The above photo is a little wonky…. It’s of the Ministry of the Interior building which was constructed between 1939 until 1950, although it was taken over by the Central Committee of the Labour Party in 1958. It was used by Nicolae Ceaușescu and he had his office on the first floor of the building.
Anyway, on 21 December 1989, the world’s attention was drawn to this spot when Ceaușescu made one of the most infamous speeches of the twentieth century. Ceaușescu spoke of the freedom that the Romanian people had, although he forgot to mention that he ordered the state media not to mention that the Berlin Wall had fallen just weeks before. As the speech started to go wrong, Ceaușescu then tried to bribe the people in the square with wage increases, but to his entire confusion, the crowd didn’t believe him any more. The video footage of the speech is on Youtube and so badly did it go, his security detail removed him from the balcony.
History can judge why on earth Ceaușescu had let himself be re-elected as leader for five years (although, not really elected…..) on 24 November 1989, as the rest of the eastern Europe was descending into peaceful revolution. His future was clearly over and at that point he could have likely fled to safety to ensure that he could live out the rest of his life in at least relative comfort. After Ceaușescu’s speech, the city descended into chaos as the building was raided and he was forced to flee by helicopter. He was captured the day after and, along with his wife Elena Ceaușescu, they were assassinated by a firing squad after a brief show trial.
A sign indicating what happened here at the building, which is now once again used by the Ministry of the Interior.