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An inquiry into geographical identification and occupational status as variables in assessing levels of nostalgia.

Introduction: The scope of the research

The present research project is an attempt to examine one of the most recurrent and multifaceted phenomena in transitional, post-communist societies, i.e. the issue of nostalgia for the ancient regime and the repercussions and implications it generates and presupposes on particular spheres of the private life of individuals. The paper follows largely the norms and methodology of the "anthropology at home", as presented by Anthony Jackson, PhD and member of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the Commonwealth (1). The following theoretical and empirical endeavor employs primarily the CSOP-IICCMER opinion polls of 2010 and 2011 on popular mentalities in respect to the recent past (2), coupled with Andi Mihalache's quite convincing and extremely original study on "the social life of objects" during late communist and early transitional Romania (3), while venturing at the same time in its own empirical inquiries (i.e. the administration of questionnaires and conducting a series of interviews). Analyzing the topic of communist nostalgia through personal histories, through geographical identification and through assessments regarding current social-economic statuses, the main argument put forward by this study is that the wistfulness towards communist restoration is the direct repercussion of psychological patterns characteristic to the mindsets of the populations in East-Central Europe (with a special emphasis on Romania), outcomes of amnesia and fragmented memory, results of forgetfulness, foolishness or dishonesty, rather than the consequence of the political and socio-economic performance of the transitional democracy following the Communist breakdown. It hypothesizes that geographical identification, together with age and socio-economic position, puts an imprint on the level of nostalgia towards the ancien regime one individual displays. This dominant psychological imprint on nostalgia is most vividly and conspicuously emphasized in the very manner in which people tend to keep and to preciously value recollections of a "golden past". Therefore, the paper suggests that nostalgia should be approached from a socio-psychological, rather than a structural, perspective, and it does so by using empirical pieces of methodology (questionnaires, interviews, participative observation, official statistics), doubled by relevant bibliography stressing the said approach on the topic of communist nostalgia. It employs, for verifying its hypothesis, two samples, one drawn from a small town (Tecuci), the other from a large city (Iasi, the capital-city of Moldavia), each of them composed of individuals of two different educational level and occupational status, in order to further stress on the socio-economic changes at the local level the regime change has triggered. Hence, the present study is concerned with four central issues: (1) a brief account on the impact of socio-economic efficiency, effectiveness and performance of the transitional regime in triggering nostalgic feelings among its citizens; (2) the analysis of other conditions generating the popular desire towards restoration of the "old regime", with a special emphasis on the socio-psychological ones, considered by this paper of paramount importance to the study of communist nostalgia; (3) the identification of the mechanisms of manifestation, both at the societal level and in the private space, of communist nostalgia, and its actual extent during transitional and democratic consolidation processes, using, as central variable, the geographical identification and, as secondary independent variables, socio-economic (occupational) status, educational level and age, operationalized on two selected samples; and (4) the evaluation of the possible repercussions, outcomes of nostalgia on the overall evolution of the transition to democracy.

General Presentation. Operationalization of Concepts

Surely, for both anthropologists and sociologists, the peculiar phenomenon of nostalgia is a truly remarkable scholarly topic. Its widespread societal ramifications and its far-reaching and multifaceted implications are still to be identified and thoroughly debated, while its immediate impact on behavioral patterns and on policy-making remains an item of open discussion and evaluation. In the sphere of memory and amnesia studies, nostalgia plays a central role, for it addresses not only issues of forgetting and distorted memory, but it also hints to ignorance and personal choice and to socio-economic performance of transitional governments. It is in this wide domain of nostalgia and personal choice that the present paper develops its hypothesis on nostalgia and personal histories, as pieces of remembrance. Soon after the communist dictatorship of Eastern and Central Europe became the ancien regime, the communities of this region started to reconsider their recently past totalitarian experience, and in this reevaluation, the frontiers between remembrance and forgetting were redrawn on nostalgic lines. From former nomenklatura members to ordinary people, the latter--more than the former--driven by idealizing tendencies towards the recent past--, large segments of the population began to nurture positive memories and powerful nostalgic sentiments in respect to a regime that was officially condemned by the newly installed democratic governments. Bizarre and awkward as this may be, communist nostalgia represents, nonetheless, a warring phenomenon for the evolution of transitional democracies of East-Central Europe. In addition, and especially in the countries of Central Europe (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria)--countries that are undertaking the democratization path for over twenty years and that are members of the European Union and NATO--, the populations still wonder about the position they should take in references to their communist past and its undeniable and so pregnant and persistent legacy; a significant portion in these populations feels itself insecure and confused regarding its sentiments towards the past and the present regimes. Being rather a polyvalent phenomenon affecting the countries of Sovietized Europe during the period of transition to democracy, being triggered by both generational differences and system's output, nostalgia raises concerns regarding both the degree in which democratic values and principles breakthrough in the political socialization process and the political and socio-economic efficiency of the transitional regime. It is considered that "nostalgia travels together with non-democratic attitudes" (4), a situation which represents a threat and a challenge for the consolidating democracies in Eastern and Central Europe. In his 1999' "Developing Democracy: Towards Consolidation', Larry Diamond (5) argues that the consolidation of democracy ideally involves at least 70% of the population that share the belief that democracy is preferable to any other form of government. In this manner of thinking, shouldn't the destabilizing potential of nostalgia be reevaluated and reconsidered? Probably the most vivid manifestation of communist nostalgia is expressed in the different accounts of people living the same experience, but with so diverse, to some extent diverging and opposing, perceptions on the said experience (6).

