THE SOVIETIZATION OF EASTERN EUROPE: New Perspectives on the Postwar Period

Balázs Apor, Péter Apor
New Academia Publishing, 2008
356 Pages, 10 Illustrations
ISBN 978-0-9800814-6-6 Paperback

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About the Author

Balázs Apor has a PhD from the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). He is co-editor of The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorships: Stalin and the Eastern Bloc (2004) and author of the chapter “Leader in the Making: The Role of Biographies in Constructing the Cult of Mátyás Rákosi.”

Péter Apor is a Junior Research Fellow, at the Pasts Inc., Center for Historical Studies, which operates within the framework of the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. He received his PhD from the European University Institute. His publications include chapters in Myth and Memory in the Construction of Community (2000), and East Central Europe – L`Europe du Centre-Est: Eine wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift (2004).

E. A. Rees is Professor of Eastern European History at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy. He is the author of three monographs State Control in Soviet Russia: The Rise and the Fall of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspectorate (1984); Stalinism and Soviet Rail Transport, 1928-1940 (1995) and Political Thought from Machiavelli to Stalin: Revolutionary Machiavellism (2004). He is the editor and main author of The Nature of Stalin’s Dictatorship: The Politburo 1924-1953 (2004); Centre-Local Relations in the Stalinist State, 1928-1941 (2002) Decision-Making in the Stalinist Command Economy, 1932-37 (1997) and The Soviet Communist Party in Disarray (1992). He is also the co-editor of The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorships: Stalin and the Eastern Bloc (2004).

About the book

This collection of essays is the first attempt to systematically explore the Sovietization process in Central and Eastern Europe after the Second World War. Sovietization is generally understood in the book as a process with a dual dimension: it was in part an imperial project whereby the Soviet system was exported to the region, but it was also an attempt by the governments of the “people’s democracies” to adopt a Soviet way of life (self-sovietization). Sovietization was a process dictated by ideological imperatives, but it also reflected the distinctive aspect of socialist strategies of state and nation building. Sovietization is examined in the book not only in terms of the imposition of new forms of government, but also in terms of the socialist response to modernity, as reflected in approaches to new technology and management, consumption and leisure patterns, religious and educational policy, political rituals and attitudes to the past. The essays contained in the volume explore the diversity and the tensions within the Sovietization process in the countries of the region.


“This collection is a bold and timely attempt at shedding light on a rather insufficiently researched topic. It offers a comprehensive view of the extent and consequences of the Sovietization process in the countries of East-Central Europe. Moreover, the diverse approaches–ranging from socio-cultural and economic history to psycho-history–offer to specialists and lay people alike a captivating reading on how East-Central Europe was transformed into the ‘Other’ Europe.”

– Dr. Dragoş Petrescu, University of Bucharest.

“This collection of essays remains attentive to the specificity of the ways in which Soviet socialist ideology and organizational structures, and Soviet-style practices, were embedded, naturalized, appropriated, transformed, subverted or repulsed in different national contexts in the nations of Central and Eastern Europe.”

– Dr. Susan E. Reid, Senior Lecturer, University of Sheffield.

“After 1989, historical research on the Communist period usually remained within national borders. It is important to actively integrate the results of these endevors and pursue a European history of Communism. This volume is an important step in this direction. Its comparative, transnational perspective makes it an outstanding contribution to the field.”

– Prof. Dr. Christoph Kleßmann, Zentrum für Zeithistorische, Potsdam.