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Transitional Justice in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union

Domenii publicaţii > Ştiinţe politice + Tipuri publicaţii > Carte

Autori: Lavinia Stan (editor)

Editorial: Routledge, 2008.


„Transitional justice” is a phrase that embraces a wide variety of practices in new democracies, some of them more transitional than others, some not always entirely just. This thorough comparative assessment of the experience so far in all the countries of the former Soviet bloc examines the „non-cases” as well as the more exemplary processes, and it takes into account not only policy intentions but actual difference in implementation (right up to the point when most of the countries in question joined the European Union). What emerges is a quite variegated picture, with pre-transition historical experiences and the specific correlation of forces between communist rulers and opposition challengers providing much of the explanation for the observed divergences. This is an important contribution to post-communist studies and to the comparative analysis of democratization in general. Experience from elsewhere suggests that unresolved conflicts in this area can continue to fester and may impede the stabilization of the democratic system despite generational change. Laurence Whitehead, Oxford University

Coming to terms with unpleasant historical episodes is never easy for any society. The process has been especially difficult in the former Communist countries, most of which have failed to hold anyone accountable for the atrocious crimes of the Communist era. In some states, especially Russia, Belarus, and the Central Asian republics, officials who spearheaded the repression of dissidents during the Soviet era are back in high posts. In Central and Southeastern Europe, too, efforts to seek redress for the crimes perpetrated by Communist regimes have often been deeply flawed. The many obstacles to a full and fair reckoning with the Communist past are thoughtfully analyzed in this valuable collection of essays by distinguished experts. Lavinia Stan, the editor and lead author of the book, has assembled an excellent group of contributors. The comprehensive scope of the volume makes it a true comparative work. This book provides the most thorough and analytically sophisticated treatment yet available of this crucial topic. Mark Kramer, Director, Cold War Studies Program, Harvard University

The question how countries deal with a difficult past is always intriguing but particularly so when several countries concurrently address the issue and the policies and the policy outcomes show significant variance. Such is the scenario in the former communist bloc in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The in-depth country studies in this book provide the reader with up-to-date information and sound analysis while the analytical framework locates them in the broader body of literature and offers insightful cross-national comparisons. Timely and thought-provoking, this book is indispensable reading for scholars of transitional justice and democratization. Helga A. Welsh, Wake Forest University

An outstanding, brilliant book that helps us to understand developments in post-1989 Eastern Europe. Lustration, the opening of secret police files and trials of communist perpetrators have marked political and intellectual debates in these new democracies, and constituted pivotal efforts to come to terms with the legacy of the communist dictatorship. The volume examines in detail the region’s efforts to reckon with the recent past, and the theoretical explanations for country differences in the scope and pace of transitional justice. A “must read” not only for Eastern Europeans, but also for students of transition to democracy in other parts of the world and other historical periods. Pawel Machcewicz, Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Science

In this pioneering new work, Lavinia Stan and her contributors have produced a theoretically coherent and empirically well-documented book that will be required reading in the field of post-communist transition in East-Central Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Rooted in an impressive understanding of transitional justice processes in the region, Stan’s volume provides concise narrative about changes that occurred after the access to the communist secret files was partially granted to the citizens of former communist countries. This book will be appreciated by laymen and experts alike. Reneo Lukic, Laval University, Canada

Why do some countries reckon with past repression by opening up the files of secret police, barring from office participants in the repressive regime, and prosecuting human rights abuses, while others, with similar abuses, do little to face their past? Tracing developments from 1989 to 2007, Transitional Justice in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union provides fascinating, detailed case studies and a persuasive argument linking contrasting responses to past and present political alignments and to degrees of prior experiences with democracy and political pluralism. This will be a vital resource for understanding when and where transitional justice is pursued. Martha Minow, Harvard Law School, and author of Between Vengeance and Forgiveness

It is relatively rare in comparative social research that scholars conclusively demonstrate that they are both detail oriented and theoretically creative. The editor of this volume exemplifies both these qualities, identifying the specific provisions of lustration and de-communization laws across many post-communist countries, then evaluating disparate theories of transitional justice and advancing an innovative multivariate model. With an impressive cast of contributors, we now have the seminal work on East European de-communization. Raymond Taras, Tulane University

Cuvinte cheie: transitional justice; politics of the past; politics of memory; de-communization