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  kasianowak 2022-03-01 11:28

So, apparently it's true about the Chechens. I've just been looking at the same Wiki article that Gert has sent a link to. But then... There were Polish soldiers in Chechoslovakia in 1968 (not that they had much choice) from an equally oppressed, by the Soviets, country.
Beautiful photo, almost difficult not to give points! But I have a lot of respect for your wish.

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Old 03-01-2022, 06:55 PM
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Thank you Kasia,


In 1968 in the west was told that only Romania didn't send soldiers to Chechoslovakia.
For many years, Ceaușescu was here, partly because of that, the most popular government leader of all the countries behind the Iron Curtain.

At his fall he turned out to be one of the greatest dictators...

Somehow I think it's worse when others do the dirty work for Putin.

Kind regards,
Paul
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Old 03-01-2022, 10:41 PM
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Hello Kasia, Paul and Gert(who will probably read too).
I remember well 1968 and the Polish soldiers in Czechoslovakia. The Polish people admired Czechs for being brave and there was even the slogan: Polska czeka na Dubczeka (Polish waits for Dubcek, the leader).
But soldiers got the order and had to go. I was somewhere near the Czechoslovakia border when it began. Later, in early autumn I went with my mother to Yugoslavia. it was not possible to go through Czechoslovakia, we went through Lviv (Soviet at that time) (it was my first visit to Lviv).

Was indeed Ceausescu so popular? I do not think so. Such a story I remember. My friend in the Publishers prepared the chemistry book written by Ceausescu's wife. The book was very poor, shouldn't be published, but Romanian Embassy recommended it, or ordered it, there was no way to oppose it. It was a big party in Embassy to celebrate. They wanted to congratulate the translator but my friend forgot to give her name. There was big consternation. But very soon there was the known end of both Ceausescu and the translator was grateful that avoid shame.

Best regrads MAlgo
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Old 03-02-2022, 02:00 AM
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Hello all,


With 'in the west' I may have to put into perspective that I can only speak about Belgium and only about the experiences I had here.

I don't want to say that Ceaușescu was 'popular' in Belgium. No head of government from 'behind the Iron Curtain was popular.
But very often Ceaușescu was presented as headstrong, as someone who did not blindly follow the Soviet Union.
In addition, I remember the fact that Romania was the only country out of the Soviet sphere of influence that had not sent troops to Czechoslovakia was often emphasized.

I fully understand that the sending of troops by the other countries was not their voluntary will and I certainly do not want to charge that.
I'm just trying to reconstruct what the thinking was in our society at the time, or in the part of our society where I had contacts.
I don't even think I can speak for all Belgians.

I also remember that some socialists in Belgium discouraged people from travelling to Spain during the Franco regime.
(In the 1960s, travelling to the Spanish costas suddenly became a financial possibility for a wider group in the Belgian society)
Instead, those same socialists suggested travelling to the Black Sea coast in the 'better country' Romania.

I don't think this advice was followed by many people at the time.
In those years, Romania was not only a lot further away than Spain, but also more difficult to reach and financially not so easily feasible for those people in society who wanted to spend cheap holidays on a Spanish Costa.

In my distant memory, Romania was presented in Belgium several times as 'the other and different Eastern bloc'.
Great was the shock when the truth came to light with the fall of Ceaușescu and Romania turned out to be perhaps the worst dictatorship for its own inhabitants.

These are just some considerations / nuances on my part.

In the meantime, for many compatriots, the world in which they live has become much larger and, after 2004, with the accession of 10 new countries to the EU, the concept of Europe has expanded.

It also took some time before the new Europe (the enlarged EU) was accepted in the minds of many here, especially in the minds of the less educated group in society and of people who have less or none international contacts.

I do not know whether people in Poland, for example, realise that their country's accession to the EU also required a change of mentality among our people (in the 'old' EU).
Now Ursula von der Leyen is talking about Ukraine's accession.
No matter how great the solidarity with Ukraine is at the moment, I take it that this seems much more obvious to the people of Poland than to the Belgian population.

In politics and in the EU, decisions are often taken without taking into account the time that certain ideas need to mature among the own population.
You could of course also say that politicians should lead the people in the right direction...

My best regards,
Paul
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Old 03-02-2022, 12:43 PM
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I remember the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984, which were boycotted by the Soviet Union and most of its allied states. Romania didn't take part in the boycott, and the Romanian athletes were greeted like heroes by the American audience as they walked into the stadium on the opening day. It confirmed in my mind the naivety and ignorance, at least in international matters, of Americans generally, who didn't seem to have any idea that the Romanian regime was probably even worse than most others in the "eastern bloc".
Gert
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Old 03-02-2022, 01:11 PM
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I forgot about the Olympics in LA.

Now I'm starting to wonder what it was like in other European countries at the time.
That so-called American naivety towards Romania clearly existed in Belgium.
I'm not speaking about the entire Belgian population. But about those I knew at the time.

Was it so different in Sweden? Perhaps as a journalist you, Gert have a more in-depth view of things that are only viewed superficially by others...
Otherwise, I should be ashamed.
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Old 03-02-2022, 02:11 PM
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Paul,
I don't think Swedish opinion was so different from Belgian. It didn't come as a surprise to me that the Americans thought Romania was on their side, which of course it wasn't it was just not on the Moscow side either.

In more recent years I have often wondered if idiots like George W Bush or Donald Trump could even find Afghanistan or Iraq on a world map.
Gert
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Old 03-02-2022, 06:05 PM
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Gert,

Do you think George W Bush or Donald Trump could find South Dakota on a map of the US?

Paul
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Old 03-02-2022, 07:08 PM
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I wouldn't bet on it.
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