The Cold War and Romanian Justice: How the Suez Crisis determined the fate of participants in the 1956 Students' Movement in Timisoara

Snitar, C. (2016) The Cold War and Romanian Justice: How the Suez Crisis determined the fate of participants in the 1956 Students' Movement in Timisoara. ECPR General Conference, Charles University, Prague, 7-10 Sept 2016.

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On the 30th of October, 1956, students from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Timisoara organised a meeting with all their fellows from the Polytechnic Institute with the participation of academic management and representatives of the Romanian Workers Party. Their announced purpose was to determine officials to answer questions related to what was happening in Hungary those days. Inspired by the Hungarian students' claims, they also prepared a Manifesto containing what they thought were solutions for improving the economic situation and, consequently, for solving problems that they and their parents were facing at that time. The meeting started at 2.00 pm in the Seminar Room no 115 of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, all moving at 2.30 pm to the canteen, due to the lack of space for about 2000 students who finally gathered there. The meeting lasted until 8.00 pm. Meanwhile, troops surrounded the building. In the same night, the initiators and those who spoke at the meeting were arrested and led to Securitate (Former Secret Services)' s headquarters for “crime of plotting against social order” punished with death under the provision of Decree no 199/1950. On the 13th of November, the juridical frame was changed from Decree no 199/1950 to Article 327 Penal Code for “public agitation” punished with five to ten years imprisonment. The order was given by the Presidency of Ministers' Council to Securitate and Military Tribunal. The presentation will try to explore whether the change of sentence was determined by the Bucharest' s desire to convince Moscow to withdraw its troops from Romania, ensuring Soviets that the riot was only “a storm in a tea cup”, or the decision rooted in the West-East relations unfolded under de Suez Crisis which has started several days before. The paper is based on interviews with former students and on archival research at the National Archives in Bucharest, Timisoara and Cluj-Napoca, and at the National Council of Studying the Archives of former Romanian Secret Services.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Snitar, Dr Corina
Authors: Snitar, C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
Journal Name:ECPR General Conference

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