd 1989, diminish in
intensity. But, as they still continued, the NSFC decides: „1.
Extraordinary military courts will be established in the capital city
and counties across the country, that will try all cases of terrorist
acts. 2. The trials will be conducted in an emergency procedure and
sentences will be immediately put into effect. 3. Terrorists who will
not hand over weapons and ammunition by 17:00, on Thursday, 28
December 1989, will be tried and sentenced by these extraordinary
courts, according to the emergency procedure"567.
• The National Salvation Front Council issues the first decrees
that annul some of the laws on awarding titles and orders of Romania
to Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu; for the establishment, organization
and functioning of the Defence Council; urban and rural territorial
systematization; regulating forms of addressing between citizens; the
obligation of party, state and citizens’ organizations activists, of the
leadership of socialist institutions, of agriculture or other specialities
experts to live in the locality where they work; the working people in
state economic units should participate with shares in creating the
economic development fund568; the program concerning the scientific
nourishment of the population; regulating the issue of abortion;
relocating to cities considered large under the law; the regime of the
typewriters, copying machines, etc569.
• In an interview published in „Le Monde" Ion Iliescu declares:
„We did not request military assistance from the Soviet Union. We
are permanently in touch with the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

567
,,Caietele Revoluţiei" [The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr. 2/2006, p. 31.
568
It is specified that refunding the social shares would be made gradually, in the following
three years, strating from January 1st, 1990.
569
Istoria României în date [The Chronological History of Romania ], Bucureşti, 2003, p. 747.
260
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

It considers – just as we do –that there is no need for military


assistance. Our opinions are similar in this matter".
• The National Salvation Front Council issues decrees to: appoint
Petre Roman as prime minister of the provisional government, General
Nicolae Militaru is recommissioned and appointed Minister of National
Defence, while the Department of State Security, the Securitate Troops
Command and other bodies of the Ministry of the Interior570 pass in the
responsibility of the Ministry of National Defence571.
• Doina Cornea is on TV saying that what happened in
Romania is „a miracle or a gift from God".
• A meeting takes place in the Palace Square in Bucharest that
is disapproved by the NSFC. Different speakers take stand against
communism from the balcony of the former Central Committee.
Others announce the establishment of the Romanian Democrat Party,
that militates for the „the permanent removal of the leading role of
the Romanian Communist Party ", for political pluralism, freedom of
speech, equal rights for all citizens, etc. Dan Iosif takes down a part of
the banner reading „Long Live the Romanian Communist Party" from
the roof of the building, while Dumitru Dincă proposes that „a minute
of silence be kept for the heroes, our brothers who lost their lives".
• The Students’ Democrat Front, which will become the Students’
Ligue a couple of days later, is established in Bucharest at the initiative of
a group of young people, among whom Marian Munteanu, Mihai
Gheorghiu, Marian Mierlă, Mugur Vasiliu and others.
• Due to bad weather conditions, the Navy Command decides
(at 09:00) that most of the ships at sea come back to harbors (except
those ensuring the protection of the drilling platforms and harbors).
• The number of terrorist attacks in Constanţa decreases and
the tension diminishes over the next days.
• During the searches conducted in Hunedoara County the
patrols are attacked, a soldier is shot in the head and two patriotic
guards are wounded.
• The Revolution heroes from Cluj-Napoca, dead before
December 21st, are buried.
• International reactions:
Yang Shangkun, chief of the Chinese state changes his position
as to the revolutionary events in Eastern Europe declaring: „We
respect the choice of the East-European people, irrespective of the
social system they choose"572.

570
The General Militia Inspectorate, the Firemen Command, the General Directorate of State
Archives and the Directorate for Prisons continue to be part of the Ministry of the Interior.
571
,,Caietele Revoluţiei" [The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr. 2/2006, p. 32.
572
E un început în tot sfârşitul...[There Is A Beginning In Every Ending], p. 397.
261
Alesandru Duțu

Jambin Batmunh, Secretary General of the CC of the


Mongolian Revolutionary Party and President of the State Great
Assembly declares: „The People’s Republic of Mongolia voices his
solidarity with the Romanian people, saluting and supporting the
efforts of the National Salvation Front, which tries to stabilize the
situation in the country and overcome the complex situation created
in order to defend the fundamental interests of the people".

262
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

December 27th, 1989

• The first plenary meeting of the National Salvation Front


Council takes place in Bucharest. Ion Iliescu makes a briefing of the
Council’s activity. Dumitru Mazilu reads the draft law on the creation,
organization and functioning of the NSFC. There are discussions and
talks. The Executive Office of the NSFC is elected, the members’s
names will be published in the „Monitorul Oficial" and they are: Ion
Iliescu - president573, Dumitru Mazilu - prime-vicepresident, Cazimir
Ionescu and Károly Király - vicepresidents, Dan Marţian - secretary,
Bogdan Teodoriu, Vasile Neacşa, Silviu Brucan, Gheorghe Manole,
Ion Caramitru, Nicolae Radu - members574. At the same time, the
following working committees are established: for reconstruction and
development, for agriculture, for the constitutional, legal and human
rights, for youth, for foreign affairs, for science and education, for the
environment and ecological Bălance, for ethnic minorities, for local
administration, an organizational one and one for the group of
members authorized by the Council, the group for the relations with
the public and the media575.
• The Council of the National Salvation Front decrees:,The
name of the country is Romania. The governing system is that of
republic. The flag is the traditional Romanian tricolour, where the
colors are vertical bands colored as follows starting from the lance:
blue, yellow and red". The same decree establishes the responsibilities
of the National Salvation Front and its president, the number of NSFC
members (145), changing the name of Militia into Police and
specifies once more that „all power structures of the former
dictatorial regime are dissolved"576.
• Shortly after midnight, in Brăila, there is a shootout between
the troops of UM 02043 and the troops of a search group belonging to
UM 01294, considered „saboteurs" infiltrated in the dormitory for
singles, who were there, in fact, on a secret mission. Shortly after that
another „error" resultes in the death of seven people (among them

573
As Ion Iliescu was viewed by all NSFC members as always, that is as president of NSFC,
there were no discussions related to his appointment in this position.
574
„Caietele Revoluţiei" [The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr. 2/2006, p. 34-45.
575
Ibidem, p. 46.
576
Ibidem, p. 48-49
263
Alesandru Duțu

five conscripts) and wounding another 10. Significant for the situation
in Brăila are the conclusions of the Military Prosecutor’s Office: „No
material evidence of the terrorist-diversionist activities was found
during the investigations (simulators, weapons or ammunition,
electronic equipment, etc.), conclusive as to the authors or the
existence of provocative activities aimed at the military. There were
ample military actions in Brăila that involved many troops and led to
a significant consumption of ammunition (over 150,000 cartridges,
tens of air-defence strikes). It can be said that the exact reconstruction
of the events in Brăila is related not only to the activity of the air-
defence units, but mainly in relation with the Territorial Air-Defence
Command itself”577.
• In Braşov (at 10:00) troops are ordered to go back to
barracks. (including securitate troops).
• International reactions:
The White House announces that President George Bush sent a
congratulating message to Ion Iliescu. Similar messages were sent by
other officials of the world.
The Spanish Government expresses its solidarity with the
National Salvation Front in Romania and its sympathy for the wish of
the Romanian people to get their freedom.
Jordan, Venesuela, Argentina, PDR of Coreea, San Marino,
Indonesia, etc. recognize the Romanian NSFC.
Franz Vranitzky, the Austrian chancellor declares: „Austria
recognizes the new executive and is willing to actively support
Romania, so that the new government can accomplish its duties".
Raul Manglapus, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines
states that the Philippine government recognizes the provisional
government of Romania,,created by the revolution that ended
Ceauşescu regime".
,,Magyar Hirlap" notes: „Those who assumed the responsibility
of saving the homeland, probably took over themselves the greatest
burden in the history of Romania. It is auspicious that the National
Salvation Front and the Romanian people agreed that it is necessary
not only to overthrow tyranny for good and build a new and free life
but to also allott ethnic minorities their proper place in this new life".

