Why did Romania create a personality cult long after Russia's “overcoming of the cult of personality”?

Why did Romania create a personality cult long after Russia's “overcoming of the cult of personality”?


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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 This was long after Stalin's was no longer in effect, and became far more powerful than the cult of Ceaușescu's predecessor.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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