The Unbearable Burden of Forgetting.
Lustration in Post-Communist Romania

“Because I am able to understand, I am guilty for all that I understand.”
Ana Blandiana, Romanian poet

There are few people today open to talk publicly about the memories of their communist past in Romania. A few years ago, the director Cristian Mungiu made a surprising movie out of it and won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. This year, the Nobel Prize for literature was awarded to Herta Müller who, far away in time and space, continues to write about her years of growing up in a dictatorship.

“For me, every trip to Romania is also a journey to another time, when I was never sure what was a hazard and what was a set-up in my own life.” [1] In a July 2009 interview for the weekly Die Zeit, the writer discloses the drama of her youth, when she had been forced to live under the surveillance of the Romanian communist secret services. The text appeared after the author was finally able to access her “file of informative observation” containing no less than 914 pages.

The file and the recent visits to her homeland gave Müller the certainty of a vicious continuity of the repressive apparatus. She notes that despite the 1990 name-change of the institution from Securitate to Romanian Information Service, 40% of the personnel was kept on the same positions while the other 60% was retired with generous pensions. Comparing the de-communization processes of East Germany and Romania, Herta Müller voices the regret that Romanian intellectuals cared as little about the faith of secret services files as they cared about the faith of those persecuted in communist times. The writer ends her testimony with a shivering statement: “In my file, I am two different women. The first one, called ‘Cristina’ is the public enemy and is criticized. To compromise this ‘Cristina’, in the forgeries manufactory of the Department of D (Disinformation) they invented a fake character, with all the attributes that would hurt me the most: devout communist, unscrupulous agent, party member (something I never was). Wherever I went, I had to live with this fake. That was not only sent to follow me, but was in a hurry to outrun me. Although from the beginning and ever since, I always wrote against the dictatorship, the fake still exists today and follows its own paths. While the dictatorship is part of the past for twenty years now, the fake continues to rush over stock and block. For how much longer?”

The question of how to deal with the legacies of repression has been an important source of political divisions in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe. The states from this region had several possibilities available when deciding how to pursue transitional justice: criminal prosecution of important officials, restitution of property or declassifying of secret files for public inspection.

However, none of these options fully answered an important question: “What should and can be done with those involved in the abuses committed by the communist state and by the security services?” The controversial response to these dilemmas was lustration: the vetting of officials for links to the former communist regime. The Lustration Laws generally rely on information contained in the Secret Police files. In enacting and implementing the Lustration Laws, the countries in the region followed different paths and described lustration patterns that reveal significant variation.

In a recent article, published in February 2009, Lavinia Stan identifies the major drawbacks and the missing pieces in the puzzle of post-communist transitional justice: “Countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union were considered ideal from a comparative point of view because they all experienced similar repressive regimes roughly at the same time, and they all effected regime change to democracy in the relatively short period of time between 1989 and 1991. Most of these theories have contrasted the performance of only a handful of post-communist countries, focused primarily on the early 1990s, and reduced transitional justice to lustration. Very few of them have considered non-cases, that is, countries that have systematically avoided confronting the past.” [2]

Among the large normative literature on post-communist transitional justice, several political theories offered arguments on why and how new democracies should deal with their past. Important theoretical frameworks have been proposed by Samuel P. Huntington, John Moran, Helga Walsh and Nadya Nedelsky. I will further discuss them in chronological order.

Samuel P. Huntington [3] directs his analysis towards transition to democracy and waves of democratization. For him, “a wave of democratization is a group of transitions from nondemocratic to democratic regimes that occur within a specified period of time and that significantly outnumber transitions in the opposite direction.” [4] When trying to predict the possibility of the new democracies to enact transitional justice, Huntington focuses on the link between policy and the authoritarian regime’s “mode of exit.” He claimed that only if the former elites have been removed from their position against their wish, would there be a desire for retribution. By analyzing the Eastern European cases, Huntington concludes that only in Eastern Germany and Romania did the communist governments not lose power until they collapsed or were brought down by a revolution. By contrast, in Hungary, progressive communist officials gradually changed the regime into a democracy. In Poland and Czechoslovakia peaceful negotiations occurred between communists and the opposition, as none of the sides was influential enough to impose its ideas alone. Based on this assumption, Huntington observed that “in Eastern Europe, apart from Romania and East Germany, the initial overall tendency was to forgive and forget.” [5]