577
Sinteza.. [Synthesis...], p. 235-236.
264
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

December 28th, 1989

• The National Salvation Front Council makes „a friendly


appeal” on TV „that all revenge acts be ended in order to
accomplish national reconciliation”. The appeal continues: „We do
not approve those terrorist attacks directed against communists or
other representatives of the old regime. We make an appeal to the
population that such acts be stopped for the benefit of a normal living
together for all Romanian citizens. We make a warm appeal to all
citizens of the country to avoid violence, that would be a disgrace to
our Revolution. Promoting democracy, liberty and dignity, these
wonderful goals of our revolution, can and must be done peacefully,
in an atmosphere of reconciliation of all forces of our society".
• The Christian-Democratic National Peasants' Party is
established (President: Corneliu Coposu), by the unification of the
National Peasants’ Party with the Christian National Peasants' Party
(established on 22 December 1989); it will be registered officially on
January 7th, 1990.
• The Provisional Committee of the Writers’ Union is established
with the following members: Mircea Dinescu-chairman; Ana
Blandiana, Dan Deşliu, Ştefan Augustin Doinaş, Domokos Geza,
Octavian Paler, Eugen Simion, Stelian Tănase, Dan Hăulică-
spokesman; the Free Syndicate of the Polytechnical Students is
created as well.
• In Sibiu, the German Democratic Forum of Romania is
established.
• At Brăila, military units start retreating to barracks.
• In Vienna, Marin Ceauşescu, older brother of Nicolae
Ceauşescu and chief of the Economic Agency of Romania to Austria
is found dead by hanging in the basement of the Romanian embassy.
• In Czechoslovakia, Alexander Dubcek is elected President of
the Federal Assembly.
• International reactions:
The Indian minister of foreign affairs declares that Indian
government,,sends its warm greetings to Romania for its engagement
on the road to a more humane and liberal value system ".
Ali Atlas, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs,
states:,,Indonesia recognizes fully the sovereign right of the Romanian
people to establish the governing form and system it wishes ".
265
Alesandru Duțu

George Marchais, Secretary General of the French Communist


Party „salutes" the changes that took place in Romania and declares
he wishes that,,this country should advance on the road to democracy
and social progres".

266
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

December 29th, 1989

• A decree of the NSFC annuls the normative acts concerning


housing facilities ensured for citizens who work in Romania
temporarily, the way Romanian citizens can be employed by foreign
legal entities, the protection of state secrets and the relations with
foreign citizens, etc.
• December 29th, 1989. Gelu Voican Voiculescu makes a rough
draft of the ways in which terrorists still at large can be identified and
captured (submitted to Prime Minister Petre Roman) that pointed out
that „dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu organized this machinery of terror
and early personal salvation" prepared by „foreign specialists based
on a complex plan". Also, it was requested,,the urgent investigation of
the individuals suspected of having knowledge of the existence and
organization of terrorist groups, by specialized bodies of the Ministry
of National Defence with the assistance of the Military Prosecutor’s
Office".
• In Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel is elected President of the
Republic that would change its name later into the Federative Czech
and Slovak Republic.
• International reactions:
Lech Walesa declares: „I give my support to Romanians in
their just fight, we will support the Romanian people with all our
forces and we will help it".
Paul Schlueter, Danish Foreign Affairs Minister informs that
the government of Denmark decided to recognize the new Romanian
government and that it will do its best to assist it in „starting its work
successfully".
The Japanese minister of foreign affairs declares that Japan
recognized „the new revolutionary government of Romania” and will
give „its entire support for the deveopment of Romania".
,,La Repubblica" (Italy) writes: „We have never had the
opportunity to watch a revolution live, one as successful as this was
during the last couple of days. The Romanian people’s rising was
watched moment by moment by millions and millions of people
around the world. Touching, often tragic, images, words full of hope,
ardent testimonies. Romanian Televison showed its own people what
it means to gain one’s liberty".

267
Alesandru Duțu

,,Rhein Zeitung" (FRG) concludes: „1989 could have been the


year of peaceful revolutions. It was not to be. From a political
perspective, the Romanian revolution completes the family of the
peoples who have conquered their liberty on their own, freeing itself
of the cruel dictatorship".

268
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

December 30th, 1989

• Silviu Brucan insists that Securitate leadership be arrested. At


the beginning, Ion Iliescu and Petre Roman do not agree578.
• The Free Syndicate of Students in Economy is established in
Bucharest.
• An initiative group consisting of RCP members makes a
televised declaration (at 19:32), that salutes „the victory of the
people’s Revolution" that „overthrew the odious dictatorship of the
Ceauşescu clan, the despotic regime that enchained the creative
energies and potential of the Romanian people, stifled free thinking,
violated liberty and the fundamental human rights for almost a
quarter of a century, making tens of thousands of innocent victims,
including communists".
After it stated that „the dictatorship of the Ceauşescu couple
and their clique completely subordinated the party activity to their
personal ambitions, making socialist ideals an empty word, distorting
its fundamental values", the initiative group informs that it subscribes
to the Political platform of the NSFC and summons „all honest party
members, true patriots, to support the people’s Revolution with all
their power, for the consolidation of the new state power and
achieving the Front’s program", and recognizes that „during the dark
period of the dictatorship, the RCP was compromised in the eyes of
the people and history", declaring that it dissociates itself „of
everything this absurd and odious dictatorship stood for",
condemning it „indignantly".
Then, after reproaching themselves with not taking attitude „in
time to curb the escalation of dictatorship and arbitrariness", the
group of party members concludes that: „It is the right and the duty of
those who share the ideea of modern, contemporary socialism based
on liberty, democracy and social justice to form a political formation
that could participate, alongside the new political structures, in the
future free elections".
That is why they made „an appeal to all RCP members to
endorse the convening, as soon as possible, of an extraordinary
congress of the party, when the breaking up of the RCP should be

578
Accounting for his position, Petre Roman would declare later: „We needed no other
enemies, for the time being, as things had taken the path to normality".
269
Alesandru Duțu

decided and the handing over of party properties to the Romanian


people via the NSFC"579.
• In Poland, the Parliament annuls the leading role of the Polish
United Workers’ Party and removes all stipulations from the
Constitution, defining the country as „a socialist and people’s state”.

