Libmonster ID: MD-938
Author(s) of the publication: S. I. SAMOILOV

The economic crisis of 1929-1933, which engulfed all capitalist countries, took very acute forms in bourgeois-landowner Romania. This was due to the peculiarities of the country's economic development. Romania was a backward country with a poorly developed industry. Its economy was dominated by agriculture with significant feudal remnants. According to the 1930 census, there were over 12,000 large landlords in Romania, who owned 5.5 million hectares of land, and the majority of the Romanian peasantry suffered from lack of land. 1,700 thousand small farmers owned 2.5 million hectares of land1, 700 thousand peasant households were completely landless2 . Sharecropping, working hours, and forced labor were widely used. According to the admittedly bourgeois economic magazine Bursa, Romanian agriculture was "based on forced labor by peasants, on primitive farming." 3 The intertwining of the industrial crisis with the agricultural one has given the economic crisis in Romania a special urgency.

Only 7.2% of the population was employed in industry4 . According to the general population census of 1930, the total number of workers employed in the mining and manufacturing industries, as well as in public utilities, was only 424 thousand people .5 Romania's industrial development was extremely slow. Some growth was observed in the food, forestry, textile and partly metalworking and chemical industries, which fulfilled state orders for the manufacture of weapons and ammunition. Industrial development was accompanied by a relatively significant concentration of capital, the growth of monopolistic trusts and cartels. The dominant position in the country's economy belonged to foreign capital, which delayed the growth of productive forces and gave a one-sided direction to industry. International monopolies controlled the most important branches of Romanian industry, especially the oil industry. Of the 16 companies that owned 94% of total oil production, only 3 were dominated by Romanian capital .6 In 1930, the country's telephone network was granted a concession to the Morgan American Trust. Even earlier, the Swedish monopoly Kreiger received a concession for the manufacture of matches, and other foreign trusts received a concession for tobacco, salt and explosives. Powerful companies such as Dupont de Nemours, I. G. Farbenindustrie, Standard Oil, and Royal-Dutch Shell have deeply penetrated the Romanian economy.

1 See the journal "World Economy and World Politics". 1947, No. 1, p. 48.

2 See Gheorghiu-Dej. Articles and speeches. Bucharest, 1952, p. 264.

3 "Bursa", January 21, 1930.

4 Breviarul statistic al Romaniei. Vol. II. Bucuresti. 1939, p. 170.

5 "Anuarul statistik al Romaniei". Bucuresti. 1939 - 1940, p. 346.

6 "Probleme economice". 1954. N 1, p. 77 - 78.

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British, French, American and other foreign monopolies owned the overwhelming majority of shares in the metalworking, woodworking, chemical, and sugar industries. By brutally exploiting the working class, foreign monopolies made huge profits. Thus, the capital of the Romano-Americana oil company of the Standard Oil Trust increased from 150 million lei to 900 million lei in 18 years - from 1920 to 1938 .8 The capital of Astra Romana, which was a subsidiary of the British trust Royal-Dutch Shell, has increased almost 42-fold in 20 years since 19159 .

An important means of enslaving Romania with foreign capital were loans, on which the Romanian people paid usurious interest. Public finances and the entire economy of the country were controlled by French banking capital. Its representatives held various posts in the most important ministries of Romania, implementing through them a policy of enslavement of the country.

The plundering of the country by foreign monopolies, the export of capital, and the depletion of public finances by constant payments on foreign loans deepened the economic crisis in Romania. The entire mining and manufacturing industry, all branches of agriculture, transport, public and private finance and trade were engulfed in the crisis. Transylvania's largest enterprises, steel mills, and wood-processing factories were shut down; oil production was reduced, and sugar factories were shut down. The forestry industry in the Muresha Valley and the mining industry in the Jiu Valley have almost completely collapsed. Only military enterprises worked hard.

The lack of demand for Romanian grain on the world market had disastrous consequences for Romania's agriculture. Falling prices for agricultural products led to a sharp reduction in acreage. The harvest in 1928 was 314,450 wagons of wheat, and in 1932 it barely reached 151,150 wagons .10 In the villages, there was a massive sale of peasant property. Tens of thousands of working peasants ' land plots were auctioned off annually for non-payment of taxes and debts to banks, usurers, landlords and kulaks.

The difficulties in the country's economy were compounded by the increased preparation of the Romanian ruling circles for war against the Soviet Union in 1931-1932. The imperialists of Britain, France, and the United States were feverishly putting together anti-Soviet aggressive blocs and preparing military bases for an attack on the USSR. They assigned a special role in these plans to the neighboring states of the Soviet Union, including Romania. In this regard, in the spring of 1932, under the leadership of the French General Staff, a conference of the general staffs of Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia was held, and on September 21, 1932, the Chief of the General Staff of the American Army, General Douglas MacArthur, arrived in the country to prepare the Romanian army for war.

While the production of peaceful industry was sharply reduced, the military industry was increasingly deployed. A new aircraft factory in Brasov was put into operation, and military factories in Kopš-Mică were expanded. The number of military factories in the country has increased from 4 to 20. Civil aviation was taken over by the military authorities. A project to militarize railways was being developed, and the construction of a number of strategic roads was completed. The size of the Romanian army almost doubled, exceeding 300 thousand people. For military purposes edit-

8 "Studii". 1951, N 4, p. 165.

9 "Problems economice". 1954, N 1, 92.

10 "Istoria Romaniei". Bucuresti. 1948, p. 601.

