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18

The Effects o f Totalitarianism -


cum -Sultanism on D em ocratic
Transition: R om ania

O f t h e f o r m e r Warsaw pact countries in Eastern Europe (Bulgaria


Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania), Romania has
numerous distinctions.* It had the last transition. It had the most violent regime
termination. It was^the only countrytEat had nothing remotely close to a national
^ouhTtahFeTlt is the country where tfarsUccessor regim Tcommitted the most
'egregious violations o f human rights. It is the only country where the democratic
opposition has yet to win a national election. It is the only country where a former
lughCommunist official was not only elected to the presidency in the first free
election, but re-elected.2

D e c o n s t r u c t in g R o m a n ia n E x c e p t io n a l is m

What explains such ;exceptionalisip? We should first acknowledge that there is


more debate about some~dfTlfiFmost basic facts concerning the transition in
Romania tEanlibout any other transition we consideTin this book. For example,
the uprising ffiafsp af^ d Ceauescus downfall began in the town of Timisoara.
There has been an intense dispute about how many citizens were killed in

i. This chapter draws upon some material previously presented in Alfred Stepan Romania: In a
xgF aih xli'C~^tate TimeS Literary SuPPlement (Oct. 1992), 26-27. Perm ission To reprint is acknowledged

H I Par* of this exceptionalism, o f course, has historical roots that precede the Communist period. Ro
cktmrw nf ^ a^est exPer^ences o f interwar democracy and one ot the strongest indigenous as
oftHerchangel MicKaeTor Iron Guard) in Eastern Europe. For this period*
Right A Histnr' U/ d * I f ^u8eney^eher,5 Romania, in Hans Rogger and Eugene Weber, eds., The
^ t His
mania t r u :adl Profile
Politici m (Berkele^TTniversity
7 * ^JUVCIhUy oro f ^anrorma
California Press
Press, 1966), 501-74, anai
1966;, 501-74, and Henry L R o b e r ^
or the purposes
chapter, the best hi ms fatl ^ rar'an State (New York: Yale University Press, 1951). r ^
lae and Elena C e a u ^ Fr^ f au^escu *s by the Oxford historian Mark Almond, The RpeM&ki J #
DTT^rrrrrzmschen
Rmnimien - ^ ^ i - sV(London: Chapmans, 1.992),
S mans> 1992 >- Anneli Gabanyt, Die
UtcTGManylT
Anneli Ute Die uunvollendete
the comply
politicsof the overthrow of C e a u s r ^ ^ f S 5MUn-cH: Piper* l" o) is Particularly short chap
tersontheie p o rt-C
* e a u s ^ fCeauescu,
_L A useful modern history o f Romania that contains seven
I.B.Tauris, 1992).S e e L o M m m k inTurmoitAS^ntemporary { ^
y ; C N e ls o ^ d Romania after Tyranny (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, W
Romania
345

uPnsings in T i i , o , , d 1 in
their_oiy_n_endsd fa
ism involves variations o f the theme o f cantu 1/ < S i * excePtional-
conspiracy.3
4 For an immersion X S E * f 5 3 Well-Planned
sion, disinformation, and disillusionment that surroundeTthe f a l l 'T r " S T
in the winter o f 1989 and that contributes to T , u f Ceau?escu
better than read the account by the J J J

best chapters, subtitled Seize 7


^ e thetMeans
e' year; xUe in the United
o f Projection, s t a t ethe
describes - fstu-
s -5 young h-
ents, poets, peasants and former officials in front o f the cameras, urgently pre
senting their views o f what was happening to an electrified country and the worid.
ecuntate terrorists were still believed to be a counter-revolutionary threat.
Rumors o f deliberately poisoned water supplies, o f 10,000, 60,000, even 100,000
dead, tilled the news channels and the streets. Codrescu had his reservations
about m any o f the new converts to revolution from the old regime, but he, like
everyone else, was amazed by the ability o f the revolutionaries to use television for
t eir purposes and was swept up in the revolutionary spontaneity o f events.
Six m onths later, on a return visit, Codrescus euphoria had turned to despair.
The old Com m unists, now the neo-Com m unists organized in the National Sal
vation Front, had not only captured the revolution (the government itself, led
by Ion Iliescu and his former Com munist allies), but also captured the words and
the m eanings o f .the .revolution. President Iliescu had called out vigilante miners
to smash the students (who represented to Codrescu the most authentic part o f
the revolution in Bucharest). Codrescu was distressed to find that many o f his
friends hailed Iliescu for thanking the miners publicly for their patriotic and dis
ciplined rampage. Then, too, the body count in Timisoara had apparently been
inflated b y digging up bodies from nearby paupers graves. Codrescu was thor
ough ly disillusioned and disoriented. It seemed to him that the whole revolution
had been a fake, a film scripted by the Romanian Communists, w ith a beautifully
orchestrated piece o f Krem lin m usic conducted by Maestro Gorbachev.6

3. Com parativists interested in Romania are fortunate that two anthropologists with many years o f field
w ork in Rom ania have dedicated an excellent article to a careful rereading o f myths concerning the tall o f
Ceauescu. See Katherine Verdery and Gail Kligman, Romania after Ceauescu: Post-Communist Com-
m u m s m T in lvo Banacped., Eastern Europe in Revolution (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1932), 117-47.
For a m uch-needed analysis o f the myths concerning Timisoara, see 118-22. See Michel Castex, Un men-
songe gros comme le Albin Michel, 1990) for one such
m yth, the revolution as a KGB plot.
4. Verdery and Kligm an go so far as to call the plot mentality characteristic o f virtually every Ro
m anians description o f events prior to, during, and after December 1989. Verdery and Kligman, Roma
nia after Ceauescu, 119. Nestor ^atesh jdfevotes a forty-page chapter to a review o f conspiracy theories in
his Romania: The Entangled Revolution (New York: Praeger, 1991), 80-119.
5. Andrei Codrescu, The Hole in the Flag: A Romanian Exiles Story of Return and Revolution (New York:
W illiam M orrow , 1992).
6. Ibid., 206.
Vo
Post-Communist Europe

< odreaeu's difficulty in knowing what happened is ours too. We do v


i!u* number of people killed in the collapse o f Ceauescus regime is cl
thousand than sixty thousand. We also know that Codrescu is p ro b a tf* ^
thinking there was an element o f a staged counter-revolution, even to t h ^ * n
o( simulated gunfire, and that disinformation played an important r o l ^ ^
events. If, during the uprising, the forces o f Iliescu in the Central Commitf6
building in Bucharests main square were under siege by Securitate loyalk^^66
are the surrounding buildings destroyed and the Central Committee buildi ^
sea rred by bullets? . H
We dwell on Codrescus book because the idea o f a^cripted revolutioh t
plying a sinister plot written in advance whose enactmenT^oweJitsuthorsT
capture the revolution,^ still probably the reigning framework fnr
the events in the country. But, as we have indicated, o f all o f the transitions from
Communism that occurred in Eastern Europe, Romanias is the one where we are
least able to know what really happened, and, o f all the narratives, that of the
scripted revolution allows the fewest ambiguities and contradictions. The value of
Codrescu s book, then, lies not in its account o f connected events as they oc
curred, but in its documentation of how myths are replaced by countermyths. In
deed, what we are arguing is that, for Romania more than for any other transition
in Eastern Europe, any primarily narrative account is necessarily unsatisfying;
what we need, rather are studies of the dynamics o f myth creation and the func
tion of disinformationa deconstruction o f the revolution ielE The best effort
along these lines is the superb piece by two anthropologists, Katherine Verdery
and Gail Rligman. They too have sifted through the supposed facts and evidence,
and they know all the literature, but their concern is with the very terms by which
the events in Romania were experienced, described, and understood: the miners,
the demonstrutors, the jront, the revolutionneo-communism. This makes for a lot
of italics, but is illuminating.7
Most importantly, to analyze the Romanian transition we n e e d to think more
deeply about the nature of theCeauescu regime m fotdplaceRoman ia n politics
'in comparative perspective. O f the Warsaw Pact countries in Eastern Europe,
Romania had the weakest organized opposition. Indeed, civil society is still so
weak that many members ot the two innovative organizations, the Civic Alliance
and the Group for Social Dialogue, want the monarchy back in order, they say, to
1give civil society a chance to develop.
The exceptionalism of Romania is most apparent when we consider it in relation
to Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. However we classify the latterregimes in
political terms, in all of them, but not in Romania,.some space for organized oppo
sition already existed before the transitions began. Ceauescus Romania was a fun
damentally different place, "In Romania, there were no autonomous or even semi-

7. Verdery and Kligman, Romania after Ceauescu.


Romania 347

autonomous career paths in the state aDDarat,,* c


treated, mistreated, transferred and fi ^ Even ths-tQp nomenklatura were
There was growing peiSttttali.e J beginning f thehousehold staff-
Ceauescu to the Politburo hrtg'72^nd8m d 8 , the aPP< Ptme n to f Elena
one family o f the 1980s. ln^ foe ^yell-known socialism in
In essence, Ceauescu treated Romania as his n
called this kind o f extreme
sociations o f the term are imliii tTrSf 1 ff X The Middle Eastern as-
as Kim II Sungs in North Koma R n K ^ ? 8I R E p f diverse
Somozas in Mcaragua S O M l 1 M H EmPire> d
ment, understanding the c^ fojnaion o^adtanisticand tohditariari taldnn

present
capturedjevolution^
--------* I^ \S

T o t a l i t a r i a n i s m : A n t i -S o v ie t S t a l in is m a n d
THE MiSSED P q Ct -T o TALITARTANTS1U T ttpm

Before weexplaHL the sultanistic component of Ceauesci||rule, letus first*


examine the tplalitarian-cQmponmt. Specifically, did Romania ever come close to
being post- totalitarian, by which we mean did Romania ever loosen any of the con
trols of a fully totalitarian system? And, if it did, how and why unlike in most East
European countries did totalitarianism re-emerge? Personalism and the manip
ulation of nationalism are a key part o f this and the subsequent sultanistic story
Whereas most o f the East European countries underwent destul ini nation peri-
Qdjmder Khrushchev's influence, Romania under Gheorghiu-Dej and his close
associate, Nicolae Ceauescu, actually resisted destalinization. However, in the last
two years of Dejs rule (1963-65), a combination of anti^S^iet nationalism and
don^sticjiberalization gave the regime a somewhat greater degree ~ofInternal
support ----------------------------------
When Dej died ip M a rch jy ^ , Cedusescul by no means the clearly pre-eminent
o f the Politburo, was selected within three davs as the First Sec-
n caiiy> Ceauescu successfully used appeals to collective leadership^
respect for colleagues in his effort to consolidate power. Indeed, asdCgn Jowitt

a trenchant ^ tar^an' sultanistic combination is not such an unlikely combination as is often thought. In
Jfany Leninist pioneerin8 manner, Kenneth Jowitt has long insisted on the patrimonial dimension of
encies bef0re StaL^ r/11 ^11S P^n^on both the Soviet and Romanian regimes had strong patrimonial ten-
*m Max Weber th t death 1 1953, He oes even further. He develops an argument, using the same quotes
^ b a n ia n part T e Clted I chaPter I that patrimonialism in its sultanistic form was dominant in
m u m g ljm , east from *957 until 1965. See Kenneth Jowitt, Revolutionary Breakthroughs and Na-
entv Km 1 1 For D. n seof Romania 1944-1965 (Berkeley: University o f California Press, 1971). 190- 197>
ltlltraditionai R0JS tUS10n o f Leninism and patrimonialism and how this was in some ways congru-
manian ascriptive structures o f personal patronage, see pp. i 47-1 49-
R o m a n ia 347

career paths in the state apparatus. Even the top nom enklatura were
autonom^Hj- r treatej^ transferred, and fired as m em bers o f the household staff.
growing personalism, beginning w ith the appointm ent o f Elena
^ ere scu t0 the Politburo in 1972 and ending w ith the well-know n socialism in
^ S ^ o f t h e i 98Q>
2 in essence, rvaii.^escu treated R om ania, a hjg,p.ersonal dom ain. M ax W eber
-ailed this kind o f extreme patrim om alism sultanistic. The M iddle Eastern as-~^
iations of the term are unfortunafe'because re^imes as geographically diverse '
as Kim II Sungs in N orth Korea, Bokassas in the Central A frican Empire, and
Somozas in Nicaragua all exhibited strong sultanistic tendencies. In our ju d g
ment, understanding the com bination o f sultanistic an d totalitarian tendencies in,
Ceauescus Romania clarifies m uch m ore that is distinctive in Rom anias p a st.
pfesentTand foreseeable tuture^ han^thejf am ework o f a C om m unist plot or a
captured revolution ^ - > n
gj---- ' S J&S\L