579
Teodor Brateş, Trilogia Revoluţiei Române în direct [The Trilogy of the Romanian
Revolution Live], vol. 3, p. 132
270
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

December 31st, 1989

• A decree of the National Salvation Front Council establishes


the criteria according to which the Romanian Government is the
„supreme body of state adminstration”, directly accountable to the
„National Salvation Front Council"580.
• Decree–Law No. 8 on registering and function of political
parties and citizens’ organizations in Romania stipulates that „in
order to create a truly democratic society in Romania, to ensure and
protect citizens’ fundamental rights and for political pluralism", the
National Salvation Front Council decrees: „political parties can be
established freely in Romania, except fascist parties or parties
disseminating concepts that are contrary to the Romanian state order
and the rule of law. No race, nationality, religion, education, sex or
restrictions based on political convictions could hinder the formation
and function of political parties". According to Art. 2 „the goals of
political parties and citizens’ organizations should be based on
observing national sovereignty, independence and democracy, with a
view to protecting citizens’ liberties and rights and affirming
Romanian national dignity. The means to meet the goals of the
political parties and citizens’ organizations should comply with the
Romanian state order and the rule of law". „Military and civil
personnel of the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of the
Interior, judges, prosecutors, diplomats and operational personnel of
the Free Romanian Radio and Television Broadcasting Institution"581
are not allowed to be members of political parties. In order to be
registered, each party or organization had to „have an organization
and functioning statute, a political program, a declared location, the
financial means and at least 251 members"582.
• At Silviu Brucan’s insistence, generals Iulian Vlad583,
Stamatoiu584, Bucurescu, who ensured the leadership of securitate, are

580
„Caietele Revoluţiei" [The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr. 2/2006, p. 53.
581
Published in „Monitorul oficial” on 3 January 1990.
582
„Caietele Revoluţiei" [The Notebooks of the Revolution], nr. 2/2006, p. 52.
583
Talking of his arresting, General Iulian Vlad would remember later: „I was surrounded
by a group of soldiers and taken at bayonette point into a TAB where I stayed for about half
an hour".
584
Anticipating his fate, General Stamatoiu said the following to General Ştefan Alexie:
„We did our duty, otherwise we’d go to Ceauşescu, not to them, through a pool of blood".
271
Alesandru Duțu

detained/arrested at the Ministry of National Defence headquarters. At


the same time, General Vasile, chief of the Military Counterintelligence
Directorate was detained.
• On New Year’s Eve, Ion Iliescu brings „a tribute to all those
who sacrificed themselves in the name of the Revolution, to all those
who participated actively in overthrowing the dictatorship". On this
occasion, he announces that capital punishment is abolished, food
exports and expensive investitions are stopped (Danube-Bucharest
Canal, the Danube-Jiu-Argeş hydropower system, People’s House,
etc.), starting consumer goods imports, allotting plots of up to 5,000
square meters for personal use to Agricultural Production Cooperative
members, etc585. At the end of his speech he says that NSF will strive
for „the promotion of democracy in all spheres of social life", „for
political pluralism", so that „there is a true and brotherly cooperation
between all nationalities living together on Romania’s territory", in
order to meet all international obligations, for „a large opening to the
world, removing all restrictions set by the former regime, actively
developing the cooperation mainly with European countries but with
the rest of the world countries as well".

585
Istoria României în date [The Chronological History of Romania], Bucureşti, 2003, p. 747.

272
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

1990 – 1991

January 2nd 1990. The Association of the Former Political


Prisoners of Romania (A.F.D.P.R.) is established – an apolitical
organization, with Constantin Ticu Dumitrescu586 as president.
January 3rd 1990. The National Salvation Front Council
decrees (Decree No. 2) that „political meetings are authorized as a
manifestation of the right to opinion and expression and an organized
participation of citizens in the public life of the country". They could
take place in squares or other open spaces „only after the organizers
register them to the police of the locality where it will be held, at least
48 hours before"; organizers have the duty to „to take all necessary
measures to ensure that the event unfolds peacefully, avoiding any
violence or disorderly acts".
January 4th 1990. Silviu Brucan declares in a press conference:
„As to the RCP, it is the right of its members to meet, to organize a
congress, to seek a new identity for their party, this is also their right.
We would salute the communists’ presence at the elections, moreover,
we wish to have such an adversary".
• „Monitorul Oficial" publishes the Decree on the amnesty of
political and other prison sentences and pardoning certain sentences,
all of up to three years imprisonment.
January 5th 1990. The Romanian Academy is reorganized
(president: Academician Mihai Drăgănescu).
January 6th 1990. Political crimes committed after 30
December 1947 are pardoned.
January 7th 1990. Death penalty is abolished. During a meeting
organized at the Polytechnical Institute of Bucharest, Marian
Munteanu presents the action program of the Students’ Ligue.
January 8th 1990. The Court of Bucharest Municipality
authorizes the functioning of the Christian-Democratic National
Peasants’ Party, headed by Corneliu Coposu. Passport regime and
traveling abroad are liberalized. The reorganization of Agerpres
results in the establishment of the Romanian Press Agency - Rompres.
January 9th 1990. NSFC declares, by decree, January 12th as
National Mourning Day, that Timişoara and Bucureşti are martyr
towns and the Palace Squares becomes Revolution Square.

586
For a detailed chronology of the political events in Romania see: Istoria României în date
[The Chronological History of Romania], Editura Enciclopedică, Bucureşti, 2003, p. 747-760.
273
Alesandru Duțu

January 11th 1990. The Ecologist Movement Party of Romania


is officially registered (President: Toma George Maiorescu).
• M.S. Gorbachev approved that the Soviet Army and Security
troops invade Lithuania, to support „The National Salvation
Committee" (the radical wing of the Lithuanian communists),
surrounding the Defence Department, Press House, etc. and taking
hold of the Telephone Company.
On the night of 12th to 13th of January, Soviet tanks surrounded
the building of the Television in Vilnius, while KGB troops assaulted it.
The clash with the population resulted in 14 killed civilians and one of
the KGB „Alpha” troops and about 500 injured people587. A serious
situation was created in Latvia (Riga) as well, on January 20th 1990.
January 12th 1990. National Mourning Day.
• In Victoriei Square in Bucharest, demonstrators demand that the
government organize free elections under UN aegis, outlaw the RCP588,
judge Nicolae Ceauşescu’s589 collaborators in public trials, present the
political options of the NSFC members, etc. The Romanian Social-
Democratic Party is officially reestablished (president, Radu Cunescu).
March 12-15th 1990. The 3rd Extraordinary Congress of the
People’s Deputies elected M.S. Gorbachev as President of the Soviet
Union, with 1,329 votes pro (495 against). During the same session,
deputies decided to modify Art. 6 of the Constitution that defined the
CPSU as „the leading and guiding force of the Soviet society, the core
of its political system". In its new form, the article recognized the right
of other political parties, mass and citizen’s organizations to
participate in drafting the policy of and leading the Soviet state590.
January 15th 1990. The National-Liberal Party is officially
reestablished under the leadership of a Initiative Committee, consisting
of Radu Câmpeanu, I.V. Săndulescu and Dan Amedeo Lăzărescu.
January 16th 1990. The Romanian Ecologist Party is
reestablished (president Otto Weber).
• A new Round Table between governement and opposition
representatives takes place and is presented on TV in Bulgaria.
January 17th 1990. Doina Cornea writes in „România Liberă"
newspaper: „As to the communist party, I do not think it is advisable
to deprive it of this right, if we are to observe democratic principles,
on condition it has 251 true followers and not opportunists.
Democracy has to be stretched to its logical limits".