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the government spent 12 billion lei annually, or half of the state budget .11

The ruling classes shifted the entire burden of the economic crisis and the burden of preparing a criminal war to the working people. Workers ' wages have fallen. According to official data of the Romanian Ministry of Labor for 1935, it decreased by 40%from 1920 to 193312 . The attack on the living standards of employees of state-owned enterprises, especially railways, was covered up by a false policy of "economy" and the need for workers and employees to make "sacrifices in the interests of the country." Simultaneously with the reduction of wages and mass layoffs of workers, it was widely practiced to replace skilled, relatively high-paid workers with young, low-paid ones. Production rates were sharply increased, while prices were significantly reduced. In 1931, the wages of railway workshop workers decreased by 75% compared to 192613 . Rising unemployment was a severe scourge for the working class. From 1929 to 1933, the total number of unemployed persons increased 5-fold 14 . Most of the unemployed did not receive any assistance from the state. The bourgeois newspaper Dimineata acknowledged that "the benefits given by the Ministry of Labor to the unemployed do not meet even the minimum needs." 15

Even more widespread were embezzlement and bribery, which flourished at all times in bourgeois-landowner Romania. The leaders of the ruling national-liberal, national-Tsaranist, and other bourgeois parties, who were closely associated with foreign trusts and cartels, made various shady deals and received millions in bribes in the form of commissions and interest for various services.

The degree of disintegration of the bourgeois-landlord system is characterized by a major scam that was sensational in Romania at that time in connection with the purchase of weapons for the Romanian army from the Czechoslovak company Skoda. As a result of a deal made by the government with a representative of this firm, Bruno Seletsky, national-Tsaranist ministers, major government officials and a number of generals received millions in bribes, and the state was robbed of billions of lei.

The attack on the living standards of the working people and the preparation of an anti-Soviet war were accompanied by an increase in terror against the working class and its revolutionary organizations. The Communist Party, which had been in hiding since 1924, was severely persecuted. The workers ' press was confiscated, workhouses were closed, meetings and demonstrations were dispersed, and trade union activists were arrested.

In April 1929 in the mountain. Timisoara hosted the All-Romanian Congress of Unitarian Revolutionary Trade Unions. The Congress strongly condemned the compromise policy of the former trade union leadership and called on the working class to fight against the offensive of the entrepreneurs, for a revolutionary way out of the crisis. The Congress called on the workers to strengthen the strike movement, to combine economic demands with political ones, and to fight for the repeal of the law banning the communist Party.

During these days, the faithful son of the working class communist Fonagi died in Doftan prison. His body was taken to the Mountain Workhouse. Timisoara, where the trade union congress was held. The police, who were looking for a reason for provocation, forbade workers to bury Lanagi and po-

11 "Manifestul CC al Partidului Comunist din Romania", июль 1932 года.

12 См. "Istoria Romaniei", p. 603 - 604.

13 "Scinteia", August 15, 1931.

14 "Scanteia", February 16, 1952.

15 "Dimineata", November 5, 1933.

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she demanded the release of his body. After a unanimous refusal to comply with this demand, the police and gendarmes fired at the Workers ' house and, breaking the resistance of the workers barricaded in the house,executed them. The revolutionary unitary trade unions were dissolved. But the activity of trade unions did not stop. Driven underground, they continued to unite thousands of workers and fight selflessly for the implementation of the decisions of the Timisoara Trade Union Congress-

From the very beginning of the economic crisis, the polevinization of the working class and the growth of the revolutionary movement in the country were sharply marked. The bloody government terror against the workers and their organizations was not able to stop it. More and more detachments of the working class were freed from the influence of the reformists and embarked on the path of revolutionary struggle. Capital's offensive met with stubborn resistance from the workers, which turned into a counteroffensive against the entrepreneurs.

In 1929, serious unrest broke out among the miners of the mountains. Lupeni, located in the center of the Jiu Valley coal district. The miners ' living conditions were exceptionally difficult. The working day lasted 12 hours or more, labor protection was absent, wages were systematically reduced. The already low wages of workers were sharply reduced by various fines and deductions. In connection with the crisis, more and more groups of workers were thrown out on the street every day. As a result of the closure of the Vulkan mine, 3 thousand miners were left without work16 . More and more lists of dismissed workers were posted in the mines. The miners sought to enter into a collective agreement, which would have fixed their basic rights, but the mine owners categorically refused to recognize any rights of the workers. On August 5, 1929, all the miners of Lupeni went on strike. Several hundred workers gathered in the yard of the power plant, waiting for representatives of the administration for negotiations. However, instead of the administration, representatives of the authorities appeared, demanding that the workers disperse. The miners unanimously refused to comply with this requirement. Then the massacre began. Dozens of workers were killed and hundreds injured.

The Lupeni strike characterized the miners ' fighting spirit, their will and willingness to fight. It emerged despite the opposition of the reformist trade union. When the strike broke out, the right-wing Social Democrats openly betrayed the miners, calling on them to "come to their senses", obey the administration and the authorities, and go home peacefully. The Communist Party's political influence among the miners had grown significantly by this time. But the party's role in leading the workers ' economic struggle was still insufficient. This was explained by the right-wing opportunist position of the leadership in relation to the economic struggle of the working class. Vasile Luka and other right-wing opportunists sought to discredit the heroic struggle of the miners, claiming that " Lupeni is the work of provocateurs." They prevented the workers of the entire coal district from joining the struggle of the Lupen miners under the pretext that the right-wing social Democrats were in the leadership of the miners ' union at that time.

The right-wing opportunists also inflicted great damage on the party and the working class of Romania during other major strikes. The Executive Committee of the Comintern strongly condemned the right-opportunist line within the Romanian Communist Party and demanded that the Romanian Communists make a radical turn in organizing and leading the class struggles of the proletariat .17

16 "Scanteia", July 6, 1932.

17 See the Resolution of the ECCI Political Secretariat adopted in August 1930. "Lupta de clasa", 1930, N 18 - 19.

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The events in Lupeni marked the beginning of a revolutionary upsurge in Romania. The strike struggle continued to grow rapidly. The workers ' protests repeatedly ended in bloody clashes with the police. Major strikes involving 10,000 forest industry workers took place in the Mures Valley. Thousands of textile workers participated in a strike at a textile factory in Buhush, more than 2 thousand-at a car-building plant in Arad 18 .

In 1930, workers of the largest metallurgical enterprises "Reshitsa" and "Lemetr" went on strike. In 1932, a strike of 2,000 mountain shoe industry workers lasted for three weeks. Oradea, held under the leadership of the Communist Party. The workers then achieved satisfaction of all their demands: an increase in wages by 15%, the granting of paid holidays, the conclusion of a collective agreement, the recognition of the factory committee, and the release of workers arrested during the strike. 19 Major strikes took place in Satu Mare, Baia Mare, Brasov, Galac, Buhos and other industrial centers of the country. At the same time, workers 'demonstrations took place, during which political demands such as freedom of association, assembly and the workers' press were put forward. In a number of places, workhouses banned by the police were opened without fail. Almost all major cities saw demonstrations by the unemployed.

During this period, the struggle of railway workers developed with great force. In January 1931, the General Directorate of Railways issued an order to dismiss 1,500 workers and further reduce wages by 10%. The order provoked an angry protest from the workers. Workers from the Grivica, Nord and Cluj depot workshops took to the streets determined to defend their rights. Police opened fire on Bucharest railway workers. Two workers were killed and many were injured. In response to the provocative actions of the government, workers of the largest railway centers - Yass, Galac, Braila, Pascani, Cluj, Sibiu, Deja, etc. - organized large protest meetings 20 . As a result of the actions of the railway workers, the government was forced to temporarily abandon new layoffs, and the workers saw that only by revolutionary struggle can they improve their situation.

Meanwhile, the Social Democrats in the leadership of the railway workers ' trade union were trying to divert the workers from the revolutionary path. Carrying out the tasks of the bourgeoisie, the leaders of the Social Democrats called on the workers to petition the government and tried in every possible way to isolate the Communist party. The ruling circles of bourgeois-landlord Romania simultaneously tried to disintegrate the party from within by unleashing brutal repressions on the Communist Party. They stirred up factional struggles in the party, which led to a split in the party in 1929-1931 and weakened the strength of the working class.

The Executive Committee of the Communist International helped to eliminate factional struggle in the Communist Party of Romania. In the resolution on the situation in the Communist Party of Romania (September 1930), the Executive Committee of the Comintern condemned the factional struggle and outlined measures to strengthen the party. He pointed out that the Communist Party of Romania was at one of the crucial stages of the proletarian revolution, in a country that international imperialism had assigned a vanguard role in the anti-Soviet war. The Executive Committee of the Comintern stressed the need to launch a struggle to mobilize the masses against capitalist and semi-feudal exploitation, against social and national oppression, and against the preparation of a new imperialism-

18 "Lupta de clasa", 1930, N 18 - 19.

19 "Scanteia", April 26, 1951.

20 "Rezolutii adoptate de CC al PCR in aprilie 1932". Ed. PCR. 1932, p. 47 - 43.

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and for the revolutionary defense of the Soviet Union 21 . The main means of mass mobilization was to be the implementation of a united front from below.

Having overcome the consequences of factional struggle, the Communist Party strengthened its ranks. This had a fruitful effect on the working class movement. After the renewal of the leadership of the Communist Party, the influence of the Communist Party and the revolutionary unitary trade unions on the broad masses of workers significantly increased. A vivid example of this was the conference of railway workers, oil workers and miners, held in March 1931. The Conference elected an action committee headed by G. Gheorghiu-Dej, which decided to organize factory committees based on the implementation of the United Workers ' front. Despite the most brutal terror and fraudulent machinations of the authorities in the parliamentary elections in 1931, the communist-led workers 'and peasants' bloc collected 75,000 votes against 36,000 in the previous elections.

The Fifth Congress of the Romanian Communist Party, held in January 1932, clearly defined the party's line and immediate tasks. He pointed out the need to shift the center of gravity of party work to factories and factories, to strengthen party organizations in large industrial enterprises, and to apply resolutely and skilfully the tactics of a united front from below, based on the struggle for the daily demands of the working class. The Congress stressed that in the context of the global economic crisis, the struggle against the decline in the living standards of the masses takes on a deep political meaning and leads the masses to the struggle for a revolutionary way out of the crisis. The Congress called on the workers of Romania to resolutely oppose the planned anti-Soviet intervention and pointed out that "in defending the USSR, the working masses of Romania are defending themselves, defending their vital interests." 22

Romania was going to meet big class battles. The strike struggle of the workers, caused by the economic crisis and the growing exploitation of workers, took on an ever-increasing scale. The Communist Party of Romania led the revolutionary actions of the Romanian workers.

