Profession: Dictator of Romania
Why Famous: Nicolae Ceausescu was the head of the Romanian state from 1965 - 1989 before he was toppled with the fall of the iron curtain.
Elected General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1965, Ceausescu then became President of the State Council and in 1974 converted this to a more dictatorial position.
Ceausescu's regime was more moderate in the early years and on foreign policy he at times went against Soviet wishes, opposing the invasion of Czechoslovakia.
However later he sought to emulate communist states such as North Korea, creating a cult of personality around himself and controlling cultural and economic life. Living standards fell dramatically.
The 1989 revolution began with protests in the city of Timișoara and Bucharest. Ceausescu was soon arrested and condemned in a show trial. He and his wife were executed by a firing squad the same day.
- 1965-03-22 Nicolae Ceausescu is elected General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party
- 1967-12-09 Nicolae Ceaușescu becomes President of Romania (overthrown in 1989)
- 1968-08-15 Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu visits Prague
- 1989-12-22 After 23 years of dictatorial rule, Romania ousts Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu
- 1989-12-25 Show trial of Romanian Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena on charges of genocide and personal enrichment. The couple are found guilty and executed by firing squad the same day.