Jan Palach

Jan Palach was a student at Charles University in Prague that committed suicide in 1969 in protest against the invasion of the Soviet forces marking the end of the Prague Spring. His act of self-immolation was meant to remind the Czech people of their demoralisation, it was said a resistance group was set up for the purpose of acting out until these demands were met. Many different people some who spoke to Jan and knew him reflected upon their meetings with trying to explain why he did what he did. Many people spoke of his protest against demoralization of the Czech people and his hatred of the Soviet regime. These demands were abolition of censorship, the banning of Zprava (the official newspaper of the Soviet forces) also calling for the Czechoslovak people to strike in support of these demands.

The people of Czechoslovakia united in their sympathy for Palach and their realisation of what their government was doing to them.

“Last night, students in Vienna took to the streets to express their solidarity with Czechoslovak students. Equipped with dozens of banners, they organized a silent procession.”

Svobodné slovo daily, 25 January 1969

 

The world also sympathised with the Czech people, many newspapers reported of his suicide and even officials from around the world sent their condolences. Pope Paul VI paid tribute to Jan Palach’s memory in his message of 26 January 1969 when he stated: “We can uphold the values that put self-sacrifice above others to the supreme test, but we cannot approve the tragic form taken on behalf of their aims.”

Palach was buried at Olsany Cemetary, because of his politically charged suicide his gravesite became a national shrine. This scared the communist party as they did not want an anti-communist martyr, so the StB exhumed and cremated his remains sending them back to his mother. The urn with the remains was not returned until 1990.

Memorial

P1010732In 1989 people began airing their grievances in peaceful marches, these protests were named “Palach Week”, the police tried to quash these anti-communist demonstrations. Since they knew news of them might spread disobedience and revolt through the country, the Velvet Revolution occurred and less than a year later communism had fallen. In Tim Cresswell’s book Place an introduction, he states there can be “many manifestations of place” (2004:3), in Prague this can be related to Jan Palach’s (and Jan Zajic’s) memorial. After the revolution they were commemorated through a bronze cross embedded in Prague outside the National Museum, for the people this is a sign of hope and honour to their memory while for the communists it was a significant sign of the revolutions both Velvet and Prague Spring as well as the end of communism. Different spaces are made meaningful by different individuals making them places “a meaningful location” (Cresswell, 2004:7) because they become attached in a variety of ways.

When considering place it is also important to highlight that John Agnew (1987) defined place as having 3 components making it a meaningful location these are location, locale and sense of place. Cresswell also discusses the issue of gaining a sense of a place from filmic representations of the place, this relates to hyper reality. If you look into the previously linked BBC video of Jan Palach’s funeral which was broadcasted across the world, it is important to realise to the western world this was one of the few representations of war torn Czechoslovakia. This sense of place proved to be very different to what we came across when we travelled to the Czech Republic.

As well as this memorial, Jan Palach was also honoured through different places, streets and squares being named after him in Czechoslovakia, Luxembourg, France, Poland, Netherlands, Italy, Bulgaria, United Kingdom and even Mauritius.

References

Cresswell, T. (2004) Place: a short introduction. Blackwell Publishing Ltd:Oxford

Mwen Fikirini

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The Czechoslovak State Security (StB)

The Czech state security known as the StB Státní bezpečnost (Czech)/ Štátna bezpečnosť (Slovak) was active between 1945 and 1990. The sole aim of this force was to deal with any issues that could be considered anti-communist; this usually meant arresting, torturing and even executing any citizens that spoke up against or protested the communist regime.

The StB were used as an instrument by the communist party to show their power, they intimidated, spied and even forged false allegations and evidence against anti-communists. Their aim was to keep any talk against the party and therefore chance of uprising at a minimum. One of the many visible actions they took against the Czechoslovakian people was by trying to destroy or erase any signs of their revolutionary actions against the regime. One of these was the self-immolation and suicide of Jan Palach in 1973, the StB tried to destroy any memory of his action by trying to stop the demonstrations that occurred at his funeral as well as exhuming his body after burial and cremating it. An anonymous body replaced his at the grave site, reassuring the communist party that they had deprived the Czech and Slovak people of a martyr. It is not until October of 1990 when the cremated remains were returned to their rightful resting place. Actions such as this were seen as normal for the StB, as it was very important for them to keep the communist agenda.

