Emil Bodnăraş (February 10,
1904 Iaslovăţ, Suceava County –
January 24, 1976) was an influential Romanian Communist politician, an army
officer, and a Soviet agent.
involved in many of the events of Communist Romania
, thus making him a
complex figure of Romanian Communism.
was born to a Ukrainian father and a
German mother in 1904, in Iaslovăţ, Suceava County,
Bukovina, then under Austrian rule.
His military career as
officer was interrupted by a
conflict with a member of the Romanian Royal House
. He was transferred to
a garrison in Bessarabia where he was contacted by Communist elements,
became a Soviet spy and defected to the USSR in 1931.
returned to Romania in 1935 and fulfilled different special
missions for Soviet military intelligence
Caught by accident, Bodnăraş was sentenced to ten years in prison.
at Braşov, Doftana and Caransebeş, he entered the Romanian Communist Party in 1940
becoming a key figure in Gheorghe
He was released in 1942.
In 1944, Bodnăraş, together with Iosif Rangheţ
and Constantin Pîrvulescu
, was a key
participant in the political elimination and physical isolation of
, the General Secretary
of the Party. The three
of them dominated the leadership of the Party until Dej's escape
from prison in August of the same year. After the massive bombing of
Bucharest on April 4, 1944
, Bodnăraş and Rangheţ captured Foriş
and forced him to sign his deposition at gunpoint.
Bodnăraş participated in the August 23, 1944 coup
led by King
against the government of Ion
. He organized underground paramilitary
units and together with colonel Dumitru Dămăceanu
the weakening of a segment of the Moldavian
front called "Poarta Iaşiului" against the Soviet offensive of August 1944
was part of a group of communists
custody of Ion Antonescu after his arrest, and took him and
to a safe house,
before handing the two prisoners to Soviet troops.
He became a member of the Politburo
During March 1945 and November 1947 he became the head of the
secret intelligence service affiliated with the Council of
Ministries's presidency. From this position he was one of the
orchestrators of the electoral fraud from 1946
and of the Tămădău
His enormous influence was due to permanent direct contact with the
Soviet secret services (he was reporting on each of the Romanian
Communist Party leaders, as revealed later in the case of Ana Pauker
He held several important positions under Dej: Minister of Defense
, army general
, vice premier
. On December 27, 1947 he became Minister of
Defense, taking over the position previously held by Mihail Lascăr
. He held this office until
October 3, 1955, while in 1956 he became Minister of
Transportation. During his tenure, the Sovietization
of the Romanian Army
occurred. Bodnăraş sent several
Romanian Communists to Moscow to be
trained in a special military school, among them the young Nicolae Ceauşescu, who became a close
and zealous collaborator and was appointed general and political
commissar of the military forces.
He remained one of Gheorghiu-Dej's supporters until Dej's death,
and he resisted the restructurations of the Party proposed by
During the Hungarian
Revolution of 1956
, Bodnăraş led a body authorized to intervene
and even to open fire in crisis situations. In November, together
with Gheorghiu-Dej he also led the Romanian delegation to Hungary,
to discuss with János
and support the suppression of the Hungarian
It seems he also had a key role in influencing Nikita Khrushchev
's decision to withdraw
from Romania in 1958.
After the death of Gheorghiu-Dej in March, 1965, Bodnăraş, as one
of the most influential members of the Politburo, decided to
support Ceauşescu instead of Gheorghe
, thus facilitating Ceauşescu's ascension to the
position of General Secretary of the Party.
Bodnăraş transferred his loyalty to Ceauşescu, receiving in
exchange the position of vice president of the State Council, and
remained a member of the Communist elite until his death.
of Milişăuţi was named Emil Bodnăraş from September 7,
1976 to May 20, 1996.
- Final Report, p. 646
- Final Report, p. 646
- Final Report, p. 43, 646
- Final Report, p. 43, 646; Betea
- Final Report, p. 43, 646; Arvatu
- Final Report, p. 40
- Final Report, p. 38
- Final Report, p. 131
- Final Report, p. 43 n. 32
- Oroian; Vankovska, Wiberg, p. 115; Final Report, p.
- Pacepa, p. 357-358
- Final Report, p. 64, 70, 73
- Final Report, p. 77-78
- Final Report, p. 43 n. 32, p. 205
- Final Report, p. 96
- Pacepa, p. 130-131
- Final Report, p. 100, 646
- Final Report of the
Presidential Commission for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship
- Lavinia Betea, "Bodnăraş - cetăţean sovietic"
("Bodnăraş - Soviet citizen") in Jurnalul Naţional, October 4,
- Cristina Arvatu, "Răfuială cu şeful in stil
gangsteresc" ("Settling accounts with the boss in gangster
style"), in Jurnalul
Naţional, October 5, 2005
- Vartan Arachelian, "Falsificatorii" ("The deceivers"),
in Ziua, August 23, 2005
- Miron Vasile, "Bodnăraş unelteşte, la Palat, deschiderea
frontului prin 'Poarta Iaşiului'", in Historia, August
- Teofil Oroian, "Scurta cronica a
consilierilor (1948/1949 - 1959/1960)" ("Soviet counsellors in the
Romanian army: A brief historical perspective"), in Dosarele
Istoriei, December 2003
- Biljana Vankovska, Håkan Wiberg, Between past and future:
civil-military relations in the post-communist Balkans, I. B.
Tauris, 2003, ISBN 1860646247
- Ion Mihai Pacepa, Red
Horizons: The True Story of Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescus' Crimes,
Lifestyle, and Corruption, Regnery Publishing, 1990, ISBN
- Cristina Scorţariu, "Repunerea pe soclu a lui
Bodnăraş aduce nemulţumiri în rândul istoricilor", in
Informaţia, August 13, 2003
- Minister of Defense's photo album - Bodnăraş Emil