Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part Two: Nicolae Ceaușescu: The Dracula of Being A Dick

Part Two: Nicolae Ceaușescu: The Dracula of Being A Dick

Thu, 02 Feb 2023 11:00

Robert is joined again by Jeff May to continue to discuss Nicolae Ceaușescu.

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In 1967, Joseph Stalin's only daughter, flees Russia for her new home, America. Hello, everybody. I am very happy to be here. That story alone is worthy of a podcast, but Spedlana's Spedlana is about what comes next, and it's the craziest story I've ever heard. It has KGB agents, a Frank Lloyd Wright commune, weird sex stuff, three Olga's two Spedlana's and one neurotic gay playwright. That's me. Listen to Spedlana's Spedlana on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Paper Ghosts is a true crime podcast, investigating the mysterious disappearance and brutal, unsolved murder of Tammy's Wiki. They just kept telling us from the beginning, she'll be back, she'll be back. We had no clue where she was. They didn't know where to begin a lucky. Tammy's story shocked the nation. The deeper I searched, the more troubling things I found. The best lead, the best evidence, the best witness was blown off. Listen to Paper Ghosts on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your favorite shows. In 1980, cocaine was captivating and corrupting Miami. The car kills, they just killed everybody. It was hell. Setting an aspiring private investigator on a collision course with corruption and multiple murders. The detective agency would turn out to be a front for a drug pilot, would claim he did it all for the CIA. I'm Lauren Bright-Pacheco. Join me for murder in Miami. Talk about walking into the devil's den. Listen to murder in Miami on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Ah, what's mummified my persons? This is Robert Evans, host of Behind the Bastards. Here with some exciting news from the world of museums, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, I have adopted the term mummified remains and mummified persons to refer to mummies. So we're good, everybody. Finally, the long problem of people not respecting mummies is over. We did it, everybody. I just, I know there's a lot of activists out there in the streets who have been fighting for mummy rights for a long time, and I just wanted to let you all know it was all worth it. Jeff May, how do you feel about mummified persons? I'm calling a mummies and care. Let the woke mob come from me. All right, they are mummies. They've always been mummies. I'm not, are they going to go back and change the classic horror film to the mummified person? Absolutely not. Nonsense. Is it the M word now? Yeah, horrible. If anyone ever calls it a mummified person to me, I am, I am going to read from the book of the dead. And I know from the movie The Mummy, how badly that can go. I would give somebody a DDT. If somebody was just like, um, do you mean mummified persons? I would immediately just shake the snake robberts, DDT them into the ground. Now, I know you're talking about a martial arts term, but I assumed you were talking about the pesticide that was made famous in the book Silent Spring. And now I assume that you always carry a full canister of DDT on you at all. Yes, I got to take, I got to fight malaria. No, I would say martial arts term is that's loose. I would say a professional wrestling term. That's where you put somebody in sort of like a headlockish kind of a thing here. And then you just kind of catapult the top of their head into the ground. Well, that wrestling is the only martial art I respect. So there, yeah, it's the only one you can do while you're dressed like a, like a garbage man or a clown. Yeah. Jeff, this is behind the bastards. It's a podcast about, you know, people who aren't great, in history, speaking of which today our subject in part two is still Nikolai Chachezcu. How are you feeling about Nikki as we go into part two? We love a bastard Nick on this show with you and I together here. You know, he's, he's something. He's something. All right. He's, he earned the name. I know we were building up to it last episode. It's fun to see that it's going to build up to the crescendo that we're going to see here. There was a lot of, a lot of background last episode. Yeah. You got to cover the background. The, you know, it's kind of like how if you really want to understand the humanity of a mummified person, you have to understand. I'm sorry. What did you say? You son of a bitch. Also, aside note here that the Chicago studies. What was the name of the place? The Chicago place? Chicago Institute of Oriental Studies, something like that. Is that, is that, is that still, is that still, is that still say that? Yeah, yeah. It's referring to the region. I know I get it. It just seems like it's a weighted work. Okay. You know what that's like. You do kind of, you do kind of want to know when they started calling at that and like, yeah, I wonder, I wonder Chicago. Anyway, whatever. I'm sure it's fine. I'm sure it's fine. You know, who's not fine? Marshall Antonescu. So, this guy winds up, and again, Marshall Antonescu, he's this interesting character because he's ideologically. He is not a guy who is particularly interested in fascism, but he winds up in bed with these fascists and becomes like one of the worst of them in terms of like his actual death toll. He was a lump of fascism. Yeah, it's weird. He's a fascinating figure because of how he's the forest gum of the Axis powers. So, under Antonescu, Romania again, when kind of, you know, there's this whole world war thing that starts up again. And last time Romania had gone with, you know, Britain, France, Russia, and cited with them. And it had gone terribly for Romania, right? The war kind of ends and they get some land, but they don't do well. All of their oil fields are lit on fire. All of their young men get killed. And under Antonescu, they're going to back the opposite side and the next world war. And you know what, Jeff? It doesn't go well for them either. World Wars. Not a good call for Romania. Yeah, they're not the champions of world wars. No, it only really goes well for us in Switzerland. But, you know, that's a story for another day. So, Romania, and again, kind of the reason Antonescu sides with the Nazis. And there's a lot of stuff going on. But one of the big ones is that he wants to get back Bessirabia, which, based on the treaty that the Nazis inside with the Soviets, the Soviets got to take from Romania just a little bit earlier. So, the Romanian side with the Nazis, who would agree to give up this territory that now the Nazis are saying, hey, if you side with us, you can get this territory back, which may seem like a shitty deal to you. Maybe not trustworthy in the Nazis. I know this is going to, like, blow a lot of people's minds. But historically speaking, this is really going to cause some people's tops to pop here. Yeah, wild stuff. So, Romanian troops fight alongside the Nazis during operation Barbarossa, which works really well for a little while, right? For, for, there's a couple of months there where it seems like, hey, maybe a good call. Back in the Nazis, we're taking a lot of territory. Romania is suddenly much bigger. What a cool time. So, it goes really well for a little while. But then the bulk of Antonescu's military, the pride of Romania's army, a huge chunk of their young male population, winds up in an interesting position. They are put watching the flanks of the German, I believe it's the sixth army, as it encircles Stalingrad. Now, Jeff, I think we don't know where this is going, right? I don't know if anybody's ever heard of Stalingrad, but it's pretty well known as far as battles go. It's in like, I would say it's far as battles go. That's a top three historically. Probably, yeah, probably a top three, very fair. Yeah. And if you're going to pick a position to be in World War II, there's a lot of bad ones. Sure. But one of the worst is watching the flanks of the German army is the encircle Stalingrad. It's hard to get much worse than that. Trying to get famed sniper Ed Harrison to take out Jude Law. Yeah, Jude Law is fucking running rough shot over these Romanians. It doesn't go well for them. Romanian military gets its ass handed to them shortly before the German military gets its ass handed to them. And things only get worse after that point. It doesn't go well after Stalingrad. Yeah, I mean, you know, land war in Asia and all that. Beyond that too. The Russians, this is like the guy at the bar. That tries to pick a fight with the bouncer. Yeah. And the friends are like, I don't think that's a good idea, man. This guy, you know, he got the job for a reason. Yeah. It's like I've taken a couple MMA classes. I think I got this. It's like three times your size, man. There is a scar on his face bigger than your fist. Not a real tooth in