Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with William A. Crawford
CRAWFORD: I think it's all right. Well, concurrently with Romania's move toward economic independence and closer ties with the West from '62 to '64 the Romanians had taken a number of specific steps to downgrade, if not eliminate, Russian influence throughout the country. So the first point I want to cover is the Romanian derussification campaign carried out internally; and then the second, the closer relations that were being established with the U.S. during the same period when they were moving farther apart with the Russians.
You'll recall I had said that upon my arrival, Bucharest was still dominated by a giant statue of Stalin [Joseph V. Stalin], which on a dark night several months later was quietly removed. Well, there were a number of other significant things that were shortly to occur in terms of derussification. First of all, the Moscow-trained Romanians whom the Russians had placed in key positions in the internal security apparatus after the war, were soon got rid of. Then streets and villages which had been given Russian names after the war reverted to their original Romanian names.
Q: Did the removal extend exclusively to the internal security, owas this across the board?
CRAWFORD: No, this was mainly a question of the internal security apparatus. The Russian armed forces having already left in '58, the only other obvious Russian presence to remain was a small Russian military group connected with the Warsaw Pact. They were very inconspicuous—only some twenty or thirty of them—and though we saw certain steps taken by Romania to decrease its ties with the Warsaw Pact while I was there, no action to remove these particular people. That would have been a little too risky. The ones I'm speaking of who were removed were the Russian-trained NKVD [People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs, USSR] types, who in some cases were actually Russian citizens who had been placed in the internal security apparatus which the Romanians were now proceeding to “Romanize.” Then there was the question of the Romanian alphabet. Romanian is a Latin language, and it does not have Cyrillic characters, but the same Roman characters that we have. But the Russians after the war had insisted on certain orthographic changes in the Romanian alphabet giving it a Slavic tone.
Q: Things like having a GH instead of a JE, new sounds?
CRAWFORD: A particular one was the Russian “i” which sounds a bilike the Romanian “a.”