Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with William A. Crawford
CRAWFORD: Well, I think that there are a couple of good reasons. One is that the Romanians maintained an internal position which was fairly orthodox. They didn't challenge the basic Communist system. In fact, their internal controls were still rather Stalinist. Liberalization of ideas and so on had not developed internally as they had in Czechoslovakia. The party maintained tight internal controls. There was no such thing as relaxation of censorship as there had been in Czechoslovakia. There was no such thing as the possibility arising of a fractional movement within the party, or of two candidates for an election. They, on the contrary, remained very orthodox. So the Russians did not have any fear that the system itself was being challenged by the Romanians, even though they were going much farther than anybody else in differing with the Russians on foreign affairs and were asserting a strong posture of economic and, to a degree, political independence vis-a-vis the Russians. But the second point is that even in foreign affairs they recognized what the Russians couldn't tolerate, and they set strict limits. Above all, the Romanians were very careful not to give any impression that they might do what the Hungarians had done, which was to move out of the Warsaw Pact. They were very careful about this, and about not challenging the system itself. So I think that where the Romanians and the Czechs parted ways was that there was a much higher degree of liberalization actively developing in Czechoslovakia, which I think the Russians were afraid might lap over among their Communist neighbors and possibly into the Soviet Union itself. In particular, I believe they feared the possible effects of Czech intellectual ferment upon the already somewhat imaginative Russian younger generation. Well, there was little of that kind of intellectual excitement to upset the Russians in Romania. There was no more than a very guarded movement towards greater liberalization at the time, and the party was well in control.
Q: Didn't reckon with anything as subversive as discotheques.[Laughter]
CRAWFORD: That's right.
Q: I think that's about it.
CRAWFORD: Yes. End of interview