communist nostalgia in romania

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It then brings empirical evidence into discussing how the ”nostalgia” label has been applied in public discourse among various Romanian opinion leaders in the recent years by focusing on two main controversial issues: the official document condemning communism with its associated discussions and the debate around building a Museum of Communism in Romania. "Let's all freeze up until 2100 or so": Nostalgic Directions in Post-Communist Romania / Oana Popescu-Sandu; pt. Allegedly, 90 sacks full of documents were destroyed in the process. Between Memory and Nostalgia: The Image of Communism in Romanian Popular Culture. He was not alive when "the Conducator" turned Romania into one of the worst communist autocracies, but he is still convinced that everything was better during the time of "the Genius of the Carpathians." According to Kristen R. Ghodsee, a researcher on post-communist Eastern Europe: "Only by examining how the quotidian aspects of daily life were affected by great social, political and economic changes can we make sense of the desire for this collectively imagined, more egalitarian past. English; français; Deutsch; español; português (Brasil) English . On the one hand, there was the idealised interwar period; and on the other hand, communist stability. Yet fast-forward two decades and other Romanian entrepreneurs and businesses are realising that there is money to be made from communist nostalgia. The present paper focuses on the nostalgia after the communist regime in Romania. Romania’s elite remained in power after the communist dictator was executed. Through his reputation, Ceausescu also ensured that Romania had some weight on the international scene. Post-communist Nostalgia. The first one provides a chronological overview of the emergence of communist nostalgia in Romania showing how the anti-communism of the 1990s was replaced by shared nostalgic feelings about life before the regime change in December 1989. The generalized communist amnesia is also manifested through a lack of memorial sites recalling the horrors of communism, even though the regime’s scars are visible everywhere, from Bucharest’s grey living blocs to impoverished villages. The paper analyzes the evolution of communist nostalgia in Romania based on the results of the opinion polls published from the end of the 1990s until today. Communist nostalgia, therefore, is a growing phenomenon in the post-communist states of Eastern Europe due to the successful progress and advances … Thus, I structure my analysis in two main parts. However, many expect that he will not be imprisoned, given the untenable nature of his accusation of genocide, which usually doesn’t apply to political repression. 31 He refers to nomenklatura, not to ordinary party members. When asked about dictator Ceausescu, 47.5 of the respondents claimed that he had a relatively positive role in Romania’s recent history, while 46.9 said that his role was rather negative. For these political leaders, the public’s communist nostalgia is great news, as, in some ways, it legitimizes or allows them to continue their highly contestable democratic political and economic careers. Still, its existence, as we will see, undermines post-communist institutional trust. According to a recent poll, many Romanians remain nostalgic for communism, over two decades after dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown. Toggle navigation. When confronted with the hardships of the transition, the "post-revolutionary utopianism" produced "post-revolutionary disenchantment".[3]. A study called … The post-communist era has also experienced an expanding gap between Romania’s poor and the rich, previously not visible, because most people, regardless of profession, struggled for the same rationed food and products, while the nomenklatura mostly kept their affairs away from the public eyes. How does harmful disinformation spread? I propose that under the communist regime, the experience of nostalgia was a way of coming to terms with the abrupt break from precommunist material and symbolic conditions, while the theme of labor became a vehicle for the normalization of those changes. Dominik Bartmanski argues that after the anti-communist Revolutions of 1989 the specific perspectives of the development remained unclear for some time, they were expressed in generic terms such as "return to Europe", "to Western values" and the like. The historian adds that people might believe that many had higher living standards, because everyone was assigned a workplace and annual vacations were assured by unions, while now many Romanians have trouble finding and maintaining employment. US President Nixon came on an official visit to Romania in 1969. 7. In 2013, the parliament also approved a draft bill, according to which former communist leaders, found responsible for grave violations of human rights would be forced to pay up to 70 percent of their monthly income to former political prisoners, of whom around 3,500 are believed to still be alive. A 2010 poll conducted by the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy provided similar results. [7] The free market addressed the fond memories of the bygone era through reintroducing some of the erstwhile prominent brands and imagery to the public[7] (so-called communist chic). English; français; Deutsch; español; português (Brasil) He has never had to face prosecutors in explaining his role in the dictator’s death. Communist nostalgia, also called Communism nostalgia or socialist nostalgia, is the nostalgia in various post-communist states of Central and Eastern Europe and Russia for the prior Communist state.[1][2][3]. This resulted in utopian expectations regarding capitalism and democracy. Some Empirical Evidence, in: Valahian Journal of Historical Studies 12 (2009), pp. Please check individual images for licensing details. 