Foreign experts, emissaries of British and French bankers Rist, Avenol, di Nolla, Denis and others then developed a "recovery plan" for the country's public finances. The plan adopted by the National Tsaranist Government provided for a reduction in the number of workers and employees of State-owned enterprises and institutions by 30%, a reduction in wages by 60%, an increase in taxes, and other measures to further attack the standard of living of the working masses. 23 The subsequent reduction in wages, as well as a sharp reduction in rent allowances and high prices, reduced, in particular, the average salary of railway workers by almost 55%.24 At the same time, the administration's repressive acts against the workers intensified. The planned dismissal of revolutionary workers from the railways began.

The anti-labor, reactionary policy of the Romanian bourgeoisie aroused the resolute resistance of the working class. In 1932, a number of railway workers ' demonstrations took place in Bucharest, Iasi, Pascani, and Oradea Mare. Some of them ended in clashes with the police. The Communist Party increased its attention to the leading detachments of the working class. She did a lot of work among railway workers. Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Romania, co-

21 See Lupta de clasa, 1930, No. 18-19, pp. 4-6.

22 "V Congress of the Communist Party of Romania". Partizdat. Moscow. 1932, p. 35.

23 See Gheorghiu-Dej. Articles and Speeches, pp. 522-523.

24 "Rezolutii adoptate de CC al PCR in Aprilie 1932".

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In November 1932, he stressed that in view of the increased threat of anti-Soviet war, the party's work among railway workers was becoming particularly important politically. "Between the frenzied preparations for war by international and Rumanian imperialism and the government's offensive against the railway workers, there is the closest connection, which the party must systematically expose to the masses." The Plenum suggested that party organizations should adopt such forms of mass struggle as holding flying meetings, organizing action committees, electing delegations from individual workshops to coordinate the actions of railway workers with other sections of the working class, and holding open conferences of railway workers.

By leading the strike movement, the Communist Party roused the masses of workers to the economic struggle. It resolutely exposed the treachery of the reformists and pushed for the implementation of a united front from below.

During the summer and autumn of 1932, the leadership of the Iasi, Pascana, Galaca, Cluj, Timisoara and Bucharest railway workers ' unions passed to the trade union opposition, which operated under the leadership of the Communist Party. The Central Action Committee created by the trade union opposition enjoyed great prestige among the railway workers. The revolutionary struggle of the railway workers against the advance of capital, for bread, peace and freedom, against the enslavement of the country and its transformation into a springboard for the anti-Soviet war grew and expanded. It gained its greatest scope during the January-February strikes of 1933, reaching the highest point of the revolutionary upsurge of the Romanian working-class movement during the economic crisis of 1929-1933.

In the last days of January 1933, the General Directorate of Railways decided to reduce the amount of advances paid to workers in the middle of the month. The workers of the railway workshops of Grivitsa took this as a challenge from the Railway Administration and united in defending their rights. On January 28 and 31, 1933, more than 7,000 people, almost all workshop workers, stopped working .27 Strikes were accompanied by large meetings and rallies in the yard of workshops and in front of the Main Railway Administration building. The management was forced to abandon the reduction of advances, but the workers who rose up to fight were no longer satisfied with this small concession.

A 60-member action working committee developed a program to fight for the improvement of the situation of railway workers. The program was unanimously adopted at meetings of railway workers. The workers demanded an increase in wages by 20%, the issuance of old allowances for high prices and rent, the termination of layoffs and the employment of all dismissed workers, the payment of apprentices ' work while teaching their craft, the payment of forced downtime, the provision of work for former workshop workers who were demobilized from the army, the increase in extremely low wages for cleaning women, and the provision of a guaranteed minimum wage wages of longshoremen, as well as recognition of the factory committee elected by the railway workers 28 .

These demands testified to the workers ' determination to defend their economic interests staunchly. But the economic struggle of the workers was closely linked to the ultimate goals of the liberation movement. V. I. Lenin pointed out in 1912 that, "in order to improve the conditions of life, the workers should be able to live in a better state."-

27 See "G. Gheorghiu-Dej", ed. of the Romanian Workers ' Party. 1951, p. 23.

28 Ibid., pp. 23-24.

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At the same time, the working class rises morally, mentally, and politically, and becomes more capable of realizing its great emancipatory goals."29

The Communists developed their activities locally, directly in the workshops, in the midst of the working masses. With the participation of all the workers, the issues of organizing and launching a strike were resolved. A broad united front from below was carried out over the heads of the social-democratic leaders. The movement took on a political character. Speakers at the rallies not only demanded that the vital economic needs of the railway workers be met, but also exposed the reactionary, anti-popular policies of the ruling classes of Romania, which had subordinated the country to the interests of foreign monopolies and were preparing a criminal war against the Soviet Union. The speeches of the speakers met with the full approval of those present.

The just demands of the railway workshop workers were rejected by the Government. In response, the workers decided to go on strike. The Action Committee issued a special issue of the newspaper Krasny Zheleznodorozhnik, in which it called on the workers to firmly fight for the satisfaction of the demands made. Despite the calls of the social-democratic leaders for a peaceful settlement of the conflict, a strike of workers in the railway workshops was announced.

