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Central and eastern Europe Shallowness of democratic attempts in CEE Prerequisite to communist rule in CEE region: Turn to authoritarian institutions.

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Presentation on theme: "Central and eastern Europe Shallowness of democratic attempts in CEE Prerequisite to communist rule in CEE region: Turn to authoritarian institutions."— Presentation transcript:



3 Central and eastern Europe

4 Shallowness of democratic attempts in CEE Prerequisite to communist rule in CEE region: Turn to authoritarian institutions prior to WWII (with exception of Czechoslovakia), Radicalization during nazi occupation (“civil war” between domestic fascist and antifascist movements), soviet occupation in 1945 (with exception of Yugoslavia and Albania).

5 Members of communist party 1939-41194519471950 Albania--45.000- Bulgaria8.000250.000495.000460.000 Romania500101.810710.000720.000 Hungary500227.000660.000829.000 Yugoslavia12.000-141.000530.812 Poland8.000189.000849.0001.360.000 Czechoslovakia60.000500.0001.300.0002.300.000

6 “Popular democracy” 1945-1948: postwar left-wing coalition goverments between: communists, social-democrats, small farmers representatives. Common goals: post-war reconstruction, nationalization of “enemy” (german national minority, nazi collaborationists) property.

7 End of pluralism Internal divergences: models of industrialization (priority to heavy industry against more balanced programs), modernization of agriculture. External motives: cold war pressure (as the terms for obtaining US material support according to Marshall plan in 1947), the Soviet Union historical pattern

8 One-party government Only since 1947-8, after communists experienced electoral failures. (with exception of Yugoslavia and Albania where anti-german guerilla communists troops monopolized power since 1945) Socalled Leninist theory: the communist party' claim for the guiding role in society in order to fulfill its hystorical mission of building communism.

9 Seizure of power by Communist party Control of police forces, Ministries of the Interior and Defence during 1945- 1948 coalition governments. Apparent revolutions: the leadership of the communist party conducts mass protests to delegitimate parliamentary democracy: Romania February 1945, Czechoslovakia February 1948)

10 Repression of dissense Undermining of non communist parties on inside (creating divisions, claims of conspiracies against other parties); Absorbing of social-democratic parties; Taking control of social organizations (trade unions, workers' councils...); Trials against single party leaders.

11 Political trials The use of penal system against political antagonists since the seizure of power: The creation of the “enemies of the people” judged by “people's courts”: “traitors of the homeland”, “counterrevolutionary saboteurs”, “fascist collaborators”, “western spies”.

12 The “purges” 3 phases: 1.1945-1946 post-war trials against nazi collaborators; 2.1947-1949 trials against former social- democrats who entered the communist party and against communist leaders suspected of non-conformity to Soviet Union (nationalism, titoism); 3.1952-1954 trials against jewish communist suspected of connections with the state of Izrael (zionism).

13 Double institutional structure Ministerial bureacracy National Assembly Local Assemblies Local party units National party congress Party secretariat

14 Hypothesis about continuity interpretative theory focusing on the traditional aspects of the socialist system: it suggests that the principal aim of the socialist government was to put the society and the economy under political control and thus using the same solutions as the authoritarian nationalist governments durnig the 1930' and the Nazis during WWII.

15 Andrew Janos, East Central Europe in the Modern World: The Politics of the Borderlands from Pre- to Postcommunism, Stanford University Press, 2002: the more things change the more they are the same: in spite of endemic political change—from Western liberalism to corrupted parliamentarism, from fascism to state socialism, and now to a fledgling new liberalism under Western auspices—all these political systems did not change the region’s economic backwardness vis-à-vis the West, the debilities of small nationhood, and the cultural divide between the lands of eastern and western Christianity.

16 Hypothesis about change Ben Fowkes, Eastern Europe, 1945-1969: from Stalinism to stagnation, Longman, 2000, explores the communists attempt to transpose a uniform economic and social system across the region copied from the Soviet model, describing the special conditions they have faced in catching up with the West both in terms of material prosperity and in cultural and social traditions.

17 Constructing Socialism Classical pattern (following the historical example of the first Soviet Union' 5-years- plan): Primacy of public property; Heavy industry (steel, coal mines, electrification, machinery); The regulation of the production is carried out by the planning ministry, instead of the market; Forming of collective farms. Full employment.

18 Nationalization of the economy Since 1948: process of taking the industry asset under state control (as a state- or social property), in order to develop a centrally-planned economy. The economical goals are determined by the government, not by private investors.

19 Level of industrialization Industrialized states Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic Partially industrialized states Hungary, Poland Non-industrialized states Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania

20 The “take off” phase 1945 - 1970: all countries, except Albania, developed an industrialized economy (on average, 50% of the GDP was coming from industry, 30% from the tertiary and 20% from agriculture) due to energy and raw materials supplied by the Soviet Union at ultra low costs. Collectivization of the land allows the mechanization of agriculture and the use of fertilizers up to 62% of western european level.

