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TITLE:             Biographical Sketches of the Ceausescu Clan
BY:                Rene de Flers
DATE:              1984-7-27
COUNTRY:           Romania
ORIGINAL SUBJECT:  RAD Background Report/135

--- Begin ---


RAD Background Report/135
27 July 1984


by Rene de Flers

Summary: Although Romania, as a communist
country within the Soviet sphere of influence and
authority, suffers from problems that are
intrinsic to its social, political, and economic system
and not solely attributable to the Ceausescu
dynasty at its helm, the peculiar features of
"personal totalitarianism" continue to attract
the attention of observers. This paper attempts
to sketch the careers of the main protagonists
and to serve as a source of reference material
for more analytical approaches.

* * *

Nicolae Ceausescu. On 22 March 1965, after the death of
Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Ceausescu took over command of the RCP;
since then he has constructed for himself an image of
infallibility and omnipotence. Stalin, Mao, and Tito may have served
him as models, and he may be compared to Kim Il-song of North
Korea, although Ceausescu himself would no doubt find any such
comparison belittling. What foundation does this image have and
how did Ceausescu go about constructing it?

Soon after his accession, Ceausescu did what all politicians
do to establish and cement new authority: he brought his own
followers into the Secretariat, expanded the number of those loyal
to him on the Executive Committee, and sent packing older party
leaders who might have challenged him. In the communist system,
tight control over the party usually generates domination over
government as well. Ceausescu v/anted to be more than a chairman,
he wanted direct authority over state affairs. Chivu Stoica as
Chairman of the State Council lay in his way. Therefore, at the
National Party Conference in December 1967, Ceausescu annexed his

This material was prepared for the use of the staff of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

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RAD BR/135

position and right away started to expand the power of the State
Council at the expense of the Council of Ministers. It became
clear that Ceausescu preferred the rank of a head of state to
that of a head of government.

His ambitions meant he needed more support, and he started
to place family members in top party and government positions. As
more people began to owe their position to Ceausescu's favor, so
signs of dissent and resistance began to die out and Ceausescu's
ambition of supremacy became reality by the end of the 1960s.

Ceausescu was born on 26 January 1918 in Scornicesti, in the
county of Olt, as the third son in a large, poor, peasant family.
At the age of 11, he wanted to learn the trade of a shoemaker and
went to Pitesti as an apprentice to one Gabor, a well-known maker
of fashion shoes for high society. Ceausescu did not stay for
long and probably went on to Bucharest to join his elder sister
Nicolina, who worked in a shoe factory. At the age of 15, in
1933, he joined the illegal Communist Youth Organization, and in
1936 he joined the Communist Party. He was sent as secretary of
the Communist Youth to Prahova county. On account of his illegal
communist activities, he was arrested several times and spent
most of the next few years in various prisons.

After the coup d'etat on 23 August 1944, Ceausescu was
released from the Tirgu Jiu internment camp, together with his
mentor Gheorghiu-Dej. His credentials were well-suited to rapid
advancement. He was named Secretary of the Communist Youth
Organization and elected an alternate member of the Central Committee
at the first National Conference of the Communist Party in
October 1945. After the communist assumption of power at the end
of 1947 and the congress held in February 1948, when the
Communists absorbed the Social Democratic Party, he was elected a full
member of the Central Committee of the new Romanian Workers'
Party. For a short time, until March 1950, he was a Deputy
Minister of Agriculture; during this period he is said to have been in
charge of the collectivization drive in the Oltenia and Dobruja
regions, and his direct involvement is said to have been very
ruthless. He was then promoted to Major General and appointed
Deputy Minister of the Armed Forces, serving under the
Soviettrained General Emil Bodnaras. Later he became chief of the
Higher Political Directorate and was promoted to Lieutenant
General and First Deputy Minister of the Armed Forces.

