ROMANIA: DEATH OF A DICTATOR : Profiles of National Salvation Front Leaders

From Reuters

The National Salvation Front, which declared itself Romania's new leadership after the collapse of Nicolae Ceausescu's regime, is believed to have about 40 members. They include a number of politicians and dissident artists and intellectuals.

It is not clear who is the top leader. Following are profiles of some prominent members:

Corneliu Manescu, 73, originally announced as leader of the front, is a former foreign minister and former president of the U.N. General Assembly. He is one of six former party officials who sent an open letter to President Nicolae Ceausescu in March, attacking his hard-line policies. As a result, he was placed under house arrest for several months.

Ion Iliescu, 56, who knows Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev from his days as a student in Moscow, is the front's spokesman. A former secretary of the Communist Party Central Committee, he was demoted to vice director of the state technical publishing house after criticizing the regime and had been under constant police supervision. "He is a true intellectual who has a modern vision of the economic and social development of Romania," a Romanian diplomat said.

Doina Cornea, one of Romania's best known and most articulate dissidents, has written several essays denouncing political repression and the public's passivity.

A lecturer in French at Cluj University, she was removed for recommending Western philosophical and religious texts to her students. She is a member of the banned Eastern-rite Catholic Church. In an open letter to Ceausescu last year, she called for him to abolish his "crushing apparatus of repressions" and start reforms.

Father Lazslo Toekes, 37, is an ethnic Hungarian priest in Timisoara who sparked the protests that unseated Ceausescu. He has spoken out in his sermons against suppression of the church, the treatment of the country's 1.7 million ethnic Hungarians and Ceausescu's plan to raze thousands of villages as part of a modernization scheme.

Toekes was dismissed from his post in Timisoara in September. The regime's attempts to evict him from his church house brought thousands onto the streets in the western Romanian city earlier this month.

Mircea Dinescu, 39, has been called by one editor "the angry young man of contemporary Romanian poetry, a moralist of the modern age." He is a prolific poet known for his insistence on stating independent views, and his work has been translated and published in France, Italy, West Germany. In the Soviet Union, he appeared last year on Radio Moscow's Romanian service to praise Soviet reforms.

Aurel Dragos Munteanu is a writer who has urged his colleagues to throw off the cloak of repression. In a letter to the chairman of the Romanian Writers Union last year, he said writers would have only themselves to blame if they acquiesced in "being transformed into a crowd of idiots, lacking any civil responsibility."

Gen. Stefan Gusa is the army chief of staff leading the assault on the pro-Ceausescu secret police. His colleague, Gen. Victor Stanculescu, has been appointed deputy defense minister under Gen. Nicolae Militaru.

Dumitri Mazilu, a professor and former head of the Foreign Ministry's legal department, failed to show up to present a report on human rights and youth in Romania to the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination last year. Romania said he was suffering from heart trouble, but Mazilu said he could not travel because he was under house arrest and subject to police terror and death threats.

His report, smuggled out with the letter, accused Romanian leaders of torture and charged that the repressive rule of Ceausescu had reduced Romanians to poverty.

Silviu Brucan is a former ambassador to the United States and the United Nations. He is a theoretician and former professor in the party academy. He also signed the protest letter to Ceausescu, as did Grigore Raceanu, described as a veteran Communist.

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