Nostalgia is both a concept and a feeling, or, simply put, a concept with an extremely powerful emotional charge. In the "New Europe Barometer', "nostalgia" is bluntly and objectively defined as the feeling developed by those individuals who consider that "a return to communist rule" is an acceptable option (7). Etymologically, it signifies a longing, a strong desire to return home, more exactly, to an idealized past: "nostos" (Greek) = returning home, "algos" (Greek) = longing or pain (8). But, analyzing nostalgia, one should wonder if this sweet "home", this "past", crudely taken away and irreversibly gone, actually existed in the first place. More often than not, the past the nostalgics refer to is a virtual utopia, an old experience, distorted by fragmentary memories and forgetting, idealized and apologetically described as a viable and preferable solution for a disappointing, confrontational and decadent present; the past is seldom that past as actually experienced and lived. Hence, nostalgic sentiments are perceived as a reaction to the irreversibility and irrecoverability of time, the expression of the emotional, psychological impact the acknowledgement of this incontestable reality has on the individual. In a path-breaking study, "On Longing', Susan Stewart defines nostalgia as "a social disease", as "the repetition that mourns the inauthenticity of all repetition", "prelapsarian" and utopian feeling (9), a strange desire towards the repeatability of the past under a degraded form. In a book-length inquiry dated 2001 (10) dedicated to this peculiar phenomenon--to some extent inherent to the human being--, Svetlana Boym differentiates between two types of nostalgia: "restorative nostalgia" and "reflective nostalgia". The "restorative nostalgia"--a distortion of the national memory--is, bluntly, the desire to reconstruct the lost "home", to recreate the past, and it generally stays at the basis of national, religious or ethnic revival and emancipation movements; it seeks to revive a past of "truth and tradition". On the other hand, "reflective nostalgia"--a distortion of the social memory--is a sentiment and an acknowledgement of loss, is "ironic, humorous, wistful and aware of the gap between identity and resemblance" (11); slightly more moderate than the "restorative nostalgia", the "reflective" variant allows even a certain degree of criticism towards the desired past, in the sense that "[t]he home is in ruins or, in the contrary, has been just renovated and gentrified beyond recognition. The defamiliarization and sense of distance drives them to tell their story, to narrate the relationship between the past, present and future." (12) Finally, from Berman's standpoint, nostalgia is "something like a failure of our collective cultural confidence [of the "Gemeinshaff] in the modernizing impulse [towards the formation of the "Gesellshaff]." (13) Frederic Jameson defines the concept rather pretentiously: he argues that nostalgia is "part of a larger contemporary disease of historical alienation, a position that presupposes the existence of some verifiable 'historical reality'" (14), a "verifiable historical reality" which is, in the case of communist nostalgia, a regime officially condemned as illegitimate, illegal and criminal, but one which still stirs ambivalent, duplicituous, and confused popular perceptions. All in all, nostalgia has been defined simultaneously or consequently as a sort of second-hand or debilitating memory, conservative, retrograde, obsolete, a defensive reaction to rapid change, ahistorical and "sanitizing" remembrance, an attempt to falsify history, "a form of psychological whiplash, cultural style, the abdication of memory, an aesthetic treatment, an ornament, a technique, a part of the narrative of history, or a part of the narrative of critical theory." (15) Within this midst of contradictory, divergent sentiments, Maria Todorova cites among the causes of nostalgia: "disappointment, social exhaustion, economic recategorization, generational fatigue, and quest for dignity, but also an activist critique of the present using the past as a mirror." (16) Eventually, Amelia DeFalco summarizes the observations, definitions and analyses above, but premising and hypothesizing that: "Nostalgia is at the crux of discussions of re-presentation [...]. From its inception as potentially fatal pathology, nostalgia has been considered dangerous for its excitement of the imagination as well as its aforementioned power to substitute fictive ideal for practical reality. [...] This misrepresentational quality of nostalgia has initiated a great deal of the criticism surrounding the phenomenon. The compulsion to return, the fallibility of memory, and the subsequent malleability of the past are central to understand the potential problems and possibilities associated with nostalgia." (17) The present paper employs as independent variables in assessing level of nostalgia towards communism in two selected samples the geographical identification, the socio-economic status (or occupational status), educational background and age. It operationalizes the phrase "geographical identification" through the following definition: Geographical identification is the geographical, territorial space (village, commune, town, city, region, county, etc.) to which an individual considers to belong (i.e. from the place in which he was born, works, lives to the place to which he finds himself emotionally or culturally attached to). The collocation "socio-economic status", used alternatively with "occupational status", is operationalized here as "individual's position on the social ladder (i.e. part of the lower, middle or upper classes, with their intermediate stages) and the amount of his average income, relative to his present occupation". The educational background was categorized in accordance with the matrix used by the National Institute of Statistics (18). For age variable, the present paper uses the classification: (1) between 14 and 35 years old (with non-experiential or little remembrance of the communist past); (2) between 36 and 55 years old (the middle-aged, with recollections of "Ceausescu era"), and (3) over 55 years old (with memories from both Gheorgiu-Dej's and Ceausescu's periods). It might be determined that, while geographical identification is taken as main independent variable, the actual level of nostalgia to be determined less by this indicator, but rather by the other three.

