ROMANIA: The President, The Journalists, and the KGB

REACTING TO A SPATE OF articles in the Romanian press alleging that President Ion Iliescu was recruited by the Soviet secret service while he was studying in Moscow in the early 1950s, the office of the president urged legal authorities to punish the authors of the incriminated articles. Speculation about a missing KGB link in Iliescu’s past – including KGB and GRU (Soviet military intelligence) support in bringing him to power after communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s overthrow in December 1989 – is nothing new in Romania; it has constantly dogged Iliescu’s post-communist career, first as head of the Provisional Council of National Unity and then as the country’s elected president. But why such allegations have resurfaced at this particular moment is a question that observers of the Romanian scene are still trying to answer.