his mouth at that point in time. Yeah. So yeah, things go downhill from there. And despite being again, on paper, Antonescu, he is not a guy that has a long history of like anti-Semitic agitation. He's not a guy who, I think, under his own devices, would have cared much in either way about kind of Nazi policies in that regard. More of a hobbyist. More of a hobbyist. But his policies against Romania's Jewish population lead to an unprecedented level of mass death in Romania. And this is not the subject for this episode today. We will talk about this at some point. Antonescu probably deserves his own episode. But more Jews are murdered by the Romanian government. But then by the government of any other axis state besides Germany itself. It is a hard fight. Japan didn't have a lot of options there. No. Although there are a couple of interesting cases. I mean, there's, there's, there's a couple of interesting cases of Japanese officials who save Jews in parts of the world from the Nazis. And at least one interesting case of a Nazi who saves Chinese citizens from rampaging Japanese troops. There's one. World War II. Lots of, lots of neat interesting history moments there. Yeah, it's like each country of doing horrendous things is like these other guys need to calm down. Kind of seems like there's some got bad guys on the axis side. They're massacring the wrong people. So, yeah. Antonescu Nightmare Monster kills about 300,000 Romanian Jews, I think, something like that. Now supporters of Antonescu, because he's kind of been rehabilitated by some corners of Romanian culture recently, will note that he also saved 300,000 Jewish lives by refusing to deport those people to Poland when the Nazis ask. Now, I'm not sure that you get credit for saving 300,000. 300,000 Jewish lives when you've just killed 380,000 or so Jewish people. I don't know that, yeah, I'm not going to really give you credit. In Vegas terms, they call that a push. Yeah, yeah. That's, I feel weird being like, look at all these lives he saved. Does he's massacring like a city's worth of human beings? Yeah, no. We're not going to, we're not going to, we're not going to, we're not going to be doing that here on this show. We're also not going to be getting that into the Holocaust and Romania, not that obviously it's a worthwhile topic, but I don't want to just like, you know, we should just, I'm just trying to acknowledge the extent of how bad it was. We'll talk about it in more detail at some other point. The while, they were, they don't know what you're talking about. Oh, Jeff, we may need to sit down and talk about that after class. Do you have a history degree? I don't know how I got it. Yeah, but it's from Florida. No, they're not allowed to have books. Diary and Frank hasn't gotten approved by DeSantis yet. No, yeah. Yeah. So as the war unraveled, resistance to Antonescu coalesce behind the scenes, and there's this alliance of like liberals and royalists led by the new king, Michael, and a guy named Giulio Manu, who's the head of the National Peasant's Party. We talked about in the last episode, and they decide we're going to do a coup and get Antonescu out of here. But it's kind of useless for them to do a coup if the allies aren't going to stop doing a war on Romania. There was no real point in getting this guy out if they're just going to have to fight the war more. I mean, to be fair, historically speaking, we've seen it happen where people do a coup and then they pull out of the war. And they're like, we're out. Yeah, but they're trying to make it less messy than it's other, because the Russians do that. Right? And in World War One, you get your revolution and then the revolutionary government kind of awkwardly winds up still at war with Germany for a while, and it doesn't go great. So they have this back channel to the allies. And the Brits, who are the people they're talking with directly, are like, look, we'd love it if you get Antonescu out. Be real great for us. But Stalin's really the guy you got to talk to because you're Romania. So we are not going to be your main point of contact. What a bummer that they're like, hey, you know, who you need to talk is two is our very stable friend, Joseph Stalin. Are saying and totally reasonable buddy. Jason guy. Just send a guy. Now, Jay Stahl, to be fair, it's not an unreasonable thing. He says, hey, look, you know, if you want to work something out with us and coup this guy, that's great. It'll save me some trouble. But you got to bring the Romanian Communist Party into the coup government, right? They got to be part of it, which is again, not an inherently unreasonable thing except for the fact that again, there's like 700 Romanian Communists, right? So it's not a major party. Yeah, that'll take an afternoon to get the man. Yeah, exactly. So Manu, the National Pesnitz Party guy is like, of course, look man, we're, this is a bad situation. I'm not going to fight you over this matter. But he is like, there's not really a whole lot of Communists in Romania, Joseph Stalin. Who do you recommend we put in and Stalin in the Soviets recommend a law professor named Lucrissiu Petronascanu. Petrashcanu, sorry. Lucrissiu, I'm sorry, I did look these names up. It's hard to keep them all straight. Lucrissiu Petrashcanu. And he and Manu, they plan to basically take Antonescu down by inviting him over for dinner and having the king be like, hey, Antonescu, you're into a rest now. Fuck off. Fuck off, which is kind of a funny way to do it. The classic rest boot. Yeah, exactly. Come on over to this party. Come on over to this party. Come on over to this party. No, no, it's fine. We just went all hang out together in a room. It's going to be totally cool. You know how you don't agree on a lot of stuff? Yeah. Come on over to my house. Come on in a room. Leave your guards. Leave your guards. And it's very funny. The coup actually works great. And there's this moment where like, they're like, hey, Antonescu, do you have a gun? And he's like, I don't need a gun, you know, my authority doesn't derive from a gun. And then they're like, okay, cool. Well, you're under arrest. And then we're going to have you executed. And they do. It works out great. This part works out really good for them. Should have brought that gun. Yeah, should have brought that gun. And the National Peasant's Party guy, Manu, is kind of an old man at this point. He's like, look, man, running a coup government, that's young man's work. So this communist, Patraschkinu, winds up being kind of the first person to take a public role in the new government. And he's actually a pretty reasonable dude. All things considered. Like, I think he handles this about as well as it could have been handled. So one of the things that happens though is because this guy is kind of your public facing dude and the National Peasant's Party, all of the liberals who are much more numerous and the royal like folks who are much more numerous and actually in like the, like the, you would suspect be the people who would wind up in charge are all kind of scared. Right? Because there's, they've just cood the other leader. There's still a bunch of German soldiers in the country. So they don't want to make too much of a public stink. Meanwhile, the communist, even though there's not many of them, these guys have been beaten and imprisoned and starved. They're all like hard sons of bitches. So the communists are like, why don't we just immediately take power? Which they do. And it works pretty well for them. They get in and they basically like put themselves in a lot of positions that are going to, to kind of give them the ability to control the direction of Romania, or at least help with that. Obviously the fact that the Soviets are so nearby helps too. And the Romanian, or the Red Army enters Romania soon after that. So the communists kind of despite the fact that up until this point, there had been very few of them and they'd had no power. When World War II ends, they're kind of the pre-eminent power in Romania. They stall and they stepped up. Yeah, they stepped up. And they have an election and Chow Chescu gets to practice his faking at election skills and goes about making sure that the communists win that election. Even though again, there'd been about 700 of them in the country prior to World War II. So if the people that actually stepped up to rule are running for something, it wouldn't be the worst to be like, I don't know, I guess I'll vote for the guys that actually said they were going to do it. Well, yeah, yeah. No, again, and it's not an unreasonable thing that as a, as Romanians in World War II, you would see the communists taking over, given everything that happened with the Nazis, and be like, maybe this will work out better. Hey, not like anything else had been working very well. It's the opposite of a Nazi, a communist. All right, let's try it. Yeah. So George Uday, that peasant