Controversies over the fall of communism

Almost 20 years after the fall of communism in Romania, controversies still continue over the legitimacy of its successors. In a press conference held yesterday at the Romanian Academy, former president Ion Iliescu issued a harsh criticism against the Communism Condemnation Report drafted by a presidential commission in 2006 – the so-called ‘Tismaneanu Report.’

“I believe the so-called Communism Condemnation Report is an unfortunate scribbling. It ignores the most significant moment – the real condemnation, by the whole people, and the removal of the communist Dictatorship by the most radical movement of the people: the Romanian Revolution, which is only allotted a few pages in this report,” Iliescu told a conference entitled “Anatomy of a miracle: the fall of communism in Europe,” organized by the National Anti-Totalitarianism Institute. According to Iliescu, the Report avoids mentioning the main programmatic document of the Romanian Revolution: CFSN’s Appeal to the Country, issued in December 1989. Instead, it “impudently” presents as document of the Revolution a Proclamation from March 1990, which is actually a “preeminently electoral” document and has nothing to do with the Proclamation adopted by the people of Timisoara on December 21, 1989. In retort, Prof. Vladimir Tismaneanu – who headed the presidential commission for the analysis of the dictatorship – told Mediafax that the “preeminently electoral” document of March ’90 is nothing else than the famous Proclamation of Timisoara that sought, at point 8, the exclusion of former communists from politics – a move that angered Iliescu.

Tismaneanu, now a professor of Political Science at the Maryland University, in the USA, explained that the presidential commission’s report is “a scientific document, resulting from the activity of a team of researchers and a commission composed of top experts from Romania and abroad, along with representatives of the civil society.”

“What embarrasses Ion Iliescu, Octav Cozmanca and other exponents of communistoid nostalgia is Point 8 of the Timisoara Proclamation, which demands for the first time, in an imperative manner, the lustration in Romania,” Tismaneanu said.

President Traian Basescu condemned the communist regime in Romania, in December 2006, in Parliament, as being illegitimate and criminal. In doing this, Basescu relied upon the report made by the presidential commission led by Vladimir Tismaneanu.

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