Twenty-three years after the bloody uprising that freed it from the grip of the Ceausescu dictatorship, Romania seemed to have become a consolidated democracy, boasting membership in NATO and the European Union. Then came the summer of 2012, when the southeastern European country, already a cause of concern to Western Europe because of reports of creeping lawlessness and political corruption, tried on a more authoritarian political identity, as a second Belarus or Venezuela. Officials in the EU and U.S. winced and unequivocally called upon the new Romanian government to abide by its commitments. Professor Tismaneanu will examine the dynamics of de-democratization in Romania, the main political actors, and the ongoing battle between friends and foes of an open society.
Vladimir Tismaneanu is professor of politics at the University of Maryland (College Park). In 2006, he served as chairman of the Presidential Commission for the Analysis of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania. From 1998-2004 he was editor of East European Politics and Societies and continues to serve on the journal’s editorial committee. His books include Reinventing Politics: Eastern Europe from Stalin to Havel (Free Press, 1992); Fantasies of Salvation (Princeton UP, 1998); Stalinism for All Seasons: A Political History of Romanian Communism (University of California Press, 2003); and The Devil in History: Communism, Fascism, and Some Lessons of the Twentieth Century (University of California Press, 2012). He is the editor of numerous volumes, including Stalinism Revisited, The Promises of 1968, and The End and the Beginning (co-ed., Bogdan C. Iacob), all published by CEU Press. Professor Tismaneanu is a regular book reviewer for Times Literary Supplement and International Affairs and serves on the board of Journal of Democracy. He was a Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Fellow in 2008-09. His current project, a book under contract with Cambridge University Press, deals with democracy and memory in post-communist Romania and is based on the author’s experience as head of the Presidential Commission.
Sponsors: WCED, CES, CREES