Nicolae Ceaușescu (26 January 1918 – 25 December 1989) was a Romanian communist politician and dictator. He was the general secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and the second and last Communist leader of Romania. He was also the country's head of state from 1967, serving as President of the State Council and from 1974 concurrently as President of the Republic, until his overthrow and execution in the Romanian Revolution in December 1989, part of a series of anti-Communist and anti-Soviet uprisings in Eastern Europe that year.
- There can be no justification to admit, in any way, the use of armed forced to intervene in the internal affairs of a WTO [Warsaw Treaty Organization] member country. The solving of domestic problems belongs exclusively to the Party and people of each country and any kind of interference can only do harm to the cause of socialism, friendship and collaboration among the socialist countries.
- Commencement address at the Romanian Military Academy (14 August 1968), quoted in The Prague Spring (2010) by M. Mark Stolarik
- We want to ensure a multilateral development of society, the thriving of all sides of social life, economy, science and culture, the improvement of management, the moulding of the new man and the promotion of socialist ethics and equity.
- Nicolae Ceaușescu, Builder of Modern Romania and International Statesman (1983)
- It is a lie that I made the people starve. A lie, a lie in my face. This shows how little patriotism there is, how many treasonable offenses were committed.… At no point was there such an upswing, so much construction, so much consolidation in the Romanian provinces. I guaranteed that every village has its schools, hospitals and doctors. I have done everything to create a decent and rich life for the people in the country, like in no other country in the world.
- Statements at trial (25 December 1989)
Attributed by Ion Mihai Pacepa
Quotations from Red Horizons: Chronicles of a Communist Spy Chief (1987) by former Romanian intelligence chief Ion Mihai Pacepa. ISBN 0895265702
- Our experience shows that today the West is commendably eager to encourage the slightest sign of independence within the Soviet bloc. Let's take advantage of their eagerness... We must make cleverness our national trait... Stop showing a sullen, frowning face and clenched fist to the West. Start making it feel compassion for us, and you'll see how fast Western boycotts change into magnanimity. Let's present Romania as a Latin island in the Slavic sea... Our millenia-old traditions of independence are now up against Moscow's political centrism... A pawn between two superpowers.
- p. 8 on 22 February 1972
- Dialectical materialism works like cocaine, let's say. If you sniff it once or twice, it may not change your life. If you use it day after day, though, it will make you into an addict, a different man.
- p. 25
- Stealing from capitalism is not like stealing out of our own pockets. Marx and Lenin have taught us that anything is ethical, so long as it is in the interest of the proletarian class and its world revolution.
- p. 47
- Oil, Jews and Germans, are our most important export commodities.
- p. 73 during 1977, said to be "his favorite slogan"
- It's expensive to keep Communism alive today. I've already got a huge foreign debt staring me in the face, and I can't reduce it by exporting tomatoes or toilet paper. We should be making dollars any way we can. And we should be exporting arms any way and every way, openly and secretly, legally or by smuggling-I don't care how.
- p. 119
- Comrade Nicolae Ceaușescu, all children
Are bringing you burning love from their souls,
Because you, leading the Party and the people,
Are teaching us to move forward.
When we say Ceaușescu, we all know
That we say liberty, truth and steadfastness.
That's why we love you with ardor,
With all that is heart in us and in Romania.
- A song performed by children during the National Conference of Women, as quoted in Ion Mihai Pacepa's Red horizons: the true story of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescus' crimes, lifestyle, and corruption (Regnery Publishing, 1990) p. 368
- Our goals are the same, to have a just system of economics and politics, to let the people of the world share in growth, in peace, in personal freedom, and in the benefits to be derived from the proper utilization of natural resources. We believe in enhancing human rights. We believe that we should enhance, as independent nations, the freedom of our own people.
- I would like to salute [Ceaușescu's] intransigent patriotism and ferocious will for independence. A veritable amity links me to him.
- Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, Réponse à l'Histoire (Albin Michel, 1979), p. 190
- The anti-Russian stance of one of Communism's most unpleasant dictators meant that Ceausescu was well regarded in the West, while he terrorized and impoverished the Romanian people. He rose through the ranks of the Party, then used an effective secret police to stay in power for decades until Communism collapsed around him and the Romanians revolted. He was executed after a summary trial, despite his claims of bringing great benefits to the country.
- Clive Foss, The Tyrants: 2,500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption (2006), p. 168
- As if Ceausescu and company are to bring down imperialism!! If the world waits for the Ceausescus to do such a thing, imperialism will live for tens of thousands of years...
- My brother! You are my brother for the rest of my life!
- Esteemed chairman of the court, today we have to pass a verdict on the defendants Nicolae Ceaușescu and Elena Ceaușescu who have committed the following offenses: Crimes against the people. They carried out acts that are incompatible with human dignity and social thinking; they acted in a despotic and criminal way; they destroyed the people whose leaders they claimed to be. Because of the crimes they committed against the people, I plead, on behalf of the victims of these two tyrants, for the death sentence for the two defendants.
- Chief prosecutor Dan Voinea at the Ceaușescus' trial (25 December 1989)
- You need not admit your mistakes, mister. In 1947, we assumed power, but under completely different circumstances. In 1947, King Michael showed more dignity than you. And you might perhaps have achieved the understanding of the Romanian people if you had now admitted your guilt.
- Prosecutor Gica Popa at the Ceaușescus' trial (25 December 1989)
- He tells nothing but lies.
- Andruța Ceaușescu (Nicolae's father), as quoted in John Sweeney, The Life and Evil Times of Nicolae Ceausescu (Hutchinson, 1991), p. 12
- The new kind of politicians lie all the time. But my father was one of the old kind, more of a fanatic. He was driven by some kind of fanaticism. This belief that you can do good. It's a sort of madness.
