Guest lecture - Clearing the Backlog of National Agendas: Pre-Communist Expulsion Projects under Communism, 1945–1989
Clearing the Backlog of National Agendas: Pre-Communist Expulsion Projects under Communism, 1945–1989
Stefan Troebst, University of Leipzig
In east-central and southeastern Europe, the obsession of communist regimes with social homogeneity was paralleled by a striving for ethnonational homogeneity. In this perception, the stability and security of a communist state depended not only on protection by the Soviet Union and membership in the Warsaw Pact, but also on internal factors. Alongside dissident ideological and political orientations and deviant social behavior, what could be termed “non-titular-nationality” was also perceived as a potential danger, if not an acute one. At times of threats to external or internal security—and there were always threats, be they real or imagined—from this perspective, this potential danger could easily turn into an actual one. This was the rationale behind politics of forced assimilation and forced migration. This development was enforced by traditional ethnocentrism not only among large strata of the society but increasingly also in the party apparatus, the security forces, and the administration. In appealing to the nationalist sentiments of the population, the party leadership aimed at strengthening its legitimacy, thereby accepting a downgrading of its own ideological principles.
Stefan Troebst is a historian and Slavic studies scholar, and since 1999 a professor of eastern European cultural history at Leipzig University in Germany. His fields of research are international and interethnic relations in modern eastern Europe. He has published widely on the culture, history, and politics of the Balkans, east-central Europe, Russia, and the Baltic Sea region.