‘Divide at impera’ it is a Latin quote, meaning ‘divide and rule’, meaning, split the opposition so that it ceases to threaten your own power. So, how to rule promoting hate is a very old strategy, probable since the society started to have rulers. But in communism it was fine-tuned to perfection.
The Romanian government policy was to encourage hate among groups, so people could not organize against the regime…
Everybody hated the secret police and the high officials of the Communist Party, that in turn hated everybody in the country (reciprocity law). Doctors had small salaries, so, they were selective whom to care professionally… unless people tipped them, and that became a rule, so, people hated doctors. Workers hated the engineers because they believed that engineers do not work (working with the head was not considered a real job) and engineers hated the workers because workers had bigger salaries (workers were paid the overtime, but most of the engineers were not).
And everyone hated those in the food chain. Toward the end of the regime, into the eighties, people stayed in line the whole night to buy food. The regime calculated ‘scientifically’ how much food the population needed, all the rest was sold at dumping prices in other countries. In these conditions those that ‘distributed’ the food took the best for their families and friends or sold it to the higher bidder at the back door of the shop.
And some people believed that the president did not know, they could not believe that the president was so heinous to accept such a situation.
Here is a joke: President Ceausescu and his wife were passing by a huge queue of people staying in line to buy food. The president asked: ”what is that line for?”. His wife answered: “they are in line for food”.
Puzzled, the president asked: “there is no food?”. Bored to hear about that subject again Madam Ceausescu replied: “I was not talking about us” then pointed her finger to the gloomy crowd… “but them”.
I will mention here that apartments did not have air conditioning, and during winter time the temperature in the apartments was pretty low. I had a corner room where in cold days the temperature was about 7 Celsius degrees.
It is notorious the following happening during a rally where Ceausescu had a speech about how great Romania was. Someone from the crowd shouted: “It is cold in our houses” (that was really, really courageous). Ceausescu did not hear clearly and asked someone in his entourage… when Ceausescu understood what the man in the crowd said, he replied “you may put another coat on you”, and that was recorded and transmitted live on the radio, Romanians should remember that.
With the austerity imposed in the country, all the debt was paid by 1987. When the regime fell in December 1989, the government had about 8 billion dollars deposited in different accounts in western countries (according to the free press after ‘revolution’). Those money were never found, and surprisingly, some people in the country became multi-millionaires, some billionaires (in US dollars); people believed that those guys were high ranking secret police officials. Sounds familiar?
Note: To silence the whispers around the country about the money, the government payed a Canadian company to investigate; they were sure that the investigators will find nothing. But the government was wrong, when the investigators got to close finding the money, the government stopped the investigation.