The Soviet Bloc’s Clandestine War Against Romania: An Overview - by Larry L. Watts - Ziaristi OnlineZiaristi Online

The Soviet Bloc’s Clandestine War Against Romania: An Overview – by Larry L. Watts

Larry Watts - With friends like these - The Soviet Bloc’s Clandestine War Against Romania - Roncea RoWe assure the citizens of Romania of our traditional feelings
of friendship and good-neighborliness, and confirm our
genuine striving for close cooperation in the interest of
socialism and peace.1
Mikhail Gorbachev, 1989

These facts cast a bright light on the strange, misplaced and
utterly monstrous statements made by some…to the effect
that ‘good-neighborly relations’ have never ceased to prevail
between Romania, Russia and the Ukraine. If we interpret
good-neighborly relations as widely as that, the difference
between war and peace does indeed disappear.2
Leon Trotsky, 1921

[Romanians are] a people without history…destined to
perish before long in the revolutionary world storm. …[They
are] fanatical standard-bearers of counter-revolution and
[will] remain so until their complete extirpation or loss of
their national character, just as their whole existence in
general is itself a protest against a great historical
revolution. …[Their] disappearance from the face of the
earth [will be] a step forward.3
Fredrich Engels, 1849

At the height of Romania’s December 1989 revolution Soviet authorities
announced their willingness and intent to immediately provide massive assistance to
their “friendly neighbor” and Warsaw Pact “ally.” Moscow announced that the Soviet
Red Cross sent “some 60 mobile teams” of surgeons and medical specialists to the
border, many of which had “already crossed” into Romanian territory, and that it was
coordinating its efforts with those of other adjacent Pact members.4 Communist
leaders in Budapest likewise announced that a Warsaw Pact “working group” on
Romania was “in permanent contact” and would meet in Moscow to discuss the
These declarations of friendship and benevolent concern stood in stark
contrast to one of the most successfully-guarded secrets of Warsaw Pact intelligence
operations in Eastern Europe, and one of the most stunning discoveries to emerge
from the Soviet Bloc archives since the Cold War. By the time of its revolution
Romania had been the target of hostile Soviet and Warsaw Pact disinformation and
“active measures” operations for more than two decades.6 According to the evidence
now available, the Kremlin began perceiving Romania as hostile territory by the end
of the 1950s.7 This tendency is partly reflected in Moscow’s decision to cut off all
communications between Romanians and their ethnic kin in the Moldavian SSR.8
By 1962 Khrushchev ordered the other “closely cooperating” bloc members –
the GDR, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Poland – to curtail their
intelligence cooperation with Bucharest.9 East Germany’s Ministry of State Security
(Stasi) had independent reasons for its displeasure. Already in 1963 the Stasi was
compelled to shut down its Balkan Dossier – a joint East German-Romanian
kidnapping and execution operation against errant émigrés and defectors that had
been running since the 1950s because of Romanian non-cooperation.10 Far worse,
Bucharest refused to acknowledge the permanent division of Germany and, at the end
of 1963, concluded a secretly negotiated accord with West Germany – then still
portrayed as a major threat to Europe.11
Soviet intelligence operations against Romania had already become a topic of
debate between the leaderships in Bucharest and Moscow during the spring of 1963.
That June, in a discussion whose participants included Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid
Brezhnev, Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej and Nicolae Ceauşescu, the latter openly
complained of the Soviet “agent networks” operating in his country:
Is it correct that in Romania, in a socialist country, [your] agent networks
operate to gather intelligence and spread disinformation? We believe that it is
neither correct nor does it correspond to the nature of our relations. If you
would like us to inform you, we know the identity of many of those who
undertake these intelligence operations. But what can we say when the
personnel of the Soviet Embassy, instead of coming to our party leadership for
information, go into the provinces and seek, here and there, this one or that
one to collect intelligence. Could anyone permit our personnel to proceed the
same way in the Soviet Union or in any of the other socialist countries?12
According to Dej, “there was absolutely no justification for organizing
intelligence operations on the territory of another socialist country” and the attitude
that it reflected was more akin to that of “master and slave” than fraternal ally. As a
result, the Romanians recommended that Moscow remove its agent networks from all
of the Socialist countries, which, as Dej informed his Politburo that summer,
prompted “Khrushchev to call us ‘bastards.’”13 The level of Soviet animosity towards
the Romanian leadership was such that it gave rise to several assassination plots
against party leader Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej.14
By 1964 the Romanian Department of State Security (DSS or Securitate) shut
down its cooperation with other bloc services and was reciprocally excluded from
Soviet-assisted intelligence transformations that introduced disinformation
departments in the GDR, Hungary and Czechoslovakia (and Bulgaria and Poland
shortly thereafter).15 It was also already being considered a de facto adversary. In
1965 the DSS was again by-passed when KGB Center introduced “regular and direct
operational relations” between the disinformation departments. The Romanian service
was thus excluded from bloc-wide “active measures” (propaganda, disinformation and
provocation) operations, and from joint operations against the US and its principal
NATO partners.16 In mid-1965 Romania was “abruptly” dropped from Warsaw Pact
war planning altogether.17
After 1964 there were only two partial exceptions to Romania’s intelligence
break with the rest of the Soviet bloc (aside from symbolic gestures and enemy action
within the Romanian services, i.e. double agents). The first exception concerned
intelligence cooperation with Bulgaria. Bucharest sought to preserve this relationship
as part of its efforts to draw Bulgaria into a regional Balkan Pact outside of Soviet
control while Moscow used the Bulgarian leadership in order to sabotage those
efforts. By the end of 1971 fears of Romanian “contamination” overtook any
perceived advantages in allowing those contacts and KGB Chairman Andropov
ordered Sofia to cut off intelligence ties with Bucharest altogether.18
The second exception concerned military intelligence. As part of its Warsaw
Pact obligations Romania continued to send its military intelligence officers to attend
alliance gatherings and to furnish reports pertaining to defense and regional issues
(often funneled through the Bulgarians to justify continuing contacts).19 Again,
however, this cooperation was purely nominal. Romanian military intelligence
officers did not participate in Soviet or Pact training nor did they participate in joint
operations against the United States or the other NATO members. After the Soviet-led
invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968, the Romanian leadership ended a twentyyear
interdiction forbidding espionage against the USSR and its military intelligence
service began collecting intelligence on their “fraternal ally” as well.20
KGB archives confirm that by the mid-1960s Moscow was running “active
measures” operations to isolate Romania internationally and divide its leadership (and
its leadership from the “popular masses”) internally.21 Bucharest’s open
condemnation of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia and its continuing
attempts to aid Prague briefly ended even the pretense of fraternal civility between the
official allies. In 1971, Leonid Brezhnev, János Kádár, Edward Gierek, Todor
Zhivkov, and Gustáv Husák repeatedly denounced the behavior of the (absent)
Romanian leadership as “treason” and “betrayal” and, according to Brezhnev, “the
principal obstruction to our line.”22
In the aftermath of the Czechoslovak invasion, on Moscow’s order, the other
satellite services began establishing permanent “covert residences with legal cover”
on Romanian territory and running intelligence operations against it “as though it
were a Western country, an enemy.”23 It was the only member of the Warsaw Pact to
benefit from such “fraternal” attention. Elsewhere, joint operational teams were
established for common purposes.24 Romania had gone so far beyond the pale that the
other Warsaw Pact member services began categorizing it not only with socialist
“deviants” like Yugoslavia, Albania and China but alongside NATO member
adversaries as well.25 As a former Soviet Chief of Staff of the Warsaw Pact
acknowledged some thirty years later:
The Romanians were concerned they would share the fate of Czechoslovakia.
So they adopted a doctrine of “defense of the entire people.” Gradually and
secretly they redeployed their troops. The best-equipped and most combat
capable divisions were deployed close to the Soviet border and to the Iron
Gates, and close to the border with Bulgaria. Later the Hungarian front was
strengthened – the contested territory of Transylvania.
They deployed anti-aircraft batteries with combat charges at all
airports, including the capital, for destruction of aircraft and airborne troops.
The Commander-in-Chief and Chief of Staff of the Warsaw Pact Armed
Forces did not have the right to land at Romanian airports or to fly across its
territory to Bulgaria without written permission from the Romanian
authorities. When a [Soviet] aircraft approached Romania – it was as if it was
about to be put under enemy fire.
All of Romanian became an armed camp. In technical schools and
standard schools students in the higher grades intensively studies military
affairs. There was no fulfillment of operational plans worked out previously
[within the Warsaw Pact] and no fulfillment of plans in case of a NATO attack
—although this was plainly necessary.26
KGB Center and the subordinated East European services now sought
intelligence regarding Romania’s international (primarily U.S, West German and
Chinese) support, internal worker and minority dissatisfaction, and opposition within
its Communist party, as Moscow began aggressively seeking to recruit influential
Romanian elites to overthrow the “nationalist” leadership.27 This clandestine
offensive was not confined to the intelligence front. At their meeting in Crimea in
August 1971 Brezhnev and the other Pact leaders deemed it necessary to “now
identify those people in Romania on whom we can rely in the future” and recruit them
through their “embassies there and other contacts” in order “to exert influence on
developments inside the country.”28 To avoid drawing public attention to Romanian
dissidence, the “closely cooperating partners” would quietly “continue to mutually
inform ourselves on Romania’s position on all our major issues” and confidentially
decide how best to handle things. The Soviet leader explained that the respective
Central Committee International Department secretaries would meet with their
Ideology Department counterparts “to coordinate our common work,” just as they
already did “for example, in connection with China and Romania.”29
Brezhnev was referring to the Interkit operation – formally launched in 1967
as the “internal deliberations on China.”30 Interkit coordinated the propaganda,
ideological, media, and scientific (academic) resources of all the “closely
cooperating” partners plus Mongolia (and later Cuba) through their CC International
Departments in order to undermine and discredit Mao’s regime and maintain
Beijing’s international isolation.31 Romania was already a target within Interkit
because, as Bulgarian leader Zhivkov phrased it, “the Chinese rely on Romania and
the Romanians support Chinese policies.”32 The “closely cooperating” partners had
now decided to launch a similar operation dedicated exclusively to the Romanian
The overwhelming scale of such an effort had devastating implications for a
country whose dimensions and resources were as limited as those of Romania. In
Interkit, for instance, the partners coordinated not only “every reference made” to the
targeted leadership but also intelligence gathering on its divisive international
activities, and even operational “activities to roll-back this influence.”34 The
“propaganda activities and scientific research of the fraternal parties,” from their
“press, radio, TV, press agencies and publishing houses” to their academies of science
and state research institutions, were coordinated to reinforce and focus propaganda
against the target.35 This coordination covered a wide array of
informational/disinformational activities, ranging from “word of mouth propaganda,”
articles, and broadcasts to the organization of well-publicized “scholarly”
symposiums and an agreed annual “plan for publications and scientific works” to set
down their interpretational lines as established truth.
The printed output of this effort was then translated for the appropriate
audiences and disseminated “in third countries” through an equally coordinated effort
of the partners’ “press, information agencies, and other organs of foreign
propaganda,” particularly their foreign ministries and cultural offices.36 Such an
operation overwhelmed the collection and analysis capabilities of Western
intelligence services and academic communities, both of which were poorly equipped
to deal with coordinated disinformation in the first place and unaccustomed to it on
such a scale. At that time there was substantial resistance within the U.S. intelligence
community to the idea that such a coordinated campaign was even possible.37 The
logic of intelligence collection and analysis, indeed, of Western scholarly research
methodology generally speaking, meant that scores, even hundreds, of coordinated
sources mobilized by such an effort would inevitably drown out Romania’s singular
The necessity of addressing why Romania was so targeted is itself eloquent
testimony to the effectiveness of Soviet-coordinated disinformation. By the end of the
Cold War increasing consensus in the West held that the Romanian regime was a
Soviet “Trojan horse,” noisily proclaiming a hollow independence, while others – the
Polish and Hungarian leaderships in particular – were quietly engaged in more
substantial forms of dissidence.38 Alleging covert agency was one of the two main
themes of Soviet disinformation. The other allowed for Romania’s independent
defiance but insisted on the country’s strategic insignificance and lack of consequence
for Soviet policy and the East-West conflict, except as a factor that unnecessarily
perturbed Soviet-American relations. Both of these themes influenced Western
perceptions of Romania by the 1980s.
