This entry is shortened from a CIA report dated 3/85 and was declassified in 2010. It goes into good detail about the cause and effect of the exporting of products that were desperately needed by the Romanian people.
These severe shortages were the result of the “vigorous pursuit of debt reduction” and the energy crises. The USSR, the primary source for energy, would only take hard currency. Hard currency was needed to import corn from the U.S., because crops in Romania fell by 2.4 million tons since 1984, the year before.
The reasons for the crop reduction were attributable to the lack of imports of pesticides, fertilizer and the unreliability of energy to run irrigation systems during a particularly dry summer in 1984.
Romania had the smallest crops since 1975. Children in particular were dying en masse of malnutrition in 1984-1985.
Balazs in Oradea told me about being required to work in the fields as an elementary school student. University students were conscripted to work in the coal mines. Absenteeism in workplaces increased as workers were being forced to work double shifts and holidays. Ironically the factories had to shut down, unable to get raw materials or electricity.
Ceausescu declared an energy state of emergency. He instituted “punitive wage reductions for managers failing to meet production goals.”
In 1984-1985 (continuing into 1989) meat exports were increased to the point where little meat was available in Romania. The rationing of chicken meant eating a scrawny bird, since the best meat was exported so the undesirable parts of pigs were ground. Beef was never available.
Furthermore the 1985 CIA report states,
-Output of steel plummeted
-Increase of ,already limited, petroleum exports
-Energy and raw material shortages
-Decrease in domestic energy output
-Meat and milk have been nearly unobtainable
-Usual seasonal improvements in vegetable and fruit supplies did not occur.
-Exports of meat and wheat increased to USSR.
-Amount of rations decreased
-Rural populations were redistributed (small farms destroyed, and people relocated to urban apartment blocks)
-10% Power reduction (leaving Romanians with even less heat, electricity and water)
In an article in theduran.com by Serban V.C. Enache titled “The CIA on Romania’s situation ‘82-90” dated 12/27/19 he writes,
“During the 1980s, Ceausescu and his toxic wife [Elena]”…”were heavily off in fantasy land, living comfortably in a bubble like the aristos [aristocrats] of old, believing they had the love of the people and no rival. Meanwhile large sections of Romania’s working classes were suffering shortages of food, basic materials, and deteriorating public services.”