2 Legacies Haunting E. Europe Communism, History Bedevil Transitions First of
JOHN POMFRET (WASHINGTON POST FOREIGN SERVICE)
(C) 1994 THE WASHINGTON POST (LEGI-SLATE ARTICLE NO. 214915)
TIMISOARA, Romania - Radu Tinu could be described as a model citizen of
the new Romania. Five years ago he played the same part for the Communists.
Dapper, driven, well-read and fond of Romania's fine red wines, he has
seen his two import-export companies boom since starting them two years ago.
To him, success is natural - because he was a success as a Communist spy.
Lt. Col. Zbigniew Wojt should be forgiven for feeling a little dizzy from
the changes shaking up his life. But the Polish army battalion commander is
accustomed to lunging at the curveballs of history. It is a family tradition.
His grandfather fought for the German army in World War I and then
narrowly escaped a Gestapo execution three decades later. His father battled
to free Poland from one overlord, Berlin, only to help another, Moscow,
prevail. Thirteen years ago, Wojt commanded a detachment in the martial law
crackdown ordered by the Communists. Last month he participated in the first
joint maneuvers with NATO armies ever held on Polish soil.
Tinu, 46, and the 39-year-old Polish officer illustrate two great
problems bedeviling Eastern Europe today. On the one hand, the transformation
of political and economic life is complicated by the continuing, and
sometimes overwhelming, influence of the ex-Communist bureaucracy and its
members. At the same time, the region has failed to solve the problem that
plagued its history for centuries before Communist rule: how its nations can
survive and govern themselves independently on the flat, vulnerable plain
between Europe's two great powers, Russia and Germany.
The twin legacies of communism and history have colored every move of the
six former Warsaw Pact countries that this fall mark the fifth anniversary of
the popular revolutions that ended Soviet rule. Today, former Communists
control five of the six countries and dominate every economy as managers and
owners. The Communists, as Tinu proudly boasts, were the best trained to
profit from the change. And while their leaders were removed from power, the
party's apparatus, the key to its dominating political influence, largely
Though Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania have survived as nations,
one of the former Warsaw Pact six, East Germany, no longer exists, while
Czechoslovakia, site of the Velvet Revolution in November 1989, has split
into two states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The surviving East European states wallow in a nervous netherworld between
Russia and the reunited Germany, tantalized by the prospect of joining NATO
and the European Union but still waiting for a firm commitment from the West.
Many governments, including the United States, underestimated how the
burden of history would complicate the transition. In 1990, the U.S.
government predicted that the creation of free markets and democratic
governments in once Soviet-ruled Eastern Europe would take about five years.
But five years after the revolution began, there is still a lot of work to
On the streets of Eastern Europe, a sense that they are being mocked by
history pervades the chatter of housewives, peddlers, hustlers and those just
struggling to get by. Griping has become a way of life, partly because people
are impatient for change and partly because after 45 years of government
enforced silence, everybody enjoys a good beef.
On a recent market day in Timisoara, where Romania's 1989 revolution
began, Emilia Radulescu, a 48-year-old engineer, summed up the contradictory
feelings of many. "It's not worse now," she said. "But it was better then."
This series will describe some of the complex changes that have rocked
the lives of more than 100 million people since 1989 in the former Warsaw
Pact nations of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and
Bulgaria. The story begins with Tinu and Wojt, two men who, like their
countries, straddle the past and present.
The Elite, Then and Now
A party member since the mid-1960s, Radu Tinu rose quickly through the ranks
of Romania's infamous Securitate secret police. By age 34, he was a major and
soon jumped to deputy security chief for Timis County, the richest in
Romania, where he supervised "counterintelligence activities and
By late 1989, Tinu had taken personal responsibility for masterminding
surveillance on Laszlo Tokes, a Hungarian pastor and crusader for human
rights. It was Tokes's refusal to leave his parish house in Timisoara, the
county seat, that touched off Romania's revolution on Dec. 15, 1989, when
hundreds of Romanians clashed with police and Securitate agents trying to
"I never met the man, but I listened to the wiretaps on his house," Tinu
said in a cynical acknowledgment of his eavesdropping operation. "He seemed
like an educated fellow. He played Bach. I liked his music very much."
Tinu's story reflects one of the ironies of 1989 - that those in the
security services and the Communist Party who were supposed to be swept from
power were actually the best prepared to take advantage of the changes.