who had been like the leader of that rail road union that had done all those strikes that Chow Chescu had helped support, he becomes one of the leaders of the country. Now, there's a bunch of, this is, it's more complicated than that. And a poker that other lady is also kind of one of the people who's running Romania initially or the, the, the, the communist kind of take over, but you know, you know, how it goes, you get your show trials, you get your people start getting put in jail and locked up on bullshit charges. And over the course of time, George Uday kind of consolidates his power. One of the things that this means is that he executes this guy, Petrashkini, who got the king out, who helped over or who, not the got the king out, who got him, and Tinescu out, who like over through the dictator. There you, they, they, they come after this guy on bullshit charges and they kill his ass. It's so crazy when you, when it's just such a throw away thing and like, and then they executed that guy. And then they killed that guy. Let's move on. That cool dude. You know, that cool dude who was the communist that Stalin picked to take over. Yeah, they fucking kill this ass. Oh, oh, oh, yeah. And then poker, they get rid of poker. It's, it's, it's, it's as ugly as it usually is when a guy consolidates power. Um, it's, it's a real, real end of the Godfather energy when that shit happens. Yeah. And it's a gradual process. And Nikolay Chuchescu is a quiet figure for most of this. He does not stick his neck out. He does not try to take any big fancy jobs for himself. He sticks close today and he, he kind of like just sort of keeps him as happy as possible. I'm going, I'm going to read a quote from journalist, Catalan Gruya here, under the protective wing of day whose favorite he had become while in prison. Chuchescu struggled, flattered, adapted, worked and raised himself up step by step, tenaciously stubbornly, and with a real instinct for power. At 27, he was the leader of the communist youth organization. And later of the central committee of the Romanian workers party, at 28 party instructor in Constantin and Alincia, at 29 deputy in the Grand National Assembly after he had mobilized motorized troops in the electoral precinct to convince electors to place ballots in the urns, which had already been filled by the communist ahead of time. His meteoric rise continued, culminating with his election at age 37 to the polet bureau as minister of the interior. Now, this gave him a lot of control over what's called the security, which is Romania's answer to the KGB, which means he is in a position to put people into the security retot, the organization that is surveilling everybody in the country. Swaping out corruptly. Good position to be in if you're a guy like this. And everyone's kind of like, well, yeah, you want someone dumb and pliable in that job. If you're not going to be running that, if you're someone with power in the Romanian communist infrastructure and you can't be doing that job, you want a dumb person in that job, right? You want somebody who, like, you feel like it's controllable. And everyone kind of feels like Chow Chescu is just sort of this like not a very serious person, right? So they're like, yeah, give him the job. You know, what's the worst that could happen? He's not that dangerous. No, no, the worst that could happen is pretty rough. Yeah, the worst that could happen is about to occur. But for a while, everyone's like, yeah, you know, at least, you know, if someone's going to have that job and it's not going to be me, we might as well have it be this licks battle who kisses everybody's ass and who isn't very threatening, he's not, you know, really worth fearing. And he's not worth fearing as long as George you day is healthy and doing good. And given that he is an old-time communist street fighter who smokes like a chimney, surely he's going to live forever. Yep, that's classic. It's my favorite Bob Siegerson. Yeah, yeah. So as Nikolai climbed the ranks of the Romanian Communist Party, there's this combination of asking and convincing everyone else that he's too dumb to be a threat. His wife Elena experienced numerous career benefits as well. All of the different wonderful things that nepotism can provide to you. He's a A plus wife guy, by the way. Oh my God. You have never waived a guy as hard as this guy, wife's. Yeah, shout out to this guy for just being just like a good, he's like the rob zombie of wife guys of Romania. Just being like, I don't care what you can or can't do. I'm still giving you opportunities. I wish I could, given that this is Romania, I should have been able to make a Dracula joke, but I'm not sure how to work it out. I gotta be honest, I threw your curveball with that. Mm-hmm. It's not, it's not coming to me, Jeff. It's not coming to me and I feel ashamed for that. But you at home, make your own, make your own joke about rob zombies, hit song, Dracula, and the Romanian historical figure, Dracula. Well, Jeff and I listened to some ads. This show is sponsored by BetterHelp. When you're at your best, you can do great things, but sometimes life gets you bogged down and you may feel overwhelmed or like you're not showing up in the way that you want to. Working with a therapist can help you get closer to the best version of you, because when you feel empowered, you're more prepared to take on everything life throws at you, and life is throwing a lot at everyone lately. So if you're thinking of giving therapy a try, BetterHelp is a great option. It's convenient, flexible, affordable, and entirely online. Just fill out a brief questionnaire and they'll match you with a licensed therapist. You can switch therapists at any time for no additional charge. So if you want to live a more empowered life, therapy can get you there. Visit slash behind today to get 10% off your first month. That's slash behind today to get 10% off your first month and begin your journey towards Better Mental Health. It's 1967, the Cold War, and Joseph Stalin's daughter, Stetlana, the princess of the Kremlin, has just fled Mother Russia. Her new home? A place where the roads are paved with gold and people bake apple pies out of baseballs and freedom. A place called America. Hello, everybody. I am very happy to be here. That story alone would be worthy of a podcast. But this one, Stetlana's Stetlana, is about what comes next. And it's the craziest story I've ever heard. It has KGB agents, mystics, and a Frank Lloyd Wright commune, destiny, immortality, and unbreakable cycles, weird sex stuff, weird money stuff, weird dances, three Olga's two Stetlana's, and one neurotic gay playwright who won't shut up about it all. Guess which one I am? Listen to Stetlana's Stetlana on the I Heart Radio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Paper Ghost is a true crime podcast investigating the mysterious disappearance and brutal, unsolved murder of Tammy Zawiki. They just kept telling us from the beginning, she'll be back. She'll be back. We had no clue where she was. We didn't know where to begin to look. She just hit me like a ton of bricks, I just had not really thought about anything except finding her. Tammy's story shocked the nation. There was no resolution, nothing was ever zeroed in on. The deeper I searched, the more troubling things I found. There was a lot of physical evidence that had never been analyzed. Money and their f***ing from the FBI at a job in Missouri. The best lead, the best evidence, the best witness was blown off. Listen to Paper Ghosts on the I Heart Radio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your favorite shows. Ah, Jeff, that all got me pumped up. I gotta be honest, man, I'm gonna consume all of the things that were just advertised. Mm-hmm. Gonna slam them in the back of my Dracula. Was that his car? Was that Rob Zombie's car? Well, it's the monster's car, isn't it? Are you serious? Is that song about the monsters? Yeah, I think Dracula is the name of their car. That's cool. It's cool. No. Because he wrote a cool, heavy song about the monster. Are you serious? Yeah, I mean, there's a reason he- Oh my God, you're right. It is based on the Drag Race or Dragula from the monsters. Yeah. You wanna know how I know that really well, aside from the fact that I'm- I study this shit, the pinball machine, the monster's pinball machine has a Dracula thing. Wow, wow. Ah. That's bad, right? That's kind of sad. What a baffling piece of pop culture. Why did that song go so hard if it's about the monsters? Because Rob Zombie did it. I guess that makes sense. It does make sense that Rob Zombie would do a song about the monsters. And he would go hard. Yeah, and he would go bafflingly hard with it. Speaking of bafflingly hard, Nikolai is bafflingly hard for his wife Elena, who sucks ass. Yeah. That actually worked out pretty well. So- There we go. As Nikolai climbs the ranks of the party, he starts