587
Vasile Buga, op. cit., p. 83.
588
In the evening of the same day, a decree was issued, that would be annuled on January
18th 1990.
589
The first trial started on January 27th 1990.
590
Vasile Buga, Apusul unui imperiu. URSS în epoca Gorbaciov, 1985-1991 [The Fall of An
Empire. USSR in Gorbachev Era, 1985-1991], Bucureşti, 2007, p. 59.
274
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology
th
January 18 1990. The NSFC decrees that the properties of the
former RCP pass into the property of the state.
• Patriarch Teoctist announces his retirement due to health
problems591.
January 19th 1990. „Timişoara" Society is established which
aims at „promoting and supporting true democracy".
January 20th 1990. Reformist groups in the CPSU demand the
acceleration of the political pluralism.
January 23rd 1990. NSFC decides that NSF becomes a party
and that it should participate in the elections. It is accepted the request
that UN observers participate in the elections. In protest to this
decision, Doina Cornea resignes from the NSFC.592
• The Socialist Liberal Party is established (president Niculae
Cerveni)593.
January 24th 1990. The new anthem of Romania is adopted,
namely,,Deşteaptă-te române" [Awaken thee, Romanian].
• As an expression of their discontent with the participation of
the National Salvation Front in the elections, The Christian-
Democratic National Peasants’ Party, the National Liberal Party and
The Social Democrat Party demand the creation of a provisional
government consisting of political parties, former disidents, youth
representatives, etc.
• Decree No. 39 of the National Salvation Front Council
stipulates that „in order to guarantee the normal economic and social
activities, to ensure public order and peace, public meetings can be
organized only in compliance with the provisions of the Decree-Law
No. 2 of January 3rd 1990 and observing the measures stipulated by the
present decree-law, normally in not working days or outside working
hours". Art. 2 establishes the locations allowed for the public meetings:
„in Bucharest Municipality, meetings would be normally organized in
Libertăţii Park, Tineretului Park, Operei Române Park and Titan Park.
If requested by organizers, the Bucharest Mayor’s Office could admit
other places for the public meetings, as long as the stipulations of the
present decree-law are observed. County Mayor’s Offices will establish
the locations for the public meetings within five days and citizens would
be informed of the decision through any means of publicity. In
establishing these locations it has to be taken into account supply and
transport, economic activities, traffic safety, working hours, the
program of education, cultural and healthcare institutions. The public
meetings cannot be organized in the proximity of railway stations,

591
He would reconsider his decision on April 4th 1990.
592
Ana Blandiana, Mircea Dinescu, Ion Caramitru would soon do the same.
593
On April 29th 1992 it would become the National Liberal Party – Democrat Convention.
275
Alesandru Duțu

hospitals, military objectives, economic units that operate with


institutions, equipment, machines that present danger". Other articles of
the Decree make clear that public meetings can also be organized „at
the location of political parties and other citizens’ organizations
established in compliance with the law", that the groups of participants
„will go to the established places following only the routes set by the
local administration together with the police", and the punishment
applicable to organizers for not observing the legal provisions.
January 26th 1990. Through Decree No. 181, the Provisional
Council of National Union decrees the establishment of the Romanian
Intelligence Service with the role of „gathering data and intelligence on
the activities of espionage agencies and extremist-terrorist organizations
against Romania, on terrorist elements intending to organize and
conduct diversion activities and attacks meant to undermine national
security and to destabilize the rule of law". It was accountable to the
Provisional Council of National Union and, after the elections of the 20th
of May 1990, it would be accountable to the Parliament. The director594
of the Romanian Intelligence Service was supposed to submit periodic
reports with the main conclusions deriving from the services’s specific
activity and answered directly to interpellations concerning its activity.
As central body of state administration, until the elections of the 20th of
May, 1990, the Romanian Intelligence Service was directly accountable
to the president of the Provisional Council of National Union. After the
elections, it was going to be accountable to the president of Romania.
The Romanian Intelligence Service had to ensure „through specific
means", „the protection of state secret and the prevention of data or
information leaks, that were not free for public information". The
Romanian Intelligence Service could establish relations with similar
foreign agencies.
January 27th 1990. The Military Territorial Court in Bucharest
begins the trials of Tudor Postelnicu, Emil Bobu, Ion Dincă and
Manea Mănescu, accused of genocide595.
January 28th 1990. A meeting is organized in Bucharest by the
Christian-Democratic National Peasants’ Party (CDNPP), National
Liberal Party (NLP) and Social Democrat Party (SDP) in protest to
the decision of NSF of January 23rd to participate in the elections.
The self-dissolution of the NSF is demanded.
• The Democratic Union of the Magyars in Romania is
established.

594
Being appointed by decree and having the rank of a minister, he cannot be an active duty
officer.
595
On February 2nd 1990, the four communist dignitaries were sentenced to life imprisonment
and confiscation of property. Over the next three years they were released due to health reasons.
276
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology
th
January 29 1990. The supporters of the NSF in Bucharest,
organize a demonstration (in response to that of the opposition), with
the participation of about 5,000 miners arrived/brought to Bucharest
from Valea Jiului; the locations of opposition parties and of some
newspapers that criticized the government were assaulted and
devasted.
• The Democratic Agrarian Party of Romania is established.
February 3rd 1990. After the Bulgarian Parliament abolished
the leading role of the communist party in January, which then called
itself the Socialist Bulgarian Party (headed by Alexander Lilov),
Andrei Lukanov is assigend Prime Minister; Petar Mladenov remains
president of the republic.
February 5th 1990. NSFC issues the Decree-Law on the
organization and conducting of economic activities based on private
initiative (small enterprises with up to 20 workers, etc.).
February 6th 1990. The National Salvation Front registers as
political party at the Court of Bucharest Municipality (president Ion
Iliescu)596.
February 7th 1990. At M.S. Gorbachev’s proposition (on
February 5th), the Plenary meeting of the CC of CPSU decides
removing the provision on the leading role of the party.
February 9th 1990. After intense political confrontations, the
Provisional Council of National Union (CPUN) is established in
Romania as legislative body and state power, with the mission to lead
the country until the elections of the 20th of May.
• 90 percent of the Lithuanian population decides (through
plebiscite) in favor of independence.
February 12th 1990. The Action Committee for Democratization
of the Military (C.A.D.A. established at the beginning of the month597)
publishes a 13-articles Appeal to discuss the status, role and functions
of the military in the state of the rule of law598. People demand the
truth on the military involvement in the Revolution of December
1989, the removal of General Nicolae Militaru as Minister of National
Defence, appointing a civilian defense minister, etc599.
February 13th 1990. The executive office of CPUN is elected,
with Ion Iliescu - president, Ion Caramitru, Cazimir Ionescu, Király
Károly, Radu Câmpeanu, Ioan Mânzatu – vice presidents, Dan

596
In July 1990, Petre Roman became president of the NSF.
597
Gelu Voican Voiculescu points out: „CADA was created by counter-intelligence
officers...I put them in a room and I worked with them. I worked with them all the time,
directing things". (Alex Mihai Stoenescu, Interviuri despre revoluţie, [Interviews on the
Revolution], Editura RAO, Bucureşti, 2004, p. 198).
598
Istoria României în date, [The Chronological History of Romania], p. 750.
599
Vartan Arachelian, op. cit., p. 170-180.
277
Alesandru Duțu

Marţian - secretary and 14 other members.


