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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 04, 1968


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    Report for the First Secretary of the Moldavian Communist Party on actions taken to prevent Romanian press from reaching the population of the Moldavian Socialist Soviet Republic. The fact that press from Romania made its way into the population at large is blamed for the inability of the Propaganda Department to control the information about the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.
    "Report for the First Secretary of the Moldavian Communist Party on actions taken to prevent the circulation of Romanian Press in Moldavia," October 04, 1968, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Arhiva Organizatiilor Social-Politice a Republicii Moldova (AOSPRM), Fond (F.) 51, Inventar (I.) 29, Dosar (D.) 49, Foaie (ff.) 41-42. Translated by Mark Kramer.
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Insofar as the Romanian leadership adopted a special and harmful position on a whole range of important issues pertaining to the international Communist and workers' movement, and expressed sharp opposition to the measures taken by the five socialist states to halt the counterrevolution in Czechoslovakia, and insofar as the Romanian press published materials and statements by Romanian and foreign authors that were hostile to the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries, and republished anti-Soviet materials from foreign press organs, including bourgeois press organs, the Bureau of the CC of the Communist Party of Moldavia gave instructions to the minister of communications of the Moldavian SSR, Cde. V. P. Russu, that, beginning on 21 August 1968, he should prevent Romanian periodicals from being distributed within the republic until special instructions were received.

After checking information that flowed into the CC Department of Propaganda and Agitation of the Moldavian Communist Party, it was established that Cde. V. P. Russu did not carry out the instructions of the Bureau of the Moldavian Communist Party CC. The Kishinev branch of the postal delivery system (headed by Cde. P. P. Grigorashchenko) withheld and destroyed, in accordance with the order, only the Romanian newspapers for 22-28 and 30 August and for 1, 28, and 29 September. The remaining journals and newspapers were sent to subscribers, often for retail sale.

By way of explanation, Cde. P. P. Grigorashchenko reported that the processing and forwarding of Romanian periodicals and other publications from 21 August to 28 September were handled on the basis of a written directive from the USSR Ministry of Communications and from the Moldavian SSR Ministry of Communications, according to which all incoming Romanian newspapers should be stored in the mail delivery branch's facilities for two days and journals should be stored for four days. If during this time, no further directive arrived by telegram from the Moscow International Post Office to continue holding back the items in questions, they should be sent out to the subscribers. Until 28 September, no other sorts of instructions about this matter were received at the postal delivery branch. Only on 28 September did Cde. V. P. Russu transmit an instruction that all Romanian newspapers and journals should be held back. This was promptly carried out.

In the meantime, the subscribers received Romanian newspapers containing items of disinformation that misled readers and damaged efforts to promote a Communist outlook among the republic's population. They received copies of “Scînteia,” “România Liberã,” “Muncã,” “Scînteia Þineretului,”and other papers for 31 August containing the speech by J. Smrkovský, in which he provided an ominous account of the Soviet-Czechoslovak negotiations in Moscow on 23-26 August and described the entry of troops into Czechoslovakia as the most trying moment in his own life and in the life of the Czechoslovak nation. The subscribers also received copies of “Scînteia” and other newspapers for 29 August with a statement by the Executive Committee of the Romanian Communist Party CC, which demanded that all troops of the five socialist states be withdrawn immediately from Czechoslovakia.

This same issue of “Scînteia” features Ceauºescu's speech in Cluj, in which he compared “certain theoreticians of Marxism” with Louis XIV and claimed, among other things, that these theoreticians are trying to affirm the principle of “Marxisme c'est moi.” The subscribers received not only the newspapers featuring speeches by Ceauºescu and other Romanian leaders, which are filled with venomous nationalism and which attempt to prove the correctness of Romania's policy toward the events in Czechoslovakia, but also a number of items highlighting the positions of other [Communist] parties that share the Romanians' point of view about the unity of the socialist countries and the Communist movement and about the date for convening a new conference of Communist and workers' parties.

The CC Propaganda Department of the Moldavian Communist Party believes that this blatant violation of party discipline by Cde. V. P. Russu and other officials of the Ministry of Communications on such an important political issue deserves condemnation by the Bureau of the Moldavian Communist Party CC.

Head of the Department for Propaganda and Agitation
of the CC of the Moldavian Communist Party

A. Konstantinov