Methodological Considerations: Research Questions and Sampling

The scope of the present research project bears a rather descriptive, exploratory nature. Consequently, it is rather based on an inductive, observatory process--an inquiry into four indicators worth pointing out when dealing with the study of communist nostalgia. Subsequently, in the findings below, various remarks are drawn, which would constitute, at least, a fragile basis for further inquiries and research. In order to pursue such objectives, the present research project uses, as a research method, the case study, with the focus on the levels of nostalgia among the individuals of two samples, drawn from Tecuci and Iasi. By using a case study approach, no generalizations will be made on the entire population whose representatives are to be found within the samples. Based on the method employed and on the chosen sample, the main questions of this research project are the following: How does the geographical identification of the respondents influence the levels of nostalgia displayed by them? Is there a connection between the occupational status of the respondents and their evaluations of the past, present and future? Do educational background and socio-economic status determine the positive evaluations of the defunct regime? What are the externally-generated factors that influence positive appreciations of the past for the two samples? To the questions above, a series of other secondary questions are added during the research process whose tentative, partial answers will be attempted in the paragraphs below. Part of the questions in the questionnaire were inspired by the "New Europe Barometer' and by the survey designed for measuring nostalgia among the citizens of the Baltic states by Joakim Ekman and Jonas Linde (19). The questionnaire contained thirty-seven main questions, with 60 close-ended (out of which 24 were designed as intensity scales), one open-ended questions, and 11 mixed questions. The present paper distinguishes between (1) "internally-generated" factors (including relative deprivation, a biological-age dimension and inherent wistfulness towards a lost period of youth and vitality, a mentality inclined towards authoritarianism and strict egalitarianism, towards traditional values) and (2) "externally-generated" (socio-economic difficulties inherent in transition, economic fluctuations on the national or international scene, competition increasing inequalities, corruption, political crises, too complex and complicated democratic procedures, general disenchantment with the democratic regime, etc.). While focusing on the internally-generated factors triggering nostalgia, it does so through the prism of externally-generated ones, as the geographical dimension seems to be. In addition, it employs the scheme proposed by Ekman and Linde, who differentiates between two possible hypothesis: (1) the "political socialization" hypothesis, and (2) the "system output" hypothesis. This paper assimilates Ekman' and Linde's distinction into its own "internally-generated" vs. "externally-generated" factors. On the model provided by the two scholars, this paper discriminates between four "analytical dimensions" of nostalgia: (1) the "political-ideological" dimension (at the macro level, universal dimension; e.g. dissatisfaction with the principles of liberal democracy, genuine non-democratic values, as an outcome of political socialization); (2) two "socioeconomic" dimensions (one, a "socio-economic" dimension per se, at the macro level, with specific dimension, e.g. dissatisfaction with the democratic system's ability to produce output; the other, a rather "personal socio-economic" dimension, at the micro level, with specific dimension, e.g. the feeling of "losers" of the transformation, the loss of the paternalistic welfare state), and (3) the "life biography" dimension (at the micro level, with universal dimension, e.g. a "retrospective revaluation of life under communism, partly as a response to a perceived threat", deprecation of own life experience, the phenomenon of selective memory, etc.). (20) Four types of nostalgia result from this scheme: (1) "principle-driven nostalgia", (2) "performance-driven nostalgia", (3) "micro-economy-driven nostalgia", and (4) "identity-driven nostalgia" (21). The study employed clusters of respondents to properly analyze the data; the criteria for the formation of the clusters were: (1) geographical identification of the subjects (hence, two samples were formed, composed of inhabitants of Tecuci and Iasi, respectively); (2) educational background (the respondents differ not only in geographical terms, but they also belong to two different educational trajectories, the first sample being composed of workers with a medium education, having graduated high-school or a professional/technical school, while the second sample gathers only respondents of higher education, having graduated from university studies); (3) socio-economic status (here, the first sample proved homogeneous, being composed of workers exclusively, while the second sample was rather heterogeneous, a proportional mixture of high-school teachers and MA students); and, finally (4) age (which was employed mainly for further differentiating among young--14 to 35 years old--, middle-aged--36 to 55 years old--and older--more than 55 years old--clusters of respondents; the groups were pondered according to the previous three criteria). Five interviews were conducted with selected respondents in the questionnaire (one 63-year old worker from Tecuci, two middle-aged workers--a 47-year old female respondent and a 52-year old male interviewee--, a 49-year old high-school teacher from Iasi, and a 23-year old student in Iasi). The questions in the interview followed the same topics as in the questionnaire, but insightful details were gathered, as the student managed to grasp the mood, the atmosphere of the defunct communist times and the state of mind of some people having the experience of both state socialism and developing democracy. Hence, apart from the written questionnaire at the basis of this paper, there was conducted a series of life-history interviews, aimed to provide an account on the justifications and motivations behind different positions held and various opinions distinguishable from the answers offered in the questionnaire. The interviews, quite short pieces of oral history, asked the respondents about their activities during the defunct regime--with a special emphasis on socio-economic aspect, an aspect frequently drawn as the intrinsic basis for nostalgia--, their educational trajectory, party membership, about members of their family and friends and their occupational statuses, about the general atmosphere within the town/city, about interactions with local authorities, about the first years of democracy. Relevant pieces of information were gathered, linking personal or family histories during state socialism to various types of nostalgia and its nature and sources. First sample is composed of workers in a bakery factory, of different ages but with similar educational