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One of the manifestations of decommunization has been renaming streets. Before 2017, ulica Anny German in Poznań (Anna German Street) was named in honor of Julian Leński.[1]
One of the manifestations of decommunization has been renaming streets. Before 2017, ulica Anny German in Poznań (Anna German Street) was named in honor of Julian Leński.[1]

Decommunization is the process of dismantling the legacies of communist state establishments, culture, and psychology in the post-communist countries. It is sometimes referred to as political cleansing.[2] The term is most commonly applied to the former countries of the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union to describe a number of legal and social changes during their periods of postcommunism after the Cold War.

In some states, decommunization includes bans on communist symbols. While sharing common traits, the processes of decommunization have run differently in different states.[3][4]

Decommunization organizations

Investigators and prosecutors

Prosecution of former communists

Main article: Lustration

Lustration came to refer to government policies of limiting the participation of former communists, and especially informants of the communist secret police, in the successor political appointee positions or even in civil service positions.

Persecutions and prosecutions of communist state leaders


Communist parties outside the Baltic states were not outlawed and their members were not prosecuted. Just a few places attempted to exclude even members of communist secret services from decision-making. In a number of countries, the communist party simply changed its name and continued to function.[9]

Stephen Holmes of the University of Chicago argued in 1996 that after a period of active decommunization, it was met with a near-universal failure. After the introduction of lustration, demand for scapegoats has become relatively low, and former communists have been elected for high governmental and other administrative positions. Holmes notes that the only real exception was former East Germany, where thousands of former Stasi informers have been fired from public positions.[10]

Holmes suggests the following reasons for the turnoff of decommunization:[10]

See also


  1. ^ "German zastąpi działacza komunistycznego". (in Polish). Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  2. ^ Jennifer A. Yoder (1999) "From East Germans to Germans?: The New Postcommunist Elites", ISBN 0-8223-2372-9,, pp. 95–97
  3. ^ "Lithuanian ban on Soviet symbols", BBC News, 17 June 2008, retrieved 3 June 2016
  4. ^ Shevchenko, Vitaly (14 April 2015). "Goodbye, Lenin: Ukraine moves to ban communist symbols". BBC News. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  5. ^ "Greetings". The Committee of National Remembrance. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Flashback: When the Taleban took Kabul". 15 October 2001. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  7. ^ "BBC News | Europe | Bulgaria's ex-communist leader dies". Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Three presidents to attend Jaruzelski funeral". Polskie Radio dla Zagranicy. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  9. ^ After socialism: where hope for individual liberty lies. Svetozar Pejovich.
  10. ^ a b Michael Mandelbaum (Ed., 1996) "Post-Communism: Four Perspectives", Council on Foreign Relations ISBN 0876091869