Kind of a quick entry this week, but it’s a good one. We’re back to a woman behaving badly this week, and with people out wailing about the failure of a former First Lady to slouch her way into the White House like she was entitled to it, it seems like an excellent time to discuss another “First Lady” who somehow got power she wasn’t entitled to, and abused it, and the country was worse off for it while she never tired of scolding and haranguing them.
My dear readers, I give you, the wife of the communist dictator of Romania, Elena Ceausescu.
Mrs. Ceausescu noticed when her husband Nicolae went to visit their communist brothers-in-arms in China that Leader Mao Zedong (or Tse-Tung, or horrible mass-murdering monster, however you want to spell it) had put his wife into a position of actual power, and so she set about doing the same for herself. She had herself “promoted” to the position of First Deputy Prime Minister, second only to her husband, and lived a life characterized by exploitative excess, vanity bordering on delusion, and seeking constant praise from her subjects. In a society supposedly founded on equality she was not content to merely be “comrade,” she was special you see. Since Elena was a rather homely woman this was no easy facade to maintain–and woe betide you if you did not help her maintain this image.
As the Iron Curtain cracked Romania was one of the few places where the revolution turned violent and bloody. Nicolae and Elena tried to flee but they were caught by the armed forces and on Christmas Day 1989 they were put through a show trial for their not-show-at-all crimes, during which Elena scolded the revolutionaries as “children” and prattled that she was their “mother.” The show trial didn’t last long, and the tyrannous Ceausescus were taken out and executed by firing squad as Elena screamed obscenities. Elena symbolized the very worst of the communist elite, privileged and arrogant, leading luxurious lives in a nation where equality meant spreading misery around, except to the very special few, and her final hours demonstrated for all the world just how deeply corrupted and unapologetic these people truly were.
Next week we’re back on the sunny side with a lady who behaved herself well and made history all at the same time.