backgrounds, living and working in Tecuci; due to the student-researcher's familiarity with the place from which the sample was drawn, the interviews were face-to-face, while the questionnaire were self-administered in printed form to the respondents. The second sample is composed of MA students and high-school teachers in Iasi, hence persons of different ages, but--once again--of similar educational level; the interviews were face-to-face, while part of the questionnaires were filled in via e-mail, part were delivered and filled in in printed form, with the help of a collaborator living in Iasi. In choosing the two groups of subjects, pertaining to two quite different social categories and urban milieu, the student-researcher attempted in drawing a series of observations regarding communist nostalgia based on two divergent lifestyles. What the present study attempts to isolate are snapshots of "Altagsgeschichte' (or "the history of everyday life"), based on oral recounts of the recent past, that would be able to partly explain--or rather justify--the nostalgic stances towards the defunct state socialism. While acknowledging the contingencies of employing observations drawn from oral accounts, questionnaires and interviews, due to a countless range of drawbacks from fragmented memory and amnesia to high levels of subjectivity, interviews can nevertheless capture some essential aspects of referring to the recent past at the grass roots of society. Thusly, accounts, outlooks, understandings attributed to different personal or historical episodes, vary considerably on various grounds, from geographical, social to economic and biological ones. Pages of diaries, "eyewitness accounts", photos, local legends--are all part of the documentation on which oral histories are based upon. They reveal diverse levels of nostalgic feeling regarding the defunct state socialism, though one should initially and necessarily distinguish between those memories associated with the regime and those private, personally held memories. Hardly one can do so. While the construction of the interview followed, as well, the questions and their sequence in the study "Atitudini si opinii despre regimul communist din Romania", a CSOP-IICCMER survey released in May 2011, the actual course of the interview was often deviated by the respondents' interplay of memories, including examples drawn from the personal experience or the experience of different acquaintances, meant to straighten the alleged "correctness" of their answers. The reticence of the interviewees became a real impediment when discussing the topics linked to their present socio-economic situation: the social frustration is diversely displayed, from anger sprung from becoming aware of the incapacity of change one's own condition, to resignation and tacit acceptance of the same incapacity. The differences between the two samples regarding spontaneous reactions when addressed a question are negligible: as a rule--and with very few exceptions--, the two attitudes were adopted in the discussion on the current socio-economic status of the respondents. One observation may result from this first aspect considered: one may conclude that there is a generalized socio-economic frustration among the two samples, independent of the social category the individuals composing them belong to, particularly at the moment in which the interviews were conducted, i.e. during November-December 2011, in a period of world economic recession.

The Portrait of the Nostalgic Individual in connection with the Externally-generated Factors

As Maria Todorova (22) has already pointed out in her 2010' "Post-Communist Nostalgia", the agents of nostalgia rarely or never refer to themselves as "nostalgics", the word "nostalgia" is seldom used to self-description in reference to the position one holds towards the recent past. Clearly enough, this observation is completely verifiable in the empirical endeavor of this paper: during the interviews, none of the respondents of the two samples employed the word "nostalgic", even in the obvious cases where the storyteller expressed positive evaluations on the defunct regime or manifested a conspicuous wistfulness. In addition, when directly asked about whether they would see themselves as characterized by the word "nostalgic", none of the interviewees admitted such a position. It might be argued that there is one's intrinsic fear of disclosing himself as marked by nostalgia, for nostalgia towards the ancien regime is associated with retrograde, obsolete tendencies: generally, especially for the Romanian context, the notion of "nostalgia" is negatively charged. Using the differentiations designed by Adrian Cioflanca, but reshaped on the case studies discussed here, in each of the two samples, the student found during the interviews representatives of each of the three categories, according to the type of nostalgia the respondents display: "nostalgic-restorers", "nostalgic-revolted", and "non-experiential nostalgics" (23). Since the two samples were randomly picked, they were composed of persons sharing only two characteristics--geographical identification and social category--, hence different under other aspects (gender, age, life experience, family background, etc.) and yielding various results. Generally, the "nostalgic-restorers" are the most nostalgically radical, those who argue for the re-installment of state socialism and who hold clearly hostile attitudes towards democracy. As a result of their radicalism, their convictions are marginalized and their proportion, marginal. Their degree of change supportability is extremely low, therefore they were incapable of coping with the challenges presupposed by the transition to democracy. Usually, though not necessarily, the "nostalgic restorers" are associated with conservative stances, with authoritarian and xenophobic tendencies, with the rejection of diversity, as both a concept and reality. In the two samples, the "nostalgic restorers" bear the following characteristics: the great majority is composed of males with an average age of 50 year-old (so, they were over 20 years old at the time of the communist breakdown, in 1989), they are surprisingly present among the respondents of both samples, though initially it was assumed that "restorers" are more numerous in small towns, where their social status is considerably declining during the last two decades of transition. The desire to restore the communist regime and the inability to accept the democratic present is explicable if one considers the state in which small provincial towns found themselves after the collapse of state-controlled planned economy: after 1989, these sites, situated at the limits of both urban and rural establishments--i.e. not fully-fledged urban centers, though considerably urbanized as compared to the surrounding villages--found their local economies, based on mono-industry, unprofitable in the new context of free market economy. Since the town's factory has been closed, the unemployment rate mounted and youngsters felt trapped in an environment deprived of any incentives that could provide material