Marxists Internet Archive: Nicolae Ceaușescu
Nicolae Ceaușescu (5 February [O.S. 23 January] 1918 – 25 December 1989), born in 1918 in Scornicești, Olt County, was a Romanian communist politician and head of state. He was the general secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and the second and last Communist leader of Romania.
In his youth Ceaușescu was a member of the Romanian Communist youth movement. He later rose through the ranks of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej's Socialist government and, upon Gheorghiu-Dej's death in 1965, he succeeded to the leadership of the Romanian Communist Party as General Secretary. In 1967 he was made the country's head of state, serving as President of the State Council and concurrently, from 1974, as President of the Republic.
Ceaușescu received an initial surge of popularity due to easing of censorship, condemnation of the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. His government's relative independence from the Soviet Union, allowed the country initially evade some of the Western countries' anti-communist measures and to access Western financial aid and loans.
In time, however, economic mismanagement and austerity imposed in an effort to pay back those loans led to a marked decline in Romanian's standard of living. Politically, his government grew more authoritarian over time as well, with the secret police, the Securitate, engaging in mass surveillance and repression. Censorship was tightened, to the point that radio stations were closed, television broadcasts were limited to a single channel which broadcast only two hours per day, and owners of typewriters were obligated to take them in monthly for the police to obtain typescript samples.
During the Romanian Revolution of 1989, Ceaușescu and his wife, Elena, were captured by troops who had joined the rebellion. After being summarily tried and convicted of economic sabotage and genocide, both were immediately executed by firing squad on 25 December 1989.