The December Revolt and the Coup D'Etat - 1989

The Aftermath: Remnants Of The Securitate Join The Army And The NSF

In the aftermath of the revolution it has become apparent that the NSF Council used loyal Securitate officers and troops to form the backbone of new security and intelligence organizations, which were initially under the control of the army. In January 1990, President Iliescu stated that 'the Securitate has been dissolved and so has its main leadership', but 'many of those who belonged to the combatant forces... we have integrated ... into the Army'.179 At least eight generals in the Securitate and an unknown number of other officers were arrested in December 1989 and early 1990. However, numerous reports indicate that after the fighting subsided Securitate officers posted in towns and areas outside of Bucharest continued to carry on their activities without interruption, evidently working for the new regime.180 Some Securitate officers even informed targets of their repressive activities under Ceausescu that they would still be watching them because it was now their duty to defend 'against the counterrevolution'.181

Generals Militaru and Stanculescu oversaw the integration of the Securitate into the armed forces. They were assisted in that task by the Iliescu's special counselor on state security questions, former Securitate officer and leader of the reported 'Securitate group', Virgil Magureanu. 182 Before his departure from the government in February 1990, General Militaru placed the four surveillance and counter-intelligence departments previously controlled by the Securitate under army control.183 The 'technical departments necessary to the functioning of communications for the telephone system' in Securitate units located in Bucharest, Timisoara, Sibiu, Brasov, and Cluj also remained in place under army control, according to Stanculescu. In fact, all of the Securitate's central files and electronic surveillance equipment were transferred to the army immediately following the revolution.184

A week after the NSF Council was replaced by a new Council of National Unity on 9 February 1990,185 General Militaru resigned, claiming that he had completed his 'mission'.186 Militaru was replaced as Defense Minister by Colonel General Victor A. Stanculescu, a man with no obvious Soviet connections,187 but who was reportedly responsible for ordering troops to fire on demonstrators in Timisoara on 17 December. As Minister of Defense, Stanculescu oversaw the rebuilding of the security apparatus under the auspices of the armed forces. On 21 February 1990, he announced that Securitate departments that had not disbanded were now integrated into the army, and that the armed forces would be establishing an internal security force consisting of State Security officers who had proved their 'loyalty to the state'.188

Since early 1990 Iliescu has surrounded himself with a group of senior military and ex-Securitate officers.189 A former colonel in the Securitate, Pirvutoiu Constantin, was appointed as Romanian Ambassador to the EC. His first deputy was Major Cristeia, the former Securitate head of station in Paris.190 Other Securitate officers have been appointed to embassy posts in Vienna, Warsaw, and the United States.191 Ion Pacepa has stated that he has contacted some of his old cohorts still working for the new Romanian Intelligence Service, and still believes that they and numerous former Securitate officers in various bureaucracies 'are still doing business as usual'.192

The presence of former Securitate officers and troops throughout the government and military has alienated large sectors of the Romanian populace. Many Romanians believe that former Securitate officers are behind the sometimes brutal intimidation of opposition parties and key opposition figures that has occurred under Iliescu.193 To counter this negative image Iliescu has attempted to play down the repressive activities of the Securitate under Ceausescu,194 and has taken to blaming the 'terrorist' actions of Securitate officers between 22 December and 31 December on a select group of officers specially trained by Ceausescu, who had nothing to do with other officers and troops in the Securitate. Although the Securitate no longer exists, its legacy survived the December revolution.