April 25, 2015

Gold In The Carpathian Mountains

The Carpathian mountains are famous for their incredible beauty and for the tourism it draws to several countries in Eastern Europe, and also for its natural resources.  Romania has most of this mountain range in its borders.

Transylvania, because of the fact it is more of a plateau in the Carpathian range, has much of the natural resources, and this is due to the fact that Romania has 53% of the mountain range.  Slovakia is next with 17% of the mountain range.

There is gold in these mountains.

The Romans would invade, and subsequently conquer the Dacian Empire and bring back iron, silver and gold to the heart of its Empire, Rome.  This would give the area a larger place in history.

It many passes would be the means for the invasions of Transylvania, and it was because of these passes that the famous castles and fortified cities grew up.  The Romans themselves would found the city of Alba Iulia. Although it was known to the Romans as Apulum, it would later change its name several time to the 'white city' the Latin version of Alba Iulia.

Near the city, there were mines, and these mines were where some of the gold was found.  Gold was found in the gold mines of Rosia Montana, and this is well documented.  This would be a source of income for many people but as of 2006, the mines were shut down.  Currently there are about 2,500 people who live in the town near this mine.

There is still gold in these mountains

Most of the gold and silver and other valuable minerals and metals are found in the Carpathian mountain region, and these mountains will play and important role in Transylvania and Romania.  Even the Romanian Royal Family has some connections to the gold in this area.  Queen Marie of Romania who was crowned Queen in 1922, wore a crown crafted from the gold of Transylvania. 

There is a Canadian connection with many of the gold mines in Romania, and this is based on the companies which own the mines, for example the Ciresata mine in Hunedoara County, Romania, is owned by Toronto based, Carpathian Gold.

The Carpathian mountains are known for their beauty and lend enchantment to Transylvania, Romania.  They also play a vital role in the GDP of Romania with the natural resources that can be found in this region.  It is no wonder Romania was able to be more independent of the Soviet Union after the rise to power of Ceausescu.

It was because of the natural resources in the land beyond the mountains.

April 16, 2015

Nicolae Ceausescu The Rise To Power: The Fall of A Dictator

In the last two posts Nicolae Ceausescu The Rise To Power: The Early Years and Nicolae Ceausescu The Rise To Power: From Prison to President we followed a abused boy who ran away from home and with limited education, rise from the working class family he left behind, to a convicted criminal to the President of the country. 

Throughout his presidency Nicolae Ceausescu made some errors in judgement that cost him and his wife, Elena Petrescu, their lives. At the start of his presidency Ceausescu had made some political decisions that were admired by the people. Now it stands to reason that some of these choices were whispered in his ear just as he had when he climbed the political ladder. 

He challenged the Soviet Union about policy and he ended press censorship. One of the biggest moves was made when he ended ties with the other Warsaw Pact countries.  

The Warsaw Pact was an alliance of Communist run countries for military purposes. This was the
group of nations that would define the start of the Cold War.  

What still begs to be asked is why did he turn his back on the Communists?   

He was ingrained with the Communist ideals since the age of eleven. He went to jail for many years because of his Communist activities. He even worked in many high ranking positions within the Communist government in Romania? But within a year of declaring himself President he no longer supported the Communist movements in Europe?   

Ceausescu encouraged foreign policy opening relationships with countries like the United States,
France, Spain and the United Kingdom. 

But this is where the good of the President ends.  

He made abortion illegal to boost the Romanian population. Under the Ceausescu government they gave mothers who had more than five children significant benefits.  

Expectant and nursing mothers were not aloud to work in dangerous positions. They were not required to wok overtime, and after the sixth month of pregnancy and while nursing were not scheduled for night work. All of the above conditions, with no reduction to their pay. Nursing mothers were entitled to feeding breaks to nurse their child also with no change in their pay. 

However, only few women took part in this offer. Normal sized family of the time was two to three children, much like it is in North America today. With the population starting to grow so did the number of abandoned children. The orphanages started to fill as women were encouraged to keep having babies.  

He wanted to lower divorce rates to be lower, so the government made them more difficult. Only with an exceptional circumstance could a divorce be granted. The two main factors of divorce that would be granted were violence and alcoholism.  

With the idea in the right place, doing more for the people to make their lives better, Ceausescu, was starting to 'dictate" how his people should live. 

It was after Ceausescu's tour of North Korea did he start to turn into the dictator that was disposed. With the introduction of the new 'ideals' that Ceausescu learned on his trip the country was plunged back into a strict regime. Gone was the free flowing man that abolished censorship, now there was rules to follow and conformity to embrace. 

The biggest blunder of his Presidency was trying to reduce the government debt. He tried to accomplish this through selling most of the food grown in the country to other countries.  

This coupled with the growing population lead to a shortage of food in the 1980's. 

I truly believe that the downfall of Ceausescu was not from the Communist Party that raised him through the ranks. He was on board with their plans for decades, what would be the changing factor? 

