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History of Communism in Europe

Volume 7, 2016

The (R)evolutionary Maze: Communist Parties in Europe

Alexandra Iancu
Pages 155-173

The ‘Westernisation’ of the Communist Elites in Romania
Elite Modernity, Integration and Change

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.

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