Romanian Communist Party

The Romanian Communist Party (Romanian: Partidul Comunist Român, [parˈtidul kɔmunˈist rɔˈmɨn], PCR) was a communist party in Romania. Successor to the pro-Bolshevik wing of the Socialist Party of Romania, it gave ideological endorsement to a communist revolution that would replace the social system of the Kingdom of Romania. After being outlawed in 1924, the PCR remained a minor and illegal grouping for much of the interwar period, and submitted to direct Comintern control. During the 1920s and 1930s, most of its activists were imprisoned or took refuge in the Soviet Union, which led to the creation of competing factions which at times came in open conflict. This did not prevent the party from participating in the political life of the country through various front organizations, most notably the Peasant Workers' Bloc. The Communist Party emerged as a powerful actor on the Romanian political scene in August 1944, when it became involved in the royal coup that toppled the pro-Nazi government of Ion Antonescu. With support from Soviet occupational forces, the PCR was able to pressure King Michael I into abdicating, and establish the Romanian People's Republic in December 1947.

Romanian Communist Party
Partidul Comunist Român
General Secretary (s)Gheorghe Cristescu (first)
Nicolae Ceaușescu (last)
Founded8 May 1921 (1921-05-08)
Dissolved22 December 1989 (1989-12-22)
HeadquartersBucharest
NewspaperScînteia
Youth wingUnion of Communist Youth
Paramilitary wingPatriotic Guards
IdeologyCommunism
Marxism–Leninism
Neo-Stalinism
Anti-revisionism
Left-wing nationalism
After 1960
National Communism
Political positionFar-left
European affiliationBalkan Communist Federation (1921–39)
International affiliationComintern (1921–43),
Cominform (1947–56)
Colours  Red   Gold
Party flag

The party operated under the title of the Romanian Workers' Party (Partidul Muncitoresc Romîn between 1948 and 1964 and Partidul Muncitoresc Român in 1964 and 1965) until being officially renamed by Nicolae Ceaușescu, who had just been elected secretary general. From 1953 until 1989, it was for all intents and purposes the only legally permitted party in the country. The PCR was a communist party, organised on the basis of democratic centralism, a principle conceived by Russian Marxist theoretician Vladimir Lenin which entails democratic and open discussion on policy on the condition of unity in upholding the agreed upon policies. The highest body within the PCR was the Party Congress, which, beginning in 1969, convened every five years. When the Congress was not in session, the Central Committee was the highest body. Because the Central Committee met twice a year, most day-to-day duties and responsibilities were vested in the Politburo. The party leader held the office of General Secretary and after 1945 held significant influence over the government; between 1974 and 1989 the General Secretary also held the office of President of Romania.

Ideologically, the PCR was committed to Marxism–Leninism, a fusion of the original ideas of German philosopher and economic theorist Karl Marx, and Lenin, was introduced in 1929 by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, as the party's guiding ideology and would remain so through much of its existence. In 1947, the Communist Party absorbed the Romanian Social Democratic Party, while attracting various new members. In the early 1950s, the group around Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, with support from Stalin, defeated all the other factions and achieved full control over the party and country. After 1953, the Party gradually theorized a "national path" to Communism. At the same time, however, the party delayed the time to join its Warsaw Pact brethren in de-Stalinization. The PCR's nationalist and national communist stance was continued under the leadership of Nicolae Ceaușescu. Following an episode of liberalization in the late 1960s, Ceaușescu again adopted a hard line, and imposed the "July Theses", re-Stalinizing the party's rule by intensifying the spreading of communist ideology in Romanian society and at the same time consolidating his grip on power whilst using the Party's authority to brew a persuasive personality cult. Over the years, the PCR massively increased in size, becoming entirely submitted to Ceaușescu's will. From the 1960s onward, it had a reputation for being far more independent of the Soviet Union than its brethren in the Warsaw Pact. However, at the same time it became the most hardline party in the Eastern Bloc, harming its relationship with even the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It collapsed in 1989 in the wake of the Romanian Revolution.

The PCR coordinated several organizations during its existence, including the Union of Communist Youth, and organized training for its cadres at the Ștefan Gheorghiu Academy. In addition to Scînteia, its official platform and main newspaper between 1931 and 1989, the Communist Party issued several local and national publications at various points in its history (including, after 1944, România Liberă).