Cel mai mare admirator capitalist al lui Nicolae Ceausescu, de la a carui nastere se implinesc astazi 95 de ani, a fost miliardarul britanic Robert Maxwell.
Miliardarul Robert Maxwell a scris si o carte omagiala in onoarea lui Ceausescu, pe care a lansat-o in stil mare, simultan, la Londra, New York si Paris. In 1983.
„Nicolae Ceaușescu, „Builder of Modern Romania and International Statesman” – PERGAMON PRESS –
In 1983, cultul personalitatii lui Ceausescu era la apogeu in Romania. Occidentul, insa, isi retrasese demult sprijinul si simpatia pentru liderul comunist ce se revoltase contra sovieticilor, in 1968. Dincolo de Cortina de Fier, un singur om mai credea in Ceausescu: Robert Maxwell, unul din cei mai bogati oameni din Marea Britanie. Maxwell, decorat in cel de-al Doilea Razboi Mondial, devenise apoi un important om politic, fiind 6 ani, intre 1964 si 1970, membru al Parlamentului, din partea Partidului Laburist. Maxwell intrase si in afaceri, detinand mai multe edituri de presa. Era unul dintre cei mai influenti oameni din mass-media capitalista, dar un mare admirator al lui Nicolae Ceausescu. Se spune ca Maxwell a facut lobby pentru vizita lui Ceausescu in Marea Britanie, in 1978, atunci cand acesta a fost primit de regina Elisabeta a II-a, si ca a facut cateva vizite private in Romania comunista, invitat de Ceausescu. Intr-una din aceste vizite, Maxwell i-a propus lui Ceausescu sa scrie o carte despre el. Astfel, in 1983 aparea volumul “Ceausescu-Creatorul Romaniei moderne”, tiparit la una dintre editurile lui Maxwell. Cartea, dedicata personalitatii lui Ceausescu, a fost lansata simultan la Londra, New York si Paris si se incheie cu un interviu de 11 pagini cu Ceausescu. Presa occidentala a remarcat slugarnicia lui Maxwell, care si-a inceput interviul cu intrebarea: “Stimate domnule presedinte, sunteti in cea mai inalta functie politica si de stat de aproape 18 ani, un fapt pentru care va felicit calduros. Ce v-a facut, in opinia dumneavoastra, sa fiti atat de popular printre romani?”. E greu de explicat atractia lui Maxwell pentru un lider comunist. Multi au speculat ca ar fi fost spion, desemnat sa smulga secrete ale comunistilor.
Maxwell detinea mai multe ziare in presa libera, printre care Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record, Sunday Mail, avea jumatate din actiunile MTV Europe si investise in imobiliare si IT. Avea o avere de peste un milliard de lire sterline, implicandu-se si in fotbal. Maxwell a fost patronul clubului Oxford United, cu care a cucerit Cupa Ligii Angliei in 1986. Trei ani mai tarziu, in 1989, miliardarul a fost martorul prabusirii comunismului, inclusiv a lui Ceausescu. La 5 noiembrie 1991, Maxwell a murit in conditii suspecte, la 68 de ani. El a cazut peste bordul yachtului sau de lux, in Insulele Canare, cadavrul sau fiind descoperit plutind pe apele Oceanului Atlantic!
Do you remember the disgraced British media tycoon Robert Maxwell, who stole from his own company pension fund? The noted expert, Robert Hare said: „I’m not saying Maxwell was a psychopath, but he sure had psychopathic tendencies.” The well-known journalist John Simpson devotes several pages to Maxwell is his book „A Mad World, My Masters: Tales from a Traveller’s Life”. (Pan Paperback, Sep 2001, ISBN 0330355678, pp 147 – 150)
I came to know Robert Maxwell, war hero, politician, media baron and crook, in the later 1970’s and early 80’s, thanks to his thoroughly dubious connections with Eastern European dictators. Whether he was actually in their pay, I could never decide. He acted as though he might be, in some ways, and yet there was only ever one cause in Robert Maxwell’s mind: Robert Maxwell. It is perfectly possible that he chose to spend his time with the rulers of countries like Romania and Czechoslovakia because it made him a bit of money and he liked to get onto the front pages of the slavish state-controlled press and have people fawning over him.
