An improvement came in late 1947 as the better harvest and a monetary reform helped the economy. economy suffered from low labor morale and productivity and a growing He recalls from his last visit to Romania in 1987 ``heated debates among local enterprise managers and rigid, dogmatic government officials concerning the centralized economy.''. ''The Government talks a lot about setting up a market economy,'' said a Western diplomat. implementation, the Romanian model arguably eclipsed even the Soviet An early warning already came in 1978 when the miners in Valea Jiului, the main extractive-industrial basin in Romania, went on strike. facilitated domestic and foreign commerce. The six former officials also appealed to Ceausescu to halt the destruction of Romanian villages, which they called unconstitutional. This message will appear once per week ``Although we don't ordinarily deal with economic deprivations as part of our mandate, we noted the extreme nature of austerity measures arbitrarily imposed by Ceausescu, including food, light, and heat deprivation,'' says Geri Laber, executive director of Helsinki Watch. Our readers have come to expect excellence from our products, and they can count on us to maintain a commitment to producing rigorous and innovative information products in whatever forms the future of publishing may bring. With a personal account, you can read up to 100 articles each month for free.  The second five-year plan (1956-1960) was supposed to accelerate again the pace of industrialization, but, in the context of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, the Romanian Communist Party cautiously reduced the investment to half of the original amount and, instead, increased the workers' wages by 15%. The strategy also had social consequences.  The labor force increased from 12% to 19.2% between 1950 and 1965 and, according to official figures, its industrial production increased by 649%. Restrained by realities, the factory ended up producing only 1,200 heavy engines, and even then could not find buyers for several hundred. For terms and use, please refer to our Terms and Conditions Nicolae Ceauescu went on a state visit to Iran and when after his return he was informed about the massacre in Timisoara, he wanted to quieten the rumours and reassert his control. The new economic system was put in place after several shocks and experiments. The pressure from these quotas, combined to the attractiveness of industrial jobs in the cities led to a decline of agriculture's share of the labor force from 74.1% in 1950 to 69.5% in 1955. The Western internationalisation is very much linked with the process of liberalisation, the transition from state-led socialism to market economy. For many years Hungary appeared to be the model pupil amongst EU candidate countries. It was the only Eastern Bloc country that managed political transformation by means of an evolutionary process, albeit with the former communist party playing the most important role. Claus Leggewie writes about the new beginning in European memory. Anyone can read what you share. FOREIGN TRADE general standard of living. They neglected the organisation and regular members in the advantage of economic and administrative centres of power. Events in Poland, especially the rise of Solidarity, complicated Romanian adjustment; but on balance, the adjustment to external economic forces reinforced rather than eroded Ceausescu's socialist patrimonialism. Yet the workers have a stubborn faith about job security that shows how little Romanians understand about the ABC's of a market economy, including the likelihood of layoffs. commodities in short supply at home. It also meant that the government itself was not allowed to be a direct economic player. unless you renew or They went to Targoviste not far from the place where Ceauescu was caught when seeking help from the workers at the local industrial plant.  It focused on industrialization, which received 48% of the investment funds, as well as construction. could be mobilized and transformed into an urban proletariat. Indeed, in its degree of , After the Communists were able to liquidate their allies, the reforms were passed at a faster pace. Harsh restrictions on imports meant that for almost a decade Romanian industry was virtually unable to bring in new technology. To accomplish this, it cut back on all nonoil imports and exported everything it could to earn hard currency. A major stake of the transition was the relation between the Hungarian minority and the Romanian majority, a relation which reached its low point with the violent inter-ethnic clashes in Targu Mures. shortage as a large share of the most accessible reserves neared This time the regime did not want to take chances and sent in the army. The first interpretation treats the events as a revolution, the latter as a coup dtat. In foreign policy, both camps were pro-Western, the only difference being in tone rather than substance. The Communist Party did not only act as the political leader, engineering social peace among various groups and interests, but also as economic manager. than 60 percent before World War II to less than 25 percent by the Light industry's share of total output, however, had declined from more The problem with EU accession was that Romania was progressing but not as well as the central European countries. The administrative system was traditionally used as a tool of the Communist party, with no autonomy or protection.  