In a reply to Huntington’s analysis, John Moran [6] focused on the “tough” or “soft” nature of repression during the final decades of the communist regimes. If the citizens were not allowed to talk or to express their disagreement, then there would be more pressure for finding the guilty ones. Moran argues that: “the link that Huntington attempts to make between the independent variable of democratization process and the dependent variable of outcome of the torturer problem is a specious one in the Eastern European context.” Furthermore, Moran’s contribution is based on the key concepts of “exit” and “voice.” In his analysis, “voice” meant the option of political dissidence under the previous regime, while “exit” meant the option to leave the country. Moran’s hypothesis is that where the communist regime did not allow either “exit” nor “voice,” the citizens will be more likely to demand vengeance after democratization.

Later on, Helga Welsh [7] identified the conditions for a serious approach of the past in the politics of the post-communist transition and argued that if the former elites remained in power the chances for a successful lustration process are lower. Her main point is that: “The extent of political repression and penetration of society by the state security forces, including the time elapsed since acts of terror and political crimes have taken place, are among the factors that explain post-communist policies, as is the impact of different modes of transition. Increasingly, however, the ‘weight of the past’ is being replaced by ‘politics of the present’.” [8]

Lastly, Nadya Nedelsky [9] was the first author to examine more carefully the circumstances in which the Lustration Laws have been designed, enacted and implemented. Her analysis is based on the cases of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Nedelsky builds a “bridge” between the communist past and the democratic present, by pointing out that: “a stronger influencing factor affecting lustration, responses to crimes committed under communism, and levels of access to secret police files is represented by the level of the preceding regime’s legitimacy. This is indicated during the communist period by levels of societal cooptation, opposition or internal exile, and during the post-communist period by levels of elite re-legitimization and public interest in de-communization”. [10] The consequence of this finding is that, in those countries where the ancien régime was perceived to a larger extent as legitimate, the probability of old elites to return to power would be higher and, as a result, the determination to pursue lustration would be weaker.

My claim is that, to a lesser or greater extent, all these theories failed in their prediction. Contrary to Huntington’s hypothesis, Lustration Laws have been adopted in countries where transition was peacefully negotiated and where the communist regime did actually allow people to publicly express to some extent their discontent. Quite the reverse, in fact, lustration is absent in the only country that experienced a bloody revolution and that severely limited the freedom of speech in the last decades of communism. In the same way, Moran’s framework is invalidated for example by the cases of Poland and the Czech Republic where the communist regime allowed to a certain extent both “exit” and “voice”, and yet the demands for lustration have been strong and materialized in landmark pieces of legislation. Furthermore, while Welsh’s considerations regarding the key role played in the transition period by the communist heir parties have a good explanatory power, they nevertheless leave unsolved the question of why in some countries (like Romania for instance between 1996 and 2000) the right wing parties that governed the country did not support the prospect of a Lustration Law. Lastly, Nedelsky’s hypothesis regarding the level of the preceding regime’s legitimacy cannot be fully validated outside the Czech and Slovak cases. In many other Eastern European countries, the successor communist parties and their leaders scored high in first democratic elections with no direct logical correlation with the legitimacy of the former communist regime.

Considering all this, my PhD project will attempt to identify the missing pieces in the puzzle of why some post-communist countries strongly confronted their past, while others rejected initiatives to face the recent repressive history. Currently, I am working on the first step of the research. For this, I attempt to put together an in-depth analysis of the under-studied case of Romania. My goal is to explain the lack of an unambiguous lustration process by focusing simultaneously on three temporal dimensions: the communist rule, the moment of regime change and the subsequent phase of transition.

The emancipation of the “satellite” states from Eastern and Central Europe from the authority of USSR has often been described as a series of revolutions. However, with the exception of Romania no real fighting occurred, only round-table discussions, mass demonstrations and clashes with the police. By the end of 1989, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Bulgaria witnessed the decisive transfer of power. In this context, the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu obstructed any development towards reform and proclaimed himself the last defender of communism. Consequently, the uprising that started in the western city of Timisoara and continued from the 21st of December in Bucharest was a violent one. According to the official sources, during the street fights, 1104 people were killed and 3552 were wounded. Within four days, a provisional government was formed and the new leader, Ion Iliescu, announced the creation of the National Salvation Front (NSF) in a radio and television address.

