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SPP 253

Title: EX-COMMUNISTS IN POST-COMMUNIST SOCIETIES
 
Author: Richard Rose, CSPP
 
Description: In a Communist state, party politics was Communist politics, and the party gave many inducements for people to join, and used sanctions against those who would not follow the party line. Hence, there are tens of millions of ex-Communist party members in the fledging democracies of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Whether this is an obstacle to democracies depends upon whether ideological commitment or opportunism was the primary motive for joining. This in turn affects the values that people are likely to have in a post-Communist era. The New Democracy Barometer and the New Russia Barometer survey collect data about party membership as well as respondents' political attitudes of people. This paper analyzes the data to examine the alternative motives that people had for joining the party; to compare what ex-Communists think today with the views of non-Communists; and considers the implications of these findings for the consolidation of democracy. It concludes that the key term in the description of former party members is that they are ex-Communists--and many never did believe the party line that they had to follow publicly in the days of an authoritarian regime.

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Postal Address:    CSPP Publications, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XQ, UK

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