Briefing given by V. I. Potapov on the dispute between the USSR and the SSR regarding the historical treatment of Soviet-Romanian relations. The SSR was accused of pursuing an independent foreign policy and offering a bad example for other socialist countries. Some issues examined were: the Romanian position in the Belgrade Negotiations, the RCP attitude towards “Eurocommunism," the Romanian position towards Africa, the Middle East and China and the Moldavian question.
May 16, 1979
Conspect of Conversations with Cde. V. I. Potapov, Head of the Romania Sector of the CPSU CC Section
This document was made possible with support from Blavatnik Family Foundation
Moldavian Communist Party CC
Conspect of Conversations with Cde. V. I. Potapov, Head of the Romania Sector of the CPSU CC Section (16 May 1979)
On 10 May of this year, at the proposal of the CC of the Moldavian Communist Party, at the headquarters of the CPSU CC a conversation took place with Cde. Potapov V.I., the head of the Romania Sector of the CPSU CC Section, who offered information referring to a series of aspects of the foreign and domestic policies of the Romanian leadership and of the meeting of CPSU CC Secretary, C. V. Rusakov, with RSR Ambassador to the USSR, G. Badrus.
Cde. Potapov underscored that, recently, the education of the population in a nationalist and anti-Russian spirit has intensified. According to the information of which we dispose, in April-May at the RCP CC and at the judeti [county] party committees there were closed sessions of scientific workers and professors from the institutions of higher education, in which problems related to the ideological and foreign policy activity of the Romanian leadership were discussed. The meetings were conducted in an anti-Soviet spirit. Thus, taking the floor at such a meeting of the RCP CC in April of this year, Gh. Pana, the president of the executive committee of the Bucharest People’s Council, the General Mayor of the Capital, speaking about the participation of Romania in the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, underscored that the CMEA organization was created in the interests of the Soviet Union and that all of its organs work in the interest of the USSR, that the Soviet Union intervenes through the CMEA in the internal affairs of Romania. Then, he remarked that the Romanian leadership would unmask all of the paths of action of the CMEA, developing bilateral relations with the member countries of the CMEA. L. Rautu, member of the Political Executive Committee of the RCP CC, rector of the St. Gheorghiu Academy of Socio-Political Sciences, gave a speech at the same meeting in a nationalist spirit, requesting the intensification of the education of the youth in a patriotic spirit and proposed that the study of the Dacian language be introduced in the philology faculties of the institutions of higher education. I. Radulescu, the RCP CC secretary, devoted his five hour discourse to some questions related to the ideological education of the population. He mentioned, among other things, the necessity of preparing and editing fundamental theoretical works, including those referring to scientific socialism, based on the “theses and doctrine” of Ceausescu.
At the same time, he underscored that the expression “Marxism-Leninism” should not be avoided and he called for, likewise, the intensification of atheist propaganda among the ranks of the population.
It is to be expected that at the 12th Congress of the RCP, which will take place in the autumn of this year, a series of Marxist theses will be revised, under the form of a “Romanianization.” The Commission created for the preparation of the proposals referring to this aspect is led by V. Roman, the author of a recently-published work, Equilibrium and Disequilibrium . In this work, V. Roman has declared for the “de-dogmatization” of Marxism, for its “liberation” from, in disguised fashion, the out-dated these of classic Marxism. He raises the question of extending the techno-scientific revolution over the domain of social sciences and “basing” the notion of “modern Marxism,” tied, in disguised fashion, to “classic Marxism,” but liberated from “out-dated dogma.”
According to the information of Cde. V. I. Potapov, the Romanian attitude towards our citizens who work in the RSR has become harsher recently, their surveillance and isolation has intensified. In conversations with our people, the Romanians avoid any discussion of political themes. At the spring book fair, which recently took place in Bucharest, the Romanian director invited the direction of the Soviet pavilion and insisted that the books of L. I. Brezhnev – The Great October [Revolution] and the Progress of Mankind and Our Aim is Peace and Socialism – as well as the INTOURIST pamphlets Visit Soviet Moldova and Welcome to Soviet Moldova , be withdrawn from the book stand. He argued this pretension on the fact that the exposition was of a technical nature and, therefore, that only technical literature must be presented.
