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21. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 1
Radostina Sharenkova Forget-me(-not): Visitors and Museum Presentations about Communism Before 1989
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This essay opens up the question about museum presentations during the communist rule in Bulgaria that were arranged to materially prove the official state ideology. Their collections should validate the governing party’s pretences for historical continuity. Two museum institutions shall be discussed: “The Museum of Working Class Revolution”1 and the “Museum of Constructing Socialism”2. Both of them are analyzed as a propaganda machine for the dissemination of the party messages from the point of view of visitors’ perceptions of the recent communist past… Such museum presentations, normally part of the regional history museums or having a national status, were born with the regime and lived out some years after its end in 1989 when they were sentenced to “death” or closed behind the repositories’ walls.Two decades after 1989, Bulgaria still doesn’t have a separate museum space for presenting its recent past. In contrast, pre-1989 museum presentations aboutcommunism registered extraordinary numbers of visitors that later in the 1990s suddenly disappeared. Are people still interested in supporting official museums’narratives about communism? This article offers an anthropological analysis of the former visitors’ motivation and memories about the communist presentations20 years after their close. The research here has tried to provoke memory. It also attempted to find the reasons why people would consciously forget.
22. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 1
John Ely Re-Membering Romania: A Ghost Story
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Remembering the year of 1989 does not always seem to produce a coherent narrative about the recent history of Romania. Most likely, when asked about their own experiences or what truly happened back then, Romanians would refer to it as “the events” because there still is a certain veil of ambiguity over their shared collective memory. The author’s personal encounters with such story tellers confirm that Romanians are still torn apart between various interpretations concerning what happened during December 1989.
23. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 1
Dr. Brendan Purcell Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Overcoming Personal, Political and Historical Amnesia through Literary-Aesthetic Anamnesis
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Very few writers have had such an impact on their culture as Alexander Solzhenitsyn on Soviet society in the ‘60s and ‘70s Recently published documents from the KGB archives show the problem he posed to the Soviet leadership—not because he was the only one to point out the massive falsehood and injustice of Soviet society but primarily due to the scathing power of his artistic diagnosis. Many of Solzhenitsyn’s writings in fictional, autobiographical, and publicistic genres can helpfully be understood in terms of Plato’s struggle in the Athens of his day for a “remembering” or anamnesis of what it is to be a human being, a human society, and the cosmos as transparent for divinity. That struggle, even though Plato doesn’t use the word “amnesia”, was against the refusal to remember. The Austrian writer Heimito von Doderer called that refusal the Apperzeptionsverweigerung or refusal to perceive (in his case, regarding National Socialism). Here we’ll explore Solzhenitsyn’s work in terms of his struggle to remember over against the ideological “refusal to perceive” in the three fundamental dimensions of personal, social and historical existence. Solzhenitsyn expands Mikhail Bakhtin’s understanding of “polyphonic” characterization as a key technique for articulating his diagnosis of Soviet totalitarianism. The discussion will instantiate what can be seen as his understanding of personal amnesia and anamnesis in Cancer Ward, his exploration of social amnesia and anamnesis in In the First Circle, and his treatment of historical amnesia and anamnesis in The Red Wheel and The Gulag Archipelago.
24. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 1
Andrei Muraru Maria Bucur, Heroes and Victims: Remembering War in Twentieth-Century Romania
25. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 1
Meike Wulf Politics of History in Estonia: Changing Memory Regimes 1987-2009
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In this article I examine three separate landmarks of Estonia’s contemporary “historical culture” that are all examples of the continuous reinterpretation of historical facts that has taken place since the society underwent political reframing; 2 namely 1) the work of the “Estonian Occupation Museum”; 2) the “Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes against Humanity”; and 3) the conflict over memorial monuments to different veteran groups in Estonia. All these cases concern public ways of dealing with the enduring ambiguities of Estonia’s recent past; particularly with the controversial issues of indigenous collaboration and complicity with the Soviet regime and the Nazi occupiers, as well as with traumatic memories of the war and post-war years. Within the realm of “memory politics” they represent attempts at agreeing on a codification of how to officially remember Estonia’s past. In the background of my discussion stands the question of what makes them instances of “historical revisionism”. To scrutinize this question, I consider “historical revisionism” in relation to five different “public uses” of history, namely the moral, ideological, political, existential, and emblematic dimension of history.
26. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 1
Sergiu Gherghina Attitudes towards the Communist Past in Five Central and Eastern European Countries
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Almost fifteen years after the breakdown of the Iron Curtain, citizens in five of the best performing post-communist countries display willingness to return to the previous regime, share values convergent with communism, and high levels of dissatisfaction with democracy. Using a two-step statistical analysis, this article investigates at individual level whether citizens attach attitudinal and behavioral consistency to their opinions towards the past. The results indicate that people supporting communist policies are more likely to pursue the return to such a regime compared to their fellow nationals; citizens’ regret for the previous regime is not based on the ideological or policy features; and dissatisfaction with democracy has little to do if anything with the nostalgia for the communist past.
27. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 2
Andreea Zamfira The Enthusiasm of Intellectuals for Communism at the End of First World War in France
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This paper is both a description and an analysis of some of the most interesting cases of French intellectuals seduced by the communist project at the end of the First World War. While the major objective of this paper was to present the manner in which the communist ideology and the regimes inspired by this one afterwards were imagined and conceived by widely known intellectuals at that time, its secondary objective was to bring into debate a salient and, at the same time, somehow neglected issue in the academic literature – the intellectual attachment to the totalitarian ideas in Western Europe. The First World War made it possible that the utopian philosophies meet the political will of recreating a new social order and, also, it gave birth to a mass intellectual movement that, for the first time in the European history, has burst in the East side of the continent and influenced famous western intellectuals’ outlooks on culture, society and politics.Among the French intellectuals fascinated by Communism at the end of the First World War, we distinguished several types, any of them finding its sap indifferent sources of attraction. The first profile belongs to the «nostalgic intellectual», who has a particular admiration for the great events from the historicalpast, especially for the French Revolution of 1789. Alphonse Aulard is one French intellectual we considered as being attached to Communism due toits nostalgy. The «idealists», most of them Slavophile, form the second group of intellectuals. Pierre Pascal, as well as the other French Slavophiles, developeda sincere admiration, sometimes even naive, for the old Russian society, perceived as the cradle of the orhodox religion and of the traditional communitylife. Thirdly, it is the «nonconformist» intellectual’s portrait that draws our attention. Both nonconformist and idealist intellectuals are conservative,rejecting certain modern phenomena. Nevertheless, unlike the idealist, the nonconformist intellectual does not oppose modernity per se; he only wantsto recreate it as peaceful and tolerant. An outstanding nonconformist intellectual to be mentioned here is Romain Rolland. Finally, the fourth profileidentified in this paper is the «modernist» or the «surrealist» Michel Winock wrote about. André Breton is one of the most renowned surrealist intellectualswho were fascinated by Communism in France. The surrealist intellectuals defended the idea of a new régime de l’esprit, proposing new aesthetic categories(the dream, the unconscious, the illogicality) and, thereby, getting closer to an aesthetic defi nition of the revolution and of a modern political project.Being based on a theoretical assertion resulting from François Furet’s writings, according to whom intellectuals’ enthusiasm for Communism had a doublenature (ideological/ rational and aesthetic/ emotional), our analysis has taken into consideration both objective and subjective variables, such as: the profession,the way of perceiving modernity, the attachment to the communist cause, the political interests, the communist affi liation, etc.
28. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 2
Ştefan Bosomitu Notes and Remarks on the (Re) Institutionalization of Sociology in Communist Romania in the 1960s
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This paper aims to evaluate the place of Romanian sociology during the communist regime by trying to reconstruct the regional and internal political context which led to the (re) institutionalization of that discipline. After experiencing a fertile period between the wars, Romanian sociology was “banned” at the end of WWII and the establishment of the communist regime. After two decades of “misery”, sociology was once again institutionalized in the mid 1960s in the context of an intellectual and political “liberalization”. The paper tries to explain the institutional development of Romanian sociology within Michael Voříšek’s methodological framework, discussing a series of indicators of a discipline’s institutionalization: research, teaching, professional organization, discourse, and label. The paper also analyzes the role of diverse factors (prewar tradition, political regime) in the development of sociology after WWII. It concludes by explaining that the tortuous process of institutionalization was due to the necessity to find the right timing when sociology was to be accepted as a legitimate and useful discipline, but also to the fact that sociology was only then able to individualize itself within the theoretical and ideological complex of Marxism-Leninism.
29. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 2
Nevena Dimova Macedonian and Albanian Intellectuals and the National Idea(s) in Socialist Macedonia
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This article looks at the relations between Macedonian and Albanian intellectuals and the communist party in the Republic of Macedonia. More specifically, it focuses on the creation and development of national program by Macedonian intellectuals within state structure. The article argues that during the socialist period the party policies and the socialist Macedonian intellectuals were supporting each other in the realization of their common goals: the establishmentand consolidation of the Macedonian national program. It looks at intellectual production created by members of the Macedonian Academy of Arts and Sciences (MANU) to show how historiography and linguistics became the battlefields for the development of national ideology in Macedonia. Based on the establishment of these “invented” traditions, Macedonian scholars and socialist politicians made claims within Yugoslavia, but also internationally that Macedonians are a separate nation and that they have the right to an independent state after socialism. I show that Albanian intellectuals also developed an Albanian national program, only quietly and in the background. Simultaneously, the article argues that the Yugoslav policies of national determination, decentralization and self-expression reinforced ethnic differences in the country and assisted in the development of Albanian and Macedonian parallel national projects. The processes of inclusion and national consolidation, while excluding ‘the others’ from the national project, were legitimized and institutionalized by the creation of a national culture and politics by the intellectuals within the socialist state structures.
30. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 2
Notes on contributors