Rumania Mother of the Fatherland

Elena Ceausescu is a major power behind her husband's reign

She is Rumania's First Lady, but her true role is more akin to royal consort and heir apparent to her husband President Nicolae Ceausescu. In his grim dictatorship, she increasingly appears to be the power behind the throne. Already Elena Ceausescu, 67, is the object of a personality cult that rivals that of the 68-year-old President. Her birthday, like his, is a national holiday, her portrait waves in street parades, and the Rumanian media resound with her praise. She is variously hailed as the "woman-hero," the "party's torch," the "guiding spirit behind science and culture" and even "mother of the fatherland."

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