goods and social tranquility to them. This is the perceived, classical image for a medium-to-small town in Romania, locus where the sole possible economic activity remained the commercial one. Moreover, those young people who were trained for working in the factory, on specific posts in different industries, discovered after 1989 and with the closing of the factory that their skills are obsolete, useless and unnecessary for the activities presupposed by the market economy. Governmental programmes for investment stimuli and professional reconversion came much too late or initially did not reach such towns (lack of training personnel and expertise in managing the funds posed additional problems in these regions). The portrait of the Romanian nostalgic is intimately linked to both the felt socio-economic situation and the manner in which his/her life is arranged. Preserving or keeping decorative objects acquired during the communist dictatorship constitutes a quite peculiar fashion of recuperating or remembering the recent past. Generally, the old-fashioned pieces of furniture are easy to discard of due to their practical utility: they are thrown away when, being of decades intensely used, they deteriorate and lack functionality. Conversely, when the old furniture is kept, this is hardly due to any sense of nostalgia, but rather to a difficult financial situation of the household that would impede it to buy a new, up-to-date furniture kit. So differently is the case with decorative and ornamental objects. Ceramics- or glass-made small decorative statues that proudly and anachronically dominate the top of various pieces of furniture are replaceable and easily dispensable, but, for some reason, they continue to fill bookcases, closets, glass cases, even tops of TV sets, in the homes of post-communist Romania, after thirty years to half a century since they had been received by their owner. Prior to 1989, they represented the tangible evidence of a social status, of the prestige, recognition and reputation the owner of such objects enjoyed within the community (24). The hierarchy of gifts--and, as a result, what objects a person has received from that hierarchy--translated into the status hierarchy. Following this logic, it seems that, by keeping decorative objects from the defunct era of state socialism and dictatorship, one nurtures his nostalgia and hangs on to a past period in which his status was cherished and rewarded through these decorative pieces. In the nostalgic rationale, they are perceived as status and prestige trophies. However, after the communist breakdown, ideally a trans-valorization of principles and values, a reconfiguration of statuses and positions should have occurred. Instead, since the democratic values and principles require a quite prolonged and complicated process of internalization, the value and belief systems of Romanians living the confusing period of transition were inherited from the ancien regime and remained largely the same to those prior the fall of state socialism. The status valorization and the laws governing the interhuman relations suffered only small, undistinguishable, almost invisible modifications. Despite the cliche-istic comparison, the following assessment proves to be clearly a postulate in the cases studied here: well-entrenched convictions--even when they are based on fragmentary, amnesiacally amputated memories--are as hard to be shaken as the mountains. This certainty, given by the idea of lived experiences, seems impossible to be contested, even debated: it works like a supreme truth, founded on that lived history, on those events "seen with one's own eyes", "heard with one's own ears". Those empirically constructed personal histories are definitely irrefutable for those having constructed them. At the psychological level, one cannot sententiously conclude that what triggers the positive evaluation of the communist past in the minds of the subjects of this study emerged on a background of "foolishness" and "conformism", of "dishonesty" and "cynicism". It might be a mixture of all these, it might be none of them or it might be indeed that "demon of nostalgia" Andrei Plesu wrote about so vividly, "the general human instinct to recuperate the past, any past." (25) Generally, considerations on the psychological state of the subjects are difficult to be assessed, though some of these personal features might be coupled with--or doubled by--objective socio-economic aspects or relative deprivation. After all, communist nostalgia is also a matter of color: the annus mirabilis 1989 was portrayed as a veritable image of black and white situation, in which the entire society, continuously repressed and disregarded by it leaders, was pillarized against an oppressive, illegitimate, criminal, totalitarian state: both the enemy and the "good guy" were clearly identified and nobody contested such a view. In 1989, the good managed to prevail over the evil, an episode which culminated with the return to democracy and to free market economy and which inaugurated liberty, after half a century of "darkness" and repression. Nonetheless, during the first years of transition to democracy, under the popular pressure of rising political, social, economical expectations faced by the successor governments, still impotent to design or implement viable democratic mechanisms, disillusionment rapidly installed, and the black-and-white picture of 1989 was blurred by shades of gray. Hence, the prior regime ceased to be exclusively and irrefutably "the bad guy", for the simple reason it offered a sense of social security, equality and social justice the existing regime nowadays disregards almost completely. Moreover, people themselves proved to be frequently ambivalent and, on various grounds, those thought of as having resisted the communist repression turned out to be collaborators of the same regime. Finally, the desideratum of democracy came, for many ordinary individuals, with both liberty and poverty: no surprise, then, their disappointment. Therefore, the picture of transition became filled with numerous shades of gray, the situation was by no means so simple as thought before, so clear-cut and black-and-white. Another very narrow group bases its nostalgia on those recollections that are best described by Linda Hutcheon as "an attempt to defy the end, to evade teleology" (26). This group is composed of male, older individuals who are retired or in the eve of retirement, though still partially active in those fields which are generally allowing such a status (e.g. in the educational system, hence the study identified two high school teachers in the sample for Iasi who presented this type of nostalgia). In this case, the persistent negation of the criminal and illegitimate nature of state socialism (overall, 35.71% of the respondents in the first sample and 14.28% in the second sample refuted the criminal nature of the communist regime, while none of the respondents in both sample failed to identify the illegal character of the said regime) is generated not necessarily by a disappointment with the present, political and