>Czech Republic: Communism (still) on their minds


An interesting and well informed piece by Avizier Tucker on current debates on decommunization and historical memory appears in Transitions Online. The basic insight that a generational changing of the guard among historians and scholars of the communist past is changing the terms of the debate is well made: issues of personal morality, integrity and responsibility get disentangled from the writing of history as both Stalinists-turned reform communists-turned dissidents and non-communist victims of the regime leave the stage. However, whether this is leading to national new facing up of the past, let alone ‘catharsis’, I rather doubt. Indeed, the whole of Czech politics stretching back into dissident debates of the 1980s and before has been one long national conversation about the Czechs and their relationship with communism… Perhaps a necessary conversation, but the framing of the country’s historical memory as one giant, ongoing exercise in seeking catharsis from the communist experience seems restrictive.

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