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121. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Sofia Lopatina Courtyard Groups: Youth Collective Practices and Soviet Visions of Social Control (1960-1965)
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This article takes a closer look at two seemingly contradictory developments of the early 1960s – the broadening of socialist participation and proliferation of social control – and their impact on young people. It also aims to go beyond the state-society dichotomy by introducing the concepts of youth collective practices and control culture. The analysis will show that multiple state and non-state agents controlled courtyard groups. They developed different, contesting interpretations and practices. While the courtyard groups were diverse and many of them did not break any laws, the agents of control culture viewed them as deviant. However, it was not only the apparent or supposed “deviance” of some courtyard groups that put them in the spotlight but also their uncontrollability and estrangement from Soviet leisure venues and practices.
122. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Cristian Vasile Albatros – a Publishing House for the Romanian Communist Youth, 1970-1989
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This paper examines the profile of the Albatros Publishing House in Bucharest (specialising in youth literature) and the activity of its director, writer Mircea Sântimbreanu. He held this position for almost two decades and recounted his experience in a volume of memoirs. I tried to explore these memoirs mainly in parallel with accounts from archival documents and secondary literature. The Albatros Publishing House was a micro-universe for assessing the impact of successive ideological offensives by the Romanian Communist Party on book production and on the youth in general (mainly the July 1971 Theses and the other party directives of the 1970s, as well as the Mangalia Theses of 1983). By the 1980s, the regime’s propaganda had acquired ultra-nationalistic nuances. This paper will also exemplify such developments by discussing the scandal generated by the 1983 publication of Saturnalii by Corneliu Vadim Tudor, a volume of poems with strong antisemitic tenor. Using mainly diaries, journals, secondary literature and archival documents, this article also analyses the strategies deployed by the communist regime in order to coerce the young generation – through the agency of publishing houses – to assume the new literary-political ideology of revolutionary humanism (the Socialist Realism of the Ceaușescu era).
123. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Lucica Nicoleta Păcurar S.R. Romania’s Western Border - the Battlefield between Two Categories of Young People: The Fugitives and the Border Guards
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The young generation of the ’80s was born and entirely educated under communist ideology. And yet indoctrination failed for some of these young people, who saw the West as a symbol of a better society to aspire to. In order to escape from S.R. Romania, some of them risked their lives in the “adventure” of crossing the border illegally. The main opponents of the fugitives, the border guards, were part of the same age group. In many cases, they behaved brutally toward the fugitives. Did they come to see them as traitors, or was it just the context in which this adversity manifested itself mixed with the soldiers’ fear of their superiors’ punishments? The study is part of a more extensive research regarding the phenomenon of illegal border crossing during Ceaușescu`s dictatorship. Through this study, I aim to analyse the two situations in which some of the young people of the ’80s could find themselves: opponents of the regime (when fleeing to the West was a form of protest) and involuntary “servants” of the system, such as border soldiers, respectively. Also, I focused on identifying the reasons for the conflict between the two categories of young people belonging to the same generation.
124. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Ioana Ursu To be Young and Spiritual during Times of Communism: Students and the Burning Bush of Antim
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The “Burning Bush” was the name of a cultural circle in Bucharest in the 1940s, comprised of clergy and intellectuals who met periodically to discuss theology, philosophy, literature and to learn about prayer. Some of the most significant members of this group were arrested during the second repressive wave by the Romanian communist regime (1958); along with twelve elderly monks and intellectuals, four students who kept in touch with them were also arrested. Their names were George Văsâi, Șerban Mironescu, Nicolae Rădulescu, and Emanoil Mihăilescu. Using memoirs, oral history interviews and documents from the Securitate archives, the paper will address the interactions between the young students and the elder members of the Burning Bush group of clergy and intellectuals. The narratives of the informative and criminal files of the Securitate regarding the content of their meetings will also be depicted, all inside a larger context of the regime’s repressive measures and relations with the Romanian Orthodox Church.
125. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Iulia Cindrea Nagy “The Propagandists are Younger Women”: How Old Calendarist Women Contributed to the Forging of a Religious Identity
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The 1924 Church reform, through which the Romanian Orthodox Church decided to adopt the Revised Julian Calendar, led to dissent movements, mostly comprised of peasants, especially in the villages of Moldavia and Bessarabia. Considering the calendar change a heresy, these groups soon developed into religious communities that came to be known as Old Calendarists, or “stylists,” followers of “the old-style calendar.” Led by defrocked priests and monks who rejected the reform, the groups very quickly became the target of the secret police and the Gendarmerie. What also drew the attention of the authorities and the Orthodox Church was that women, especially the younger ones, seemed to play important roles within the communities, not only in terms of membership, but also in preserving and spreading the Old Calendarists’ beliefs and religious ideas. As many members of the communities were being arrested, and their churches were destroyed, these women also suffered imprisonment, monastic incarceration, or were forced to hide from the authorities in caves or huts that they built in the woods. Though subjected to various forms of persecution, which continued through the communist period, the majority of them held strong to their beliefs and contributed to the forging of a religious identity. Using archival documents, in the forms of letters, postcards, photos, and declarations as primary sources, and drawing on interviews conducted with contemporary nuns and members of the Old Calendarist communities, the present article explores the personal stories of young Old Calendarist women. Building upon the work of Anca Șincan, this article challenges the notion that transmission of religion was the exclusive prerogative of older women.