THEFT OF A NATION ROMANIA SINCE COMMUNISM
Tom Gallagher
C. Hurst & Co., London, 2005
ISBN 1-85065-717-3






'An excellent update on Romania after Ceaușescu, with enough historical background, especially on the legacy of underdevelopment, to make contemporary Romania comprehensible for a Western reader... his most original contribution is the discussion on international assistance to Romania. Gallagher criticises botl the IMF, for its contribution to the failure of Romania's 1997-2000 governments, and the EU for its lack of deeper understanding of what Europeanization means for Romania.'
—Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Romanian Journal of Political Science


Since 1989 Romania has gone from communist isolation under the megalomaniac Nicolae Ceaușescu to being a key player in America's war against terrorism. Because of is strategic location it has become a front-line state for nervous Western governments keen to secure oil routes from the Middle East. It joined NATO in 2004 and is due to enter the European Union in 2007-8 despite its economy being unprepared to meet the competition challenges from established members. Tom Gallagher analyses how the country is seeking to recover from a disastrous period in its history while many of the key legacies of dictatorship remain.

Having lynched the discredited Ceaușescu in 1989, former acolytes have spent the past fifteen years trying to retain a monopoly of control behind the fațade of a Western-style democracy. They combined their political ambitions with acquiring the control of vast amounts of private property denied to them by Ceaușescu.

Political institutions were given a facelift, as in the case of the intelligence services which became a crucial power-base for the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD). The state continued to be used to serve narrow private interests. Replacing the communist dynasty of the Ceaușescus, there is now an oligarchy drawn from the PSD and its satellites in the bureaucracy, major industries, and the intelligence world which grew wealthy through insider privatisation and the looting of the country's banks.

Romania is now at a crucial turning-point. In 2004 the mobilisation of civil society contributed to the narrow victory of Traian Băsescu in presidential elections. It is unclear whether he can win control over the key levers of state necessary to stem the corruption and abuse of power which have blighted Romania's hopes of breaking free from its communist-era legacy. The PSD is now led by Mircea Geoana, the son of a general in Ceaușescu's Securitate. He has recruited a string of Western politicians to block pressure for meaningful change from Brussels and to ensure that accession to the EU occurs without serious reform.

TOM GALLAGHER holds the Chair of Ethnic Conflict and Peace at Bradford University. He is the author of many books, most recently The Balkans After the Cold War: From Tyranny to Tragedy (2003) and The Balkans in the New Millennium: In the Shadow of War and Peace (2005).

Cover photographs
Top Nicolae Ceaușescu. Below, from left Mircea Geoana, Adrian Năstase and Ion Iliescu at an electoral rally in 2004. Photo by Adrian Erdeli.





CONTENTS

Acknowledgements
Biographies
Acronyms
Maps
Introduction

1. Democracy constrained by Backwardness, 1866—1945
    A legacy of backwardness
    The road to independence
    A promising debut: constitutional monarchy
    Oligarchy and the masses
    Reformist stirrings and peasant rage
    The First World War and the onset of Greater Romania
    Old habits undermine the new Romania
    Absence of consensus
    Romania's intellectuals: foes of liberty
    The rise of the Iron Guard
    The road to dictatorship and war

2. Return to Underdevelopment: the Imposition and Consequences of Communist Rule, 19451989
    Romanian Communism: from sect to ruling force
    Sovietization
    Aspects of political culture conducive to takeover
    Dej and the emergence of a Romanian brand of communism
    Moving out of the Soviet orbit
    Guarded openings to the West
    The triumph of the Biggest Zero
    Deceiving gullible democracies
    Communist pharaoh on the Danube
    Family power and catastrophic policy errors
    Playing the ethnic card
    Socialism in one family, totalitarianism at all levels
    Orthodox Church compliance
    Party regulars challenge Ceaușescu

3. Comrades Discard the Ideology but Conserve the Power, 19901992
    The fall of the Ceaușescus
    Enter the FSN
    Minority rights overshadows the agenda for change
    The FSN becomes a contender for power
    Manufacturing inter-ethnic conflict
    The violence in Tirgu Mureș and its aftermath
    Romania's stormy electoral début
    A broken-backed opposition
    The FSN's poll triumph
    Post-electoral violence and international isolation
    The authoritarian spirit persists
    The September Í99Í crisis and the fall of Roman
    The imperative of unity
    The 1991 constitution and the collapse of FSN unity
    Nationalist advances
    The September Í992 elections and a new political balance

4. Romania Adrift, 19921996
    Iliescu's management style
    The men around Iliescu
    Virgil Maagureanu-man of secrets
    Hostility to reform at the top
    The new oligarchy
    The PDSR and the nationalists
    Slow emergence from international isolation
    The strengthening of Romanian democracy
    Normalisation of Romanian-Hungarian relations and Euro-Atlantic integration
    Nationalists rebel as social hardships increase
    The taint of corruption
    Electoral defeat
    Anatomy of Romania's 1996 electoral shift


5. 'In Office but not in Power': Constantinescu's Honeymoon, 19961998
    The CDR makes itself electable
    The coalition takes shape
    Ciorbea and Constantinescu
    Reconciliation is the watchword
    Slaying the dragon of corruption
    Bringing the Hungarians in from the cold
    The algorithm principle
    The NATO chimera
    Introspection and dissension
    Capitulation before vested interests
    Death agonies of the Ciorbea government
    Radu Vasile
    Quis custodet custodes? Țigareta II

6. A Broken-backed Coalition
    External disillusionment
    An unyielding IMF
    Who governs Romania? The case of Renel
    Slow-motion privatization
    Government adrift
    A judiciary ambivalent about a law-based state
    Confronting totalitarian legacies
    The UDMR: a constructive force in government
    The PD: Trojan horse of the coalition
    Society loses patience with the coalition
    The mishandling of the Jiu Valley miners
    The fifth mineriada
    Post-mineriada anxieties

7. Staggering to the Finishing Line
    No fresh start after the Mineriada
    Romania and the Kosovo conflict: the coalition's finest hour?
    Romania and Kosovo: a missed opportunity
    The Stability Pact: less than meets the eye?
    Kosovo prompts a PDSR comeback
    Constantinescu at bay
    The IMF adds to Romania's woes
    Privatisation's new lease of life
    Deposing Vasile
    Mugur Isaarescu and Romania's EU application
    EU pressure for reform bears fruit
    Isărescu's approach to government
    Isarescu at bay: the FNI scandal
    Iliescu shrugs off the Costea affair

8. Taking Things to Extremes: the 2000 Elections and their Outcome
    The June 2000 local elections
    Constantinescu's bombshell
    Suicide of the centre
    Grassroots alienation at danger level
    The new look PDSR
    The PRM taps into mass alienation
    Romania's new electoral landscape
    Stopping Vadim
    Romania draws back from the brink

9. A Messiah for Romania? Corneliu Vadim Tudor and the Greater Romania Party
    Vadim in the gallery of European extremism
    The PRM and the communist heritage
    A world full of anti-Romanian conspiracies
    Grievances to be exploited
    Irresolute opponents and ruthless allies
    Vadim escapes from his sponsors' control
    Recurring anti-Semitism
    România Mare: the formula for success
    Vadim and Iliescu
    Vadim's Achilles Heel
    Post-2000 successes and controversies

10. Looters of the State by Appointment of Brussels: Return of the Social Democrats, 20012003

11. Conclusion: the Crucial Role of the E.U.
    Epilogue, August 2005

Notes
Bibliography
Index