On 27 April of this year, CPSU CC [International Department] Secretary C. V. Rusakov received RSR Ambassador to the USSR, G. Badrus, at his request. The Ambassador informed him of the decisions of the March Plenum of the RCP CC, as well as with regard to a series of foreign policy actions, undertaken by the Romanian leadership, connected with the Chinese aggression against Vietnam, with the events in Cambodia, about the conclusion of a separate accord between Egypt and Israel, as well as about other events. G. Badrus underscored the coincidence or close nature of the positions of the RSR and the USSR with regard to the issues raised. Cde. C. V. Rusakov sincerely expressed his disagreement towards the last affirmation of the RSR Ambassador and subjected the position of Romania towards the above-mentioned problems – which differ radically from the coordinated position of the USSR and the countries of the socialist community – to harsh criticism.
Cde. C. V. Rusakov drew the attention of G. Badrus to continuing provocations (following the 1977 Bucharest visit of a CPSU delegation, led by A. A. Gromyko) of some unhealthy states of mind connected with the territorial question, have led to the worsening of our relations. At the CPSU CC C.V. Rusakov underscored that a large number of letters from Soviet citizens – not only from Moldova, but from all parts of the Soviet Union – continue to arrive, in which the authors express their indignation against the direct and hidden territorial pretensions of the Romanians towards the USSR.
G. Badrus replied that the Romania side follows attentively the Soviet publications regarding the questions connected with Russo-Romanian and Soviet-Romanian relations. In the USSR, especially in the Moldavian SSR, there have recently appeared many publications that damage, supposedly, Romanian interests. However he did not concretely name any publication. Cde. C.V. Rusakov drew the Ambassador’s attention to the lack of a basis for such accusations against us. He repeated the proposal made by the CPSU delegation in Bucharest in October 1978 that the Romanian side give yet once more an official declaration (as they did in June 1976) regarding the lack on the part of the RSR of any territorial pretensions towards the USSR and towards the other socialist countries. If the Romania side desires, Cde. C. V. Rusakov underscored, then, after the Romanian declaration, the Soviet side would also give a similar declaration.
Mentioning the anti-Soviet course of the Romanian leadership in the international arena, Cde. V. I. Potapov brought, as confirmation, a series of examples. Conforming to the information at our disposal, the leadership in Beijing informed N. Ceausescu with regard to the attack on Vietnam three days before the aggression. On the eve of the aggression, in the days of the fight, and presently, the Romanian side furnished and continues to furnish China with arms and munitions, including those which it had earlier received from the USSR. In addition, Romania is now building, together with China, a large factory for the fabrication of tanks on the Soviet model, and China is to be furnished annually with three hundred combat vehicles. It has also become known that Romania re-exports to China, through a Japanese firm, pig iron received from the USSR. Thus, after the visit of Hua Guofeng to the RSR, an abrupt deviation of Romania towards China along all lines – political, military, economic – was observed. It is likewise known that, during the negotiations of the RSR representatives with those of China, the territorial question (regarding Bessarabia and Bucovina) was frequently raised, and the Chinese side, encouraging the Romanian pretensions, promised to help Romania in all ways. A multitude of articles have been published in China by Romanian and Chinese authors referring to these aspects.
Continuing, Cde. V. I. Potapov remarked on the deviation of the RSR towards the USA after the visit of Hua Guofeng in Romania and Yugoslavia and the Moscow PCC [Political Consultative Council] meeting of the countries participating in the Warsaw Pact, and the extension of its military cooperation with the RFSJ [Federal Republic of Socialist Yugoslavia]. Romanian diplomacy undertakes intensive activity, oriented towards the disconnection of the USSR, from the socialist countries and from those in the course of development. It is known that, after the fall of the Shah’s regime in Iran, the Romanian leadership quickly sent there a Moslem delegation from the RSR which, in their meeting with Khomeni, also expressed their approval with regard to the expulsion of American specialists from the country. Meanwhile, the delegation tried to warn Khomeni not to invite specialists of the USSR into Iran, underscoring, at the same time, that the interests of the great powers are all encompassing and do not coincide with the interests of the small and medium-sized countries. However, Romania, being a small country, could help Iran with specialists in a disinterested manner and is ready to develop a close cooperation.
