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Nobel winner says Ceausescu’s spirit lives on in Romania


NOBEL-PRIZE/Brutal dictator Nicolae Ceausescu has been dead for 20 years, but Romania remains dominated by his henchmen, the winner of this year’s Nobel prize for literature says.

Herta Mueller, a small, raven-haired writer who grew up in Romania and now lives in Germany, is in Stockholm to receive her award.  She is a reticent speaker, but her message — born from experiencing the bitterness Ceausescu’s repressive regime — is powerful.

“There is a legacy in Romania, a legacy of dictatorship,” Mueller says through a translator. “The former Securitate and the former party nomenclature are very closely networked in Romania and through privatisation they have managed to occupy almost all the key positions in society.”

Mueller is dressed in all in black, the only colour being a splash of bright red lipstick against her pale face. She is known for works such as “The Land of Green Plums” — dedicated to friends killed under Ceausescu’s Communist rule — and “The Appointment”, in which a Romanian woman sews notes saying “Marry Me” into men’s suits bound for Italy. Mueller is pessimistic about the future of a country she left in 1987, two years before the fall of the old regime.