Reinventing Politics: Eastern Europe from Stalin to Havel
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Gives an account of East European politics from the time of Soviet domination to the 1989-90 revolutions, and considers the effect of tyranny on East European culture and politics, the chances for successful and harmonious development in the region, and its relationship with the rest of Europe.
liberal interlude. In June 1971 he visited China and North Korea and was fascinated with the mobilization techniques of the personality cults surrounding Mao Zedong and Kim Il-Sung. During that trip he was accompanied by his wife Elena, whose influence on her husband and on Romanian political life was to grow in direct proportion to the deterioration of the social climate and the development of a uniquely extravagant cult of personality. In 1974 Elena became a full member of the Communist Party’s
when the Cold War had reached its peak, Milosz’s book analyzed the illusions and delusions of his colleagues who had espoused communism after the arrival of Soviet troops in Poland. According to Milosz, the role of ideology was to neutralize the faculty of doubt and to instill in the individual boundless love and gratitude toward the party. With its claim to omniscience, ideology offered ready-made answers to any unsettling issue and promoted the individual’s belief that there was no salvation
Society, provides a comparative approach to strategies and methods adopted by independent movements (Poland’s Solidarity, Czechoslovakia’s Charter 77, Hungary’s Democratic Opposition) and analyzes how those groups emerged in the repressive conditions of the post-Stalinist authoritarian regimes. Illuminating platforms and other political documents are discussed to identify the theoretical and moral options of the opposition forces. For instance, it would be impossible for a student of Eastern
dictatorship suspended rather than annulled ideological divisions. Liberals and conservatives, secular humanists and radical nationalists had to freeze their disagreements because they had a common enemy in the communist regime. That did not mean they had abandoned their creeds. But in 1985, when the system seemed more determined than ever to cling to its power, Michnik’s thesis sounded quite convincing: I think that in Poland the conflict between the right and the left belongs to the past. It
general deradicalization of the Marxist Utopian blueprint. In the initial stage, the thrust of Gorbachev’s criticism was the routinized corruption and lack of political imagination in the decision-making process. At the same time Gorbachev insisted on the role of the masses as a reservoir of political inventiveness and allowed the formation of thousands of informal organizations in the Soviet Union. The new leadership’s attempt to modernize was primarily inspired by Lenin’s late political and