||The volume re-constructs the history of state socialism in Eastern Europe and analyzes the reasons behind its demise. It follows two parallel directions: one in which is describing the socio-political evolution of these regimes; and a second, which develops an alternative story based upon the genealogy and the author’s exegesis of leading revisionist and dissident Eastern European intellectuals. The re-invention of politics is the process rooted into the ethos of the developing civil society that countered the increasingly sclerotic Marxist-Leninist ideology and politics.
In tracing the political events that lead to the 1989 revolutions, prof. Tismăneanu argues that nationalism is an inhibiting factor for “de-totalitarianization” of Eastern European societies. He explores the Romanian, Serbian, Albanian, German, or Russian cases and shows how both usages of nationalist discourse by communist regimes and the ascendance of ultra-nationalist anticommunism lead to non (and even neo-)communist authoritarianism instead of a liberalization and democratization of these countries. The author provides a parallel history of the region after 1945, while also taking into account the many profiles of local cultural and political elites. His awareness of the complexities of identity discourse and past-present relationship in Eastern Europe generate an exemplary, indepth inquiry into the significant intellectual and political developments preceding and leading to 1989.