Stalinism Revisited: The Establishment of Communist Regimes in East-Central Europe

By Vladimir Tismaneanu | Go to book overview

VLADIMIR TISMANEANU


Diabolical Pedagogy and the (Il) logic of
Stalinism in Eastern Europe

“I am too busy defending innocents claiming their innocence
to waste my time with guilty individuals claiming their guilt.”
(Paul Eluard refusing to sign a petition against the hanging
of Czech surrealist poet Zavis Kalandra)

“Lucreţiu Pâtrâşcanu died as a soldier serving his political
ideals which he pursued through darkness, underground,
and palaces, tenaciously, fiercely and fanatically.”
(Petre Pandrea)

In order to understand the dynamics of the Stalinist experiment in Eastern Europe, one needs to take into account the prevailing role of direct Soviet intervention and intimidation.1 Local communist formations were pursuing the Stalinist model of systematic destruction of non-communist parties, the disintegration of civil society, and the monopolistic occupation of the public space through state-controlled ideological rituals and coercive institutions.2 The overall goal was to build a passive consensus based on unlimited commitment to the ideocratic political program of the ruling elite. The true content of the political regime is described by the “cult of personality” system. The personalization of political power, its concentration in the hands of a demigod,

1 For one of the most illuminating and still valid interpretations of the dynam-
ics of the Soviet bloc, see Zbigniew Brzeziński, The Soviet Bloc: Unity and
Conflict
, revised and enlarged edition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Press, 1967).

2 For a detailed discussion, see Vladimir Tismaneanu, The Crisis of Marxist Ide-
ology in Eastern Europe: The Poverty of Utopia
(London/New York: Routledge,
1988).

-25-

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