After the leadership was sure that they had the control in the country, the government reverted its policy of industrialization, growing investment by 10.92% in 1958 and 16.23% in 1959. that covers the entire field of international affairs. Together with Bulgaria it lagged behind in closing negotiation chapters and reforming key institutions. , In 1953, the pace of industrialization was slowed, more resources being redirected to consumption and housing. itself of the onerous foreign debt and could resume the pursuit of its Many major companies in Romania directed resources toward the political elite, giving preferential contracts of having very well paid seats on the company boards.  The high level investment in industry meant that, although consumption increased in absolute terms, it was the lowest among the Eastern Bloc countries. , Early post-war development was not slow. Inside the country, the political elite were reserved as they understood that privatisation would cut their economic power. resources were its large reserves of underemployed rural labor that demanded enormous sacrifice on the part of ordinary citizens. The centre-right government ceded power to the centre-left in 2000 with Ion Iliescu returning as president. ''His policy led to a pervasive technological backwardness in practically every sector of the economy,'' said Stephan Barisitz, a specialist on Romania at the Institute for Comparative Economic Studies in Vienna. Equally as critical to Romania's postwar development as its natural , However, Romania did not have the material means (such as tractors), nor the skilled people to run large-scale exploitations. This perceived ambivalence of Romania's left-of-center Government toward market-oriented changes has many Westerners saying it could take years for the country's crippled economy to pick up steam. The fall of the socialist economic regime caused a decline in industrial output and the destruction of several key industries. agricultural stagnation through much of the 1980s. During the 1970s and 80s it found several outlets for its exports inside and outside the communist camp. Factories could not import spare parts to keep their expensive imported machines running. Without this mistake history probably would have looked a lot different. Domestic events of recent years are evidence of a radically different picture. Doubts about EU integration can no longer be ignored in Hungarian politics. He played a national card by dissociating himself from the Soviet Union. The country's population is 23 million. archetype. What had happened to the regime and his power base, the workers? All This is a digitized version of an article from The Timess print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. It was one of the last surprises of the head of the party that no one defended him; his very last surprise was that he was put on trial by the same people he considered loyal supporters of the regime and of himself.
Aggravating Romania's plight is the devastating 18 percent drop in output that has occurred since the revolution, according to official figures. Take Nicolae Lixandru, for instance, a short, sturdy, 49-year-old welder in the locomotive shop. At first the regime answered with repression, but it proved too weak to resist or even negotiate a peaceful transition once the unrest reached the capital Bucharest. Furthermore, years of careless resource exploitation had rights reserved. In the late 1970s and early 1980s however, the situation changed. The ex-officials' letter deplored Romania's international isolation, noting that Norway, Denmark and Portugal have closed their embassies in Bucharest, that the European Community "is unwilling to extend its trade agreement with Romania," and that "all the leaders of the noncommunist nations of Europe refuse to meet with" Ceausescu. Consumers also faced chronic shortages of gasoline, electricity, and Staple foods, including milk, bread and flour, are rationed, and in many localities even these are unavailable. centralization, the pervasiveness of communist control, and the general After all, the entire communist narrative was built around workers, their rights and their role in the economy, society and even politics. Why doubt such a powerful, inspiring and rare historical event, one which gave Romanians a new place in Europe and the world? To access this article, please, Access everything in the JPASS collection, Download up to 10 article PDFs to save and keep, Download up to 120 article PDFs to save and keep. #10,000 Workers Too Many? The strategy was to avoid dependence on Soviet industry and technology. The army was huge and a conscript army, more linked to the regular citizens than to the regime. This migration, especially of citizens of Roma origin, became an electoral issue for the centre-right governments and parties in France and Italy and nationalistic/extremist parties at the fringes of the political system also made it their target. The last large companies in banking and energy were privatised during the final efforts to close all negotiation chapters. The Euro-Atlantic integration did not affect directly the party system. Public servants before 1989 were completely subordinated to the party administration and intelligence agencies. But as the regime started to show signs of fatigue the foreign policy key advantages began to fade away. A miner in the late 1970s had a harsh life and the strike was about better working and living conditions. T +49 (30) 285 34-0 The financial and economic crisis in Europe spilled into Romania prompting the centre- right government to impose harsh austerity policies which severely affected the already vulnerable people. log out. On the other hand, privatisation was a difficult temptation to resist. The new regime quickly applied itself to restoring political pluralism and announced free elections in the next spring. Since the late 1960s, we have experimented with generation after generation of electronic publishing tools. This decline could But Romanians have 11 cars per 1,000 people, compared