T o t a l i t a r i a n s m : A n t i - S o v i e t S t a l i n i s m a n d
th e M issed P ost^To t a l it a r ia n is m Tu r n

Before we explore^ the sultanistic component o f Ceauescus rule, let us first


examine the^Lditanapxom ponenfe. Specifically, did Romania ever com e close to
being post-totalitarian, by which we mean did Romania ever loosen any o f the con
trols of a fully totalitarian system? And, if it did, how and why unlike in m ost East j-
European countries did totalitarianism re-emerge? Personalism and the m anlp-
ulation o f nationalism are a key part o f this and the subsequent sultanistic story. jS
Whereas most o f the East European countries underwent destalinization peri- f *
Qdsjmder Khrushchevs influence, Romania under Gheorghiu-Dej and his close
associate, Nicolae Ceausescu, actually resisted destalinization. However, in the last
two years of Dejs rule (1963-65), a combination o f antuSoviet nationalism anH
domestic liberalization gave the regime a somewhat greater degree T f m t ernal
support.
When Dej died in M arclnahs, Cegfuescu, by no means the clearly pre-eminent
surviving mem ber o f the Politburo, was selected within three days as the First Sec-
retarY- Efonically, Ceauescu successfully used appeals to collective leadership^
and respect for colleagues in his effort to consolidate power. IndeedTaTSnJowitt

8. The totalitarian-sultanistic combination is not such an unlikely combination as is often thought In


a trenchant and pioneering manner, Kenneth Jowitt has long insisted on the patrimonial dimension o f
many Leninist regimes In his opinion both the Soviet and Romanian regimes had strong patrimonial ten
dencies^before^Staling; death m 1953. He goes even further. He develops an argument, using the same quotes
from Max Weber that we cited in chapter 3, that patrimonialism in its sultanistic form was dominant in
the Romanian Party at least from 1957 until 1965. See Kenneth Jowitt, Revolutionary Breakthroughs and Na-

ent with traditional Romanian ascriptive st^ctifres^f^^sonal^atronag^ W3^S con8ru'


348
Post-Communist Europe

r 5 V an<^ ^ ar)^ il? n Fisher make clear in their perceptive attnM o


- i ^ power was aided precisely by the fact that he appealed t o f lT Ceauescus rise to
^approach t o p a r J L , ht~ ^ # ^ ! S i d e r , whn
'-Ipenod m Romanian ntntTinl
n g ^ v e c^ tn b m ecfas it had earlier in t h e ' ^ i i ' ^ ^ ^ ^
^Qmigg post-totalitarian 9 nionLto the regime ^
However, Ceauescu skillfully used nationalism to so from t>ri
j WnckspntedleadgnAlone

andjnternationa! support. Both sources I B g g g ^ ^


pendence from the collective leadership and from criticism A lead) , * * mde'
intellectual captures how nationalism helped Ceausescu: At the .. " I t
WaS th M oountryhTlastern E u S ^ h l r f f i F c o m l ^ t T
To criticize C e a u e s c u V e ^ h ^ r Z
r \X f, process o f rejection that was not easy for us because eachjjesturgjgainst Ceausescu
was seen as a gesture fordhe Sov i e O W L - o An a n a i o ^ ^ g ^ S
important material and moral resources and helped demoralize ^dom estic op
H H H ^ o n g Western leaders. Raders from De Gaulle to Nixon came
d Poised Ceauescu for his in d ep en den t SuchTnlTrnarionid ac-
aainidisriacted attention from the fact that Ceauescu was not like Czechoslova
kia s Dubcek, who combined anti-Soviet and anti-Stalinist practices, but was actu-
ally creating a new form of anti-Soviet Stalinism 11
By the Tenth Party Congress in / l9 ^ ^ :ollective leadership was interred.
Ceauescu managed to change the party s t a t u S l ^ T T i ^ r e a i T hrs freedom

-I *c_X
m ll^ f r U r W 'n * B 9 spe?:htoI |fi Congress as an example of Us appeal to a more
4? collegial fyle o f leadership He also notes that another element is the very real fear w B a T ^ it members
of the elite coalition probably had o f Draghici, the head of the security police, to obtain leadership of the
ar c 1 22 s<Te . so 192~97>22428. Jowitt s argument is similar to the reasons he gives for the emer
gence of a more collegial post-totalitarian leadership style in the Soviet Union after Stalins death. Ifee party
leadership favored Khrushchevs Party Magna Carta that is, strictures against a Party sultan like Stalin and
- !!^^ n secret police agaiost the leadership itself? Kehnethfowitf, New World Dis-
p or er. The Leninist Extinction (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992Iraiv^Fhe most extensive analy
sis of the rise and demise of collective leadership in Romania under Ceauescu is Mary Ellen Fischer, Nico-
lae Ceauescu: A Study in Political Leadership (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1989), 66-140.
10. Interview by Alfred Stepan with ffavel Campeanu. Bucharest, June 23,1991. A comparable remark
was made by another prominent intellectual who otherwise has a quite different political outlook than
Campeanu. Ovidiu rasnea, Who was a vice president of the International Political Science Association in
1984,1 argues that Ceauescu from 1968-1971 succeeded in gaining the sympathy of the people. This was his
m<5st brilliant period. Interview with Stepan, Bucharest, June 25,1991. Martyn RMy also comments on the
importance of Ceauescus condemnation of the 1968 Soviet invasioifofCzechoslovakia for the consolida
tion of his power: Ceauescus defiance of Moscow made him a national hero. He and the survival of the
Romanian nation became for a time inextricahlyhnnnd together LQthe public imagination aiid opposition .
loTum became temporarily confused with betrayal of the country. Rady, Romania in Turmoil, 42.
11. As Mark Almond notesr'TtTFdlFficuhToaaylo recairthat Dubcek arid Ceauescu were often men
tioned in one breath as the great hopes for reform. Almond, Rise and Fall of Ceauescu, 65. He goes on to
say that, in fact, Ceauescu never repudiated Stalin; indeed, four months before his death he affirmed that
Stalin did everything a man in his position should have done. 67.
Romania
349

from collective leadership. The-instrument that was most potentially useful for
c o lle ^ J e a d e r s h ip was the fact that the Politburo and the Central Committee
^ jE T p r e r o a j^ o f appointing and removing the General . W t a r y V ^ ;
escu was able to shift these prerogatives to the much larger Party Congress, over
which he had greater personal control. H i^ 5^ ^ n i r ^ e r e that th illh o u td be
done for reasons o f national autonom y because the Congress wnnlH ^ W j y r f n r
Moscow to manipulate, and for^ ^^ Q cracy, because the Congress should bejthe
^ g g g n b o d y o f the party.12 -
In 1971 Ceauescu visited China at the height o f the cultural revolution and made
the first o f his m any trips to N orth Korea. A s M ark ^hnond tom m ents, He was
even moreim p re ssed ^ jh e " cult o f Kim ITSungjn Pyongyang,than bv thp adora
tion of Mao on display in Peking .13 Upon his return to Romania, Ceauescu al
most immediately eliminated the last vestigeSwOf a more relaxed post-totalitarian
cultural life.14 In 1974,. he was inaugurated president in a ceremony mimicking a
coronation, which com pletedlhe fusion o f all key party and state roles.15

S u l t a n is t ic A m e t i H s

After 197A h e Rom anian regime never became less totalitarian, but it did be
come increasingly sultanistic. This com bination made theRom anian regime very
resiantto any torm ot nonviolent transform ation. '
^m chapter 3 we spelled out what a regime with strong sultanistic tendencies
would be like vis-a-vis the four key dimensions o f regime type: leadership, plu-
r^ism, ideology, and m obilization. We start with the regime feature that is most
distinctive of sultanism-^^ a S e rsK M Ce'auescus policies and personal style
jftade it clear that he was u n fibun3ed by rational-legal constraints like collective
eadership
Tat and Aparty statutes,' and his rule was highly
O /Jpersonalistic
l
and arbitrary.
*
e argued that sultanistic regimes, because o f their personalism and the fact
^ zi.0Wer derives from the sultan, tend to exhibit strong dynastic tendencies.
fPr. ex^rerne tendency o f the sultan to place his fam ily in most key positions difz
jerentiates it m . ,.r .......

' uiussion on Cadres of the Romanian com m unist ra n y, cum

Cea,. 197010 lQ7 m ceauescu, 70.


c^ 4 S U>svisit to C h i2 the minister o f culture in Romania was Mircea Malitza. Almost immediately after
^ i gn j1011 of an experf and N rth Korea>Ceauescu criticized Malitza for being too tolerant, ordered the
MirceaMai8Uages and C0Urse in Western management techniques, greatly curtailed the study o f
l5.p0r 1K~ a , revolve around his personal thought. Interview with

'eseu, 160-70, and Alm ond, Rise and Fall of Ceauescu, 70-71.
Post-Communist Europe
350

Chairman of the National Council on Science and Technology. Preside^ r


four br<rthersall heW h^ v| T ^ i ^ ^ er, w^l e ^ tafatoy, * S -
- ----- nf r.pansescu (Often rall*vl ^
the Ministry of Defense, his brother Ihe, was Chief o f he Main P o lit y ^ >
L e . In the all-powerful and hated ^ c u n p o h c ^ (Securitate), his ^
Nicolae, was in charge ofhe^personnel department. His brother, I0an>
Chahman o f the State Planning Commission, and his brother, Horea, was! ICe'
bet of the staff of Scinteia, the party daily. The list o f other family mem.mei>>-
high positions goes on and on. And, o f course, his son, Nicu, was widely ers m
being groomed as his successor. 16 Seen as

ine icducidiuy ....... ..t '-eauescuc


books w e r e translatedjnto thirty languages and the Romanian philoso
dctionaygave more space to President Ceauescus doctrine o f Marxism t h ^
the entries for Marx, Engels, and Lenin combined.17 By the mid-1970s, Mary mi l
/Wisher writes, no Romanian official could deliver a report or write an
with out rejerrjngJo President Ceauescus personal insigln a^ d"leader3 ] ^ ^ C
he
majorsource o f inspiration and guidance. 18 ne
Ceauescus sultanistic leadership style was again and again manifested in r
cies. Hejersonally .designed, with virtually no technocratic or party help man
huge industrial projects. He destroyed much o f historic Bucharest as he ca !l
ciously designed andendlessly redesigned all o f the approach routeTand the cen
tral edifice o f the most brutal architectural project in Eastern Europe, The Palace
o f the People. The construction o f huge steel mills was a product of this style 20
One o f the most devastating o f Ceauescus personal decisions was his pronatal-
ist and antiabortion campaign, which led to com pulsory humiliating gynecolog
ical examinations o f women in factories, unwanted pregnancies, abandoned chil
dren and, given the weakness o f Romanias hospital system, an AIDS epidemic
among children in orphanages.21

-28, no 4 f 1 0 8 4 ) ^ m^ ^ on^ ^ ' ^ au?escu^ rule, se^ ^ ^ F le u B s , Socialism in One Family Survey

tics and Society 2, no. 1 floss' s 1980s. The Legacy o f Dynastic Socialism East European Poli-
nism 34 (Jan.-Feb. 1985)* 63 ] If ^ a(llm*r Tismaneanu, Ceauescus Socialism, Problems of Commu-

