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

By Vladimir Tismaneanu | Go to book overview

DRAGOŞ PETRESCU


Community-Building and Identity
Politics in Gheorghiu-Dej's România,
1956-64

Numerous scholars have been concerned with Nicolae Ceauşescu's flamboyant display of chauvinistic nationalism. Indeed, under the reign of Ceauşescu (1965-89), the Românian Communist Party (RCP) adopted coherent strategies explicitly aimed at reinforcing the ethnic ties among the Românian majority and assimilating the historic ethnic minorities.1 This project was heralded by the launch of the socalled “Theses of July 1971” and was followed by concrete measures for building an ethnically homogeneous “socialist nation” in România. Nonetheless, it was Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Ceauşescu's predecessor, who initiated, after 1956, a return to the local traditions and thus to an ethnic understanding of the nation.

However, the context in which this nationalistic turn occurred under the rule of Gheorghiu-Dej is less discussed. We now know that the Stalinist power elite in Bucharest was appalled by Nikita Khrushchev's condemnation of the crimes perpetrated by Stalin against Party members. It goes without saying that Românian Stalinists were not scandalized by the evidence provided by Khrushchev to support his statements: after all, the communist elite in Bucharest did exactly the

1 Over the period 1948–65, the official name of the communist party in Ro-
mania was Partidul Muncitoresc Român—PMR (Romanian Workers Party—
RWP); from 1965 to 1989 the official name was Partidul Comunist Român—
PCR
(Romanian Communist Party—RCP). throughout this study, the two
terms are used in accordance with the period discussed and are not inter-
changeable. the abbreviation RWP/RCP has been used when patterns of
continuity between the two periods, i.e., 1948–65 and 1965–89 needed to be
stressed. RCP is also used for the period spanning from its establishment in
1921 to 1948.

-401-

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