Primary Source

Minutes of the Meeting between Nicolae Ceausescu and Mikhail Gorbachev, December 1989

Annotation

The seemingly cordial conversation between the Soviet and Romanian communist leaders less than two weeks before the troubles started in Timişoara provides evidence of the wide differences between them. Ceauşescu wields the formulas of orthodox socialism, while Gorbachev tries to point him toward modernization, change, flexibility, and listening to the wishes of the Romanian people. Ceauşescu is the one to invoke the Leninist vanguard party tradition and he urges Gorbachev to lead in a show of communist unity that might buttress the much shaken communist order. Gorbachev, on the other hand, wants reforms and he mentions the demise of other bloc leaders who did not heed his advice or their peoples’ calls for change. They plan another meeting for January 1990 to discuss economic relations, but by then Ceauşescu was no longer in power, nor alive. The conversation is full of ironic touches as Romanian politicians (most of all Ceauşescu) had distanced themselves from the USSR since the 1960s and insisted on full sovereignty over and above communist solidarity.

At the meeting were also present comrades Constantin Dascalescu, Prime Minister of the of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Romania, and Nikolai I. Ryzhkov, President of the Council of Ministers of USSR.

This source is a part of the The Romanian Revolution of 1989 teaching module.

"Minutes of the Meeting between Nicolae Ceausescu and Mikhail Gorbachev," 1989

Text

The seemingly cordial conversation between the Soviet and Romanian communist leaders less than two weeks before the troubles started in Timişoara provides evidence of the wide differences between them. Ceauşescu wields the formulas of orthodox socialism, while Gorbachev tries to point him toward modernization, change, flexibility, and listening to the wishes of the Romanian people. Ceauşescu is the one to invoke the Leninist vanguard party tradition and he urges Gorbachev to lead in a show of communist unity that might buttress the much shaken communist order. Gorbachev, on the other hand, wants reforms and he mentions the demise of other bloc leaders who did not heed his advice or their peoples’ calls for change. They plan another meeting for January 1990 to discuss economic relations, but by then Ceauşescu was no longer in power, nor alive. The conversation is full of ironic touches as Romanian politicians (most of all Ceauşescu) had distanced themselves from the USSR since the 1960s and insisted on full sovereignty over and above communist solidarity.

At the meeting were also present comrades Constantin Dascalescu, Prime Minister of the of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Romania, and Nikolai I. Ryzhkov, President of the Council of Ministers of USSR.

Credits

Published in Serban Sandulescu’s, December ’89. The Coup D’Etat Confiscated the Romanian Revolution (Bucharest: Omega Press Investment, 1996), pp. 283 - 298; Translated by Mircea Munteanu.]

How to Cite This Source
Minutes of the Meeting between Nicolae Ceausescu and Mikhail Gorbachev, December 1989 in World History Commons,