The StB now

Though the StB was dismantled and dissolved in 1990, their headquarters still remains in Prague. It is currently being used as the police headquarters.Image

Some members of the public that we spoke with felt that this was not a coincidence as some members of the StB still held powerful positions in companies, businesses and even the police force. This is not meant to be the case, as with its dissolving in 1990 former members of the StB and associates were banned from specific and powerful roles such as that of a police office, government official etc.

Support for the opinion that this rule has not been adhered to exists in a lot of sources some of which can be seen at the bottom of this post, showing that perhaps the StB still has former members in powerful positions.

http://www.jrnyquist.com/bolshevik_inquisition_3.htm

http://www.prague-tribune.cz/2003/9/7.htm

                                                             Mwen Fikirini

Crimes of communism – Part 2

Dr. Michal Pullman also shared with us some of his opinions regarding the crimes of communism in Czechoslovakia.

“The very people that were sentenced or killed on the board are about 300… this number is not high and…

this is a problem of those politicians […] who want to keep the one-sided view of communism as a pure repression that did not allow their citizens to live good lives at all… the repression was quite deep especially at the end of the 40s and beginning of the 50s with short trials especially collectivisation. This was quite violent not only in Czechoslovakia; collectivisation was a nightmare for many people at the same time; this kind of violence was exerted in Czechoslovakia and it […]was different from the Soviet one and from other countries because many people and part of Society as I mentioned already expected somehow the very promise of Stalinist order and there were many volunteers who did this kind of violence by collectivising.

These believing communists, […] this continuity is quite typical for Czechoslovakia… the people who participated in the Stalinist project and were very active in exerting violence voluntarily, when they were seeing the disastrous consequences of their actions… they began to change their mind somehow.

Back to your question… it is strongly linked to what we were talking about at the very beginning, communism in Czechoslovakia especially in the Czech land, Slovakia is different, communism had as an idea, as an ideological goal that had to be realised…  had strong support of the Czech population (of course, not of the whole population) we have to reconstruct the attitude of various social groups… of course the peasants whom the fields were taken, these were not happy,  but other peasants who could have worked in the centralised agricultural etc would have been happy, but great part of the urban population supported the Stalinist model and afterwards some kind of reform, socialism etc.  Then 70s and 80s were completely different in this respect cause the political elite that represented the post 1968 regime knew that these attempts to activise society are disastrous precisely the new model of communism.  The Stalinist were proud to be violent. The issue of radical violence is completely away because the normalisers knew it is much better to hide the violence from the normal citizens, in prisons, schools, hospitals.  It was very successful model for Czechoslovakia even though the people rejected afterwards because the regime was not able to keep its own promise of non-violence of the quiet life, with the violence of the 2nd half of the 80’s.

So the issue of violence is extremely important in Czechoslovakia and an issue that is not opened completely because the very master narrative is built on what you have mentioned, by killing people, by imprisoning them in concentration or work camps and this is something that works for Czechoslovakia but works predominantly for the beginning of the 50s but does not work for Prague Spring and for the 2nd half of the 60s, 70s or 80s where the violence was deliberately minimised by the state, was exerted on the groups that were condemned or stigmatized within the society… I have in mind the forced sterilisation of the Romanian women which was very typical violence practice of the 70s but was highly approved because the people did not resist it and majority of people did not think it was abnormal.  The techniques of power in the 70s and 80s was much more clever and they knew that over exerting much can be counterproductive and this is a problem of the Czech and communists today cause they cannot find too much violence and it is impossible to find some kind of violence resistance in the Czech case.

The people who want to keep the totalitarian explanation of communism in Czechoslovakia have huge problems because of the fact that there were not as many victims as in the Soviet Union or Romania and these are the problems of the contemporary hardliners who try to keep the totalitarian model in explaining and who feel it as a kind of mission that they have to, and they go to schools explaining that communism was violent and that it brought only scarcity and violence to the people and they feel a great deal of loss of something moral if they would admit that the Czech society voted for the communism and that the majority of population accepted somehow the system and there were many parts of the Society who even profited from that and were happy even with the violence of the state… and this is something in my view that needs to be introduced in the Czech public realm and has to be profoundly discussed because I am not very content even though no one of us wants something coming back, on the other hand the attempt to keep the totalitarian explanation does not work when looking into the sources in the Czech, Slovak case does not work is a desperate attempt and its better to be open-minded and to talk about issues that can be unpleasant on first glance especially regarding the popular support of the communist Regime that had different roots in the 50’s and 70’s… but let’s say that these things are unpleasant for the people to remember… it is unpleasant to tell that the majority of population did not do anything in contrast to Hungarians, Romanians and Poles; there was huge resistance there at all times and this is a problem and from my view it would be much better to open some issues that do not fit into totalitarian views on one hand but can have important or would have important healing consequences for public discussion in the Czech case.”

