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General Stefan Gusa » Interviews/Media appearances » Interviul acordat de Generalul Ştefan GUŞĂ

Interview with General Ştefan GUŞĂ
Bucharest, 1993

 

“They tried to get some help from the outside in order to deal with the difficult situation in December 1989, especially for the annihilating the theorists. I returned home on Sunday, December 16th 1989, at 09:30 p.m. An officer on duty from the General Staff called me by the order of the Minister of National Defense. The Minister informed us that the disturbances occurred during the relocation of a priest, Laszlo Tokes, in Timisoara. I asked if military measures are needed. He ordered me to wait for further orders. December 17th 1989. In the morning we were informed that the Minister ordered an operation group  from the General Staff, it was led by col. Ionescu and it went to Timisoara with a military aircraft. Generals Ilie Ceausescu, Victor Stanculescu, Dafinescu, Eftimescu were invited, at noon, in the Minister’s cabinet, to be informed. The events I fail to understand begin from this moment. I think Ceausescu ordered that some military groups would walk, along the streets of Timisoara, singing. We were reported that the unarmed soldiers, who were having a battle flag and who were singing, have been assaulted by strangers. They were hit with stones, chains, bottles and they even tried to take their battle flag.
Note: Losing the battle flag means to abolish the unit. General Milea gave the order to not give up the flag and he ordered the soldiers to go back in the barracks. Who wanted to capture or destroy a battle flag? We were strongly alerted and worried because of the aggression against the soldiers. If someone had a problem with Laszlo Tokes, he could go to his house instead of aggressing the Army. I found the situation very strange. Who were the abusers? The youngsters?? How was it possible? Did they attack their brothers, who are, by chance, in the Army? I later understood the situation, when those people ravaged about 300 stores in the center of Timisoara. Do the honest people devastate their own town? If they disliked Ceausescu and his party, they must have taken action against the County Council party and the institutions where these bodies were functioning, but not against the soldiers or their units. We understood what we had to understand. Why were they attacking the Army if they had something against the party and Ceausescu? Later, I realized that they tried to draw the Army into a bloody conflict that could “justify” the intervention of foreign forces, coming to resolve the situation. Do you remember that the Radio station Europe Libera, Brucan and other people were saying that there are 60.000 dead people? I was there and I knew it wasn’t like that. We heard that there were victims. That’s the diversion. It is very important not to entangle the events! Some of them took place before the 22nd, the others developed after. These numbers were involving the Army in something we never committed: a genocide. How many dead and how many wounded people were there until December 22nd? How many were there after? We were suffering from a great lack of information. I was concerned about something else because I was a military man: one could have easily entered Romania because of the disorder inside the country. Some might be offended, but want to say: I was afraid of an invasion. The Army was blocked and diverted, by a diversion, from its basic mission: homeland defense. The Staff Officer in me was wondering: what would happen if the invasion occurred? Something else was still bothering me: Was it necessary, in such a complex situation, that the Chief of Staff to be sent to a big unit? There were the army commander, the division, a group from the Ministry. The Minister of National Defense lost his most important man. The Army leadership has been dispersed, broken. Was it necessary? The roller begun. We all knew what happened in Poland, Germany, Czechoslovakia ... We were the next. Something was about to happen in Romania too. The question was when and how. I assume my responsibility and I tell you this: Our fate had been decided in Malta. Unfortunately, our faith had been decided in Yalta a few decades before. The plans were Amazing and there were several ways. The merit that they were baffled was neither mine nor of Vlad. The merit belongs to the simple people who understood the situation. We could had been divided or occupied or yugoslavized. December 18th, 1989. A telegram arrived from col. Manea Dumitru, our military attaché in Belgrade, in the afternoon. It was announcing the imminence of an outsider aggression. Most Hungarians in Romania share their poverty and problems with us. They are not interested in politics. I was not necessarily expecting a Hungarian assault, but an assault coming from Hungary. Do not forget that there had been 60.000 soviet soldiers in Hungary. Do not forget that there had been massive redeployment of troops two years before the events that took place in the neighboring. From the West to the East. Don’t forget that some aviation units on the Hungarian territory had been moved next to our border. A military man must consider these details. December 18th, 1989. The unpleasant episode from the Cathedral took place in that evening. A few young people died in the area. They also found there some chemical grenades used for training.”
Reporter: “General, I have a videotape from the U.S. reporter Ted Koppel. He is one of the greatest reporters from AT & T. It demonstrates that the young people were not shot from the TAB, the army only had the purpose to intimidate. No one was shot in front of the Cathedral. People fled to the park side. There they fell down, hit by someone who needed victims. 60 000 victims.”
Reporter: “Are there other special issues about December 18th?”
“I realized, at that time, that there was a psychological and a radio-electronic war in Romania. What was his intensity? What were the results? I understood these things only later.”
Reporter: “I want clear arguments, General!”

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