February 18th 1990. A big anti-government demonstration take
place in Victoriei Square in Bucharest, when turbulent elements force
their entry into the government building. The following day, about
4,000 miners from Valea Jiului arrive in the capital city, in support of
the executive.
February 19th 1990. During a TV show, Boris Yeltsin accuses
M.S. Gorbachev of dictatorial behaviour and demands his resignation.
February 22nd 1990. In an extraordinary meeting of the
„Timişoara" Society, George Şerban presents the text of a
Proclamation600, that had the support of the participants.
February 24-25th 1990. In Moscow and other Soviet cities big
demonstrations are organized in protest to the situation of the USSR.
February 1990. Under the pressure of the civil society and the
Mongolian Democratic Party, established at the end of 1989, the
leadership in Ulan Bator legalizes the opposition and allows, in July
1990, the organization of the first free multiparty elections. Following
the world trend, it changes its name into the National Democratic Party.
March 3rd 1990. „România Liberă" newspaper publishes a part
of the declarations Dincă made to journalist I. Socaciu at the Jilava
prison infirmary. Speaking of the strict surveillence by Securitate
even of Nicolae Ceauşescu’s entourage the former dignitary stressed
out: „Phones were tapped. There were two adjutants assigned by
Securitate to each of us, under the pretence of protection but who
were, in fact, spying on us, day and night. It has been a long time
since I had any friends. Nobody was visiting us. On the other hand,
the two «adjutants» were coming and going as if they were at home".
Asked whether he attempted to tell to Nicolae Ceauşescu of the
catastrophic situation of the national economy, the interlocutor
answered: „I only talked about it with Dăscălescu, sometimes with
Ştefan Andrei and Ludovic Fazekas, but not while in the office, but
outside, in the hallways or in a park, lest someone should overhear
us. We expressed some worry over the matter but we were afraid to
raise the matter to the dictator. I had a premonition that something
may happen, before the 14th Party Congress. It proved I was right".
Speaking of Elena Ceauşescu’s role, Ion Dincă told the journalist: „As
of 1981, her «leading» role in the state became crucial. Government
problems were no longer solved by the government but by «her».
«She» even had the last say in the discussions she had with «him» in
the Executive Political Committee. Ceauşescu often avoided to

600
The same text was read on March 8th, 1990, during the CPUN Timiş meeting when it was
rejected; the next day, though, it was approved during the meeting of the Municipal Council of
Timişoara. The proclamation was eventually made public in the Opera Square in Timişoara,
on Marc 11th,, 1990.
278
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

confront «her», especially when she had fits of malice and fury. At the
beginning, her rise was meant on a scientific line only, but later she
came to embrace «the political» as well. I remember that her «rise»
began on the occasion of her 65th birthday, when the Executive
Political Committee wanted to offer her the academician title on a
platter. During the anniversary meeting, the proposition was made
that she be awarded the academician title as a reward for her
«scientific activity». There was someone - namely Janos Fazekas -,
who said he did not agree to that and that he would abstain from
voting. What happened? Next day, Constantin Dăscălescu asked him
to submit his request for retirement. And he did". Asked later about
the moment that changed his life, the former communist dignitary
replied: „I made a mistake when I joined the party. I will always be
ashamed of this party. I did not listen to my father when he told me
not to enter politics. This party, that I was a member of, was
completely compromised. His future existence is out of the question.
Those wanting to revive it have no chance. As far as I am concerned,
I would never join this party again". Even if he admitted he was
treated fairly in prison, Ioan Dincă declared that life in prison
destroyed his morale and concluded: „I would rather had been
sentenced to death. It would have been a fair sentence".
March 4th 1990. Boris Yeltsin is elected deputy already in the
first tour of the elections for the People’s Deputies Congress of the
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Russian SFSR).
March 7th 1990. The panel of judges presided by Major
Gheorghe Ciobotaru decides the release the four adjutant officers of
Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu (Florian Raţ, Aurel David, Marian
Constantin Rusu and Paulică Tănasi). Journalist Victor Dinu
concluded in the next day’s issue of „România Liberă" newspaper: „A
fair sentence was passed, in a file that was initially incomplete. The
entire trial was a confirmation of the fact that they gave up the old
habit of finding a scapegoat at all costs. We are pleased to reaffirm
now, after the revolution, that social liberty and justice are about to
prevail. The sentence passed in this trial is one proof in this respect,
when the four defendants were acquited, as their deeds were not
qualified as crimial" („România Liberă" of the 8th of March 1990).
The journalist was surely right, but only the four who were tried know
what they felt until the sentence was passed.
March 9th 1990. Taking advantage of the weakness of the
central power in Moscow, Georgia adopts a declaration of
sovereignty, followed closely by Lithuania (March 11th), Estonia (30
March), Latvia (May 4th), Russia (June 12th), Uzbekistan (June 20th),
Moldavian SSR (June 23rd), Ukraine (July 16th), Belarus (July 27th),
etc., as well as by the local authorities of Transnistria, Abkhazia,
279
Alesandru Duțu

South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh, which were not recognized by the


authorities of the respective republics. Speaking of the sovereignty
declaration of Russia, M.S.Gorbachev would declare that „it drove the
first nail in the coffin of the Union State".
March 11th 1990. During a big demonstration organized in
Timişoara by the „Timişoara",,,Europa" and „16 decembrie"
Confederation societies, a Proclamation is adopted, which requested
in its Art. 8 that (the future elections law) that former party activists
and securitate officers be denied the right of participating in the first
three legislatures. It also demands that former communist activists be
denied the right to participate in the presidential elections in Romania.
• The Lithuanian Parliament decides the restoration of
independence, changing the name of the state into the Republic of
Lithuania and that the Constitution of the USSR is no loger valid on
the territory of the republic. As a consequence of the tense relations
between Vilnius and Moscow, of the political pressures and economic
sanctions, the Lithuanian leadership would soon withdraw its deputies
from the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and decides the return to the
Constitution of 1938601.
March 14th 1990. The Soviet Union accepts revising its
Constitution. M.S. Gorbachev is elected president of the People’s
Deputies Congress (in fact, president of the USSR), while the Law on
„the state of emergency" gave him almost unlimited powers.
March 15th 1990 National Unity Party of the Romanians in
Transylvania602 is established.
March 15-20th 1990. The Magyars in Târgu Mureş area celebrate
142 years since the outbreak of the 1848 Revolution in Hungary.
Many Magyars come from Hungary to celebrate their national day in
Romania. Against this background and the fact that there were many
incidents that hurt the Romanian national feelings (desecration of
historical monuments, hoisting of Hungarian state insignia, replacing
the inscriptions of the Romanian names of localities, manifestations of
ethnic separatism in schools against the Romanian, etc.) violent
confrontations take place between Romanians and the local Magyar
ethnics, that resulted in dead and injured people.
March 18th 1990. The Provisional Council of National Union
(PCNU) adopts the Law on parliamentary and presidential elections.
• In the DR of Germany, the first free elections take place, won
by the Alliance for Germany (40.9% of the votes). As a consequence,
a coalition government is formed on April 12th (Christian-Democrats,

601
Vasile Buga, op. cit., p. 78.
602
On 26 August 1992 it changed its name into the Party of the Romanian National Unity,
that dissolved on the 9th of September 2000.
280
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

