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The Orthodox Nationalist: The 30 Year Anniversary of the Romanian Revolution – TON 121119

Dr Matthew Raphael Johnson looks at how Communism left Romania one of the poorest countries in Europe, when it actually produces more oil than Egypt.

Mid-December of 1989 saw the beginning of the revolution in Romania that toppled long-time dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Romania went from the fastest developing country in the Warsaw Pact, to it’s embarrassing step child that gets kicked under the stairs when company comes over.

What few realize is that Romanian economic growth came from western and Soviet investment. By the 1980s, this growth came to a screeching halt and the debt that was accumulated to the IMF came due. Ceausescu essentially sold off anything that wasn't nailed down to pay this debt, which was successful. But what is the point in paying a debt if there is nothing left when you're finished?

Even after the debt was paid by the late 1980s, his extreme austerity measures remained. His “Rational Eating Program” brought the average Romanian diet down to almost starvation levels. Hospitals only had power for a few hours a day. The economy was in free-fall with inflation growing by the hour. By the time he was executed on December 25 1989, his successor government, the National Salvation Front, could only look on helplessly as the economy was liquidated and sold off. 

When you're a major oil exporter that needs to import energy to survive, you're pretty sure the economy is irrational. As of today, Romania is the world's 27th largest oil producing state, just above Egypt.  The legacy of Ceausescu can be seen in a destroyed economy and a traumatized people.

Watching the televised execution on Christmas Day 1989, Dr Johnson was so impressed that he changed his major in college from music, to history and political science. He's been involved in East European politics ever since.

An earlier podcast on Romania from 2010 can be found HERE.

Presented by Matt Johnson

The Orthodox Nationalist: The 30 Year Anniversary of the Romanian Revolution – TON 121119


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