Among the most indelible images of the dramatic events in East Central Europe during late 1989 was that of a Romanian soldier, crouched in a darkened, bullet scarred doorway, his body shielding similarly terrified civilians; their eyes anxiously scanning unseen hiding places above, searching for the source of menacing sniper fire. That image is symbolic of how Romania's post-1989 army was, and is, different from the other military establishments of East Central Europe and of the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union (NIS). With the possible exception of the Bulgarian army's acquiescence in Petar Mladenov's ouster of Tudor Zhivkov, the Romanian military was the only East Central or NIS armed force to play a decisive and active role in the overthrow of a communist ancien regime. 1 "Armata e cu noil" (The Army is with us!) was among the most memorable exaltations of the street revolutionaries who overthrew the Ceausescu dictatorship. Together the demonstrators and soldiers braved the fire of alleged diehard Ceausescu loyalists and delivered the country into the hands of the National Salvation Front (NSF). The army's support of the anti-Ceausescu uprising, whether a genuine revolution or a coup d'etat, was critical for its success. That the armed forces were thus invested with revolutionary legitimacy is key to understanding civil-military relations in Romania after 1989.