putting his wife in jobs. Now, at first, she's just kind of like raising their kids and stuff while he's in, you know, moving on his way up to the Polet Bureau. But she's got this ambition to be a chemist from the time when she worked in that illegal pill mill. She thinks it would be really cool to be a, to be in chemistry. So she takes, starts taking college classes in chemistry, hoping that she can achieve her lifelong dream of being a serious scientist. Now, in most cases, that's a perfectly respectable thing to do. In fact, I have a lot of any, any woman who could raise three kids, support her powerful husband and his career, and get a complex degree in science. That's incredibly impressive. Terrible boss. Yeah, absolutely. Unfortunately, Alaina was nearly illiterate and she had no interest in actually being taught anything by the tutors that Nikolai got for her who become increasingly desperate with the fact that like, oh my God, we have to, we have to teach her how to be a chemist and she does not want to read anything or like study to learn the chemist. Yeah, she wants to put on a white coat and pour things in beakers. Yeah. Yeah. Really? It's like, there's a, isn't it like that? I think it's a Romanian textbook. There's like a roommate, or there's a textbook. I forget what country it's in that has Jesse Pinkman on the cover of their chemistry thing of him like pouring shit. I'm looking that up right now. Yeah. Jesse Pinkman textbook cover should give you exactly where it's. Oh, yes. If it's from Romania, that's the, the symmetry for that is unbelievable. Yeah. Wait. Because it is just satisfying to see. Because you know, it's just a cursory Google image search for chemist. And that one clearly has the best look because it was, you know, directed by Vince. I do not think that language is Romanian. It's definitely not Romanian. Oh, Sri Lanka. Okay. Oh, yeah. Yeah. That's just shame. That would have been beautiful. Jesse Pinkman, Jesse Pinkman actually is objectively a better chemist than Elena Chachezcu, which is unfortunate because of the job she's about to have. So these tutors who are just struggling to teach her something, get a brief reprieve because she's caught cheating on her exams and expelled from university in the mid-1950s. But by 1960, Nikki is in the Polet Bureau. So you can't keep her out of university just because she's cheating in a danger to herself and everyone else around her. So he forces the scientific establishment of Romania to give his wife a job. She's made a junior technician at the Central Institute for Chemical Research. And then she gets promoted to run the institute five years later. Now again, her credentials are was kicked out of college for cheating on her exams at this point. So in five years, that's time to learn, right? Yeah, yeah, you learn most of that shit on the jet, like Jesse Pinkman actually. You're going to learn most of that shit on the job anyway, right? He didn't do good in school either. He flunked out and look at how Jesse did. Yeah, it's bitch. Yeah, exactly. So she was as bad at this as you would expect. When her scientists would request supplies of Ethel alcohol, which is needed for a lot of experiments, she would turn them down. With a note that said she knew they just wanted the alcohol to get drunk with. Now, I'm going to say this for Elena. I'm going to, I'm sure she wasn't wrong 100% of the time. This is the, this is the Eastern block, right? Like, I'm sure 100% of the time she wasn't wrong. But what's really funny is the researchers realized that like, okay, if we request Ethel alcohol, she's going to like really drill us and turn it down because she thinks we're going to drink. They put in the exact same request, but they use the chemical name for Ethel alcohol. And Elena would grant it every time because she doesn't know anything about chemistry. Because she's a dumb guy, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Now over time, she, she is aware that she doesn't know anything about chemistry and she has imposter syndrome because she's an imposter. She's an imposter, yeah. She's actually an imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is not always wrong. Some people who have imposter syndrome are imposters. But Elena starts avoiding actual chemists, you know, the people she's managing because conversations with them would inevitably reveal she had no idea what she was doing. My favorite example of this was how she pronounced CO2, calling it Koutou or Kodoi in Romanian, right? So she, she wouldn't call it Koutou, but like she called it Kodoi, which is the equivalent of calling CO2 Koutou, right? Because she's just kind of sounding it out because she doesn't know how you're supposed to read chemical names. Now Kodoi in Romanian is a slang term or it's at least close to a slang term for someone who has a huge ass, right? Like it's, it's like a dump truck ass. Like Kodoi, that's kind of what that means. So since Elena herself has kind of a big butt, again, this is what historians will say. Her scientists started calling her Kodoi behind her back like big ass basically. She got that cake. Yeah, she's, she, she is, she is gaked up. She's uranium cake, that baby. Yeah. Well, please don't let her around the year rate. That would have gone very badly for everybody. Yeah, we could have had a Chernobyl incident. Yeah. So like most incompetent people who wind up at the heads of large complex organizations, Elena decided to focus her efforts on the one thing she knew how to do, which was deny people resources in order to save money, right? With a big ol' ass. Yeah, you swagger in with that big butt and start cutting money. It is kind of the thing that if you don't know anything about an organization and you're promoted to lead it, just start trimming the budget, you know? You can always make it look like you know what you're doing then and you can fuck with the people who are actually good at their jobs. This is not a thing that you or I or any of the people we've ever worked with have had experience with ever in our careers. Not once. It only happens in communist states. So that's good. It's good that we are immune from that here. Now this basically drives all Romanianian efforts in the chemical sciences into the ground and it stymies basically all of their progress on chemistry and shit, but her institute did spend less money over time. So that's good. Probably, probably worthwhile. Now it's the Roger Corman of chemistry labs. Yeah. Look, we're making it at a low budget. You say that, but I'm waiting for the James Cameron to appear in this story. We still don't have that here. Probably because Alina would have had him perched. Yeah, he 100%. Yeah. Yeah, maybe that would have been for the best. It would have saved us that whole period of time in which everyone thought 3D TVs were going to be a thing. I'm sorry, but I will not sacrifice true lies. No. Yeah, that is that is true lies, strange days. Determine our films. Oh, he was involved in those, huh? That's interesting. I wonder if people know that. I'm talking to James Cameron, right? Yeah. Oh, it's just okay. Yeah. I got really confused and I'm like, did I say a wrong name? No, no, no. David Fincher and I'm like, you know, he did terminator too. I do kind of want to see David Fincher's terminator too. That would be something, right? Yeah. So in person, Alina was extremely anti-social and quick to anger. She was jealous of any of the other Polet Bureau wives that she thought were more attractive than her. And she preferred to spend her time avoiding social engagements altogether. She was disgusted with the other wives because they were traditional home makers, whereas she had a career of her own. Now the fact that her career was an absolute sham does not seem to have upset Alina. It is also worth noting that she was a pretty piss poor mother. Yeah. Look, some people would ask. Well, with a large ass. Everything, like that's all up to personal judgment. So Niku Chowchesku, her son, born in 1951, was the baby of the family. And from the jump seemed to realize that his parents' position made him untouchable. He was disruptive in school. He threatened teachers and classmates. No one could discipline him. He would just start punching teachers and students whenever he got angry because, you know, his dad is helping to run the country. Nobody can actually punish him. It's a good situation. We call this like the, we call this the Uday and Kuse route, right? That's kind of where, if you believe, now, I'll say this, a lot of our sources on Niku Chowchesku come from a guy who defects from the country after running the secret police. So there's some debate over how accurate all this is, because maybe he has a vested interest in making the family sound worse than they were at that. That said, the idea that Niku Chowchesku would be a violent asshole. Not a, not a big stretch either. So I don't know, you