When he arrived in the TVR studios at 1930 hours, Nicolae Ceausescu remained ignorant to the signs foretelling of a coming storm. And with good reason. In the final days of peace in early July, 1987 there had been no signs of fomenting internal dissent visible in Romania. The Romanian Communist Party, along with practically every other institution in the nation was subordinated to Ceausescu. His cult of personality remained supreme, at least on the surface. His defiance of Soviet demands to commit the Romanian military to the war only heightened the adoration of his followers. At least in Ceausescu’s mind.
At 2000 he addressed the nation on television. He outlined the present situation and measures being taken by the government to ‘hunt down the criminals responsible for the chaos.’ The dusk-to-dawn curfew that was in effect since the start of the war would be expanded to eighteen hours beginning immediately. Martial law would also go into effect by midnight and public travel between counties was prohibited as a ‘state of inherent national emergency’ was now declared.
As Ceausescu’s speech was being broadcast, Securitate agents and militia conducted raids nationwide. Known and suspected subversives and other types of troublemakers were taken into custody. Around the same time, the Romanian government delivered an official message to the Soviet embassy. The ambassador was informed that he and his staff were being declared persona non grata and would have 24 hours to leave the country. The threat was not taken seriously.
Other figures were making preparations for action in the final hours of D+17. The coup leaders realized time was running out to neutralize Ceausescu. Each hour that went by with him still alive solidified his power. A move against him would have to come within the next twelve hours. Meanwhile, workers loyal to the regime and party members were preparing for a day of street rallies in Bucharest and other cities. Because of the extended curfew, members of the general public would not be in attendance. Or so the party believed. Opponents of the regime and agitators were making plans as well. A climactic battle appeared set to commence in the capital city and around Romania the next day.
Unfortunately for Romania and its citizens, the significance of events to come were destined to be unnoticed. Ceausescu’s struggle to remain in power would be largely forgotten by the world at large on D+18 as the threat of the nuclear genie being unleashed increased with each passing hour.
3 Replies to “The Southern Flank D+17 (26 July, 1987) Part III”
The level of mess this is threatening to become is pretty damn epic. Any other time, the Soviets would have a means of dropping a really big hammer. But with their troops and energies elsewhere…
With the level of keystone cops in their attempt earlier, the KGB is not going to be able to reliably get at him. Not without a VDV unit dropping on his palace…. and their availability is pretty low right now.
Civil War/Insurrection/Coup…. call it what you want but it will be a damn mess before its over. And in my mind, based on what’s described, its almost even money who has the slight edge. 55 to 45…. Some might say Nicky has the edge but a repressed people given the opportunity to act? Oh no…. Strange to say, but the populous and the Soviets wanting to chuck him… is probably about the only way you’d see those two factions team up. About the only way… And even then, its an alliance of convenience.
So, My money is on the insurrection here… until low-speed/high-drag gets gone. Then who the heck knows….
Interesting to note…. In Real Life(tm) the results of December 1989 showed he was not that popular a guy. Even if he managed to make the country debt free (impressive as hell, even tho the means were whack), the actions around that were the final nails in his regime’s coffin.
14 month difference between story and Real Events… and most of his crazy social control actions happened in the 1985-7 time frame…. with Conventional Wisdom thinking Nov 87 was the beginning of the end. (or so I’m reading).
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Well that last line sure is ominous.
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Caught that, eh? 🙂