Seventeen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Romanian President Traian Basescu this week officially denounced his countrys former Communist regime as criminal and illegitimate. It was the first time a Romanian head of state publicly criticized the Soviet-era system, and comes as the country prepares to join the E.U. Jan. 1. The regime exterminated people by assassination and deportation of hundreds of thousands of people, Basescu said. Behind the socialist humanism was hidden the most profound contempt for people, for the individual. Romanias ousting of its Communists was less smooth than elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were executed on Christmas Day, 1989, but then a party of former top Communists took over.