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Displaying: 101-120 of 125 documents

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101. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 10
Lotte Thaa The Revolution Will Not Be Musealised. Remnants of the GDR’s ‘Peaceful Revolution’ in the Museum
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This paper offers a detailed reconstruction of an exhibition about the biggest protest rally of the GDR, which took place on November 4, 1989 in Berlin. Drawing from archival sources, as well as interviews, I will outline the exhibition’s design and the intentions of its creators. Subsequently, I will establish correlations with like‑minded, as well as antagonistic efforts to musealise the events later termed the “peaceful revolution”. Their comparison will allow some conclusions about the becoming of the dominant politics of memory today. By pointing to their gaps and blind spots, I want to advocate a more nuanced memory of this decisive period in German history.
102. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 10
Gabija Purlyte Representations of the Soviet Period and Its Traces in the Works of Contemporary Artists from the Baltic States
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This paper examines how Soviet and post‑Soviet history is presented and reflected upon in select works of contemporary artists from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. As the contemporary art scenes of these newly independent states developed and joined the global contemporary art circuit, a number of Baltic artists have participated in the recent “historiographic turn” in art. Through the analysis of examples, we look at four approaches employed by these artists when tackling the subject of history seen through personal narratives; history told from the point of view of ethnic/linguistic minorities; a focus on women’s experiences; and a debate on the preservation, removal, and building of commemorative monuments. This paper aims to show how these artists integrate reflections of the Soviet and post‑Soviet experience into the building of complex, inclusive, positive post‑Soviet identities.
103. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 10
Dalia Báthory Pop Memory. Clickbait and the Lives of the former Romanian Dictators Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, 30 Years After
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Studying the social memory of socialist regimes has generated extensive literature and numerous interpretations with regard to recollections of experiences of the socialist past. Amid such rich literature, this paper takes a novel approach, employing the concept of pop memory to explain the phenomenon of clickbait in the virtual press of Central and Eastern Europe. The media analysed focuses on the former dictators of Romania and was generally made available during 2019, 30 years after the bloody revolution of 1989. My aim is to demonstrate how, by drawing on former socialist propaganda, socialist leaders Elena and Nicolae Ceausescu are transformed in such media, from brutal leaders to pop characters. The results indicate Romanians’ strong “affective positioning” towards the socialist decades, connected to a practice of remembering of the socialist past, that has been previously disregarded, but which is relevant to understand people’s curiosities and the sources they use to replenish their need of information.
104. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Dalia Báthory, Ștefan Bosomitu Conceptualising Transnationalism Through Life Histories
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The term transnationalism has developed into a concept with a broad meaning, defining anything having to do with transgressing the national boundaries. There are limits to it: it has more to do with non-statal actors, it relates to trans-border cultural, political and economic spaces, and it follows identity-defining experiences of individuals who have lived a complex, international life. The current issue of History of Communism in Europe is entitled Transnational Biographies. Destinies at the Crossroads before and after the Cold War and deals especially with the latter situation. The volume comprises a rich diversity of articles that explore adventurous biographies, enriching the studies of transnationalism.
105. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Arturo Zoffmann Rodriguez From Mexico to Moscow via Madrid: the Borodin Mission and the Origins of Communism in Mexico and Spain, 1919-1920
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This article traces the steps of Mikhail Borodin, the first Comintern representative in Mexico and Spain, in 1919-20. He helped create the Mexican and the Spanish communist parties. In order to do this, he latched onto pre-existing networks of transnational activism and recruited a posse of young, committed, and cosmopolitan cadre. Through them, Borodin tried to mobilise the widespread euphoria for Bolshevism that existed among sectors of the Mexican and the Spanish left. However, the potential for vigorous communist movements remained largely untapped due to the recklessness of Borodin and his aides. The Borodin mission is a telling episode in the formative months of the Communist International, pointing to the importance of contingency, individual agency, and transnational activism in the establishment of the international communist movement.
106. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Sandra Neugärtner Anti-Fascist Exile, Political Print Media, and the Variable Tactics of the Communists in Mexico (1939–1946): The Case of Hannes Meyer and Lena Meyer-Bergner
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This article deals with the role of the political print media popular with communists in Mexico when anti-fascism became the code for the behaviour of democratic forces in the face of the provocation of Hitler’s fascism. Under the facade of anti-fascist unity, the German-speaking communist exiles established a publishing culture, from which Hannes Meyer and Lena Meyer-Bergner, who had come to Mexico from Soviet exile and who committed themselves to proletarian internationalism, soon separated or were excluded. Independent of the group, they developed strategies in accord ance with their anti-imperialist mission, from propaganda media for the Soviet state to the implementation of a sign language that would enable communication across borders: the International System of Typographic Picture Education (Isotype). The goal of my analysis is to provide a starting point for classifying Meyer and Meyer-Bergner’s work in print media, beyond the extensively researched Taller de Gráfica Popular context, but within the polarization of international opposition to fascism and totalitarian regimes during the Second World War.
107. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Anna Tonelli Teresa Noce: an Italian Professional Revolutionary Woman
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The role of professional revolutionaries is usually reserved for men. One exception is Teresa Noce, a prominent Italian Communist leader in the (residual) quota reserved for women, who was the wife of Luigi Longo, but with an independence that made her existence an original example of militancy and activism. Both underground and within republican Italy, Noce never adapted to what already existed, but fought to subvert the order, especially in the face of exploitation and discrimination. A member of the ICP, Noce fought against fascism, transporting clandestine material, writing articles for anti-fascist papers, promoting strikes by rice weeders and labourers. In France, she directed partisan movements and, in Spain, she was a militant in voluntary groups against Francisco Franco. After the war, she was elected to the Parliament as a “Constituent Mother”. She also revolutionised the world of labour as the first female Secretary General of the textile trade union.
108. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Ştefan Bosomitu The Permanent Suspicion. The Romanian Communist Party and its International Cadres
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This article attempts to explore the relations between the Romanian Communist Party and its “international” cadres after the end of the Second World War and its accession to power. Beyond a simply descriptive exegesis, the present study tries to capture the evolution of those relationships, and especially how the power relations between the two entities unfolded in the context of a paradigm shift: the legalisation of the party, its transformation into an important force of the political scene and, finally, its accession to power. Those transformations imposed a structural reorganisation of the movement, forced to centralise its entire diffuse network of activists, many of them spread across Europe. After 1945, the Communist Party pursued a consistent policy of repatriating activists, whether they were in the Soviet Union or in Western European countries. But, as we will detail later, the party sought to control that infusion of “qualified personnel” through strict selection and nominal repatriation. Similar efforts were made to control and subordinate this political corpus of “internationals” to a party leadership that did not have flawless legitimacy. Within and as a result of those tangled interactions, complex relationships would emerge and develop between individuals and groups who disputed an informal primacy and whose claimed legitimacy had distinct origins and evolutions.
109. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Valeska Bopp-Filimonov ‘A New Era’ is always Dawning. A Linguistic Biography of a Border Crosser and Doppelgänger from Bukovina in the Second Half of the 20th Century
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This article argues that it was not only physical borders that challenged people’s biographies in the 20th century, but also shifts in ideology, discourse and predominant languages. I shall explore the biography of a man called Cornel, a native of Bukovina who was a communist cultural official in Romania’s capital Bucharest in the 1960s and who became a priest in the 1970s. I shall show that not only obvious breaks such as the beginning and end of communist rule, but ideological shifts too within Romanian communism prompted Cornel to thoroughly reassess himself. For Cornel, it was the ‘mini-cultural revolution’ of 1971 under the rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu that quickly convinced him to leave his job at the Romanian Ministry of Culture and reinvent himself as an Orthodox priest. But was his self-reinvention successful? A thorough analysis of his biography shows that his linguistic biography—oscillating between Romanian, Ukrainian and Russian—contains crucial elements of productive adaptation and continuity that enabled him repeatedly and successfully to circumvent borders imposed by newly emerging policies. His “third” identity as a writer has given him continuity and self-assurance.
110. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Lucie Lamy Defining ‘Baltic Germanness’ in Post-Soviet Latvia and Estonia: Ethnic Germans’ Life Stories between East and West
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This article, based on interviews conducted in 2019 with Latvian and Estonian citizens ethnically defining themselves as “Baltic Germans”, aims to analyse the way this self-identification is shaped by the experience of the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, and by the ideological polarisation between East and West. Studying this hybrid ethnic belonging allows taking a look at individual life paths through a transnational lens and paying attention to all forms of mobility that play a role in its construction. By integrating the interviewees’ migratory experience, their discourses on other ethnic groups, and their perception of Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Russia and the USSR, this article intends to apprehend “Baltic Germanness” as a transnationally and trans-ethnically shaped category, to which the interviewees resort in order to make sense of their lives outside the framework of the nation-state.
111. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Cristian Vasile Mihail Ralea between the Ministry of Arts and the Romanian Communist Cultural Diplomacy
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Mihai Ralea was a university professor and prominent representative of the Romanian interwar literary intelligentsia. M. Ralea taught psychology, sociology and aesthetics, and was at the same time the director of a reputed literary magazine (Viaţa românească-Romanian Life). Ralea was also a politician, initially an important member of the National Peasant Party, representing its centre left wing. In his case, one may notice the contradiction between his moral arguments in public and his deeds after he reached positions of power (Minister of Labour under the royal dictatorship, Minister of Arts under the pro-communist Petru Groza government, etc.). Ralea was also called “the moralist without morals”, and the compromises he made – manifested through his adherence to anti-democratic regimes – can be documented by numerous archival documents. Due to strong political connections, Ralea survived in the high ranks of cultural bureaucracy even during cultural Stalinism. He maintained important positions both at the University of Bucharest and with humanities research institutes of the post-1948 Soviet-style Romanian Academy of Sciences. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he also gained posi-tions of international cultural representation with the Romanian branch of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNES-CO) and the Romanian Institute for the Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (IRRCS, the Romanian VOKS). His survival (as a professor of psychology after 1948) had a significant price – Ralea’s collaboration with the Stalinist regime. Using open sources and also newly declassified archival documents, the article is an attempt to approach M. Ralea’s case of survival in the high cultural bureaucracy in the East European context.
112. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Enis Sulstarova An Albanian Hemingway: Petro Marko’s Recollections of the Spanish Civil War
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Petro Marko (1913-1991) was an Albanian journalist, writer and communist activist, who volunteered in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. Afterwards, he was imprisoned in the island of Ustica by the Italian occupiers of Albania during the Second World War and was briefly imprisoned by the communist regime of Albania in the late 1940s. Afterwards he worked as a journalist and a writer, being closely surveyed by the communist regime. The Spanish experience was the most important formative period throughout Marko’s stormy life, through which he was able to stay faithful to his communist and internationalist beliefs in the face of fascism and one of the most totalitarian and isolationist regimes in Europe. Marko wrote about the International Brigades in his most prominent novel, Hasta la Vista, and in his posthumously published autobiography. This paper will investigate these works by putting them in the historical context of the events themselves and of the time of the writing process. The aim is to look into how internationalism moulded his own identity, but also how this ideal was presented publicly under a communist regime that was becoming more and more isolated and xenophobic.
113. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Ana Theodorescu Theodor Vasilescu – The Dancer Who Took the Romanian Folklore all over the World
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The main theme of the proposed paper concerns the professional training and artistic activity of Theodor Vasilescu, choreographer and dancer, specialized in folk dance, with a rich international activity during the communist regime. The analysis will focus on illustrating how the artist’s biography was influenced by a new trend in the satellite states of the U.R.S.S., namely that of transforming traditional dance into art with a political substratum. Also, the main thread of the article will consist in revealing the specific type of relationship between the artist and the regime, dominated by a permanent awareness of the mutual benefits of this partnership: for the dancer Theodor Vasilescu it was the chance to develop a successful career, which for the propaganda apparatus implied a strong image campaign for Romania, abroad. Regarding the temporal framework, the analyzed period will focus on the regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu, 1965-1989, relevant in Theodor Vasilescu’s career path, as well as in the dissemination of his work results. There are three important aspects that will be analyzed in this article: first, the recovery of an important cultural trend in Romanian history, when, through the influence on the Soviet chain, folklore and traditional dance became an art form strongly subsumed to an ideology. This aspect led to the foundation of many Folk Ensembles with a specific type of artistic manifestations, including folk dance. At the same time, it will be illustrated how the regime was involved in financing and promoting this type of dance, by including it in the development of the most important national performances, by encouraging research in this field and creating professional opportunities through training and also by organizing an International Folklore Festival, “Romania 69”. This approach definitively changed the professional career of Theodor Vasilescu. The last aspect consists in presenting the international career of the choreographer, as a direct result of the increased interest that the communist regime had in promoting Romania’s image abroad. This made the Romanian folk dance very popular in countries such as Netherlands, Japan, Canada, Germany. Also, the frequent tournaments con-tributed to the increase of the Securitate’s interest in his daily activity. The main categories of sources for documentation will consist of: my personal archive which contains two interviews with Theodor Vasilescu, documents in the funds and collections of the National Archives of Romania (The Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, Propaganda and Agitation Section, Organizational Section), also those of the National Council for Studying the Securitate Archives.
114. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Ana-Cristina Irian, Valentin Maier Picturing the West – A Slideshow of a Private Production in Communist Romania
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The purpose of this paper is to present and analyse the biography of a passionate 20th century Romanian tourist who lived in Bucharest and travelled across Europe, bringing his (subjective) travel experiences of Western countries to private and public audiences curious about the unknown “abroad” during the 1980s. This case study is about the life and travel experiences of Vasile A. Marinescu, and deals with their visibility and interpretation during the communist era. The research is based on unpublished sources – visual and audio sources, as well as manuscripts (between 1970 and 1980), interviews – and other already published archive materials. The research describes, in particular, how the West was perceived and presented in those semi-private shows, and how (and which of) those unofficial sources influenced the imagination of Romanians, aside the official propaganda.
115. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Božica Slavković Mirić Drač-Elbasan Railway – “Railway of the Yugoslav-Albanian Brotherhood”
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After the end of World War II, Yugoslavia and Albania continued the cooperation that had been established during the war. The economic cooperation between the two countries began after the signing of the Friendship and Assistance Agreement in mid-1946. Part of the cooperation were joint ventures between the two countries and one of them was a railway company. The first Albanian railway, Drač-Elbasan, represented the result of Yugoslav-Albanian reconciliation. Its construction began in early 1947 and completed in November the same year. A plan for the Drač-Tirana railway also existed and was to be implemented as a joint project, but due to the crisis of the relations between the two countries, it never materialised. Yugoslavia and Albania discontinued their cooperation after Albania’s acceptance of the Informbureau Resolution in mid-1948.
116. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Dalia Báthory Editor’s Introduction: Socialist Solidarity and East-East Relations in the 20th Century
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The current section of issues 12/2021-13/2022 of History of Communism in Europe deals with East-East and East-South relations among socialist countries and countries of the Global South. Exploring local specificities and global ambitions, the papers bring to light the beginnings of the socialist developmental projects, and bilateral relations that overcome the strict framework of the monolithic socialist bloc.
117. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Daniel Filip-Afloarei The “Solidarity” Crisis and the Poles of Suceava in the ’80s
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In this paper, I will explore the relationship between the Romanian Socialist leadership and the Polish minority in Suceava after the outbreak of the “Solidarity” crisis, in August 1980. Although the Polish community in Suceava was small, it had close connections with the Polish tourists who visited Romania, whose number reached almost one million every year in the early ‘80s. These connections aroused many suspicions among the authorities in Bucharest. Particularly, this paper has three major objectives: it investigates the extensive surveillance campaign targeting the Polish minority in Suceava after the emergence of the “Solidarity” Trade Union in Poland, it analyses the methods used by the Communist authorities to counteract the alleged effects of this crisis and it depicts the Romanian leadership’s perception of the Polish crisis of the ‘80s, beyond the official statements. Ultimately, as a general framework of this paper, I will study the bilateral relations between Romania and Poland. To these ends, I will use the archives of the National Council for the Study of Securitate Archives, corroborated with sources from the National Archives and the consular reports of the Romanian Embassy in Warsaw. For a more informed perspective I will also employ information from the Archives of Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The interviews featuring the persons with Polish contacts or monitored by the Securitate will complete the documentary sources.
118. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Dalia Báthory Romanian Solidarity with Countries in the Global South. Development, Trade, Training
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This paper deals with the Romanian experience as a developer of projects and investor of resources in the countries of the Global South during the 1970s. It follows the country’s grand narrative in its Communist Party’s documents, as compared to that of the statements of the international meetings of the commu­nist parties in the 1960s and 1970s and to that present in the party’s newspaper Scinteia, and in contrast to documents of the political executive committee of the Romanian Communist Party collected from the Romanian National Archives and the Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives. The purpose of this research is to analyse the Romanian solidarity messages in the party discourse, their degree of compliance with the solidarity messages of the rest of the countries in the socialist camp, actual actions of humanitarian assistance in the countries of the Global South, and how those actions and messages were filtered and transmitted to the Romanian readers of print press. The results indicate a discrepancy between public discourse and archival discourse on the one hand, and the nature of information disclosed to the public, on the other.
119. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Daniel Filip-Afloarei Editor’s Introduction: Youth in Communism: between Compliance and Deviance
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All research agrees that youth was an important social category for the communist regimes. At the beginning of the Cold War, youth was perceived in literature as a subject under the regimes’ total control. Later on, scholars understood that gaining the support of young people was a political priority for the Communists. To follow this complicated relationship between youth and the communist regime, I first looked at the complexity of the concept. Second, I have moved beyond the Manichean perspective of the Cold War and sought to study it in its complexity and continuity within generations. Ultimately, this contextualisation helps readers better understand the works in the current issue, which examines the problem of youth from several perspectives.
120. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Adrian Popan Rock’n’Roll and the Discontents of Communism: The Scandals that Rocked the Scene
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The literature on rock music in socialism oscillates between presenting it in opposition to the socialist society and being part of it. This article tackles the same question by looking at the moments where rock musicians found themselves at odds with mainstream morality: the scandals. Three cases have been selected for analysis: the media campaign against the band Chromatic in 1970, the publication of Ceauşescu’s Theses of July in 1971, and the continuing stream of defectors, including from the rock music scene. The analysis concludes that both sides tended to avoid open confrontations. Rock musicians were no dissidents; they preferred to make music using the available institutional means. Authorities would rather close an eye to problematic events to keep up appearances. Mid-level authorities served as mediators while working for their own benefit.