know, grain assault. According to this guy who later defects, who we will talk about later, at age 14, Niku rapes one of his classmates. At age 15, he gets his first boat and he drunk drives it before he gets his first car at 16. At which point, he becomes one of the leading causes of car accidents in the capital of Bucharest, because he is just a, you know, he's a dictator's son, right? This is all pretty standard dictators get stuff. You know, golden, golden weapons and, you know, side palaces and shit. Yeah, he doesn't have the panache of Uday and Kuse. So he's not, I don't know, firing a golden machine gun and do a crowd at a party. But he is crashing his car constantly. So he's got that, he's got that good Assad energy, the Assad kid who fucking killed himself in his car drunk driving. He's that kind of dictator's son as opposed to more of the more of the Udayish, Udayish, Udayesque variety. So for the first decade or so that communist Romania is doing its thing, the Soviet Union keeps a bunch of soldiers in country, right? Because you know, they want to make sure things keep going, keep going in a direction they're comfortable with. Now this means that for a while, Romania's Communist Party is a subservient branch of the party in Moscow. George Uday, who's running the country and his Polet Bureau are not happy about this, especially once Stalin dies and Kruschev takes power because Kruschev kind of repudiates some of the stuff that Stalin had done, right? He gives the speech where he's like, hey, you know what? Everything Stalin did wasn't perfect. You know what it was? Just George Uday where I read the Uday party. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, George Uday. Yeah, George Uday. Yeah. Yeah. That is my personal head cannon like fantasy fiction mash up between George Bush and Uday Hussein mainly or actually, no, you know, that's that. Yeah, that's the that's what I'm shipping them together, right? That's what you call it. We ship them. Yeah, we ship. Yeah, yeah, ship George Bush and Uday Hussein. Somebody, somebody get some fan art going. Use that chat GPT, make it real horny and make sure they're both caked up in honor of Elena, just, just huge asses on both Uday and George Bush and just sweaty, grinding against each other, get them in there. Yeah. And then you would have George H.W. Bush and Saddam Hussein looking down on them both from heaven, smiling, smiling, proud. We're both in heaven. As George Bush paints Uday, done up like the the chick from Titanic, but instead of the heart of the ocean, it's a golden AK-47. Somebody do this. You've got, you've got it's perfect, perfect opportunity for some people. We're giving you gold in AK-47s here. Yeah. And do it, do it AI wise. So everyone has really fucked up unsettling hands. Yeah. People have three long fingers painting. It'll be great. Oh. So I'll be able to call you a loser on the internet for doing that. Let's get a t-shirt out. I mean, that's up to Sophie. Sophie, make the merch. Yeah. I think this will, is she still there? I'm here. Only if the people demand it. I think the people are going to demand it. That's what I want. As of now, that's 100% demand. Yeah. So, yeah, as a Stalinist, day is not thrilled by the fact that Krushchev has repudiated some of the stuff that Stalin did. So they're all kind of figuring, how can we get a little bit more autonomy from the USSR? How can we get these soldiers out of our country? How can we kind of like take actual control for ourselves? In 1956, protests and Hungary boil up into an uprising, which is again right next to Romania. Now that includes the destruction, like in these protests and Hungary, they destroy a bunch of statues of Stalin in Budapest. Unrest spreads widely from there, and it reaches Romania by October of that year. You know the way protests do. You get protests in one capital, they move over to the other soon. And I'm going to quote from a write-up by the Wilson Center here. On the 29th of October, railway men in Bucharest held a protest meeting, calling for improved conditions of work. And in Niasi, there were street demonstrations in support of better food supplies, and exceptionally poor harvest had drastically cut food production and cues in Bucharest, and the other main towns were commonplace. Georgia Day and a Romanian delegation cut short a visit to Yugoslavia in the 28th of October to address the crisis. Thousands of arrests were made in the centers of protest, especially among students who participated in meetings in the Transylvanian capital of Kluz in Tymisora. One of the largest meetings took place in Bucharest. On the 30th of October, the Tymisora, Oradia and Niasi regions were placed under military rule, the Soviet troops were brought in across the Romanian border in the east and concentrated on the frontier with Hungary and the West. Important question. Did that postpone trigger treating? I don't think there's a lot of trigger treating going on in Georgia Day's Romania. So, so many Dracula's. That's the time for Dracula's. It would have been perfect. It would have been perfect. But I think it's interesting here, one of the things you're seeing, Georgia Day is a railway man, like, was the guy organizing in a legal railway union and spent a shitload of his life in prison for doing so. And now that he's in charge, he's cracking down on protests by railway men and throwing a bunch of them in prison. Always fun how that keeps happening. Cyclical. Life is the circle of life. Yeah, it's beautiful. It's beautiful in its own way. It's the way I love for you. Yeah, yeah. Or it's the flat circle thing. So, the Hungarian crisis concludes when Soviet sent tanks into Budapest to crush the uprising. And this actually, the Romanian Communist Party is going to benefit from this hugely because Soviet troops helped them stop protests in their own capital from turning into an uprising. And the fact that the Romanian regime is so supportive of crushing these protests means the USSR is like, well, we can't trust Hungary because we just had to send in tanks here, but we can trust Romania. And so now the Romanian Communist Party, and George Uday are like, hey, we don't need all these troops in our country, cruise chef. You guys need those dudes in Hungary. Why don't you send all those troops to Hungary and we'll take care of Romania. We can keep a lock on things ourselves. So in this works, the Soviets withdraw troops from Romania. And as a result, Romania is going to have a lot more autonomy than other countries who are kind of in the war, so packed in the region are going to have in this period of time. So in 1965, George Uday gets sick with lung cancer, which is a huge surprise for a communist dictator in the 1960s to have lung cancer, just absolutely shocking stuff. It's because that was back when cigarettes were really good for you. Yeah, this is back when doctors recommended them. He's smoking the good ones. He's smoking the lucky strikes, which I'm sure every doctor listening. Plus the air quality was general, like the air quality was roughly the same as like a cigar lounge. Yeah, yeah. The way they would do it is they would just light giant piles of lead on fire every time you bought gasoline and celebration. Yeah. That's what we were all doing. It's why everyone, they like we found these 60s as such a good brain. They're like, we found these rocks that radiate heat. So we've been just hovering around them like that one episode of Star Trek. Yeah. Yeah, so George Uday gets his ass some lung cancer. And he's the whoever it becomes clear that like whoever is going to inherit power from him is going to inherit a really centralized, strong state in Romania. That's more independent than basically any of the other countries in the Soviet block other than Yugoslavia. I mean, whether or not you want to, anyway, whatever. It's a lot of power that coming into whoever takes over for this guy. And because he had been such a private man effectively, right, he was number one in total power. But he was also because he was in power able to hide the fact that he was sick until the signs of the fact that he had terminal cancer got too obvious to ignore. I like that you read that like a baseball stat. You know, he was actually number one in total power. Yeah. He was Mark McGuire in 1998. He was the Mark McGuire of the Warsaw Pact. A lot of people right down to the, well, I mean, cigarettes were steroids for, for, for dictators. Yeah. If you're a member of a, of a communist dictatorship, you're, yeah, you're really the performance enhancing cigarettes really get through you. I'm guess we'd probably say that Tito was the Nolan Ryan just because I think he probably could have cold cocked anybody else in the Warsaw Pact if he had to. