Iliescu married Nina Șerbănescu in 1951; they have no children, not by choice but because they couldn't, as Nina had three miscarriages. Born in Oltenița, Iliescu studied fluid mechanics at the Bucharest Polytechnic Institute and then as a foreign student at the Energy Institute of the Moscow University. During his stay in Moscow, he was the secretary of the "Association of Romanian Students" it is alleged that he knew Mikhail Gorbachev, although Iliescu always denied this. President Nicolae Ceaușescu, however, probably believed a connection between the two existed, since during Gorbachev's visit to Romania in July 1989, Iliescu was sent outside of Bucharest to prevent any contact.
He joined the Union of Communist Youth in 1944 and the Communist Party in 1953 and made a career in the Communist nomenklatura, becoming a secretary of the Central Committee of the Union of Communist Youth in 1956 and a member of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party in 1965. At one point, he served as the head of the Central Committee's Department of Propaganda. Iliescu later served as Minister for Youth-related Issues between 1967 and 1971.
However, in 1971, Ceaușescu felt threatened by Iliescu - as he was seen as Ceaușescu's heir apparent - and he was marginalized by and removed from all major political offices, being assigned vice-president of the Timiș County Council (1971–1974), and later president of the Iași Council (1974–1979). In 1984, he was excluded from the Central Committee, and until 1989 he was in charge of Editura Tehnică publishing house. For most of the 1980s (if not before), he was tailed by the Securitate (secret police), as he was known to oppose Ceaușescu's harsh rule.
Read more about this topic: Ion Iliescu
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