Bucharest, Romania - flashpoint

Bucharest, Romania - With the collapse of the Soviet Union - the dominos kept falling.

Bucharest - flashpoint
Bucharest, Romania – With the collapse of the Soviet Union – the dominos kept falling.

Radio Bucharest – December 24, 1989 – January 1, 1990 – Shortwave Radio Archive Collection –

The Romanian Revolution (Romanian: Revoluția Română) was a period of civil unrest in Romania during December 1989 as a part of the Revolutions of 1989 that occurred in several countries. The Romanian Revolution started in the city of Timișoara and soon spread throughout the country, ultimately culminating in the show trial and execution of longtime Communist Party General Secretary Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena, and the end of 42 years of Communist rule in Romania. It was also the last removal of a Marxist-Leninist government in a Warsaw Pact country during the events of 1989, and the only one that violently overthrew a country’s leadership and executed its ruler.

Social and economic malaise had been present in the Socialist Republic of Romania for quite some time, especially during the austerity years of the 1980s. The austerity measures were designed in part by Ceaușescu to repay the country’s foreign debts. Shortly after a botched public speech by Ceaușescu in the capital Bucharest that was broadcast to millions of Romanians on state television, rank-and-file members of the military switched, almost unanimously, from supporting the dictator to backing the protesters. Riots, street violence and murder in several Romanian cities over the course of roughly a week led the Romanian leader to flee the capital city on 22 December with his wife, Elena. Evading capture by hastily departing via helicopter effectively portrayed the couple as both fugitives and also acutely guilty of accused crimes. Captured in Târgoviște, they were tried by a drumhead military tribunal on charges of genocide, damage to the national economy and abuse of power to execute military actions against the Romanian people. They were convicted on all charges, sentenced to death, and immediately executed on Christmas Day 1989, and were the last people to be condemned to death and executed in Romania.

To get an idea of the drama of the period, this remarkable audio document has surfaced; an English language Shortwave broadcast from Radio Bucharest which gives a more detailed account of the events going on in Romania than what was being presented by Western Media at the time. A fascinating account, a bit difficult to clearly make out in places, but a riveting piece of audio history which has been available from The Shortwave Audio Archive. By all means, go eploring.

Have a listen to events as they happened from 31 years ago as broadcast between December 1989 and January 1990.

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