socio-economic, context--somehow, these people managed to cope with the "exigencies" of a free market economy and to enjoy the rights and liberties even the incipient democracy can provide--, but rather by an awkward fashion of remembering youth, in which youth identifies, even confounds to the vast period of communist dictatorship. The apologetic accounts on the period of Gheorghiu-Dej's and Ceausescu's rules interplait with the stories on the contact with the first job, on the building of a house and of a home (the wedding moment, then welcoming their children, etc.), on the beautiful manners of spending the leisure time (the recollections of the Saturday's balls, of the Sundays at cinema, in the town's/city's parks, at the zoo, cinemas, tea rooms, gas houses, etc.), etc. To this manner of recollecting the past, the desire of restoration or the installation of a strong leadership is associated: there is no wonder, hence, that "[w]hen they [i.e. this type of nostalgics] are asked what is need to put Romania right, they say 'an iron hand', 'a six-month military dictatorship', or 'Hitler, Stalin, and Vlad the Impaler rolled into one'." (27) The Czech novelist Ivan Klima explains the communist nostalgia of this sort: "They [i.e. ordinary citizens] miss the security of Communist times when they knew they would get a pension they could live off, prices were stable and they couldn't lose their flats or their jobs." (28) The longing for the irreversibly lost youth couples with the tendency towards authoritarian, strong leadership, in the case of this group of older people, bearing features of "nostalgic restorers". As Laurence Lerner perceptively observes in his "The Uses of Nostalgia" (29), the feeling of nostalgia, though a manifestation with a profound and complex internal expansion, is triggered rather externally, under the influence and pressure of several outside factors, mainly socio-economical externalities. Concurrently, the classical understanding of nostalgia changed, and "longing" for "returning home" becomes "the emotional response to deprivation, loss, and mourning" (30). But--inevitably turning back to the emotional, internally produced, dimension of nostalgia--is this disappointing, inadequate, incoherent, disordered, complicated, difficult, unintelligible present actually so ugly and inescapable as the nostalgic perceives it to be? A partial answer to this question can be accessed through the statistical data available for Eastern and Central Europe showing the socio-economic evolutions of the countries in this region following 1989 and the installation of free market mechanisms. The answers provided through the administration of the questionnaire isolate the group of students in the second sample, that composed of the respondents residing in Iasi. Their responses allow for a preliminary profile of the young individual born in 1989 (all student respondents are 22 years old)--thus, a person who lacks any recollection of the communist era--and offer a hint regarding this type's attitude in reference to the recent past, a past which he did not directly experience. Firstly, this category of respondents acknowledges the criminal (62.5%), sometimes illegal (75%), nature of the former regime, being aware of the repression practiced and coordinated by it (87.5%) and, most importantly, of the benefits the higher echelons of the Communist Party had enjoyed in respect to the bulk of the population (62.5%). Almost invariably, this group considers the installation of the communist regime in 1948' Romania as having a profound negative impact on the subsequent political and social development of the country (62.5%) and, fortunately, "communism", for these respondents, is synonymous with an essentially bad idea (87.5%). The large majority adopts a rather liberal stance in economic aspects, cherishing personal merit, as opposed to economic equality and social justice--two largely abandoned desiderata for the young generation. The responses provided show a definitive encouragement and support for the entry of internationally-manufactured products on the Romanian market (100%), and for well-stored shops, even in the context of rising prices (62.5%). Concurrently, a good job for this category of youngsters is a well-paid, though unstable, unsecured, one (83.33%). What is misleading and confusing for the further interpretation of the responses is these interviewees' attitude concerning the state and its role; the great majority of them preserves the same paternalistic image of the state as their parents and grandparents: the state should provide jobs for its citizens (53.84%), housing (15.38%), it is, in a nutshell, responsible for the social and economic advance of the citizens (50%) and for planning in economy(?) (23.07%). In the political realm, fortunately enough, the young respondents perceive democracy as the most desirable political regime; some (50%) still consider that, in special circumstances, an authoritarian regime, limited in time, might prove more efficient than democracy. Many (62.5%) are skeptical about the perspectives the future holds for their country, both economically and politically; most probably, they answered, Romania would not have evolved differently if differently governed. Interestingly, the future seems to evolve predominantly in a good direction at the individual, familial level (in the case of 75% of the respondents). It is true, the large majority of youngsters participating in the survey see themselves uninformed (37.5%) or, at best, poorly informed (62.5%) regarding the history of Romanian communism; the main sources of information concerning the topic remain the family (27.77%) and the school (22.22%), the media and the Internet (each with a proportion of 16.66%), documentaries and movies tackling the subject (11.11%), etc. The youngsters involved in the survey find pretty important or really important current issues in the Romanian Vergangenheitsbewaltigung: the teaching of the history of Romanian communism in schools (100%); the adoption of "vetting" procedures and lustration legislation (75%); the grant of compensations for the victims of communist repression (87.5%); granting free access to the Securitate files (75%); the construction of a National Museum of the Romanian Communist Dictatorship (75%); the establishment of a National Commemorative Day for the Victims of the Romanian Communist Regime (75%). According to the attitudes encrypted in the answers received, the group of students in Iasi does not display the symptomatic features of communist nostalgia, they are not "non-experiential" nostalgics: without being really informed about the history of communism, its significances and its legacy, these youngsters do realize--thanks to the influence of school and family during the primary political socialization--the profound negative imprint the defunct regime put on the contemporaneous Romanian society. For them, the past is gone and should be left as such, dilemmas regarding the issue of dealing with the painful past being largely neglected. A liberal, meritocratic stance in the economic sphere is combined, in their