Primary Sources

Soviet Response to the Romanian Uprising


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 the Soviet deputy foreign affairs minister, I. P. Aboimov, this correspondence included a response to accusations by the Romanian government regarding the Soviet position on the critical ongoing situation in Romania. The Soviet Union, as this document shows, was concerned about the stability in Romania, but was not planning to intervene. Unlike in the past, Soviet leaders decided to stand back while the historic events in Eastern Europe were unfolding.


Ion Bucur to Ion Stoian, telegram, 22 December 1989, trans. Mircea Munteanu, Cold War International History Project, Documents and Papers, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

Primary Source—Excerpt

...Aboimov said that he was instructed to present, on behalf of the Soviet leadership, the following reply to the message sent [by the Romanian government] through the Soviet ambassador in Bucharest [during his discussion with Nicolae Ceausescu on 19 December].

"...We consider the problems raised in the message as very serious, since they are dealing with the basic issues of our collaboration.

In the spirit of sincerity, characteristic for our bilateral relations, we would like to mention that we are surprised by its tone and the accusations regarding the position and role of the Soviet Union with respect to the events taking place in Timisoara. We reject wholeheartedly the statements with regard to the anti-Romanian campaign supposedly taking place in the Soviet Union, not to mention the accusation that the actions against Romania have [been] allegedly planned by the Warsaw Treaty Organization [WTO]. Such accusations are unfounded and absolutely unacceptable. Just as absurd are the declarations of certain Romanian officials who are suggesting that the Soviet Union is preparing to intervene in Romania. We are starting, invariably, from the idea that, in our relations with allied nations, as well as with all other nations, the principles of sovereignty, independence, equality of rights, non-intervention in the internal affairs....

It is clear that the dramatic events taking place in Romania are your own internal problem. The fact that during these events deaths have occurred has aroused deep grief among the Soviet public....

... We want to hope that, in the resolution of the events in Romania, wisdom and realism will prevail and that political avenues to solve the problems to the benefit of [our] friend, the Romanian nation, will be found.

Our position comes out of our sincere desire not to introduce into our relationship elements of suspicion or mistrust, out of our desire to continue our relations normally, in the interest of both our nations, [and in the interest of] the cause of peace and socialism."

I. P. Aboimov asked that this message be sent immediately to Bucharest.

How to Cite this Source

Ion Bucur, "Soviet Response to the Romanian Uprising." Making the History of 1989, # 201.

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