Ceausescu's rise in the party began after the purge of Ana
Pauker and her associates in May 1952, when he became the CC
secretary in charge of the Organizational Department, advancing
to alternate member of the Politburo on 20 April 1954 and
achieving full membership of the highest party body at the second
party congress in December 1955, at the age of 37. His next
advancement came in July 1957, after the removal of Iosif
Chisinevschi from the Secretariat and the ouster of Miron
Constantinescu from the Politburo. It became clear that, after
Gheorghiu-Dej, he was the second man in the party. At the 1960

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RAD BR/135

party congress he was re-elected to Central Committee, the
Secretariat, and the Politburo, and he became known as an advocate of
greater independence in Romania's relations with other countries.
He stressed this attitude in speeches at Brasov in June 1963,
during the visit of a Soviet delegation headed by Podgorny, and
at the crucial Central Committee plenum in April 1964.

The ninth party congress in July 1965 (originally the Third
Romanian Workers' Party Congress) was dominated by Ceausescu,
who, after Gheorghiu-Dej's death, was elected Secretary-General.
He had the party revert to its original name, the Romanian
Communist Party, and renamed the People's Republic as the Socialist
Republic of Romania. He also succeeded in pushing aside Gheorghe
Apostol, Chivu Stoica, and, perhaps his most dangerous enemy,
Alexandru Draghici. This maneuver was made easy for him, because
he had inherited from Gheorghiu-Dej a party used to the
domination of one man.

There followed a period in which, in order to strengthen his
power, Ceausescu created new bodies, making himself their head.
After the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact troops,
in which Romania did not take part, the Front of Socialist Unity
was formed[1] and the Defense Council the following year,[2] with
Ceausescu as chairman and "the supreme commander of the Romanian
Army." In the years that followed, Ceausescu projected himself as
a world statesman, notably by frequent visits abroad, including .
the West. While maintaining a neutral position in the
Sino-Soviet dispute, his visit to China in 1971[3] was the cause of
some tension in his relations with the Soviet Union.

Ceausescu reached the culmincition of his ambitions in March
1974, when he was elected President of the Republic, the first
president to hold, as the official picture duly showed, a scepter
as a symbol of his authority. The role made for administrative
convenience, allowing him, for example, to preside over meetings
of the Council of Ministers without holding the title of Prime
Minister. It was rumored that Emperor Hirohito of Japan had been
the immediate cause of the change. He had refused to receive
Ceausescu and his son Nicu with all the honors due to a governing
head of state, so the first official visit was then postponed.[4]
After Ceausescu had been made president, however, Emperor
Hirohito received him and his son with all the necessary pomp.[5]

Ceausescu's Career

1933	Joined the Communist Youth Union.

1936	Joined the illegal Communist Party.

1944	Became Secretary of the Communist Youth Union.

1945	Alternate member of the RCP Central Committee.

1948	Full member of the CC of the Romanian Workers' Party.

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1949-1950	Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

1950	Made Major General and appointed Deputy Minister of
the Armed Forces.

1952	CC Secretary in charge of the Organizational

1952-1954	Chief of the Higher Political Directorate of the
Armed Forces, Lieutenant-General, and First Deputy
Minister of the Armed Forces.

1954	CC Secretary and alternate member of the Politburo.

1955	Full member of the Politburo.

1965	(March) First Secretary of the Romanian Workers' Party.

1965	(July) Secretary-General of the RCP CC.

1967	Chairman of the State Council.

1968	Chairman of the Socialist Unity Front.

1969	Chairman of the Defense Council and Supreme

Commander of the Armed Forces.

1970 Chairman of the Supreme Council on Social-Economic

1974 President of the Republic.

1977 Chairman of the National Council of Working People.

Ceausescu's Wife, Elena Ceausescu. She was born on 7
January 1919 (an official date made public only a few years ago,
she may be older), the daughter of an innkeeper in Petresti. She
joined the party in 1937 before which nothing is known about her
revolutionary activities, except that on 1 May 1939, during
popular festivities, she was elected "queen" of the parade. It
was on this occasion that Ceausescu met her.[6]

In the early 1960s she was reported to be secretary of the
party committee of the Bucharest Central Institute of Chemical
Researches, and, when Ceausescu took over the party leadership in
March 1965, she was listed as the institute's director.[7] In
December of the same year, she was elected a member of the newly
established National Council of Scientific Research, and in
September 1966 she was awarded the Order of Scientific Merit
First Class.