Post-Cold War archival revelations tell a very different story. Romanian
opposition to Soviet preferences, in turns out, was greatly underestimated and, with
the exception of the Prague Spring, quite singular after 1956, while the ‘dissidence’ of
other Pact members was grossly exaggerated when not altogether fabricated.39 In the
Warsaw Pact’s Council of Foreign Ministers all other members “habitually concurred
with the Soviet analysis and the Soviet proposals” throughout the Cold War, while
staunch opposition was the “Romanian exception” affecting “almost all agenda
items”40 Post Communist archival discoveries reveal that arguments and debates
between the loyalist Pact members and Soviet authorities did indeed occur with a
frequency and intensity previously unimagined; genuine defiance, however, did not.41
Romanian officers also stood alone among Pact military leaders in challenging Soviet
domination and control within the alliance while their Polish, Hungarian, East
German, Czechoslovak and Bulgarian counterparts continued to rally “unreservedly
behind the Soviets.”42
Non-Romanian opposition to Kremlin policy was not merely absent. The
“closely cooperating” partners often acted as Soviet proxy in attacking Romania for
its dissidence while vying with each other to establish the most “special relationship”
with Moscow.43 They may have adopted these attitudes in order to advance their own
interests and those of their countries, but their support of Soviet control and
centralization preferences only underscores how remote their behavior was from
actual opposition. In quite a few cases, the reported ‘dissidence’ exhibited by other
Pact members, including apparent sympathy one or more occasionally manifested for
Bucharest’s position or initiatives, was pre-arranged with Moscow to promote
themselves as more worthy partners for the West and to diminish the uniqueness and
possible attraction of Romanian opposition. This was also accomplished by
misattributing Romanian initiatives to others, again Poland and Hungary especially,
for example, as in the 1963 blocking of Warsaw Pact membership for Mongolia and
the prevention of various military interventions proposed by Moscow (and others).44
Strategic insignificance continued to be cited by Cold War historians as both
cause and effect of Romania’s alleged inconsequence to Moscow, even after the
“Trojan horse” line was exposed as an inversion of the truth.45 It is indicative that
reports of this insignificance surfaced especially during periods of heightened Soviet-
Romanian antagonism. For example, the 1963 concept of a strategically significant
“Quartet” in the northern tier of the Pact comprising the GDR, Poland, Hungary and
Czechoslovakia (and thus, Romanian and Bulgarian insignificance) was first
circulated at the same time that efforts to forcibly replace the Romanian leadership
were reported in the Western media.46 The concept resurfaced as the “First Strategic
Echelon” in mid-1965, when the Romanian Army was suddenly dropped from
Warsaw Pact war planning.47
Certainly, Romania’s planned military contribution to Pact offensive
operations lacked significance. Indeed, already by the mid-1960s it was fast
approaching zero. However, the same can hardly be said regarding its significance for
Soviet security. Remarkably few post-war analysts in the United States, for example,
were aware that for most of the interwar period Romania had been designated a
principle military threat (along with Poland) by Soviet military and intelligence
leaders, resulting not only in extensive planning but also the creation of entire
infrastructures against those targets.48
Of course, this changed dramatically at the end of the war as Romania fell
under Moscow’s control and Stalin’s gerrymandering removed Romania’s land border
with Poland. However, it remained the only land bridge from the USSR to ultraloyalist
Bulgaria and the wider Russophile Balkans after the war. And this geographic
reality was driven home on several occasions in the 1960s and 1970s, for instance,
when Romania refused Soviet troops permission to transit its territory for military
exercises in Bulgaria after 1963; refused transit to Bulgarian forces participating in
the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968; and rejected insistent requests for an
extraterritorial Soviet-Bulgarian military corridor at the end of the 1970s.49
That Moscow could or would disregard any country accounting for some
1,300 km of the western Soviet frontier – the longest border with any European state
(and almost 200 km of coastline on the Soviet-controlled Black Sea) likewise beggars
belief.50 All the more so when the country in question was led by successive regimes
antagonistic to its principal international aims. Nor could Moscow disregard the
several million ethnic Romanians in the bordering Moldavian and Ukrainian Soviet
Socialist Republics, in territory (Bessarabia and Bucovina) formerly belonging to
Approaching the problem much as he had in the annexed Polish territories,
Stalin attempted to change the ethnic composition of the region by executing
thousands of community leaders and deporting several hundreds of thousands of
ethnic Romanians out of the area to Siberia and Central Asia in 1940-1941 and 1950-
1951, with continued ‘voluntary’ relocations thereafter.51 That effort, along with
longer-term “Russification,” forced assimilation policies, and ‘scholarly’ efforts to
deny ethnic kinship, proved less than completely successful, leading Moscow to close
down Romanian-Moldavian relations in 1958.52
By the mid-60s Soviet authorities were intensely preoccupied with Romania’s
“pernicious” impact on this region as cultural attraction, independent model, and
actively subversive influence through its “anti-Soviet” media and publications
flowing across the border.53 In 1967 the Moldavian SSR party boss demanded a
propaganda campaign mobilizing “the most qualified scholars” and the “leading
officials of the Party, Soviet, and economic organs” to publish in “newspapers, and
journals, radio and television broadcasts, books, brochures, and other publications” so
that “our children and future generations” would “know well that their fathers did not
conceive of a life for themselves outside of Russia” and had always aspired “for union
with Russia and for reunion with the Russian state.”54 In 1968 the chief of KGB
forces in the USSR’s Western Border District placed Romanian policy towards the
region in the same category as the “increased subversive activity by the intelligence
services of the USA, the FRG, and England against the USSR.”55
KGB archives reveal that Bucharest’s intentions and activities were designated
a first priority collection requirement by the start of the 1970s.56 Soviet Central
Committee documents clearly describe Romania as a relentless opponent of Soviet
policy from the 1970s (and beyond).57 By the end of the 1970s, the KGB was
instructed to transfer Romania out of the 11th Department of its First Chief Directorate
responsible for liaison with socialist countries to the 5th Department, which targeted
NATO members Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and
Spain, as well as the problematic socialist adversaries Yugoslavia and Albania.58
The most striking feature of this reassignment was that the 11th Department of
the KGB’s foreign intelligence branch did not operate against the states the fell within
its purview; it coordinated intelligence operations with their “fraternal organs,”
usually against third-party targets. In contrast, the states and services within the 5th
Department were all the target of hostile KGB operations. The other Pact member
state security organs similarly reclassified Romania. The HVA, for example,
transferred Romania from the group of ‘fraternal allies’ into its Group G, alongside
socialist enemies China, Albania and Yugoslavia.59
According to KGB instructions to its operatives in Romania, intercepted by
the DSS in 1982, “Romania was ‘worked’ as an enemy state, an approach that was not
only perpetuated but accentuated after Mikhail Gorbachev came to the leadership.”60
The last director of the Securitate’s powerful anti-KGB Unit (UM 0110) testified to a
Senate commission of inquiry that when he took command of the unit in 1983 and up
until its disbandment in the immediate aftermath of the December 1989 revolution,
the operational posture of the KGB towards his country was “quite clear.” The KGB
considered Romania a target as hostile “as any western country.”61
Moscow certainly viewed Romania as threatening Soviet security interests at
the end of the 1980s. Not, as then widely advertised, because of its opposition to
liberal reform but because of its challenge to Soviet control of the other Warsaw Pact
member armies. According to a July 1988 circular written by Soviet Foreign Minister
Eduard Shevardnadze and C.C. Secretary Vadim Medvedev and disseminated to all of
the other Pact members, Romania was campaigning for a reform of the alliance aimed
at “changing the existing order by providing for collective decisions on military
development and the joint use of the armed forces in wartime” and “at weakening the
now existing system of the alliance’s military organization.”62 As the Soviet foreign
ministry concluded in February 1989, the Romanians had “obviously taken a course
of dismantling the existing organs of political and military cooperation within the
Warsaw Pact.”63
Records of the KGB and of other Warsaw Pact state security organs that have
surfaced to date likewise confirm that the Romanians were regarded as enemies
within the bloc and not as anything remotely resembling an ally or friend. Reports of
the Bulgarian KDS (Komitet za Drzhavna Sigornost: Committee for State Security)
from the late 1970s, for example, conspicuously excluded Romania when describing
KDS collaboration “with security organs of fraternal countries.”64 This absence was
all the more noteworthy in that, alongside the KGB and the state security organs of
Hungary, Poland, the GDR and Czechoslovakia, the Bulgarian KDS also collaborated
on a “fraternal” basis with the services of Vietnam, Mongolia, Libya, Benin and
Angola. The much-touted common interest of the hidebound regimes in the GDR and
Romania in resisting Gorbachev’s policy of perestroika in 1989 was completely
superfluous to the ongoing enmity at the institutional level. Stasi chief Mielke
pointedly excluded the Romanian DSS from his July 1989 circular regarding the
“friendly socialist services” with whom the Stasi cooperated. “In order to not give rise
to misunderstandings,” the circular specifically designated only the Soviet,
Hungarian, Polish, Czechoslovak, Bulgarian and Vietnamese intelligence services as
being “friendly.”65
Even as late as the end of November 1989 the KGB chief in the Moldavian
Soviet Socialist Republic placed the Romanian intelligence services in the same
category as those of the United States, Great Britain and Israel.66 The fact that the
KGB employed a code-name to refer to Romania (“Objective 24”), and was running a
likewise codenamed covert operation against it at that late date (“ZASLON”), strongly
suggests that Soviet intelligence was not nearly so disinterested in Romania in
December 1989 as Moscow’s protestations and many subsequent academic works
have claimed.67
It was no simple matter to keep this remarkable state of affairs hidden for so
long. In fact, it could not be kept hidden. However, news of it could be distorted such
that it might be interpreted as falling on a scale ranging from excessive paranoia and
hysteria to “conspiracy theorizing” and purposeful misdirection. A concerted effort by
Moscow and its loyalist allies in the Warsaw Pact was required to keep Romania
formally within the Soviet Bloc alliance and to downplay the degree and significance
of its opposition to Soviet actions and aims. This “entangling strategy” mirrored that
which Khrushchev adopted towards Belgrade in the 1950s, publicly treating the
country as friend and ally “to avoid strengthening Yugoslav ties with the West and
alienating neutralist opinion” even while simultaneously pursuing extensive
clandestine operations to achieve the “isolation of Tito.”68
Drawing Romania back into the fold became a core aim of Pact intelligence
operations in the region under Khrushchev and his successors. As the Soviet leader
explained to his Czechoslovak counterpart in August 1964, it was “the responsibility
of the Party to stop Rumania leaving the Pact” and to re-unite it “with our Socialist
family.”69 A decade later East German state security instructions described “the
agreed foreign policy of the Warsaw Treaty states vis-à-vis Romania” as pressing “for
closer practical involvement of Romania in the common multilateral political and
economic activities” in order to create “elements tying Romania to the socialist
community” and “objectively narrow” its “room for maneuver.”70
Brezhnev insisted that the “closely cooperating” partners “must keep trying to
influence Romania” towards this end.71 This policy remained constant under
Andropov, through the brief tenure of Chernenko, and continued under the leadership
of Mikhail Gorbachev until 1989. As the Stasi noted in the mid-1980s, Moscow’s
loyalist allies “sought and continue to seek to draw Romania into” their security
policies, and the “political-operational work” of their combined state security organs
continued to employ “all the possibilities of the member states of the socialist
community to act on the Romanian Socialist Republic with the aim of maintaining
and intensifying existing ties between Romania and the Warsaw Treaty and the
CMEA [Council for Mutual Economic Assistance], as well as bilateral contacts.”72
The entangling strategy was ultimately so successful in fostering public doubts
in the West regarding the sincerity of the Romanian regime’s dissidence that, during
the 1980s, even head-on Soviet-Romanian clashes went unrecorded by Western
observers. Indeed, at a gathering of the top western specialists on Eastern Europe in
the mid-1980s, mainstream opinion held that previous assessments had
“overemphasized Romania’s independence within the Warsaw Treaty Organization in
contrast to the ‘loyal five,’” and that an exaggerated attention to apparent Soviet–
Romanian differences had led analysts “to exaggerate the fidelity of the rest of the
Warsaw Pact.”73
On the down side, from Moscow’s perspective, the entangling strategy failed
completely in its chief aim of modifying Romanian behavior in the desired manner.
As the Soviet Central Committee signaled at the end of the Brezhnev regime:
In unofficial discussions with the representatives of some socialist states, the
representatives of Romania try to convince them to follow the [Romanian]
example and to combat together, through joint action, the actions and
measures of the USSR … The Romanian leadership insistently tries to draw to
its side, in anti-Soviet actions, the leaderships of Bulgaria, Poland, and the
According to the other Pact security services, Romanian policy “clearly”
persisted in contravening “the fundamental foreign policy interests of the Socialist
Community of States,” opposing them “regarding almost all of the important
questions of international development (disarmament, process of détente, conflict in
the Middle East) as well as collaboration within the framework of the Warsaw Treaty
and CMEA.”75 Moreover, Bucharest engaged in “public confrontations” with Soviet
bloc positions ever “more intensely,” and had, “for all practical purposes, aligned
itself with western policies.”76 Assessments by the CPSU Central Committee, that
there was “little probability of anticipating any change in the Romanian position” and
“no basis for anticipating essential changes in the practical policy of the Romanian
leadership,” were confirmed by Stasi evaluations in the mid 1980s, which concluded
that the rest of the alliance could only anticipate “the predictable accentuation of the
special positions adopted by Romania.”77 In other words, Romania opposed Soviet
foreign and security policy across a broad array of issues, refused subordination
within the Warsaw Pact, pursued and defended policies that were suspiciously similar
to those of the West, tried to mobilize the support of other Pact members against
Moscow, and gave every sign of continuing to do so in the future.
As part of its effort to reel Romania back into Soviet security arrangements,
and especially to obscure the degree of its dissident opposition, Pact members
regularly relativized, downplayed and even denied altogether Soviet-Romanian
differences. Any attendance of representatives from Bucharest in bloc-wide
gatherings was falsely advertised as reflecting Romania’s full collaboration and
complete support. After 1968 Soviet leaders rarely clashed frontally with Bucharest at
meetings of the Warsaw Pact, CMEA, or other international socialist gatherings.
Instead they designated proxies – usually Poland, East Germany, Bulgaria or a
developing state – for that purpose. Likewise, Hungary – by then the bloc’s most
internally liberal member – was used as Moscow’s mouthpiece in media attacks on
the Romanian position.