case, with an ambivalent, confusing (or, rather, confused?) attitude towards the state and the political system: the state should take over and coordinate in many fields, but, at the same time, ordinary people should get involved in the governance of the polity. The disappointment with the present political system (an average of 3.5 out of 10 would properly evaluate the Romanian democratic political system) and the skepticism regarding the future political evolution of the country (4.25 out of 10 is the grade that would characterize the Romanian political perspectives) is dissociated from any nostalgic, restorer desires. These youngsters do not trust the public institutions (they all indicated a low to very low general trust in authorities), but they strongly oppose a hypothetical military leadership (50% of the responses) or the perspective of communist restoration (50%). Living in a large urban site, being biologically advantaged (many job opportunities are available to young people), being highly educated or in the process of acquiring a superior specialization, generally unaware of the past and largely uninterested in it, this group of students in Iasi does not bear even the most subtle trace of nostalgic sentiment. The results are predictable enough and they fit to the general, normal, conventional pattern regarding different attitudes towards the past of subsequent generations, but they are strikingly divergent to the results for the first sample, that of those middle-aged workers in the small town. The interviews and questionnaires of the two samples reveal is more often than not in sharp contradiction with the statistical data above. Aspects revolving around relative deprivation might partially explain the discrepancy: it is the popular perception, sometimes distorted, augmenting or demining the significance of past or present events, that misses or counterfeits the social and economic achievements of transitional, developing democracy. The mischief and drawbacks of the free market economy and democratic procedures are overemphasized by nostalgic eyes. When the interviewees were confronted with the comparative results of the study conducted by the International Work Bureau (31), they were consternated, offensive. While countless studies of East-Central European realities have constantly emphasized the fact that, in real terms, the salaries and the prices for basic alimentary items (e.g. eggs, milk, bread, potatoes, oil, etc.) have remained largely the same to those of the communist period (32)--with a slight improvement in the purchase power and in the living standard of the population--, the respondents manifesting nostalgic sentiments still argue vividly that the socio-economic change exists and is expressed exclusively in negative, declining terms.

Considering the Geographical Dimension

In discussing the subtleties of communist nostalgia in Romania, a focal point is the geographical dimension of nostalgia, alongside its biological and social dimensions. The present paper combines aspects linked to the first and the third, while not neglecting or minimizing the importance of the second, which is nevertheless superficially dealt with here. This student-researcher starts from the assumption that in small to medium towns, as opposed to the big urban centers of the country, people confronted different problems, while the interpersonal relations were governed by slightly different rules and norms. The geographical nature of nostalgia plays a peculiar role, triggering both internally- and externally-generated factors. Firstly, living in small towns in communist Romania, as opposed to large cities, has always posed significantly diminished economic problems. Secondly, in smaller to medium communities, despite the consecrated theory of "surveillance"-type society as inherent in towns that are more alike to villages, the actual surveillance and the penetration abilities of the secret police were greatly diminished in comparison to the capital-city, for instance, or any other larger urban establishment, which were the sites of central or regional institutions, official bureaus, state departments, public offices. As a result, in small towns, the repression, though irrefutably present, was considerably less harsh, being diffused and diluted, especially in the context in which people knew each other and were more reluctant in unleashing violence towards familiar faces. At the same time, geographical identification or the actual existence of some sort of "urban consciousness" is difficult to demonstrate, even in the case of small communities. This is the reason why some tightly linked variables of social background and social category should be added to this process of stratifying multiple types of nostalgic and non-nostalgic individuals. Firstly, one can reasonably refer to a "class consciousness", in the sense that it is more predictably that randomly chosen members of a social class or category may have experienced the same problems and difficulties during state socialism; the same could be verifiably argued about individuals coming from resembling family milieux, with similar social backgrounds. Furthermore, one can quite clearly assume that representatives of the same social category might construct similar recollections of the past and might hold alike perceptions and attitudes, might nurture the same feelings about the past, based on coinciding present socio-economic individual realities and past experiences. For instance, it might be--to some extent, correctly assumed--that workers, regardless of their geographical identification, share the same experience of the recent totalitarian past and its alleged social benefits and, subsequently, they might manifest some form of nostalgia, since the defunct regime offered them a sense of social justice and equality. At the same time, some workers might have adapted themselves to the new realities of the free market economy or might have gone through professional reconversion in the years of transition, etc., and, according to their present socio-economic status, their recollections of the past might unveil true non-nostalgic individuals. Perplexingly gravitating around victims of the regime and, consequently, their terrible recollections of the past, and constant crying of "it was better before', one may tend to find this discrepancy of perspectives quite disturbing and troubling. At the same time, those too many caught, during the ancien regime, in the so-called "gray zone" (33) are inclined to viciously pendulate between a positive reevaluation of the past and a clean and sound adaptation to the present realities. Some sort of "Rashomon effect" can better describe this strange and complicated instance: the past accounts of both the victims and the representatives of the "gray zone" are the products, the emanations of individuals living the same experience, i.e. that of the communist dictatorship, of state socialism, but whose perceptions and recollections of the said experience are so different, even contrasting, often extremely divergent, incompatible, irreconcilable, opposing, hardly complementary.