 Marina Gogeanu

Crimes of communism

It’s estimated that throughout the world there have been more than a hundred million of victims of communism, so we’ve asked Dr. Oldrich Tuma about the crimes of communism and how they were dispersed.

“Historians already speak about the Olympiads of victims in different countries, trying to get their country not to have more victims than the other countries. […] hundred of millions of victims […] 95% are in Soviet Union or China, perhaps Cambodia  These countries participation was really very different from Eastern Europe.

Even in Czechoslovakia it’s hard to say (how many victims of the communist regime were)…. we know exactly something like 250 people got sentenced to get executed for political reasons… it’s not such a great number. Definitely in some cases there was a mixture of different details…sometimes criminality was involved and so on. 500 or 700 people were shot on borders but many were East Germans or Poles who tried to escape through Czechoslovakia. So that led to lots of incidents on the Czechoslovakian borders; they were definitely crimes of the Czechoslovakian communist regime but the victims weren’t always Czech or Slovaks. Perhaps a few 1000 people died in prisons especially in 50’s, there were tens of thousands of people in prison at the same time and the conditions were not nice especially in the uranium mines; and many people died there or after they were released from there because of the diseases they got.

So in terms of victims, people who lost lives… there will be hundreds or few thousands of people who had something to do with this very violent and repressive period of just five years or so from 49 to 54, something like that. In 51, 52 – people realised that if they’re going to provoke resistance, uprisings or demonstrations, they are bringing themselves to a danger of being sent to prison. So from mid 50’s for 35 years they used different methods compared to the other ones as you know as the existential pressure. […]

(I think) everyone was a victim (of the communist regime). Even the communists were victims of the regime; their life was deformed by it; they had to lie, they had to muddle through it. So I think that just for numbers of repressions…repressions based on imprisonment and executions, perhaps Czechoslovakia is not such an exception if compared Hungary or eastern Germany.”

Marina Gogeanu

Interview transcribed by: Mwen Fikirini

Media portrayal of N.Ceausescu (Romania)

As many other communist countries, Romania utilised media to spread the communist propaganda to the masses.  Ceausescu’s cult of personality and his control over the media, transformed the communist Romania into one of the strangest regimes Europe has ever seen. Newspapers had to mention his name 40 times on every page and all the factory workers had to spend months rehearsing dance routines for huge shows at which thousands of citizens were lined up to form the words “Nicolae Ceausescu” with their bodies.

In 1980s, when the Romanian economy and living standards dropped down, the line between theatre and life became completely blurred. Ceausescu went on working visits to the countryside where he inspected displays of meat and fruit made out of polystyrene as the Romanians didn’t have real food to put on view and without noticing the starving that was taking place all over Romania, he started building the largest palace in the world.

“King of Communism” offers an astonishing and frightening view of the absurd world of the Romanian dictator’s regime. It was released three years after 1989, when Romanians decided to walk past their leader and portrays Nicolae Ceausescu, his cult of personality and the extraordinary use of theatrical propaganda, all of them by using Ceausescu’s own archive of propaganda films.

Marina Gogeanu

The Decree and The New Man of Romania

Ceausescu had a big dream for Romania – to create a pure communist generation – to create “The New Man”.

Marinetti suggests in his Futurist Manifesto (1909) the need for the “New Man” – an aggressive, animalistic merging of machine and human body, in the future of the human society. For example, while he notes that “Woman does not belong to a man, but rather to the future and the race’s development,” he also points out that this “future” is one entirely devoid of “every emotional morbidity, every womanly delicacy” (M 86). So women are bound to animalistic feelings and impulses which Marinetti’s “new man” is capable of overcoming. In order to overcome humanity’s physical and emotional limitations and recreate humanity, Marinetti must first recreate creation: namely, women’s “animalistic” power to reproduce. In short, Marinetti’s conception of Futurism requires that he both stigmatize and vilify that female body to achieve his prescribed vision of the future.

