Nicolae AndruÅ£Äƒ CeauÅŸescu
( 26 January 1918 â€“ 25 December 1989)
was a Romanian politician who was the Secretary General of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, President of the Council of State from 1967, and President of Romania from 1974 to 1989. His rule was marked in the first decade by an open policy towards Western Europe and the United States of America, which deviated from that of the other Warsaw Pact states during the Cold War. He continued a trend first established by his predecessor, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, who had tactfully coaxed the Soviet Union into withdrawing troops from Romania in 1958. CeauÅŸescu's second decade was characterized by an increasingly erratic personality cult, nationalism and a deterioration in foreign relations with the Western powers as well as the Soviet Union. CeauÅŸescu's government was overthrown in a December 1989 military coup, and he and his wife were executed following a televised two-hour session by a kangaroo court.