Symbols of corruption and opulence in the final years of communism in Romania have been put up for auction. The list includes trinkets and lavish gifts given to the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu before his overthrow in 1989.
The auction is billed the ‘Golden Age’, in reference to how communist officials tried to portray what was an era of abject poverty for most Romanians.
Auctioneer Mihael Stomff said: “It’s an age in Romania’s history that cannot be passed over and go unnoticed. We all passed through it, we all lived it and it’s normal to try to remember it as a stage in Romania’s development.”
A bronze yak, presented to Ceausescu by China’s Mao Tse Tung and a collection of silver doves – a gift from the Shah of Iran – were among the items due to go under the hammer in Bucharest.
Ceausescu was soon to suffer an even harsher fate than the ousted Shah, who died in exile.
The Romanian leader’s life of luxury came to an abrupt and violent end when he was driven from power and executed on Christmas Day in 1989.