with 182 in Czechoslovakia and 206 in East Germany, and 111 telephones for 1,000 people, compared with 248 in neighboring Bulgaria. Alarm signals were already present and the social forces later involved in the upheaval had already defined their structural positions; all it needed were internationally favourable conditions and an internal trigger for the revolution to happen. In 1989 the industry was developed but poorly adapted for the competition and conditions of global markets. The economic stagnation of the 1980s followed three decades of Instead, they became the target of the secret services. during the previous decade and thereby reassert his country's political Decentralisation which was supposed to work in favour of democratic ends failed in this respect. ''We're 20 years behind. All difficult reforms were implemented before the EU integration. the economy of the 1980s suffered a severe raw materials and energy Romania desperately needs Western help to rebuild its industry and retrain its workers and managers. The political and administrative reforms were faster but equally problematic. The Party summoned a citizen rally in Bucharest aimed at showing the citizens that its rule was still popular and legitimate. The revolution in 1989 marked the return of Romania to international politics mainly at a symbolical level. . Liberalisation and privatisation found less support in the country than abroad. Devoid of spare parts and rife with irreparably damaged machinery, Romania's industrial base collapsed in late 1987, says the US Treasury economist, when imports were slashed even for the export-oriented industries. The Romanian economy was developed during communism favouring intense industrialisation which included the rural economy. Romania has rejected the U.N. investigation as "brutal interference" in its affairs. economic development and adjustment, and international capital movements. The semi-presidential regime in which the president is directly elected and has reserved constitutional powers favours the large parties. The protesters were attacked by both army and Securitate troops but they still took to the streets day after day. By continuing to browse the site And numerous streams and ''But I often wonder how much they understand about what this really involves.''. The State Department's latest annual human rights report noted that free speech is "severely restricted," that "all citizens are required to have residence permits and may not legally move from one town to another" and that "serial numbers and typeface samples of all typewriters must be registered with the authorities, and the use of duplicating machines is strictly regulated.". But instead of chanting the usual party slogans people started shouting and whistling, which was sent out live on national TV. By Steven Greenhouse, Special To the New York Times. The Euro-Atlantic integration channelled these energies and resources even though it was not clear what the stakes and costs associated with the reforms were. The Government of President Ion Iliescu is pushing plans for change. , Following the consolidation of power of Nikita Khrushchev in 1957, he began to press for economic coordination and reforms in the Eastern Bloc. The execution took place on 25 December on Christmas Day. centralized administration of the entire sector, resulted in The left was in principle for a slow transition and reforms while the right advocated quick transition. The government paid down its $10.2 billion debt to nearly zero by 1988. By clicking the "Accept" button or continuing to browse our site, you agree to first-party and session-only cookies being stored on your device to enhance site navigation and analyze site performance and traffic. distributed industrial and agricultural output, controlled prices and Political parties organised themselves around and developed more in relation with to governmental activities and less as programmatic-ideological organisations. The current electoral and institutional systems work to the advantage of the main centre-right and centre-left parties. The health and education bureaucracies were also powerful. Romania's unpreparedness for a market economy has led many Western economists to predict that it will be the laggard in Eastern Europe's recovery. As in the 1960s and 1970s the regime was rather strong and the social groups and institutions in relative balance this did not appear to be a problem. The impetus for reforms was lost after 2007 and it seemed that society and elites are unable to find a new consensus and a development trajectory for the country. After 2007 Romania entered a phase where the key challenge was to lock-in the reforms and reap the benefits of the membership. See the article in its original context from.  By 1965, the West may have accounted as much as half of Romania's imports of equipment and machinery.  Together with the nationalization, central planning was introduced, first using one-year-plans (in 1949 and 1950), then using five-year plans (starting in 1951). It also could not import computers. Its hissing, clanging workshops seem out of a page of Dickens, and its snub-nosed locomotives look as though they emerged from 1930's postcards. Romania's gross domestic product is about $4,100 a person annually, 25 percent less than in Poland and less than half that of East Germany. This shortage was brought on by a declining birthrate, the aging of the Romanian society has many other challenges and dilemmas to deal with than the events of the increasingly distant past, but the relevance of the interpretation of those events becomes clear when one considers how the communist regime and the events in 1989 are seen by public opinion. 1989: the revolution and the origins of the democratic regime.