/ romeɪniə /
Množina reči Romania je Romanias.
Romania · Roumania · Rumania
A Balkan republic in southeastern Europe; Also called: Roumania, Rumania.
Country in SE Europe, bounded N and E by Ukraine, E by Moldova, SE by the Black Sea, S by Bulgaria, SW by Yugoslavia, and NW by Hungary.
Under the 1991 constitution, Romania has a two-chamber legislature, comprising a 341-member lower chamber, the Chamber of Deputies, in which additional seats are set aside for minorities, and a 143-member upper chamber, the Senate. Both are elected for four-year terms by means of proportional representation in multiparty contests. An executive president, who appoints the prime minister, is directly elected for a four-year term in a two-round majority contest.
The earliest known inhabitants merged with invaders from Thrace. Ancient Rome made it the province of Dacia; the poet Ovid was one of the settlers, and the people and language were Romanized. After the withdrawal of the Romans AD 275, Romania was occupied by Goths, and during the 6th–12th centuries was overrun by Huns, Bulgars, Slavs, and other invaders. The principalities of Wallachia in the south, and Moldavia in the east, dating from the 14th century, fell to the Ottoman Empire in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Turkish rule was exchanged for Russian protection 1829–56. In 1859 Moldavia and Wallachia elected Prince Alexander Cuza, under whom they were united as Romania from 1861. He was deposed 1866 and Prince Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen elected. After the Russo-Turkish war 1877–78, in which Romania sided with Russia, the great powers recognized Romania's independence, and in 1881 Prince Charles became King Carol I.
Romania fought against Bulgaria in the Second Balkan War 1913 and annexed S Dobruja. It entered World War I on the Allied side 1916, was occupied by the Germans 1917–18, but received Bessarabia from Russia and Bukovina and Transylvania from the dismembered Hapsburg empire under the 1918 peace settlement, thus emerging as the largest state in the Balkans. During the late 1930s, to counter the growing popularity of the fascist Iron Guard movement, Carol II abolished the democratic constitution of 1923 and established his own dictatorship.
World War II
In 1940 he was forced to surrender Bessarabia and N Bukovina to the USSR, N Transylvania to Hungary, and S Dobruja to Bulgaria, and abdicated when Romania was occupied by Germany in Aug. Power was assumed by Ion Antonescu (1882–1946, ruling in the name of Carol's son King Michael), who signed the Axis Pact Nov 1940 and declared war on the USSR June 1941. In Aug 1944, with the Red Army on Romania's borders, King Michael supported the ousting of the Antonescu government by a coalition of left and center parties, including the Communists. Romania subsequently joined the war against Germany and in the Paris peace treaties 1947 recovered Transylvania but lost Bessarabia and N Bukovina to the USSR (they were included in Moldavia and the Ukraine) and S Dobruja to Bulgaria.
In the elections 1946 a Communist-led coalition achieved a majority and proceeded to force King Michael to abdicate. The new Romanian People's Republic was proclaimed Dec 1947 and dominated by the Romanian Communist Party, then termed the Romanian Workers' Party (RWP). Soviet-style constitutions were adopted 1948 and 1952; Romania joined Comecon 1949 and co-signed the Warsaw Pact 1955; and a program of nationalization and agricultural collectivization was launched. After a rapid purge of opposition leaders, the RWP became firmly established in power, enabling Soviet occupation forces to leave the country 1958.
The dominant political personality 1945–65 was RWP leader and state president Gheorghe Gheorgiu-Dej. He was succeeded by Nicolae Ceausescu, who placed greater emphasis on national autonomy and proclaimed Romania a socialist republic. Under Ceausescu, Romania adopted a foreign-policy line independent of the USSR, condemned the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, and refused to participate directly in Warsaw Pact maneuvers or allow Russian troops to enter the country. Ceausescu called for multilateral nuclear disarmament and the creation of a Balkan nuclear-weapons-free zone, and maintained warm relations with China. He was created president 1974.
