Place:Communist nostalgia

From HandWiki
Short description: Retrospective fondness for average life in the Eastern Bloc
Protest against Ukrainian decommunization policies in Donetsk, 2014. The red banner reads, "Our homeland USSR".

Communist nostalgia, also called communism nostalgia or socialist nostalgia, is the nostalgia in various post-communist states of Central and Eastern Europe and Russia for the prior communist states.[1][2][3]

Examples of such nostalgia can be observed in East Germany, Poland, the former Soviet Union, former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania,[4][5][6][7] the Czech Republic, Albania, and Slovakia.[8] Businesses have commercialized and commodified communist nostalgia in the form of communist chic and other commodities and products reminiscent of the former era.[8]


Dominik Bartmanski notes that after the anti-communist revolutions of 1989, the specific perspectives of the development remained unclear for some time, they were expressed in generic terms such as "return to Europe", "to Western values" and the like. This resulted in utopian expectations regarding capitalism and democracy. When confronted with the hardships of the transition, the "post-revolutionary utopianism" produced "post-revolutionary disenchantment".[3]

According to Kristen R. Ghodsee, a researcher on post-communist Eastern Europe:

"Only by examining how the quotidian aspects of daily life were affected by great social, political and economic changes can we make sense of the desire for this collectively imagined, more egalitarian past. Nobody wants to revive 20th century totalitarianism. But nostalgia for communism has become a common language through which ordinary men and women express disappointment with the shortcomings of parliamentary democracy and neoliberal capitalism today."[9]



A 2010 Pew poll found that 72% of Hungarians said that most people in their country were worse off economically than they had been under communism. Only 8% said that most people in Hungary were better off, and 16% said that things were about the same. The poll also found that 42% disapproved of the move away from communism.[10]

However, a 2019 Pew poll found that 70% of Hungarians approved of the shift to a market economy.[11]


A 2018 poll in Slovakia found that 81% agreed that people helped each other more during communism, were more sympathetic and closer to each other. 79% asserted that people lived in a safer environment during socialism and that violent crimes were less frequent. Another 77% claimed that thanks to the planned economy, there was enough useful work for all and therefore no unemployment. However, the poll also noted that "Most of the respondents did not want to return to the communist-time economy and preferred a market or social market economy, but in the answers to specific questions they favoured a greater role of the state, with guarantees and social certainties".[12]

However, a 2019 Pew poll found that 71% of Slovakians approved of the shift to a market economy.[11]


A 2014 poll found that 44% of the respondents believed that living conditions had been better under communism. A 2010 poll conducted by the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy provided similar results. Of the 1,460 respondents, 54% claimed that they had experienced better living standards during communism, while 16% said that they had been worse.[13]

See also

  • Nostalgia for the Polish People's Republic
  • Nostalgia for the Soviet Union
  • Ostalgie
  • Yugo-nostalgia


  1. Joakim Ekman, Jonas Linde, Communist nostalgia and the consolidation of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe,  Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics 21(3):354-374 · September 2005 doi:10.1080/13523270500183512
  2. Prusik, Monika; Lewicka, Maria (2016). "Nostalgia for Communist Times and Autobiographical Memory: Negative Present or Positive Past?". Political Psychology 37 (5): 677–693. doi:10.1111/pops.12330. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bartmanski, Dominik, Successful icons of failed time: rethinking post-communist nostalgia, Acta sociologica, vol. 54. № 3. 2011, pp. 213—231, doi:10.1177/0001699311412625.
  4. Anghel, Stefan Costin (June 3, 2014). "Would Romanians Vote for Ceaușescu If He Were Alive Today?". Vice. 
  5. Ghodsee, Kristen; Mead, Julia (2018). "What Has Socialism Ever Done For Women?". Catalyst 2 (2): 108. Retrieved January 19, 2019. "A 2013 poll of 1,055 adult Romanians found that only a third reported that their lives were worse before 1989: 44 percent said their lives were better, and 16 percent said there was no change.". 
  6. Maria Todorova, Zsuzsa Gille, Post-communist nostalgia, Berghahn Books, 2010 (ISBN:978-1-84545-671-9, hardcover), 2012 (ISBN:978-0-85745-643-4, paperback), 2013 (ISBN:978-0-85745-644-1)
  7. Besliu, Raluca (April 13, 2014). "Communist nostalgia in Romania". openDemocracy. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Thanks for the memories". The Economist. June 9, 2011. 
  9. "Dr. Kristen Ghodsee, Bowdoin College - Nostalgia for Communism". November 2011.  "Academic Minute", WAMC
  10. "Hungary: Better off Under Communism?". 28 April 2010. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Mitchell, Travis (2019-10-15). "European Public Opinion Three Decades After the Fall of Communism" (in en-US). 
  12. "Poll: People are nostalgic about communism". 26 June 2018. 
  13. Besliu, Raluca (13 April 2014). "Communist nostalgia in Romania". 

Further reading

  • Rebecca Mckee, Erica Richardson, Bayard Roberts, Christian Haerpfer and Martin Mckee, "Things Can Only Get Better? Changing Views of the Past, Present and Future in the Former Soviet Union", Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 65, No. 7, 2013, pp. 1466-1478, JSTOR 24534205
    From the abstract: "We report new analyses from eight former Soviet republics, and from two surveys, in 2001 and 2010, comparing attitudes to government in the Soviet period and at the time of the surveys, as well as expectations for the future. Everywhere, views of the past have become less positive and those of the present more positive. However, both the views in each survey and the change between each of them vary among countries and socio-demographic groups."