No. XLVIII (2017)

Elena Ceauşescu’s Personality Cult and Romanian Television

Annemarie Sorescu Marinković
Institute for Balkan Studies, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Published 01.12.2017


  • personality cult,
  • Elena Ceauşescu,
  • Nicolae Ceauşescu,
  • Romania,
  • communism,
  • television,
  • media studies
  • ...More

How to Cite

Sorescu Marinković, A. (2017). Elena Ceauşescu’s Personality Cult and Romanian Television. Balcanica - Annual of the Institute for Balkan Studies, (XLVIII), 343–360.


Elena Ceauşescu, spouse of the Romanian communist leader Nicolae Ceauşescu, generated in the 1980s a gigantic homage industry, as she was the object of a personality cult as strong as that of her husband’s. This paper briefly outlines the origin and elements of Nicolae Ceauşescu’s personality cult, to focus then on Elena Ceauşescu’s cult: how at first it was merged with the cult of her husband, her being a mere companion of the head of state, and then grew to the point of paralleling that of Nicolae Ceauşescu during the last years of communist rule in Romania. The second part focuses on the evolution of Romanian state television and its crucial role in the diffusion of her personality cult, showing how this state institution became completely subordinated to the presidential couple in the 1980s, and pointing to a paradox of the period: the shorter Romanian television’s daily broadcasting time, the larger the amount of programming on Ceauşescu. Finally, the paper shows how January was infused with anniversary dates meant to consolidate the personality cult of the presidential couple and to reinvent communist traditions.


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