Ceausescu understood very well the role of women in the development of Romania’s economical system and especially for the procreation of “The new man”, so he gave the 770 Decree which forbade women to do abortions. This documentary illustrates the demographic and the psychological disasters provoked to the almost 2 millions of people born because of the decree. It is a truly terrifying documentary about “the crimes of communism in Romania” and more specifically about all the women murdered by the clandestine abortions and all the “malfunctioning” children declined by the system and then exterminated. “The new man” ideology also led to a racial purification in Romania, as unlike Romanian women, the gipsy ones were allowed/obliged to do abortions.

The Decree was one of the largest social experiments in the human history.
The Romanian Government banned abortions in 1948 to legalize them in 1957, after the Soviet model, because of the effects on women’s health. Statistics had shown that diseases caused by illegal abortions or inadequate conditions for pregnant women led to the damage of the Romanian women’s health.
Between 1959-1965, only one out of five pregnant women gave birth whilst the others were provoking themselves abortions.
So, Ceausescu put the issue of abortion ban just a year after arriving in the management of PCR.
On the 1st October of 1966, Ceausescu gave the 770 decree, banning all women to interrupt pregnancies with few exceptions: if the pregnancy endangered the woman’s life, if one of the parent suffers from a communicable hereditary disease, if the mother presents serious disabilities, if the women were over 45 years and have already born four children or if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.
Women who worked were obliged to go to regular gynecological controls; the company doctors were obliged to do even 60 examinations a day;

Ceausescu also banned the sex education; books about human reproduction were classified as state secrets and used only as medical textbooks.
Contraceptive methods were not longer imported in Romania. The only women who have had access to them were just the wives of the party members, the athletes and the athletes’ wives.
This led to clandestine abortions which killed thousands of Romanian women.
According to data from the ‘Centre for Statistics and Medical Documentation’, there were 9452 women who died between 1966 and 1989 due to clandestine abortions.

But the decree has reached its goal, at least initially. In 1967, the number of births has almost doubled, from 14.3 per thousand in 1966 to 27.4.

The sociological effects of Decree 770 decreased gradually, and in 1983 reached the same figure as in the 1966 birth rate. At the same time, the number of maternal deaths due to abortion rose from 64 in 1966 to 192 in 1968.
The number of births increased but not proportionally with restrictions.

In 1989, the birth rate had risen to 16 per thousand inhabitants, but the mortality rate increased up to 170 maternal deaths recorded per hundred thousand births, which is ten times more than the highest rate ever recorded in Europe, according to a study.

The first government after the fall of the communist regime annulled the decree 770.  On December 26, 1989, Romanian women were free to do whatever they wanted with their pregnancy.

Unfortunately, the abortion liberalization triggered a demographic catastrophe: there were a million of abortions done in 1990 which led to a decrease in population, which can still be felt.

Marina Gogeanu

Perceptions of communism – Power, Spectacle, Memory

“The term ‘communism’ can refer to any system of social organization in which goods are held in common; However, the term is most commonly used in referring to a particular kind of communal organisation that claims to arise out of the movement begun by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the 19th century” (Cohen 1972:2).

Czechoslovakia, as well as Romania, have experienced communism and they both had dictators that were relying on spectacle in order to create and maintain their citizen’s compliance to their communist ideology.

The Czech government highly publicized the secret police and the purges, increasing the realization of the government and secret police’s influence and power through the masses. From 1949 to 1954 around 180 people were executed, as these people were believed/ portrayed to be anti-communist and therefore anti-government.

This was more severe in communist Romania led by Nicolae Ceausescu, leading to a state of people reporting each other’s anti-communist activities. The dictator Ceausescu also created a cult of personality by using mass media and various forms of propaganda to create a god/hero like image of him, making the people of Romania idolize him through weekly shows and parades dedicated to him, his wife, and the greatness of communism.

By 1988 public criticism increased and the first major demonstration occurred in Prague on 21 August 1988 in which around 10000 demonstrators mainly young people marched through the centre of Prague (Wheaton & Kavan 1992:24-25). The main revolution leading to the fall of communism was ignited by a student-led demonstration, which began on 17 November 1989. 4000 followers were expected to assemble on the day but by the afternoon 14000 people had gathered and in the end an estimated 55000 people had joined the demonstration (Wheaton & Kavan 1992:42-43).

The communism ending Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia saw protestors using specific elements in their protests that created the spectacle of a winning revolution that would gain support and also be taken seriously by the government. Symbolic acts such as the famous photo portraying protestors presenting the heavily armed police force with flowers, as well as the jingling of keys to wave off the communists furthered the significance and therefore meaning of the revolution. The Romanian revolution (16th of December to the 22nd of December), was on the other hand far bloodier and with many more casualties, ending with the most significant spectacle of all. The broadcasted show trial and Christmas day execution of the president Nicolae Ceausescu and of his wife Elena.