The old adage, behind every man there is a woman fits very well here. 

Elena Petrescu travelled with him everywhere, even to the North Korea visit. Petrescu herself was power hungry and used her husbands political positions for her own gain. She forced chemists to publish papers in her name so she would be respected in the scientific community.  

She used her husbands positions within the Communist Party to grow her own political career. To note that yes she was voted into her various positions, however her actual education ended at the age of fourteen and with no other skills, except those learned at the textile factory where she had employment in her younger years, her "nominations" were the same as her husbands. Deals made for favors later. 

I believe it was Elena Petrescu's ever growing ambition that drove the changes in Ceausescu government.  

The demonstrations at Timișoara against the government where innocent people were fired upon by military forces were lead by Petrescu's and Ceausescu's subordinates the day after the revolt started. Ceausescu himself had to fly to Iran. 

What started as a peaceful demonstration about ethnic hatred towards the Hungarians turned to a full blown anti-government riot. With Petrescu present through the entire, devastating ordeal there is no wonder who was pulling the strings.  

In my opinion it was  Elena Petrescu that was the end of all the good that Nicolae Ceausescu had started.  It is now his name that lives with infamy to some and reverence to others. But Elena Petrescu was the true enemy of the people of Romania

April 12, 2015

Nicolae Ceausescu The Rise To Power: From Prison to President

In Nicolae Ceausescu The Rise To Power: The Early Years we left the twenty five year old Nicolae in Târgu Jiu internment camp with his new mentor Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej.  After the end of the Second World War, Romania was finding itself falling under Soviet influence from the Russians- and the fall of King Michael of Romania.  

When Russia joined World War II they attacked from the East while the Allied forces (United States, United Kingdom, France and Canada) attacked from the West. With Russian soldiers posted in neighboring countries and the victory in Romania, driving out the Germans, left Communist satellite communities. 

When World War II ended Russia (then called the Soviet Union) was seen as a super power because of the Allied victory.  With the infusion of Soviet soldiers in the country there was a catalyst for the  for the underground Communists in Romania to grow. 

After his freedom from the interment camp Ceausescu found himself the secretary of the Union of Communist Youth. He served in this position for one year from 1944 to 1945. 

Ceausescu is not a leader, but a follower. Fresh out of prison where he spend years it is hard to believe that anyone could land a positon that high ranking.  

Ceausescu was good at being told what to do. This earned him his trips to prison as he was out doing errands for the Communist Party. 

With his new benefactor, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, calling the shots, Ceausescu was placed in various positions. 

In 1947 Communism seized power in Romania.  

With the Communist party now running the country under the leadership of several joint ministers including Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej as the Communication Minister. 

With  Ceausescu being under the wing of one of the ministers he was able to head the ministry of agriculture.  

At twenty nine years old with education that did not exceed the elementary level and several years in and out of prison, Ceausescu now found himself in charge of all of the agricultural duties of a country. 

I don’t doubt that the people reporting to him knew what they were doing. Ceausescu would just be the face. Any reference that I found of Ceausescu in this position is fleeting at best.  

Ceausescu then moved on to serve deputy minister of the armed forces under Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej. Another prestigious jump in Ceausescu's career.  

I know that there are many people who are self taught in their field. They are ravenous for information and to grow in what makes them passionate. 

But history has shown that Nicolae Ceausescu is not that type of man. He jumps from carrier to carrier because he is told where to go.  He's been doing the Communist Party's bidding since age eleven. 

If we look at Ceausescu's progression through his carrier his job's do not prepare him in anyway to the job he then receives.  

Wouldn't it be nice to be a secretary for a government body and the following year be named one of it's ministers? 

We know that education and training are not a factor because he has none. 

What he does have is loyalty. His loyalty to his Party and his ability to take direction, even if it meant the hardships of prison, is what landed him in positions of power. 

In 1952 Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej brought Ceausescu into the Central Committee. At the age of thirty six Ceausescu occupied the second highest position in the country.  

The median age of Vice Presidents in the United States is forty six, however John C. Breckinridge under President James Buchanan was thirty six when he was Vice President. I do want to note that John C. Breckinridge was educated and fought in the Mexican-American War. A far more qualified man to be the second in command of a country. 

On March 19, 1965, Ceausescu would see a devastating blow to his professional carrier. Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej passed away leaving Ceausescu for the first time in twenty two years without a mentor. 

Despite his closeness with Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej he was not very popular with the other officials, who had more connections than Ceausescu, through squabbles throughout his time on Central Committee.  

On March 22, 1965 Nicolae Ceausescu was named General Secretary. Two years later, on December 9, 1967 he renamed himself President of the State council thus becoming the first President of Romania.    
The act of becoming General Secretary and in turn President was the first time Ceausescu himself took any drive or ambition in his own life.  That ambition would soon turn sour and Ceausescu would soon become the Party puppet once again. 

In the third part of this series I will talk about the influences in Ceausescu's life during his Presidency that would lead to his downfall.