From the moment the megalomaniac "Great Leader" Nicolae Ceausescu, who turned his onetime maverick country into the new basket case of Europe, was overthrown, Romania became a special case again. It has opted for neither the gradual transformation chosen by Poland and Hungary nor the "velvet" revolutions of Czechoslovakia and the now defunct German Democratic Republic; even in Bulgaria, the coup that toppled Todor Zhivkov was not violent. But in Romania, the popular uprising that led to Ceausescu's overthrow on 22 December 1989 cost 1,033 lives, inflicted heavy suffering to a further 2,198 people, and damaged buildings, some of them historically significant. This paper analyzes the role disillusionment, credibility, revisionist history, and legitimacy play in the unstable result of an unfinished revolution.
December 1998 - In 1977 Czechoslovakia and Hungary agreed to build a barrage complex on the Danube River with large dams at Gabcikovo (Czechoslovakia) and Nagymaros (Hungary). According to the treaty, the jointly-owned and -operated system would "strengthen the fraternal relations of the two states and significantly contribute to the bringing about of the[ir] socialist integration." In reality, however, it sparked a controversy between these two neighbors that has plagued Hungarian-Slovak relations for more than two decades.
November 2000- NATO was conceived and functioned during the Cold War as a collective defense organization. The centerpiece of the allied mission was to deter an attack and to prepare for the emergencies of Article 5 - defending the territory of the members-states against an attack by the Warsaw Pact. Although the ultimate test never came, it is fair to say that the alliance acquitted itself well in this area.
June 2004 - As eight post-communist countries entered the EU last May, Romania was among the few applicant countries that did not manage to implement the accession criteria. Like the other applicant countries, Romania has been aggressively lobbying to enter Western institutions and it has been successful in arguing for its geostrategic importance in Europe, as is reflected by the fact that it was admitted to NATO last June. Yet, despite the strides it has taken and its commitment to recreating the western ideal at home, Romania is still far behind most of its neighbors in its transition from communism to liberal democracy. Here, I will attempt to address the major obstacles to Romania's progress and the country's prospects for stepping up the pace of reforms in the near future.