Cretianu Alexandru, Captive Romania: A Decade of Soviet Rule ( Baltimore, MD, 1969); Georgescu Vlad, Romania: 40 Years (1944-1984) ( New York, 1985); Ionescu Ghita, Communism in Romania, 1944-1962 ( New York, 1964); Shafir Michael, Romania: Politics, Economics and Society ( Boulder, CO, 1985).
Iliescu, Ion (1930-). For many years before 1985, Ion Iliescu was considered, in well-informed Romanian circles, to be the likely successor to Nicolae Ceausescu (see Ceausescu, Nicolae). His father, a railroad worker, had joined the illegal Communist party in the 1930s. In 1945, young Ion joined the Union of Communist Youth and soon rose to leadership in the organization. In 1950, he was sent to the Soviet Union where he studied to become a hydroelectric engineer. In Moscow, he was appointed secretary to the Communist Youth of Romanian University Students.
In 1954, Iliescu returned home and became a party apparatchik. For three years, he was the full-time chairman of the Communist Federation of Romanian University Students. In 1966, he was promoted to membership in the propaganda and ideology department of the Central Committee of the Communist party. He was still only thirty-five years old when he reached that prestigious position. By then, Ceausescu was the general secretary of the party. Iliescu next became minister of youth affairs and the leader of the Union of Communist Youth. In 1971, he was again promoted, this time to the secretariat of the Central Committee of the party in charge of ideology. In that year, he accompanied Ceausescu on his official visit to Beijing and Pyongyang. However, when Ceausescu, upon their return, drew up plans for a Chinese-style Romanian cultural revolution, Iliescu demurred. In consequence, he lost the leader's favor and was sent to the county of Timisoara as party secretary of the region in charge of propaganda. But he also became a candidate (nonvoting) member of the Political Executive Committee, as the Politburo was then called.
In 1979, Iliescu was recalled to Bucharest as head of the National Water Council. He also became a member of the Council of State, headed by Nicolae Ceausescu himself. By 1984, however, Ceausescu once again considered him unreliable. He was then deprived of all his posts and appointed director of the state technical publishing house in Bucharest, a politically meaningless appointment.
Iliescu acquired a reputation as a moderate even in the Ceausescu circles, and his personable ways endeared him to many in the administration. On December 22, 1989, Iliescu resurfaced and was immediately included in the leadership of the National Salvation Front. The front won the elections in 1990, and Iliescu became head of the government. When the opposition became vocal, because the old nomenklatura remained basically in power after the revolution, Iliescu invited the miners of the Jiu Valley "to clear the square before parliament," occupied by antigoverrunent demonstrators. His government provided buses and trains for the miners who had done a thorough job of intimidating the opposition, beating them up and wrecking their party offices. Through such undemocratic means, Iliescu and his