Since 1968 she has risen rapidly to political prominence.
She frequently accompanied her husband on official visits abroad,
and it was during the state visit to China in June 1971,[8] where

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RAD BR/135

she noticed how Mao's wife had her own position of real power in
the state, that Elena's remarkable rise was given a Chinese
fillip. In July 1971 she was elected a member of the Central
Commission on Socio-Economic Forecasting, and in July 1972 she
became a full member of the RCP CC. She was elected a member of the
Executive Committee in June 1973, after being proposed by Emil
Bodnaras. In November 1974, at the 11th party congress, she was
made a member of the (renamed) political executive committee and
in January 1977 became a member of the highest party body, the
Permanent Bureau of the Political Executive Committee. In March
1980, she was made a First Deputy Prime Minister.[9]

Since March 1974 Elena Ceausescu has been a member of
the Romanian Academy's Section for Chemical Sciences.[10] It is
rumored that, at the time when she wanted to receive her
doctorate from the Bucharest Faculty of Chemistry, she met with strong
opposition from the great Romanian chemist Costin D. Nenitescu,
the dean of the faculty. She was forced instead to present her
thesis to Cristofor Simionescu and Ioan Ursu at the University of
Iasi, where she met with complete success. After her
glorification, Prof. Nicolae Tipei, at present living in the USA, sent
her a letter, renouncing his academic title.[11]

The personality cult surrounding Ceausescu has expanded over
the last few years to include his wife Elena, too. She now
shares her husband's limelight, receives heads of foreign
scientific or technical delegations, taking precedence on such
occasions over any high officials in Romania. She now accompanies
her husband on foreign trips and on his various internal tours as
well. This year, her 65th birthday was marked by special
ceremonies in which her career as a scientist and politician was
stressed.[12] Articles of praise were published, glorifying her
"more than 45 years of revolutionary activity" and her new
scientific work on the "Stereospecific Polymerization of Isoprene."

It is generally believed that Elena Ceausescu's celebrated
competence in science is less than genuine. During her time as
Director of the Central Institute of Chemical Research, she took
the floor at several conferences and meetings but spoke on
general matters. Whenever a specific scientific theme arose, she
would defer to "Comrade Engineer" X or Y, who then had to explain
what had to be done. Elena Ceausescu is tough, pitiless,
hard-headed, and has the reputation of paying no attention to other
people's needs.

Elena Ceausescu's Career

1963	Chemical engineer, Secretary of the Party Committee of the
Bucharest Central Institute of Chemical Research.

1965	Director of the Central Institute of Chemical Research.
Elected in December the same year a member of the newly
established National Council of Scientific Research.

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RAD BR/135

1968	Member of the Bucharest City Party Committee.

1971	Member of the Central Commission on Socio-Economic

1972	Full member of the RCP CC.

1973	Member of the Executive Committee of the RCP CC.

1974	Titular member of the Romanian Academy.

1975	Chairman of the section for Chemical Industry with the
Supreme Council for Social and Economic Development.

1977	Member of the Standing Bureau of the Political Executive
Committee of the RCP CC.

1979	Chairman of the RCP CC's Commission for Cadres. In June
appointed Chairman of the (renamed) National Council for
Science and Technology.

1980	First Deputy Prime Minister.

1982	Vice Chairman of the Supreme Council for Social and
Economic Development.

1983	Vice Chairman of the National Command for Land Improvement.

The Youngest Son, Nicu Ceausescu. Born in 1950, he has
been First Secretary of the Communist Youth Union since December
1983, an office that automatically carries a government post as
Minister of Youth.[13] Although only in his 30s, he became a full
member of the Central Committee of the RCP in 1982 and also holds
the highest civilian medal, the Order of Labor, First Class. His
frequent visits abroad, either with or without his father, do
not always arise from official duties as Chairman of the UN
Consultative Committee for Youth; he also travels as his father's
representative. He as been sent on several diplomatic missions
abroad, and there is much speculation that he is being groomed
to succeed his father. He is a graduate of the Bucharest
Poly-technical Institute and has been known to refer to himself as
"doctor" in scientific publications. He is reputed to be a

Nicu Ceausescu's Career

1973	Vice Chairman of the Union of Communist Students'

1975	Member of the Bureau of the Communist Youth Union.

1976	Secretary of the Communist Youth Union.

1978	Member of the Radio and TV National Council.

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RAD BR/135

1979	Alternate member of the RCP CC.

1980	Secretary of the Grand National Assembly.

1981	Chairman of the UN Consultative Committee for youth,
Member of the National Council on World Peace, Vice Chairman
of the National Committee for the UN youth International

1982	Full member of the RCP CC.

1983	Refers to himself as a "doctor" in scientific
publications. In December elected First Secretary of the
Communist Youth Union and Minister of Youth.

