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101. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 6
Maria-Alina Asavei Participatory Cultures of Remembrance: The Artistic Memory of the Communist Past in Romania and Bulgaria
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This paper examines the participatory trend in cultural memory practices, focusing on the participatory artistic memory of communism in Romania and Bulgaria from a comparative perspective. On the one hand, these participatory artistic memory projects examine the ways in which ordinary people and contemporary artists share their memories of the communist past outside of the officially sanctioned interpretations, aiming to foster their own version of “monument” that does not necessarily follow the ossifying politics of monuments. On the other hand, a participatory memory culture does not always necessarily reflect the unequal cultural capital of the participating social actors and the dissimilar political commitments. This mnemonic practice ought not to be exclusively associated with the struggle between the narratives of the elites and the cultural expressions of those marginalized. Participatory memory practices might also facilitate cordial encounters among persons with dissimilar political commitments and unequal cultural capital.
102. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Dalia Báthory “Talkin’ bout a Revolution”
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The proclamation of liberal democracy as the absolute winner of the Cold War and the emergence of “prosecutorial” history after the fall of the Eastern Communist Bloc seemed to have established a certain path for researchers with regard to postwar dictatorships in Central and Eastern Europe. A closer look at the meaning of “revolution” as well as at new research efforts reveal strong connections between the East and the West during that time, that determined changes in the pattern and style of the scientific discourse analysing the post-war decades.
103. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Enis Sulstarova “‘Eurocommunism is Anti-Communism”: The Attitude of the Party of Labour of Albania about Western Communism in the early 1980s
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Following the rift with China, Albania found itself on a lonely road towards pretending to protect the purity of the Marxism-Leninism in Europe. Although diplomatic relations with the West were restricted only to trade, the Albanian Communist leader, Enver Hoxha, was interested in recent developments inside Western Communist parties. Through Eurocommunist theorizations, the parties in Italy, France and Spain abandoned revolutionary aims, incorporated democracy in their ideology and tried to build electoral coalitions with socialist parties and other left-wing forces. By contrast, the Albanian Enver Hoxha considered that Communist revolution was still possible in the world, and the Communist parties still acted as Leninist revolutionary vanguards. From this perspective, he denounced Eurocommunism as a continuation of “revisionism”. This paper will present the attitude of the Party of Labour of Albania about Western Communism by placing it in its historical context and framing it in light of broader debates inside the European Communist movement.
104. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Klejd Këlliçi, Ermira Danaj Promoting Equality, Perpetuating Inequality: Gender Propaganda in Communist Albania
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During Socialism, the “women’s issue” was among the key state policies in Albania. The emancipation issue followed a pattern similar to other socialist countries, called the “women’s emancipation model”. It was part both of the state rhetoric and the general need to include women in the “socialist transformative processes”. This involved policies that supported women’s participation in the productive labour force, as well as the introduction of new laws that promoted the equality between men and women.A reconfiguration of gender roles and the gender division of tasks occurred during socialism. In Albania, this process had two distinct phases. From 1944 onward women’s emancipation was thought of in terms of their participation as an additional force in the post-war reconstruction effort, even though sporadic and aligned with the primary political needs of the regime. The second phase occurred during the ‘60s following the Party’s directive “For the complete emancipation of women” (1967). This phase was considered strategic as it coincided with the efforts to industrialize the country and to eventually fully centralize the control over the territory.This paper aims to investigate the entanglements between gender propaganda and gender practices. For this purpose, we analyse various party speeches and policies as well as examples of “heroines” and propaganda movies. A thorough analysis of State Archives and other documents was undertaken to substantiate this investigation.
105. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Mara Mărginean Mutable Socialist Displays: Transnational Romanian Architectural Exchanges during the First Two Decades of the Cold War
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This article examines the making of Romanian diplomatic practices during the first two decades of the Cold War by analyzing the activity of the Romanian Institute for Cultural Relations with the Foreign Countries (IRRCS) in the field of architecture. I investigate how transnational cultural exchanges conducted jointly by party members and architects adjusted the professional careers of the latter. Questions related to what was good or bad, which images were still valid iconic representations of the country, what values the architects should share, or how to depict architecturally modernisation and the nation dominated the IRRCS debates. Using archival information consisting of reports of cultural activities abroad, foreign travelers’ statements, itineraries, exhibitions’ materials and photographic records etc., I address Romania’s self-representation practices at home and abroad constructed in relation to the Other – the Easterner and Westerner, in close connection to the shift in the country’s economic interests.
106. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Francesco Zavatti Propaganda across the Iron Curtain: The Institute of Historical and Socio-Political Research affiliated to the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party and its Network in Italy
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This article examines a case study of international Communist propaganda during the Cold War. The Institute of Historical and Socio-Political Research (ISISP), a historical propaganda organization affiliated to the Romanian Communist Party (RCP), succeeded in penetrating the Iron Curtain by distributing its works through a social network provided by the Italian Liberation Movement Institute, and in publishing its works in Italy, with the help of the Gramsci Institute, as well as publishers like Editori Riuniti and Nicola Teti. The ISISP established a mutually beneficial partnership with various Italian actors: ISISP and the regime succeeded in publishing international propaganda; the Italian publishing houses were paid by ISISP to print and distribute their edited volumes, with the double advantage of keeping political ties with the RCP while also protecting their own limited finances.
107. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Elisa Goudin Faire collaborer artistes, intellectuels et ouvriers pour créer une société meilleure: les stratégies politiques du SED en matière de gestion de la culture en RDA
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Les archives municipales de Berlin ont conservé tous les documents produits par la Maison berlinoise du travail culturel, Berliner Haus für Kulturarbeit, qui a été fondée en 1953 sous le nom de Berliner Volkskunstkabinett et dissoute en 1991. Ces archives permettent de suivre en filigrane les réflexions conduites en RDA sur le thème de l’action culturelle publique, dont les deux interrogations principales peuvent se résumer ainsi : comment peut-on encourager différentes formes de participation des travailleurs et ainsi favoriser le développement d’un art censé être authentiquement populaire et acquis à la cause de la révolution socialiste ? Et comment l’art peut-il être le vecteur d’une identification « nationale » avec l’État de RDA ?Nous proposons d’étudier ces archives sous l’angle du combat mené par le SED, le parti communiste au pouvoir en RDA, pour créer une société révolutionnaire, pour rendre possible l’utopie d’une société parfaitement égalitaire par le moyen de l’art. En effet, si les choix économiques, politiques, sociaux du SED sont bien connus aujourd’hui, les chercheurs se sont pour l’instant moins intéressés au langage du politique dans le domaine artistique, et notamment à la question centrale de savoir comment ce régime concevait son rôle et sa responsabilité à l’égard des pratiques artistiques des ouvriers.
108. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Alexandra Iancu The ‘Westernisation’ of the Communist Elites in Romania: Elite Modernity, Integration and Change
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The ministerial recruitment strategies in Communist Romania are a symmetric replica of the elite selection patterns in parliamentary democracies. Starting with the mid-60s, all the major traditional pathways to power formally mirror mechanisms of the elite selection and differentiation, which are commonly encountered in Western democracies. During the Communist regime, “atypical” credentials such as education (international degrees), academia, and the economic experiences also increased the likelihood of a promotion in public office. Starting from the notable differences between the Romanian elites and those in other Communist countries in the region, the paper argues that intertwined patterns of “Westernisation” and patrimonial-type credentials contributed to the consolidation of the Romanian Communist Party and hindered, in the aftermath of the regime change, the first attempts at elite renewal and democratisation.
109. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Roman Jankowski Media, Censorship and the Church in the People’s Republic of Poland
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During the Communist regime, after Poland was officially proclaimed the People’s Republic of Poland, the aim of the Polish Communist government was to control all aspects of society. Communist ideals were enforced in books and other publications; censorship was introduced on all published materials. This paper aims to present the situation of (print) media in People’s Poland, as well as to provide a background and description of Polish censorship. Additionally, this paper will exposit and examine the socio-political role of Tygodnik Powszechny (Universal Weekly) in Polish society. As TP is a Catholic weekly, an outline of the unique socio-political role of the Polish Roman Catholic Church in communist Poland will accompany the above analysis. This paper is based on the research conducted by the author in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts degree written and defended at the Central European University in Budapest in 2012.
110. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Álvaro Cúria Southern European Communist Parties’ Public Reaction to the 1989/1991 Set of Events in Eastern Europe: Framing the Analysis through a New Perspective
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This article explains the methodology behind our PhD thesis, that describes how five Southern European Communist parties2 reacted, through their party press, to the events that took place in Eastern Europe from 1989 to 1991, such as the Fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the deposition of the Romanian dictator in December 1989 or the Soviet Coup d’etat in August 1991. We describe an interdisciplinary methodology which combines elements of history of the present, historiography of Communism and communication sciences. We will summarize our study, after explaining our methodology and adapting the framing party press for the purposes of this work. Finally, we’ll draw the conclusions after presenting one specific case: the interpretations provided by each party following the parliamentary elections of June 1989 in Poland.
111. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Boris Popivanov Between the Past and the West: Bulgarian Post-Communist Left in Search of Legitimacy
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Communist successor parties in Central and Eastern Europe have adapted to the new realities according to a popular model differentiating between pragmatic reform and leftist retreat. The Bulgarian Socialist Party, which succeeded the ruling Communists, seems to diverge from this model, neither fully transforming into a Western European social democratic formation nor remaining a Communist one while keeping elements of both. The reasons behind this ambivalent position are examined according to the party’s orientation toward its own past in its three dimensions: program messages, voters’ attitudes and commemoration of Communist legacy.
112. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Stefan Lémny La délation dans la Roumanie communiste: Lectures pour une nouvelle recherche
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L’étude de la dénonciation n’est pas un sujet nouveau dans l’historiographie mondiale. Elle bénéficie de prémisses importantes, reparties très inégalement par époques historiques ou par régions géographiques. Il s’impose de constater, sans entrer dans les détails des préoccupations en la matière, l’importance qu’a connue la recherche de ce phénomène dans l’antiquité greco-latiné, dans la république vénitienne de l’époque pré-moderne et moderne ou dans la France révolutionnaire. La chute du Mur a considérablement apporté à l’ordre du jour cette direction d’études, dans le contexte de l’intérêt plus général pour l’histoire du monde communiste. En effet, comment comprendre le fonctionnement de ce monde sans prendre en compte son mécanisme complexe, entremêlant le bruit de la propagande et le silence du secret ?Nous souhaitons proposer une direction de recherche à partir de l’évaluation de l’historiographie la plus récente et de la méthodologie qu’elle suggère.
113. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Báthory Ludovic Catolicism şi comunism în România. 1946-1955. O perspectivă diplomatică franceză
114. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 7
Notes on the Contributors
115. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Julia Mead, Kristen Ghodsee Debating Gender in State Socialist Women’s Magazines: the Cases of Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia
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Contrary to the accepted Cold War stereotypes about state socialist mass women’s organizations, we will show that Communist leaders were attentive to the construction of gender roles and used women’s magazines as a forum to discuss openly the changing ideals of masculinity and femininity. Through a discourse analysis of articles in Vlasta (Czechoslovakia) and Zhenata Dnes (Bulgaria), our article will interrogate the categories of “man” and “woman” and their negotiation during the Communist era on the pages of official state magazines. In the Bulgarian case, we will discuss key articles that explicitly dealt with the importance of fathers and fatherhood, as for the case of Czechoslovakia, we will examine a series of articles and letters in which women’s union leaders and ordinary citizens discuss women’s entry into the workforce that had previously been the purview of men.
116. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Luciana M. Jinga Voices of Women on the Two Sides of the Iron Curtain: Agents, Agency, Sources
117. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Graziano Mamone The Big Contradiction. Feminism and Communism in the Magazine Lotta Continua. 1968-1978
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A new feminist ideology can be outlined by examining the magazine “Lotta Continua”, official newspaper of the homonymous Italian extra-parliamentary group. Riots in factories and universities were closely reported in the magazine, which painted a society still affected by strong gender inequalities. Split between an opposition to official communism and the spontaneity of the working class conflict, women emerged from family isolation. The great achievements of the Italian feminist movement were reported according to the point of view of the dissident communism. While in Italy the feminist movement was on the rise, the organisation was approaching its end, also due to its conflict with feminist protests. This paper wants to re-construct the image and the representation of left-wing feminism, in a crucial moment for the history of Italian society and communism.
118. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Luciana M. Jinga Comrade First, Baba Second: State Violence against Women in Communist Romania
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The paper focuses on the manifestations of structural and symbolic violence against women during the communist regime by addressing the most important mechanisms and embedded beliefs that allowed the proliferation of spousal violence in communist Romania, in what I see as a continuation of the interwar patriarchal state, and a bridge to the new discriminatory policies developed by the democratic structures, after 1990.
119. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Ágota Lídia Ispán Peasant Women in Public Life and in Politics in the Rákosi Era: The First Woman főispán’s Career in Hungary
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‘Woman questions’ were emphasized in common speech during the time of the party-state in Hungary. In the 1950s this was symbolized by women tractor drivers, Stakhanovites in construction industry, or women who were present in public life and in politics. Mrs Mihály Berki, née Magdolna Szakács was one of the first emblematic female politicians who was appointed the first peasant woman főispán [honorary prefect] from a village at the end of 1948. The central elements of her life story were the social and geographical mobility: how could she adapt to the new roles and environments? What kind of competences did she need? How did she acquire them? Did the image of a peasant woman politician with a kerchief change during her career? I intend to outline a wider social context in connection with the determining features of her career such as her being a female, her peasant background and her institutional socialization.
120. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Łukasz Bertram Widows of the Revolution: Women in Polish Political Elite 1949–1956
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The aim of this article is to present the collective portrait of the 40 women occupying the highest posts in the communist party and state apparatus in Poland during the Stalinist period. It focuses on the vast majority of people involved in the communist movement, while it also examines the cases of Socialists and women from the younger generation. The first part of the study presents the milieus they came from, their educational and professional careers and – above all – the motivations and patterns of their political engagement. The second part engages with their position in the structures of power, as well as the circumstances of their political advances and declines. The key biographical category is that of “widowhood”, understood both literally – considering the percentage of women whose husbands were killed by Soviets or Germans – and symbolically – as a bitter disappointment with the Idea and its realization.