On the morning of February 2, a long siren blared. Seven thousand workers of Grivitsa unanimously stopped working and rushed to the courtyard for a meeting, where a strike committee was elected to lead the struggle that had begun. Workers set up self-defense posts at all entrances and exits from the workshops, and workers ' pickets patrolled the yard. A delegation was sent to the workers of the traction and traffic Service to negotiate joining the strike. On the makeshift rostrum of a workers ' rally, one speaker replaced another. The speakers declared the workers ' readiness to fight resolutely for the satisfaction of their demands, expressed their solidarity with the workers of the Soviet Union, and protested against the anti-Soviet policy of the imperialists.

At the call of the communists, large masses of workers began to flock to the Grivitsky workshops, including workers from the Kherdan bakery, the Vulkan machine-building plant and other enterprises, as well as families of strikers. The Communist Party's slogan "Let's give all possible assistance to the strikers" found a warm response among the workers of Bucharest. Many workers brought substantial sums of money, bags of bread and other foodstuffs, and tobacco to the strikers. Workers of the Balkan plant went on strike in solidarity with the railway workers and took to the streets. "The broad highway and the Grant Bridge," writes one of the strike participants, Vasile Bygu, " have become a sea of heads. Wives and families of the strikers, angry workers and women workers from other factories, small merchants in the district, students and schoolchildren, inspired by the words of the communists, surrounded the workshops in a tight ring, which the police could not break through. "Long live the Romanian Communist Party!", "Long live workers' solidarity! "- these slogans burst from tens of thousands of chests. " 30

Railway workers at several major junctions - Cluj, Galac, Pascada - joined the demands of the Grivica workers and also went on strike. The railway workers of Constanta sent a telegram to Grivitsa, in which they welcomed the strikers and expressed their solidarity with them. The railway workers ' strike spread throughout the country.

29 V. I. Lenin, Soch. Vol. 18, p. 68.

30 Vasile Bygu. Participant's memories. People's Democratic Romania Magazine. 1951. N 2, p. 5.

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all over the country. The railway workers were joined by workers from many industrial enterprises.

The powerful wave of the strike movement frightened the ruling circles. After unsuccessful attempts to suppress the strike movement by military force, the Government resorted to a maneuver. It announced its decision to meet the demands of the workers on strike in Grivica. By the evening of February 2, the Ministry of Railways officially notified the workers of the satisfaction of almost all their demands, recognizing the factory committee elected by the workers, and assured them that this decision of the Government applies to all railway centers. Believing the government, the workers left the workshops after an 18-hour strike.


Almost simultaneously with the appearance of the railway workers, the workers of the oil industry rose up to fight against cruel exploitation and arbitrariness. The global economic crisis has led to a catastrophic drop in prices for oil products on a global spurt. This has hit Romania's oil industry hard. However, the British, American and other companies operating in the Romanian oil industry were not inclined to reduce their profits and decided to keep them at the expense of an increased offensive "on the living standards of oil industry workers. A meeting of representatives of the oil companies operating in Romania, held in the first half of 1932, decided to reduce Romanian oil production by 30%, reduce workers ' wages by an average of 40-50% , and dismiss about 25% of workers and employees of oil enterprises .31 The implementation of this plan began in the summer of 1932 at the Orion oil refinery. In September of the same year, the wages of Romano-Americana refinery workers were cut by 35% and a large number of 32 workers were laid off .

The capitalist offensive provoked resolute resistance from the oil workers. This resistance was led by the Communists. The Communist Party of Romania used all legal opportunities to launch a revolutionary struggle. By the end of 1932, at the largest oil refineries in Prakhov ("Astra-Romana". "Romano-Americana", "Orion", "Unirea"), where there were party groups supported by revolutionary trade union organizations, action committees were created. A city action committee was organizing in Ploiesti 33 .

In mid-December 1932, the Astra-Romana factory action committee asked the factory administration to conclude a collective agreement with the workers, which would provide for an increase in wages by 8-10%, an end to layoffs and some improvements in working conditions. At first, the administration refused to negotiate with the action committee, not recognizing it as the legal representative of the oil workers, but under pressure from the workers, it was still forced to sign a collective agreement.

Less than two months later, in violation of the signed contract, the administration announced the dismissal of 40 workers. In response to the actions of the administration, about 4 thousand workers of the plant stopped working. Having gathered in front of the plant management, they demanded an explanation from the administration of its actions. The factory manager, saying that he did not want to talk to the "Bolsheviks", called the police and troops. When it appears

31 "Probleme economice". 1954, N 1, p. 97.

32 "Istoria Romaniei", p. 617.

33 C. Stoica. Eroicele lupte ale muncitorilor ceferisti si petrolisti din 1933. 1953, p. 74.

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all the workers rushed to the factory siren. Alarm bells rang. Half an hour later, a large crowd gathered at the factory gates. There were family members of workers who stopped working, as well as workers from other enterprises in the district and the unemployed. While the police were dispersing the crowd gathered in the streets adjacent to the plant, the plant's workers came to the director's office with their demands and forced him to promise to cancel the dismissal orders and strictly comply with all the conditions of the collective agreement.

The news of the victory of the workers of the Astra-Romana plant quickly spread among the oil workers of Ploiesti and its environs. On this day, the workers of the large Romano-Americana oil refinery received a notice that the complaint they sent to the supreme court more than a year ago was rejected. Encouraged by the example of the Astra-Romana factory workers, the Romano-Americana workers decided to go on strike in protest of the Supreme Court's decision. On February 1, the horns of the Romano-Americana factory informed Ploiesti workers that a strike had begun. Workers of the Astra-Romana, Orion, Unirea and other enterprises in the city and surrounding areas left their jobs and went to the Romano-Americana plant. A huge mass of workers gathered at the factory gates. Soon, after learning about the arrest of part of the working delegation chosen to negotiate with the administration, thousands of people went to the city, to the police headquarters.