In the years that followed, a claim largely accepted was that the NSF and its successor parties used the revolution as a mode of legitimation. The claim was that this organization has been the main carrier of the event and the voice of the crowd. The new leaders asserted that they achieved their positions through direct approval of the crowd during their appearance on the balcony of the Central Committee and in the studios of the Television. Throughout the years, this theme has been constantly repeated in their speeches by Ion Iliescu and the others NSF leaders.

Arguing that the Revolution had imposed a broad consensus in Romania, they tried to set up a new political system, which permitted the dialogue between different political opinions, but diminished any confrontation. The exact limits of this model were never fixed, but within it, the powers of NSF would have been considerable. The formation was the goal setter, the mediator of the debates and the executor of decisions taken.

As a consequence, even if seventy-three parties participated in the first democratic elections, held on the 20th of May 1990, the NSF candidates received an overwhelming 67% of the votes. The candidate for Presidency, Ion Iliescu received 86% of the votes. The success of the NSF in the first post-communist elections was unlike any other East European party and one cause for their score might be the “confiscation” of the Romanian Revolution.

Nonetheless, critical voices did not cease to appear. In the following pages, I will review the short history of decommunization initiatives and the way in which these contestatory voices emerged and were articulated. My objective is to explore why, in the final analysis, these voices did not receive the necessary support and decommunization has been limited to symbolic gestures.

The first serious challenge to the new power emerged only a few days after the Revolution, on the 12th of January 1990. Thousands of protesters demonstrated in Bucharest in front of the building that became the headquarters of the new government. They clearly expressed their anti-communist ideas and their opposition to a regime dominated by neo-communists, but none of their requests was taken into consideration.

Three months later, on March 11th 1990, the Timisoara participants in the Romanian Revolution voiced their concerns in a thirteen-point document entitled “The Proclamation of Timi?oara”. One of the most important civic and political documents from the post-communist transition period, this proclamation was drafted under the coordination of writer and intellectual George Serban. The aim of the document was a return to the original liberal-democratic ideals of the December Revolution and above all to its deep anti-communist character. Out of the 13 requirements, the best-known remains the 8th point, calling for radical restrictions imposed to former party Nomenklatura members and secret service cadres.

“As a consequence of the previous point, we propose that the electoral law will forbid, for the first three consecutive legislatures, the right to candidate, on any list, of the former communist activists and of the former secret service officers. Their presence in the country’s political life is the main source of the tensions and suspicions that fragment Romanian society today. Until the stabilization of the situation and the establishment of national reconciliation, their absence from public life is absolutely necessary. Additionally, we ask that in the electoral law a special paragraph will prohibit former communist activists to seek candidacy for the country’s presidency. The President of Romania should be one of the symbols of our separation from communism. Being a communist party member is not considered a fault. We all know to what extent having a red membership was a condition in people’s life, from professional achievement to receiving a house, and what serious consequences its loss could have. But activists were people who abandoned their professions to serve the Communist Party and to enjoy the special privileges offered. A man who made such a choice presents no moral guarantees as a President. We also suggest reducing the prerogatives of this function, as it is the case in many civilized countries of the world. Thus, personalities from cultural and scientific life but without a great political experience might also run for the office of the President of Romania. In this context, we also propose that the first legislature will only be of two years, time required to strengthen democratic institutions and to clarify the ideological position of each of the many parties that appeared. Only then we will be able to make an educated choice in an informed manner and to declare one’s hand.”

Over the following months, the Proclamation of Timisoara was accepted and advocated by many civic associations and millions of signatures were gathered in sign of support for including the 8th point in the new electoral law.

This last amendment was also one of the main demands of the protests organized in the University Square of Bucharest from April until mid-June 1990. This event was yet another attempt to completely break with the past and move towards a fully democratic model.

During the 52 days of protest, the participants in the public demonstration drew attention to the danger of leaving the country in the hands of the National Salvation Front (NSF), the party that originated in the provisional organization that was intended to operate as a temporary government until the first free elections. Among the leaders of this structure, that soon became the most important political party, were many former communist activists or high ranked officials.

The main target was Ion Iliescu, the new leader who legitimized himself as the voice of “experience”. He had previously made a career in the Romanian Nomenklatura, becoming in 1965 a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and in 1967, the Minister of Youth Problems. However, in 1971, due to his criticisms of Ceausescu’s policies, he was marginalized and later sacked from all his political functions. During the 1989 Revolution, he explicitly emphasized the abusive character of the personal dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu, who he thought defiled the name of the Communist Party and the memory of those who died for the cause of socialism.