- Valentin Ceaușescu (Nicolae's eldest son), as quoted in John Sweeney, The Life and Evil Times of Nicolae Ceausescu (Hutchinson, 1991), p. 38
- And on December 17th the Romanian dictator Nicolai Ceausescu, desperate to preserve his own regime, ordered his army to follow the Chinese example and shoot down demonstrators in Timisoara. Ninety-seven were killed, but that only fueled the unrest, leading Ceausescu to call a mass rally of what he thought would be loyal supporters in Bucharest on December 21st. They turned out not to be, began jeering him, and before it could be cut off the official television transmission caught his deer-in-the-headlights astonishment as he failed to calm the crowd. Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, fled the city by helicopter but were quickly captured, put on trial, and executed by firing squad on Christmas Day. Twenty-one days earlier, Ceausescu had met with Gorbachev in the Kremlin. Recent events in Eastern Europe, he warned, had placed "in grave danger not just socialism in the respective countries but also the very existence of the communist parties there." "You seem concerned about this," Gorbachev responded, sounding more like a therapist than a Kremlin boss. "[T]ell me, what can we do?" Ceausescu suggested vaguely: "[W]e could have a meeting and discuss possible solutions." That would not be enough, Gorbachev replied: change was necessary; otherwise one might wind up having to solve problems "under the marching of boots." But the East European prime ministers would be meeting on January 9th. And then Gorbachev unwisely assured his anxious guest: "You shall be alive on the 9[th of] January."
- John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New HIstory (2005), p. 247
- He was a hard man who really wanted to win, all the time. He wanted to win at chess. It's well known that in chess when you touch a piece, you've got to move it. That's in the rules. But Ceausescu would touch a piece and see that it was a bad move and say, "No, no, wait, wait. I haven't thought long enough."
- Gheorghe Apostol, as quoted in John Sweeney, The Life and Evil Times of Nicolae Ceausescu (Hutchinson, 1991), p. 51
- Gheorghiu-Dej put more people in prison, but he had a motive. Ceausescu had no motive to do what he did. Things were worse under the last ten years of Ceausescu. It was terrible what he did.
- Serban Ghica, as quoted in John Sweeney, The Life and Evil Times of Nicolae Ceausescu (Hutchinson, 1991), p. 75
- Up to 1971, by Marxist standards, he was able to generate new ideas within the limits of the system. After his visit to China and North Korea in 1971, something of crucial importance must have happened in his mind. What he saw in North Korea was an image of real socialism- that is, total regimentation. Of course, everything was fundamentally wrong from the beginning. But the practical approaches until 1971 were mitigated by a degree of realism and independent thinking which had not yet become militant and destructive nationalism. I think that all his life he believed in what he considered to be the generous idea of socialism and Communism. But in 1971 he apparently discovered the uses of pyramidal organisation inherent in one-party rule. And he discovered the crucial importance of the top of the pyramid. He hated and despised Stalin who had enjoyed just such a position, but Ceausescu hated Stalin because he saw him as the leader of an Evil Empire. The evilness of it was its imperial character, not its ideology. Hence Ceausescu was blind to his own messianic bent.
- Sergiu Celac (Nicolae's interpreter) as quoted in John Sweeney, The Life and Evil Times of Nicolae Ceausescu (Hutchinson, 1991), p. 98-99
- Tito did not like Ceaușescu personally, because when they went hunting wild boars together, Ceaușescu cheated and broke the rules. He once took a shot at a boar, and having missed it, fired at it a second time after the boar had moved out of Ceaușescu's and into Tito's field of fire. Tito then killed the boar with his first shot, but Ceaușescu falsely claimed that he too had hit the boar with his shot. 'In that case, your shot must have gone up the hole under the boar's tail,' said Tito sarcastically. When they went hunting together again a few year later, Ceaușescu again claimed to have killed a boar when it was in fact Tito who had shot it.
- Jasper Ridley, Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 353.
- Ceausescu vaunted Romania as the reincarnation of the Roman Empire’s province of Dacia, and archaeologists searched for continuities with ancient culture. He endlessly goaded the Soviet Politburo and put himself forward as the nation’s greatest ever protector. He aimed at economic autarky for Romania. This tin-pot dictator was treated as a hero in the struggle against the USSR. He received the Order of the Bath from Queen Elizabeth II on the recommendation of Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan. Liberal Party leader David Steel sent him a Labrador puppy. Nicolae’s wife Elena strutted the world in her self-appointed role as a world-class chemist; and her penchant for clothes and shoes rivalled the record of Imelda Marcos in quantity and tastelessness. The Ceausescus, man and wife, planned a luxurious life in the People’s Palace which was being built in Bucharest’s old quarter after twenty-six churches and seven thousand homes had been demolished. The Pentagon in Washington is the only edifice with a larger cubic capacity. Yet while the Palace sparkled with 4,500 chandeliers, ordinary Romanians had to put up with regular cuts in electricity supply. It was modern communism with medieval appurtenances.
- Robert Service, Comrades: A History of World Communism
- Nicolae Ceaușescu aveva fama di eretico, ma era diversissimo da Tito. Era il più staliniano dei tiranni comunisti balcanici. Umili origini. In sintonia con le radici della sua terra, l'Oltenia, landa di foreste oscure e di atrocità ottomane.
- Nicolae Ceaușescu had the fame of a heretic, but he was very different from Tito. He was the most Stalinist of the Balkan Communist tyrants, in tune with the past of his homeland, Oltenia, a land of dark forests and Ottoman atrocities.
- Enzo Bettiza, Corriere della sera, interview by Aldo Cazzullo, 12 maggio 2009