Liberals and Social- Democrats) headed by Lothar Maziere (former


communists get only three ministerial positions).
March 25th 1990. Parliamentary elections in Hungary are won by
the Hungarian Democratic Forum, that forms a coalition government
(prime minister József Antáll) which includes representatives of the
Smallholders Party and the Christian Democratic Party, being invested
by parliament on the 23rd of May. Göncz Árpád (former political
prisoner) becomes the first president of democratic Hungary.
March 26th 1990. The Romanian Intelligence Service is
founded (SRI; director Virgil Măgureanu), accountable to the
president of Romania and under the control of the Parliament, having
as main mission protecting and ensuring national security.
April 4th 1990. The Provisional Council of National Union
establishes „unemployment benefits as integral part of the welfare
and social insurance system" for people „able to work, women aged
16 to 55 and men aged 16 to 60, who are not employed and have no
other income sources, as confirmed by competent agencies".
Therefore, an unemployment fund was going to be created starting on
the 1st of May 1990, that had to be functional from 1st of July 1990 in
the following form: 50% percent of the minimum wage for graduates
of an education institution and people with up to one year seniority;
50% of the average wage earned during the past three months for
people with over one year seniority; 50% of the last three months’
wages for the situations provided at Art. 4, point B. of the decree.
April 7-8th In Romania, the first National Conference of the
NSF takes place, when Ion Iliescu is elected president of the party and
its candidate at the future presidential elections.
April 11th 1990. The Romanian Government does not accept
that the former ruler, King Michael I visit the country, considering
that it would upset the Balance of the political life.
April 20th 1990. Czechoslovakia changes its name into the
Federative Czech and Slovak Republic. At the legislative elections of
June, the winner will be the Civic Forum.
April 22nd 1990. Some of the participants in the demonstration
organized by the Christian Democratic National Peasants’ Party in
Bucharest occupy Universităţii Square, which they declare „neo-
communism-free zone" or „Kilometer 0 of democracy" (on April 29th).
Other meetings are organized in the area in anti-governmental and
anti-presidental protest. On April 26th a Declaration is published that
includes also Art. 8 of the Proclamation from Timişoara. Some of the
demonstrators begin a hunger strike. On June 12th, the General
Prosecutor’s Office requires that the Ministry of the Interior take steps to
„stop the abuses against legality" committed in the Universităţii Square.
April 28th 1990. Mircea Snegur is elected president of the
281
Alesandru Duțu

Supreme Soviet of the SSR Moldova. The deputies in Chişinău decide


through an amendment to the Constitution, that the new flag of the
republic be the same as the Romanian one.
April 1990. The Democratic Opposition of Slovenia (also
known as DEMOS) wins the elections (the same happened for the
Croatian opposition, when the Croatian Democratic Union won the
elections in May and also in Bosnia and Herzegovina - in December
the same year).
• The communists of Serbia led by Slobodan Miloshevich
succeed in maintaining their positions.
• After the Albanian communists tried to stop the reforms in
January 1990, in April, the 10th Plenum of the CC AWP adopts some
measures in support of the human rights.
May 5th 1990. The banks of the river Prut are symbolically
connected through a bridge of flowers.
May 7th 1990. The meeting of the Executive Office of the
Provisional Council for National Union tackles several issues. At the
beginning of the meeting, Radu Câmpeanu talks of,,the serious
incidents that occurred in Brăila" on the 5th of May 1990 when,
according to him, there was an intention of his physical extermination
and makes an appeal that „we should everything in our power to
hinder any other such acts". In turn, Ion Caramitru demands that the
dialogue with the representatives of Universităţii Square demonstrators
„be open and unbiased, so that the situation calms down as, in my
opinion, it has quite serious consequences"603. The well-known actor
requires that the president of CPUN „approve another dialogue, at
another level, with the most important representatives of the
intelligentsia604, who wish to get in touch with him to discuss strategic
aspects, so important in this historical moment"605. Ion Iliescu makes
clear he agrees to what Radu Câmpeanu said, and diapproves „any
escalation of violence". As to what Ion Caramitru said, he declares
that „there are two issues that are not negotiable, as they are final
decisions of CPUN, namely the date of the elections and the Elections
Law, because Art.8 has a bearing on an article of this law, that has
been under debate, long discussed and eventually adopted by CPUN.

603
The original text contains some changes – corrections made with a pencil. The final form of
the speech held by Ion Caramitru reads like that:,,The dialogue has to be open, without bias, in
order to calm the present situation, which, in my opinion, has quite serious implications, given
the diversity of social classes participating in this demonstration for two weeks now".
604
With Gabriel Liiceanu, Ion Augustin Doinaş, Mr. Gabriel Andreescu, Andrei Pleşu, Dan
Hăulică and Ion Caramitru.
605
After the changes were made, Ion Caramitru’s request is as follows: „approve another
dialogue, at another level, with the most important representatives of the intelligentsia, who wish
to get in touch with him to discuss strategic aspects, so important in this historical moment".
282
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

There is nothing to discuss in this respect. This is, in fact, the essence
of these so-called «conditions»". Next, the president of CPUN repeats
some of the statements made in the declaration of last Friday: „1. I
sincerely regret the use of the name «hooligan» for the people in
Universităţii Square. The information I had at the time I used the
word were not at all flattering for some of the disguised organizers of
the demonstration, but were not complete as far as the rest of the
demonstrators were concerned. Anyway, the use of the term was and
is regretable. 2. During the dialogue, I made it clear that the date of
the elections and the provisions of the Elections Law, on which CPUN
was unequivocal, are not negotiable. The meeting on Tuesday should
bring a relief to the situation created in the center of Bucharest,
should restore order and lawfullness, should create a civilised
climate, absolutely necessary for the normal unfolding of the election
campaign. As far as I am concerned, I find it clear that the Tuesday
dialogue shows the lack of motivation for the continuation of the
demonstration that creates difficulties more to the traffic than the
political debate. 3. During the visits I made in several counties I
noticed everybody is eager that the tensions stop, that normality is
resumed, that the legal base for the elections of 20th of May is
observed, as well as the authority of the only institutions representing
state power, namely the Provisional Council for National Union and
the subordinate government. Disputing the law on elections and the
authority of CPUN would only lead to chaos and anarchy. We need to
be aware that we can get the desired liberty and democracy only if we
have a normal and safe elections campaign and elections. We
distance ourselves unequivocally and without hesitation of any
actions that impair the climate of these days, irrespective of the
political colour of the perpetrator. Not escalating violence but the
clash of ideas, open dialogue (polemical but civilized) are the right
platform for the election victory of the true representatives, really
capable of pledging themselves to the huge responsibility of ruling the
country. We are persistant in our appeal to all citizens of the country,
irrespective of political convictions and options, to have a dignified
and civilized attitude in all elections-related circumstances, to stop
any attempts of verbal or physical violence, against the parties or
groups that present their options and programs. Say no to violence
and intolerance! Let’s ensure a climate free of heat or passion for all
political formations participating in the election campaign, let us
assess the ideas and go to urns calmly and responsibly!".
May 10th 1990. Invoking the fact that the „justified claims of
independent groups demonstrating in Universităţii Square and other
cities, claims that have the support of over 4.5 millions of supporters,
did not get a reasonable response from the government" and the fact
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Alesandru Duțu

