[Paleopsych] TLS: (John Gray) Civil society in Romania

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Mon Jun 20 18:43:24 UTC 2005

Civil society in Romania
The Times Literary Supplement, 3.2.28

    Sir, - John Gray's straightforward review (January 31) of Padraic
    Kenney's A Carnival of Revolution contains a small imprecision. After
    stating that the reason for Poland's success in solving the problems
    of transition is that the Polish Communist regime "never succeeded as
    it very largely did for a time in Hungary and Czechoslovakia - in
    destroying civil society", he then presents Romania as a country which
    is experiencing considerable pains during the same post-Communist
    reconstruction because it "lacks the experience of democratic
    government in the pre-Communist period".

    Romania was, between 1866 and 1938, a constitutional monarchy, with a
    bicameral parliament, free press, free elections and a healthy middle
    class. On August 23, 1944, after breaking the alliance with Hitler's
    Reich, Romania prepared for free elections and democracy's reign rose
    again, but only for a short time because the Communist Party, with the
    aid of the Red Army, falsified the elections in 1945; and then, in
    1947, it forced King Michael I to abdicate and proclaimed the Popular

    Romania's current difficulties are due precisely to the fact that the
    Communist regime succeeded in destroying the civil society, political
    parties and "bourgeois" intellectuals that fully existed in the
    "pre-Communist period". And the proof that Romania didn't lack these
    is that, for twenty years (1945-64), there was a huge number of
    political trials, crimes, persecutions, imprisonments and

    MIRCEA PLATON French Department, McMaster University, Hamilton,

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