The Pact regularly excised mention of these differences from its reports and
meeting transcripts, even when they constituted a direct “confrontation with the
foreign policy line of the USSR and other Warsaw Treaty nations.”78 Soviet records,
for example, did not record Bucharest’s veto of the use of the CMEA for funneling
assistance to Soviet Arab clients during and after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or its
refusal to allow the Soviets to use its railways or airspace to supply those clients in
1967 or during the 1973 October War. They also fail to note its repeated criticisms of
the “closely cooperating” partners’ invasion of Czechoslovakia during meetings of the
socialist community. When the Romanians rejected Polish preparations for the
extension of the Warsaw Pact in the spring of 1984, “no mention of the debate was
included in the minutes” of their meetings – a rather astonishing omission of an
objection to the continuity of the Pact itself.79
Soviet leaders from Khrushchev to Gorbachev appealed to the leadership in
Bucharest to keep their differences quiet, ‘within the family,’ while characterizing
Romanian international policy stances and periodic declarations on intra-Bloc politics
as irrational.80 Indeed, the most powerful element of Soviet and Warsaw Pact strategy
against Romania during the 1980s was a campaign of denigration and what amounted
to national character assassination, which, in terms of its aims and achievements,
might be compared with the persuasive depiction of “Black Spain” by the rest of
medieval Europe.81
Operations against the Romanian target were treated as extremely sensitive
and carried out with an extraordinary degree of secrecy, often requiring approval from
the heads of their state security organs.82 How carefully the Kremlin and its “closely
cooperating” partners tread regarding their anti-Romanian operations can be judged
by the fact that although they were carried out for more than twenty years involving
the services of at least six countries, no “smoking gun” emerged until the archival
flood that began with the capture and release of files from the defunct East German
service.83 Even more remarkable was the post-1989 reappearance of the “Trojan
horse” legend despite the manifest lack of any Soviet or Russian act or attitude of
goodwill towards the country during or after the Cold War. If Romania was acting as
Soviet agent then Moscow was one of the worst employers in the world.
The extraordinary emphasis on maintaining this cover is reflected in the order
given to the East German state security apparatus to expand operations against
Romania in 1983.84 Significantly, the order was given directly by Stasi boss Ernst
Mielke to the head of the ZAIG (Zentrale Aufwertungs und Informationsgruppe:
Central Evaluation and Information Group), the 1,000-strong analytical body that
provided the “powers of reason” for East German intelligence.85 The ZAIG chief in
turn stipulated to the foreign intelligence branch – the HVA (Hauptverwaltung
Aufklarung: Main Reconnaissance Administration) – that only “absolutely trustworthy
sources” under “especially severe requirements regarding their conspiratorial
character and the preservation of secrecy” be employed.86 “In no case,” he
underscored, “must it be observed that the Ministry of State Security has taken
specific measures” against the Romanian target, and “the sources must not undertake
any sort of intelligence collection activity which could permit other persons or organs
to discover or recognize the goals which we are proposing to them.”87
This deception was deemed necessary not only, or even primarily, to avoid
tactical countermeasures. Discovery of a coordinated Soviet Bloc intelligence
operation against Pact member Romania would risk revealing the far greater
importance that Moscow attached to the country than Soviet disinformation
campaigns publicly avowed. It would also risk exposing the true degree of intra-Pact
hostilities that theretofore had been so effectively masked. Such a revelation would
have exploded legends of the Romanian “Trojan horse” and its “covert dependence,”
possibly pushing the country further towards the Western camp, and probably
encouraging more engagement with it at a time when successful “active measures”
were prompting Western capitals to pull away. This had been precisely the sequence
of events following the 1948 Tito-Stalin split, resulting in closer U.S.-Yugoslav
relations and massive Western military, economic and political assistance to Belgrade.
It was therefore imperative to avoid any explicit break that would earn Romania
similar Western assistance, reinforce its independence, and possibly encourage
behavior even more dysfunctional to Soviet policies and preferences.88
Ironically, Moscow had greater success reeling non-Warsaw Pact member
Belgrade, the sacred cow of anti-Soviet defiance among British and U.S. intelligence
analysts, back under its influence. By the mid-1960s Yugoslavia engaged in much
closer military and intelligence cooperation with the USSR than Moscow’s own
Romanian ally. In 1962, a year after Bucharest had withdrawn from a similar
arrangement; Belgrade began sending its officers to Soviet military academies for
training (forbidding its combat pilots from learning “English for fear they would
defect with their MiGs.”)89 In 1967 and 1973, when Romania denied military facilities
and closed its airspace to Soviet and Pact aircraft during Arab-Israeli wars in the
Middle East, Tito placed Yugoslav facilities at Soviet disposition, even playing host
to a regiment of the Soviet 106th Air Assault Division “in anticipation of deployment
to Syria.”90
This Yugoslav drift, persistently interpreted by the US intelligence community
as not indicating a turn towards Moscow, prompted the reorganization of Romania’s
anti-KGB unit into four directorates by the early 1980s. Two directorates dealt with
KGB and GRU operations exclusively. One was devoted to combating Hungarian and
Yugoslav operations, albeit with the bulk of personnel and resources dedicated to
countering Hungarian espionage operations. And the remaining directorate was given
responsibility for all other socialist services, first and foremost those of East
Germany, Bulgaria, Poland and Czechoslovakia, but also those of Soviet client states
Another reason why knowledge of the hostile relationship between the rest of
the Warsaw Pact and Romania remained so limited was tied to the semi-covert nature
of the “special relationships” that Bucharest had forged with Washington, Beijing and
Bonn. In fighting its battle “along interior lines” against superior and encircling
forces, from the 1950s into the 1980s the Romanians generally sought to avoid the
public spotlight and the increased Soviet pressure that inevitably accompanied its
notoriety. Exceptions to this general rule occurred when Romania came under
apparently imminent military threat, as in 1968, and when Moscow was on the verge
of forcing through measures that would compromise the fundamental principles of
Romanian policy and severely undermine its security, as in 1978.91
Bucharest had set the ground rules with its U.S. counterparts in 1964,
cautioning Washington “not to make ‘too much noise’ for that could affect certain
It is desirable not to exaggerate events in Rumania. In particular, the less
publicity about Rumanian independence at this juncture, the better. Over
attention to this in foreign press could harm rather than help our future
relations. For the moment, Rumania would like to be placed after Yugoslavia
and Poland among the Eastern European countries, in the public eye. “Our
aspirations for independence can best be achieved not by noisy and insistent
publicity but by a quiet and constructive development in Rumania’s relations
with the US and the West.”92
Thus, knowledge of Romania’s work in the world – the actual achievements of
its foreign policy – was extremely limited. Except for the press ‘leaks’ designed to
scuttle Romanian efforts, little on its mediation efforts during the US-Vietnam war,
and virtually nothing its mediation of Chinese relations with Italy, Austria, West
German and other countries of northern Europe during the second half of the 1960s,
ever came to public attention during the Cold War.93 At the end of the 1970s changes
within the Romanian leadership led to a catastrophic loss of strategic direction in its
campaign to obstruct and even rollback Soviet control and influence in the region. As
a result, Bucharest’s special relationships in the West progressively succumbed to the
active measures campaign that Moscow had prosecuted for almost two decades at that
point, greatly enabled by the Ceauşescu regime’s increasingly dysfunctional domestic
policies. The performance of Romanian policy internationally was eclipsed by the
lack thereof domestically.
The agents of the active measures campaign included all of the other de jure
Bloc members as well as de facto members such as, at various times, Mongolia, Cuba
and North Korea. They were aided by a host of other Soviet and Pact agents ranging
from Finnish President Urho Kekkonen to the senior Soviet and East European
analysts for West German intelligence, Gabrielle Gast.94 The combination of selfinduced
secrecy and external active measures joined with the increasing irrationality
of the domestic regime to obscure actual Romanian foreign and security policy
behavior and lend plausibility to even the most extravagant of accusations.
A third reason why this veil proved so resistant was Moscow’s ability to
winnow the security archives of its loyalist regimes. The transition governments of
East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria concluded formal
agreements with Moscow permitting the KGB access to their foreign intelligence files
during 1989-1991. This granted them a preemptory “right to remove any material
relating to Soviet security.”95 KGB personnel even worked in parallel with citizens’
groups during 1990 sorting through the Czechoslovak and East German foreign
intelligence archives. Meanwhile, the services themselves were engaged in wholesale
destruction of their records (operational files especially).
This effort ultimately failed in the case of East Germany because of the speed
with which the Party-state edifice crumbled. In the midst of this collapse, U.S.
intelligence launched operations to recover the rapidly vanishing Stasi foreign
intelligence (managing, for example, to acquire the Rozenholz (Rosewood) files)
before they could be destroyed, carted off to Moscow or otherwise dispersed by mobs
storming Stasi facilities. During the 1990s these records outlined most clearly the
hostile Warsaw Pact-Romanian intelligence relationship.96 Along with the surviving
East German records of the Interkit operation, they provided a road-map that made
sense of other incidental information on Romania-related KGB operations supplied by
former Soviet intelligence officers, and further confirmed in the (heavily-censored)
reports of other Pact intelligence services.97 At the start of the millennium the USSR’s
“anti-Romanian” operations were further confirmed and detailed in the Soviet Central
Committee and KGB documents unearthed in the Moldovan archives.98
Paradoxically, despite unabated opposition to Soviet dominance even after
Romania had lost its strategic moorings, Moscow’s agents within the country were
able to capitalize on the unpopularity of Ceauşescu’s repressive domestic regime to
discredit all independent Romanian foreign and security policies and gain temporary
control over its security (and military) institutions and affairs during and immediately
after the 1989 revolution. Ironically, even as those Brezhnev-era agents briefly
achieved power in Romania, Gorbachev’s Kremlin was pursuing a very different
Illustrative of the problems facing interpretation of Romania’s role in the Cold
War was the successful advocacy of self-admitted Soviet agent Silviu Brucan in
having persons previously exposed as double agents appointed to key national
security posts during and after the revolution.99 These Soviet agents – identified as
such by the Romanian services in the late 1970s – included Defense Minister Nicolae
Militaru (26 December 1989-14 February 1990) and Foreign Intelligence Director
Mihai Caraman (13 January 1990-23 April 1992), as well as the new director of
military intelligence, the new interior minister, etc.100 Truthfulness and objectivity
were hardly to be expected from someone like Brucan who, in September 1990, stated
to the former chief of the Soviet Central Committee’s International Department that
the struggle against American imperialism was “more important than the principles of
international law, then respecting UN resolutions.”101
Finally, unlike Romania’s revolution, which entailed the disintegration of
political institutions, the nullification of the constitution, and an abrupt and
unmediated change of power, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria
negotiated their regime changes and maintained their existing institutions. The
resulting continuity of their state administrative institutions and the virtual continuity
of the personnel staffing them stifled the possibility of surprising truths arising from
those quarters, particularly under conditions of post-Communist peer competition.
This continuity was most noteworthy in their intelligence and security services.
Ironically, although Romania was the only country to immediately dissolve its
intelligence apparatus, cutting loose entire departments and more than 60% of its
personnel, while the other countries ensured a remarkable stability of institutional
arrangements and cadres, it was singled out as a laggard in intelligence reform.102
Even Czechoslovakia opted for downsized continuity until the end of 1990 when,
with exceptional British, U.S. and German assistance, it instituted a reform that still
left the personnel and structures of its military intelligence services virtually
untouched and many of its foreign intelligence personnel in place.103 Continuity was
far greater in Poland and Hungary, where roundtable discussions that so brilliantly
accomplished their goal of peaceful transition from single- to multi-party rule, and
ensured the continued stable administration of their countries, also “grandfathered-in”
all but a very small part of the GRU and KGB-trained intelligence and military
The consequences of this continuity soon became manifest. An international
scandal erupted in August 1994 when the Polish government appointed Marian
Zacharski head of Polish security intelligence. Only after Washington pointed out
with some insistence that Zacharski was still under a life sentence in the United States
for his theft of sophisticated military technology on behalf of Moscow, and that he
was therefore an unacceptable interlocutor for NATO, did Warsaw reconsider.105
The Polish government’s Macierewicz Report, released in February 2007,
detailed how its military intelligence officers continued to be trained in GRU and
KGB facilities not only during 1989-1991 – the final years of the Soviet Union – but
also during 1992-1993, by their little-reformed Russian successor services.
Appointments and promotions continued to be made from the “perspective cadre”
approved and trained by Moscow, including three military intelligence chiefs and four
deputy chiefs, well into the new millennium.106 Over three hundred Soviet/Russian
trainees served in Polish military intelligence (WSI) during 1991-2006, with several
dozen graduates serving in the “upper echelon” of WSI structures as late as 2006.107
The stability of GRU and KGB-trained cadres in Hungary was at least as
strong. An international scandal ensued when Hungary assumed chairmanship of
NATO’s counterespionage committee in 2008 because the head of the Hungarian
counter-intelligence service – the National Security Office (NBH) – spent six and half
years at the KGB’s Dzerzhinsky Academy in the Soviet Union.108 Concurrently, the
director general of Hungary’s military counterintelligence (Military Security Office:
KBH), and the officers in charge of classification in both the KBH and the foreign
intelligence service (Information Office: IH) were also KGB alumni.109
Some observers saw these connections as an asset. After all, such training
presumably conferred greater knowledge of the Russian services, their methods and
their operations. However, as the Macierwicz Report noted, the principal goal of KGB
and GRU trainers was to identify the personal foibles, addictions and weaknesses of
the students and the institutional vulnerabilities of their home services, suggesting
quite the opposite instrumentality. In the case of Bulgaria at least, the network of
clandestine cooperation operating for “over forty-five years” meant that senior
“military, security and diplomatic” personnel “kept the habit and practice of
coordinating their attitudes and actions” with the Kremlin.110 It also stands to reason
that the negative attitudes of these “grandfathered” personnel towards Romania,
formed over two decades of treating it as an enemy, were likewise resistant to change.