As advocates of such a type of discourse and biography, the protesters in the University Square of Bucharest asked for three types of solutions. The first was the implementation of the 8th point of the Proclamation of Timisoara, asking explicitly that chief members of the Communist Party and secret services will not have the right to seek election. Next, they requested free access to the only TV station of the time (the national state-owned public service television broadcaster) for all the political parties and candidates and not, as it was the case, exclusively for the representatives of the NSF. Finally, there was the demand to postpone the first free democratic elections, as the only party that had resources to run a campaign was the NSF.

In a 2007 article, Julia Brotea and Daniel Béland explain: “The University Square was in many ways a cultural event where artistic expression in the form of slogans or songs served the moral and political goals of the protesters. Their signs exclaimed, for example, ‘Yesterday hooligans, today thugs,’ ‘Today in the capital, tomorrow in the whole country,’ ‘We do not go home, the dead won’t let us,’ and ‘We will die but we’ll be free.’ […] These slogans and songs established a spiritual continuity between the 1989 Revolution and the University Square events of the following year. The University Square movement even adopted its own anthem, ‘Anthem of the Golani,’ whose lyrics were sung from the Geology Department’s balcony with the crowd joining in from below: ‘Better hoodlum, than traitor / Better hooligan than dictator / Better scamp than activist / Better dead than communist!’” [11]

The peaceful manifestations from University Square ended violently during the Mineriad of 13–15 June 1990. A brutal encounter between the protesters and a big group of miners from Jiu Valley led to the dispersal of the demonstrators. Hundreds were wounded and several killed, the number of victims varying from seven (according to official reports) to a hundred (according to eyewitnesses).

Six years later, when George Serban, the initiator of the 8th point from the Proclamation of Timisoara, was elected in the Parliament, he tried to bring the topic back to the public agenda. He initiated a Lustration Law, similar with the documents already enacted in the neighboring countries, but did not receive the necessary support. His death brought the end of the proposal.

On March 1997, the Romanian Parliament proposed a draft “Law on Access of Former Communist Officials and Members of the Totalitarian Regime to Public and Political Positions”. The document stipulated that those who held important positions in the Communist Party between March 1945 and December 1989, including the executive, the judiciary, the Great National Assembly or in the former Office of the Secret Service (Securitate) were denied access for the next 8 years to the main positions in the state apparatus. The communist positions that were targeted meant members of the Central Committee (at the regional, district, and county levels), members of the government, members of the judiciary, officers of the Securitate and officers of the Army. None of these people were eligible to be Prime Minister, member of government, public prosecutor, president of the court, governor, director of the national Television Company or ambassador. In addition, they were not allowed to run for the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Superior Council of Magistrates, the Romanian Academy or the Audio-Visual Media National Council. Nonetheless, the draft has not been adopted by the Parliament because it was inconsistent with Romanian Election Law and violated Article 16 of Constitution, which states that “all citizens are equal before the law and public authorities, without privilege or discrimination.”

The public found the limited access to the political police archives and the partial disclosure of the collaborationists of the regime and the trials of some leaders inefficient. In this context, the only compensatory gesture was represented by Law 187 from December 1999 that allowed the free access of every Romanian citizen to his secret personal file. From the beginning, this project was criticized for the ambiguous use of key terms (like Secret Police collaborator) and for the bureaucratic path to the file itself. The institution created to facilitate the access to the file was the National Council for the Study of Former Securitate’s Archives (CNSAS). The specificity in the design of this council was that its members were not only administrators of the files, but those to decide by vote if a person was or was not collaborator with the former Securitate.

In May 2005, another draft of the Lustration Law was initiated by Liberal MP Mona Musca and was initially supported by the parliamentary group of the National Liberal Party in the Chamber of Deputies (the Lower Chamber of the Parliament). The project required that those who were part of the governing structures of the communist regime could in the future not hold important public offices. The project proposed by liberal lawmakers was based on the requirements of the Proclamation of Timisoara. It prohibited, that for ten years upon its enactment, former Communist Party activists from running for any public office in the presidential administration, in Parliament and in the public administration (be it central or local). Additionally, those who worked in the secret services, even only as informants, could not occupy positions in the judiciary. However, soon after the project was initiated, its promoter, Mona Musca, resigned from the Parliament and quitted all her political activities following a decision of CNSAS (the independent body studying the archives of Communist-era secret police) that ruled that she collaborated with the Securitate. The verdict was confirmed by the Court of Appeal. The Lustration Law project of 2005 remained blocked in the Parliament after it was passed by the Senate, but not by the Chamber of Deputies.