0 Romanii W M , LS d a ? The H I fu tu re o f the Ceauescu Cult, in Daniel N.Nel-


19. Almond devotes an enti <S ? " Westview>1981), 118.
Almond, Rise and Fall ofrJn cnapter> The Architect o f Socialism, to this revealing sultanistic episode.
20. For the arbitrar* LeaU^escu> 153~7i.
CeauescuEra (NewYork^rnr^ these and other policies, see Daniel N. Nelson, Romania: Politics in the
Romania in the H 'f " .1!11' ^ J c l. W , V Publishers, 1988), esp. xiii-xvii, and Vlad Georges
(1988), 6693. ^ 0 yuastic Socialism, East European Politics and Societies 2, no-
21. See Gail Khngman Tk
^ Culture East European P o l i t i i ] f ReProduction in Ceauescus Romania: A Case Study of ,
Eohtucs and Socmies 6, no. 3 (1993): 364-418; Daniel J. Rothman and Shed *
Romania
35 i
These totalitarian and sultanistic tendencies r w
groups, and institutions permanently subject ^ e a liin d iv id u a ls,
tion. The essence o f pluralism in sultanism is that n ^ S
^despotic power by the sultan, from top party offi",18 free from the ex se
Tismaneanu captures the personal despotic power l preSnam women
haves Tike an absolutist m onarch humiliating party h eauescu de% He be-
treating citizens like his property.^ This aarem e n aU? at* (his vassals) and
evitably meant that there w ^sno^egree o f institutional I m . 0" f PWer
__ ZI i Utlonalautonomvorn1iirai;c^
Romania. Career lines in the party and in f f i i p o r t s S ^ 2 1 2
^ ^ 12^ 111
itary were constantly disrupted. According to Tismaneam, t f T T * * the mil

rfamdy.
* h?Thexlevel
r o/f independent
i 1byH,he Sinitiatives
a by party apparatchiks has b "n r !
duced to a m inim um In order to ay in office, these people must evrei in
andkonfo.r inrtX- . . . Under Ceauescu the communist elite has virtually disinte
grated and the Political Executive Committee is nothing but a rubber-stamp body
dominated b y the President an dhis wife.23
The Rom anian Q r th o d ^ ^ h u r e fi had no autonomy. In the late 1980s a few
priests began to protest against the regime, but according to Romanias Sakharov,
Mihail B otez^ all priests w ho took some very tough stands against state-church
coop er a tid n w er e expelled or voluntarily left the country. For Romanians, they
are no longer im portant. 24
In I9f7he m ost significant unrest before 1989 broke out during the miners strike
in the Tin Valiev. The twoTnosFimportant leaders of the strike were Constantine
l^bre^and Engineepdurcau After the strike was settled via a combination ofSecuri-
tate intervention arid Ceauescu populism. Dobrejdisap4ieaEed and Jurca was mur
dered.2527In 1979 there was an attempt by fifteen people in Bucharest to try to form an
6
independent trade union. According to Nelson, "CeauesiTreaction was swift,
Vasiie Paraschiv, a principal organizer, was arrested and his fate remains own.
There was absolutely no space in CeauescuLsRoniariia for, the
in post-totalitarian Czechosl6v3daTI f %Mev^lterS a versa_
istered with the police (decree 98 o f March 1983) - 27
tion with a foreigner was a crimiryal oJfense (decree 408 o ecem

her 8 1990,5-8; and Rady s


thman, How AIDS Cam e to Romania, New York Review of Booh,
ipter on the environment and AIDS in Romania in Turmoi ,7 ~ rjjvnastic Socialism {Perspectives on
22. Comments during a round-table discussion, Romania: A ^ ^ This fascinating boo re-^
7,edom no. 11, general ed., James Finn) (New York: Freedom o dissidents.
educes on pp. 5-93 a late 1988 round-table discussion affWHg
23. Tismaneanu, Personal Power and Political Crises, 192-93- ^ 0f Dynastic Socialism, 76.
24. In round-table discussion m entioned in note 20, Roman .
25. Ibid., 80-81. . ,
26. Nelson, Romania: Politics in the Ceauescu Era,ft iv. g ^ a n , a number of writers ma
27. See Georgescu, Romania in the 1980s, 84. In intervie ^gghanisms.
in t o f insisting on the draconian effectiveness o f these con
352
Post-Communist Europe
60

Fig. 18.1. Number of Independent M o v e m e n ts ^ Eastern Europe, June 1989.


| M | H g S Free Europe Research, RAD

In the last chapter we showed that Bulgaria had substantially fewer indepen
dent organizations in civil society than, had Hungary or Czechoslovakia. How-
ever, in comparative terms, sultanistic and totalitarian Romania was even much
more repressive of independent groups than was the country closest to the total-
itarian/post-totalitarianboundarVr^Jgar. According to a comparative study by
Radio Free Europe, ipme 1989^'ulgarialiad thirteen independent organizations,
all o f which had leaders whose names were publicly known. In sharp contrast, in
June 1989, Romania only had two independent; organizations with bases inside
the country, neither o f which had publicly known leaders (figure 18.1).
Stepan interviewed a number of the dissidents who in 1991 and 1992 were often
cited as having made the most courageous attempts to print and distribute ma
terial critical o f the regime. They all told varieties o f the same tale. They worked
alone or almost aloneiThey virtually had to hand-make their printing equip
ment, and they were all arrested either before or immedTatelv after they attempted,
to 'dissemlnate their critique or calls to actibn.28 Of all the countries we consider

28. Radu Filipescu, who in 1992 was president of Apador, a human rights and election watch organiza
tion, had three times personally made and distributed (with one other person) a one-page flyer for a sym
bolic protest. Two o f the three times Filipescu was caught and arrested. Gabriel Andreescu, a key figure in
two of the major vehicles of post-Ceauescu civil society, the Group for Social Dialogue and the weekly 22,
spent three years trying to get a dissident text smuggled out of the country. When Stepan asked him how
many people in Romania had ever seen his dissident statements, Andreescu said five or six. When Stepan
asked, Why so few people? Andreescu replied, I fear that was too many. Andreescu was once arrested for
treason and once sent into internal exile. Probably the largest effort to create a dissident publication was by
in this book, R om ania is thet only dountrv *
no country ^ S ^ ' E
of, the ruler and his security services so intense
This is not to say there were not form*, of private dissent among people wh,
spoke a codgB. language. There was. One o f the most famous involved a literar
critic. A poetry group called ^Cenaclul de L u n f (Monday Circle) met a. he Un
versity o f BuoharesjJrotn 1977 until 1983 under the supervision o f the renownc
literary o rjtic, ^ lco^ae iyfanolescu^as^art o f a compulsory cultural activity. O n e .
the members o f the M onday Circle, the poet Bogdan Lefter, notes that, while tl
group never had a journal or the opportunity to publicly express itself political
it dideyolve its own Standards. The best literary critics refused to praise bad wr
ers who praised the regime. They did not invert the scale o f values. The poets (
veloped a w ay to describe society via small realism. W e depicted a small sytribe
scene in a w ay that made a comment, without doing what we were not allowec
do, such as direct criticism. We were able to transform an official institution in
free, critical and creative institution. Precisely because the regime feared the e
o f the M on d ay Circle, the universitys ideological officer closed the circle in 198
A n oth er event that gave spirit to intellectuals w ho opposed the regime was
publication o f tw o w id ely read books o f dialogues by a disciple of the air
m onastically reclusive philosopher, Constantin Noica. T he books acquired \
significance p recisely because the very idea o f a socratic dialogue introducec
idea o f d isagreem en t and pluralism o f th ough t.^ B u ttK e fact that the Mo
CirrTp and th e socratie dialogue^vere tw o o f the m ost w idely discussed ex
sions o f in d ep en d en t th o u gh t and life indicates h ow far away from orga
p u b lic dissent livin g in truth rem ained in R om ania.

the i o u r n a l i s f P e t r e M ih a i B a c a n u (w h o in 1992 w a s e d ito r o f th e m o s t im p o r ta n t in d e p e n d e n t: <3


Z n h libera) F o r e ig h t m o n th s , B a c a n u w o r k e d w it h six c o lle a g u e s a n d u se d scra p m a te r ia l to h i
r Z l e r z a small movable-type printing device so they could publish a newspaper. They mt
Lruieiioc __ ^ both ^ ^ seven dissidents were arrested before the paper wa
r r i h a b l v because they tried to extend their group to thirty people to create a distribution
jtea, pr jeased from prison on the day that Ceauescu fled Bucharest. This note is based on i
Stepan in Bucharest, June 21-25,1991, and August 25-31,1992.
F tu ie . research will no doubt unearth some examples of a samizdatjiubhcation, but th<
. 29. activ|sts insist they never saw one. Let us quote from some of our interviev
Iftivists: in Romania. Occasionally a single person woul
tm M a>Ia irrna
354 Post-Com m unist Europe

In authoritarian Poland the parallel society w asjed by a trade union with


m illion members eight years before the transition. In the highly repressive SP
totalitarian Czechoslovakia; the leader o f the parallel society was a playw f t *
who helped lead an organization that in the twelve years before the transitio '
. sued 57p reports. In sultanistic/totalitarian Romania, the leaders were poets lit
ary critics, and philosophers, all o f whom spoke a deeply encoded language of d '
sent, but none o f whom were nationally known organizers o f any form of publi
resistance. When the sultan fell there was no nationally known democratic move
ment or individual who could contest effectively for control o f state power
We now turn to the question q f ideology. Under Ceauescu there was indeed
an elaborate ideolo g y o f the sort that is a key characteristic o f totalitarianism and
that is jio t normally associated with sultanism. This ideology had many of the
standard ^features o f Marxism-Leninism: a focus on collective property, the van
guard jo le o f the party, and the articulation o f utopian goals. The massive indus
trialization policy and the schematization plan to eliminate the rural-urban
distinction by razing seven thousand traditional villages and forcibly putting
peasants in three^or four-story buildings represent the subjection o f the societys
specificity in the name o f totalizing, abstract ideology. However, under Ceau
escu, especially in the 1980s, there were also increasingly strong sultanistic ten
dencies that weakened the guiding function o f ideology because Ceauescus
ideological messages became increasingly contradictory, erratic, and personalisti-
cally opportunistic. In chapter 3 we argued that in sultamsm there is no elabo
rate and guiding ideology but a highly arbitrary m anipulation o f symbols and
an extreme glorification o f the leader. Countless analysts~of Ceauescu under
score the extraordinary manipulation o f ideology. A few citations will suffice.
One o f us asked a Romanian social scientist what ideology meant to Ceau
escu. The answer was revealing:

H e gave m u ch im p o rta n ce to id eo lo g ica l p ro b lem s b u t h e w as v e ry m o b ile , very attentive to


ch an ges in the n a tio n al a n d in tern a tio n a l en viro n m en t, so o n e o f h is p referred slogans was Vn
ric h m e n t o f socialist th eory. In his m in d it w as a serio u s effo rt, bu t th ere w as a constant ten
d e n cy to in terp ret id e o lo g y in his favor, an d fo r th e last th ree o r fo u r years his resolve to search
fo r such id e o lo g ica l en rich m en t b ecam e w eaker a n d w eaker. Slo gan s w ere repeated without
a r g u m e n ta tio n .. . ^He co n v in ced few p eo p le w ith h is id eolo gy. T h e re w as a d eclin in g curve o f
c o m m itm e n t an d id en tificatio n w ith C ea u escu .32

A European scholar, writing white Ceauescu still ruled, also captured the degree
to which ideology increasingly became neither a constraining fra me work for C e a u
escu nor a guiding parameter o f action for followers. Ceauescuism " he wrote,

co n ta in s a co re o f basic tenets con stan tly violated in p ractice, thus in tro d u cin g a sense o f unre
ality, fic tio n , a n d a K afkat sq u t atm o sp h ere of insecu rity, a n x iety an d erratic behavior. A s a style