And it is even more probable that Moscow continued to exert influence over the
secrecy of past operations and the conduct of current intelligence policy in these
cases, making it unlikely that the leaderships of their services would rush to expose
something Moscow preferred to keep hidden.111
Aside from continuity of structures, personnel, and attitudes among the
“closely cooperating” partners, there were also more specific common interests that
endured after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In stark contrast to the Polish-Russian
relationship, where issues of borders, national identity and political options were
largely resolved by the end of the Cold War, the issues that had fed Soviet and
Hungarian hostility towards Romania during the 1950s-1980s were still outstanding
well into the new millennium. Consequently, even though the Bessarabian/Moldovan
and Transylvanian problems had been priority targets of Soviet and Hungarian
intelligence ever since the First World War, very little information regarding those
operations came to light from the Russian and Hungarian archives after 1989.112
Hungary’s post-1989 national security law stipulating classification terms for
intelligence operations up to 90 years further diminished the probability of revelations
regarding its relations with Romania during the Communist period in the near or
medium-term, barring legislative changes.113 Indeed, such legislative changes that
have been proposed have gone in quite the opposite direction. In 2011, the Hungarian
government plans to introduce legislation permitting the removal and destruction of
interior ministry, state security and secret police files archives provoked an
international protest.114 The Russian archival clampdown after 1993 is likewise
discouraging, although the access to Soviet records in the Moldovan archives offset
this to some degree (and drew a concerted but so far unsuccessful effort from Moscow
to convince Moldovan authorities to reclassify its holdings).115
Traditional cooperation patterns between Moscow and Budapest were broadly
reinforced by similarities between the perspectives of Hungarian and Soviet/Russian
authorities during and after the collapse of the Soviet empire regarding their diaspora
in neighboring states (the “near abroad”). Budapest had apparently won the most
“special relationship” sweepstakes when it became the first state with which Russia
concluded a bilateral state treaty in December 1991.116 Moscow and Budapest then reestablished
the formal linkage of their ethnic-territorial disputes with Romania by
signing a joint declaration of cooperation for Assuring the Rights of National, Ethnic,
Religious, and Linguistic Minorities in November 1992, an agreement publicly touted
at the time by both sides as a “watershed” in Russo-Hungarian relations, later viewed
with embarrassment by authorities in Budapest, and more recently recovered as a
model of cooperation under the government of Viktor Orban in the wake of Russian
moves and Hungarian demands on Ukraine.117
The Post-Communist leaders in Hungary championed territorial autonomy for
ethnic Hungarian Romanians in Transylvania with an insistence reminiscent of the
decades-long revisionist campaign launched by Budapest at the end of the First World
War.118 Indeed, the two men who in 1987 introduced the Hungarian Democratic
Forum, which became Hungary’s first post-Communist ruling party, Sándor Csoori
and István Czurka, were both known for their chauvinist and right-radical agenda.119
After 1989 Csoori became Chairman of the Hungarian World Federation, an
organization first established in 1927 to press territorial claims against Romania (and
against Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia). Fortunately, spurious allegations of gross
minority rights abuses, forced assimilation and “genocide” that seemed plausible in
the context of Romania’s isolation during the Cold War quickly gave way to first
hand observation by European institutions.120
Transparency regarding these aspects of their relationship with Romania was
equally absent in the Soviet/Russian case. At the beginning of 1990 the Kremlin was
intensely concerned with the attraction that a stable, western-oriented Romania might
exert on the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, just as it had been for decades prior.
In an effort to counter that pull during the Cold War the USSR had propagated an
image of Romania “as a negative and primitive influence alien to Moldovan identity,”
and the majority population of the Moldavian SSR as requiring Soviet protection
“against ‘Romanian assimilationism.’”121
The leadership of the Russian Federation continued this policy of fostering
animosity in Chişinău and Kyiv against Bucharest by portraying the latter as pursuing
territorial “ambitions toward Moldova and parts of the Ukraine that it lost to the
USSR after World War II,” while depicting Moscow as “the defender of the territorial
integrity of Romania’s northern neighbors”122 Moscow resuscitated the formula it
developed by which Romanian expressions of concern over the identity and wellbeing
of its co-ethnics in the Soviet Union were interpreted only as aggressive
territorial claims while Russian (and Hungarian) assertions of an “obligation” to
protect their co-ethnics in neighboring states was purely the expression of a legitimate
humanitarian concern.
The Kremlin had cause to fear the “Romanian threat” to its control over the
Moldavian SSR. Not, of course, because Bucharest could force the issue, but rather
because of the powerful draw that a consolidated and prosperous Romania would
have on its ethnic kin across the border. At the beginning of 1990 the CIA judged that
“separatist pressures” in the Moldavian SSR would “continue to grow.” Moreover, it
noted that:
Nationalist sentiment in Moldavia has been strengthened by recent events in
Romania. It is likely to grow if Romania’s new regime can stabilize that
country and begin to forge a viable democratic political system.123
The CIA came to the same conclusion seven months later, after the still
dependent republic signed its first European treaty of mutual cooperation with
As ethnic Romanians, the Moldavians are looking to Bucharest for assistance
in resurrecting their long-suppressed national identity. They also hope to lay a
foundation for eventual reunification with Romania.124
Soon after that the U.S. intelligence community agreed that while Moldova
would continue to seek independence, “a shift in Romania toward greater
authoritarianism would probably make the Moldovans more willing to stay in the
[Soviet] union.”125 Hypothetically then, Soviet Moldova might be retained by the
USSR, and a Moldovan-Romanian rapprochement blocked, by preventing the
consolidation of administrative authority and reform progress in Romania, and instead
encouraging turmoil, divisiveness and authoritarian reaction. There is a significant
probability (on the order of 75% and higher) that the KGB reached conclusions akin
to those of the CIA, thus identifying a Soviet security interest in Romania’s continued
instability.126 It is suggestive that thousands of the 37,000 “extra” Soviet tourists that
deemed Romania a desirable place to visit or transit in the two weeks prior to its
revolution in December 1989 chose not to leave until almost a year later, in October
1990, after the Romanian government formally insisted on their departure.127
Russian focus on the Romanian-Moldovan relationship became much more
intense in 1993 when NATO officially opened its doors to new members and the
United States initiated its first military assistance programs for Romania. A stable,
prosperous and secure Romania within the Western alliance would exert an enormous
draw for the Republic of Moldova, and possibly for Ukraine as well. Yevgheny
Primakov, appointed KGB deputy chairman and head of the First Directorate at the
beginning of October 1991– quickly recast by him as the SVR (Sluzba Vneshney
Razvedki: Foreign Intelligence Service) – led the campaign against NATO
enlargement, insisting that Romania would make a “grab” for Moldova if admitted
into the North Atlantic alliance.128
The SVR chief employed a variety of disinformation techniques against
Romania to discredit its past and present worthiness as Western partner that he
continued to propagate throughout his tenure as Russian foreign minister (1996-
1998), as prime minister (1998-1999) and as advisor to Vladimir Putin. For example,
Primakov claimed that “Ceauşescu demanded that Soviet troops be sent to Romania”
to support his regime and to put down the 1989 revolution as if Moscow were viewed
as a source of salvation rather than threat, and as if Romanian-Soviet differences had
been greatly exaggerated and were essentially unimportant.129
In fact, the Romanian leader stridently protested the influx of Soviet bloc
agents crossing the border masquerading as “tourists,” threatened countermeasures if
Soviet or Pact military forces should breach his country’s frontiers, and directly
accused Soviet authorities of orchestrating the revolution in the first place.130 As
Ceauşescu declared to his Political Executive Committee on the December 17:
I have also given the order to interrupt all tourist activity. Not a single foreign
tourist should be allowed in, because all have become espionage agents.
Likewise, the small cross-border traffic should be shut down immediately. …
No one should be allowed in from the socialist countries, aside from Korea,
China and Cuba. Because none of the neighboring socialist countries can be
trusted. Those from neighboring socialist countries are sent here as agents. We
are shutting down all tourist activity. A state of emergency is declared for all
counties. The units of the Military, of the Ministry of Interior, of the State
Security are in a state of emergency.131
By the following morning there were “hundreds of automobiles” denied entry
idling along the USSR-Romanian frontier and Soviet broadcast and print media were
condemning the “unilateral closing of the border” and reporting “tensions on the
borders of Romania.”132 When the Soviet Foreign Ministry demanded explanations it
was informed that the measure was of the same nature as Moscow’s recent
interdictions of Romanian travel to areas of unrest in the USSR (e.g. Georgia and
Armenia) and that Romania would “repulse any attempt to interfere in its domestic
affairs and to take decisive measures against any provocative or subversive actions
initiated by reactionary, anti-Romanian circles, secret services or foreign espionage
Former Soviet intelligence assets continue to offer creative justification for the
presence of the idiosyncratic Soviet “tourists,” who had to be formally invited to leave
the country ten months after they began their ‘transit.’134 Twenty years after the event,
for example, a former Novovsti (APN) correspondent in Romania at the time of the
revolution claimed that the “tourists” were the manifestation of an economic
agreement whereby Ceauşescu had requested a guaranteed 35,000 Soviet tourists a
year “to buy Romanian goods,” and their visits just happened to be “concentrated at
the end of the year.”135
The post-Communist Kremlin also attempted to capitalize on Bucharest’s
“failure” to conclude treaties with all of its former neighbors as leverage against
Romania’s North Atlantic alliance bid – the existence of good relations with
neighboring states being a prerequisite for NATO membership. In order to keep
Chişinău and Bucharest apart, Moscow labeled even the most disinterested Romanian
assistance as pernicious interference in Moldovan domestic affairs while it
conspicuously aided the breakaway region of Transnistria and exerted an
unconstructive monopoly over the adjudication of the Moldovan–Transnistria
conflict. In this respect, the fact that Primakov was given responsibility for managing
the Moldovan–Transnistrian “frozen” conflict after his tenures at the SVR and the
Russian foreign ministry was suggestive.
Emblematic of legacy Soviet strategy, Moscow conditioned any treaty with
Bucharest on the inclusion of a clause precluding NATO membership, a condition
that it did not insist upon (for very long) in its treaties with Poland, Hungary or
Czechoslovakia.136 Consequently, Romania was the only former member of the
Warsaw Pact with which Russia refused to conclude such a treaty throughout the
1990s.137 Moscow finally agreed to a treaty only in July 2003, some eight months
after NATO had already formally offered admission to Romania and more than a
decade since Russia had concluded similar treaties with Poland, Hungary,
Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria.
Russian insistence in 2008-2009 that the United States had reneged on alleged
understandings by placing military bases in Romania, and its continued involvement
in Moldovan issues in a manner that consistently discouraged closer relations with
Romania, indicated the persistence of strategic obsessions very similar to those that
motivated prior Soviet hostility towards Romania. Consequently, there appears to be
little possibility of Russian institutional interests driving greater clarity on Moscow’s
Cold War relations with and operations against Romania in the near future.
This study examines the genesis of Romania’s transformation from ally to
enemy within the Soviet bloc, its efforts to disencumber itself of Soviet control, and
Soviet and Warsaw Pact countermeasures to both ensnare and discredit the regime
and its independent policies during the Cold War. After addressing the competing
strategic interests and embedded antagonisms with its Hungarian and Russian
neighbors before Communism, the study follows the generation of Soviet and Warsaw
Pact hostility and the efforts of the USSR and its loyalist partners within the alliance
to curb and roll-back Romania’s independent foreign and security policies. It delves
beyond the propaganda and disinformation regarding intra-Pact relations by
examining internal Warsaw Pact proceedings, intelligence service reports and national
Party documents that have become available since the collapse of the USSR. In so
doing, it examines the impact of Soviet-coordinated disinformation and active
measures on Western and especially U.S. perceptions by correlating events, debates
and clashes within the Warsaw Pact with the concurrent assessments generated by the
intelligence and academic communities in the United States.
[This bulk of this study originally appeared as “Introduction” in Larry L. Watts, With
Friends Like These: The Soviet Bloc’s Clandestine War Against Romania, Bucharest,
Military Publishing House, 2010, pp. 1-27]

See also: With Friends Like These…The Soviet Bloc’s Clandestine War Against Romania (Volume I).

Larry L. Watts (Editura Militara/Military Publishing House, 2010), 733 pp., maps, appendices.

Extorting Peace: Romania, The Clash Within the Warsaw Pact and The End of the Cold War (Volume 2).

Larry L. Watts (RAO Publishing House, 2013), 765 pp.

Reviewed by Christopher D. Jones /

Source: via Ziaristi Online

1 “Gorbachev Briefs Congress on Romanian Events,” Moscow Television Service, 22 December 1989,
2 Speech to the Moscow Soviet, 30 August 1921 in The Military Writings Of Leon Trotsky, Volume 4,
1921-1923 Banditry and Famine,
3 Friedrich Engels, “The Magyar Struggle,” Neue Rheinische Zeitung, no. 194, 13 January 1849 in Karl
Marx and Friedrich Engels, Collected Works, vol. 8, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1977, p. 229.
Engels applied distinction of “born counter-revolutionaries” destined for elimination in order to
advance the world revolution to both the Romanians and the south Slavs.
4 TASS in English, Radio Moscow International Service, and Moscow Domestic Service in Russian, 23-
25 December 1989. FBIS-SOV-89-246, 26 December 1989, pp. 1, 13, 17-18, 21. Moscow also
claimed to have reserved 6,000 hospital beds in Moldova for Romanian wounded with no impact on the
availability of health care facilities for the Moldovan population whatsoever.