Across Eastern Europe, men and women such as Tinu have capitalized on the
move to capitalism.
In Warsaw, casual observers note with irony that the stock exchange is
located in the old headquarters of the Polish Communist Party. But many of
the major investors are ex-Communists, a testimony to their seamless move
from dominating political power to substantial wealth.
There are even indications that many of the ex-Communists are doing
better now than ever before, thanks to their knack of exploiting their
positions and the cohesiveness that in many ways defines the ex-Communist
camp. Henryk Domanski, a Polish sociologist who is studying the influence of
the former Communist elites, recently has found that Poland's Communist
managers, who generally made about 50 percent more than skilled workers
before the revolution, now enjoy a gap 10 times as wide.
"They are leaving the rest of society behind," he said.
Manipulating the "old comrade" network of party bosses, ministry
bureaucrats and customs officials, Tinu has plied his trade in soft drinks,
cigarettes and gasoline. For him, the successes of the new system are
indisputable. He and his wife have summered in France the last two years; he
drives a new black Mercedes-Benz, and she uses a shiny Audi sports car.
"The people who praise themselves for not being Communist Party members
were mostly those who didn't get high enough grades in school to qualify," he
charged. "We were the elite then. It's natural we should be the elite now."
In contrast to Poland, Hungary or the Czech Republic, the old elite never
left power in Romania. The country's longtime Communist dictator, Nicolae
Ceausescu, was ousted and executed in December 1989 by a faction of the
Communist Party. That group, led by Ion Iliescu, then consolidated its hold
on power, formed a new political party and won subsequent national elections
against a weak, divided and occasionally persecuted opposition. Iliescu is
Romania's revolution was the bloodiest in the region; members of the
Securitate loyal to Ceausescu fired on crowds of demonstrators in Timisoara
and Bucharest, killing more than 100 people. For several years after December
1989, some measure of justice was sought against the perpetrators of the
But by last month, all former Communists had been released from prison in
Romania. Tinu gained his freedom in December 1991, after a court of ex
Communists determined there was not enough evidence to convict him of first
"I didn't have anything to do with the people who died in Timisoara,"
said the man once accused of ordering Securitate agents to open fire on
unarmed protesters. "I was just an ant carrying information."
A key question for Tinu and other ex-Communists is: Would they welcome
the return of the old days, when men like them kept society under their boots
through Stalinist methods? Tinu says no.
"Things are too good for me now," he declared, fingering a glass of
mellow Romanian red.
Tinu's office sits on Timisoara's Opera Square, where thousands massed
five years ago, sparking the nationwide revolt that led to the execution of
Ceausescu and his wife, Elena. Bullet holes still pockmark the building's
facade around his balcony.
"It's better for me now," said the savvy businessman as he surveyed the
square. "I worked the same way before, but I was tied up by obsolete rules.
Now I am free."
Lt. Col. Zbigniew Wojt's Polish grandfather, Jozef, grew up in a place
called Breslau in a country called Germany. When World War I erupted, he
joined a German infantry battalion. Fighting gallantly in the bloodbath
around the French battlefield of Verdun, he was awarded an Iron Cross by
Kaiser Wilhelm II.
After the war, Poland, which had been partitioned among Russia, Austria
Hungary and Germany, became independent for the first time since 1795. But
not Jozef's farm; it would lie on German soil for another 37 years.
Three decades later, Jozef fought with the Germans again - this time as
In 1943, Gestapo agents arrested him after informants fingered the farmer
for sneaking food to Polish fighters resisting Nazi rule. A military court
sentenced him to death but commuted the sentence after discovering the Iron
Cross. At the end of the war, Breslau became the Polish city of Wroclaw when
Poland's borders were shifted more than 100 miles west by its new Soviet
If Wojt's grandfather had a troubled relationship with Berlin, his
father's association with another traditional East European overlord, Moscow,
was just as convoluted.
In 1944, Bronislaw Wojt entered Poland from the east as a soldier for the
2nd Polish Army, which had been trained by Red Army troops. His goal, Wojt
remembers his father telling him, was to rid Poland of all foreign
domination. But soon after these Polish soldiers helped free Poland from
German occupation, they played an important role in turning Poland into a
communist state, dominated by the Soviet Union.
The tribulations and struggles of the relatives of Lt. Col. Wojt typify
one of the historical curses of living in Eastern Europe, stuck in an
invasion route between East and West. For centuries the people of this region
have been plagued by a lasting and so far unsuccessful quest for stability,
squeezed by empires to the east and west.
