Theft of a nation. Romania since Communism

Author (Person)
Publication Date 2005
ISBN 1-85065-717-3 (Hbk); 1-85065-716-5 (Pbk)
Content Type


Romania, for more than fifty years under totalitarian rule behind the Communist curtain, was an unknown entity to the West which showed little enthusiasm for improving its awareness of life in Romania. The collapse of communism and the overthrow of Ceausescu unveiled a society which was near total collapse and incapable of creating the necessary building blocks upon which a modern democracy might be built. The way was clear for former Ceausescu lieutenants to shape and control a superficial ‘democracy’. This book investigates the Romanian story over the past fifteen years, seeking to explain how a nation might be so traumatised into acceptance of brutal authoritarian rule that it could take generations to break free.

The book is organised over ten chapters plus an introduction and conclusion. Chapter one gives the background to the historical authoritarian rule Romania had experienced for almost one hundred years up to 1945. The second chapter deals with the consequences of Communist rule and the continued underdevelopment and impoverishment under the regimes of Dej and Ceausescu. Chapter three addresses the immediate aftermath of the Ceausescu fall and the obstinacy of the ruling administrative class to cede any of their powers and privileges. The period 1992 to 1996 is the subject of chapter four, which deals with the banking crisis and the continuing corruption as Romania slowly emerged from international isolation. Chapter five covers the following two years and the frustrations and failures of coalition rule. The continuing difficulties experienced through that coalition are examined in chapter six, which points to the infighting that was largely responsible for the lack of reform together with persistent corruption in high places. Romania’s relationship with NATO through the Kosovo war and the increasing influence of EU membership preparation are examined in chapter seven. Those influences feature strongly in chapter eight which deals with the retirement of Constantinescu and the aftermath. Chapter nine continues exploration of that aftermath and the rise to prominence of the ultra-nationalist Vadim, publisher of the Romania Mare newspaper. Chapter ten covers the period 2001-2003, the return of the Social Democrats and the rise of ‘the barons’ who wielded enormous power in the regions whilst using that power to build personal wealth. The conclusion dwells upon the role of the EU in the reshaping of Romania after its long period of communist oppression.

The work will interest scholars and students engaged in EU Studies, EU enlargement and integration, International Studies and the politics of central eastern Europe after the collapse of Communism.

The author holds the Chair of Ethnic Conflict and Peace at Bradford University.

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