Romanian Assessment of Recent Events in Eastern Europe
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 region, a situation they considered "regrettable". Although Soviet advisors were observing the events in various countries, however, Moscow didn't appear willing to prevent retribution against the old communist leadership or to restore control to the communist party. Since Nicolae Ceausescu's government had long acted independently of Soviet tutelage, rejecting Mikhail Gorbachev's reform communism, it was highly unlikely that the Soviets would intervene even indirectly to support his regime. But the fates of former leaders like East Germany's Erich Honecker must have been a sobering lesson for Ceausescu, whose harsh reign had ended the same day this telegram was sent with his arrest by a new reformist government. Ceausescu would suffer the ultimate backlash when the new regime convicted him and his wife Elena of genocide and ordered them executed by firing squad three days later - Christmas Day.
Ion Bucur to Constantin Oancea, telegram, 22 December 1989, trans. Mircea Munteanu, Cold War International History Project, Documents and Papers, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).
Telegram from the Romanian Embassy in Moscow to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Bucharest)
22 December 1989, 07:30 am
Cde. Constantin Oancea, Deputy [Foreign Affairs] Minister
Directorate 1— Socialist Countries, Europe
During a conversation between N. Stinea and V. L. Musatov, Deputy Director of the International Department of the Central Committee (CC) of Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) [Musatov], referring to the situation in Eastern European countries, declared: The processes taking place [in Eastern Europe] are the result of objective needs. Unfortunately, these processes taking place are [sometimes] incongruous. In some countries, such as Hungary and Poland, the changes that took place went outside the initial limits planned by the [local] communists, who have [now] lost control. The situation is also becoming dangerous in Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic [GDR]. At this time, in Bulgaria the [Communist] Party is trying to maintain control, however, it is unknown which way the situation will evolve. As far as it is concerned, the CPSU is trying to give aid to the communists. Representatives of the CC of the CPSU have been or are at this time in the GDR [and] Czechoslovakia to observe the situation personally. The attitude towards the old leadership is regrettable. For example, [East German Communist Party leader] E[rich] Honecker will be arrested. In the majority of these countries there are excesses against the communists. The Soviet government is preoccupied with the future of "Our Alliance." [The Soviet government] is especially interested in the evolution of events in the GDR, in the background of the discussions taking place regarding reunification. The Soviet Union is following all these events, but is not getting involved in the internal affairs of the respective countries.
(ss) [Ambassador] Ion Bucur