32. From the previously cited interview by Alfred Stepan with Ovidiu Tracne*.
354 P o st-C om m u n ist Europe

In authoritarian Poland the parallel society was led b y a trade union with t
m illion members, eigh t years b e fo re th e transition. In the h ig h ly repressive p0^
Totalitarian C zechoslovakia! the leader o f the p arallel so ciety was a playwrigh
who helped lead an organ ization th a trin the tw elve years before the transition8 ,1
sued 570 reports. In sultanistic/totalitarian R om an ia, th e leaders w ere poets Hter
MarysriticA , and p h ilo sQ p h er& alL afw h o m spoke a d eep ly e n co d ed language of ^
sent, but none o f w h o m were n a tio n ally k n o w n o rgan izers o f an y form o f puy
resistance. W hen the sultan fell there w as n o n a tio n a lly k n o w n dem ocratic move
m ent or individual w h o co u ld con test effectively fo r c o n tro l o f state power.
We now turn to the question q f ideology. Under Ceauescu there was indeed
anelaborate id eologvof the sort thaHslTkey characteristic o f total itari^njsrn ark
that is jio t normally associated with sultanism. This ideology had many of th<
standard features of Marxism-Leninism: a focus on collective property, the van
guardjrole o f the party, and the articulation o f utopian goals. The massive indus
trialization policy and the schematization plan to elim inate the rural-urbai
distinction by razing seven thousand traditional villages and forcibly puttir
I peasants in three^orTbur- story buildingsrepresent the subjection o f the society
specificity in the name o f totalizing, abstract ideology. However, under Ceai
escu, especially in the 1980s, there were also increasin gly strong sultanistic tei
dencies that weakened the guiding function o f id eo lo gy b ecau se Ceauesci
ideological messages becam e increasingly contradictory, erratic^ and pers o n a l
cally opp o rtunistic. In chapter 3 we argued that in sffita n lsm lhere is no elab*
rae and guiding ideology but a h ighly arbitrary m an ipulation o f sym bols ai
an extreme glorification o f the leader Countless analysts 5F a u p s c u r d
the extraordinary m anipulation o f ideology. A few citations w ill suffice.
n e o f us asked a Rom anian social s cie n tistw h a t id eo lo gy m eant to Cea
escu. The answer was revealing:

J L i f >ro^ eni:l^ ut was very rnobile, very attentive


f w so a o f his prefeired slogan, was'.
h d * * * i o effort, b u U h .re w as', L s . a n 't ,
g ? * , "<! fo r th . I , , l o , , c S h o resolve .
H W'* k' r d " k S18> repeated with

AhElb T T Sdl0kr' wrWS while CMuescu stiU ruled, also captured the deg
aduch ideology mcreas,ugly became neither a constraining framework for cl
cu
r * 8Uld,n8 f * * for M ow ers. Cealgescuism, he wre
^ ^ ^ g o n^ v i o l a t e d in practice, thus introducing a sense o f ui
r, fiction, and a fCaflcaesnup utmn Onllaro |_* 1. O
354 Post-Com m unist Europe

In authoritarian Poland the parallel society was led by a trade union with t
million members eight years before the transition. In the highly repressive
totalitarian CzechoMOvakia\ the leader o f the parallel society was a playwrigh
who helped lead an organization that in the twelve years before the transition *
sued S7Q reports In sultanistic/totalitarian Rom ania, the leaders were poets, lit
r ary critics^ andphilosophers, all o f w hom spoke a deeply encoded language of dis
sent, but none o f w hom were nationally kn ow n organizers o f any form o f public
resistance. When the sultan fell there was no n ationally k n ow n dem ocratic move
ment or individual who could contest effectively for con trol o f state power.
We now turn to the question ^ ideology. Under Ceauescu there was indeed
an elaborate ideology_of the sort that is~a key characteristic o f totahtariankm ancj
that is jio t normally associated with sulnism. This ideology had many of the
standard Jeatures o f Marxism-Leninism: a focus on collective property, the van
guardjo le o f the party, and the articulation o f utopian goals. The massive indus
trialization policy and the schematization plan to eliminate the rural-urban
distinction by razing seven thousand traditional villages and forcibly putting
peasants in three- or four-story buddings represent the subjection o f the societys
specificity in the name o f totalizing, abstract ideology. However, under Ceau
escu, especially in the 1980s, there were also increasingly strong sultanistic ten-
dencies that weakened the guiding function b rid e o lo g y because Ceauescus
^ideological messages became increasingly contradictory,erratic. and p erso n alii:
cally opportunistic. In chapter 3 we argued that in sultanism there is no elabo.-
rat| and guiding ideology but a highly arbitrary m anipulation o f symbols and
an e x tre m e ^ o rificltlo n o f the leader. Countless analysts o fC e a ^ 'scu 'u n d e r-
score the extraordinary manipulation o f ideology. A few citations will suffice.
us as^ed a Romanian social scientist what ideology meant to Ceau-
escu. I he answer was revealing:

S a n S S to ^ologlcal problems but he was very mobile, very attentiv


LhZnZf^ environment, so one o'f his preferred slogans was
mind * was a - i o n s effort, but 'here was' a in stan t
for such H M H 1 1 [aVOrand 9 the I B I I B years his resolve to se;
I B B S weaker and weaker. Slogans were repeated wit!
irgumentation. . He convinced few people with his ideology. There was a dedinine cun
ommitment and identification with Ceauescu.......~ 987 declining cun

A European scholar, writing while Ceauescu still ruled, also captured the de<
wliicli ideolog,' increasingly became either a constraining framework for O
sen nor a gtndtng parameter o f action fo, followers. -Ceauescuism he

ntains a core of basic tenets constantly violated in nrac-ti a. ,


ty,fictionlandaKafkagsqueatmo s p h L o f in s e c u r it y ^ ^ asenseof
----------- l^ S o rin e c u n y , anxiety and erratic hehavinr As t
R om ania 355

o f operation it is c h a r a c t e r e d i
tic sym b o lism ___As a c extreme centralization o f power, irrationality, and bombas-,
.TTthus rendering predictaW parameters ^or subelite behavior, Ceauescuism is unpredictable
upon the attitudes o f 1 parameters and standards o f performance invalid and dependent
cnient in the inner circles o f the Ceauescu-Petrescu clan,33
Gheorghe SencovicL'son nf a rw r,
and a computer scientist who l e f t T Romanlan Cemra><; mmiMee member
reausescu today? U ~ " ft Romama ln ^82, asked in 1986: "Who is
S m a c v ? Is h l r i n r l Is he a Stalinist? Is he obsessed by lack of
,f , 11 h R 1 n 3 Ucjctrine? 1 am afraid he does not represent any-
lsome
l iother
t cCommumst
o t : :rleader!
* i who
Amin-4 and ,ha Z
are still driven by the doctrine** Signifi-
caft y . ,Uj 8ures whom Sencovici compares with Ceauescu, only Hitler
was not m our judgment dose to the sultanistic type.
" E this content Marxism as a living ideology jrktually died in Romania. As
K a th en n e^ ^ ery concludes in her systematic and impressive study of ideology
and cultural politics under Ceauescu, Marxist philosophy in Romania did not re-
Poduce a fecond generation: in the 1980s scarcely anyone was carrying
on s e r S u ^ p h n ^ ^ h i ^ ^ g u m e s ^ a ^ S e r ^ j sort.35 In fact, her central th esis
is that the extreme nationalism of the sort that Ceauescu espoused and endorsed
undermined the universalism o f Marxism-Leninism. This national ideology d is
rupted the Marxist discourse and thus despite the Communist Partys apparent
appropriation o f it was a major element in destroying the Partys legitimacy,36
The final regime characteristic we discuss is mobilization^ This is the hardest
for us to classify clearly. Certainly Romania under Ceauescu approximated the
tolaiitanan ideal type, in that there was extensive and intensive mobilization into
a vast army of regime-created organizations/ As one Romanian social scientist
commented, in no other East European country were so many orgamzatigas
politicized. Even small organizations witR no intrinsic political character, such as
an organization o f people concerned with bees, were organized by the party-
state. The system interfered more deeply in aspects of your life than in any other
East European country. 37 Certainly there was a degree of voluntary" work cm
Saturdays, and a constant round o f state-sponsored mobilization not normally
characteristic o f either a post-totalitarian or a sultanistic regime.

JJ- Trond Gilberg, Nationalism and Communism in Romania 1 and hall Ctamt
xtetorship(Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1990), 5* Uiunanut A Can afDynmtic So-
* * * * * previously cited Freedom House round-table *
. nrivale couwrsAtMjm with 1 cm*
B*yerdery, National Ideology under Socialism, *t>9 ! rlL w o i o w Uwfieado <k OtaktM
M public office in Catalonia supported by the P S U t. ifl Bucharest, heard ihe
a , j y tJ'on'*n wing o f the Communist Parly), who had ,c n l 8 omilar to Ceaujescu's was Somrwas
comment that the regime that he considered most srnular to ^
tCaragua,
36, Ibid 4
1 1 the previously cited interview by Alfred Stepan with Gvidiu Trasnea.
Post-Com m unist Europe
356
rC^
M T h e r e was adeyiatign from t o t a l i t a r ^ M c e r n i n g m o b ih ^

anl o T r o T o f t g m ^ l ^ r e d u c y t a n d the s c o p ^ '


^ S ^ r T z e d actwity. Certain y, the mass tualgecl adulation pf CJ
escu had as much a sultanistic as a totalitarian qua y. By the 1980s militant U
cadres did not play an especially important role Rather, every o r g a n 's ^
institute in Bucharest was assigned a quota and a specific place for f u l f i l l , ^

4* summation. We believe our analysis o f the status o f pluralism, teadershin


,vi^ln?v. and mobilization j^ d e r Ceaujescu, ^ ecialIy in the 1974-89 p iod
merits classifying Romania as a regim ethat ejdubitgd^oth strong sultanistic ag
Hrongtotalitarian qualities.
No one variable ever completely explains com plex historical processes How
ever, an understanding o f the nature o f a regime that combines totalitarian and
sultanistic qualities helps illuminate how and why most o f the democratic paths
to transition are virtually precluded. It also helps us understand why, even in the
aftermath o f the transition from sultanism, organized democratic forces are pre
dictably weak and nondemocratic forces who can get credit for destroying the sul
tan can claim revolutionary credibility.

T he M i s s i n g P layers for a P acted Transition

One of the most common paths away from a nondemocratic to a democratic


regime is via a ^pacted tTansItiPn. In this Tiook we have analyzed such pacted
transitions from authoritarian regimes in Spni" Brazil, Uruguay, and Poland and
even in the mature post-totalitarian regime oTHungary. In essence, pacted tran
sitions are fopr-player games composed o f hard-liners and soft-liners jn the re-
jjime and moderates and radicals in the opposition- Theoretically and politically
there are iwo structural preconditions of such a pacted transition to decxQ^KQ
(1) the existence o F ^ ^ anized, nationally known, and nonviolent democrat
groups in civjljin d politicalr-so^ty and (2) the existence o f m1
who have the desire and autonomy to negotiate a pacted r e fo rm . Neid
one of these necessary preconditions is possible in a sultanistic and totalitarii
moderate, democratic and
Within the regime, the sultan does pot
is personal h o u s e h o l d f o r soft-liners w ho negotiate regime change
^ tom-player game i^ iot an available transition path because the two
! ^ E ^ a r e simply not p r e s e n r " ^ ^ "

XASlA
Poll
the Celuescu EmU0 f SUdl comPulsory mobilization and adulation, see Nelson, Romania:
tans i .. .............. i i mii
form o f unauthorized activity.|
I
escu had as much a sultanisljB
i
cadres did not play an e s p e d jf
institute in Bucharest was a s ilj
monial obligations.38
# summation, we believe o \ & . , ........
i ^ d o i ^ T i n d mobilization u n d T O S U p U l U l u m - T
merits dassifying Romania as a regime that exh.b.ted both strong sultanistic
and
strong totalitarian qualities. . . . . . .
No one variable ever completely explain* com p ex historical process
s*Hoiv-
ever, an understanding o f the nature o f a regim e that com bines to ta litfflS
nd
sultanistic qualities helps illuminate how and w hy m ost o f the democratic
to transition are virtually precluded. It also helps us understand why, even i
aftermath o f the transition from sultam sm , organized dem ocratic forces are
dictably weak and nondem ocratic forces w h o can get credit for destroying thJ
tan can claim revolutionary credibility.

