Vladimir Lenin monument, Kiev as it stood on 2 December 2013
Demonstrators on the plinth of the statue after it was toppled

Decommunization is a process of dismantling the legacies of the communist state establishments, culture, and psychology in the post-communist states. It is sometimes referred to as political cleansing.[1] The term is most commonly applied to the former countries of the Eastern Bloc and the post-Soviet states to describe a number of legal and social changes during their periods of postcommunism.

In some states decommunization included bans on Communist symbols. While sharing common traits the processes of decommunization have run differently in different states.[2][3]

Decommunization organizations

Five double-headed Russian coat-of-arms eagles (below) substituting the former state emblem of the Soviet Union and the "СССР" letters (above) in the facade of the Grand Kremlin Palace after the dissolution of the USSR

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.

Prosecution 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.[4]

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.[5]

Holmes suggests the following reasons for the turnoff of decommunization:[5]

See also


  1. Jennifer A. Yoder (1999) "From East Germans to Germans?: The New Postcommunist Elites", ISBN 0-8223-2372-9,, pp.95-97
  2. Lithuanian ban on Soviet symbols, BBC News, 17 Jun 2008, retrieved 3 Jun 2016
  3. Shevchenko, Vitaly (14 April 2015). "Goodbye, Lenin: Ukraine moves to ban communist symbols". BBC News. Retrieved 3 Jun 2016.
  4. After socialism: where hope for individual liberty lies. Svetozar Pejovich.
  5. 1 2 Michael Mandelbaum (Ed., 1996) "Post-Communism: Four Perspectives", Council on Foreign RelationsISBN 0876091869
  6. Note: The quotes "Каждая кухарка может управлять государством" ("every cookwoman may govern the state")) or "Каждая кухарка должна научиться управлять государством" ("every cookwoman must learn to govern the state") are commonly misattrubuted to Lenin; see ru:Ленинские фразы
  7. Hough, Jerry (18 August 1998). "See". LA Times. External link in |title= (help)
  8. See (27 Jan 2000). La Times (London) Missing or empty |title= (help)
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