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. He really did stay in there a while. Nolan Ryan throwing 103 miles an hour when he's 44 years old. That's something that is Tito energy. Yeah. So Chow Chescu, you know, the fact that, so first off, like all of these other guys, because everyone in the Polet Bureau, right, either has someone else that they want to take over for Georgia Day or once that job themselves. But they don't realize he's sick until he's very close to death. Now Chow Chescu, again, he's the ask hisers. So he's in there daily. He's seeing Georgia Day all the time. He's talking to him all the time. Hey, man, how you doing? Yeah. Yeah. You're looking like you're losing weight, man, and hair and some skin. Yeah. Hey, you seem to be wasting away more. You want to sign this piece of paper real quick? Don't ask about it. Yeah, you're good. So all of these other guys kind of suddenly find themselves scrambling to figure out how to set themselves up for the post to Georgia Day world. Whereas Chow Chescu knows exactly what's going on. And I'm going to quote from Paul Kinney again here. The list of possible successors was short. The nine member Polet Bureau was hardly overburdened with talent. Five of them had barely completed elementary school, and three were former rail workers from Georgia Day's Union Days, who had been elevated for loyalty, not literacy. Not only had Georgia Day purged the upper echelons of the party, he'd impoverished the entire country with his anti-intellectual policies. Even a political detainees were denied a university education. Their extended families were considered stigmatized. Schools were barred from teaching critical thought. Academics were regularly arrested and detained. All this was designed to eradicate opposition, but had inadvertently starved the Romanian Communist Party of even moderately capable minds. You know, so maybe don't purge people who know how to do things from your... Although it does make it easier to stay in power. So really, it's a tough situation that they were in. Yeah. Yeah, that kind of happens when somebody withers away and dies. Yeah. It's surrounded by morons. Yeah. This is actually a version. I mean, it's interesting, because Georgia Day is a stalinist. This is basically the same kind of thing that happens. It's a little less severe, right? The Polet Bureau that kind of Stalin leaves behind are more capable than the guys that Georgia Day had around him, but yeah, it is interesting kind of some of the similarities here. But you know who else has carried out a series of anti-intellectual purges in order to ensure that no one capable can force them from their position of power. Pol Pot? Pol Pot, who is the primary sponsor of this podcast? Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah. No, no. It's a cookware company. It's a cookware company. It's a cookware company. Pol Pot's pots. Yeah. He's selling cast-iron skillets and you do not want to see what happens if you wash what of them with soap. It's either that or it's like some clever weed brand. Yeah. It'll make you so stupid. You'll be anti-intellectual. Mm-hmm. Just go ahead and if you've got some of this weed, just throw your glasses away. You don't need them. It'll, I don't know. I don't know how to keep making polo- Welcome to the smoking fields, everybody. Yeah. That's a, who boy? Yeah. You'll be stoned out of your skull. Let's get, let's break to ads now. It's 1967, the Cold War and Joseph Stalin's daughter, Stetlana, the princess of the Kremlin, has just fled Mother Russia. Her new home, a place where the roads are paved with gold and people bake apple pies out of baseballs and freedom, a place called America. Hello, everybody. I am very happy to be here. That story alone would be worthy of a podcast, but this one, Stetlana, Stetlana, is about what comes next and it's the craziest story I've ever heard. It has KGB agents, mystics and a Frank Lloyd Wright commune, destiny, immortality and unbreakable cycles, weird sex stuff, weird money stuff, weird dances, three Olga's, two Stetlana's and one neurotic gay playwright who won't shut up about it all. Guess which one I am? Listen to Stetlana's Stetlana on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. 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On the new podcast, The Turning, Room of Mirrors, we look beneath the delicate veneer of American ballet and the culture formed by its most influential figure, George Balanchine. There are not very many of us that actually grew up with Balanchine. It was like I grew up with Mozart. He could do no wrong. Like he was a god. But what was the cost for the dancers who brought these ballets to life? Where the lines between the professional and the personal were hazy and often crossed. He used to say, what are you looking at, dear? You can't see you, only I can see you. Most people in the ballet world are more interested in their experience of watching it than in a dance's experience of executing it. Listen to The Turning, Room of Mirrors on the I Heart Radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Oh, we're back and we're talking pol Pot. Well, no, we're not. We're talking the end of George Uday's time in charge of the Romanian Communist Party. So joking about pol Pot. We're talking about pol Pot. Yeah. Just having a cup of pol Pot. Yeah. I like that jump, it's like this episode isn't horrible enough. Yeah, yeah, yeah, bring a little bit of pol Pot in there. So what's have a holiday in Romania? Yeah, yeah. Now, there are only three veteran members of the Politburo who had any degree of competence, but all of them had with the party considered to be unhealthy origins. One of them is German, another is Ukrainian, and the third is Bulgarian. And as Catalan Gruya notes, the three prerequisites for the future leader were one to be Romanian, two to be an activist and three to be part of the working class. So no one in power likes Nikolai or considers him a good choice to replace Georgie, but Nikki had maneuvered himself into an incredible position. And it was one that surprised his colleagues. His job in the Politburo at this point was secretary for organization in Codras. And this is kind of a boring job. It's pretty low prestige within the Politburo jobs, but it provides them with this opportunity to make a lot of little decisions about who's in position where, who's booking the boss's schedule every day, right? Who gets to like set Georgie day schedule, all these different people who's working in his house, he's kind of picking all of these low level functionaries. And it turns out when that's your job, when your job is to hook a bunch of people up with these little jobs that determine everything about the boss's life, you kind of control the boss's life, especially when he's dying of cancer and doesn't have as much wherewith all is he used to have. So because Nikki is in charge of the people making the boss's schedule, Nikki effectively has control over who gets to visit Georgie day every day. And once the man gets sick, Nikki's able to exercise near total control over who sees the boss and when. The last weeks of Georgie day's life were a constant series of Politburo members trying to get him to confirm his successor. And Chau Chesco be in like, nah, he's sick today, he doesn't want to talk politics, don't come around another day, you know. He just got to let him chill out. And Chau Chesco is doing this because he knows he's in the best position, he's a Romanian, you know, he's got peasant credentials, he's the best position to take over for Georgie day. And so if you can just kind of keep the others away from him and stop them from getting him to agree to make someone else's successor, he's got a pretty good shot of getting the job. Now, Georgie day, despite his illness, realizes what Nikki's doing. And he sees it as a major threat to the country. And this is kind of a thing that happens with linen and Stalin, right? When linen's on his last legs, he's like, I don't really think this Stalin guy is a good job to follow me up. I think this could go badly. Trotsky's like, excellent point. I'm going to Mexico. Yeah, that's how that went. So in snatched conversations with old comrades, he warns of Nikolai's feverish maneuverings, but the boss has already been outmaneuvered himself. Well half the bullet bureau is angling to try and get Georgie to make it a selection. Nikolai is getting the other half to line up behind him. And he promises them, hey guys, you know me, I'm a black slate, right? You can just make me do whatever I'll do anything you want. You know, it's fine. Yeah, I'll be your guy. I'll be your guy. I'm a fun time guy. I just want the title, you know, you guys will be the power behind the throne. I just want the title. I'm just a fun time and guy. Nothing wrong with me. Again, Georgie Day has pretty systematically purged anyone, most of the people who are good at things. So all of the other bullet bureau guys are like, well, this seems reasonable. Why would he lie about this? Why would somebody in a position of power lie? It's like, dude, what