T he M issin g P layers for a P a c t e d T r a n s it io n

One o f the m ost com m on paths away from a n on dem ocratic to a democrat
regime is via a pacted"transition/' In this b o o k w e have analyzed such pacte.<
transitions from authoritarian regim es in Spain* Brazil, Uruguay, and Poland i
; even in the mature post-totalitarian regim e o f H ungary. In essence, pacted tnn
sitions are four-player games co m p o sed o f hard-liners and soft-liners in the re
gime and moderates and radicals in the o p position . Theoretically and politically,
mere arettvo structural preconditions o f such a p acted transition to democrat,
(1) the existence o f organized, n atio n ally k n o w n , and n o n vio lent derm.-.
groups in civil|and p oliticaL societv and (2) the existence o f softeners
regime who have the desire and au to n o m y to n egotiate a pacted reform. N
one o f these necessary precon dition s is p ossible in a sultanistic and total s
regime. O pposition groups, especially i f th ey are m o d era te, democratic, and
ble, are made to disappear. W ith in the regim e, the sultan does pot have
his personal household staff for so ff-lin ers w h o n egotiate regim e change
the four-player gam e is n o t an available tra n sitio n path because the two mo>t o
ical players are sim ply not present.

the suc^ co m p u lso ry m o b iliza tio n and adulat ion, sec Nc


nc I ra, 60,
Romania
357
E x i ts f r o m S u l t a n i s m : T hp r
V i o l e n c e a n d I n t e r n a t i o n a .E7 AL R LE F
UNAL I n flu en ce

Romania s Pecu^ar combination o f nationalist sultaniCTV, ^ j


lcn helps explain why violence predictably ^
a wasthe last country in theWarsaw Pact to hi F 6 the transition
S c regime there are almost no incentives or vet,v7 7 ^ chanSe' ^ a
S atic transition/The sultamstic erosTonof the p r t v V j ^ ^ AJ
,^ ^ ^ ^ ta p e c e fijl Bulgarian-typeTcolect^ 7^ S ^ ^ ^ J ^ ^ ^ ^ ~ ^ - ^

was even less because


regime stafe rar~ > ;
^ ^ n j z a a o m ^?S^M 1u:jai:gaiuzatiaiiaLautonomv as they 1 ,
manipulated in accordance with the sultans will ,Finally tb* ^
rtTTftanamcoj^^ a tran sitW in which a dpmnrrnr]r nnd
y/plj-organized oppositionin civil society brings down the regime without being (/ L
fe
met by violence. It is pF^^^^j|^^bi_closuTe^o^nonv]^^^m_pa.ths to regime transi
tion that helps explainw hy regimes with strongly sultanistic features, probably
more than an^otherlypFofTB^ipe^nd in violent OTTevolutionary upheavals.39 |
Cases in point are SomozaVNicaragUa, the S h a h ^ a n ,a n d Batistas Cubay as well
as Ceauescus Romania.
In these circumstances, not only is some form of peaceful regime-led or soci
ety-led transition virtually impossible, but externa^ events more than internal
events can play an especially important role. D ue to thg^diffusion effect events in
the Soviet Union concerning glasnost and perestroika andtHelpeavals in Hun
gary, Poland, East Germany, and even Bulgaria were widely followed throughout
Romania via Radio Free Europe and Hungarian and even Bulgarian television.40

fall by^
rolutionary upheavals. See Jeff Goodwhpand Theda Skocppl, "Explaining Kevoiuiionsj n ine Cont,eiji-
rary Third World." Politics and Society^, no. 4 (1989)7489-509; Richard Snyder, Combining Structur
d Voluntaristic Explanatory Perspectives: Paths Out of Sultanistic Dictatorships, in H. E. C e a11 an
IJ . Linz, eds., Sultanistic RegimesI a book-length manuscript in progress; and John Foran and Jett Good-
n, Revolutionary Outcomes in Iran and Nicaragua: Coalition Fragmentation, ar, an t e imi ^
transformation, Theory and Society 22 (1993): 209-47. Writing months before
auescu, Giuseppe di Palma perceptively observed, Ceauescu has moved c oser o P ^7
sdatory despotism o f Central America. Thus, open repression/open con ictare r n .a press 19oo) 240.
ftDemocracies: An Essay on Democratic Transitions (Berkeley: University of ^ ^ ^
40. In interview after interview, activists and observers s^ssed_t_e tm p C ^ Sr e S SSng power relations
Rn m ^ penultimate Warsaw Pact country to fall Bulgaria were ^ | was a delight for us to
mania. Malitza, a former education minister, commented: r 9 -ry_ y0 Romanians it was
c ulgarian television. We got Yugoslavian, Hungarian, Soviet an | g some Roma-
^ zmg to see such relative freedom. We had always looked down n _ , . g y j 0f Zhivkov in Bul-
L:S t0 karn Bulgarian. We knew we could not go any lower, e Bucharest. Gabriel An-
p e something had to happen here. Interview with Stepan, success 0f the Bulgarian
m rn c earty acknowledged the Bulgarian demonstration_^_e. Bucharest. Very impor-
-Glafflosf I tried to create an e c O l^ S I iH S F te S T n te r v ie w , August | j g
Post-Com munist Europe
358

t hip 1 1 Evaluation o f the Most Important Factors Influencing Public Opinion in the period
I ' overthrow of the Ceauescu Regime ___________________________ _ ^

Factor _________________ _______

political change in Eastern Europe


Soviet policy change toward Eastern Europe 6 |%
Radio Free Europe broadcasts
53%
Romanian dissident activities _____ 33%
28%
Source Poll administered to 1,500 people in Romania in 1990 by Radi o Free Europe and presented
IS w o r ld Congress tor Soviet and East European Stud.es, July 21-21 the

T h e im p o r t a n c e o f th e s e e v e n t s a n d t h e r e la t iv e u n i m p o r t a n c e o f d o m estic dis
d e n c e a c t iv itie s is u n d e r s c o r e d in t h e r e s u lt s o f a p o l l a d m i n i s t e r e d after the ove)
t h r o w o f th e C e a u e s c u r e g im e ( t a b le 18 .1). G i v e n t h e c r i t i c a l im p o r t a n c e of Sua
p r io r e v e n ts , it is u n d e r s t a n d a b le t h a t R o m a n i a s s u l t a n i s t i c a n d totalitarian r
g im e w a s t h e la s t o f th e W a r s a w P a c t d o m i n o e s t o fa ll.

T h e C a p t u r e of t h e Re v o l u t io n : S u l t a n is m s Role

Much o f the academic and popular literature on the Romanian transition


puzzles over the problem o f the captured revolution. The ease with which Ion
Iliescu and other neo-Communists were able to assume control of the popular
uprising that began m t imioara has led many commentators to attribute it to
Soviet control or to a well-orchestrated prior plot. We are now in a position to ad
vance our claim thatsulfanlsm ltself is a more powerful explanation,
r It was precisely the suftamHiccomponent o f Ceausescus regime that enabled
Iliescu to present CeauSUMTh^enihodinientjq the system and to implv that
he, Iliescu, had changed the political and ^ o n o m ic system completely by decap,
rtating the hydra-headed monster In no other Warsaw Pact country would this
rhetorical trick offocusing moral outrage on a person, not the system, have had
such weight. In East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and, to a lesser extent, even Bul
garia, the top leader was removed by the party, but this did virtually nothing to
.e Pro*ests a8a*nst the regimes as such and the demands by the democrat
opposition for a change o f the entire system.
rant Personah$m aS 3 despotism of a regime, however, facilitate*[1
9* A evolution by groups very dose to the old regime. The highly pci
the reaim f the fe^ allows new leaders, even if they had dose link
8 t0 advance the claim that the sultan was responsible for all oi the evil

after 1980 in Poland after ( w ijld not be an option. In the words o f the poet Ion Bogdan l o
lated case and that Ceauescu woul ^ m 1986' 3nc^esPecialIy after the 1989 dominos, we telt we wen a
auescu would never accept peaceful change, Interview, August 27, B uchet
Romania
359
c o u n try , t h e r e b y d i s s o c i a t i n g t h e m s e lv e s fr o m o ,
in th g a p r o m in e n t r o l e in h i s o v e r t h r o w . th e s u lta n is tic r e g im e b y

R o m a n i a t h e r a d i o a n d t e l e v i s i o n a c c o u n t s o f th e n e w m ,
, on e m p h a s iz e d t h e p e r s o n a h s t i c n a t u r e o f th e rfJ i Unci1 o f N a tio n a l
o f th e d o w n f a l l o f t h e o d i o u s d ic t a t o r s h i p o f th e r ^ T h e c o m m u n iq u <5
ta
T ee0es a lo n g w a y t o e x p l a i n w h y I li e s c u s c o lle a g u e s n t T d a n ' In fa ct'
^ L e lim in a te d t h e s u l t a n j n a j u d i c ia l murder* T j m te rim reg e

g s ? an d th e d o u b t s w e h a v e a b o u t i t s lib e r a l d e m o c r a t i c c W a c t e t e ^ " "


but remind th e r e a
butrem er H M S u r e o f t h e tria l a n d

Jio and Elena Ceauescu, which were t o ^ T e o n t a d ^


S Scif-I of rule o f law and formal
I justice. The hurried execution C l ^ th*
P i^rw it win hanHlpH iu ---- 1 .1 . hs left many
doubts about how it was handled, even though the entire world
trial and the official version o f the execution on television. It would seem that !
new rulers wanted to exploit the.hat.red ofjheCeausgscus and at the same ,me
their own Past involvement under the sul
tan. In any case the show trial and summary execution were an inauspicious be
ginning for the new regime. The success o f the revolution was proclaimed to lie
inthe destruction o f the sultan himselt^rotm the creation of new democratic in
stitutions as such nor in the destruction o f the extensive coercive apparatus
^elyassociated with Ceauescu.42
The sultanistic quality o f the regime also helps explain why Romania was the
only Warsaw Pact country where former high Com munist officials won the first
elections, not only in the countrysideTas in BtHgiriaThmln every major city.43 For
reasons we have made clear, no democratic leaders or groups with national visi-
bilityand organizational resources had emerged in Ceauescu s Romania. The up-
nsingwas too short, spontaneous, aria politically manipulated to produce a gov-
erning alternative. In this context Iliescuand his allies only had to compete in the
elections against two pre-W orld War II traditional parties, the National Liherai
Prty, whose leader returned to Romania from many years of exile to run for the
presidency after the revolutionary events, the National Peasant Party, and the iu
democratic Union o f Hungarians in Romania. While the traditional pat ties
^een anti-Communist for decades, they could not make any case that thev had

dV
Tisjf: n ^ squalidness o f the tria l, see A lm o n d , Rise and ball ol Ceauescu, 221
42nr v Uf R mania: Dem ocracy, W h a t D em ocracy? Fast European Reporter 4,
ter 5L j f *^0Ws the logic and d ynam ics o f re vo lu tio n a ry in te rim te g h u o 1
it Kft
Stak iui&fim o
r are analyzed g Yossi Shain and Juan J. 1in /, Between
-srMm.. c ransition [Cambridge: C a m b rid ge U n iversity Press, 199SC
>hbv
W w it lf ^ ly ^ t e r W a r s a w Pact c o u n try where there was an elector,al mump
I e C om m unist regim e was Bulgaria. Yet, even there it$victory in th
IS w to in the fo u r largest cities and to w in co n tro l 1i f the presidency b*?h
eeSectionc t the first elections but won
lsbam SC? n non~Warsaw Pact A lb a n ia , the o p p o sitio n lost
rp cntrast, no p o ll ever showed th a t lliescu was eve behind in Bucharest m the Mac mu el<
Post-Com m unist Europe
j6o