Similar ideas, with an overtly anti-Soviet character, were expressed confidentially by the RSR Ambassador in the USSR, G. Badrus, to the Ambassador of the Afghanistan Democratic Republic, R. M. Patkin.
The Romanian leadership insistently tries to draw to its side, in anti-Soviet actions, the leaderships of Bulgaria, Poland, and the GDR.
Cde. V. I. Potapov underscored that, to the degree that its nationalist course becomes more profound, the divergences between Romania and the Soviet Union and the other fraternal countries acquires an all the more serious character and extends to many international policy questions of principal importance. The leadership of the RSR, introducing openly anti-Soviet aspects into its actions, plays an increasingly active role, in the socialist community, of the defender and promoter of the expansionist interests of Beijing, opposing the Soviet Union to other members of the Warsaw Treaty Organization, a fact that was manifested clearly especially in the pro-Chinese position with regard to the events in Cambodia and the aggression of China against Vietnam. The sense of these actions by the Romanians, apparently, consists in the attempt to “legalize” its nationalist course within the framework of the Warsaw Pact, at the basis of which stands its tendency to maneuver between the Soviet Union, the West, China, and the developing countries.
The behavior of the Romanian leaders in connection with the CCP meeting and their subsequent actions demonstrates that the current Romanian leadership cannot be counted on as a reliable ally – not presently and not, even less so, in the case of a possible worsening of the international situation. We can anticipate that Romania will purposefully continue the line of “equalizing” its relationships with the principal powers that oppose us, in the contemporary world, not only in the political domain, but also in the economic, military, cultural, etc., diminishing, at the same time, real collaboration within the framework of the Warsaw Pact and the CMEA.
At the same time, noted Cde. V. I. Potapov, the Romanian leadership obviously cannot fail to take into consideration the fact that important objective factors, and above all the geographic situation of the country [and] interest in her socio-economic development, limit the possibilities of the RSR’s complete break with the Soviet Union. Taking into account these circumstances, it seeks and tries in every way to ensure that, from outside, the relations of Romania with the USSR, with the other countries of the Warsaw Pact and the CMEA, appear normal. Of great importance in this regard also is the tendency of the USA and NATO to strengthen the RSR in the role of “insubordinate ally” of the USSR, using it in order to undermine the unity of the fraternal countries from inside, for the “loosening” of the political-military union of the socialist states.
Recent events have once again confirmed that N. Ceausescu is the principal animator of the RCP’s separate course, which he hopes to use for the consolidation of the regime of personal power which he has established in the party and in the country. Among the party Activ there is a certain dissatisfaction regarding the methods of personal leadership and some aspects of the policies of N. Ceausescu, of the line of distancing from the fraternal parties. With all of that, important layers of the RSR population wholly support his nationalist aspirations, a fact which must be taken into consideration in our relations with Romania.
Chief of the Section for Information and Relations with Foreign Countries of the Moldavian Communist Party CC
(signature) V. Andrusceak
16 May 1979
 Translator’s note: In conformity with common usage at the time, the terms “Moldavia” and “Moldova” are used to differentiate the territory and populations residing in the Moldavian SSR and in the northeastern province of Moldova in Romania. However, the Romanian language used in Romania proper as well as in Moldavia/Moldova employs the same term (“Moldova”) for both, and before the Russian empire extended into the region in the 18th century the term “Moldova” referred to one territorial unit that included both Romanian Moldova and most of the territory that eventually comprised the Moldavian SSR (as well as the Bugeac region now in Ukraine). After 1989 the US State Department Geographer officially established the English name of the new independent state as the Republic of Moldova while referring to the Romanian province as “Moldavia” for purposes of differentiation, thus reversing previous practice. This translation likewise uses the terms “Moldavians” and “Moldovans” to differentiate between the majority inhabitants of the Moldavian SSR and the Romanian province in conformity with common American usage at that time, although both referred to themselves as Moldovans then and now.
V.I Potapov informs on foreign and domestic policies of the Romanian leadership, including the education of the population in a nationalist and anti-Russian spirit, publications describing Russo-Romanian and Soviet-Romanian relations regarding Moldova, the anti-Soviet course of the Romanian leadership abroad, including the pursuit of separate relations with China. Soviet representatives claim that Ceausescu is the principal animator of the RCP’s separate course, which he wishes to use to consolidate his power.
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