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During the Cold War the Socialist Republic of Romania was aligned with the USSR and within the Soviet sphere of influence. What appears odd is that while Russian Communism slowly liberalised after Stalin's death and Khrushchev's 1956 speech "On the Cult of Personality and its Consequences", Romania went the other way.

Nicolae Ceaușescu's denunciation of the invasion of Czechoslovakia and brief liberalisation of the press preceded a slide into a decidedly more totalitarian society. Russian politics over the same time frame appeared to grow less about personality cults and the like, while Romania became more about this sort of thing.

Russia underwent de-Stalinisation beginning 1956, while Ceaușescu started his personality cult (inspired by Kim Il-sung's) around 1971. This was long after Stalin's was no longer in effect, and became far more powerful than the cult of Ceaușescu's predecessor.

Why did Russian Communism evolve from Stalinism into Glasnost, and yet Romanian Communism mutated from denouncing the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia into a Maoist personality cult inspired by North Korea?


Soviet leaders appeared to alternate between progressive and regressive policy. From Stalin's purges to Khrushchev's thaw, from Brezhnev's freeze to Gorbachev's openness... and then a coup to try and stop Gorbachev.

The general character of repressive policy became less severe each time. Brezhnev's repression never went as far as Stalin's, and Andropov's rule included the first publication of economic facts and anti-corruption efforts. Furthermore, each time liberalisation went further than it had before. This does suggest a slow but continual liberalisation since the death of Stalin and appointment of Khrushchev.

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    I have removed my downvote; I continue to believe the question would be infinitely stronger if it were based on more than unsupported assertions, but I think the revision makes that my preference rather than a weakness. – Mark C. Wallace Aug 27 '18 at 13:20
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    @MarkC.Wallace Trying hard to reduce the scope and explain myself. Sorry. Questions are hard! – inappropriateCode Aug 27 '18 at 13:30
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    Some of the assumptions such as a transmission belt of ideology and "liberalism / totalitarianism" are sufficiently indicative of a lack of preliminary research that I'm not willing to vote to reopen. – Samuel Russell Sep 12 '18 at 6:33
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    What part is opinion-based? Stalinist personality-cult is a very identifiable phenomenon that must have its reasons. It is mostly represented by Stalin, Mao, the Kim dynasty, and Ceausescu. What the question asks is how come this happened in an USSR satellite at a time when USSR was not promoting that model. Khrushchev had dismantled it and started reforms that Brezhnev stopped, but Brezhnev never re-instated that cult. The answer lays in Ceausescu's paradoxical independence from USSR, starting ironically in 1968, when he was seen as a Prague Spring sympathizer. – user8690 Nov 13 '18 at 12:04
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    I challenge the premise that Romania did not become more liberal: Romanian communism had only one leader: Ceausescu. He personally got worse and worse as he became more crazy and senile. There was no successor. Stalin was also a totalitarian and his cementing of power grew with the length of his reign as all the credible challengers got purged away. Both countries became more liberal except Romania's entire totalitarian system collapsed. – Clint Eastwood Nov 13 '18 at 14:27