21 Heavy industry Bulgaria Czecho slovakia RomaniaPolandHungary East Germany Yugosla via 195043,4%71,2%49,6%45%55,4%53,1%25,1% 197057,8%73,5%70,9%67,3%55,6%69,1%44,3%

22 “Dictatorship of proletariat” 1)Integrating the industrial working class into the ruling system by: 2)labour and wage policies (Yugoslavian example: Boris Kidric political economy of limitless welfare spending); 2)Improving material rewards (successfully in Czechoslovakia and Hungary, less well in Poland, causing political crises); 3)Social and career advancing: from blue to white collar.

23 Inversion of social roles Hungary (as example): between 1948 and 1954 the number of state administrators and factory managers grew by 80%, giving white collar jobs to 227.000 former blue collars. Meanwhile, 350.000–400.000 members of former bourgeois families had to turn to a social status of factory workers (labor as punishment).

24 New class Milovan Gilas, 1957: the bureaucracy is the new ruling class because they differ from the rest of society for power and privilege. Nomenklatura: list of top official workplaces that could be occupied only with the approval of the vertices of the Communist Party – highest class in socialist societies.

25 Inverted discrimination Growth in the percentage of university students with working class background (also because of maximum quotas provided for students coming from bourgeois families): In Poland, from 7% in 1946 to 38% in 1951; In Czechoslovakia, from 18% in 1946 to 41,5% in 1959. In East Germany, 58% in 1959.

26 Social elite in 1960's 1.Former workers and peasants – 70% of factory directors in Poland, 60% in Hungary. 2.Former upper class – 60% of the cultural elite in Poland. 3.Gender difference in top official workplaces: 95% male vs. 5% female (with female working population growing from 54% in 1950 to 85% in 1970).

27 City/country Mass transfer of population planned by governments into city industry as unskilled labor: Towns are planned and rural-urban migration is strictly controlled. The physical extent of the cities was controlled by greenbelt to prevent urban sprawl. New cities are built near to industry to develop new resources. Workers were housed in flats with all the basic services they needed.

28 Rural population ALBANIABULGARIAROMANIA YUGOSLA VIA POLAND CZECHO SLOVAKIA HUNGARY EAST GERMANY 1930 88%79%80%78%73%52%64%29% 1960 -62%68%66%52%43%58%28% 1970 66,5%47%59,1%59,8%47,7%37,7%51,1%26,2%

29 Social infrastructures The government wants to control:  Size & layout of cities,  Availability of flats,  Public transport,  Communcations,  Health,  Education

30 Illiterates before communist rule East Germany CzechoslovakiaHungaryPolandYugoslaviaBulgaria Romani a Albania 1,5%3%7%18,5 % 39%29%42%60%

31 Progress in education Average percentage of illiterate people in 1950 in: Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary: 5,9%; Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania: 25%. Number of university students in 1970: 10-15%, lowest in Hungary: 6,8%, highest in Yugoslavia: 14,6%.

32 Narrowing the gap with the West (GDP) 19481965 United Kingdom100 RDT4374 Czechoslovakia4974 Poland3551 Hungary2453 Romania1936 Yugoslavia1836 Bulgaria1645

33 Economic progress GDP in constant growth until the 80's stagnation (but some signs of slower growth already in the 70s). Improvements in the standard of living, housing and health of most of the population. Leveling of differences between more and less developed regions (example: the relative income of Slovakia amounted to 60% of the Czech part in 1948, and 87% in 1988).

34 Political turning points 1) 1948: suppression of workers' councils and the end of the independence of socialist parties; 2) 1956: repression of the Hungarian revolution and of its “third way” to socialism; 3) 1968: military intervention against the Czechoslovak experiment of “socialism with a human face” and the exhaustion of economic reforms (except in Hungary and Yugoslavia)

35 1980' economic crisis Due to governmental control of the economy, wages and consumption possibilities depend on the political rather than economical success. Thus, planned economies are unable to: stimulate greater work commitment; allocate capital efficiently; stimulate innovation.

36 Causes and consequences Decrease in growth and productivity rate, rising energy costs (1973-4 and 1979 oil crisis) and – most of all – foreign debt Leading to drastic reduction in the level of investment and progressive reduction in real consumption and in living standard.

37 Need for economic reforms Governments who perceived the need to open to market economy due to arrest of GDP growth since 1970': East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary; Governments who were still enjoying a period of industrial take-off and had not perceived the crisis until 1980': Bulgaria, Romania, Albania.

