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December 5, 2022

‘Destiny of a Leftist’

Ion Iliescu claims he has grown from a naive communist into a convinced democrat.

The truth about the live and vision of Ion Iliescu prior to 1989 was confessed by the former president of Romania in a public television interview conducted by Claudiu Lucaci, on Sunday.  “Destiny of a Leftist” is the name of Ion Iliescu’s book about 60 years from his own life prior to 1989. He confesses that he has always believed in leftist ideas from conviction, not from interest. He has lived Romanian Communist Party’s history but complains about its freezing into dogma.
Ex-President Ion Iliescu speaks in his book ‘Destiny of a Leftist’ as well as in the interview he gave to Claudiu Lucaci about his childhood in Oltenita, family, his father, about the atrocities committed by the Iron Guard, but also about his encounters with Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej, Mikhail Gorbachev or Nicolae Ceausescu. On the other hand, he claims that, in the years that have lapsed, he has grown from ‘a naïve communist into a convinced democrat’.
‘Due to the problems my father was having, I spent the first years of my life in Oltenita, with my grand-parents. I describe (in the book – a/n) especially my grand-father and grand-mother’s figures, simple people with special human qualities who influenced my first steps in life’, says the former president.
About his father: ‘To us, he was a symbol. He was the ekdest child in his family, born in 1901, about the same age as Gheorghe Gheorghiu dej. It is not by mistake that I recall Gheorghiu Dej, for they were imprisoned to the camp in Targu Jiu together for a while. My father was a member of the party organization of the people on the camp. When he came from Caransebes, Gheorghiu Dej imposed his domination and excluded my father from the party. He dies a year after his release. He was freed from the Targu Jiu camp on 23rd August 1944 and died on 17th August 1945. I was an orphan at the age of 15. That start of Gheorghiu Dej I could feel in my own family’.
‘To us, 23rd August was a radical moment in the life of this country and in our lives. My both parents were excluded from the party by Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej.’
Nonetheless, later on, Ion Iliescu was going to join the Romanian Communist Party ‘out of conviction’, as he confesses: ‘I was not mistaking the party for individuals. (…) That kind of evilness I could not understand. People who had suffered together were leaving the camp together to take repressive measures to remove other people who were uncomfortable to them’.
‘Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej came as a tough person and that was also the quality valued by those who were governing and that’s how he was encouraged and supported to remain at the helm of the party whilst in other Socialist countries the leaders of the time were overthrown. He was supported because of that fundamental quality of his the Soviet appreciated. However, he evolved into some sort of openness towards the end of his life. He brought around him some trained people – Maurer, who became Prime Minister, Gaston Marin and Bârladeanu for the planning, whom he used, he used their expertise for his businesses. But that was a quality. Ceausescu came using that aversion to Gheorghiu Dej, He also seemed a man of openness, novelty and modernization at the beginning, but he was a limited person’.
About his studies in Moscow, the ex-president said: ‘Moscow was an advantage. I was having a difficult time back then. The years after the War were difficult for us. We used ration cards both during the War and after the War, for bread, for corn flower. You could only buy one kilogram of corn flower with one card. Those were difficult years from that point of view. So the opportunity to go to study (…) groups of students started going to study in the USSR already in 1948 (…). In my second year at the Polytechnic I was given the chance to complete my education in Moscow. I didn’t speak Russian, therefore I had to make some effort.’  Regarding his relationship to Nicolae Ceausescu, Iliescu says that, until 1970, he did not have close connections with him. ‘An uncle of mine was closer to him and especially to her, otherwise I had no personal connections with him, but he was the one who also supported me in front of Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej’.
‘In 1971, Ceausescu included me in the delegation that visited the Asian countries – Vietnam, North Korea and China. There I noticed a change or an augmentation of his features, especially in Korea. After that visit, Ceausescu’s attitude to Ion Iliescu changes, the former president also said.
Born in 1930, Ion Iliescu became the leader of the country after the 1989 Revolution. Between 22nd December 1989 and 1992, he was President on behalf of CFSN. He served two more terms: 1992-1996 and 2000-2004. In 2006, he became Honorary President of PSD.

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