The police building was surrounded by a cordon of soldiers, machine guns were installed on the roofs of houses. A sea of people was moving slowly, approaching the police station. The soldiers retreated step by step under the pressure of the crowd of thousands. The workers urged them not to shoot at their brothers, not to defend the interests of foreign and Romanian capitalists, who were selling the country to foreign imperialists and condemning the working people to poverty. The soldiers hesitated and began to offer them to the workers: "Move forward, we will not shoot." 34 In the face of the powerful onslaught of Ploiesti workers, the bewildered police were forced to release those arrested. Inspired by the victory, a mass of thousands of workers marched together with the delegates released by it to the city square, where a rally was held. During that Day, the workers were the masters of the city. The police didn't dare interfere with them. The plant administration had to abandon the announced reduction in wages. The one-day strike was won. Thus, the decisive actions and organization of the Ploiesti proletariat led it to victory over the entrepreneurs.

This victory was not, however, a lasting one. In an effort to localize the struggle of the railroad and oil workers and prevent a general strike of the Romanian working class, the Romanian bourgeoisie made concessions to the workers. But it did not abandon the policy of attacking the working class, of putting into practice the notorious plan of" recovery " by ruining and impoverishing the working class. To this end, the National Tsaranist Government decided first of all to crack down on the struggling proletariat and its party.

Encouraged by the rise to power of the Nazis in Germany, the National-Tsaranist government adopted a series of laws aimed at fascizing the country. On February 13, 1933, with the support of the Social Democrats, it passed a law introducing a state of siege through Parliament. Prime Minister Vajda Voivode openly stated in Parliament that "as a result of the adoption of this law, foreign capitalists will be more relaxed about maintaining order in our country." 35 On the basis of the adopted law, the dissolution of the existing ones at that time followed.

34 Ibid., pp. 78-80.

35 "Universal", February 5, 1933.

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time of some democratic organizations, including the railway workers ' trade union. A "crusade" was declared against the underground Communist Party. Arrests of communists and trade union activists began across the country, including the leaders of the Grivitsa railway workers. On the night of February 15, the chairman of the Central Action Committee, G. Gheorghiu-Dej, was arrested. At the same time, the Government revoked all the rights won by the workers during the strike in Grivica on February 2.

All this did not break the morale of the railway workers. The news of the Government's revocation of the rights it had won and the arrest of the railway leaders stirred up the masses of workers. The workers of Grivitsa's workshops, as one person, rose up to fight. On February 15, 1933, the railway workers ' strike resumed with renewed vigor. The struggle took on a pronounced political character. In the course of this struggle, the will of the workers grew stronger, and their class consciousness grew. The working class increasingly resolutely acted as the leader of the masses in the struggle against fascism and the preparation of an anti-Soviet war. The workers demanded not only the restoration of the rights won on February 2, but also the lifting of the state of siege, the immediate release of the arrested leaders of the working class, recognition of the factory committee, legalization of the railway workers ' trade union, an end to police terror and military preparations, and a policy of peace and friendship with the USSR .36

The arrested members of the strike committee were replaced by other leaders - communists and non-party workers. Self-defense measures were again taken, strike pickets were set up. Barricades were being erected. All day long, workers from numerous factories and factories in Bucharest flocked to the railway workshops. By the end of the day, the number of workers gathered at the workshops reached 20 thousand 37 . "Down with the state of siege!"," Down with terror!"," We demand the release of those arrested!"," Work and bread!"," Down with the anti - Soviet war! " - the party's slogans were repeated by a thousand-voiced crowd of workers .38

Strikes of solidarity with railway workers began at a number of enterprises (the Kherdan bakery, the city water supply system, the Durer factory, etc.). Meetings were held at the Malaksa, Vulkan, and Mochiornitsa enterprises, "at which the workers expressed their warm sympathy for the railway workers and called for the fastest satisfaction of their demands.

The whole country learned about the resumption of the fight in Grivitsa. Cluj railway workers joined the fight, barricaded themselves in the workshops and applied the experience of the Grivica fighters. They were supported by the workers of the Cluj shoe factory "Dermata", declaring a strike of solidarity with the railway workers. Workers ' demonstrations were held in the center of Cluj, which ended in clashes with the police. Strikes also broke out at railway junctions in the cities of Iasi and Galac. Large gatherings and demonstrations were held in Pascani, Constanta, Mediasz, Oravice and other cities.

The police units called by the road administration could not even make their way to the gates of the Grivitsky workshops. Stubbornly defending the strikers, many thousands of workers from other enterprises surrounded the workshops in a tight ring. The police tried unsuccessfully to make arrests among the crowd: workers snatched the arrested people out of the hands of the police. Seeing the helplessness of the police, the government sent against RA-

36 Gh. Apostol. 20 de ani de la glorioasele lupte a le cefiristilor si petrolistilor din Januarie-Februarie 1933. "Scanteia", 18 февраля 1953 года.

37 D. Petrescu. O pagina glorioasa din istoria clasei muncitoare si al poporului roman". "Lupta de clasa". 1933, N 1 - 2.

38 "Scanteia", February 1933.

page 43

three soldiers of the 21st infantry Regiment with orders to open fire on the strikers. But the workers contacted the soldiers and urged them not to take up arms against their brothers.

