He was the only communist ruler in Eastern Europe who tried to hold on to power by force – and paid for it with execution.
Ceausescu, who ruled Romania for more than two decades, was convicted and executed in just two hours. Collage: Segodnya.ua, frame of execution – artistic reconstruction.
Segodnya.ua tells about the last days of the life of world dictators. Today’s hero heading “How Dictators Die – Nicolae Ceausescuwho ruled Romania for 24 years.
“The Internationale”, TV footage of the execution and reburial
December 25, 1989Nicolae Ceausescu, together with his wife and closest associate Elena Ceausescu, brought to the wall of the toilet in the military unit of the city of Targovishte. And volunteer paratroopers fired at them, according to various sources, 30 to 120 bullets.
Witnesses claim that in the last minutes of Ceausescu’s life he sang the proletarian anthem “The Internationale”, and his final phrase was the phrase “I do not deserve”.
Elena tried to appeal to the conscience of the military and turned to them with a question: “Why are you shooting us? After all, I was your mother.” To which one of the soldiers replied: “What kind of mother are you if you killed our mothers?”
The execution was recorded by a film crew – the anti-communist revolution continued in the country, and members of the Romanian Democratic Front, which led it, wanted to stop the last attempts to prevent the uprising with shots with the body of the deceased dictator.
The footage was shown on national television on 27 December. At that time, the bodies of the former leader of Romania and his wife were already at the FC Steaua stadium in Bucharest, after which they were secretly buried in the capital military cemetery “Gencha” in two different graves.
But even the dead dictator Ceausescu did not give rest to the people – for many decades there were rumors that in 1989 his double was shot and buried. Finally in 2010at the request of relatives, the remains were exhumed at the Gencha cemetery – and DNA testing confirmedthat it is Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. After that, their ashes were reburied already in a joint grave, on which a monument of red granite was erected.
Judgment as a talk show
The execution of Ceausescu was preceded by a trial that looked somewhat like a talk show or a farce. The dictator and his wife refused to answer the questions of the tribunal. Instead, Nicolae arranged something like a summing up of his own reign and life: he said that fed the Romanians, gave them housing and work, and made the Socialist Republic of Romania “the envy of the whole world.”
Sometimes Ceausescu lost his temper and broke into a scream. Elena also did not lag behind and, according to historians, did not skimp on expressions, naming accusers “children of bitches”.
Elena and Nicolae Ceausescu in court. Photo: actualdecluj.ro.
As a result, the Ceausescu couple was recognized guilty on four counts:
- destruction of the national economy;
- armed uprising against the people and the state;
- destruction of state institutions;
Sentence – death penalty by firing squad – decided to execute immediately, despite the fact that the tribunal gave ten days to appeal. As a result, the trial of Ceausescu, who ruled for two decades, lasted only two hours.
Didn’t have time to hide in the bunker
At the end of his reign, Ceausescu went to extreme nationalist policy of isolation. Its apex is the decision to fully repay external debt Romania in the amount of about $20 billionfurther refusing any borrowings.
Romania paid off the debt. But this was the beginning of the end of the Ceausescu regime. For the sake of external “economic independence”, a policy of “belt tightening” was introduced inside the country.
Bread, milk and fuel coupons, unlit streets to save electricity, hot water supply to houses a couple of times a week and a ban on refrigerators during the cold season have become a reality for ordinary Romanians. Gradually, the country turned into one of the the poorest in Europe.
Ceausescu himself at that time was luxuriant in the presidential palace and read reports fantasized by manual officials about the brilliant pace of development of the national economy.
The trigger for the overthrow of the dictatorship was insurrection in the west of the country in the city Timisoarawhich started December 16, 1989. Fire was opened on the protesters, about 40 people were killed, and unrest swept the whole country.
After the revolution swept the whole country, Ceausescu tried to escape. Photo: digi24.ro.
December 22 the dictator together with his wife decided to flee – either abroad, or to nuclear bunker. But the Ceausescu couple did not fly far by helicopter – near the town of Targovishte, the fugitives were intercepted by the army that had gone over to the side of the revolution. Ceausescu had 3 days to live.