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1. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13

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labour and global solidarity during the long 20th century

2. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Dalia Báthory

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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.
3. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Božica Slavković Mirić

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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.
4. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Daniel Filip-Afloarei

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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.
5. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Dalia Báthory

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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.

"conquer your future now!” youth and the continuous construction of communism

6. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Daniel Filip-Afloarei

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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.
7. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Adrian Popan

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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.
8. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Sofia Lopatina

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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.
9. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Cristian Vasile

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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).
10. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Lucica Nicoleta Păcurar

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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.
11. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Iulia Cindrea Nagy

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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.
12. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13
Ioana Ursu

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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.

13. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 12/13

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argument

14. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Dalia Báthory, Ștefan Bosomitu

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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.

i. political identities – from revolutionaries to party personnel

15. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Arturo Zoffmann Rodriguez

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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.
16. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Sandra Neugärtner

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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.
17. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Anna Tonelli

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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.
18. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Ştefan Bosomitu

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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.
19. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Cristian Vasile

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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.

ii. biographies beyond borders

20. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 11
Valeska Bopp-Filimonov

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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.