The photos that divided the internet. “I wonder which picture was freedom and which was slavery…” PHOTO

Two photos taken in the same place, more than 35 years apart, before and after the Revolution, caused heated discussions among netizens. If some of them believe that the “Golden Age” years were the hardest for Romanians, others believe that things changed for the worse after 1989.

PHOTO by Pixabay

In the images posted on the Facebook group “Memories from old Cluj”, a former grocery store from the “Golden Age” appears, later transformed into a clothing store. Both photos are taken on the Boulevard of Heroes in Cluj. The first picture, which is black and white, shows several people queuing for sana and yogurt, while the other photo, taken in the same place, shows an empty sidewalk. The photos divided those who saw them and caused a real debate.

A full debate

“I wonder which picture was freedom and which was slavery…“, someone wrote. He immediately received a more than harsh reply, which he probably did not expect. “For this you have to think a lot…find a good psychiatrist!”


“Rhetorical question seems to exceed the limits of your minimal intelligence…” someone else chimed in.
Others jumped to the nostalgic's defense. “Naughty comment for the sake of being mean, like us“, another told him.

“I think that you rather need a neurologist (psychiatrist is already too much)! Mr. is absolutely right. Andrei Ionescu!
”, was another reaction.

“Did someone ask you? Did the endless hours of standing in line for anything make you happy?, returned a critical lady. “You have misunderstood dear lady! Just that in the communist regime there was slavery and humiliation! Re-read the comments carefully!“, returned the targeted one.

“Who does not like democracy and considers that this capitalist regime is actually slavery, can emigrate to Russia or North Korea. There are regimes of popular democracy, where freedom is sacred”another netizen quipped.

The Great Famine started in 1981

The last decade of communist dictatorship meant a real disaster for Romania, which became more and more isolated internationally, while the economy suffered because of the decisions made by Nicolae Ceauşescu, the man who led the country in a dictatorial manner. Since 1980, the standard of living has deteriorated rapidly, and the common citizen has faced huge shortages.

The disaster began to take shape on December 16, 1981, when “the most beloved son of the people” He announced his plans at the National Conference of the Romanian Communist Party. Then Nicolae Ceauşescu announced an ambitious project, unimaginable until then for any head of state or any government on the world map.

Eight years later, on April 12, 1989, Ceausescu triumphantly announced the completion of the plan. The Socialist Republic of Romania had paid off all its foreign debts in less than eight years and even recorded a surplus of 2.5 billion dollars, from the money it lent to other countries even while repaying its own credits.

Romania no longer pays tribute to anyone”, shouted the dictator from the microphone of the Plenum of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party. But that didn't stop him from continuing to starve the population and force people to live similar to those in North Korea.

Food on cards

Basic food products, bread, oil, butter or sugar, were only given on cards, and every Romanian received tiny amounts every month. Meat and meat products were sold in some areas of the country only once or twice a month, and the queues were endless.

And because the Romanians, in their desperation, were looking for any way to get food, in 1981, through a decree issued by the Council of State, those who make “speculation” should be punished with prison. That decree stipulated that people who procured basic food products in larger quantities than what was considered necessary for a family, would be imprisoned between six months and five years.

In addition to basic foods, other methods of saving money were also used. Thus, during the winter, the houses were unheated, and gas and electricity were often cut off to save money. People were constantly urged to save energy, and those who did not conform were threatened.

It is no less true that the first years after the 1989 Revolution were also difficult. Huge inflation, extremely high unemployment and economic stagnation have made millions of Romanians choose to go to work abroad or even settle there.