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Document No. 46: Report on Vadim Medvedev’s Visit to Romania February 16, 1989

Übersetzt von Anna Melyakova

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1In this document, Politburo member and head of the ideology department Vadim Medvedev reports to the Politburo on his just-completed visit to Romania, where, as he describes it, Ceauşescu has changed his stance 180 degrees. From insisting on independence for each of the allies, to becoming the enforcer of the communist faith, he is now proposing ideological excommunication for apostates such as Hungary. But, Medvedev says, “it is not in our best interest to react to these maneuvers;” Moscow should simply alert the other bloc allies as to what to expect at upcoming meetings. Here we see the Soviets’ non-interference policy at work. Kremlin leaders are hoping that more progressive leaders in the bloc will commit to perestroika, be dismissive of the old Brezhnevites (even Stalinists), but still try to stay out of direct personnel discussions, not to mention the string-pulling that would be necessary actually to change the leaderships. Noteworthy is Gorbachev’s colorful comment about the Romanians: “they are afraid to catch the ‘AIDS’ of perestroika from us.”

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3Gorbachev: To all appearances, over there they are afraid to catch the “AIDS” of perestroika from us. […]

4Medvedev: During the visit we signed a plan for ideological collaboration between the CPSU and the CPR [Communist Party of Romania] for the years 1989-90. It consolidates and deepens the opportunities for strengthening our influence on Romania in the sphere of ideological collaboration, opportunities that we developed at the top level meetings. A bilateral committee on social sciences could play an important role in this matter. At the same time, we should not entertain any illusions in this respect. The Romanian leadership’s attitude toward new, more promising forms of interaction remains evasive and essentially negative. The Romanians have once again avoided answering our proposal to open bilateral cultural-informational centers, or at least libraries, similar to the ones the U.S., FRG, Italy and France have in Bucharest.

5As the meetings in Romania have shown, particularly the meetings with professors from the Party Academy, there is great interest in our country’s perestroika processes. Regrettably, a two-hour-long talk with Ceauşescu confirmed the Romanian leadership’s cautious and critical attitude toward perestroika and the reforms [taking place] in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. Ceauşescu stated that he is concerned about the return of forms of capitalist property to some of the socialist countries. He insists on conducting a special meeting of fraternal party leaders; he refuses to conduct an exchange of opinions when the fraternal parties’ leaders will be in Bucharest at the PCC session.

6Ceauşescu has undergone yet another metamorphosis. It is as if he has changed his position diametrically. He used to give absolute value to independence; he spoke about the sovereignty of every party in developing policies. Now he talks about general principles, claiming the role of a judge trying to pronounce peremptory judgments about what in other countries’ policies does or does not correspond to the principles of socialism. Ceauşescu does not specify whom exactly he has in mind when he speaks of apostasy, however it is absolutely clear that he is talking primarily about Hungary. He also throws comments at our camp. At the same time, the Romanian leadership would not be against pulling us into the anti-Hungarian campaign as its ally.

7In our propaganda to Romania, in the contacts with Romanian representatives we should pay special attention to clarifying those elements of the concept of perestroika that are misunderstood and distorted in Bucharest. These are: the leasing, the contracts, glasnost policy, the condemnation of mistakes and the warping of the past, and elements of our electoral system.

8It can be expected that the Romanian leadership’s views will be reflected in the behavior of the Romanian representatives at the approaching fraternal CC party meetings on ideological and economic problems, and at other multilateral forums. Most likely, Ceauşescu will raise [these views] at the general secretaries’ working meeting. It is possible that he has made them known to leaders of a number of parties. It seems that it is not in our best interest to react to these maneuvers by the Romanians. We should give the leaders of other parties some orientation regarding Ceauşescu’s intentions.

9[Source: Archive of the Gorbachev Foundation. Fond 2. Opis 2. On file at the National Security Archive. Translated by Anna Melyakova.]

© Central European University Press, 2010

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