that „our appeal to the provisional leadership of the country to stop


the wave of terror and to postpone the election date got an unfair and
arrogant response meant to project the responsibility for solving the
serious problems mentioned to this council, that totally lacks
efficiency as it is undemocratically controlled by the NSF president",
the Christian Democratic National Peasants’ Party withdraws its
representatives from the Provisional Council of National Union.
May 11th 1990. The Provisional Council of National Union
decrees (by Decree No. 137) that „former Romanian citizens who, out
of various reasons, lost their citizenship before December 22nd 1989,
can get it back following the submission of a notarized statement at
the diplomatic missions or consular offices abroad or at the State
Notary of Bucharest Municipality, even if they have another
citizenship and do not intend to live in Romania".
May 20th 1990. Parliament elections in Romania are won by the
National Salvation Front (66.31% in the Deputies’ Assembly, 67.02%
in the Senate)606.
Presidential elections are won by Ion Iliescu with 85.07%607.
May 29th 1990. In USSR, Boris Yeltsin is elected president of
the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Russia. On June 7th,, the
Russian Parliament decides that the Russian law overrides Soviet law.
June 10th 1990. After the elections in Bulgaria, the Socialist
Party (ex-communist) obtains 52.7% of the votes. The opposition
refuses to participate in governance, whereas the population gets out
in the street again, propelling Jelio Jelev in the place of Petar
Mladenov, who is forced to resign on July 6th.
June 13-15th 1990. In the morning of June 13th, police forces
try free the Universităţii Square in Bucharest of the last hunger
strikers. People get arrested. The students who took refuge in the
Architecture Institute are attacked as well. People chant anti-
communist and anti-presidential slogans. Demonstrators and police
forces clash, while other people chant: „I.M.G.B.[Heavy Trucks
Factory of Bucharest] brings order into things!" During the day,
violent attacks take place and fire is set to the buildings of the Police,
the Ministry of the Interior and the Romanian Intelligence Service. In
the evening the building of the Television is occupied for a while. At
night, the law enforcing forces reestablish order. On June 14th, early
in the morning, the over 10,000 miners from Valea Jiului who arrive
in Bucharest, armed with bats and chains, are directed to Universităţii

606
U.D.M.R. obtained 7.23% at the Deputies’ Assembly and 7.20% in the Senate, National
Liberal Party 6.41%, and 7.06%, respectively, CDNPP 2.56%, and 2.50%, respectivelly, SDP
1.05%, and 0.9% respectivelly.
607
Radu Câmpeanu obtained 10.64% of the votes, whereas Ion Raţiu 4.29%.
284
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Square, that is brutally cleared. At the same time the buildings of


many institutions and political parties of the opposition in the center
of the capital city are devastated. The nation and the whole world are
perplexed. Romania’s image and international reputation are seriously
affected. Before the miners returned to Valea Jiului, Ion Iliescu
thanked them for what they did in Bucharest608.
June 15th 1990. The Action Committee for Democratization of
the Military is dissolved by the decision of the High Military Council
of the Ministry of National Defence on pretence that it fell into the
hands of the political forces that worked to destabilize the country.
June 20th 1990. Ion Iliescu takes the oath as President of
Romania, before the united Chambers of the Parliament, at the
Romanian Athaeneum: „I swear to be loyal to the Romanian people,
its liberty and prosperity ideals. I swear to observe the laws of the
country, to defend democracy, the fundamental rights and freedoms,
the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country"; Petre Roman
is appointed prime minister on the same occasion.
June 28th 1990. The appointed Prime-Minister, Petre Roman,
presents the government members to the Parliament and the
Declaration-Program that has as main goals establishing democracy
and free market economy by means of political, economic and social
reforms.
July 2nd 1990. 114 deputies of the Parliament of Kosovo adopt a
Constitution that proclaims the equality of the province with the other
six republics of the Yugoslav Federation. The opposition in Slovenia
and Croatia get more active. The situation gets worse after the
election of Slobodan Miloshevich as president of the Republic of
Serbia and the strengthening of the position of the Socialist Party (ex-
communist).
July 2nd-13th 1990. M.S. Gorbachev, re-elected as Secretary
General at the 28th Congress of the CPSU (the last in the party’s
history, despite the opposition of the conservative group), points out
that „the monopoly of the CPSU is over” and states that it has to win a
free elections campaign. On that same occasion, Boris Yeltsin (in the
meantime elected president of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian
Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) announces that he wants out of
the CPSU and ostensibly leaves the room609.
July 23rd 1990. The National Liberal Party is established –
Young Wing610.
608
Istoria României în date...[The Chronological History of Romania...], p. 752-753.
609
Vasile Buga, op. cit., p. 60.
610
On February 21st 1993 it changed its name into the Liberal Party 1993 then, on 14th of
June 1997, it merged with NLP-Democratic Convention to form the Liberal Party, that was
absorbed into the National Liberal Party on September 7th 1998.
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Alesandru Duțu

July 27th 1990. The Romanian Parliament decides that 1


December is the National Day of Romania.
July 1990. In Albania many strikes take place (Kavaje, Vlore,
Berat, etc.). The situation gets even more tense because of the assault
on the western embassies (4th of July) and Ramiz Alia announces
some changes in society with the intention of transforming the
country in a state of the rule of law.
August 8th 1990. Romania adopts the law on the reorganization
of state economic units as self-managed units and companies, that can
be viewed as the first normative act of the reform611.
September 15th 1990. The Supreme Soviet of the SFSR Russia
decides the separation of the competencies of the republic of those of
the USSR.
September 21st 1990. The Territorial Military Court of Bucharest
accuses Nicu Ceauşescu (son of the former chief of state) of
incitement to aggravated murder and sentences him to 20 years in
prison, etc612.
October 3rd 1990. The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way
for German reunification one year later. On December 2nd the first
Pan-German postwar elections take place and the capital city is Berlin
again (1991).
October 1990. Petre Roman asks the Soviets to withdraw the
estimated 25,000-30,0000 agents from Romania613.
October 17th 1990. Prime-Minister Nikolaj Risskov recognizes
that Soviet Union „becomes uncontrollable, being on the threshold of
collapse".
October 25th 1990. Ismail Kadare, Albanian writer, author of
Rain Drums, claimed political asylum in France, because „of the
impossibility to be legally in opposition".
November 4th 1990. For the first time after 1967, a religious
service is held at Skhora, in Albania.
November 6th 1990. The Civic Alliance, an organization of the
civil society is established in Romania. It advocates for free market
economy and financial reform, for European values in general. The
Congress of July 1991 decided to establish the Civic Alliance Party.
November 15th 1990. Using the opportunity offered by the three years
celebration since the rebellion in Braşov, the Association „15
Noiembrie" organizes a big demonstration and adopts a Proclamation
according to which November 15th is declared „National Day of the
fight against communism".