With the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I,
Russia and Germany emerged as the two great magnetic poles in Eastern Europe.
The challenge for the nations in between has been to find a formula to exist
free of domination by either power. From World War II until 1989, this
elusive goal was smothered by Moscow's mastery of the region. Now, however,
the quest has returned.
While Moscow's sway over Eastern Europe has diminished, it has not
disappeared. If the economic changes envisaged by Russian President Boris
Yeltsin take hold, its markets and industries could compete with those of the
reunited Germany for domination of Eastern Europe, much as the two countries'
armies have struggled in the past.
If Russia's reforms fail, Eastern Europe could be in for an even tougher
ride. As the case of Yugoslavia has shown, aggressive nationalism is a handy
gimmick to deflect peoples' attention from bad government. East Europeans
fear that a demagogic Russian leader, like the nationalist Vladimir
Zhirinovsky, could someday come to power in Moscow with promises of an
imperial restoration at Eastern Europe's expense.
Following his family tradition, Wojt's career has ridden a roller coaster
of recent history.
In 1974, he joined the Polish People's Army, hoping to become a fighter
pilot in the forces of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. When a health problem
grounded him, he became a sapper, a specialist in bunkers, explosives and
As a second lieutenant in 1981, Wojt commanded a platoon of soldiers
guarding fuel depots and a pipeline running from the Soviet Union to East
Germany as part of the martial law crackdown on Solidarity, Eastern Europe's
first independent labor union. He still supports the clampdown, believing it
saved Poland from an invasion by its Warsaw Pact allies.
Then last month, Wojt, now in the independent Polish army, was appointed
chief of staff of the 13-nation international battalion for Operation
Cooperative Bridge, the first joint exercise between East European and NATO
countries, held on Polish soil as part of the U.S.-led Partnership for Peace.
Asked if he was amazed by the changes, Wojt smiled: "We're used to this,"
he said. "We're Poles."
The Partnership, offered to all countries of the former Soviet Bloc, is a
U.S. attempt to accomplish two possibly contradictory goals: bring East
European countries into the Western fold and maintain strong U.S. relations
with Russia. Fundamental to the Partnership are wide-ranging military
But, like the economic changes, the military restructuring has been more
difficult than many here would have hoped. Troubles are brewing in several
Czech Defense Minister Antonin Baudy, for example, was forced to resign
in September after a bizarre series of embarrassing events involving a
firearms accident aboard his plane and a general who was caught shoplifting
toys during an official trip abroad. Poland's defense minister, Piotr
Kolodziejczyk, is currently caught in a tussle between President Lech Walesa
and the government of Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak over who will control
East European leaders believe the instability in these armies reflects
the fact that the region's geopolitical problems have not been solved. Some
blame the West for missing a historic opportunity to open its doors to people
who for more than 70 years have been clamoring to get in.
Over lunch in the officers' mess of a base near the German border, Wojt
was philosophical. "We can adapt to the changes," he said. "We really have no
NEXT: The fate of dissidents
A tovabbterjesztest a New York-i szekhelyu Magyar Emberi Jogok
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Reposting is supported by Hungarian Human Rights Foundation News
and Information Service.
> ======================================================================== 85
FRISS adatok a GOPHEREN....!!!!!!!!!
HUSPIAC A VEGETARIANUS MAGYARORSZAGERT ?
Az utobbi honapokban, mintegy varazsutesre, hirtelen az egbe
szoktek a husarak. Arat emeltek a takrmanypiacon, hat arat
emeltek a tenyesztok is. Eleinte csokkentetek az eloaru
leadasat, mondvan hogy lehet az, hogy amig ok 110- 120 forintot
kapnak kilonkent a sertesekert, addig a bolti hust negyszer
annyiert adjak. Tenyleg : HOGY ?
De ez csak a mult, mert most mar 140-150 forintert
jutnak elosertesert a vagohidak, ha egyaltalan jutnak (!),
ugyanis ott tartunk, hogy - kulonosen a nagymultu
nagyfeldolgozok eseteben - vagokapacitasuknak csupan 50
szazalekat hasznaljak ki. De a sertesvagohidaknak meg jo,
marmint ahoz kepest, hogy a marhavagohidak egyes esetekben csak
takareklangon, 30 szazalekkal uzemelnek. Visszaterve az alapveto
nepelelmezesi cikkent szamontatott serteshushoz nezzuk meg hol
kezdodnek a gondok ?