played a role in destroying the sultan, and the Hungarian party was easy
Pre
n a t io n a lis t a tt a c k s .4
1*44 , !
In contrast, not only was Ion Iliescu able to tat a e r s onalcredi f0r eliJ
the hyrlrar-hpaHcd monsterTbut he won further credit tor alm wt lm fig^ ^ ^ in ,,
of the most egregious
SHTWithin weekr fin 5 i f i ? 5 5 i T ^ ^
weriTabolished, condoms became available the razing o f peasant viu 5
stopped, the schematization plan was scrapped, the typewriter registration ] Was
repealed, and publications proliferated. Under Ceauescu no one had a Per>
passport. If a person was given a temporary passport for an officially appr^ >
abroad, it had to be handed in immediately upon return to get back the i ?
viduals indispensable personal identification card. One year after the fan *
Ceauescu, the Foreign Ministry claimed that ten m illion Romanians had pers f
p a s s p o r ts .45 Just a s i m p o r t a n t l y , j l i g s c u w a s a b l e t o u s e h i s x o n i r o i n f f i e stal nal
paratus to help himself win the presidency and to help the National S a W P'
FrnntTNT.SFf Sm^H~overwhelming m ajority in the parliament. Fm-ei^'Ck0n
were used to brmgmeat into the stores. The NSF provisional g o vern m en ta l^ ^
three million dollars for new printing equipment for the pro-NSF p rpcs 6
made newsprint scarce and distribution difficult for the opposition press.46
the opposition had some access to the state-controlled television, the NSF had
clear advantage when an analysis is made o f what was shown and not shown be
fore the elections.47 Before we went to Romania, we believed that if the opposition
had had more time to campaign they m ight have possibly won the May 1990 elec
tions. However, two trips to Romania made it clear to us that Iliescu had such p.
_sonal advantages as the antisultan figure and such structural advantages through
J ns control o f the state apparatus that he actually got m ore popular as the cam-
palgnprogressed.48 In this context, major technical fraud
J j ^ p p i a n d onM ay 20,1990, Iliescu w o n J s'p S e en t o fth e presidential vote and
the National Salvation Front w o n ^ p ^ C e n f ^ f t lS parliam entary vote.4^

t i o n ^ n ^ ^ 7 r o n ^ 7 ami n elec^11n1s^ ee Rady> Romania in Turmoil, 160-174; Roger East, Revolu-


gled Revolution, 142-44 1 n g ||| Publishers, 1992), 145-46; and Nestor Ratesh, Romania: The Entan-

41 For examplejnThTtown o f | R | f A drian Nastase, Bucharest, June 25,1992-


the revolution changed its nam^K * ^ to k over the m ajor Ceauescu-era newspaper,which after
med paper, was intimidated by 1 T1l e opposition press in Iasi, however, was regularly de-
citys printing press. See 24 Hnnr!^ I f S l l l l | t a ^orm er Securitate agent, and was denied access to the
pean Reporter, 4, no. 2 (1990); 43 | ndePendent Daily Newspaper Fighting for Survival, East Euro-
47- See Crisula Stefanescu Rn n
port on Eastern Europe 1, no. 21 a<^10 and Television Coverage o f the Election Campaign*
48. This point wes A
polls (luring the election campaign T n tlly 3 critic o f Iliescu, Pavel Campeanu, who conduct
49. There was some frauTbumhe M r W ta ^ ^ ^ T T f u c h a r e i t T -
torran aiudraC UntSofelectoral i r r e e S y 0' ' I f t l from pre-election structural advantage. Howej^
I Slde> Report on Eastern Europei* ^ocor> National Salvation Front Produces
Post-Communist Europe
360

p la y e d a r o le in d e s t r o y in g t h e s u lt a n , a n d t h e H u n g a r ia n p a r t y Was ^
t v jt m n a lic t a tta r lfS ^ Pre
!V tr
Tn c o n tr a s t, n o t o n l y w a s I o n I lie s c u a b l e j o t a k e p e r s o n a ] c r e d it f
t h e h v H ra -h p a d ed in o ii& terr b u t h e w o n l u r t h e r c r e d it fQr ^ Q s t 7 m ih p ^ ^ at k
in a tin g m a n y o f th e m o s t e g r e g io u s m e a s u r e ^ p e r s o n a i l y a s s o j g ^ ^ l ^
f n T W it h in w e e k s o t ( J e a u e s t u s d e a t h , c o m p t d s o r y g y n e c o l o g ^ r ^ ^ j e ^ ,
w e r T a b o lis h e d , c o n d o m s b e c a m e a v a ila b le , t h e r a z i n g o f p e a sa n t vil]a nati%
s to p p e d , th e s c h e m a t iz a tio n p la n w a s s c r a p p e d , t h e t y p e w r i t e r registration ?CS ^
r e p e a le d , a n d p u b lic a t io n s p r o life r a t e d . U n d e r C e a u e s c u n o o n e h a d a * * *
p a s s p o r t. I f a p e r s o n w a s g iv e n a t e m p o r a r y p a s s p o r t f o r a n o ffic ia lly a p p e a l
abroad, it nad
a b r o a d , it to bDee hnanucu
h a d to m -------------
a n d e d in y -u rp
i m m e d i a t e l/ re
on t u r n1 t o gei
g e t nack
b a ck the
th - p
nnAti']]
v i d u a l s in d is p e n s a b le p e r s o n a l iidentification
d e n t i f i c a t i o n card.
c a r d . One
O n e year r. the nUldi-
after
Ceauescu,
C e a u e s c u , the
th e Foreign
F o r e ig n Ministry
M in i s t r y ciaimea
c l a im e d tmat
h a t tten
e n mmu n Romanians had p
m i l l i o5nvonTnIan^acU)^(^|
_____ I lie s c u w a s a b le t o u s e h is c o n t a i r
ports.45 lust as importantly,fiiescuwas able. _tQ_y,se.hk control of the " rsi
tus to h e lp l^ s e lfjwin the presidency and to help the
iriNSF)~ g i m ^ n ^ mhelming majority in the parlian^r n T p ^ ^ ^ 11
wwcie
e re used to brHgm eStothe stores. The NSF provisional governmentJlo 1
three million dollars for new printing equipment for the pro-NSF ^ess wl^^
made newsprint scarce and distribution difficult for the opposition, preSg 46^ j
the opposition had some access to the state-controlled television, the NSF had 1
clear advantage when an analysis is made o f what was shown and not shown b ]
fore the elections.47 Before we went to Romania, we believed that if the opposition
had had more time to campaign they might have possibly won the May 1990 elec
tions. However, two trips to Romania made it clear to us that Iliescu had such pJ
sonal advantages as the antisultan figure and such structural advantages'^
j us control o f the state apparatus that he actually got more popular as the cam-1
paignprogressed.48 In this context, major technical fraud~onTIecfionWTOuii-l
Jjec^sap^and onM ay 20,1990, Iliescu won 85 percent o f the presidential vote and
the National Salvation Front w o n ^ ^ ercen F o ftE e parliamentary vote 4^

tio n ^ E lsU m ^ w ^ n ! T T Rady Romania in Turmoil, 160-174; Roger East, Rmhl


gledRevolution, 142-^4 ^ Publlshers>x992 ), 145-46; and Nestor Ratesh, Romania: TheEntan

46. For example ^ t m^n^ster f Romania, Adrian Nastase, Bucharest, June 25,19J
the revolution changed its na ml h H I f l J SP to k over 3 major Ceauescu-era newspaper,whichafter
nied paper, was intimidated bvthirt R ln8 ebe. The opposition press in Iasi, however, was regularly dej
citys printing press ? ? ! by a f I mer Securitate and was denied access to the
pean Reporter, 4, no. 2 (1990)- 43^ Independent Daily Newspaper Fighting for Survival, East Euro-\

port on Eastern Europe 1, no. 23 and Television Coverage o f the Election Campaign. &
7< I1
polls during the election cam oatpiw llp f b7 a c r itic o f Iliescu, Pavel Campeanu, who conducte

for detailed accounts o f electoral in denved from pre-election structural advantage. H o * J


total Landslide Report on Eastern EumpeTno
^
flS24COr
T ,1990). 31.
N ation al Salvation Front Produces E
Romania

N o n d e m o c r a t ic D is c o u r s e o p T he j l
1 C an t e r i m REgim
. , sp ecific n a t u r e o f a t r a n s i t i o n o f t e n h a s a n e ffe r t

!fe J M f th e s u f eSSOr g o v e r n m e n t . In t h e ca se o f n " Style o f discourse


lie fig * * ^ I v e d the specificity
^ e m i n e n t th a t n e v e r h a d to

O howandwta;mter.m govern me n ^ ^ 3* Pact- In chapter 5 We


^ ^ BrocraO SH 2M 2l2fliS!ios^ O neofthen^ ^Z?if?i^ iif-PIildnisJar
^ b Eiblenis
^ U5--------^
p 5 ^--------h ^ ^ e ^r m mu it-n
n ents
K fa ^ <d obser-
^ e 0am e r e v l u t l o n 2 n d to h ^ l T m ^ n ^ r r i 4 Ien a to sneak J

mdemocracy. Ntgrdemocratic rev o h ^ T -^ ^ * ^


L tof revolnaon
^ ? ^ratherthan
> sdemocracy,
^ R thes a s s s ^ * the ,od
their legitimacy v i ^ t e i ^ ^ m tend t o ^ ^ ^ 2 * 6" T the>'
La democratic discourse and practice are
^gJ^giTIliescu and the National Salvation Front had won an overwhel
electoral victory, they d io re to treat their defeated opponents in highly
I f P ^ o d between his d ^ t o ^ d h k W S t ^ S
Hiescushowed th ga a m a g o f revolutionary over democratic discourse L
riceswhen he usea vigilante justice against student protesters in R n rW o ^ Uni
versity Square.
4uaiu He called upon (and piuviucu
provided eiaDorate
elaborate prearranged 1transporta-
comee to Bucharest to defend the government and rid the
tion for) coal miners to com
J I I hooligans. For two days in Bucharest the miners not i j P B H i
beat students, but also seriously damaged the headquarters of the two main op
position parties.-50 g ne
S ui m t defining
o f the u u m u ^ iiiaiaiierisucs
characteristics ofo BaWdernocrtc
^ o c n u ^ lo rem
govern
leets its obligation to maintain a mlerule of law and
cmrl to
tn shape its owj
-actions within the confines o f those laws. When the miners left Bucharest, the
newly elected president IonJliescu went to the train station and publicly ad
dressed them. His dicoure^vas more that o f a nondemocratic revolutionary
thanthat of a democratic head of state.

