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Romania Confronts its Communist Past
Democracy, Memory, and Moral Justice


  • Date Published: June 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107025929

£ 75.00

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About the Authors
  • Reckoning with mass crimes perpetrated by an ideologically driven regime entails engaging in a thorough-going exploration of its utopian foundations. In the case of Romania, such an analysis requires an interpretation of the role of personality in the construction of a uniquely grotesque and unrepentant form of neo-Stalinist despotism. Of all the revolutions of 1989, the only violent one took place in Romania. Confronting its communist past therefore involves addressing the abuses committed by the communist regime up to its very last day, its failure to engage in Round Table-type agreements with democratic representatives, and the repression during the first post-communist years, a direct legacy of the old regime. This book shows how moral justice can contribute to a restoration of truth and a climate of trust in politics, in the absence of which any democratic polity remains exposed to authoritarian attack.

    • Highlights the challenges of addressing a nation's traumatic past through a revealing case study and comparative perspective
    • Offers unique insight into the political psychology of post-communist states
    • Co-authored by Vladimir Tismaneanu, the Chair of the Presidential Commission for the Analysis of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania, whose Final Report was the basis for President Băsescu's condemnation of the communist dictatorship as illegitimate and criminal
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Tismaneanu and Stan's Romania Confronts its Communist Past furnishes a signal contribution to our understanding of post-despotic justice and healing. Drawing on a profound understanding of the history and psychology of totalitarianism as well as a matchless grasp of the Romanian case, Tismaneanu and Stan shed light on why sound constitutions and decent economic performance are insufficient to consolidate robust democracy in societies previously rent by abusive rulers. Appearing at time when observers mull a post-truth and post-trust politics and when substantial portions of Western publics appear to be unlearning the lessons of twentieth-century nightmares, Romania Confronts its Communist Past reminds us that democracy's endurance rests on moral commitment and dedication to truth-telling no less than on workable institutions and technically competent officials.' Steven Fish, University of California, Berkeley

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107025929
    • length: 212 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Judging the past in post-traumatic societies: Romania in comparative perspective
    2. Romania before 2006
    3. Coming to terms with the past in Romania: the presidential commission
    4. Reactions to the condemnation and political re-arrangements after 2007
    5. The report's aftermath: interpretations, polemics, and policies
    6. Romania and the European framework of dealing with the communist past.

  • Authors

    Vladimir Tismaneanu, University of Maryland, College Park
    Vladimir Tismaneanu is professor of politics at the University of Maryland, College Park and the author of numerous books and articles on the revolutions of 1989, the history of world communism, and political ideologies. In 2006, he chaired the Presidential Commission for the Analysis of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania. Between 1998 and 2004, he was the editor of the journal East European Politics and Societies.

    Marius Stan
    Marius Stan holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Bucharest, served as the editor of the international journal History of Communism in Europe, and headed a department at the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile. He is the author of books published in Romania and Poland, and of numerous articles in international scholarly journals. His research and teaching interests include twentieth-century European communism and fascism, revolutionary political ideologies and movements, nationalism, transitional justice, and the main intellectual debates during the Cold War.

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