A HUSToZSDE elszamoloarai csak novemberre es decemberre mutatnak
nemi stabilitast. Vagosertes I. kategoria, mely 100 kg elosulyu
serteseket jelent, gyakorlatilag 55 szazalek szinhus-tartalommal,
novemberre 145, decemberre 155 Ft/kg elszamoloarakat produkalt.
A vagosertes II.-es kategoriaban ennel mintegy 10 - 15 forinttal
alacsonyabb ajanlati arakat hozott az oszi szel, minimalis (0.00
"Mondja marha, miert oly bus ?" - idezhetnenk a bekebeli
magyaroszag ismert szlogenjet anno 1930... Hat Budapesten - itt es
most -bizony senki sem tesz ajanlatot az elomarha tozsdepiacan.
A gazdalkodok egyre dragabban jutnak takarmanyhoz. Meg most
is, hogy a 4 egesz 8 tized millo tonnasra sikerult buzatermesbe
majd bele fullad a viragzo magyar mezogazdasag (lasd: buzavirag,
pipacs, stb.), a tozsden 8100 - 8500 forintot kernek tonnakent a
takarmanybuzaert. Az arpa ara is het es fel ezer forint felett
van. A folytonos forintleertekeles miatt egyre dragabbak a
jobbara csak importbol beszerezheto, takarmanyba keverheto
feherje,- vitamin,- es asvanyianyag kiegeszitok, premixek.
Dragult az uzemanyag, a legutobbi esetet kiveve meg akkor is,
mikor a vilagpiacon a melypontra csokkent az olaj ara.
A termeloi arak azonban mindezeknel aranytalanul jobban nottek.
Tavaly ilyenkor 105 Ft/g, iden tavasszal is csak 109 Ft/kg volt
az eloseres ara. Most 155 forintot is kenytelenek adnni erte a
feldogozok. Ennek hallatan azonban felhaborodnak a tenyesztok.
Toluk ugyanis sokkal olcsobban veszik csak at a felvasarlo
maffiak, (melyek tagjai neha eppen a vagohidak dolgozoibol
kerulnek ki), es dragabban adjak tovabb sajat vallalatuknak.
(Erre nem vonatkozik a versenytorveny ?) Ennek ellenere a
feldogozok sokszor inkabb ezt az arfelhajto lanckereskedelmet
veszik igenybe, minthogy eloszerzodest kotnenek a gazdakkal.
A vagohidak azonban mivel a kapacitasuk toredekevel dolgoznak,
ennek forditott aranyaban novekvo onkoltseggel termelnek, mert
egysegnyi arura tobb altalanos koltseg jut.
Dolgoznak hat, felgozzel, fel lelekkel. Azert csak igy, mert
koltsegeiket alig honoralja a nagy haszonkulccsal dolgozo, megis
sokszor csak tartalekaibol elo nagykereskedelem. Nos, vegul
ott a kiskereskedelem, mely nem is olyan reg meg a felsertes
aranak csaknem duplajaert adta a tokehust. Most mar azonban
kisebb az arany, mivel a beszerzesi arak novekedeset nem tudjak
tovabbgorditeni a fogyasztora. Szeptember vegen meg az akcios
aron, kilonkent 520 forintert kilanl serteshust is alig vettek a
fogyasztok, mert a fizetokepes lakossagi kereslet egyre csokken.
(Ez a bolti tolehus is nemreg meg 380 - 400 forint volt)!
Es hanyan vannak, akik peldaul marhahusbol 600 forintos aron
tobb kilot vasarolnak? Legfeljebb befektetes gyanant veszik,
elteszik a melyhutobe, arra szamitva, hogy a hus-arak tovabbra
is jobban nonek, mint a banki kamatok.
A huspiac hat egyre csendesebb, a forgalom egyre csokken.
Elelmesebb hentes uzletek mar kenyeret, sot zoldseget is
arulnak, hogy akkor is menjen az uzlet, ha majd atterunk a
(Lapzartakor erkezett a hir: megis 30 szazalekkal
kivanjak emelni az energiaarakat. Ennek hatasa biztos
"begyuruzik" majd a huspiacra. Akkor viszont... de ezt majd
ORCZAN CSABA SANDOR