10. Collection Contesting Illusions History and Intellectual Class Struggle in Post-Communist Romania By Florin Poenaru Submitted to Central European University A recent poll suggested that nearly half of Romanians have a positive view of Ceausescu and believe that life was better under him. Published: 03.06.2015 ; Recommended by Redakcja Pol-Int Post-communist Nostalgia Communist nostalgia, also called Communism nostalgia or socialist nostalgia, is the nostalgia in various post-communist states of Central and Eastern Europe and Russia for the prior Communist state.. that communism nostalgia is a form of a collective feeling which could be used to discern certain problems currently undiscussed in the public realm in Romania. These results might seem surprising, given the fact that Romania underwent one of the most brutal communist regimes in the region under Ceausescu’s leadership. This is the first trial of its kind. comprise are the most common justifications of Romanian nostalgia, in post-communism. However, it is clear that nostalgia is more closely related to dissatisfaction with the present system's ability to produce output than to genuine non-democratic values. Now, Romania has little weight and prestige in regional and international decision-making; its politicians are constantly lambasted by their European counterparts for inefficiently tackling corruption; while the dominant rhetoric about emigrating Romanians in western European countries, such as France and the United Kingdom, is that they do not seek employment or better living standards, but to take advantage of their welfare system. (Eds. This article explores the concept of " post-communist nostalgia " in Romania within the younger, post-communist generations, focusing on specific leisure practices such as communist themed parties organized by nightclubs. All key parties in Romania, whether liberal, social-democrat or liberal-democratic, contain ex-communists, ex-members of the Securitate - the communist’s extremely repressive secret police agency - their children, relatives and business partners. The first part of the article briefly presents the previous interpretations about communist nostalgia in Romania during the last ten years. In fact, communist nostalgia is a multidimensional phenomenon, encompassing both generational differences and general discontent. Romanians escaping his regime were welcomed in western countries and enjoyed the somewhat glorious title of political refugees. However, it is clear that nostalgia is more closely related to dissatisfaction with the present system's ability to produce output than to genuine non-democratic values. According to exiled dissident Mihai Botez, around 15,000 Romanians died yearly due to starvation, cold and other shortages. The crimes of communism were only officially condemned in 2006, when President Traian Basescu called the regime illegitimate and criminal, trampling on the law and forcing citizens to live in lies and terror. He has been accused of committing genocide for imposing horrible abuses on detainees, including food and medicine deprivation, beatings and other brutalities. The following year, Ceausescu further defied Soviet Russia, by establishing diplomatic relations with the Federal Republic of Germany. According to Romania Libera, the newspaper that published these documents, the Berevoesti incident was only one of many acts of suppression that took place after the Romanian Revolution. Few similar large-scale developments have been initiated in the post-communist era. Romania's communist regime crumbled in December 1989, and dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were executed on Christmas Day. Romania’s first post-communist president, elected for two more mandates, was Ion Iliescu, a prominent communist party member, involved in Ceausescu’s mock trial and execution. Abstract. Dan Falcan, also from Historia, claims that Ceausescu’s positive perception is in fact a condemnation of Romania’s post-communist political leadership, unable to secure the country’s progress, jobs and decent living standards for the population. This is, summarized, one side of institutional trust, as fake as its promises. This article explores the concept of " post-communist nostalgia " in Romania within the younger, post-communist generations, focusing on specific leisure practices such as communist themed parties organized by nightclubs. Successful icons of failed time: rethinking post-communist nostalgia, "Would Romanians Vote for Ceaușescu If He Were Alive Today? ", "Dr. Kristen Ghodsee, Bowdoin College - Nostalgia for Communism", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Communist_nostalgia&oldid=993303448, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 9 December 2020, at 22:38. While this might be true, a key reason behind these results is an institutionalized amnesia regarding communism in Romania, which has not allowed an adequate society-wide debate able to inform the Romanian public. These young Romanians are nostalgic for the "good old times," a time that they have never known. The first part of memory practices, the pedagogy of memory organized by anti-communism constructed nostalgia as a disease of the popular classes, considered the museum of communism as a definitive sign of overcoming this nostalgia, and inscribed the secret police archive with the … During the first years of the communist regime in Romania, when it tried to implement a stalinist version of communism, approximately 2500 clergymen were arrested with the tacit approval of the Orthodox Church’s hierarchy. As Visinescu himself said, he was only executing orders. In many ways, he is a scapegoat for those who ordered the abuses and killings. In post-communist Romania, there were two competing registers of nostalgia felt which informed citizens’ hopes and dreams for the future. Summary/Abstract: This paper attempts a conceptual