Nicolae Ceausescu was the Stalinist Communist dictator of Romania from the late 1960s until his overthrow in 1989. He is most famous in the West for his totalitarian governance, personal extravagance, and for banning abortion in an effort to increase the Romanian population. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of Communism in Eastern Europe, Ceausescu was overthrown by a popular uprising. Within days of being overthrown, he and his wife were both executed by an impromptu military court on a wide variety of charges.
During his rule, which lasted from 1967-1989, Ceausescu employed propaganda to create a cult of personality. These measures ranged from painting him as having a much larger role in Communist philosophy than he actually did to the purely cosmetic: Ceausescu's relatively small stature (at 5 foot 5 inches) was never emphasized. During his role, Ceausescu oppressed any political dissent by imprisoning and even killing political enemies. He did take a very independent route in terms of relations with the USSR, most notably supporting the Czechs in the Prague Spring, when he strongly condemned Soviet intervention there. Ceausescu initiated a series of disastrous economic policies that led to widespread poverty among the Romanian people, while he lived in a lavish palace that remains one of the biggest ever built to this day. He was overthrown and, along with his wife Elena, was executed on December 25, 1989 after revolutions had toppled Communist dictatorships in other Eastern European countries, such as Albania, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and East Germany.