Studia Politica, vol. V, no. 2, 2005
Nation-State, National State and Democracy in Romania
The article explores the rationale of the Romanian political community as defined by its successive constitutional layouts, since the first fundamental law of 1866, including the Communist constitutional settings, and concluding with the post-communist constitutional design. This consistency of the political community is tested by means of an analytical distinction between the Nation-State and the National State. The former is understood as the institutional underpinning of a community bearing a political project. The latter is seen as the institutional outcome of an ethnic group and the warrant of its political integrity. Such an examination of the Romanian constitutional production sheds light on the historical and unambiguous predominance of the National State, while the Nation State emerged briefly and warily in the Romanian setting in the form of the socialist nation state. By the same token, this approach questions the adequacy between democracy and this rationale of the Romanian political community. While the socialist Nation State, as it was constitutionally designed, failed to guarantee the effectiveness of popular democracy, the Romanian National State, as it was shaped by the successive constitutional texts, pre-communist and post-communist, was always unable to accommodate completely with democracy.
Ceausescu and the Avatars of Tyranny
The imaginary of oppression has always fascinated political thinkers. During the Romanian Revolution of 1989, the figure of President Nicolae Ceausescu was incontrovertibly included in a world pantheon of tyranny. Starting from these historical considerations, this article explores the symbolic construction of Ceausescu's "tyranny", as an effect of the interaction between exogenous and endogenous representations. More precisely, the author studies the historical setting and the rhetorical instruments that contributed to the prevailing discourse about Ceauºescu's time in power. He maps the evolution of Ceausescu's image of "tyrant" on two complementary lanes. In the first instance he studies the conceptual evolution of the term "tyranny"; secondly, he explores the symbolic composition of the tyrant's image; finally, in the conclusion, he scrutinizes the symbolic reversibility of these political representations.
Using the concept of political culture, this article highlights that enduring patterns of thought and action governed the attitudes and the behavior of the Romanian communist elite since its coming to power and until the very end. Identity forming experiences from early periods, prior to the takeover and up to the Hungarian Revolution, decisively shaped the minds of the RCP leadership in such a way as to transform this party into the most monolithic in the entire Soviet bloc. Consequently, a reformist wing did not emerge from within the party ranks, as it happened in the other communist countries. This would directly influence not only the way in which communism collapsed in Romania, but also the transition from communism in this country. It was the revolution of 1989 that opposed for the first time a group of old-timers with reformist views to a dictator who hated reforms. In order to illustrate this thesis, the present study discusses the so-called "letter of the six" addressed to Nicolae Ceauºescu by six former members of the nomenklatura in March 1989. The article analyzes the conditions in which the protest emerged, the reaction of the regime when confronted with an unprecedented gesture, its impact on the Romanian population as well as abroad and, finally, its legacies in the post-communist period. The criticism of the supreme leader expressed in this letter did not provoke the revolution. It represented, however, the first reform communist manifesto in this country, and it expressed views that, through the post-1989 Romanian political elite, would become influential in the early days of post-communism, delaying the genuine democratic transition.
The "Ceausescu Case". The Death of the Last "Professional Revolutionary" in Europe
Nicolae Ceausescu was born in 1918 and he died in 1989. Due to the extraordinary changes that the Romanian society witnessed during his time, the biography of this son of the peasantry may be re-signified in several vastly contradictory ways. For all intents and purposes, however, he may be placed in the category of "professional revolutionaries", an extremely positive valuation within the contemporary Leninist ideology. Once in contact with the illegal communist movement, Ceausescu became an outlaw, practically from the age of 15. The aftermath of WWII thrust him at the core of decision-making and at the focal point of Romanian power, a position he retained uninterruptedly until three days before his death. He held absolute power for nearly a quarter of a century. His atypical biography also shattered his already scarce grasp of reality. The propaganda that had sustained the cult for "professional revolutionaries", and - during the final decades - the cult of his own personality determined grave distortions in his social perception, leading, in the "Ceausescu case", to the "ultimate solution"
The present paper analyzes, in a comparative perspective, the role international media played in the demise of the communist regimes in East-Central Europe. It argues that international media identified and, by means of sophisticate methods of mass communication, overemphasized the structural flaws of the communist system. Thus, international media contributed significantly to the shaping of the political cultures of resistance in communist countries and speeded up the process that culminated with the final demise of communist regimes. This paper demonstrates that, due to the specificity of the Romania communism, i.e., the nature of the regime and community political culture, international media had a strong impact on the collapse of communism in Romania. International media, Radio Free Europe most prominently, nurtured unrest in Romania by supporting the few radical dissidents in that country during the 1980s and providing a continuous flow of information concerning the unfolding of events in East-Central Europe during the revolutionary year 1989.
The 1989 Romanian Revolution seen from Brussels
This article deals with the 1989 Romanian revolution and its international mediatization. The specific focus is upon Belgian written press in the period of December 1989 - January 1990. The study highlights the misinformation at work in the December 1989 Revolution and the internal political effects it produced (external legitimacy of the new NSF government). The theoretical framework uses on one side four modified journalistic questions (Who says? What? How it is said? And with what effects?), and on another side, subdivides the period under scrutiny into four sub-units, relating to the themes and accents emphasized by the Belgian journalists. The media messages are thus deconstructed by this approach. Before concluding on the specific political and media effects, a short review of other cases (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Iraq) of media manipulation is presented.
George Dimitrov and the United Front
The article sets out to identify the origins of the "United Front" as a concept, tracing them by a thorough analysis of the political career of the prominent con troversial communist leader George Dimitrov. It then looks into the evolution of its "real" meaning, as influenced both by the historical circumstances and by the appropriation of this term by various actors in power. Consequently, the author redefines the political tactics that have been employed by the United Front throughout the history of the international labour movement, and in particular its contribution to the strategic idea of a "worldwide revolution" during the 20th century.
The Ninth Post-communist Mayor of Bucharest
The article describes the candidacies and the results of the elections for the Mayor of Bucharest of April the 3rd 2005. The author remarks two aspects: none of the candidates of June 2004 "re"-presented himself in front of the electorate; moreover, several parties did not fulfill the legal specification of obtaining 50,000 votes in the local and the general elections of 2004.
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