5 “Pact Foreign Ministers Likely to Meet,” Agence France Press in English, 23 December 1989, FBISSOV-
89-246, 26 December 1989, p. 13.
6 Georg Herbstritt, “Eine fiendliches Bruderland: Rumänien im Blick der DDR-Staatssicherheit” [An
Enemy Fraternal Country: Romania As Perceived By GDR-State Security], Halbjahresschrift für
südosteuropäische Geschichte, Literatur und Politik (Berlin), no. 1 (May 2004).
7 From 1924 through World War II Moscow, through the Comintern, required all communist parties to
seek the breaking up of Romania. See Chapter 3: “The Romanian Threat and the Comintern Between
the Wars,” pp. 56-79, below. Khrushchev “hit the roof” in 1955 when the Romanians requested the
departure of Soviet forces, and Gheorghiu-Dej first challenged the idea of a Soviet “leading center” at
the back-to-back May 1958 Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and Warsaw Pact meetings that
announced the Soviet troop withdrawal from Romania. See e.g. Strobe Talbot, editor, Khrushchev
Remembers, Boston, Little, Brown & Company, 1970, p. 514; and Vojtech Mastny, “Second Meeting
of the PCC: 24 May 1958, Moscow: Editorial Note,” Records of the Warsaw Pact Committee: Records
of the Political Consultative Council, August 2001, p. 2, PHP.
8 Fritz Ermarth, “Bodyul Again Attacks Anti-Russian Feeling in Moldavia,” 17 March 1967, Radio
Free Europe Research (RFER), Open Society Archives, Box 110, Folder 2, File 163. Thenceforth,
Moscow compelled the Moldavian SSR into closer relations with Hungary, Bulgaria and even
Mongolia rather than Romania.
9 Jan Sejna, We Will Bury You, London, Sedgwick and Jackson, 1982, pp. 66-7 and 76; Ladislav
Bittman, The Deception Game: Czechoslovak Intelligence in Soviet Political Warfare, Syracuse,
Syracuse University Research Corporation, 1972, p. 146
10 BStU, MfS, AOP 4288/65, vol. I, p. 21; Georg Herbstritt and Stejaru Olaru, Stasi si securitate [Stasi
And Securitate], Bucharest, Humanitas, 2005, p. 66. At the time the Balkan File comprised 19
volumes. See also Georg Herbstritt, “Refused Cooperation: The Relation Stasi – Securitate and
Romania’s Aspirations to Independence” in The NKVD/KGB Activities and its Cooperation with other
Secret Services in Central and Eastern Europe 1945-1989, Bratislava: Nation’s Memory Institute,
2008, pp. 287-291.
11 Herbstritt and Olaru (2005), pp. 80-1.
12 Romanian National Archives (ANR), Fond CC al PCR, Secţia Relaţii Externe, dosar 16U/1963, f.
42-116; Document 7 in Mihai Croitor, In umbra Kremlinului: Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej si geneza
declaratiei din aprilie 1964 [In The Shadow Of The Kremlin: Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej And The
Genesis Of The April 1964 Declaration], Cluj-Napoca: Editura Mega, 2012, p. 152.
13 See Documents 1, 2 and 6 in Larry L. Watts, Divided Loyalties Within The Bloc: Romanian
Objection To Soviet Informal Controls, 1963-1964, Cold War International History Project e-Dossier
No. 42, Woodrow Wilson International Center, October 2013b,
14 Intelligence Report on Attempt on Life of Georgiu Dej and Soviet-Romanian Relations, 1965, British
National Archives, FO 371/182729, Foreign Office, Political Departments: General Correspondence
for 1906-1966, Northern, Romania (NR). Some CIA analysts even believed that the 1963 attempt
might have provoked Bucharest’s independent course. See e.g., Instability and Change in Soviet-
Dominated Eastern Europe: An Intelligence Assessment (EUR 82-10124), 1 December 1982, pp. 8 and
15 Sejna (1982), p. 66; Bittman (1972), pp. 17, 89-90 and 144. The DSS was periodically reorganized as
a Council instead of Department and known as the CSS. DSS is used throughout this study to refer to
16 Bittman (1972), pp. 144 and157-8, Xiaoyuan Liu and Vojtech Mastny, eds., China and Eastern
Europe, 1960-1980s, Proceedings of the International Symposium: Reviewing the History of Chinese-
East European Relations from the 1960s to the1980s, Beijing, 24-26 March 2004, pp. 108-9, in “Global
Cold War,” Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security (formerly: Parallel History Project on
NATO and the Warsaw Pact),, by permission of the Center for Security Studies at
ETH Zurich and the National Security Archive at the George Washington University on behalf of the
PHP network (hereafter: PHP).
17 Before 1965 the “Hungarian 5th army was expected to work in close cooperation with the Romanian
3rd army in all military manoeuvers and operational plans.” Imre Okváth, “Hungary in the Warsaw
Pact: The Initial Phase of Integration, 1957 – 1971,” in Vojtech Mastny, Christian Nuenlist, and Anna
Locher, editors, “European Cities Targeted for Nuclear Destruction: Hungarian Documents on the
Soviet Bloc War Plans, 1956-71,” 29 November 2001, “Warsaw Pact War Plans,” PHP.
18 Jordan Baev and Kostadin Grozev, “Bulgaria” in Krzysztof Persak and Lukasz Kaminski, editors, A
Handbook of the Communist Security Apparatus in East Central Europe, 1944–1989, Warsaw, Institute
of National Remembrance, 2005, pp. 49, 85.
19 See, for example, Report of the Minister of Armed Forces signed by General Colonel Ion Gheorghe,
First Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Armed Forces and Chief of the General Staff, and forwarded
to Nicolae Ceausescu, regarding the results of the participation of the General Staff representatives at
the Conference of the Chief of the Intelligence Directorates of the Warsaw Pact member armies,
Warsaw, 4-9 September 1967, ANR, Fond CC al PCR, Secţia Relaţii Externe, dosar 120/1967,
September 19, 1967, f. 1-13. See also Jordan Baev, “The Communist Balkans Against NATO In The
Eastern Mediterranean Area. 1949-1969,” paper presented at the conference, “The Cold War in the
Mediterranean,” Cortona, 5-6 October 2001, pp. 9-10, Journal of History, International Relations and
20 General Ion Gheorghe, “The Romanian Army within the Context of the Events of August 1968,”
paper presented to symposium of the Alexander Ion Cuza National Union of the Military Staff in
Reserve and Retirement cited in Mihai Retegan, In the Shadow of the Prague Spring: Romanian
Foreign Policy and the Crisis in Czechoslovakia, 1968, Iaşi, Center for Romanian Studies, 2000, p.
21 Christopher Andrews and Vitalyi Mitrokhin, The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the
Battle for the Third World, New York, Basic Books, 2005, p. 290.
22 Record of the Meeting Between Leonid Brezhnev and East European Party Leaders in the Crimea, 2
August 1971, pp. 21-24, 27-29, 31-32, 36-37 and 40-43 in “General Documentation,” Christian
Nuenlist and Anna Locher, editors, “China and Eastern Europe from the 1960s to the 1980s,” 1
December 2004, PHP.
23 Herbstritt (2004), pp. 1-2; William Totok, “Romania, o zona operativa a securitatii Stasi. Interviu cu
cercetatorul german Georg Herbstritt” [Romania, An Operational Zone of Stasi State Security.
Interview with German Researcher Georg Herbstritt], Observator Cultural (Bucharest), no. 227 (29
June – 5 July 2004),
24 The “closely cooperating partner” services had operated covertly in Hungary in 1956 and in
Czechoslovakia in 1968, and would do so again in Poland during 1980-1981. However, they operated
in official liaison with the local services, and their covert residences were shut down after the crises.
25 Komitet Dzhurna Sigornosti [Committee for State Security] (KDS) Plan for Operational Measures
Toward Yugoslav, Romanian and Czechoslovak Military Attachés, 06/12/1969, Archives of the
Bulgarian Ministry of Interior (AMVR), Sofia, fond 2, record 3, file 356; and No Title, 10/07/1982,
AMVR, Sofia, Fond 1, Record 12, File 434, “Bulgaria in the Cold War,” Cold War International
History Project (CWIHP),, by permission of the Woodrow Wilson International
Center for Scholars. (Hereafter: CWIHP)
26 Anatoly Ivanovich Gribkov, Sud’ba varshavskogo dogovora: Vospominania, Dokumenty, Fakty,
[Part of the Warsaw Pact: Recollections, Documents, Facts], Moscow, Russkaia Kniga, 1998, pp. 75-
27 See e.g. Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin
Archive And The Secret History Of The KGB, New York, Basic Books, 2001, p. 270.
28 Record of the Meeting Between Leonid Brezhnev and East European Party Leaders in the Crimea, 2
August 1971, pp. 21-24, Nuenlist and Locher (2004), PHP.
29 Ibid, pp. 40-43.
30 See e.g. James G. Hershberg, David Wolff, Péter Vámos, and Sergey Radchenko, The Interkit Story:
A Window into the Final Decades of the Sino-Soviet Relationship, Cold War International History
Project Working (CWIHP) Paper #63, February 2011, Woodrow Wilson International Center for
Scholars, Washington, D.C.,
31 First Interkit Meeting, Moscow, Soviet Union, 14 December 1967, p. 1, in “Reports on Interkit
Meetings on the China Situation and Related Documents,” Nuenlist and Locher (2004) (hereafter:
Interkit), PHP.
32 Record of the Meeting Between Leonid Brezhnev and East European Party Leaders in the Crimea, 2
August 1971, pp. 21, 23-24, “General Documentation,” Interkit, PHP.
33 Larry L. Watts, A Romanian INTERKIT? Soviet Active Measures and the Warsaw Pact Maverick
1965-1989, CWIHP Working Paper #65, December 2012, Woodrow Wilson International Center for
Scholars, Washington D.C.,
and-the-warsaw-pact-maverick-1965-1989. See also Larry Watts, The Soviet-Romanian
Clash Over History, Identity and Dominion, CWIHP e-Dossier No. 29, March 2012,
34 Second Interkit Meeting, East Berlin, East Germany, 20-31 January 1969, p. 3, Interkit, PHP.
35 Op. cit., p. 4-7. This included propaganda through “OIRT and Intervision,” which included Finland.
36 In addition, their foreign correspondents systematically cooperated “with respect to the collection
and exchange of information” whether or not they were intelligence officers under journalist cover.
37 See e.g. Tennent H. Bagely, “Bane of Counterintelligence: Our Penchant for Self-Deception,” in
Loch K. Johnson and James J. Wirtz, editors, Strategic Intelligence: Windows Into A Secret World: An
Anthology, Los Angeles, Roxbury, 2004, pp. 304-314.
38 The “Trojan horse” theory had first been sold to the U.S. legation in Romania in 1956. KGB defector
Anatoliy Golitsyn revived it 1963 and then again with the publication of his book New Lies for Old: An
Ex-KGB Officer Warns How Communist Deception Threatens survival of the West, New York, Dodd,
Mead & Co, 1984. It was resuscitated in the mid-1970s by Radio Free Europe analyst Vlad Socor,
“The Limits of National Independence in the Soviet Bloc: Rumania’s Foreign Policy Reconsidered,”
Orbis, vol. 20, no. 3 (Fall 1976), pp. 701-32, and then by defector Ion Mihai Pacepa in 1978. After
Golitsyn’s 1984 revival it was taken up by the Heritage Foundation, by Ambassador David B.
Funderburk, Pinstripes and Reds: An American Ambassador Caught Between the State Department
and the Romanian Communists, 1981-1985, Washington DC, Selous Foundation Press, 1987, and again
by Securitate defector Pacepa in Red Horizons, Washington DC, Regnery Gateway, 1987.
39 Pact archives reveal real differences between the non-Soviet allies and Moscow. That said, only the
Romanians were genuinely oppositional in the sense that they refused to back down even when
Moscow insisted. For intra-Pact differences see e.g. Mary Ann Heiss and S. Victor Papacosma, editors,
NATO and the Warsaw Pact: Intrabloc Conflicts, Kent, Kent State University Press, 2008.
40 Anna Locher, “Shaping the Policies of the Alliance: The Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs
of the Warsaw Pact, 1976-1990” May 2002, p. 18, in Records of the Committee of the Ministers of
Foreign Affairs, PHP.
41 Indeed, the plentiful “evidence of conflict and bargaining between the Soviet Union and its allies”
must be considered within a context in which “it was the Soviet Union that usually ended up ‘calling
the shots.’” Mark Kramer, “Archival Research in Moscow: Progress and Pitfalls,” Cold War
International History Project Bulletin no. 3 (Fall 1993), p. 34.
42 Christian Nünlist, “Cold War Generals: The Warsaw Pact Committee of Defense Ministers, 1969-
90,” (2001), p. 8; Jordan Baev, “The End of the Warsaw Pact, 1985-1991: Viewed from the Bulgarian
Archives,” p. 6, in Jordan Baev and Ana Locher, “The Irresistible Collapse of the Warsaw Pact:
Documents from Bulgarian Archives, 1985-1991,” November 2000, PHP.
