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

By Vladimir Tismaneanu | Go to book overview

BOGDAN CRISTIAN IACOB


Avatars of the Romanian Academy and
the Historical Front: 1948 versus 1955l

The starting point of the institutionalization and centralization of history production in Romania under communism is the year 1948. At the time, the Academy turned into an enormous institution with several sectors/sections covering all the recognized sciences, history included. This initial stage was part and parcel of the so-called “Sovietization” of Romania (also known in the literature as “High Stalinism”). The Academy was to become the pinnacle of a pyramidal system, an omnipotent institution which aimed to “bring science closer to life” (nauka ν zhizrC). However, a second look at this institution's development throughout the communist period reveals a much more complicated picture. Several stages of re-organization generated alternative functionalities and roles for the Academy (implicitly, for its institutes of history-production as well). The Academy was one of the crucial arenas for the ups-and-downs of the continuity-change process under communism. It was among the first spaces for an upswing towards a “national turn.”2 Moreover, it was the hub of historical syntheses and of historians' aggregation.

1 This paper was originally presented at the conference “Stalinism Revisited:
The Establishment of Communist Regimes in Central and Eastern Europe
and the Dynamics of the Soviet Bloc” (Washington, D.C., 29-30 Novem-
ber, 2007) under the title “Fighting for the Intellectual Sphere: Control, Ma-
nipulation and Cooption in the Restructuring of the Romanian Academy.”
I changed the title in order to express the particularization of some of the
general remarks made during my presentation.

2 By “national turn” I understand the process of gradual appropriation of the
Nation as a master symbol by the regime. In my opinion, it started in the early
1960s and it completed in 1974. This phenomenon affected all sectors of the
party-state and each and every walk of life.

-255-

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