Nicolae Ceausescu & wife: killed Dec. 25, 1989 by soldiers after being overthrown.
Nicolae CeauÈ™escu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and as such was the country’s last Communist leader. He was also the country’s head of state from 1967 to 1989.
CeauÈ™escu’s regime became increasingly brutal and repressive. By some accounts, his rule was the most rigidly Stalinist in the Soviet bloc. His secret police, the Securitate, maintained strict controls over speech and the media, and internal dissent was not tolerated. In 1982, with the goal of paying off Romania’s large foreign debt, CeauÈ™escu ordered the export of much of the country’s agricultural and industrial production. The resulting extreme shortages of food, fuel, energy, medicines, and other basic necessities drastically lowered living standards and intensified unrest. CeauÈ™escu’s regime was also marked by an extensive and ubiquitous cult of personality, nationalism, a continuing deterioration in foreign relations even with the Soviet Union, and nepotism.
CeauÈ™escu’s regime collapsed after he ordered his security forces to fire on antigovernment demonstrators in the city of TimiÈ™oara on 17 December 1989. The demonstrations spread to Bucharest and became known as the Romanian Revolution of 1989, which was the only violent overthrow of a Communist government during the revolutions of 1989. CeauÈ™escu and his wife, Elena, fled the capital in a helicopter but were captured by the armed forces. On 25 December the couple were hastily tried and convicted by a special military tribunal on charges of mass murder in a two-hour court session. CeauÈ™escu and his wife were then shot by a firing squad.
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