43 Vojtech Mastny, Learning from the Enemy: NATO as a Model for the Warsaw Pact?, Zürcher
Beiträge zur Sicherheitspolitik und Konfliktforschung no. 58, Zurich, Center for Security Studies and
Conflict Research, ETH Zurich, 2001, pp. 23 and 28, available at PHP; Csaba Békés, “Introduction,”
Records of the Meetings of the Warsaw Pact Deputy Foreign Ministers, PHP, September 2005, pp. 2-3;
Christian Nuenlist and Anna Locher, “At The Roots Of The European Security System: Thirty Years
Since The Helsinki Final Act,” Conference Report, Center For Security Studies, Eth Zurich, November
2005, p. 4 at PHP. See also Csaba Békés, “Hungarian foreign policy in the Soviet alliance system,
1968–1989,” Foreign Policy Review (Budapest), vol. 3, no. 1 (2004), pp. 87– 127.
44 See former East German Military Attaché Col. Joachim Schroter in Xiaoyuan Liu and Vojtech
Mastny (eds.), China and Eastern Europe, 1960s-1980s, Beijing, 24-26 March 2004, Zurich, Center for
Security Studies and Conflict Research, ETH Zurich, November 2004, p. 140. The Liu-Mastny report
is available at “Publications,” PHP. In an earlier work Mastny misattributed the primary credit for this
to Poland. Mastny (2001), p. 15.
45 Mastny (2001), p. 44; Lochner (2002), p. 14; Nünlist (2001), p. 8. Despite clear archival evidence to
the contrary, the Trojan horse theme continued to be sounded by otherwise serious scholars well into
the new millenium. See e.g., Charles King, “Remembering Romanian Communism,” Slavic Review,
vol. 66, no. 4 (Winter 2007), pp. 719-720.
46 Intelligence Report on attempt on life of Georgiu Dej [sic.] and Soviet-Romanian relations (1965).
See also Paul Lendvai, Eagles in Cobwebs: Nationalism and Communism in the Balkans, Garden City,
NY, Doubleday and Company, 1969, pp. 305-306.
47 Intelligence Study: Warsaw Pact Military Strategy: A Compromise in Soviet Strategic Thinking (Ref
Title: Caesar XXVI), 7 June 1965, p. 27; Okváth (2001), PHP.
48 Raymond W. Leonard, Secret Soldiers of the Revolution: Soviet Military Intelligence, 1918-1933,
Westport CT, Greenwood Press, 1999, pp. 15-16, 46, 74, 168-172, 181; David J. Dallin, Soviet
Espionage, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1955, pp. 14, 25, 305, 393. Romania also remained a
priority in World War II as Berlin’s most effective military ally on the Eastern Front. Soviet authorities
did their best to conceal their preoccupation with it. For a partial corrective see David M. Glantz, Red
Storm Over the Balkans: The Failed Soviet Invasion of Romania, Spring 1944, Lawrence, University
Press of Kansas, 2007, pp. xiii-xiv, 14-22, 371-375.
49 During the several exceptions to this rule, Romanian authorities always ensured the separation of
Soviet troops from their weapons, confined them to one travel corridor, and allowed a limited timespan
with which to complete their transit. Refusal to permit an extra-territorial corridor for military
transit after Moscow had already constructed a Warsaw Pact command center in Bulgaria (of which
Bucharest was informed only afterward) compelled the USSR to construct the Odessa-
Ilyichovsk/Illichivsk train ferry.
50 The Soviet-Romanian border was 1,329 km long. The Polish-Soviet border was 1,321 km long until
a territorial exchange in 1951 shortened it to 1,244 km. Romania’s Black Sea coast was 193.5 km long.
51 Dennis Deletant estimates between 100,000 and 500,000 were deported in I. C. B. Dear and M. R. D.
Foot, editors, The Oxford Companion to World War II, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1995, p. 129.
52 Fritz Ermarth, “Bodyul Again Attacks Anti-Russian Feeling in Moldavia,” 17 March 1967, Radio
Free Europe Research (RFER), OSA, Box 110, Folder 2, File 163 and “Socialist Encirclement is Also
Dangerous,” 29 July 1968, USSR/5, RFER, Box 50, Folder 7, Report 142, Open Society Archives
(OSA). By 1968 Moscow’s relations with capitalist Finland, Iran, Afghanistan and even NATO
member Turkey were “certainly better” than those with Romania. Ermarth (1967), p. 1.
53 Mark Kramer, “Moldova, Romania, and the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia,” CWIHP Bulletin,
No. 12/13 (Fall/Winter 2001), pp. 326; Mark Kramer, “Ukraine And The Soviet-Czechoslovak Crisis
Of 1968 (Part 2): New Evidence From The Ukrainian Archives,” CWIHP Bulletin, No. 14/15
(2003/2004), pp. 295-301.
54 Watts, A Romanian INTERKIT? Soviet Active Measures and the Warsaw Pact “Maverick” 1965-
1989 (2012)
warsaw-pact-maverick-1965-1989; Sovietskaia Moldavia, 16 February 1967; Ermarth (1967).
55 Kramer (2003/2004), p. 298 and 349, footnote 172 citing Memorandum No. 2039-A (Top Secret)
from Yu. V. Andropov, chairman of the KGB, to the CPSU Secretariat, 30 August 1968, in Rossiiskii
Gosudarstvennyi Arkhiv Noveishei Istorii (RGANI), F. 5, Op. 60, D. 339, Ll 58-6; On the Position of
Romania in connection with the events in Czechoslovakia, Report No. MB-4809/65 (Top Secret), from
V. Makashev, deputy secretary-general of the Soviet foreign ministry, 16 October 1968, in RGANI, F.
5, Op. 60, D. 339, Ll. 188-194; and On Romanian Attitudes Towards the Developments in
Czechoslovakia (Political Writing), Cable No. 1000 (Top Secret), A. V. Basov, Soviet ambassador in
Romania, to Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko and the CPSU Secretariat, 23 September 1968, in
RGANI, F. 5, Op. 60, D. 339, Ll. 130-154.
56 Andrew and Mitrokhin (2001), pp. 269-270.
57 See Documents 1-7 in Larry Watts, The Soviet-Romanian Clash Over History, Identity and
Dominion, Cold War International History Project e-Dossier No. 29, March 2012,
58 Andrew and Mitrokhin (2005), p. 500. Madrid announced its intention to join NATO in 1977.
Because of its close links with the United States, West Germany, China, Egypt and Israel, Romania
was also dealt with by KGB FCD Departments 1, 4, 6, 8 and 18 (as well as 11).
59 HVA, Dep. VIII: Analyse zum Stand, zur Wirksamkeit und den Ergebnissen der Konterarbeit in
Objekten legal abgedeckter Residenturen [Status Analysis regarding Efficiency and Achievements of
the Objects of Legally Protected Residencies], November 25, 1985, BStU, MfS, HV A 407, pp. 1-31 as
cited in Herbstritt, “Refused Cooperation” (2008), pp. 287-291. Cuba was also included in this group.
60 Serviciul Roman de Informatii (SRI: Romanian Intelligence Service), Punct de vedere preliminara al
Serviciul Roman de Informatii privind evenimentele din decembrie 1989 [Preliminary Point of View of
the Romanian Intelligence Service Regarding the Events of December 1989], November 1990,
Bucharest, Senate Archive, Inventory 0003, File no. 5, p. 27.
61 Stenograma nr. 33, 26 ianuarie 1994, audierea generalului-locotenent Neculicioiu Victor [Transcript
No. 33, January 26, 1994, Hearing of Lieutenant General Victor Neculicioiu], Bucharest, Senate
Archive, p. 5. Western services aware of Romanian-Warsaw Pact friction were often much less aware
of the degree of that antagonism. Author’s conversations with senior MI6 and CIA officers, October
28, 2006, Ottowa, and November 26, 2007, New Orleans.
62 Romanian Proposal For Warsaw Pact Reform: Information Regarding The Romanian Proposal, July
8, 1988, p. 2, “XXII. Meeting of the PCC, Warsaw, 15-16 July 1988,” in Mastny, Nuenlist, Locher, and
Selvage (2001), PHP. See also Evaluation of the Romanian Proposal for Reform of the Warsaw Pact in
Preparation of the PCC Meeting, by the East German Minister of Defense (Heinz Kessler), Ibid.
63 Memorandum of the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “The Political Processes in the European
Socialist Countries and the Proposals for Our Practical Steps Considering the Situation Which Has
Arisen in Them,” February 24, 1989, Document No. 3 in Jacques Levesque, “Soviet Approaches to
Eastern Europe at the Beginning of 1989,” Cold War International History Project Bulletin, no. 12/13
(Fall/Winter 2001), p. 69.
64 Information re: KDS collaboration with the “fraternal” security services in 1978, 15 May 1979,
Bulgarian Ministry of Interior Archives (AMVR), Sofia, fond 1, record 10a, file 344, in “Bulgaria in
the Cold War,” CWIHP. The KDS was periodically labeled Department and Directorate as well as
Committee and abbreviated simply as the DS. KDS is used here to more easily distinguish it from
Romania’s DSS.
65 Order no. 13/89 regarding the development, command and leadership of the operational liaison
groups of the MSS with the friendly foreign security organs, July 14, 1989, BStU, MfS, HA II/10, 243,
pp. 292-4; Herbstritt and Olaru (2005), p. 96.
66 On the Measures Regarding the Decision of the KGB Collegium of the USSR of 5 September 1989:
“On the Tasks of the State Security Services of the USSR Regarding the Defense of the Soviet
Constitutional Regime,” November 28, 1989, signed by chief of the MSSR KGB, General Gh.
Lavranchuk, Document 27 in Watts, A Romanian INTERKIT? Soviet Active Measures and the Warsaw
Pact “Maverick” 1965-1989 (2012), pp. 42-44, 144-147,
maverick-1965-1989 . Lavranchuk had been MSSR minister of interior during 1985-1988. He
remained president of the MSSR KGB until July 1990.
67 Interestingly, the U.S., British and Israeli enemy services were identified by country. Only the
Romanians had their “special organs” and “Patriarchy” referred to by code name. This had been the
case at least since a KGB Collegium decision of July 1986, when the MSSR KGB was headed by
General-Lieutenant G. M. Volkov. See Document 27 in Watts (2012), pp. 42, 140-143.
68 Stability of the Soviet Satellite Structure (NIE 12-57), 19 February 1957, p. 8.
69 Sejna (1982), p. 76.
70 Relations of Romania SR to China and their position to the current policies of the Chinese
leadership, Political Section, Embassy in Bucharest, 18 December 1972, Interkit, PHP.
71 Minutes of Conversation between Todor Zhivkov – Leonid I. Brezhnev, Voden Residence [Bulgaria],
09/20/1973, CSA [Bulgarian State Archives (Tsentralen Drzhaven Arhiv)], Sofia, Fond 378-B, File
360, “Bulgaria in the Cold War,” CWIHP.
72 Informative Note Drawn Up By The Chief of Service Referring to The Current Situation of Romania
and The Policy of That State, HVA, Abteilung VII, December 15, 1983, BStU, MfS, ZAIG 6267, S.
10-12; Herbstritt and Olaru (2005), pp. 361-2. The CMEA as also known as COMECON.
73 Although quoted here from Robert Hutchings, this opinion was shared by the overwhelming majority
of the 97 top specialists and government officials from North America and Europe in attendance. See
e.g. “Remarks of Robert Hutchings” in “Part II: The Warsaw Pact Forces: Fragmentation and
Reintegration,” The Warsaw Pact and the Question of Cohesion: A Conference Report, co-sponsored
by Washington, D.C., Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies and The Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars, 1985, p. 25. Hutchings, at the time acting Director of Radio Free
Europe, was soon drafted as U.S. National Intelligence Officer, where he coordinated the communitywide
National Intelligence Estimates during the final years of the decade.
74 Documents 2, 4 in Watts, The Soviet-Romanian Clash Over History, Identity and Dominion (2012),
75 See e.g. HVA, Abteilung VII, December 15, 1983, BStU, MfS, ZAIG 6267, S. 10-12; Herbstritt and
Olaru (2005), pp. 361-2 and 367.
76 Ibid.
77 Documents 1, 5 in Watts (2012); Herbstritt and Olaru (2005), pp. 361-2 and 367.
78 Vojtech Mastny, “Editorial Note XVII. Meeting of the PCC, Warsaw, 14-15 May 1980,” in Vojtech
Mastny, Christian Nuenlist, Anna Locher and Douglas Selvage, editors, “Records of the Warsaw Pact
Political Consultative Committee, 1955-1990,” May 2001, “Party Leaders,” “Warsaw Pact Records,”
PHP. As Mastny notes, Moscow did not “publicize its problems with the Romanians” despite their
essential nature, and avoided forcing the contentious adoption of “documents against their opposition.”
79 Locher, “Shaping the Policies of the Alliance: The Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the
Warsaw Pact, 1976-1990” (2002), p. 18, PHP.
80 See e.g. Report for the Czechoslovak Party Presidium on the PCC Meeting, 27 May 1980, p. 8,
“XVII. Warsaw, 14-15 May 1980,” and Romanian Proposal for Warsaw Pact Reform: Information
regarding the Romanian Proposal, 8 July 1988, p. 3, “XXII. Meeting of the PCC, Warsaw, 15-16 July
1988,” in Mastny, Nuenlist, Locher, and Selvage (2001), PHP
81 Soviet active measures and disinformation approximated the methods and goals of the “Black
Legend” applied to Spain from the 16th century. As one author defined it, the “Black Legend” was “the
careful distortion of the history of nation, perpetrated by its enemies, in order to better fight it. And a
distortion as monstrous as possible, with the goal of achieving a specific aim: the moral disqualification
of the nation…in every way possible.” Alfredo Alvar, La Leyenda Negra [The Black Legend],
Ezquerra, Ediciones Akal, 1997, p. 5. In the late 1500s Spain had been targeted by “political and
religious propaganda that blackened the characters of Spaniards and their ruler to such an extent that
Spain became the symbol of all forces of repression, brutality, religious and political intolerance, and
intellectual and artistic backwardness for the next four centuries.” Philip Wayne Powell, Tree of Hate:
Propaganda and Prejudices Affecting United States Relations With the Hispanic World, New York,
Basic Books, 1971. Many Spaniards aware of their dismal reputation abroad were persuaded by the
weight of propaganda that it must be true, thus becoming unwitting accomplices in their own
marginalization at the periphery of Europe.