The terrifying news came right after the revolution when people started finding out about the crimes that were done during communism to the people who opposed the regime.

Exile prisons such as the one in Pitesti (Romania), were created to re-educate their political prisoners using violent and degrading methods known today as “the Pitesti Phenomenon”. As Guy Debord wrote “Whoever becomes the ruler of a city that is accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it can expect to be destroyed by it, for it can always find a pretext for rebellion in the name of its former freedom” (2009:113). This was also true in Communist Romania and Czech Republic; by 1989 successful revolts occurred to gain back freedom creating an obvious and significant shift of power from the communist governments to the people.

Alongside many other European cities that came across the communist regime (Moscow, Bucharest, Warsaw), Prague experienced besides communism, the communist architecture, which has been, described either as grandiose (Stalinist architecture), either as massive and grey.

The 1950s architecture and generally the Socialist-Realist style consists mainly in consciously imitating Stalin’s tastes.

One of the very few examples of Socialist Realist architecture in Prague is the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  The architectural style of the building was inspired by a series of constructions in Russia, and it fulfilled Stalin’s fantasy by becoming a miniature copy of the Seven Sisters group of skyscrapers from Moscow.

The 254-room hotel is 88 meters high and it has 16 floors along with a fallout shelter, which can get together 600+ people.  Its original Socialist Realist architecture and character is imposing, as well as the green star on the top of the hotel which was once a red one (symbol of being a communist building).

Another symbol of the power and authority in Prague is Kotva department store, one of the most famous and controversial communist buildings of the Czech Republic.  Finished in 1975, the building instigates through its 6 units, the supremacy and the uniqueness of the communist retro design.

Looking into Bucharest’s architecture, one could easily observe that it represents one of the most evident proofs of the obsession to express supremacy and to exercise control of Nicolae Ceausescu, the dictator who came to power in 1965He started by posing as chief architect of “New Romania”, but his decisions had a brutal, yet intense attack on Romania’s architecture and history, reforming Bucharest into one of the most affected communist cities in post Second World War Europe. The Romanian communist era, distorted Bucharest from the Small Paris of the Balkans to a copy of the USSR’s architectural style.

The House of the Parliament (as it is known nowadays) is one of the still living memories of a traumatic past of tyranny. Its surface (330 000 square meters) catalogues it as being the biggest administrative construction in Europe and the second in the world, after the U.S. Pentagon. The Guinness Book ranks its volume as the third in the world. The Palace’s scale, design and surroundings were the ultimate manifestation of Ceausescu’s dream which calculated this in order to express his power. In order for this construction to take place, the dictator decided entire neighborhoods to be demolished with a surface later compared with the size of Venice. Valuable historic constructions and churches were destroyed, alongside with 40 000 people that were forced to move.

Architecture finds justification here in politics not in art as even the layout with straight roads is the permanent symbol of order, control, and power.

People were not even allowed to walk on the streets outside the gates of the Palace, so there was only a large empty boulevard which was haunting the city, making them understand that any rebellion form would be pointless against the power of a totalitarian state.

In spite of what the media might convey today among the Czech general public, there is an atmosphere of profound disillusionment with the current political situation. According to an opinion poll conducted by the STEM polling agency in November, 2009, a mere 11 per cent of Czech citizens believe that the twenty years since the fall of communism ‘have been a good time’ and 57 per cent believe that it has ‘not been the happiest period in Czech history’.

People commented that they had not had a negative experience during the communist regime’s rule except for the travel restrictions; unlike today where they are free to do so but lack the money to do so. These surprising results might be due to a sentimentality resulting from the distortion of memories.

Based on the memory of those people who suffered during the communist era, Glenn Spicker (an American businessman), decided to build a museum in Prague, called the “Museum of communism” and everything was re-created in order to give the visitors the feeling of traveling back through time.  The museum is divided into three different sections – “Communism – The Dream, The Reality and The Nightmare”.

The first section (“The dream of communism”) – includes how the idealist people felt during the early days and it consists of propaganda material and classroom with communist school books.

The second section, called “The reality” has the role of conveying the harsh reality of communism consisting of empty shop shelves to an interrogation room.

