The debate over the past in Russia has followed a trajectory much different than in Poland and East Germany. In Russia, the process of coming to terms with the past began in 1987, four years before the country moved from its agenda of gradual reform to a radical break with the communist system. The process started earlier than in Poland and East Germany, well before democratization seemed inevitable. During the period of glasnost ’ [openness], the media and the new independent civic organizations began telling the truth about past injustices. Truth-telling by groups outside the government became the general pattern for dealing with the legacy of the past. This public discussion about the country’s dark historical moments paralleled political discussions about reforms, but it was curiously disengaged from these changes. Unlike in Poland and East Germany, Russian politicians did not make a connection between condemning past abuses and reforming the institutions responsible for them.


Communist Party Liberal Democracy Liberal Democratic Party Transitional Justice Civic Organization 
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© Noel Calhoun 2004

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