611
In reality, the economic privatization and restructuring process would last much longer.
612
Nicu Ceauşescu was released from prison, due to health reasons, on November 20th 1992.
613
Grigore Cartianu, op. cit., p. 78.
286
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology
th
December 9 1990. As President of Poland, Lech Walesa
establishes a Consultation Council of the presidency, consisting of
representatives of all political parties, including the communist one.
December 10th 1990. After the authorities in Tirana promised,
in July, the partial privatization of agriculture, students get out in the
streets (on 9 December) demanding reforms. Ramiz Alia accepts to
end the political monopoly of the AWP and allows the establishment
of political parties (11th of December 1990). On December 12th, a
group of intellectuals, among which Sali Berisha, establish the
Democratic Party with an anticommunist program. In the following
months other parties are formed, Republican, Ecologist, Agrarian,
Social-Democrat, of National Union, etc.
On December 21st 1990, I.V. Stalin’s statue is removed from
the boulevard with the same name in Tirana. Shortly after that (28th of
December) a committee is established to draft a law of the media.
Based on it, the opposition will publish its first publications, the last
political prisoners will be released (January 1991), the right to strike
will be recognized.
December 15th 1990. CDNPP, NLP, U.D.M.R., RSDP and the
Romanian Ecologist Party will establish the National Convention for
the Instauration of Democracy.
December 17th 1990. The 4th Congress of the People’s
Deputies of the USSR adopts the measures proposed by M.S.
Gorbachev (on November 17th, at the meeting of the Supreme Soviet)
on the reorganization of the executive power: replacing the minister’s
council with a cabinet of ministers, under the direct control of the
chief of state; dissolving the presidential council and replacing it with
a security council, creating the position of vicepresident of the USSR.
On the same occasion, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eduard
Shevarnadze cautioned: „Dictatorship is getting closer...I resign. Let
this be my protest against the offensive of the dictatorship". In favor
of maintaining the USSR and its transformation into a democratic
confederative state, the Congress adopted the decision On the general
concept behind the new Union Treaty and the way to conclude it and
decided organizing (on March 12th 1991) a referendum all over the
USSR territory. Later events would prove that not all republics were
willing to be part of the USSR anymore (including Russia, that was in
favor of creating a Community of Sovereign States, based on a
Confederation).
December 20th 1990. In Bulgaria, Prime Minister Andrei
Lukanov is replaced, under street pressure, with Dimitar Popov, who
forms the first opposition government since WW2, with the main goal
of organizing the parliamentary and presidential elections of May
1991.
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December 23rd 1990. The referendum for the independence of


Slovenia is considered „unconstitutional" by the Yugoslav presidency.
The tensions will worsen after the Resolution (in February 1991)
adopted by the parliaments of Slovenia and Croatia.
December 25th 1990. King Michael I, together with royal
family members, tries to return home for the Christamas Holidays. On
his way to Curtea de Argeş he is forced to return to Switzerland on
pretence that he did not have a visa.
December 27th 1990. The Albanian Government establishes a
committee to draft a new Law of the media; on the 5th of January 1991
the first newspaper of the opposition is published („Relindja
Democratie"). In January 1991 all political prisoners would be released.
January 10th 1991. The Romanian Government decides the
liberalization of exports and imports, as well as the stimulation of
companies that conduct export operations. In the next period new
normative acts will be adopted on: state land areas for re-
establishment of the private property over land (20th of February), a
second stage of prices and tariffs liberalization (29th of March),
establishing exchange offices and their subsequent working regulations
(4th of July), privatization of companies (14th of August), etc.
January 19th 1991. Based on M.S. Gorbachev’s approval,
Soviet military and securitate sub-units invade Lithuania to support
the „National Salvation Committee" (the Lithuanian radical
communist wing), surrounding the Defense Departament, the Press
House, etc. and taking hold of the Telephone Company. On the night
of 12 to 13th of January, Soviet tanks surrounded the building of the
Television in Vilnius, that was assaulted by KGB troops. After the
clashes with the population, 13 civilians and a soldier of the special
KGB units,,Alfa" were killed614.
February 20th 1991. In Tirana, tens of thousands of citizens,
who wished true reforms, demonstrate against the government. The
clashes with the law enforcing forces make victims.
March 9th 1991. Boris Yeltsin harshly criticizes that state of
affairs in the Soviet Union: „We do not need a Union in its present
form. We do not need such a huge beaurocratic center... Six years ago
when perestroika began they convinced us we would destroy this
system, that we will really take the path to democratic reforms. It
proved to be a lie".
March 17th 1991. At the referendum meant to stop the
descentralizing trend of the Soviet Union, electors were asked to
answer one question: Do you consider it is necessary to maintain
USSR as a renewed federation of sovereign republics with equal

614
Vasile Buga, op. cit., p. 83.
288
THE REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 – Chronology

rights, where people’s rights and freedoms are fully guaranteed,


irrespective of nationality? "Yes" or „No"? According to the decision
of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR of February, 1991,
Russian electors had to answer also the question whether they
considered necessary to establish a presidential position of this
republic (elected by universal vote). Out of the 80% of the population
that voted (except those in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, SSR Moldova,
Georgia and Armenia, where there was no referendum), 76.4% voted
for the maintenance of the Soviet Union in a renewed form615.
March 31st 1991. The Warsaw Pact ceases to exist officially
(the protocol will be signed in Prague, on July 1st 1991).
March 1991. The elections in Albania are won by the
communist party, that gets 64.5% of the votes616, whereas Ramiz Alia
is elected president. Fatos Nano is re-confirmed as Prime-Minister
(previously appointed on February 20th 1991 after an ample
manifestation organized in Tirana). But political instability continues.
April 24-25th 1991. After he was criticized at the Plenary of the
CC of CPSU, M.S. Gorbachev declares that he is willing to resign
from the position of secretary general of the party. At the proposition
of the Political Bureau he will be maintained in that position.
June 4th 1991. After the general strike (16 May) a new
Albanian Government is established („for national salvation") with
the participation of four opposition parties. On June 13th, Albanian
communists will call themselves socialists and will be in favour of
free market economy, privatization, equality before the law. In the
period to come the political police (Sigurimi) will be dissolved while
the statue of Enver Hoxha will be romoved from Girokaster (his place
of birth) and destroyed.
June 12th 1991. Boris Yeltsin is elected president of the Russian
SFSR; on 20 July he forbade communist party cells at working places.
June 20th 1991. The Greater Romania Party is established
(president Corneliu Vadim Tudor).
• Informed by the mayor of Moscow of the possible coup d’etat
for the overthrow of M.S. Gorbachev, the American ambassador to
Moscow, Jack Matlock, informs in turn the authorities in Washington.
When he was warned about this, the Soviet leader said that „nobody
can overthrow him".
June 23rd 1991. After Slovenia and Croatia proclaimed
their,,sovereignty and independence", the armored troops of the
Yugoslav Federal Army invade Slovenia, triggering the civil war that
ended on July 1991, after mediations of the international community. The

615
Vasile Buga, op. cit., p. 87-88.
616
In June 1992 it called itself Socialist Party.
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Alesandru Duțu

war quickly spread to Croatia, where the Serbs from Slavonia and Kajna
already proclaimed their autonomy. Finally, on October, Croatia and
Slovenia were recognized as independent states. After Bosnia and
Herzegovina proclaimed its sovereignty (October 16th), three „autonomous
Serbian republics" were proclaimed which would lead to a long civil
war, that ended in Octomber 1995 with the Dayton Agreement.
June 30th 1991. The last edition of Comecon (Council for
Mutual Economic Assistance) is organized in Budapest, where the
protocol for its disssolution is adopted.
July 1st 1991. In Prague the protocol is signed for the dissolution of
the Warsaw Pact. Ion Iliescu signs the document on behalf of Romania.
July 30th 1991. M.S. Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and Nursultan
Nazarbaev (president of Kazahstan) discuss the structures of the
future reformed union. Talking about the discussion recorded by
KGB, Boris Yeltsin would register later: „Maybe this recording
became the trigger that was pulled in August 1991".
August 1st 1991. M.S. Gorbachev announces that the new
Union Treaty is ready to be signed.
Same