Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
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Drăghici, Alexandru (1913–1993)

Romanian interior and state security minister (1953–1965). Born in the Wallachian town of Tisău on 27 September 1913, Alexandru Drăghici attended primary school until the age of eleven and within a few years found work as a railway locksmith. He took part in the Griviţa railway strike at Galaţi on 2 February 1933, which ignited industrial action also in Cluj and Iaşi. He joined the Romanian Communist Party (RCP) in 1934 and in 1936 was imprisoned as a "notorious communist" along with Ana Pauker, among others, and became a close associate of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej.

Following his release in August 1944 from internment at Tîrgu-Jiu, Drăghici served briefly as a public prosecutor, and in October 1945 he joined the RCP Central Committee, becoming a full member in 1948. In December 1950 he was appointed head of the Political Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior. In May 1952 he became interior minister and in September 1952 head of the new Ministry of State Security (the Securitate) as well. The power of these combined positions allowed Drăghici a free hand in undertaking a massive search for enemies of the state at Gheorghiu-Dej's behest, during which about 100,000 persons were arrested and imprisoned by 1958. Drăghici's fortunes were directly linked with those of his patron, so when Gheorghiu-Dej died in March 1965 and was succeeded by Nicolae Ceauşescu, Drăghici was removed from his ministerial posts and replaced by Ceauşescu protégé Ion Iliescu. Ceauşescu began a campaign critical of the alleged abuses of the interior ministry during the former regime, and implicitly of Drăghici, so that by 1967 Drăghici was thoroughly discredited, finally giving up his Presidium seat on 26 April 1968.

Just after Ceauşescu's death in December 1989, Drăghici and his Hungarian wife Marta quickly left Romania, taking up residence in Budapest, where he died on 12 December 1993, bringing to an end efforts by the new Romanian regime to extradite him.

Gordon E. Hogg


Further Reading
Dobre, Florica, ed. Membrii C.C. al P.C.R. 1945–1989: Dicžionar. Bucharest: Editura Enciclopedica, 2004.
 

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