The Adopted Son, Valentin Ceausescu. His date of birth is
not known. (He was probably born around the end of World War
II.) He is believed to be the child of Moldavian peasants, who
during the drought period in 1946 in their region were unable to
take care of him. At the appeal of the Central Committee of the
communist party, several members of the party adopted Moldavian
children. In 1969, Valentin was a third-year student at the
Imperial Collage of Science and Technology in London. In April
1972 he accompanied Prof. Ioan Ursu, at that time Chairman of the
State Commitee for Nuclear Energy, on his visit to the European
Center for Nuclear Research at Geneva, and he was listed as a
researcher with the Romanian Institute for Nuclear Physics.[4]
Valentin is presently employed as a Scientific Secretary with the
Romanian Institute of Nuclear Physics in Bucharest.

The Daughter, Zoia Elena Ceausescu. There is little
information about Ceausescu's daughter. She graduated from the
Bucharest School of Mathematics and Mechanics; she has a
doctorate and is now director of the Mathematics Institute and a senior
research associate with the National Institute for Scientific and
Technological Advancement. With her brother Valentin she was
awarded somewhat minor awards in May 1983. Valentin received the
Order of Scientific Merit, Second Class, and she the Order of
Labor, Second Class. Neither of them appears to hold any
political office. Nicu is evidently the favorite son in this respect.
Some recent reports suggest that both Zoia and Valentin may,
however, be gaining ground in the politics of science. Valentin
was in Britain on a scientific visit and had talks with Malcolm
Rifkind, Minister of State in the Foreign Office.[15] Zoia was
recently chairman of the international conference on the Theory
of Mathematics Operators in Bucharest.[16]

The Oldest Brother, Marin Ceausescu. Born in 1915, he is
a trade councilor with the Romanian Embassy in Vienna. In
September 1972 he was listed for the first time as the director
of the Romanian stand at the 14th Brno International Engineering
Fair and was then moved to Vienna as chief of the Romanian Trade
Agency in April 1974.

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RAD BR/135

Ilie Ceausescu, a Brother and Military Historian. He
graduated in August 1964 from the Bucharest Faculty of History and
in August 1969 was listed as a Doctor of History. In July 1975
he was referred to as Major General and Deputy Secretary of the
Higher Political Council at the Ministry of National Defense in
charge of the party organization there. In March 1980 he was
elected Vice Chairman of the Grand National Assembly's Defense
Commission, and two years later he was promoted to Lieutenant
General. In April 1983 he was appointed Deputy Minister of
National Defense and Secretary of the Higher Political Council.
He is a prolific author of articles and books on Romanian

Another Brother, Ion Ceausescu. He has been the First
Vice Chairman (with the rank of a Minister Secretary) of the
State Planning Commission since 1983. In September 1967 he was
identified as an agronomist and director of the Institute for
Utilization and Industrialization of Vegetables, Fruits, and
Potatoes. By August 1969 he had already been appointed
Secretary-General at the Ministry for Domestic Trade, holding the
chief position in the Department for the Industrialization of
Vegetable and Fruit Growing. In November 1969 he was moved to the
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry as Secretary-General, and in
May 1972 he was appointed Deputy Minister at the (renamed)
Ministry of Agriculture, Food Industry, and Water Conservation.
It is said that before he became known as an official he had been
working at a farm owned by the Central Committee on the former
royal estate near Bucharest. The head of the farm was a man
named Enciu, who became Ion Ceausescu's father-in-law.

A Brother with a Middle Name, Nicolae Andruta Ceausescu.
He had to adopt his father's name, Andruta, in order to
distinguish himself from the chief of the clan. In the early days of
the family rise he is believed to have been an officer with the
security forces but was mentioned in the Romanian press in April
1972 as being a consul with the Romanian General Consulate in
Kiev. He has now been promoted from Major General to Lieutenant
General in the Ministry of the Interior. Le Monde (dated
1 March 1984) identified him as rector of the Academy of the
Ministry of the Interior.