38 Actual openings to market Experiments regarding (mainly) the liberalization of corporate profits and openings to small private economy: Hungary: continued throughout 1970' and 1980', leading to the birth of a class of small entrepreneurs; Yugoslavia: hit by major debt crisis during 1980' despite being opened to market economy since 1965; Poland: successive waves of political and economic crises (Solidarnosc) disrupt the reforms.

39 Political reforms Governments tending to be more tolerant towards political dissent in: Poland, Hungary and Yugoslavia. Governments investing in political repression: East Germany, Czechoslovakia. Governments without major opposition coming from civil society: Bulgaria, Romania, Albania.

40 Loss of legitimacy Political discredit of communist elites due to the parties' centralization of power (and of responsibilities) – turns into an ideological crisis – inability of the ruling party to fulfill its “historical mission” to lead the people toward a “better future”. Symbolic significance of the 1986 Chernobyl ecological disaster

41 Gorbačev effect As a convinced communist and defender of the dogma of “the leading role of the communist party”, promotes uncompromising reforms in order to regain legitimacy for the party by: 1) promoting popular participation (thus filling the gap between state and society); 2) incrementing living standard by reforming the economic system.

42 Changes in Soviet Union Set of reforms implemented since 1987: 1) glasnost (transparency), major possibility to express political dissent and to obtain informations; 2) perestrojka (reconstruction), experimenting with secret and multi- candidate electoral competition for a minor number of state and party assemblies

43 Gorbačevs' Impact on CEE - December 1986, poses the right of each country to find its own “way” to socialism; - June 1988, affirms that soviet control over CEE is violating the principle of communist internationalism (abandoning the principle of interventionism used against Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968); - 1989/90, gradual retreat of the Red Army from CEE.

44 Domino effect Negotiated transition to pluralist democracy by successive concessions Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania Government breakdown due to peaceful mass demonstration German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia Government breakdown due to armed insurgency Romania State breakdown due to armed insurgency Yugoslavia

45 1) Poland Weakest government of the bloc, the only facing institutionalized opposition groups: - Solidarnosc trade union; - Catholic church (lead by a polish pope - Wojtila) Major political crisis (martial law imposed in 1981 by general Jaruzelski) and economic collapse.

46 Round table talks Poland 1988: Growing number of strikes due to lowering of real wages ( -20% since 1980), decrease of GDP ( -13% since 1978), growing foreign debt (39 billion $). Workers' increasing demands turning from economical (major wages compensating inflation) to political (legalizing Solidarnosc, freedom for political prisoners).

47 First free elections Round table talks between Jaruzelski government and Solidarnosc: free elections for 35% of parliament seats and the whole of the senat. Complete electoral victory on June 1989 – all free seats for opposition candidates, leading to the first coalition government with a majority of Solidarnosc ministers.

48 2) Hungary Compromising policy favored during 1960' by post 1956 repression communist leader Jànos Kàdàr, in order to consolidate the regime. During 1980' cooperation between small oppositional groups (pacifism, ecology) and the communist party reformist wing: - multi-candidates (communists vs. independents) elections since 1985;

49 Economic liberalizations Birth of a new class of entrepreneurs due to: - major liberalizations for private farmers and small enterprise since 1980, - continuous eliminations of limits imposed to free market, - tolerance toward black market economy

50 End of one-party government - 1987: defecting communists and opposition groups form the Hungarian Democratic Forum – an “umbrella” organization with Christian Democratic and nationalistic tendencies. - 1988: in February reform wing communists take control of the party; in September they arrange with the HDF free elections and in October the party dissolves and turns into a Social Democratic Party.

51 3) East Germany Despite severe censorship, the citizens have access to information from west- german television showing: - much better living standard in the West; - Gorbačevs' reforms in Soviet Union, hidden to east-german citizens by the Erich Honeckers' government.

52 Cold war propaganda Penetration of West German TV reception in East Germany. Areas with no reception (black) were jokingly referred to as "Valley of the Clueless".

53 GDR ecological disaster Due to use of brown coal, GDR had the highest emissions of sulfur dioxide and the highest dust exposure of all European states, causing air pollution mortality in men (from bronchitis, emphysema and asthma) more than twice the European average. Only 1% of all lakes and 3% of rivers were considered in 1989 as intact. 52% of all forest areas were considered damaged. More than 40% of the waste was not disposed of properly. For hazardous waste, there were no high-temperature incinerators.

54 Political ecology On the grounds that the environmental data were used by the class enemy to discredit Socialism, since 1970 the pollution data were classified as "Confidential" and from the early 1980s as "Secret" and thus withheld from the public. Criticism of the environmental policy was suppressed by secret police. In the late 80s there were about 60 environmental groups merging in autumn 1989 the Green party.


56 Berlin wall - Built on 13th August 1961; Walter Ulbrichts' government claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection from east to west Berlin.

