Romanian Leader Condemns Communist Rule

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The Romanian president, Traian Basescu, on Monday formally condemned the Communist dictatorship that ruled his country for more than four decades, the first time a Romanian head of state had officially denounced the Soviet-era system.

“The regime exterminated people by assassination and deportation of hundreds of thousands of people,” Mr. Basescu told Parliament. He based his assessment on a 660-page report compiled by a presidential commission charged with analyzing the country’s Communist past.

The move, coming less than two weeks before Romania joins the European Union, represented a belated attempt by the country to make a more complete break with the Communist period than was possible in the managed revolution of 1989. After Communist authority weakened in Moscow, many of the region’s Communist officials simply changed hats and continued to participate in government when authoritarian one-party governments remade themselves, largely unchallenged, into independent free-market democracies.

When Romania’s last Communist-era dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, was overthrown and executed in 1989, he was replaced by a coalition of former Communist Party officials under the banner of the National Salvation Front.

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