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The Helsinki Declaration of August 1, 1975 was a turning point in Cold War relations inside European borders. The Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries celebrated the acknowledgment of their national boundaries; a desired goal since the end of World War II. West European democracies celebrated the Warsaw Pact countries' willingness to adopt ten major points of international diplomacy. One….

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In this December 18 communique from the U.S. Department of State, spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler briefed the press about the recent events in Timisoara, Romania, where demonstrators protesting the forcible relocation of local minister Laszlo Tokes to another congregation had been assaulted by the government's security forces. Tutwiler's limited account of what happened reflected the efforts by….

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This telegram from the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sent on December 19, comes two days after the shooting of demonstrators in Timisoara and informs Romanian ambassadors abroad of the government's official position on the crisis and how they should handle questions from their foreign hosts about the "so-called events" taking place in their country. Ambassadors were instructed to deny….

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In its final years, Nicolae Ceausescu's dictatorial regime in Romania increasingly isolated itself from the rest of the Eastern Bloc. Likewise, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev distanced himself from the ultra-hardliners in Bucharest. In keeping with Gorbachev's policy of non-intervention into East European domestic affairs, the Soviets had not commented officially on the mid-December shootings….

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Romanian security forces' violent assault on demonstrators in Timisoara in mid-December 1989 sparked a wave of speculation as to whether this spelled the end of Nicolae Ceausescu, the region's sole remaining communist dictator. Among the rumors circulating was a possible military intervention by the Soviets and Warsaw Pact countries to overthrow Romania's hardliner government. Adopting an….

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In this December 22 telegram, Romanian ambassador to Moscow Ion Bucur reported to Deputy Foreign Minister Constantin Oancea in Bucharest on his discussions with Soviet officials concerning the situation in Eastern Europe, particularly the backlash against communist authorities. Interestingly, Bucur writes that the Soviets were aware of the growing hostility towards the former leaders in the….

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In mid-December 1989, demonstrations erupted in Timisoara, quickly spread to other parts of Romania, and developed into a full-scale revolution, leading to the execution of President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife on December 25. On December 22, the Romanian ambassador in Moscow, Ion Bucur, sent this telegram to Ion Stoian, the minister of foreign affairs in Bucharest, Romania. As directed by….

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By December 1989, the economic hardships, chronic shortages, and unwillingness to reform created the same pressures on the Yugoslav Communist Party as it had elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Popular protests had emerged throughout the country, only growing larger as word spread of similar problems in nearby Romania. This report by the Yugoslav Ambassador to Russia, Milan Veres, to the Soviet….

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By the spring of 1990, the future of the individual countries in Eastern Europe was still open for debate. While Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary seemed to be transitioning toward Western-styled democracies, Romania and Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania were following a different course. The former had experienced violent uprisings, and in the latter the Communists seemed to be more….

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Once in power, Mikhail Gorbachev began a reform process that followed two paths: perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost' (openness). In order to reform the Soviet economy, Gorbachev believed it was necessary to cut spending on the Soviet military, both inside Soviet borders and throughout Eastern Europe. In both 1986 and 1987, Gorbachev proposed army reductions in summit meetings with….

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In this letter to Mikhail Gorbachev dated October 6, 1988, Georgy Shakhnazarov, Gorbachev's adviser and a champion of reform in the Soviet Union, revealed his views about the urgency of perestroika (reform) in socialist countries worldwide. Shakhnarazov acknowledged not only that each country had unique problems in need of some country-specific reform measures but also that some problems….

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In May 1988, Georgi Shakhnazarov, an adviser to Mikhail Gorbachev and a champion of reform in the Soviet Union, responded to a report by Marshal Viktor G. Kulikov, the commander-in-chief of Warsaw Pact forces. In his comments, Shakhnazarov delineated in detail the problems with Kulikov's report, namely, his plan to continue building up the military even following the Intermediate-Range Nuclear….

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The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States was closely watching the events unfolding in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1980s, and this secret service document reveals the extent of that interest. As exhibited in this source, under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union embarked on a program of reform both within the Soviet bloc and in its relationships….

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This February 1989 report by the Bogomolov Commission analyzes the current situation in Eastern Europe for Alexander Yakovlev, key foreign policy advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev. The Bogomolov Commission was the largest Soviet think tank conducting research on the East European countries. This document can be compared with the memorandum by the International Department of the CC CPSU (document….

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As the government of Nicolae Ceau┼čescu in Romania began to collapse in a wave of strikes and riots, Moscow looked on with growing concern. Shortly before Christmas 1989, the Soviet Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs met with the Yugoslav ambassador to the Soviet Union to discuss the situation. The ambassador described how an attempt by local police to evict the popular priest and regime critic….

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