57 1961 - 1989 Around 5,000 people successfully defected to West Berlin. 136 to 245 people were killed in attempts to overcome the 167.8 km long and heavily guarded border posts.

58 New Forum - founded in September 1989 as an umbrella organization of ecological and religious (protestant Church) movements; - intended to promote round table talks, but Erich Honeckers' government refuses compromises; - in response, since October New Forum organizes mass protests in major cities.

59 Gunter Schabowski, Minister of Propoganda, read out a note at a press conference announcing that the border would be opened for "Private trips abroad”. Thousands immediately gathered by the checkpoints, demanding passage. Due to confusion in official line, the border guards were forced to let them pass. November 9th, 1989

60 4) Czechoslovakia - December 1987, substitution of the old hard-wing communist leadership (in power since 1968 repression) by the young reformers; - August 1988, mass protest in Prague to commemorate 1968' Prague spring. - Several protests ending with November 17 1989 protest repressed brutally by police.

61 “Velvet Revolution” - November 1989, Vaclav Havel gives birth to Civic Forum, as response to police repression; - November 1989, National Assembly abolishes art. 4 of the constitution, about “the guiding role of the communist party”; - December 1989, new coalition government: 8 communist and 12 civic forum ministers.

62 Dissidents and reformers - December 29 1989, National Assembly elects unanimously former dissident Vaclav Havel as the new President of the Republic. - Alexander Dubcek (reformer communist leader of 1968' Prague spring) is elected as chairman of the Assembly.

63 5) Bulgaria 1989, various mass protests: - Turkish ethnic minority, - ecological group Ekoglasnost, - independent trade union, - religious groups (Christian Orthodox Church). November 10, 1989 – reformist communist leader Petar Mladenov takes power by a “Palace Revolution”.

64 Free elections - January 1990, Mladenov transforms the communist into socialist party and promises multi-party democracy and “market economy and social care”. - November 1990, trade union pressure imposes a coalition government - October 1991, free elections and former communists definitive retreat from power.

65 6) Romania - During 1980' Nicolae Ceausescu Stalinist-type government turns to “sultanistic” degenerations. - Indifferent to Perestrojka due to overall secret police repression (Securitate) and to foreign policy independent from Gorabačevs' Soviet Union.

66 Army insurgence - December 17, 1989 Securitate units intervene against Hungarian ethnic minority protesters, killing 17 people. - December 21, 1989 an organized state celebration in Bucarest is interrupted by protests, following armed combats between Securitate on one side and citizens and defecting army troops on other side.

67 Pseudo-revolution? - Leader of the National Salvation Front (on power since December 22 1989) is Ion Iliescu, a former Ceausescus' collaborator removed from power; - December 25 1989, Ceausescu and his wife are shot without trial; - NSF serves to keep in power the old communist elite, now using nationalistic demagogy.

68 7) Albania - international isolation secures the government against the wave of Perestrojka until - December 1990 – mass protests due to profound poverty forces Ramiz Alija government to legalize the opposition parties. - March 1992 – electoral victory of the Democratic party and first change of government.


70 8) Yugoslavia From 1960 to 1980, annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged 6.1%, medical care was free, literacy was 91%. The oil crisis and Western trade barriers forces Yugoslavia to take International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans, amounting by 1981 to 20 billion $. As a condition the IMF demanded the "market liberalization" of Yugoslavia.

71 Internal differences General "unproductiveness of the South" and a decade of IMF imposed frugality, resulted in growing frustration in rich Slovenia and Croatia public opinion against: - the “ruling class”, seen as “serbian”; - poor southern republics seen as “economic black holes”.

72 Federal crisis - constant reforms failed to resolve key national problems, and undermined institutional stability. - 1974 constitution turned the state de facto in a loose confederacy and established a system of highly ineffective 1-year-long presidencies, by rotating the eight leaders of the federal units, resulting in a power vacuum for most of the 1980'.

73 End of one-party system - as result, the Yugoslav League of Communists dissolved during its 14° Congress in January 1990, due to Slovenia and Croatia communist leaderships refusal to accept the hegemonic attempt of the Serbian communists. This, along with external pressure, forced the individual republics to organize their multi-party elections in 1990.

74 Federal unit Date of elections New government SloveniaApril 8 1990 DEMOS – wright-wing nationalistic, christian- democrat coalition CroatiaApril 22 1990 Croatian Democratic Community – wright-wing nationalistic party MacedoniaNovember 11 1990 Macedonian National Unity – wright-wing nationalistic party Bosnia and Herzegovina November 18 1990 Coalition of muslim, serb and croat nationalistic party SerbiaDecember 9 1990 Serb socialist party (former communists) MontenegroDecember 9 1990Montenegro Socialist party (former communists)

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