I thank you for everything that you have done these days. I thank you all once again for what
youhaveproved these days: that you are a powerful force, having a high civic and working-class
discipline, one can rely on in good and especially in bad times. T h e whole thing is a part o f a
and more detailed scenario in the whole of Europe. There has existed a convergent ac
don onbehalf of extreme rightist forces that have in mind that in all o f Europe extreme right
f* rces have to come to power, . . . Everything they have done, all the slogans ey a
ought forth accusing me and also others that we have confiscated the revolution, as 1
steal away a revolution! But the truth is the extreme right has been trying to urn
nian N a t io n into the right wings hands. We have to keep our vigilance aw ake. ... w e

H Michaei Shafir, Government Encourages Vigilante Violence in Bucharest, Reper. e E a s ,e r


j*-,,,.
Romania
36i

ThE N o n d e m o c r a t ic D isc o u r se op the In t e r im Regime

T h e s p e c ific n a t u r e o f a t r a n s i t i o n o f t e n h a s a n e ffe c t o n th e sty le o f Hi


I p ra c tice s o f t h e s u c c e s s o r g o v e r n m e n t . I n th e ca se o f R o m a n i i th e ' SCRurse
3 U t r a n s itio n w a s t h a t it i n v o l v e d r e v o l u t i o n a r y u p r i s i n g f th e sP e c lflc lty
^ 3 , a s T ra ,0 ta , in-
tefl B1 and w h v i n t e r i m g o v e r n m e n t s ___ _ Pt(
o f p r o b le m s for
Jeinocrad3H2!iZ^l52SS!i2as-Dne of the major prechctabletand oble v
U p r o b lc n is c r e a t e d b y j n t e r i m g o v e r n m e n t s is t h a t th e y te n d to sp eak a n d a c,
I the name
n a m e 2 l l Y 2 l ^ ! ~ L 5 i l f i i f l . b d i y ^ i i a U ; l i e y are
a re beyond
b e y o n d the normal
n o r m a l pro
j . " c o n 5 - t X ^ lIlt:sQf-demQCiaey^NftgdemocrafR:
d e m o c r a c y . N Q p d e m o c r a t i c rrevolutionary
e v o lu t io n a r y ddiscoursed
isrm irc*
racticewil1 tend to beem Elo^ ^ W m a i ! a transition is carried out in the I
l&tne of reyolutin rather than democracy, the new power holders, even if they
g ^ ^ m e n t their legitimacy via elections, will tend to governmaway in which
^nj^ o r r a tic discourse and practice are frequently present.
r^gnafteirIliescu and the National Salvation Front had won an overwhelming
Sectoral victory, they chose to treat their defeated opponents in highly undemo-
jaric ways- In the period between his election and his formal inauguration,
h S u s h o ^ d thefirimacvLofievoIutionarv oyerd^mQiatk.iikcourse and prac-
ices when h e used vigilante justiceLagainst student^rotesters i n Bucharest^ Uni-
rersity SquareTke called upon (and provided elaborate prearranged transporta-
ion for) coal miners to come to Bucharest to defend the government and rid the
ity of the hooligans. For two days in Bucharest the miners not only brutally
'eat students, but also seriously damaged the headquarters of thejwo main op
t i o n parties.50 One o f the defining.characteristics.of a democratic govern-
uent is that it meets its obligation to maintain a rule of law and to shape its own
within the confines o f those laws. When the miners left Bucharest the
elected president loftJiiescu g to the train station pubta**
IrJ e d them. His d is c o u ^ a s more that o f_ a _ n o n d e m o c r a t ,c r e v o lu t .o n a r y

han that of a

thank you for everything that you have done these days- ^* ^ h ig h civic and working-class
rouhave proved these days: that you are a powerfu The whole thing is a part of a
discipline, one can rely on in good and especta Y here has existed a convergent ac-|
digger and more detailed scenario in the whole o F 1 ^ Qf Europe extreme right
fen on behalf of extreme rightist forces that have in min ^ t^e slogans they have
ist forces have to come to power. . . . Everything they nave auoio^h^ J g ^ n , as if one
brought forth accusing me and also others tha ^ ^een trying to turn the
could steal away a revolution! But the truth is the extreme our vigilance awake,
nunian Revolution into the right wing s hands. We

fles vigilante Violence in Bucharest, H


50. See Michael Shafir, Governm ent Encourages g
Europei, no. 27 (1990): 3239.
Rom ania
36i

T he N o n d e m o c r a t i c D isc o u r se o f t
E I n t e Rim R eg im e
The specific nature o f a tran sition often has an effect n ,u
d practices o f the successor governm ent. In the case o f R 6 Styk o f discurse
I f the tran sffipn jvas that it involved revolutionary u n m i n ^ ? ' the sPecificity
7
te iroS^ernment that neVCr had to have a round table o ^ J(. ?Wedby an in'
inalyzed b S 2 2 * 2 & L M U t E S B U m m often create a * ? , ter 5 we

the m ajor predkfaWe (anobselv"


ablTj problems cre^d^^^interim governments is that they tend to speak and t
the n a m e ^ f^ e v o lu tj2 n jn d jo _ b e ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ are bey(Jnd a
in
ceduralcQI^tt'fints.-Qf -Aemocracy. Nepdemocratic revolutionary
actice will tend to be emp|oyedA s ^ o r m a r i f a transition islarried outmThe
nameofrevolution ra th e rthan democracy, the new power holders, even if they
fater augment their legitim acy via elections, will tend to govern in a way in which
ncnHpiocratic discourse and practice are ffequenthrprespnt
Even after Iliescu and the National Salvation Front had won an overwhelming
electoral victory, they chose to treat their defeated opponents in highly undemo
cratic ways. In the period between his election and his formal inauguration,
Iliescu showed th^jarjmacv o f revolutionary over democratic discourse and prac
tices when he used vigilante iustice against student protesters in Bucharests Uni
versity Square. He called upon (and provided elaborate prearranged transporta
tion for) coal miners to com e to Bucharest to defend the government and rid the
city of the hooligans. For two days in Bucharest the miners not only brutally
beat students, but also seriously damaged the headquarters of the two main op
position parties.50 O ne o f the defining characteristics of a democratic govern
ment is that it meets its obligation to maintain a rule of lawjmd to shape its
.actions within the confines o f those laws. When the miners left Bucharest,
newly elected president IoiiJJiescu went to the train station and pu u
dressed them. His dicoure-was m ore that o f a nondemocratic k u
than that o f a dem ocratic head o f state.

thank you
r u
for everything that you have~ done these days, I thank
v v t iy u iin j j u ia t ,
you
k W h c iv ic
. w orkin g-class
3fliU WOnung-vw*
you have proved these days: that you are a powerful force, h a v in g a 8 ls a p a rt ot
discipline, one can rely on in good and especially in bad times. existed a convergen t *
^tgger and more detailed scenario in the whole of Europe. T er Europe extrem mee i
hon on behalf of extreme rightist forces that h a v e in min * a\ ' he slogans! they have
f ^ orces have to come to power. . . . E v e r y t h in g they ave . revo lu tion , as it one
ru g h t forth accusing me and also others t h a t w e have con . trying to turn the Bo
Could steal away a revolution! But the truth is the extreme rig v ig ila n ce awake..
U S Revolution into the right wing s hands. We h a v e to keep
Bucharest? Report on Eastern

uf5 ^ee ^Rhael Shafir, Government Encourages Vigilante


turpe I no. 27 (i99o): 32- 39.
362 Post-Communist Europe

have to maintain a fighting briskness__ We know that we can rely on you. We should ask for
your help whenever it seems necessary!. . . The very best to you.51

T o t a l it a r ia n is m c u m Su l t a n is m a n d N a t io n a l is m :
T he D iff ic u l t L e g a c y

In September and October 1992> Romania again held parliamentary and pres
idential elections. President Ion Iliescu was re-elected with relative ease. The
united democratic opposition (the Democratic Convention) was able to win only
21 percent of the parliamentary vote despite the fact that most international ob
servers did not find too many irregularities.
How can we go about understanding Romanian politics after the parliamen
tary and presidential e le c tio n s ^ S ^ ^ b e r -< )c to b e r '5 9 2 n b approach this task
*wp Have to go beyond the conceptual framework provided by the scripted upris
ing, the capturecTrevolution, or neo-Communism. To speak of scripted uprisings
\ ^. in Timisoara and Bucharejs-TQ^ underestimate the importance of the .move
ments of rage (to us^Ren Jowitfi^hiemorable phrase) in undermining Ceauescus
coercive power. Reyot^to^ overestimates the degree toIvEich these movements of
TgeTepresented organized opposition groups with their own leaders andpro-
gramsoQt^^ the extemporaneous opportunism and weak
ness of IliescuTTIed^ConwvuJttsm overstates the principled cohesion of the gov
ernment that followedTxauescusdownfall ancfm particular does not take into
account the profound divisions within the National Salvation Front that emerged
in 1991. In fact, in the twelve months before the 1992 elections the anti-Iliescu wing
of the National Salvation Front, faced with a crisis o f governance in September
1991, formed a coalition government that included some o f the traditional li
erals, supported The prime ministers courtship o f the International Monetary
Fund, and, in late March 1992, won control o f the party label.52
But, as the presidential and parliamentary elections showed, sultanistic rule
behind a flattened political and social landscape.53 Civil society rem ained inup 1

51. Iliescus farewell and thank you speech to the miners on June 15,1990, is reprinted m
eign Broadcast Information Service Daily Report, East Europe, June 18,1990,67-70* f t>no. 16
52. See Dan lonescu, Romanias Ruling Party Splits after Congress, RFE/Rl Research Repo
(1992): 8-12* , . lknliSg by uPrif
53. Gail Kligman correctly stressed that one of the major legacies o f Ceauescu and ms. c ^ in body
ing was almost the complete lackof what,we call political society, the demonstration ofp not be
and voice, was critical in the exhilarating days of the coup/popular revolt, l hut] public ^
best realized through continuous mass street demonstrations.... It is one thing to 0Y . ls0C;ety, TH* cu!
it is another to participate in the establishment of a democratic public sphere and or civ . ^ 0f the
rent daily events have acquired their own ritualized, theatrical character. They are moreexe ^
herited legacy of the Ceauescu years, in which behavior was thoroughly ritualized, ^ .on 0f (
essive steps on the road to democratic practice. Now there is a need for the institutional^ a ^ tUHl
in formal and informal associations. Gail Kligman, Reclaiming the Public: A Reflects ^
Romania, East European Politics and Societies 4, no. 3 (1990): 393-437. citation
Society in
I U H U ) lu iv * ) ------

But, as the presidential and parliamentary elections showed, sultanistic rufei ft


behind a flattened political andsocial landscape .53 Civil society remained incii

51. Iliescus farewell and thank you speech to the miners on June 15,1990, is reprinted in full
eign Broadcast Information Service Daily Report, East Europe, June 18,1990, 67-70. U m ^0r'
52. See Dan Ionescu, Romanias Ruling Party Splits after Congress, RFE/RL Research Revo
(1992): 8-12. P Tf 1>no*16
53. Gail Kligman correctly stressed that one o f the m ajor legacies o f Ceauescu and his demise hv
mg was almost the m m p jetd ad u ^ w h aLwe call political society. T he demonstration o f public will 1 1 1
and voice, was critical in the exhilarating days o f the coup/popular revolt, [but] public power mav noth
test realised through contmuous H street dem onstrations.. . . It is one thing to overthrow a -J
it is another to participate m the establishment o f a dem ocratic public sphere and o f civil s o a e o l V
S 2& T qmred *heir OW character. T h ey are more e x e m p t oOhe
gressive stepson the J E S S B H th * * am of p a s
in formal and informal associations Tail f t d e ls.a nee<^ f r $11 institutionalization of interests
* * * in R o m , | M A Reflection on Creadng (M
ciettes 4, no. 3 (1990): 393-437> citation from 410-411.
Romania
363
. Ae rule o f law fragile, political coalitions t.,rk, 1
fn cies compromised.54 In this context, the Rom.n and most Political ten-
der^nunt
M nunt a^ principled
Fx r - - rand united d e m o c r a tcampaign
xv~^ ucmocratic m c a m p13^ ^ TT? - 911 W aS m- aWe
-f^Tfigure and Hto
to carrv
carry itsits m m aao into every
message __ cornPr P Sn led by7 a* or
"f In prominent P
pjiiochet opposition in Chile had been able to do in 1989 h the anti
P won
tionW01 . fonly 21 percent
m
o f the parliamentary vote
uary Votewhj whi
J p Rl"laman PPsi-
sitions
I p opposition s presidential candidate, on
won 39 percent
w on . * Erml Constanii nescu,
-------
* cent in the second round o f the presidential ejection. ~ ^ ^ l Ilie8cus 61
Y - __ /'U o e f h o etroMrrfU .T Tl ! _
position, as much as the strength o f m e s T ^ ^ e d t h y ^ f e ct t o n t h ^ P'
Lntial n in -offin October 1992.55 y escu won the presi-
I our analysis o f the w e a l ^ s ^ he dem ocm & opposition, we have stressed
u ttoa nmi ^
the s m sW p - ^ "^ ^
7^n J e" ga c ^ H o hwowever,
e v e r , Komania
Romania also has a simmerine
simme S
s eness^ problem, has been
which has
f e 5 i winch exploited by
been exploited bv Ceauescus ........ *Rom nia
C eau seW l successors. ,g
hasamffiority
has a *****---- * *population
* . o f 1.7 milhon Hungarians.manv
- Hungarians,
-------* many of whom are con concern
trated in Transylvania. In an appeal to nationalism, article one of the new
Romanian constitution demies Romania as a unified national state. Article 4
saysTfie state is based on the unity o f the
says wit atucv Roma^SSh^eople
uit Avuuidiiidii people.TrtTde
Article 13i3 says for
for
nariia,
Romania, the official language is Rom anian56 Tn roWtirm
Romanian. ~*6 In rejection of this nation-state
policy, an important political party, the Hungarian Democratic Alliance, has
sometimes stressed its democratic opposition character and sometimes stressed
its autonomist character. Both in 1992 and in 1995, the status of the Hungarian
Democratic Alliance led to significant splits in the democratic opposition. In this

