• Mihai Stelian RUSU PhD, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, B-dul 21 Dec. 1989


collective memory, communist nostalgia, politics of memory, Romanian “truth commission, ” Tismãneanu Report, transitional justice, trial of communism


This paper examines the relationship between the post-communist political regime and the communist past, analysing how the communist past, after a period of time when the state agents resorted to eschewing strategies, was eventually confronted frontally in 2006 when the Romanian President commissioned what came to be known as the “Tismãneanu Report” in order to officially condemn the communist regime. The Tismãneanu Report is seen here as a state-sponsored attempt to impose an official memory of communism as the sole “scientifically” based narrative of the communist past. The trial of communism, ended with the sentencing of the communist regime as illegitimate and murderous based on the conclusions of the Tismãneanu Report, is seen as expressing a political strategy of legitimating the new democratic order by breaking off with the past. The paper then examines the latent conflict subsisting between the official memory of communism codified in the narrative delivered by the Tismãneanu Report and the popular memory expressed by a strong collective nostalgia towards the same communist past. The paper concludes by suggesting that the anti-communist intellectual and political elites won the battle over public memory of communism, but lost the war over private remembrances of communism.


Abraham, F. (2008). Raportul Comisiei Tismãneanu: analizã istoriograficã. In Ernu, V., Rogozanu, C., Siulea, C., and Tichindeleanu, O. (eds), Iluzia anticomunismului: Lecturi critice ale Raportului Tismãneanu. Cartier, Chisinãu, 7-42.

Adorno, T.W. (1986) [1959]. What does coming to terms with the past mean?. In Hartman, G. (ed.). Bitburg in Moral and Political Perspective. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 114-129.

Barbu, D. (2008). O istoria naturalã a comunismului. In Ernu, V., Rogozanu, C., Siulea, C., and Tichindeleanu, O. (eds), Iluzia anticomunismului: Lecturi critice ale Raportului Tismãneanu. Cartier, Chisinãu, 71-104.

Berger, P.L. (1963). Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective. Doubleday, New York.

Bodnar, J. (1992). Remaking America: Public Memory, Commemoration, and Patriotism in the Twentieth Century. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Cesereanu, R. (2005). Gulagul în constiinta româneascã. Memorialisticã si literatura închisorilor si lagãrelor comuniste (eseu de mentalitate). Polirom, Iasi.

Ciobanu, M. (2009). „Criminalising the past and reconstructing collective memory: the Romanian truth commission”, in Europe-Asia Studies, 61 (2), 313-336.

Cioflâncã, A. (2010). „Nostalgia pentru comunism”, in Revista 22 (September 28 2010), available online at html, last accesed in July 3 2013.

Comisia Prezidentialã pentru Analiza Dictaturii Comuniste din România (2006). Raport Final, available online at, last accesed in July 2 2013.

Elster, J. (2004). Closing the Books: Transitional Justice in Historical Perspective. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Ernu, V., Rogozanu, C., Siulea, C., and Tichindeleanu, O. (eds), Iluzia anticomunismului: Lecturi critice ale Raportului Tismãneanu. Cartier, Chisinãu.

Evans, R.J. (1997). In Defence of History. Granta Books, London.

Foucault, M. (1980). Truth and power. In Gordon, C. (ed.). Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writing 1972-1977. Pantheon Books, New York, 109-133.

Grosescu, R. and Ursachi, R. (2009). Justitia penalã de tranzitie. De la Nurnberg la postcomunismul românesc. Polirom, Iasi.

Huntington, S.P. (1993). The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late 20th Century. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma.

Ilut, P. (2009). Psihologie socialã si sociopsihologie. Teme recurente si noi viziuni. Polirom, Iasi.

Maier, C.S. (1988). The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust, and German National Identity. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Marx, K. (1978) [1852]. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. Peking, Foreign Languages Press.

Marx, K. and Engels, F. (2012) [1848]. The Communist Manifesto: A Modern Edition. Verso, London.

Merton, R.K. (1973). The Normative Structure of Science. In The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 223-280.

Olick, J. (1998). „What does it mean to normalize the past? Official memory in German politics since 1989”, in Social Science History, 22 (4), 547-571.

Popper, K.R. (1981) [1934]. Logica cercetãrii. Editura Stiintificã si Enciclopedicã, Bucharest.

Romanian Presidency, Press release, April 20 2006, available online at, last accesed in July 2 2013.

Roper, S.D. (2000). Romania: The Unfinished Revolution. Harwood Academic, Amsterdam.

Rose, R. (2010). New Europe Barometer I-XV Trend Dataset, 1991-2007. 2nd Edition. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive. SN: 5241.

Rusu, M.S. (2011). „The colonization of the past and the construction of mnemonic order”, in Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai, 46 (2), 39-57.

Shafir, M. (2007). „Raportul Tismãneanu: Note din public si din culise”, in Tribuna (1-15 March).

Siani-Davies, P. (2006). Revolutia românã din decembrie 1989. Humanitas, Bucharest.

Stan, L. (2013). Transitional Justice in Post-Communist Romania: The Politics of Memory. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Teitel, R.G. (2000). Transitional Justice. Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York.

Tismãneanu, V. (2012). The Devil in History: Communism, Fascism, and Some Lessons of the Twentieth Century. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.

Tismãneanu, V. (2013a). „Stânga, dreapta si catastrofa comunistã”, in Evenimentul zilei (May 13), available online at, last accesed in July 3 2013.

Tismãneanu, V. (2013b). „Mãrirea si decãderea religiilor seculare”, in (October 25), available online at, last accesed in December 3 2013.

Wertsch, J.V. (2004). Voices of Collective Remembering. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Additional Files