General Victor Atanasie Stanculescu died on Sunday, at the age of 88. General Victor Atanasie Stanculescu was a controversial personality whose role in the 1989 Revolution is yet to be fully clarified. Victor Atanasie Stanculescu was one of the persons who orchestrated the mock trial of the Ceausescus, who were executed on Christmas Day in 1989. Prosecutors have proved that he was part of the command that repressed the Revolution in Timisoara and that he displayed “obvious excessive zeal” in carrying out Ceausescu’s orders. Many of the things that took place back then remained hidden and the secrets behind them have died with the former general who was demoted to the rank of private.
Victor Atanasie Stanculescu was born on May 10, 1928 in Tecuci, Galati County.
He was involved in the events of December 1989 in Timisoara and Bucharest.
On December 17, 1989, being Deputy Minister of Defence, he was sent by Vasile Milea (Minister of Defence 1985-1989) to Timisoara in order to repress the revolution. Nicolae Ceausescu named him sole military commander of Timisoara on December 20, 1989. On December 22 he reported back to Bucharest and was named Minister of Defence after Vasile Milea’s apparent suicide. After the Ceausescus fled from the building of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, he sided with the revolutionaries and ordered military units to go back to their barracks.
Victor Stanculescu became a member of the Council of the National Salvation Front (CFSN) (December 22, 1989 – May 11, 1990) and played one of the main roles in organizing the trial of the Ceausescus and their execution on December 25, 1989, participating in the trial as a representative of the National Salvation Front, together with Gelu Voican-Voiculescu and Virgil Magureanu.
Through the decree of CFSN President Ion Iliescu, on December 28, 1989, Victor Stanculescu was promoted to Colonel General (3-star rank, equivalent to Lieutenant General). Victor Stanculescu was later promoted to full General (4-star rank) on May 13, 1991, and was put in reserve.
In 1990, a governmental inquiry commission regarding the 1989 events, led by Viorel Oancea, proposed that Victor Stanculescu be sent to trial for participating in repressing the revolution. This was done in 1997, with the conviction coming two years later (1999) in the form of 15 years’ imprisonment for aggravated murder, handed down by the Supreme Court.
The conviction was maintained after appeal in 2000, but annulled in 2004 following a motion for annulment. In 2007, following a retrial, Stanculescu was again convicted. On October 15, 2008, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal made by Stanculescu regarding the 2007 decision and, as such, was imprisoned and stripped of his rank.
On September 18, 2009, the Bucharest Military Court of Appeal decided that Stanculescu would again be imprisoned after the lower court – the Territorial Military Tribunal – had released him from custody for a year in order for him to seek treatment in a civilian hospital.
According to medical reports, Stanculescu suffered from numerous ailments, associated with old age, yet he remained in prison until May 2014, when he was released for good behaviour and poor health, following his completion of a third of his term.
He was married to Elena Stanculescu. On December 21, 2003, his wife, aged 68, committed suicide by jumping out of the second storey of the building they lived in.
Former President Iliescu: “He contributed to the success of the Revolution and the construction of the new institutions of the Romanian state”
Former Head of State Ion Iliescu, PSD’s Honorary President, considers that the former Defence Minister, who died on Sunday evening at the age of 88, contributed to Romania emerging from totalitarianism and returning to democracy, Agerpres informs.
“I was saddened to hear about the death of Victor Atanasie Stanculescu, a person who, through the decisions taken at a decisive moment in our recent history, contributed to the emergence from totalitarianism and the return to democracy. Regardless of the controversies his activity stirred, in December 1989, in his capacity as Deputy Defence Minister, he contributed to the success of the Romanian Revolution and then to the construction of the new institutions of the Romanian state. His military background, seriousness and professionalism were qualities that I appreciated and that characterised him, despite all difficulties he went through in recent years. I convey my sincere condolences to his family and to those close to him. May God rest his soul!” Ion Iliescu wrote on his personal blog.