54. Both the National Liberal Party and the Ecological Party split, with one faction of each party join
ing the government from September 1991 to April 1992. The student leader Marian Munteanu, who had
been brutally beaten by the miners in June 1990, was made first chairman of the Havel-like Civic Alliance
in November 1990, but by 1991 he had broken with the Civic Alliance and formed a party called Movement
for Romania, which deliberately used many o f the slogans and symbols of Romanias interwar fascist-in
spired Iron Guard. In June 1992, on the n o th anniversary o f the birth o f Romanias wartime authoritarian
and nationalist leader, General Ion Antonescu, almost all members o f Parliament stood up and observed a
moment of silence in his m em ory. See Vladim ir Tismaneanu, Endangered Democracy: Emerging Plural
ism in Post-Communist Rom ania (paper prepared for the Bellagio Conference on New Issues in Democ
racy, December 1992). ' ' ... . ,
55. The democratic opposition did manage to get eighteen parties together in a coalition called the
Democratic Convention. However, the m ain wing o f the National Liberal Party e e conven ion in
1992 because it objected to the presence in its ranks o f the party representing Th;
nority. Subsequently, the convention lost m any valuable months deciding on a presi en 1
two principal forces in the D em ocratic Convention were the pre-war National ^
ft B l a staunch a n ti-co m m u n ist monarchist octogenanan and * e m m

_________ _____ ________ e the Civic Alliance rariy in Demol


H i electora* cam paign there was very poor g g e T td g o m u m m p ^ n in the countryside,
atic Convention. As a result, the convention was unable to g 8 nomenklatura, and won only 21
hich remained under the control o f Iliescu and the former C mr" , re-electoral visit to Romania
twent o f the parliamentary vote. These observations are based on Stepan p
tdpostelectoral conversations w ith participants. n .m o rra tic Alliance o f Hungarians in Ro-
i SeeAurelian C ra iu tu ,A D ilem m a o f Dual Identity: The Democratic At
ania, in East European Constitutional Review 4>n0#2 b995 P
R om ania 363

eiit, the rule of law fragile, political coalitions turbulent, and most political ten
dencies compromised.54 In this context, the Romanian opposition was not able
to mount a principled and united democratic campaign Jed by a prominent po
litical figure and to carry its message into every corner of the country, as the anti-
Pinochet opposition in Chile had been able to do in 1989. The Romanian opposi
tion won only 21 percent o f the parliamentary vote, while Emil Constantinescu,
the oppositions presidential candidate, won 39 percent o f the vote to Iliescus 61
percent in the second round o f the presidential election. The weakness of the op
position, as much as the strength o f Iliescu, explained why Iliescu won the presi
dential run-off in October 1992.55
In our analysis of the weakness o f the democratic opposition, we have stressed
the sultanistic and totalitarian legacy, However, Romania also has a simmering
stateness problem, which has been exploited by Ceauescus successors. Romania
has a minority population of 1.7 million Hungarians, many o f whom are concen
trated in Transylvania. In an appeal to nationalism, article one of the new
Romanian constitution defines Romania as a unified national state. Article 4
says tKe state is based on the unity of the Romanian people. Article 13 says for
Romania, the official language is Romanian.56 In rejection of this nation-state
policy, an important political party, the Hungarian Democratic Alliance, has
sometimes stressed its democratic opposition character and sometimes stressed
its autonomist character. Both in 1992 and in 1995, the status of the Hungarian
Democratic Alliance led to significant splits in the democratic opposition. In this

54- Both the National Liberal Party and the Ecological Party split, with one faction o f each party join-
^8 e government from September 1991 to April 1992. The student leader M arian Munteanu, who had
mN rut7 y eaten by the miners in June 1990, was made first chairman o f the Havel-like Civic Alliance
for er x990, but by 1991 he had broken with the C ivic Alliance and formed a party called Movement
spired IroinC deliberately used many o f the slogans and symbols o f Romanias interwar fascist-in-
and ,jU , 1 June 1992, on the noth anniversary o f the birth o f Romanias wartime authoritarian
foment of T ea^er> ^ eneral Ion Antonescu, almost all members o f Parliament stood up and observed a
ismin Poster CnCe I1*8 memory. See Vladim ir Tismaneanu, Endangered Democracy: Emerging Plural
r*cy*l>ecein|^n,mun*st Romania (paper prepared for the Bellagio Conference on New Issues in Democ-
II T li *
Socratic Q , <K,a,c opposition did manage to get eighteen parties together in a coalition called the
^ hecaus# a However, the main wing o f the National Liberal Party left the convention in April
Sur f objected to the presence in its ranks # ----------------------------
o f the party representing Romanias Hungarian mi
invention lost many valuable m onths deciding on a presidential candidate. I he
diuc ptl to
par. - ibe Democratic Convention were the pre war National Peasant Party led by Cor-
tl*/ though Pav i r anttCommunist monarchist octogenarian, and the more modern Civic Alliance
thc &j,Vk Alliance i v , t mpeanu8 Polls showed that the Peasant Parly had 1 percent o f voter support and
the w,Un the conv V percent, the price o f uniting was that the Peasant Party received 55 percent o f
oiiHltlccloflcam3-- Sectoral lists, while the ( llvic Alliance Party received less than 20 percent. In
"V h ^ h o n . As Pa>Kn l^cre was very pour coordination between the two major wings in the Demo-
^ u lt , the convention was unable to wage a vigorous campaign in the countryside,
an^ o n ^ e ptdi*m MWtontrl o f Iliescu and the former Com munist nomenklatura, and won only 21
S T j^ to r* !U) *CnliI7 vtc.These observations are based on Stepans pre-clectoral visit to Romania
participants.
kuropq Ui? ^ Dilemma o f Dual Identity: The Democratic Alliance o f Hungarians in Ro-
n *n$titutiowl Review 4 no. 2 (1995)1 PP- 43*~49 *
Post-Com m unist Europe

contesa, the Iliescu government, like that of Ceauescu, has exploited and exae
gerate the threat to national integrity. Indeed, in January 1995 stateness problem
contributed to the division of the democratic opposition and the temporary ag
glutination of a sinister brown-red-sultanistic four-party ruling coalition. One
analyst described this new pro-li'escu coalition in the following terms:

T h e c h a u v in ist G reater R o m an ia P arty (P R M ) a n d th e S o cia list L a b o r P arty (P S M ), the heir of


th e d e fu n c t R o m a n ia n C o m m u n is t Party, fo rm a lize d th eir rela tio n sh ip w ith th e ruling coali
tio n . . . . T h e fo u rth sig n a to ry to th e p ro to co l, th e e x tre m e n a tio n a list P arty o f Romanian
N a tio n a l U n ity (P U N R ), h ad a lread y jo in e d th e g o v e r n m e n t .. . . A t th e sig n in g o f the protocol
Ilie V erd et, a fo rm e r p rem ier u n d er C ea u escu a n d n o w P S M ch a irm a n ; A d ria n Paunescu, PSM
first d e p u ty ch a irm a n an d a co u rt p o e t o f th e C e a u e s c u fa m ily ; C o rn e liu V adim Tudor
a n o th e r C ea u escu co u rt tro u b a d o u r a n d n o w th e o v e r tly a n ti-S e m itic P R M chairm an; and
th e sta u n ch ly a n ti-H u n g arian F u n ar w ere im m o r ta liz e d in p h o to g ra p h s alon gsid e the PDSR
lead ersh ip .57

This coalition stepped up pressure on opposition mayors, many of them per


ceived as being too sympathetic to minorities or to the opposition. The consti
tution watch of the East European Constitutional Review noted that, overall,
133 mayors have been dismissed by government-appointed prefects. . . . Of the
62 mayors who appealed to the Court of Justice only four received redress. Despite
the reaction of the parliamentary opposition, international organizations and the
electorate, the executive seems determined to carry on its program of purging
mayors.58
By i995> Romania seemed to be in a paradoxical positjojL In contrast to all of
the post-Communist East Central European countries we have analyzed thus far
, (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Bulgaria), Romania was the farthest
from a consolidated democracy in each of our five arenas. Civil society was still
very weak. Political society had not created a robust governing alternative. Rule of
law was intermittent, especially in areas concerning local government ancfthe
human rights of minorities such as gypsies and Hungarians. The reform of state
administration had not been undertakers Economic society had yet to be crafted.
MnyoFtEeseproblems could be directlytrced (as in Haiti with its similar prob
lematic configuration) to the legacies of sultanism.
5
The apparently^ r a ^ x i ^ )pointTs that R ^ h i a , in poll after poll, emerges
jis one of the countrieswherethe respondents say that the present regime is a sub-_
stantial improvement over the former regime,5? The apparent paradox is ex-

t r e m f s t C * M o n ' see Michael Shafir, Ruling Party Formalizes Relations with Ex


tremists, Transition, 1, no. 5 (1995), 42-46, quote from 42.

so For e x a m ' i n ^ ^ i Romania, in East European Constitutional Review4, no. 2 (1995): 22.
tivelv whereas 68 mBR1 11111Hii f those Polled view ed the form er Com m unist regime Bfl
T Vhe thLen-current regime positively. This 33 percentage point positive
Poland and L thf com Parable differentials in Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary, and
d slightly higher than that in Slovenia. O nly the differential in the Czech Republic was greater.
Rom ania
365

plained, o f course, by th e m te n y ty o .ffe a ro X th e sultan and his totalitarian and


s u t a n ^ f P ^ t r a t .o n o f the.r private and public lives. Given tRe terrible memo

K S the fact t h a t T i f T h e ^ e
a b & r e n g t h e n civil and political society, they m ight do better in the 1996
idential and parliamentary elections than they had done in 1990 or igo2
Romania has by now experienced two.d e c tio n jp a n jr o f the formal institu
tional aspects o f dem ocracy are in place, and people perceive their new regime as
a positive change with respect to the past. However, we cannot refrain from sug
gesting tha^ C ^ gB ^ dsnuK xa yjsjliferent-frem 4 hat-&afroJher East Central
European countries in this study, as well as from the three Baltic republics, in that(*
until now, no leaders have gained power who did not have a career in the Com
munist tarty ~ ,rty v w
ciotogically, there has been norup^ura^Such continuity is not the same as having
ex^Communists leading reform ed com m unist parties thv w hai v name) re
turning to power in free elections. In such polities (Poland, Hungary, and Lithua
nia), non-Communists were able to create political parties that were able to win
elections and oversee a basic ruptura. To date, such a ruptura has only partially
happened in Romania. ---------------- ------ 7
Why should this have been the case?; We argue that the legacy o f totalitarian
control until the overthrow o f Ceauescu, combined with the legacy o f suhanlsm
andthe way (as a consequence) that the transition took place, account for that sig
nificant difference.

Ustir0!^ Q seandchri .
. *tlan^ aerpfer,Adapting to Transformation in Eastern Europe: New Democra
t s I publk Polky 212 (J 9 9 3 ), 4 7