A Brother and Journalist, Florea Ceausescu. He has never
been more than a correspondent of Scinteia, the party's daily.

A Sister, Elena Barbulescu. She is a school inspector in
Olt County. Formerly she taught history at a high school in
Scornicesti, where she was the headmistress.

Vasile Barbulescu is from Scornicesti and the husband of
Ceausescu's sister Elena. He was referred to for the first time
in January 1960 as chairman of the Scornicesti agricultural
production complex. Later, he was listed as head of the Scornicesti

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RAD BR/135

local party committee. Little is known about him or his
education. Nevertheless, in November 1974, at the 11th party
congress, he came to political prominence, being elected an
alternate member in the Central Committee and achieving full
membership in November 1979. He is Hero of Socialist Labor[17] and
Chairman of the Scornicesti Unified Council of Agricultural
Cooperatives.[18] In March 1980 he was elected Vice Chairman of the
Grand National Assembly's Commission for Agriculture, Forestry,
and Water Administration, and in February 1981 he was made a Vice
Chairman of the National Union of Agricultural Production

Maria Manescu, Another Sister? Married to Manea Manescu,
Maria became known in December 1973 as a Vice Chairman of the
Romanian Red Cross Society and has been a member of the National
Council of Women since April 1978.

There is no evidence that Maria Manescu is indeed
Ceausescu's sister. Michel P. Hamelet, in his book on Nicolae
Ceausescu, published in Paris in 1971, states that a sister
Maria, who was a long-time worker at an electromagnetic factory
in Bucharest, is married to an engineer. Therefore, both Maria
and Manea Manescu's belonging to the Ceausescu clan is doubtful
in spite of persistent speculations to this effect.

Manea Manescu himself was born on 9 August 1916 in Braila.
His father was a party veteran from Ploiesti, who in the early
1920s supported the transformation of the socialist party into
the communist party. It is rather strange that he has now been
brought back into the limelight, since he had already retired. In
1944, after the coup d'etat, he worked together with Ceausescu in
the Communist Youth Union. In 1951 he was appointed head of the
Department of Economics at Bucharest University and Director
General of the Central Directorate of Statistics; he became a
corresponding member of the Romanian Academy in 1955 and held the
office of Minister of Finance from 1955 to 1957. He came to
greater prominence in the year that Ceausescu took over the party
leadership. In July 1965, at the ninth party congress, he was
elected an alternate member of the Executive Committee and a
Secretary of the Central Committee and most probably was put in
charge of economic activities; in December 1967 he was appointed
Chairman of the Economic Council. He was promoted to full
membership of the Executive Committee in December 1968 and, after
holding various positions in the party and government, in March
1973 became Prime Minister until 1979, when he had to retire
because of ill health. At present he is Vice Chairman of the State
Council and Vice Chairman of the Supreme Council for Economic and
Social Development. In his capacity as a member of the State
Council, he went on several trips abroad.

Gheorghe Petrescu, brother of Ceausescu's wife Elena and
presently a Deputy Prime Minister, was first mentioned in the
Romanian press in February 1957 as a deputy for the Dragasani-Olt
constituency. Since then his career has advanced handsomely. At

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RAD BR/135

the ninth party congress in July 1965, he was elected a member of
the Central Auditing Committee. In August of the same year, he
was mentioned as a section chief of the Central Committee and
identified a year later as chief of the party organization
section.[19] He was made a full member of the Central Committee in
April 1967. When the Oltenia region needed a new First Secretary
he was given the job in September 1967.[20] In 1968 Ceausescu
reorganized the administrative division of the country and,
Gheorghe Petrescu became head of Dolj County and chairman of the
county's people's council.[21] In February 1971 Petrescu became
Chairman of the National Union of Agricultural Production
Cooperatives, but two years later he inexplicably moved back to
first secretary of Dolj County. His next position was that of
State Secretary with the Ministry of Machine-Building Industry in
January 1977. A couple of years later, he was upgraded, becoming
Minister State Secretary of the Machine Tool Industry, Electrical
Engineering, and Electronics.[22] For a short time he was
Romania's standing representative with the CMEA in Moscow.

