The “Letter of the Six“. On the Political (Sub)Culture of the Romanian Communist Elite Cover Image

The “Letter of the Six“. On the Political (Sub)Culture of the Romanian Communist Elite
The “Letter of the Six“. On the Political (Sub)Culture of the Romanian Communist Elite

Author(s): Cristina Petrescu
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti

Summary/Abstract: Using the concept of political culture, this article highlights that enduring patterns of thought and action governed the attitudes and the behavior of the Romanian communist elite since its coming to power and until the very end. Identity forming experiences from early periods, prior to the takeover and up to the Hungarian Revolution, decisively shaped the minds of the RCP leadership in such a way as to transform this party into the most monolithic in the entire Soviet bloc. Consequently, a reformist wing did not emerge from within the party ranks, as it happened in the other communist countries. This would directly influence not only the way in which communism collapsed in Romania, but also the transition from communism in this country. It was the revolution of 1989 that opposed for the first time a group of old-timers with reformist views to a dictator who hated reforms. In order to illustrate this thesis, the present study discusses the so-called "letter of the six" addressed to Nicolae Ceauºescu by six former members of the nomenklatura in March 1989. The article analyzes the conditions in which the protest emerged, the reaction of the regime when confronted with an unprecedented gesture, its impact on the Romanian population as well as abroad and, finally, its legacies in the post-communist period. The criticism of the supreme leader expressed in this letter did not provoke the revolution. It represented, however, the first reform communist manifesto in this country, and it expressed views that, through the post-1989 Romanian political elite, would become influential in the early days of post-communism, delaying the genuine democratic transition.

  • Issue Year: 5/2005
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 355-383
  • Page Count: 1
  • Language: English