82 Agents working in the residence “had to take more subtle and more numerous measures of
precaution” because exposure “would have especially negative effects.” Herbstritt and Olaru (2005), p.
83 See Herbstritt (2004) for the first analysis of these documents.
84 Bucharest provoked Andropov’s fury (again) by denying a U.S. first nuclear strike intention
(RYAN), rejecting a military build-up, refusing to label the U.S. responsible for global tensions, and
insisting on drastic unilateral military and budget reductions. Throughout Andropov’s “term as general
secretary, RYAN remained the FCD’s first priority.” Andrew and Mitrokhin (2001), pp. 213-4; Vojtech
Mastny, “Editorial Note: XVIII. Meeting of the PCC, Prague, 4-5 January 1983,” Records of the
Warsaw Pact Committee: Records of the Political Consultative Council [PCC], PHP.
85 David Childs and Richard Popplewell, The Stasi: The East German Intelligence and Security
Service, New York, New York University Press, 1996, p. 177. Werner Irmler was head of ZAIG during
86 BStU, MfS, ZAIG 7120, pp. 282-3; Herbstritt and Olaru (2005), p. 354.
87 Ibid.
88 US military assistance to Yugoslavia initiated in 1952 provided $750 million of aid by 1958, and
“several hundred” Yugoslavs “received advanced training in U.S. military schools” while the army was
“modernized with Western armaments during a period when Yugoslavia felt an active threat of military
intervention.” It was henceforth presumed that Yugoslavia would be provided with further military
assistance if attacked. CIA, The Yugoslav Military Elite (U), R-2131, February 1977, RAND
publication prepared for Office of Regional and Political Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency, 1
February 1977, pp. 8, 28. Yugoslavia also signed assistance agreements with NATO members Greece
and Turkey.
89 Neil Barnett, Tito, London, Haus Publishing, 2006, p. 138; The Yugoslav Military Elite (U) (1977),
p. 48.
90 Steven Zaloga and James Loop, Soviet Bloc Elite Forces, London, Osprey, 1985, p. 18. The 103rd
was already famous for its role in the invasion of Czechoslovakia. “In 1979 the 105th Air Assault
Division, supported by elements of the 103rd,” was deployed in the invasion of Afghanistan. Op. cit., p.
12. Units of the 102nd Air Assault Division were permanently based in Chişinău and Tiraspol in the
Moldavian SSR.
91 The Czechoslovak crisis is discussed in Chapters 13-17 below. The crisis created at the November
1979 Warsaw Pact meeting in Moscow is discussed Larry L. Watts, Extorting Peace: Romania, The
Clash Within The Warsaw Pact And The End Of The Cold War, 1978-1989, Bucharest, RAO, 2013,
Chapter 3, pp. 100-126.
92 Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, 18 May 1964, Document no. 12, Foreign Relations of
the United States, 1964-1968, Volume XVII, Eastern Europe, Washington D.C., 1996.
93 For ‘leaks’ on Romanian mediation in Vietnam see The New York Times, 22 and 23 November 1965.
94 For Kekkonen’s KGB credentials see Oleg Kalugin with Fen Montaigne, The First Directorate: My
32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1994, pp. 169-
170; Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story of its Foreign Operations from
Lenin to Gorbachev, New York, HarperCollins, 1990, p. 433; Hannu Rautkallio, Laboratorio Suomi.
Kekkonen ja KGB 1944 – 1962 [Finland Laboratory. Kekkonen and the KGB 1944 – 1962], Porvoo-
Helsinki-Juva, W. Soderstrom, 1996, and his Agenda Suomi. Kekkonen – SDP – NKP [Finland Agenda.
Kekkonen – SDP – NKP], Porvoo-Helsinki-Juva, W. Soderstrom, 1999. See also Kimmo Rentola,
“President Urho Kekkonen of Finland and the KGB,” in Juhana Aunesluoma and Pauli Kettunen,
editors, The Cold War and the Politics of History, Helsinki: Edita Publishing, 2008, pp. 269-289.
95 Childs and Popplewell (1990), pp. 114 and 229.
96 See Herbstritt (2004); Herbstritt and Olaru (2005).
97 The East German INTERKIT reports are available at INTERKIT, PHP. See also the Bulgarian
intelligence materials at PHP and at CWIHP. KGB reports are available in the volumes co-authored by
former KGB officers Oleg Kalugin, Oleg Gordievsky, and Vasili Mitrokhin cited below, as well as
works authored individually by Kalugin and Mitrokhin.
98 See e.g. the hundreds of Soviet documents in Elena Negru and Gheorghe Negru, “PCM şi
Naţionalism (1965-1989): Documente adunate în cadrul programului de cercetări effectuate de câtre
Comisia pentru studierea şi aprecierea regimului totalitar communist din Republica Moldova” [The
MCP and Nationalism: Documents Collected within the Research Program for the Commission for the
Study and Evaluation of the Communist Totalitarian Regime in the Republic of Moldova], special
edition, Destin românesc (Chişinău), vol. 16, no. 5-6 (2010), pp. 1-333; and Elena Negru and Gheorghe
Negru, “Cursul deosebit al României” şi supărarea Moscovei. Disputa sovieto-română şi campaniile
propagandistice ale PCM împotriva României (1965-1989). Studiu şi documente [“Romania’s Special
Course” And Moscow’s Fury: The Soviet-Romanian Dispute And the Propaganda Campaign of the
Moldovan Communist Party Against Romania (1965-1989)], Chişinău: Centrul Editorial-Poligrafic al
USM, 2013, 616 pp.
99 Brucan admitted conspiring with Soviet authorities during the 1970s and 1980s. Silviu Brucan,
Generaţie irosită [Wasted Generation], Bucharest, Universal & Calistrat Hogaş, 1992, p. 188.
100 Brucan and Prime Minister Petre Roman fought tenaciously for the appointment of Caraman, who
remained functionally subordinate to Prime Minister Roman from January 1990 until the passage of the
National Security Law in July 1991. After his ouster in April 1992 Caraman became Roman’s security
advisor. “Armaghedonul spionilor: ‘Reteaua Caraman’” [The Spy Armageddon: The Caraman
Network,” Ziua, 7 February 2005. The knock-on affect of Militaru’s confirmation was tremendous as
he in turn re-activated 30 senior, mostly Soviet trained, officers and transferred others such that by
January 1990 GRU agents exposed in the 1970s had been appointed to head the interior ministry,
military intelligence, and the general staff. Caraman brought in as his deputies former Securitate
deputies responsible for anti-western operations, most notably Constantin Silinescu, who attempted to
scuttle NATO integration negotiations in 1996-1997, and Ristea Priboi, who partnered with convicted
terrorist Omar Hayssam. “Un grup, cu o clară dependenţă estică, a incercat împiedicarea integrării
României în NATO” [A Group with a Clear Eastern Dependence Tried to Block Romania’s Integration
in NATO], interview with Senator Ioan Talpeş, former coordinator of the Romanian intelligence
community, Independent, 18 January 2008, pp. 6-7,; O. C. Hogea, “Generalul
Silinescu, fost spion, consilier special al primului-ministru” [General Silinescu, former Spy, Special
Counselor to the Prime Minister], Evenimentul Zilei, 19 January 2001; L. P., “Nastase: ‘L-am apărat şi
il mai apăr pe Priboi’” [Nastase: “I Have Defended and I Will Continue to Defend Priboi”],
Evenimentul Zilei, 20 November 2002.
101 Vadim Zagladin, Note Regarding Discussions with Silviu Brucan (Romania), 17-22 September
1990, October 1990, Gorbachev Foundation (Mezhdunarodnii Obshestvennii fond sotsialnoekonomicheskih
i politologicheskih isledovanii: Social International Foundation for the Political and
Socio-Economic Studies), Moscow, fond 3, opis, 1, dosar 7287, f. 1-8 as cited in Alex Mihai
Stoenescu, “Adevărata apartenenţă a lui Silviu Brucan” [The True Agency of Silviu Brucan], Vitralii:
Lumîni şi Umbre [Stained Glass Windows: Lights and Shadows] (Bucharest), no. 2 (March 2010), p.
89. Brucan insisted that cooperating with the Americans against Iraq after it invaded Kuweit
compromised Soviet interests, and that “the law and morality should not be transformed into a fetish.”
Ibid, p. 90. In the 1980s Zagladin viewed “negotiation or meaningful cooperation with the capitalist
world” as “not only futile but dangerous because they could nurture reformist illusions.” Gordon H.
Hahn, Russia’s Revolution From Above, 1985-2000: Reform, Transition, and Revolution in the Fall of
the Soviet Communist Regime, New Brunswick, NJ, Transaction, 2002, pp. 284-285; Walter C.
Clemens, Can Russia Change? The USSR Confronts Global Interdependence, New York, Unwin
Hyman, 1990, p. 132. Brucan was the ‘godfather’ of the Group for Social Dialogue (GDS), the civil
rights group that operated as gatekeeper for determining who were appropriate interlocutors and
partners for the West. By February 1990 the US intelligence community was already citing that group
as legitimate authority (the “watchdog”) on Romanian democratization. See e.g. Outlook For Eastern
Europe In 1990: An Inter-Agency Intelligence Memorandum (NI IIM 90-10001), 8 February 1990, p.
28. Several of the GDS’s founding members were later exposed as collaborators of the Securitate and
Soviet intelligence, and several others were complicit in attempting to conceal the security links of
their GDS colleagues. See e.g. Deletant (1995), pp. 279-280; For a description of
the disappointing results of US aid to the GDS see Thomas Carothers, Assessing Democracy
Assistance: The Case of Romania, Washington, Carnegie Endowment, 1996. The GDS and its
members remained the principal beneficiaries of Western civic society support as of this writing.
102 Larry L. Watts, “Intelligence Reform in Eastern Europe’s Emerging Democracies,” Studies in
Intelligence, vol. 48, no. 1 (April 2004), pp. 21-22; Jane Perlez, “Touchy Issue of Bigger NATO: Spy
Agencies,” New York Times, 5 January 1998.
103 Kieran Williams and Dennis Deletant, eds., Security Intelligence Services In New Democracies:
The Czech Republic, Slovakia And Romania, New York, Palgrave, 2001, pp. 64-65, 111; Oldrich
Czerny, Czechoslovak (Czech) Intelligence After the Cold War, Working Paper no. , Geneva Centre for
the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, 2002, pp. 4-5; Tomas Horejsi, “Minister Tvrdik to Replace
Army Intelligence Chief,” Lidove Noviny, 8 April 2003,
104 Watts (2004), p. 18. The continuity of Bulgarian services and their ties with Soviet/Russian services
have been described as the most extensive, although the 2007 Macierewicz report on Poland and the
2008 revelations regarding Hungarian intelligence discussed below indicate very similar continuities.
Jan Zielonka and Alex Pravda, editors, Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe: Volume 2:
International and Transnational Factors, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 421 and Nikolai
Bozhilov, “Reforming the Intelligence Services in Bulgaria: The Experience of the Last Decade,” paper
prepared for workship on Democratic and Parliamentary Oversight of the Intelligence Services,”
Geneva Centre for Democratic of Armed Forces, 3-5 October 2002,
105 Fred Iklé, “How To Ruin NATO,” The New York Times, 11 January 1995; John Pomfret, “Poles
Ponder Patriotism After Spy’s Appointment, Firing,” The Washington Post, 3 September 1994.
Athough convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1981, Zacharski was traded four years later
for 25 Western agents held in prisons throughout the bloc, indicating his importance to the KGB.
106 Report on the actions of soldiers and employees of the former Military Intelligence Services (WSI)
performing military intelligence and counter-intelligence activity and other actions going beyond the
issues of State defense and safety of the Polish Army, coordinator, Antoni Macierewicz, President of
the Verification Commission Warsaw, 16 February 2007, pp. 28-64,
WSI_Report_full_djvu.txt. Among the Soviet-trained officers, for example, were WSI chiefs Marek
Dukaczewski (2001-2006), Kazimierz Głowacki (1996-1997) and Bolesław Izydorczyk (1992-1994).
107 The Macierewicz report conservatively estimated that “at least” 800 senior Polish officers
underwent GRU or KGB training from the early 1970s to 1989. Given that 127 attended such
institutions during 1973-1974 alone, the number may have been several times higher.
108 Judy Dempsey, “K.G.B.-Trained Hungarian Has NATO Role,” New York Times, 4 February 2008.
The NBH boss, Sándor Laborc, had taken over from another KGB alumnus, Lajos Galambos. As Jane
Perlez noted a decade earlier, even though a center-right government took over “after the fall of the
Communists, there was little purging of the secret services” and, as of 1998, both Hungarian civilian
and military intelligence were “headed by officials from the Communist era.” Perlez (1998).