The only symbolic gesture that followed was the presentation in December 2006 of a report condemning Romania’s communist regime. The document was read by president Traian Basescu in front of the Parliament. The report put up by the “Tismaneanu commission” [12] was presented as the most complete description and analysis of Romanian communism.

In the final analysis, the Romanian process of decommunization seems caught between radical demands for lustration on the one hand and the lack of a straightforward legislative framework on the other hand. My attempt to explain such a gap between ambitions and accomplishments will be directed simultaneously in three temporal directions: the last decade of communist rule, the moment of regime change and the subsequent phase of transition.

My operating hypothesis is that such patterns can be fully explained only by considering together the impact of three factors: the severity of the communist regime, the type of regime change and the democratic strength of the early transition period.

First, compared to the other countries in the region, Romania experienced a severe dictatorship in the 1980s. While following an independent policy in foreign relations, the leader Nicolae Ceausescu adhered very closely to the communist centralized administration at home. In an effort to pay off the large foreign debt, Ceausescu ordered in 1980 the export of almost all of the country’s agricultural and industrial production. The resulting drastic shortages of food, fuel, energy, medicines, and other basic necessities drove Romania from a state of relative economic well-being to near starvation. Additionally, the period was dominated by the expansion of a personality cult for both Ceausescu and his wife, Elena. Their tenure was known as the “golden era,” while the media referred to him as the “genius of the Carpathians” or the “visionary architect of the nation’s future”. Censorship was omnipresent: experts who were faithful to the regime checked with vigilance each newspaper story and each broadcast. In the late 1980s, the agenda of the only existing TV station was strictly limited: only 2 hours per day, most of which were devoted to the personality cults of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. The content meant to impose the image of the new man and worship its only personification, the supreme leader. Furthermore, the Securitate (the Romanian Communist Secret Service) was controlling the public and private spheres of life. It conceived a methodical program of mass indoctrination and manipulation, through creation of conflicts between the different segments of the population, public humiliation, hardening censorship or repressing the smallest gesture of independence by intellectuals.

The exploration of the fluctuant process of decommunization is important from two perspectives. On the one hand, it explains why a part of the population, reared at the end of the 1980s in a state of hunger, exhaustion and humiliation, demanded after the fall of the regime that those in charge of the crimes should be punished or at least eliminated from public life. On the other hand, however, the strength of the communist apparatus and the dimensions of its Secret Service (which was surpassed in the region only by the KGB and had about 38 000 members and 400 000 informers) reveal why such a purge was difficult to put into practice. The system was deeply contaminated by abuses and none of its direct or indirect supporters had the interest to further investigate it.

Second, as Samuel Huntington highlighted, another indication of the nature of decommunization policies might be the authoritarian regime’s “mode of exit”. In December 1989, while the Romanian Revolution was unfolding, other Central and Eastern European nations were peacefully making the transition to multi-party democracy. The increasingly violent riots culminated in the summary trial and execution of Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena. If initially the protests started in Timisoara mainly as an anti-communist uprising, the events in Bucharest subsequently transformed it into a revolt aimed mainly at dethroning Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, portrayed as the cause of all evil.

Representative for this important ideological turning point remains the speech delivered during the Romanian Revolution by the new leader Ion Iliescu:

“Dear comrades, fellow citizens, I want to say a few words in addition to what I said before. The greatest danger that we face right now is anarchy. To prevent this, we need the contribution, the participation, the presence of the working people, the active participation of the people and not of some leaders who proclaimed themselves leaders, who proclaimed themselves elected by the people or who proclaimed themselves communists. They have nothing to do neither with socialism nor with the ideology of scientific communism. They have stained the name of the Romanian Communist Party, they have stained the memory of those who gave their lives for the cause of socialism in our country. On the contrary we, we must organize, we must reestablish the normal course of things.” [13]

This perspective soon became   the mainstream approach and its success was legitimated by Iliescu’s overwhelming success in the first free elections. The physical elimination of Ceausescu and his wife was envisioned as the panacea needed to clear up with the past and move forward. As for other forms of retributive measures, Iliescu’s viewpoint was that they were pointless and dangerous in the same time: “Lustration is a national shame, a Stalinist idea turned upside down. The approach is similar to the ‘lustration’ of the 1940s, when members of former democratic political parties were removed from public life.”