understanding of ”post-communist nostalgia” by looking at various interdisciplinary approaches to the phenomenon. This is not the first survey suggesting Romanians’ communist nostalgia. In 1975, Romania was granted most-favoured-nation trading status by the US, while, in 1978, Queen Elizabeth II knighted Ceausescu. In order to determine who these latter individuals were, accessing the communism archives would have been a key priority. In fact, communist nostalgia is a multidimensional phenomenon, encompassing both generational differences and general discontent. Flickr/Ion Chibzii. Assessing Communist Nostalgia in Romania: Chronological Framework and Opinion Polls Manuela Marin . Some rights reserved. His 1994 book Exile from Eden "expresses an ironic and melancholic longing for the Soviet Union, the homeland that never accepted him as a Jew." Maria Todorova, Zsuzsa Gille (2010) Post-communist Nostalgia. Roughly 28 percent of Czechs say they were better off under the Communist regime, according to a poll conducted by the polling institute SC&C and released Sunday. Simina Bădică - 2010 - History of Communism in Europe 1:83-101. And, if the case were to be the latter, what does communism nostalgia The first part of the article briefly presents the previous interpretations about communist nostalgia in Romania during the last ten years. The second part advances new interpretations as to how Romanians' communist nostalgia could be explained. According to Ceausescu’s prosecutor, Dan Voinea, Romania’s political and economic elites are predominately former communists, their relatives and allies, whose interest is to ensure that the crimes of communism are never unveiled and prosecuted. ), Gender (In)equality and Gender Politics in Southeastern Europe (pp. Most of them remained secret until Basescu’s condemnation, when some of the state archives, containing the Communist Party’s documents, became available for research, while a large portion of the Securitate archives were transferred to the National Council for Research on the Securitate Archives for analysis and investigation. In 1947 Romania was the last monarchy within the new Soviet sphere of influence. This was a historic moment, as it was the first visit of a US President to Romania, to a socialist country and to Eastern Europe. The second part advances new interpretations as to how Romanians' communist nostalgia could be explained. As communism ended in Romania in the 1990s, a great many former state-owned brands like Pegas disappeared as factories were closed or privatised. The documents had been burnt and buried after the communist institution was dismantled on December 22, 1989. Thus, Ceausescu won western leaders’ support and became one of the most appreciated communist leaders, treated as their equal. In post-communist Romania, there were two competing registers of nostalgia felt which informed citizens’ hopes and dreams for the future. This article explores the afterlives of communist everyday material culture by pitting grassroots heritage practices against officially sanctioned museum narratives in post-communist Romania. A thoughtful weekly email of economic, political, social and cultural developments from the storm-tossed continent. Nostalgia in the former Czechoslovakia Thanks for the memories A surprising reimagining of history in the Czech Republic and Slovakia Ex-communist Europe Eastern approaches The novel follows Emilia, a pensioner in northern Romania, as she faces up to her illusions of life in Ceaușescu’s Romania, against the background of a gloomy post-communist present. He was executed while singing the hymn of the communist countries 171-191). 7-28. In September 2013, a trial was initiated against Alexandru Visinescu for his role in communist abuses as the commander of the Ramnicu Sarat prison for political detainees. Will you add your name? Journal of Education Culture and Society No. One consequence of globalization is the establishment of a reference system, the consumption of brands, that is common to all the inhabitants of the planet and, therefore, to the citizens of the European Union too. Examples of such nostalgia can be observed in East Germany, in Poland, in the former Soviet Union, in former Yugoslavia as well as in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania,[4][5][6] the Czech Republic and Slovakia. And what should the media do about it all? Join us on Thursday 17 December, 5pm UK time/12pm EST to hear Marcus Gilroy-Ware discuss his new book. Exhibiting Communism in Post-Communist Romania. Home / Twentieth Century Communism, Volume 11, Number 11 Assessing Communist Nostalgia in Romania: Chronological Framework and Opinion Polls Buy Article: $16.72 + tax (Refund Policy) Author: Marin, Manuela. Nearly half of all Romanians polled claim to have a positive view of Ceausescu, above. Basescu invoked 21 charges against the communists, including the destruction of Romania’s democracy and the persecution of entire groups of Romanians for the class struggle. It's good to know that if Bucharest In Your Pocket had been around… The recent poll results, showing a widespread positive image for Ceausescu, generated a discussion between Romanian historians regarding the reasons why a considerable part of Romania’s population perceives the former dictator and his regime in a positive light. The Good, the Bad, and the Ambiguous: Women and the Transition from Communism to Pluralism in Romania. Some of Romania’s most prominent interwar personalities died as martyrs for their beliefs, as communism deprived the country of a remarkable intellectual elite. Nostalgia for the Ceausescu era, which in the early 1990s was the preserve of pensioners and nationalists, has become the norm among working … Material culture by pitting grassroots heritage practices against officially sanctioned museum narratives in post-communist Romania not ordinary! 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