Some Histories Stay Secret, but not Entirely Silent: Dealing with the Communist Past in Central and Eastern Europe

by Roxana Radu,

Abstract: From 2004 onwards, a second wave of lustration proposals emerged throughout Central and Eastern Europe, at a time when EU accession already started. Among the post-communist states, Poland, already an EU member state, extended the purpose of its previous lustration law in 2006. The same year marked the heated debate over the drafting of a lustration law in Romania, where previous proposals on this issue were not validated by the Parliament. Sixteen years after the regime change in these countries, the assessment of the formal mechanisms to deal with the past permeated the public agenda in an attempt to answer the question of how much of the documented illegal activities committed during communism remained secret and purposefully uncovered.  In this article, I scrutinize the lustration processes and debates up to 2008 in two countries from the region. Based on that evidence, I argue that the salience of the transitional justice controversies during the second wave of lustration proposals plays a symbolic function, rather than pursuing a consistent policy endeavor.


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published in Vol 11 - No 2 - 2011//
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  • Alina Mungiu-Pippidi (chair) Hertie School of Governance
  • Larry Diamond Stanford University
  • Tom Gallagher University of Bradford
  • Alena Ledeneva University College London
  • Michael McFaul Stanford University
  • Philippe Schmitter Stanford University
  • Helen Wallace London School of Economics and Political Science

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  • Ingi Iusmen

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Societatea Academica Romana