war do you think you just lived through? He was surrounded at all sides by wild wires. So this works incredibly well for Chau Chescu. The boss dies on March 19th, 1965. And Chau Chescu is shortly thereafter confirmed as prime secretary of the Romanian Socialist Republic, which is a new term. They've been using other terms for their leaders before that. He decides, I'm going to pick a new title, you know, new guy at 47. I think he's the youngest leader in Europe at the time when he gets power. He's very young. He's kissing the worst thing out there. Is it? Yeah, he's doing good. Guys, everyone else kind of running communist countries in Europe at this point in time is a lot older. He's young. He's considered handsome. He's the JFK of communism, right? That is actually kind of how he's viewed when he takes power. Yeah, yeah. And to be fair, he does pretty well at first. You actually wouldn't be, there were not initially warning signs that like this was going to be worse than kind of anything going on around him, right? He's like, hey, this guy, he's not going to do like a genocide or anything, right? Yeah, not purposefully. So despite being essentially, he is an old-fashioned Stalinist. And he's pretty consistent about being a Stalinist, particularly like economically, most of his career. But he supports a lot more liberalization than George Uday had allowed. He opens up some space for private enterprise, mostly what he does is he kind of opens up space for foreign trade, which means Western music's getting in, right? People are getting to listen to like rock and roll and that kind of stuff, which is cool. Some movies and some TV is getting in. And that makes people really happy. He also provides a little bit more space for public speech. He allows newspapers. You can't criticize the system, but you can kind of poke around it edges of like certain programs that night not work. Well, it's a lot more than they'd had, right? Under George Uday because it's a pretty strict system under him. So he liberalizes quite a lot. And people are really optimistic. This is actually considered a lot of Romanials. It was like, it was not a bad time. There's plenty of food. People are like the state was actually doing a decent job of taking care of people. It seems good. Everybody is taking part in their work. Robert, let's stop there. Like that's it. That's the show. That's it. That's the pretty cool breeze of a dude. None of these guys ever stop there. And part of why things are good is that he kind of wants, he's part of one of the things Cheshiresco is doing is like anyone who takes power in a system like this, you got to consolidate it next, right? You got to push out your rivals. You got to jail some people. You got to force them out of their jobs. You can take total power. And you don't want to be cracking down on the people. Well, that's going on, right? You want to keep them happy while you're taking power. And so that's kind of part of what he's doing in this period of time. And in fairly short order, he forces out all of these guys who agreed to vote for him to take power. He pushes them out of their jobs, right? Some of this he does, he opens an investigation into the purges that had been carried out by George Uday, that dude, Patronascu, who had forced the, who had taken out Antonescu. He doesn't investigation into that guy's execution. And obviously Cheshire helped with that, right? He had been a part of killing that guy and purging all of these people. And now he's being like, yeah, we're going to look into this. That was really bad. We got to get these bad actors out of here. You know, it's like when the police are like, we're going to have an internal investigation on this massacre that we did. Well, it turns out we found out we did nothing wrong. So yeah, it was just those five guys who happened to be rivals to my power. So $800 million more, please. Yeah. Yeah. This is, it's, it's very much that sort of thing. And while he does this, he also supports a drive towards Romania nationalism. And he's, he's got to back anything that he thinks will make people feel an identity separate from the Soviet Union. And one of the, because again, while he's, he is a strong communist by this point. And, and so is obviously the Romanian Communist Party is a Communist Party. That doesn't mean that they're like want to be part of Russia, right? This is actually a big thing for a lot of countries in the Warsaw Pact. And Romania has this, as we've talked about, this kind of long history of being oppressed and attacked by their neighbors. So they don't, he doesn't want, and obviously it's bad for his own personal power too. If everyone in Romania feels like, ah, we're just a satellite of Russia. So he starts backing, he starts like really supporting a series of like books and kind of questionable historical tracks about guys like Vlad Dracula and the Emperor Tration who he kind of turns into a Romanian. And what's really funny is like while they, while he's kind of backing guys like Dracula and Emperor Tration, they have to be framed as proto-socialist, right? They're not communists, obviously, because communism didn't exist back when Dracula's walking around. But you have to say that like Dracula actually when you think about it was like a pre-socialist leader. You know, we had a lot of these tendencies that we, that we've now figured out as communists. And like the Emperor Tration classic proto-socialist, right? Yeah. Big about redistribution of wealth. What a weird, what a weird person to try to reframe the narrative of all of them. Yes, the Emperor Tration, socialist, the people's hero. Yeah, so you know who actually was a good person, Elizabeth Batherie. Yeah. Let's talk about how great she was. She loved unions. She loved unions. Couldn't get enough of unions. She was real. Just a union darling, really. Yeah. So obviously all of this was, was very questionable from a historic standpoint. And again, why is anyone going to come play? For one thing, at least you're getting to read more books now, you know, more the papers are out there, you're getting some music. Life is pretty good. What do you think? What do you think the most popular song was when they're hitting what, 1965? I know, I don't think it, no, if it's in 65 quite yet, but the fucking stones were pretty popular in Romania. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I mean, obviously. The Romanian stones. I can't get no satisfaction. It's just like the beach boys, because it is the 60s. I'm sure the beach boys are fucking blowing up out there. Serf in USA, big popular song in Romania. Yes. Romania's famous surf culture. Yeah. Yeah, they really get heavily into like that shit. So Romania had been one of the major bread baskets of the region. It was actually the Soviet Union back when they were still kind of occupying the country. Their pitch to the Romanian Communist Party was like, hey, we'll do all this industrializing. You guys basically grow all of the food for the Warsaw Pact, right? That'll, why don't we just do it that way? And the Georgiou Day had kind of been like, well, no, I'm a, I'm a, I'm a railway union man. I want to industrialize too. I don't want us to just be your garden basically. So he had industrialized the country pretty rapidly. And one of the reasons why a lot of Romanian suspected that he'd been, because there's this, this conspiracy theory develops that he had gotten cancer because the Russians had poisoned him because he was so independent. I don't know how likely this is. There's a lot of reasons why Georgiou Day might have gotten cancer. But anyway, there's a, a period. A reason. It's not hard to get cancer being that guy. Um, chat just to though. I would, I will add that Romania, uh, I looked up some of their number one songs and they, it looks like they only charted like the international stuff around 95 that I saw. Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense. First one that shows up is you are not alone by Michael Jackson. Oh, that's nice. It's like mostly American stuff. It's, it's surprisingly, it's surprisingly close to what you would think of. It has like an American chart. It was like the top charts in the United States. I know that Chouchescu's favorite TV show is Kojak. Um, because Kojak, Kojak can just shoot anybody who wants to Chouchescu identify us with that. There's a, um, Tally Savales wrote a book I think about getting asked, which I think is just really hilarious. Like it's just a way to get asked. Wait, what? And I'm, I'm super into that. The idea that Kojak was writing a how to pick up women. Yeah, it's interesting. It's always interesting like when you look at kind of these countries while they are under communism, what American TV shows are really popular. I think it was Hungary where, um, what's its name? The, uh, the, the Peter Falks show. Um, Colombo. Colombo. Colombo was like huge. I believe in Hungary where it was like people were absolutely out of their fucking minds for a Colombo, which makes sense. Well, it's, yeah. Colombo. Yeah. Isn't that weirdly enough? I think that's one of the main points of WandaVision. Oh, is it? So like if you saw WandaVision on Disney Plus, the whole point of it was that she, you know, where she grew up was clearly the Eastern block. And they just like they had these old DVDs of old sitcoms. Uh, I've talked to a couple of people like there were, um, like folks who grew up in countries where like the Simpsons was illegal, who would get like smuggled Simpsons DVDs where like one person, you would just have some like random lady who would read in the local language, like over who would basically do these like underground dubs of shows like the Simpsons. And how it's it like even now that they have access to the show as it actually is the voices sound wrong. Because it's like, well, no, I grew up with like, like, Vlad from the village over. Was the guy who did the voice of code? But there was like this, there's a documentary about the one that did that right? It's fascinating stuff. It's all, I love this kind of like weird culture bits like that. It's always really interesting. It's kind of like how you had, I mean, one of my favorite stories from, um, uh, Castro's Cuba is that during the AIDS outbreak, um, there was like, there were basically punks who, you know, a lot of, there was heavy restrictions on what music you could listen to and what music you could play. And so you had these punks who realized that like, well, if we get AIDS, the government will put us in these like basically medical facilities where because we're all dying, there's not the same kind of restrictions. So if we just infect each other with HIV, we can play and listen to whatever music we want. Um, it's a, it's a fucking what there was an NPR documentary about it. That is not the most far-sighted way to end up getting it. I think that's about the most punk rock anything could be. I'm not saying, I wouldn't say punk rock is something that is not shortsighted as well. Yeah, that's probably fair. Like, given the life spans of a lot of those guys. Yeah. Like, uh, the, the crust punk lifestyle is not designed to make it to, to, you know, you're not going to die of old age. If you're like really, like, you know, who I love? G.G. Alan. Important to note, Chau Chescoot, through none of this period is not listening to, to, to punk music. He is however watching Kojak. It is interesting that like the dictator of Romania's favorite TV show is a fucking cop show. Um, yeah. A Greek cop. Perhaps not surprising. Um, so yeah, Chau Chescoot has this plan to continue Georgia Day's policy of industrializing Romania. He wants to build it into this consumer goods mecca. His plan is to turn Romania instead of it being a bread basket. Romania is very well suited to produce a shitload of high quality food. He wants it producing consumer goods, appliances, refrigerators and televisions, all sorts of electronics that can then be sold all throughout Europe, including Western Europe. Now doing this, Romania, not a huge country. He's going to need a bigger population. If you want to be an industrial nation, you need a lot of workers. So in order to provide this needed base of industrial workers, Nikolai and Elena calculate that the country should shoot for a population of 20 million people. Now what's the best way to incentivize basically doubling the population of your country? Well, first you got to make sure people don't have condoms and then you have to ban abortion. And you know what? You might as well just make it illegal to provide much of anything in the way of sex, set or contraceptives. Just get rid of all that and people will naturally make more of themselves. Now there's some consequences to this. For example, the fact that over time, a huge number of Romanian women seek abortions anyway, but they don't have access to decent medical care or information about their bodies that would allow them to do that in anything that even approaches a safe way. And so during the time that Nikolai and Elena are in power between 10 and 20,000 Romanian women die due to botched abortions. So that's pretty bad. Yeah. Not going to help the population. Well, overall, I mean, they do reach their population goal. We will talk more in another episode about the other things that happen as they relate their population goal. I do like the idea that his goal was just like, you know, why don't we become like Japan? Yeah. And it's like, I don't, I think they got a lot of assistance from America in that regard that you're not getting in Romania. Yeah, you're not going to get that in Romania. Well, you don't have all, there's a lot of things that like maybe you shouldn't immediately assume that you can go from zero to like producing everybody's televisions when there's a lot of competition for that role and yeah, getting a magnabox or a sorny, you know, it's not going to work out. Well, a lot of none of this is going to work out well. But, you know, in the early kind or in the mid to late 60s, while you still have this, I mean, this abortion policy is pretty nightmarish and that's going to cause a lot of suffering. You could be forgiven especially if you're, yeah, yeah, if you're living in Romania, you could be forgiven for thinking, well, shit, this is actually kind of working out okay, right? And that's, that's the point at which we're going to end right now on an up note aside from the 10 to 20,000 people who die in a nightmarish, totalitarian anti-abortion policy. That's called dipping your toes into the pool, baby. Yeah, dipping your toes into the pool and we will come back and we will talk about what happens when Chow Chescu dips a little bit more of himself into the pool. But first, Jeff, who are you, Jeff? Who are you, Jeff? Where do you come from? Oh, good. This is the part. Where did you go? Cottonite, Jeff. Well, you know, I'm a comedian and podcaster. The one thing I will say is that if you are in the New England area and you want to see me performing live, I'm going to be doing one show Wednesday, February 22nd at Redemption Rock Brewery in Worcester, Massachusetts. It's my one show that I do out there, limited tickets, but it's a great standup show. And I love doing standup and I get, I don't get to do it enough. So I'm very happy to do that. You can also see me live the second Friday of every month at Blast from the past on Magnolia and beautiful Burbank, California for my show Mint on Card. Mmm. Yeah. Yeah, I think podcas, wise. God, you can, I got a lot of good ones. I got Jeff has cool friends, which you can hear for free anywhere, but you can get early access to uncensored episodes with bonus content at slash Jeff May one word. You also have access to shows like Nerd with Dre Alvarez, which is a nerdy deep dive podcast. You can do shows like Ag Fine with Kim Crawl. That's monthly. You can go to Gamefully Unemployed and you can hear Tom and Jeff watch Batman with Tom Ryman, who's been a guest of the show a million times. You can check that out. You can also check out, you don't even like sports, a sports podcast for people that hate sports and unpopular opinion, both on the unpopped network without him Todd Brown. Other than that, I'm around. You can find me on social media. Yeah. You can find Jeff on social media. I love that. I was so thorough. That was very thorough. That is what happens when you do these plugs seven times a week. You did it. You can find me next to Jeff waiting for him to get sick and die so that I can take over for him. He's been much like too much. I'm going to be the chow Chesco of Jeff May. Yeah, it's going to be good. And then I'm going to turn Jeff's apartment into a manufacturing hub for Southern California. We're going up in all my toys. We're going to melt him down and turn him into those big old style TVs. Oh, yeah. The ones with like a raid on them in the back. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. The ones that are like 80% of a nuclear bomb. Yeah. Yeah, basically have a dirty bomb if the TV goes out. That's the kind of TV that has that fizzy static on it when it's been off for the whole time. Yeah. Yeah, the one that glows at night and you just wonder is it is there's something always going on in there? Yeah, what is this old TV? There's something in this TV. It's humming all the time. Yeah, I'm still humming. Yeah, the one that could kill a family of four if it fell over while you were eating your fucking TV swanson dinners. Yeah. God. Things were so much better in the 90s. Well, we'll be back on Thursday, everybody. Behind the bastards is a production of Cool Zone Media. For more from Cool Zone Media, visit our website or check us out on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. You know what it's like to endlessly seek a remedy. 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