Poliana Cristescu, Chairman of the Pioneers' National
Council, is a recent newcomer to the clan. People say she is the
wife of "Crown Prince" Nicu Ceausescu. Her sudden rise and
importance is not to be overlooked. She was reported in January
1982 to be Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist
Youth Union and the same year in December she was elected an
alternate member of the Central Committee of the Romanian
Communist party. She praised Nicolae Ceausescu in an article
published by the weekly Flacara in February 1983 and a couple of
months later was made Chairman of the Young Pioneers' National
Council.[23] She visited China and North Korea in October 1983 on
behalf of the pioneers. In the same capacity she subsequently
visited Tunisia and Egypt.[24] No official statements about her
martial status have been noted.

Ilie Verdet is another Ceausescu man who is rumored to be
related to him, but no confirmation or even circumstantial
evidence can be found. He is a CC Secretary in charge of the

Cornel Burtica is said to be one of Ceausescu's nephews,
but the relationship cannot be validated. He fell from favor in
the autumn of 1982, after having been Minister of Foreign Trade
since 1978 and having held other important positions in the

Ion Ionita is also alleged to be a nephew of Ceausescu.
The impressive progress of his career culminated with his
appointment as Minister of the Armed Forces (later renamed
Minister of National Defense) in 1966. He was, however, relieved from
this position in June 1976.

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RAD BR/135


Despite the fact that nepotism in the communist world is not
such an uncommon factor and everywhere the party leaders have
given their family members privileged positions, Ceausescu is
something special. Since taking over the leadership he has never
made a secret of his familial favoritism. In addition to his
wife Elena and son Nicu, other relatives were swiftly promoted to
key state and party positions. His brothers are strategically
placed in the army, security, planning, agriculture, and even the
mass media. There may be other in-laws and distant relatives who
are still not known as such. For example, who is Gheorghe
Ceausescu, listed since June 1984 as chairman of the Bucharest
Legal Councilors. Who is Constantin Ceausescu, formerly a
deputy minister and now head of the post, radio, and television
directorate in the Ministry of Transportation and

In a way, the case of Elena Ceausescu is the most striking.
Her pictures are everywhere next to her husband's. He rarely
leaves the country on official visits without her. During their
last official trip to Poland in June 1984, the two Ceausescus
were seen in officially released pictures talking to Jaruzelski
and Jablonski, with Romanian Prime Minister Constantin Dascalescu
nowhere in sight. Could it have been a signal? Elena Ceausescu
ranks third in the government but second in the party
leadership. It will be interesting to watch possible changes at the
13th party congress that has now been scheduled to take place
this autumn.

On balance, however, one should not overvalue the familial
aspect of communist rule in Romania. An oligarchy need not be
bound by blood relations. In a sense, all those who play
Ceausescu's authoritarian game are related.

* * *

1 Scinteia, 20 November 1968.

2 Buletinul Oficial, no. 32, 14 March 1969.

3 Scinteia, 1 to 10 June 1971.

4 Ibid., 24 May 1972.

5 Ibid., 5 to 10 April 1972.

6 Actuel, no. 27, January 1982.

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RAD BR/135

7 Informatia Bucurestiului, 21 June 1965.

8 Scinteia, 1 to 10 June 1971.

9 Ibid., 30 March 1980.

10 Ibid., 2 March 1974.

11 Actuel, no. 27, January 1982.

12 See Romanian Situation Report/3, Radio Free Europe Research,
14 February 1984, item 2.

13 Ibid., no. 1, 7 January 1984, item 4, and Scinteia, 13 December 1983.

14 Scinteia, 28 April 1972.

15 Radio Bucharest, 16 June 1984.

16 Scinteia, 16 June 1984.

17 Romania Libera, 29 July 1978.

18 Scinteia, 1 May 1982.

19 Ibid., 9 September 1966.

20 Ibid., 26 September 1967.

21 Ibid., 18 February 1968.

22 Ibid., 26 January 1977.

23 Ibid., 21 May 1983.

24 Ibid., 1 and 4 October 1983.

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