He was jovial, but invariably menacing. Everything he said sounded pompous, in that loud, phoney accent of his from which every trace of the original Slovak had been surgically removed. He gave expensive parties whenever his company brought out a new, grovelling biography of some Communist dictator, nationally written by Maxwell himself. I would be invited.
‘Ah, here we have the man from the BBC,’ he would boom as I shook his hand. ‘What lies have you been broadcasting about Romania [or Czechoslovakia, or Hungary, or East Germany] lately?’
And having insulted me, he would dismiss me from his mind. Perhaps he only did it to ingratiate himself further with the ambassador of whichever dictatorship his latest volume was about. I would usually try to come back with some quip, but it never registered with him. I was small fry: not the kind of person whose voice he listened to. If Maxwell hadn’t been such an interesting, despicable character, I wouldn’t have gone to these occasions. But I was fascinated by him: the rumbling voice, the huge suits that looked as though they had been laid down at a shipyard, the tiny black shoes, the heavy dewlaps, the sharp, perceptive eyes as expressive as horse chestnuts under brows like an untrimmed hedgerow.
There was an old man, a good ten years older than Maxwell, who used the pool where I swam most mornings when I was in London. Victor Grosz and I took a liking to one another. He was shrewd and cultured, and had seen the world. We used to sit side by side on the long chairs beside the pool, talking. Victor had known Maxwell in his time. They were both Jewish, and had been born in nearby villages in Slovakia. In September 1939 they had set out together for France, to fight Hitler’s Germany.
‘I loathed the Nazis, naturally. So did Maxwell. But he was crazy. Something used to come over him when he fought them. We transferred to a British unit together when the French began to collapse, and on the way to Dunkirk we were lucky in a skirmish and captured a group of Germans.
‘Maxwell went mad. He lined them up, took out his revolver and started shooting them one by one in the forehead. I tried to stop him, but he took no notice.
‘Then a British officer heard the noise and came round the corner. He pulled out a pistol and told Maxwell he would shoot him if he didn’t drop his gun. They had been going to give him a medal, but after that they couldn’t. It was only later that he got one. Maybe they’d forgotten. Or perhaps they didn’t care any more.’
The year 1989 brought the collapse of each of the dictatorships which Maxwell had smarmed up to. His grovelling books on Ceausescu (Builder of Modern Romania, published by Pergamon Press in 1983), Zhivkov of Bulgaria, Honecker of East Germany and Jaruzelski of Poland suddenly disappeared from sale. His work on Ceausescu had included the transcript of an interview between Maxwell and the great man, during which Maxwell put this fearless, searching question:
Dear Mr President, you have been holding the highest political and state office in Romania for almost eighteen years, a fact for which we warmly congratulate you. What has — in your opinion — made you so popular with the Romanians?
By comparison with this, David Frost seems almost aggressive. It took Ceausescu a full page of the transcript to answer the question, when he could have summed up the real reason in a single sentence: I have one of the biggest and nastiest security services anywhere. After the revolution took place, and Ceausescu and his wife had been executed by the people they were supposedly so popular with, a journalist asked Maxwell if he regretted writing about him so fulsomely.
‘Haven’t you ever made a mistake?’ was Maxwell’s engaging reply.
A few months afterwards, I went to Baghdad to cover the run-up to the Gulf War and stayed there while the bombing stared in January 1991. Conditions were bad, and I developed kidney stones. After I was thrown out of Baghdad I went into hospital in Jordan for treatment.
The hospital was a Palestinian one, and was supported partly by a British-based charity. There was a good deal of bad feeling among Palestinians against Westerners in Jordan at that time, but even so I was well cared for. My reporting had attracted a certain amount of attention, and the morning after I had been taken to hospital the British press in Amman asked to come and see me.
They filed in politely, with ingratiating smiles on their faces; rather like Maxwell with Ceausescu, perhaps. They listened without much interest to what I had to say about the kindness of the hospital staff, then started taking photographs and chatting.
‘What’ve you got this for?’ asked one of them, a man from Maxwell’s paper, the Sunday Mirror.
Correction: November 8, 1991, Friday The obituary of Robert Maxwell on Wednesday misidentified the afternoon newspaper he began in 1987. It was The London Evening News, not The London Daily News.