When it comes to Romania, political squalor is taken for granted. But the transition to democracy didn’t start out that way. In December 1989, Romania was the only Soviet bloc country where the revolution appeared to be both bloody and uncompromising. Bloody it was, with over one thousand people killed, and President Ceausescu and his wife executed after a parody of a trial. As for uncompromising, the consistency and authenticity of the revolution have been questioned by many Romanians, who are disgusted by the slow pace of reform and the return of Ceausescu’s sycophants to power.
For five years, a profoundly demoralized population has watched the former communist bureaucracy enrich itself, backed by a presidential regime that, while pretending to be the continuation of the December “breakthrough,” has cynically revived and used xenophobic nationalism...
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