From November 16 to 18 this year, I participated in several events dedicated to the centenary of Monica Lovinescu, organized by the IICCMER in Felticeni. I find the quality of training and participation inspiring.[1] Several films added to the track record of the speakers: “The Case of Engineer Gheorghe Ursu”, “War on the Waves”, “Metronome”, “Freedom”. Two exhibitions were opened.

Gabriel Andreescu Photo: Personal archive

In the context of the centenary, next to or only half a step behind was the radio station Europa Liberă, where Monica Lovinescu and Virgil Ierunca supported the show “Theses and Antitheses in Paris” for about 30 years. Liviu Tofan, former deputy director of the Romanian section of the radio station, co-director of the film “The Case of Engineer Gheorghe Ursu”, spoke about his colleagues from Munich and released the third edition of his book They kept us alive. Radio Free Europe 1970-1990. Mr. Tofan, with the authority of the past and his speech, also mentioned the rapid cancers that ended with the three directors of Free Europe. They perished without a chance in the face of relentless disease, Christmas Bernard (56 years old), Mihai Cismerescu (66 years old) and Vlad Georgescu (51 years old).

The thesis that they were killed by security forces with the help of a radioactive substance is widespread in public opinion. Mihai Pacepa gave such an explanation in his book Red horizons. Of course, her main rivals were former security personnel.

Contrary to the popular idea promoted by Pacepa, Liviu Tofan, an eyewitness to the events, showed what I would call “epistemological caution.” In his book and during a debate in Feltichen, he explained that American security services searched the offices of the Romanian branch at Free Europe headquarters and found no traces of residual radiation. No traces of radiation were found in the body either. The support of the law enforcement officer from the files of Vlad Georgescu, that the measures taken by “them” had an effect, can be simple praise. Conclusion: Since there is no evidence of exposure to Bernarda, Chismarescu, and Georgescu, the exposure hypothesis should be eliminated.

As a counterargument from the hall, the murder of the former Russian agent-defector in England, Oleksandr Litvinenko, was mentioned. In 2006, Lytvynenko died after being poisoned by the FSB with polonium-210.

How he died Litvinenko

Regarding the already mentioned murder of Litvinenko, I suggest you read the material, which is devoted to the legal issues of the criminal activity of Russian agents, and also describes the facts in detail (here). Russian agents added polonium 210, a radioactive isotope that emits alpha particles (two protons, two neutrons) instead of neutrons, to Lytvynenko’s tea. These heavy particles cannot penetrate the skin. To be lethal, it must enter the body – possibly because polonium-210 is soluble. For the first time, the former Russian spy became infected in mid-October 2006, he became ill, but judging by the fact that the part that entered Litvinenko’s body was too small, he was visited by another FSB agent. After drinking the second portion of polonium-210 on November 1, 2006, Lytvynenko lived another 23 days. Advanced cancer destroyed his bone marrow.

Can you imagine the Romanian security service using such materials? Of course, the intelligence services of the USSR and Romania maintained “intimate” ties. When Nestor Ratesh met Pachepa before leaving for Munich to take the director’s post, the general told him about the SB’s attempt to bring portable radiation installations from Moscow (here). Of course, the USSR was also interested in “testing” its radiological poison. Of course, Ceausescu was ready to pay any price to punish his “insolent” opponents. Considering how far the surveillance of Free Europe itself has gone Munichconcern for the living space and habits of employees, taking into account the virulence of threats before and after the broadcast Red horizons, given how unlikely it is that three executives would die of rampant cancer at work (two under the age of 60) one after the other, the hypothesis of radiation deaths (one, two, all three) is very reasonable. Identifying the cause, plutonium 210, is difficult, and is done by spectroscopic analysis (rather than by the trivial Geiger counters used in Munich). The management of the radio station made mediocre investigations.

The only possible way to find out today the “real truth” about the possible murder of Bernarda, Chismerescu and Georgescu would be an amazing testimony or a circumstantial trail. Most likely, top secret operations are not recorded in the CNSAS files. In the documents, the security forces do not “even” suggest torture and violence, at least blackmail, threats and euphemisms of repression.

In sum, the rigor that expresses epistemological caution does not consist in the elimination of hypothesis. But for the continuation of his in-depth investigation, at the end of which it will be possible to establish not the facts as such (because today it is rather impossible), but how reasonablethere is a proposed explanation. The information we have about the context of the events, about the possibilities of ending the repeated threat from Bucharest, about the satisfaction expressed by security officials when they reported their “success”[2] formulate together a hypothesis about the serial killing of directors from Munich by irradiating with fissile material with special properties (such as polonium 210) as far as possible[3].

A few words about the posthumous interpretation of Mihai Pachepa’s book, Red horizons

A few sarcastic comments were made about the Fălticeni debate, some even with a certain disgust (I thought) about a book published by Pacepa in the United States in 1987, Red Horizon: The True Story of the Crimes, Lifestyles, and Corruption of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescutranslated and read on Radio Free Europe in Romanian.

The importance of the escape of Mihai Pachepa for the Americans, the highest officer in the entire communist system of repression, is too obvious. American political leaders and intelligence chiefs have emphasized this many times. Pachepa struck the entire “Empire of Evil”. After the publication of the book Red horizons, Nicolae Ceausescu forever lost his authority in the West. There are inestimable merits. Let’s investigate today whether Mihai Pachepa was engaged in political policing to determine our attitude towards him, it seems ridiculous to me[4]. How could he not do this (he and, above all, Julian Vlad, to whom the CNSAS College took the trouble to issue a certificate of cooperation)? We don’t need research to know what it took for an oppressive worker to make it to the top. In the case of Mihai Pachepa, he gets his role in weakening the “evil empire”. For this merit, I think of Pachepa with gratitude. It seems natural to me that others feel the same way.

But how to look at the book Red horizons? I heard on several occasions, including Feltichen, harsh comments ranging from “she’s full of lies” to “you shouldn’t believe a word of it.” I also felt a kind of superficial contempt for the ranks, which in the 1980s took revenge on the population crushed by humiliation.

The disparaging interpretation of the book advertises the discrepancy between what Mihai Pacepa says and the known facts. – Read the rest of the article at