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.
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.