Vasile Bygu, a participant in the events, describes the exciting picture of fraternization between workers and soldiers: "It was a dark night. Groups of soldiers and policemen struggled through the crowd. The indignant crowd resisted them stubbornly. The troops didn't dare rush into the workshop courtyard right away. After breaking a window in the basement, a group of soldiers sneaked in like thieves. Colonel Hotineanu called out a soldier, Gheorghe Sabareanu, whose brother and father were among the strikers. "Swear," the colonel ordered him. "I swear," the soldier replied. "Repeat:' I swear, with my hand on the machine gun, that I will shoot my father and brother if they do not obey my orders.'" "I swear, putting my hand on the machine gun, that I will never shoot either my father or my brother, or their workmates, who are all my brothers!" This response elicited an indescribable amount of enthusiasm. The cries of "The soldiers are with you"continued unabated .39 Another soldier of this regiment, Nedelcu, openly called on his comrades "not to obey the order of the officers and not to shoot at their fellow workers." He was immediately arrested and then sentenced to years of hard labor. The soldiers were shaken by the unanimity and organization of the workers; ferment began to increase among them, and they did not dare to shoot at the workers. The command demanded that the soldiers be urgently recalled to barracks 40 .

The action of the railway workers of Grivitsa was suppressed only after, on the orders of the government and personally of King Carol II, parts of the border troops, special gendarmerie units were sent against the strikers and the police were reinforced. Early in the morning of February 16, border guards and gendarmes, along with the police and a pack of secret Okhrana agents, broke into the yard of the workshops and opened fire on the workers with machine guns. Resisting the enemy, the workers showed miracles of heroism. The workers ' guards stationed at the factory gates did not let a single policeman or gendarme pass until every last person was destroyed by enemy fire. Workers ' pickets fought selflessly, delaying the advance of the punishers. With great tenacity, the strikers defended each of their positions. They fought back with iron bars, hammers, threw stones and pieces of metal at the enemies, poured boiling water over them from pumps. Every inch of land on the territory of the workshops of the police and gendarmes had to be taken with a fight, leaving behind streams of blood. An example of heroism and a high sense of duty is the feat of Komsomol worker Vasile Roaite. Until the last moment, without leaving the post assigned to him by the strike committee, Roite, under the fire of the gendarmes, kept pulling the chain of the factory horn, which announced the continuation of the struggle of the Grivitsky railway workers. Riddled with bullets, Roaite did his duty until his last breath. As a result of the brutal reprisal of the police and gendarmerie, more than 400 workers were killed, many were injured, and about 2 thousand were arrested. The arrested workers were beaten and tortured in the dungeons of the Okhrana. At night, the police took out the corpses of workers and secretly burned them. According to the newspaper "Kurentul", " railway workshops gave the impression of buildings destroyed by aerial bombardment."

The ruling classes were triumphant. The Romanian reaction expressed its satisfaction with the actions of the authorities. Romanian Prime Minister Vajda Voivode said in the Romanian Parliament that in the future "the government will take all measures to radically eliminate all forms of discrimination against women."-

39 "People's Democratic Romania". 1951. N 2, pp. 5-6.

40 "Documente din Istoria Partidului Comunist din Romania". Ed. PMR. 1953, p. 180 - 181.

page 44

torture to violate public order " 41 . The Social Democrats used the situation to organize a frenzied persecution of the Communist Party. Their press, like the Fascist press, demanded the most decisive measures to suppress the revolutionary working-class movement.

Blinded by the temporary victory, the Roumanian reaction did not understand, however, that the revolutionary movement had taken deep roots in the working class and that it could not be destroyed by any means. The workers responded to the shooting of the Grivitsky fighters with new strikes and demonstrations. Columns of Bucharest workers protested angrily against the carnage, marching in front of the gates of the Grivica workshops, the prison and barracks where the arrested were held, the hospitals where the wounded railway workers lay, and the crematorium where the corpses of the dead were secretly burned. Mass rallies were held at the factories of Malaks, Lemetr, Voina, Saturn, Set, Mochiornitsa and others as a sign of solidarity with the fighters of Grivitsa. Workers deducted one-day earnings to the families of those killed, wounded, and arrested, and set up committees to help arrested railroad workers and families of injured workers.

The struggle between railway workers and oil workers, and especially the events in Prahov and the shootings of railway workers in Bucharest and Cluj, stirred up workers all over Romania. 7,200 Petroshani coal miners quit their jobs and occupied the mines. The miners demanded the release of those arrested, the abolition of all exclusive laws, and the legal existence of the Communist Party and other revolutionary organizations. 42

The February battles of 1933 sparked a movement of solidarity not only among the working class, but also among the working peasants and a section of the urban petty bourgeoisie. A favorable situation has been created for a general strike in the country. However, due to the organizational weakness of the Communist Party and the indecisiveness of the opportunist elements of the party leadership at that time, the slogan of a general strike was not put forward.

The revolutionary actions of the Roumanian workers caused serious alarm among the foreign imperialists. The French official Le Temps wrote in those days:"The very fact that the Romanian government was forced to resort to such extraordinary measures as the imposition of a state of siege throughout the country indicates the unprecedented growth of the communist movement in the Balkans." 43

The Romanian government organized trials of the leaders of railway and oil workers, hoping to complete the defeat of the revolutionary movement by judicial reprisal. However, these trials backfired on the ruling clique and caused it a new moral damage. A large movement in defense of the defendants has emerged in the country. Despite the state of siege and ferocious terror, meetings were held in factories and factories, on railways, in mines and institutions, and tens of thousands of signatures were collected demanding the release of those arrested.

