Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Raul Volcinschi, a former anti-communist Romanian dissident, dies at 89

BUCHAREST, Romania - Raul Volcinschi, an anti-communist dissident who risked his life to fight for democracy in Romania, has died. He was 89.

Volcinschi died Sunday at his home in Cluj city, said Octav Bjoza, head of Romania's Former Political Prisoners Association. The cause of death was not given.

Volcinschi was imprisoned in 1956 for taking part in a student riot supporting an anti-Moscow uprising in neighbouring Hungary. He fled from a high security prison, in an attempt during which another man was shot dead. He was later re-captured and sent to another prison before being released as part of a general amnesty for political prisoners in 1964.

In 1983, he was involved in an unsuccessful plot to assassinate Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania's communist dictator, according to the book "The Trial of Communism."

Ceausescu ruled Romania for 25 years before being ousted and executed during a 1989 anti-communist revolt that killed hundreds of people.

Volcinschi was born into a family of intellectuals, and graduated law at Cluj University. But his opposition to the communist regime meant he could not practice law, said Radio Cluj journalist Vasile Tomoiaga.

"He was intransigent and isolated, at war with everyone until the end," Tomoiaga said. "He was disappointed with Romania, but was lucid and had a good eye for detail."

Tomoiaga last interviewed Volcinschi on Nov. 18, and was later told by the family that he had suffered a stroke in December.

After the end of communism, Volcinschi created a small anti-communist party and tried to secure an amnesty for three workers who were convicted in 1983 assassination plot against Ceausescu. The three were granted individual amnesties in 1999.

After 2000, he became close to populist politician Gigi Becali who is now a European Parliament member for the nationalist Greater Romania Party. In 2008 prosecutors charged Volcinschi with making a false statement in a soccer bribery case involving Becali.

Volcinschi is survived by a wife and daughter. He will be buried in the southern city of Craiova at a family burial plot.

No comments: