Nicolae Ceaușescu (26 January 1918 – 25 December 1989) was the president the Socialist Republic of Romania from 1967 to 1989. He gained international prominence in 1968 by denouncing the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. After visits in 1971 to China and North Korea, he pursued a program of rapid construction and development combined with mass propaganda. He responded to the tightening of credit in the 1980s with a severe austerity campaign that brought the country to the edge of starvation. Romanians rose up against Ceaușescu in December 1989, and he was overthrown and executed by officials within his government.
- 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)
Red Horizons: Chronicles of a Communist Spy Chief
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
- 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.
- Andruţa 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
- 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.
- 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