A photograph came across my desk depicting an arch of triumph of sorts which declared 1965-1985 “The Ceausescu Epoch – The Golden Epoch of Romania.”
If you ask any Romanian, this twenty-year period was one of the most tyrannical and oppressive regimes in its known history. It was a painful period of dark and repressive communist dictatorship maintained and characterized by brute force, fear, mental control, and constant food rationing.
The young pioneers, communists in training, “soimii patriei” (The Country’s Eagles), euphemistically “named” by Ceausescu himself, adopted the motto “Tot inainte,” (Ever Forward). A pioneer’s guide indoctrinated them how to behave as young communists. It seems that both communists and Socialist Democrat lefties are very fond of pathetic euphemisms which misrepresent reality.
On any given day the self-described Democrat Socialist left is trampling on the opposition’s rights, turning us into a collective guy facing a communist rolling tank in Tiananmen Square.
The two communist run television channels broadcast from 1 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily with a heavy dose of political indoctrination via carefully crafted and chosen entertainment and documentaries such as “The works of Comrade Ceausescu – Huge horizons opened for the revolutionary theory and practice,” the unfailing and tireless activity devoted to increasing the communist party role in society, “Science and Scientific Socialism as remarkable forces of production,” “We live decades of grandiose fulfillments,” choreographed literary-musical production aimed at bamboozling the proletariat into blind submission, and “From the big book of communism, the patriotic revolutionary responsibility of youth in Romania’s future in the Ceausescu Epoch,” more indoctrination for the generation of Nicolae Ceausescu’s Epoch, euphemistically and deceptively named “the generation of the revolutionary spirit and actions.”
In the painful daily reality, the proletariat and their children were forced to sing, march, and praise the dear leader, and the population in general was starved on a meager diet and bombarded with a false sense of wellbeing and daily doses of deviously crafted lies.
The communist subjects of all ages were forced to “recognize, apply, and respect the principles and norms of the labor and life of communists, of the ethic and equity of socialism – order, discipline, responsibility, and liability in all activities.”
Western visitors commented on how beautiful Romanian women were, thin as twigs but foreign guests did not understand the real reason for this forced thinness – the lack of food, the rationing of food via stamped cards, the endless daily lines, and the Communist Party prescribed caloric rations.
“The Program of Scientific Nutrition” decreed in July 1982 that men should have 37 g of protein and women 29 g of protein per day. The recommended caloric intake based on the type of activity - light, medium, forte, and exceptional - ranged from 2,000 to 2,700 calories for women and 2,700 to 4,000 for men. It seemed like a reasonable schedule except for the fact that most people would have been hard-pressed to find much food to deliver enough protein and nutrition. The obvious thinness of the population bore testimony to the lack of food. https://adevarul.ro/locale/ploiesti/programul-alimentatie-stiintifica-populatiei-comunism-trebuia-manance-cantareasca-persoana-1_57ac8f245ab6550cb8ab50f6/index.html
The “recommended” food intake was even lower for the rural population and their rationing cards entitled them to less food. If a villager wanted to raise a pig for his family’s use, he had to raise another one and donate it to the state.
People were not allowed to buy food anywhere else except in the area in which they lived. In other words, the rationing cards were valid only in one’s neighborhood stores.
The light activity category was comprised of office workers and housewives who owned stoves and other electric appliances.
The medium activity referred to workers in the light industry, men in construction industry, agriculture, students, and the military.
The forte activity category included miners, workers in the heavy industry, women in agriculture, soldiers in the field, dancers, and athletes.
The exceptional activity category encompassed metal workers, workers in abattoirs and butcher shops, dock workers in ports, and women in construction. https://cultural.bzi.ro/programul-de-alimentatie-stiintifica-a-populatiei-elena-ceausescu-daca-vor-sa-manance-mai-mult-riscul-este-al-lor-7053
Monthly rations of food for the average adult included:
- 300 g of daily bread
- Chicken (1 kg)
- Beef or pork (500 g); in case of severe food shortages, the party guidelines suggested buying canned meat from the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia.
- Cheese (500 g every three months)
- Butter (100 g)
- Sugar (1 kg)
- Corn meal (1 kg)
- Flour (1 kg every three months)
- Eggs (8-12)
Workers involved in harder labor were entitled to extra 300 g of basic foods listed every month. Their families had to stand in line for the extra food, if available, and present extra rationing coupons issued to them by the state.
Depending on the year and the type of shortages, usually caused by irrational exportation of food to foreign countries in exchange for hard currency and bad centralized planning by communist ideologues who had no idea how to run any economy, rationing cards were issued for shoes, clothing, food like flour, beans, cooking oil, sugar, rice, and other necessities.
Ceausescu’s Golden epoch of failed socialist rule by the Communist Party was nothing but a tarnished and empty goblet of promises and lies for the hapless proletariat who barely survived on an equal pay survival level that would have shocked even other Stalinist satellite countries.