At home, the secret police (Securitate) maintained a tight Stalinist rein on dissident activities, while a Ceausescu personality cult was propagated, with almost 40 members of the president's extended family, including his wife Elena and son Nicu, occupying senior party and state positions. Economic difficulties mounted as Ceausescu, pledging himself to repay the country's accumulated foreign debt (achieved 1989), embarked on an austerity program. This led to food shortages and widespread power cuts in the winters from 1985 onward; the army occupied power plants and brutally crushed workers' demonstrations in Brasov 1987.
relations with neighbors
From 1985 Ceausescu refused to follow the path of political and economic reform laid by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, even calling in the spring of 1989 for Warsaw Pact nations to intervene to prevent the opposition Solidarity movement from assuming power in Poland. Romania’s relations with Hungary also reached crisis point 1988–89 as a result of a Ceausescu “systematization plan” to demolish 7,000 villages and replace them with 500 agro-industrial complexes, in the process forcibly resettling and assimilating Transylvania-based ethnic Hungarians.
overthrow of Ceausescu
The unexpected overthrow of the Ceausescu regime began Dec 1989. It was sparked off by the government’s plans to exile a dissident Protestant pastor, László Tökes (1952– ), to a remote village. Ethnic Hungarians and Romanians joined forces in the city of Timisoara to form an anti-Ceausescu protest movement. Hundreds of demonstrators were killed in the state’s subsequent crackdown on 17 Dec. Four days later, an officially sponsored rally in Bucharest backfired when the crowd chanted anti-Ceausescu slogans. Divisions between the military and Securitate rapidly emerged and on 22 Dec the army Chief of Staff, General Stefan Gusa, turned against the president and called on his soldiers to “defend the uprising”. Ceausescu attempted to flee, but was caught and he and his wife were summarily tried and executed on Christmas Day.
National Salvation Front
Battles between Ceausescu-loyal Securitate members and the army ensued in Bucharest, with several thousand being killed, but the army seizing the upper hand. A National Salvation Front was established, embracing former dissident intellectuals, reform communists, and military leaders. At its head was Ion Iliescu (1930– ), a Moscow-trained communist; Peter Roman (1947– ), an engineer without political experience, was appointed prime minister. The Front’s council proceeded to relegalize the formation of alternative political parties and draft a new constitution. Faced with grave economic problems, it initiated a ban on the export of foodstuffs, the abandonment of the “systematization program”, the dissolution of the Securitate (a new intelligence service, accountable to parliament, was set up in its place), the abolition of the RCP’s leading role, and the relegalization of small-plot farming and abortion (all contraception had been banned by Ceausescu). It legalized the Orthodox Church, and the Vatican reestabli
shed diplomatic relations.
In May 1990 Ion Iliescu won the country's first free elections since World War II. Moving toward a legal market economy, the government cut subsidies, the leu was devalued, and prices were allowed to float. Industrial exports slumped and strikes and protests increased until the government agreed to postpone its price-liberalization program. Refugees continued to leave the country and there were demonstrations against the government during Dec 1990 and Jan 1991, especially in Timisoara and Bucharest.
The second stage of price liberalization commenced April 1991, despite labor-union protests against the sharply rising cost of living and level of unemployment (over 1 million). At the same time the leu was devalued by 72% to meet the loan conditions set by the International Monetary Fund. President Iliescu signed a law in Aug to allow for the privatization of all state enterprises except utilities. In Nov 1991 the leu was made internally convertible. Prices rose 400% during 1991 and hundreds of thousands were on short-time work. GNP fell during 1991 to 12%.
In late Sept 1991 prime minister Peter Roman resigned after three days of riots in Bucharest by thousands of striking miners, protesting against soaring prices and a fall in living standards. Theodor Stolojan, the finance minister and a proponent of accelerated price liberalization, was appointed prime minister. He formed a new, cross-party coalition government Oct 1991.
A national referendum Dec 1991 overwhelmingly endorsed a new constitution which guaranteed pluralism, human rights, and a free market. Iliescu was reelected in the Sept–Oct 1992 presidential election on a second ballot, promising more gradual market reforms; concurrent legislative elections resulted in a no majority parliament.
Romania was formally invited to apply for European Community (now European Union) membership 1993. In 1994 a pact was signed with Bulgaria agreeing to joint military activities.