Lastly, political developments of the last two decades of post-communist transition also have   a good explanatory power in regards to the dynamics of decommunization. A widely accepted starting point is the hypothesis stating that the intensity of political competition affected the form of the Lustration Law, as parties attempted to restructure the scope of the law in order to strengthen their electoral power when facing competitors. As traditionally the Social-Democrat Party (formed from the conservative branch of the NSF) and its leader Ion Iliescu opposed any attempt of dealing with the past, the expectation was that its right-wing opponents will try to push forward for lustration and to expand the scope of the law.

However, the 1996–2000 and 2004–2008 periods, when power belonged to coalitions of right-wing parties, did not bring any significant changes in legislating lustration, though a couple of drafts have been debated in the Parliament. The pre-communist so-called historical parties (the liberals and the Christian Democrats) did occasionally put forward the issue while on electoral campaign, but during their years in power lustration became secondary. Rather than a priority on the political agenda, it seemed to be an idea advocated by only a few anti-communist voices like Constantin Ticu Dumitrescu, Nicolae Manolescu, Andrei Plesu or Mircea Dinescu. Hence, a cautious analysis reveals solely that the lustration initiatives have been supported at the most by a handful of politicians, usually former political prisoners or dissidents. On the contrary, against such projects stood a non-transparent trans-party coalition of politicians that managed in the long run to block on different grounds the enactment of all Lustration Law drafts.

Twenty years after the Revolution of 1989, the Romanian decommunization process is characterized by duplicity and moral ambiguity. Contrary to most expectations, the public interest for the topic did not decrease over the years. The media constantly report on various cases of public figures who allegedly collaborated with the Securitate. Even the victory in the most recent presidential elections belonged to the candidate who again resorted to anti-communist rhetoric, making the Wall Street Journal to state “it appears that economic liberalism won a squeaker against the heirs to Nicolae Ceausescu’s communists.” [14] However, no legislative framework has been proposed for the future possible screening of former communist party officials. Decommunization has been limited to symbolic gestures. In another recent interview for Le Monde Herta Müller confesses: “If I had stayed, if I had to see how everything continued after the fall of the Wall, I would have gone mad.” [15]



[1] “Die Securitate ist noch im Dienst,” Die Zeit, July 23, 2009, available at .

[2] Lavinia Stan, “Post-Communist Transitional Justice Predictors,” SciTopics, February 6, 2009

[3] Samuel P. Huntington, The Third Wave Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press 1991).

[4] Ibid., 15 .

[5] Ibid., 228 .

[6] John P. Moran, “The Communist Torturers of Eastern Europe: Prosecute and Punish or Forgive and Forget?,” Communist and Post-Communist Studies 27 (1994): 95–109.

[7] Helga Welsh, “Dealing with the Communist Past: Central and East European Experiences after 1990,” Europe-Asia Studies 48 no. 3 (1996): 413–428.

[8] Ibid., 419 .

[9] Nadya Nedelsky, “Divergent Responses to a Common Past? Transitional Justice in the Czech Republic and Slovakia,” Theory and Society 33 (2004): 65–15.

[10] Ibid., 65.

[11] Julia Brotea and Daniel Béland, “Better Dead than Communist! Contentious Politics and Identity Formation in 1990 Romania,” Spaces of Identity, 7, no. 2 (2007): 77–100.

[12] Named after its chair, Vladimir Tism?neanu, a Romanian and American political scientist .

[13] Mihai Tatulici, coord., Revolutia Romana in direct (Bucuresti 1990), 46 .

[14] “Recession Bad, Communism Worse in Romania,” The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2009, available at

[15] “Herta Müller, Nobel sauvée par l’ écriture,” Le Monde des Livres, December 4, 2009


IWM Junior Visiting Fellows’ Conferences, Vol. XXVIII
© 2010 by the author

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Preferred citation: Maierean, Andreea. 2010. The Unbearable Burden of Forgetting. Lustration in Post-Communist Romania. In: Perspectives on Memory and Identity, ed. B. Marrin and K. Hammerstein, Vienna: IWM Junior Visiting Fellows’ Conferences, Vol. 28.