Long Awaited West? Eastern Europe since 1944

Bottoni, Stefano (2017) Long Awaited West? Eastern Europe since 1944. Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies . Indiana University Press, Bloomington. ISBN 978-0-253-03001-6

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This book seeks to offer a comparative outlook of the entangled political and social history of Eastern Europe since World War II to the present day. It combines a chronological with a thematic and transnational approach. Eastern Europe is pragmatically defined as the set of territories that had first become nation-states through the dissolution of the three multiethnic empires, then were absorbed for more than forty years into the Soviet-type communist system. This region analyzed currently includes 20 independent states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania) distributed over an area of 2 million kmq, inhabited by 180 million people. Despite the internationalist ideological premises, the Eastern European territories incorporated into the Soviet sphere of influence never formed a genuine supranational community. Ethnic tensions and opposing economic interests manifested themselves within the communist parties, influencing bilateral relations and fueling a growing dialectic with Moscow. Eastern Europe depended heavily from the Soviet Union, but the crude subordination of the earlier period was gradually replaced by a „conditional loyalty” and a growing reaffirmation of national values and interests from the Eastern European communist elites, expecially after the last failed internal reform attempts of 1968 and the brezhnevite „normalization”. The long communist experiment determined deep and traumatic social and cultural changes throughout the region. After 1989, many shared the illusion that communism had been a mere historical error, and communist rule an easily surmountable „deviation” from the democratic and capitalist path through programs of economic privatization and political democratization. However, successes and failures of the long-lasting post-communist transition as well as the most recent developments seem to suggest that the communist period represents an embarassing, spurious but still very tangible memory. Social inequalities, nationality tensions and the overall growing political instability of the region are both the heritage of long-term historical processes and the numerous miscalculations made during the last 25 years. This book argues that the common heritage of a traumatic past and a problematic present is probably the only deep connection the Soviet Union was able to create between his reluctant satellites.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: D History General and Old World / történelem > DM Eastern Europe / Kelet-Európa
D History General and Old World / történelem > DN Middle Europe / Közép-Európa
Depositing User: Dr Stefano Bottoni
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2017 06:25
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2017 06:25

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