The third and the last section of the museum (”The Nightmare”) emphasises on the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

It is evident from the communist era archives that in order for the communist leaders to maintain power they had to instil terror and fear through violence and that even though one of the aims was to bring about equality overall the majority of the population remained poor with barely enough to eat whilst those in power continued to accumulate vast amount of wealth.  However despite these memories, the general consensus is that life was far much better under that regime as there were more job opportunities and equality compared to life after communism.

REFERENCES

Cohen, C.  (1972) Communism, Fascism And Democracy.  Random House Inc.: New York. Toronto

Debord, G.  (2009) Society Of The Spectacle.     Soul Bay Press Ltd: East Sussex

Wheaton, B. & Kavan, Z. (1992) The Velvet revolution Czechoslovakia, 1988-1991.         Westview Press: Boulder. San Francisco. Oxford

Power and architecture – Romania

Looking into Bucharest’s architecture, one could easily observe that it represents one of the most evident proofs of the obsession to express supremacy and to exercise control of Nicolae Ceausescu, the dictator who came to power in 1965He started by posing as chief architect of “New Romania”, but his decisions had a brutal, yet intense attack on Romania’s architecture and history, reforming Bucharest into one of the most affected communist cities in post Second World War Europe. The Romanian communist era, distorted Bucharest from the Small Paris of the Balkans to a copy of the URSS’ architectural style. Its architecture went from the before Second World War cosmopolitan soft Classical style to the imposing Socialist Realist one.

bucharest, little parisBucharest, little Paris

The House of the Parliament (as it is known nowadays) is one of the still living memories of a traumatic past of tyranny. The Palace is the very picture of a cruel regime which mutilated a nation and managed to erase the beauty and soul of the city.  Its surface (330 000 square meters) catalogues it as being the biggest administrative construction in Europe and the second in the world, after the U.S. Pentagon. The Guinness Book ranks its volume as the third in the world. The Palace’s scale, design and surroundings were the ultimate manifestation of Ceausescu’s dream which calculated this in order to express his power.

Bucharest-Parliament-PalaceThe Palace

In order for this construction to take place, entire neighbourhoods were demolished with a surface later compared with the size of Venice. Valuable historic constructions and churches were destroyed, alongside 40 000 people that were forced to move (vision of apocalypse). They  were forced to leave everything behind because of the “systematisation”and move in clusters of badly built concrete towers and apartment blocks in proletarian areas of the city.

The Boulevard of Victory was cut through the centre of the city to provide Ceausescu with a suitably path to his building. At one end of the Boulevard is the Circus constructed entirely of simple boring concrete portions, while at the other is the governing Palace; in one side is the dirty reality of the people, while on the other side is the luxurious taste of a Tiran. Architecture finds justification here in politics not in art as even the layout with straight roads is the permanent symbol of order, control, and power.

palace-of-parliamentBucharest, Romania

People were not even allowed to walk on the streets outside the gates of the Palace, so there was only a large empty boulevard which was haunting the city, making them understand that any rebellion form would be pointless against the power of a totalitarian state.

The “fortress” did not become more useful after the revolution, even though car traffic was permitted. Most of the stores located nearby bankrupted as people continued to prefer the other boulevards for evening walks because these streets simply did not go anywhere.

Looming Palace of the PeopleBucharest

Part 2: https://communistism.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/the-parliament-palace-of-romania/

Marina Gogeanu

A ‘real world’ study

This blog was created in order to gather, analyse  and track data while investigating the shifting and diverse cultural perceptions of communism and the communist regime as a socio-economic system.

The developers of the “Perceptions of communism” project are:

  • Marina Gogeanu
  • Eduard Vasile
  • Mwen Fikirini
  • Lesoda Otu-Iso
  • Foong Lin Liew
  • Rose Muzvondiwa

The study will consist in a field trip to Prague (Czech republic) because of its historical depiction and because of the communist regime, during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.  It will focus on finding out how the concept of communism is reconstructed today in people’s memory, predominantly of those raised under the communist system, but it will also analyse the spectacle created by the communist regime (the political figures, the revolution) and the power those dictators had (the communist architecture, the crimes committed during communism).

The project will also try to find out how the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe portrayed communism in their history; how the communism is represented through films, through television shows, literature, or in the press coverage.

We hope that you will find this topic interesting and that you will be  following us, telling us your opinions regarding all the concerns that the research will cover.

Besides the blog, you can also follow us on:

– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheAshesOfCommunism

– Twitter: https://twitter.com/theashesofcommu