109 KBH chief Géza Stefan was also a graduate of the KGB’s Dzerzhinsky Academy. “Debate over the
Hungarian secret services II,” Budapest Analyses, no. 177, 8 December 2007 and “The crisis of the
Hungarian intelligence services,” Budapest Analyses, no. 160, 10 July 2007, The officers in charge of classifying materials at KBH and IH, Miklós
Herczeg and László Hellebrand, were also Soviet trained. “No end to dirty tricks in Hungary’s secret
services,” Eurasian Secret Services Daily Review, 08.05.2007.
110 Zielonka and Pravda (2001), p. 421.
111 As former chief of the US National Security Agency, General William Odom, noted in 1998, “the
Russians will probably have enough residual capacity [in Hungary and Poland] to cause us serious
problems.” Jane Perlez, “Touch Issue Of Bigger NATO: Spy Agencies,” New York Times, 5 January
112 Incidental information on Romania emerged from Soviet era archives relating to interwar operations
against Poland but files on KGB and GRU operations against Romania remain closed. Soviet anti-
Romanian operations during the 1920s were described by a former security intelligence chief, by
Western observers and by former Soviet agents. See e.g. Zaharia Huzărescu, Mişcarea subversive în
Basarabia [The Subversive Movement in Bessarabia], Kishineff, State Printing Office, 1925; Charles
Upson Clark, Bessarabia: Russia and Roumania on the Dniester River, New York, Dodd, Mead & Co.,
1927; and the Romanian references in Dallin (1955). Hungarian intelligence organizations and
operations are discussed in Ioan Dumitru, Spionajul maghiar în România 1918-1940:Însemnări
documentare [Hungarian Espionage in Romania 1918-1940: Documentary Notes], Bucharest, Editura
Concordia, no date; Marian Ureche, Serviciile secrete maghiare [Hungarian Secret Services],
Bucharest, I.S.I., 1992; Liviu Gaitan, Serviciul de spionaj horthyst [Horthy’s Espionage Service], Bran,
1993; Nevian Tunareanu, Organizarea şi activitatea desfăşurată de serviciile de informaţii maghiare
împotriva României în perioada interbelică [The Organization and Activity of Hungarian Intelligence
Services Against Romania in the Interwar Period], Bucharest, 1995; Constantin Aioanei and Nevian
Tunareanu, Acţiuni ale spionajului ungar împotriva României în perioada 1940-1950 [Hungarian
Espionage Operations Against Romania During 1940-1950], Bucharest 1996; and Traian-Valentin
Poncea and Aurel Rogojean, Spionajul ungar în România [Hungarian Espionage in Romania],
Bucharest, Editura Elion, 2007. For Hungarian Communist-era security structures see János Kenedi,
Kis állambiztonsági olvasókönyv [A Concise State Security Reader], Budapest, Magvetõ, 1996; Lászlo
Varga, “Watchers and the Watched,” The Hungarian Quarterly, vol. 38, no. 146 (summer 1997), pp.
51-77; and Raija Oikari, “On the Border of Propaganda and What Can Be Said” in Ansii Halmesvirta,
editor, Bridge Building and Political Cultures: Hungary and Finland 1956-1989, Hungarologische
Beiträge, vol. 18, Jyväskylä, Finland, University of Jyväskylä, 2006, pp. 299-356.
113 Magyar Nemzet (Budapest), 11 June 1999.
114 “Files in Hungarian National Archives Threatened,” Archivists Watch, February 2011; T. E.,
“Closing Down History,” The Economist, February 28, 2011. Protests and petitions were sent to
Budapest from the archivist’s societies of a number of North American and European states. See also
Nora Berend and Christopher Clark, “Not Just a Phase: The Hungarian government’s attempts to
rewrite the country’s past,” London Review of Books, vol. 36, no. 22, November 20, 2014.
115 See e.g. Rachel Donadio, “The Iron Archives,” New York Times, April 22, 2007.
116 The treaty was apparently prepared in great secrecy at the Hungarian Embassy in Moscow.
Interview by Vlast correspondent Marina Kalashnikova with former Deputy Foreign Minister of the
USSR, Ivan Aboimov, “The Country’s Leadership Regarded the GDR as Self-supporting Unit,”
Kommersant, 26 April 2005. The continuity of Russo-Hungarian relations with its Soviet-Hungarian
predecessor was made very explicit. According to Aboimov, Hungarian authorities first met with the
out-going Gorbachev and then, in the same meeting room, the in-coming Yeltsin.
117 Jorg K. Hoensch, A History of Modern Hungary: 1867-1994, New York, Longman, 1996, p. 334;
Janusz Bugajski, Cold Peace: Russia’s New Imperialism, Westport, CT, Praeger, 2004, p. 152; Jeffrey
Mankoff, “Russia’s Latest Land Grab,” Foreign Affairs, vol. 93, no. 3 (May/June 2014); Gergely
Szakacs, “Orban Renews Autonomy Call For Ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine,” Reuters, May 17, 2014;
Casey Michel, “Hungary’s Viktor Orban Walks in Putin’s Footsteps,” The Moscow Times, August 5,
2014. Hungary was able to “bring pressure to bear on Rumania [sic] by co-operating with the powerful
neighboring countries with which it lives in discord,” and “both Russia and the Ukraine are Hungary’s
allies, when it comes to matters concerning Rumania.” László Maracz, Hungarian Revival: Political
Reflections on Central Europe, Nieuwegein, Aspekt, 1996, p. 384.
118 The 1990-1994 Hungarian Democratic Forum government made this a centerpiece of their policy.
The FIDESZ government of Victor Orban revived it during 1998-2002, with Orban declaring that
“Budapest must openly support the aspirations for autonomy of the Hungarian minority in Transylvania
as well as the adequate institutions for that autonomy,” specifying that his party’s intention “transcends
the Basic Treaty” between Hungary and Romania. Erdélyi Naplö, 12 August 1997.
119 Hoensch (1996), pp. 285, 313-314.
120 It is worth noting that European and American institutions avoided Romania more or less entirely
until 1993, prolonging the effect of such charges. By the mid 1990s, however, the Council of Europe
Commissioner for Minorities, Max van der Stoel, and other independent western organizations,
adjudged Romania a model for approaching ethnic relations and avoiding ethnic violence.
121 Bugajski (2004), pp. 98, 103-105, 216.
122 Ibid. Moscow used similar techniques to “discredit” Moldovan government attempts to establish
closer relations with Bucharest, condemning it “for its ‘Romanianism’” and alleging that it was
attempting “to subdue the Slavic populations along the Dniestr River.” Op. cit., pp. 95-6.
123 Perestroka at the Crossroads: An Intelligence Assessment (SOV 90-10015), 1 March 1990, pp. vi
and 3.
124 “USSR: Moldavia Signs Agreement With Romania” in National Intelligence Daily, Tuesday, 2
October 1990, p. 11.
125 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE-11-18-1990), The Deepening Crisis in the USSR: Prospects for
the Next Year, 1 November 1990, p. 4.
126 At the time, yet-to-be exposed Soviet agents within the CIA such as Aldrich Ames and Harold
James Nicholson – the latter then serving as CIA station chief in Bucharest – may have been in a
position to provide these evaluations to the KGB directly.
127 Ceauşescu protested the sudden influx of Soviet ‘tourists’ to Moscow at the time. See e.g. the
documents presented in Mircea Munteanu, New Evidence on the 1989 Crisis in Romania, e-Dossier no.
5, Washington D.C., Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, December 2001, pp. 3-11,
CWIHP. The Romanian Senate’s investigation into the events of December 1989 disclosed the
extraordinary jump in Soviet ‘tourists’ from 30,000 in 1988 to 67,000 in 1989 as recorded in customs
and border statistics, as well as the unexplained delay in their departure. Mention of this glaring
anomaly was qualified as unwarranted “conspiracy theory.” See e.g. Depostion of Petre Roman,
Transcript no. 90/8.03.1994, Romanian Senate Archive, Bucharest, pp. 44-45. According to ex-Prime
Minister Roman, 30,000 Russians ‘tourists’ remained in Romania for almost a year, until officially
requested to leave in October 1990. Also according to Roman, Caraman’s Foreign Intelligence Service
(SIE) informed him about them only at that time. However, since at least March, Romanian TV was
broadcasting news stories of the Russian encampments.
128 Yevgheny Primakov, “Opravdano li rasshirenie NATO? Osoboe mnenie Sluzhby vneshnei razvedki
Rossii” [Is NATO Expansion Justified? Special Opinion of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia],
Nezavisimaia gazeta, 26 November 1993; Black (2000), pp. 8-9, 109-10 and 157; “Primakov
Intervention” Brussels, NATO HQ (11 Dec 1996), February 13, 1998,; Bugajski, (2004),
p. 218.
129 Primakov propagated this through a variety of sources to Western, especially U.S., officials and
academics as inside information. He did so publicly as advisor to Putin in 2003 when Romanian
President Ion Iliescu was in Moscow to sign the first Russian-Romanian state treaty. According to
Radio Free Europe: “In a surprise statement, Primakov, who was a member of the Central Committee
of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in December 1989, said Ceauşescu asked then-USSR
President Mikhail Gorbachev to send Soviet troops to quell the revolt.” Zsolt-Istvan Mato, “Former
Russian Premier Says Ceauşescu Requested Soviet Union’s Help In December 1989,” Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty Newsline, July 7, 2003,
Primakov’s claim was widely reported in the Romanian press. See e.g. “Fostul sef al spionajului rusesc,
Evgheni Primakov: Ceauşescu a cerut, in ‘89, interventie militara sovietica in Romania” [Former Chief
of Soviet Espionage, Evghenny Primakov: Ceauşescu Requested a Soviet Miliary Intervention in
Romania in ’89], Evenimentul Zilei, July 4, 2003. Less well reported was Iliescu’s diplomatic rejection
of the Primakov claim as “false.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Newsline, July 16, 2003. See also
Yevgheny Primakov, Russian Crossroads: Toward the New Millenium, New Haven, Yale University
Press, 2004, p. 131.
130 See e.g. the documents presented in Munteanu (2001), pp. 3-11, at CWIHP.
131 Transcript of the Meeting of the Political Executive Committee of the R.C.P. C.C., December 17,
1989, Archives of the Commission and of the Civilian and Military Courts (Arhivele Comisie si
instantelor military si civil). “Commission” refers to the “Senate Commission for the Investigation of
the Events of December 1989” or, more simply, Senate Archives, Inventory 004, dosar 1, p. 20. A
version reconstituted by the stenographers from memory of only 8 pages is at ANR, fond CC al PCR,
Sectia Cancelarie, dosar 338/1989.
132 Documents 258 and 278 in Dumitru Preda and Mihai Retegan, 1989: Principiul Dominoului [1989:
The Domino Principle], Bucharest, Editura Fundatiei Culturale Romane, 2000. See also Document 1 in
Munteanu (2001). Soviet reports critical of the Romanian measures appeared on December 19, 1989 in,
for example, Pravda, Sovietskaia Rossiia, Izvestia, Selskaia Zhizni, Komsomolskaia Pravda, and
Sotsialisticheskovo Industriia. The East German and Soviet tourist agencies also issued official
communiqués regarding the temporary shutdown of tourist travel.
133 Document 278 in Preda and Retegan (2000); Document 4 in Munteanu (2001). Unfortunately, a
mistranslation of a phrase meant to indicate continuing permission for non-tourist transit (especially for
Soviet Jewish émigrés) as instead permitting Soviet “tourist transit,” in Document 5 in Munteanu
(2001), continues to generate some confusion as the extent of concern regarding Soviet “tourism.” The
translation problem is discussed in Larry L. Watts, “Romanian Revolution December 1989 (IV):
Evaluating ‘Best Evidence’,” May 7, 2015,
134 There is a “school” of analysts who simply deny the existence of Soviet tourists. The 203 page
November 1990 “Preliminary Report” of Romania’s post-communist intelligence service describes in
some detail the presence of Soviet (and Hungarian) “tourists” and their implication in violence during
the revolution. See e.g. SRI, Punct de vedere preliminara al Serviciul Roman de Informatii privind
evenimentele din decembrie 1989, Bucharest, Senate Archive, Inventory 0003, File no. 5, pp. 27-32,
138-141, 199-200. The report underscores that the causes of the revolution “were of an internal order
and tied to the essence of the totalitarian regime that, through its actions, created such tension within
the population that it was on the verge of explosion” and “the moment of detonation was only a matter
of time.” (Ibid, pp. 138-139) It also notes that Romania was “the object of special attention and
operations from multiple foreign centers” interested “for a variety of reasons” in the “destruction” of its
regime but concludes that a relatively small percentage of Soviets “tourists” were implicated in the
violence, “the majority behaving as if they were awaiting an order that never came.” (Ibid, p. 30)
135 The journalist was Viacheslav Samoshkin. Oana Balan, “Reporter rus sub gloanţe româneşti” [A
Russian Reporter Under Romanian Bullets], Adevărul, 23 December 2009. Novosti Press Agency
(APN) was well known as a KGB front. KGB Service A “active measures” personnel staffed an entire
section at APN. John Barron, KGB Today: The Hidden Hand, New York, Reader’s Digest Press, 1983,
p. 446. Even journalists who were not actually KGB officers carried out work for the KGB as a matter
of course.
136 Russia was remarkably successful in convincing Western observers that the treaty stalemate was due
to unreasonable Romanian demand for an explicit condemnation of the Hitler-Stalin Pact. In fact,
Bucharest and Moscow had reached agreement on an innocuous condemnation of all “pacts, diktats and
invasions” already in 1993. The point of contention was in fact Romania’s NATO and European
option. The Russian Federation continues to be a major obstacle to the reintegration of the Republic of
Moldova into Europe.
137 Bugajski (2004), p. 98.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cod de verificare * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.