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Ideas and Identities

A Festschrift for Andre Liebich

Edited By Jaci Eisenberg and Davide Rodogno

This volume gathers contributions at the intersection of history and politics. The essays, covering such topics as diverse as Italian identity in the Tientsin concession, international refugee policies in the interwar period and after, and the myths and realities of the Ukrainian-Russian encounter in independent Ukraine, show that history provides better grounding as well as a more suitable paradigm for the study of politics than economics or other hard sciences. All of the contributors have a common link – doctoral work supervised and shaped by Professor Andre Liebich – but have since expanded widely in the world. Hence, the authors of this work at once share a common base and yet benefit from diverse viewpoints.
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The End of the Post-Cold War World: Do We Have Now What We Expected Then?: Mario Apostolov

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The End of the Post-Cold War World: Do We Have Now What We Expected Then?

MARIO APOSTOLOV

The simultaneous collapse of the Soviet system, the Communist ideology, and the bipolar division of the world was the most significant global change in our lifetime. Nevertheless, one still has the impression that not everything has been said about “the strange death of Soviet Communism,” as The National Interest called it in 1993.1 In this contribution, using my practical experience in the former Communist countries, I compare the expectations we had in 1989 with what actually happened later. Different groups of people in Eastern Europe cherished different expectations, and the outcome of the transition is now seen from different perspectives. I briefly trace two standpoints in the transition period: the perspective of a small but influential portion of the ruling establishment and the expectations of the large mass of citizens. The latter should be credited for their decisive support for the changes, though they never organized themselves sufficiently to capitalize fully on these changes. In other words, this contribution is about “who did it”: who brought the Communist experiment to an end?

Great expectations

The interests of these two groups in Eastern Europe in dismantling the Communist system converged in the 1980s, yet their expectations differed significantly. On the one hand, there was the influential and secretive upper stratum of the Soviet élite and security community – the silent deciders in this process. In seeking change,...

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