2011 | 2(18) | 53-79
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Rewolucje 1989 roku. Schemat wyjaśniający

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The Revolutions of 1989. An Explanatory Framework This study puts forward a frame of analysis for explaining the 1989 revolu- tions in East-Central Europe (ECE). When analyzing the revolutions of 1989, one is compelled to address three fundamental issues related to their inception, unfolding and outcome, which can be summarized as follows: timing; sequence of events; and nature. In other words, one has to provide a convincing answer to the following questions: (1) Why those revolutions occurred precisely in 1989? (2) Why the communist regimes in ECE collapsed in that particular order? and (3) Why some of the 1989 regime changes were negotiated, others were non-ne- gotiated but non-violent, and only one of them was non-negotiated and violent? This study opens with a discussion on the problems of definition one faces when examining the 1989 events in ECE, and addresses the most significant similarities and differences between those events and the “classic” revolutions of the modern age. The 1989 events in ECE can be termed as revolutions, but a particular kind of revolutions, i.e. “postmodern” revolutions, because they were non-utopian, nonviolent – with the conspicuous exception of Romania, and were not carried out in the name of a particular class. The present study adopts a culturalist-structuralist approach and proposes an explanatory model that takes into consideration both the domestic developments and entangled histories of the Soviet Bloc countries over the period 1945-1989 in order to analyze the crucial issues of timing, sequence of events and nature of the 1989 revolutions, i.e. negotiated or non-negotiated, violent or non-violent. This author puts forward a general model for explaining these issues, which is based on path-dependency, agency and contingency. It is this author’s opinion that the 1989 sequence of collapse, i.e. Poland – Hungary – East Germany – Czechoslovakia – Bulgaria – Romania, consisted in fact of the demise of three types of communist dictatorships: (1) “national-accommodative” (Poland and Hungary); “welfare” (East Germany and Czechoslovakia); and (3) modernizing-nationalizing (Bulgaria and Romania). One can easily observe that the initiation of the 1989 sequence of collapse originated in the camp of “national-accommodative” communist dictatorships, where the 1989 revolutions took the form of “negotiated revolutions” based on the roundtable principle. The demise of the “welfare dictatorships” in East Germany and Czechoslovakia occurred through non-negotiated non-violent revolutions, and was influenced by the “negotiated revolutions” in neighboring Poland and Hungary. The modernizingnationalizing communist dictatorships in Bulgaria and Romania were the last in a row to collapse. In their cases, the emphasis on the “dynamic political stance” is crucial: the communist regimes in both countries perceived their party-states in the making as not completely modern and national, and therefore devised policies aimed at spurring industrial development and creating ethnically homogenous “socialist” nations. Drawing on the work by Ole Nørgaard and Steven L. Sampson, who in their 1984 study “Poland’s Crisis and East European Socialism” have explained the birth of the Polish Solidarity as an outcome of social and cultural factors, this author contends that the collapse of the communist rule in ECE was provoked by an intricate and sometimes unexpected interplay of structural, conjunctural and nation-specific factors.
  • prezes Zarządu Krajowej Rady ds. Badania Archiwów Securitate (Consiliul Naţional pentru Stu- dierea Arhivelor Securităţii – CNSAS) w Bukareszcie oraz wykładowca porównawczych nauk politycznych na Wydziale Nauk Politycznych Uniwersytetu w Bukareszcie.
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