At the railway workers ' trial held in Craiova, the defendants turned into accusers: they raised the banner of the working class and the Communist Party high and mercilessly exposed the bourgeois-landowner government of Romania and its criminal, anti-people actions. From the rostrum of the military court, the defendants popularized the revolutionary tactics used by the workers during the February battles. They have pilloried the leaders of the Social Democratic Party.-

41 Quoted from Izvestia, February 18, 1933.

42 See Izvestia, February 22, 1933.

43 "Le Temps", February 7, 1933.

page 45

the Democratic Party and the reformist trade unions, exposing their vile and treacherous role in the revolutionary struggles of the Romanian working class.

Every day, the chairman of the court received thousands of letters and resolutions of workers ' meetings demanding the termination of the trial and the release of the arrested fighters. 10 thousand signatures were collected under such demands. Numerous representatives of the workers came to Craiova and boldly defended the defendants as witnesses. The courtroom was also visited by delegations of farmers from Dolj, Arjesh, and Dej counties. A delegation from the village of Chetate, Dolzh County, submitted to the President of the court a demand for the release of the workers ' leaders, signed by 300 peasants .45

The trials of Romanian railway and oil workers have sparked a vivid demonstration of international solidarity among the working class. Large-scale rallies against fascist terror against the leaders of Romanian railway and oil workers were held in Moscow, Leningrad and other cities of the Soviet Union .46 The military court received protests from workers ' organizations in Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Canada and other countries. The railway workers ' trial was attended by representatives of the international Anti-Fascist Committee and a delegation of French railway workers. The letter of the famous French revolutionary writer Henri Barbusse read out at the trial made an indelible impression. "The intelligentsia of the whole world," Barbusse wrote, " is following with particular interest the powerful speech of the representatives of the Romanian people in the dock. Through their mouths, the railway workers express their firm will to participate in the struggle for the right to exist for all, in the struggle against war. We stand in solidarity with our courageous comrades, with the heroic fighters of the Romanian people, of whom we are as proud as you are."47 A military tribunal convicted the leaders of the strike for years of hard labor.


The revolutionary actions of the Romanian proletariat during the economic crisis of 1929-1933, culminating in the February battles, were an important stage in the history of the working class and the entire Romanian people. In 1934, the July plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Romania noted: "In the February battles, the railway proletariat and the oil workers suffered only a temporary defeat as a result of the material superiority of the enemy forces. In reality, they emerged from this conflict politically and morally victorious, achieving not only partial satisfaction of their demands, but also winning the largest positions for the entire proletariat as a class and establishing its role as a hegemon in relation to all strata of the working people."48 The heroic struggle of the workers of Romania dealt a serious blow to the policy of fascization of the country and the "buoyancy of recovery". The February battles of 1933 took place shortly after Hitler came to power in Germany and were one of the first manifestations of the Romanian working class's resolute resistance to fascism, which had reared its head and was preparing for an anti-Soviet war.

The class battles of 1929-1933 were an expression of the patriotic feelings of the Romanian working class, who acted as a representative of the Romanian people.-

45 "Procesul de la Craiova contra conducatorilor ceferisti si insemnatatea sa". Ed. PCR. Decembrie. 1934, p. 15 - 16.

46 "Lupta de clasa". 1953. N 1 - 2, стр. 71.

47 Cit. on " G. Gheorghiu-Dej", p. 32.

48 "Rezolutii a le CC al PCR din Julie 1934". Underground publication of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Romania. 1934.

page 46

the whole people to fight against the enslavement of Rumania by foreign imperialists.

The revolutionary struggle of the working class exposed to the whole people the false democracy of the National-Tsaranist Party, its anti-national and anti-national policy. Being in opposition until 1928, this party, which was the second largest bourgeois landowner party in the country after the liberal party, promised to carry out democratic reforms and improve the lives of the masses if it came to power. Life has revealed the falsity of these promises. During the years of the revolutionary upsurge, the rottenness, abomination and venality of the regime led by the National Tsaranists became apparent with all its force. A direct consequence of the February 1933 fighting was the resignation of the National Tsaranist government of Vayda Voivode. During the revolutionary struggles of the working class, the treacherous, pro-fascist policy of the right-wing leaders of the Social Democratic Party, who openly defended the bourgeoisie, was clearly revealed.

The revolutionary actions of the Romanian workers during the economic crisis enriched the Romanian proletariat and its party with new forms and methods of struggle. These include the seizure of factories and workshops by workers, the election of broad action committees based on the implementation of a united front from below, the organization of defense of factories and workshops, the combination of the struggle inside the workshops with the struggle of workers who came to the aid of the strikers, the sending of striking delegations to other enterprises, the organization of street demonstrations

During the period of the revolutionary upsurge of the working - class movement of 1929-1933, the Communist Party of Romania strengthened its ties with the proletarian masses. By resolutely eliminating shortcomings and mistakes in its work and expelling opportunists from its ranks, the Communist Party has achieved great success in winning the majority of the working class. It gathered into its ranks the advanced workers who fought selflessly on the barricades of Grivica, Ploiesti, Iasi, Cluj and other proletarian centers of the country, and in the fire of class battles grew into a proven, seasoned leader of the proletariat and all the working people of Romania.


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