Observations on the Results and Findings

From the manifestation of a phenomenon which is difficult to explain and whose extent is problematic in measuring and quantifying, a series of conclusions and observations still transpire. As presented, though marking undoubtedly and implacably the nostalgic sentiments, the socioeconomic impact of transition is not sufficient to explain the magnitude of post-communist nostalgia, in spite of the shock produced by the free market economy and its exigencies. Although the large majority of the interviewees, regardless of their geographical identification and the social category to which they belong, tend to expose the economic vicissitudes they experienced after 1989, the externally-generated, objective factors play a complementary and secondary role in triggering and developing wistful feelings towards the defunct communist regime. On the other hand, the psychological, subjective, felt, perceived implications of the economical and social transformations after 1989 augmented the sentiments of relative deprivation of the citizens responding the proposed questionnaire and, subsequently and unavoidably, generated nostalgia.

As expected, the sample from Tecuci provides a hotbed of nostalgia for communism. The interviewees appear as trapped in the ruinous social mechanisms of the defunct regime, incapable of identifying and articulating the veritable drawbacks and shortages of the communist dictatorship, while at the same time vigorously and vocally counting the numerous political, socio-economic and moral handicaps of the transitional democracy. Clearly enough, when asked to evaluate comparatively their socio-economic conditions during and after state socialism, the respondents of this sample positively referred to the period prior to 1989, while negatively arguing on the democratic transition. The situation is definitely inverted when the members of the sample were asked about: being free to say or write what one thinks or believes, to decide for oneself about religious, political, economic, cultural orientations, to form or to join any group, organization or association one wants, to decide whether or not to become involved into politics, etc. The large majority of the sample nuances its responses, by stating they indeed feel freer in the present than before. Hence, the respondents do make intrinsically--through their responses--the central distinction between negative and positive liberties (34). What they generally miss--or rather rank differently--is the importance of the two and the precedence, evident in the Western culture, of the former over the later. In the difficult years of an acerbic capitalism that followed after the communist breakdown and against the background of a specific political culture developed by the former regime and internalized by the population, a culture that clearly offered prevalence to social security to the detriment of individual freedom, better evaluating the common good over the particular interest of the individual, the large proportion of the Romanian population--out of which the sample was selected--displayed a terrible malaise towards the newly installed democracy. The respondents of the first sample, composed of workers to a bakery in Tecuci, tend to perceive the system of the free market economy as a species of "ferocious capitalism", in which those few exploiting and robbing the bulk of the population and the "richness of the country" are the only successful ones, in a mechanism in which social justice and the ideal of equality are neglected, disregarded, dishonoured. Communism was, after all, "a good idea badly implemented" (50% of the respondents) and its accomplishments for the now-impoverished classes were numerous and truly remarkable. The great number of the interviewees' accounts point to the fact that "during the Ceausescu regime, every single individual had a job", as compared to the current context in which 7.3% of the population is unemployed. Concerning the first sample, composed of middle-aged workers in a bakery from a small town, one would be immediately inclined to assess that such respondents lived wonderfully during the "golden era" of Ceausescu's rule. Drawing exclusively from their accounts on the recent past during the interviews, every observer tends to reason that such an assertion is verifiable and justifiable and might prove to be correct. However, one should start from the premise that none of the respondents, be they workers in a small town or high school teachers in a big city, can detachedly provide an objective account on the past, with a permanent tendency towards coldblooded analysis. Rather, people have to be convinced that what they actually lived was a repressive, criminal, illegitimate and illegal regime. Convincing one individual who lived half or more than half of his life under dictatorship, that dictatorship is contrary to fundamental human rights, contrary to the human nature itself is an unnecessary, futile Sisyphus's task, simply because perceptions upon which pieces of oral history are constructed are well-entrenched, unbreakable structures in the mental construction of an individual. In this sense, it is even harder to explain to the interviewees of the first sample, for instance, about the sufferings of the alleged "enemies of the people" during the Stalinist-styled repression, for such stories and explanations seem so foreign to them, like being detached from another period. The general conclusion among the respondents regarding this particular aspect--i.e. that of the communist repression--is that the stories on the victims of repression and their sufferings are "highly overrated" and "exaggerated" (35); moreover, according to the responses received, the victims bear a guilt of having incited the authorities through their provocative attitude, of having practically self-inflicted their sufferings and hardships. The extent of the regime's repression and oppression is refuted, negated, and its victims are repudiated in the imaginarium of this study's respondents. The situation is quite different in the case of cooptation and collaboration: the interviewees do admit the existence of such mechanisms of interaction between the regime and its citizen and even tend to explain in bold and rich details the fashion in which these processes took place. One can also take into consideration the expectations the subjects in the first sample bore during the communist dictatorship and the evolution of these expectations up to the present moment, in a market economy, in a still consolidating democracy. For once, one cannot argumentatively sustain that this first group of the inquiry--the workers in a small town--, exactly like many others who tend to positively evaluate the recent past, forgot the atrocities of the repressive regime they lived under for half a century. They simply did not experience them. Instead, for whatever reason, they fail to mention the short--as well as propagandistic--TV programme, the constant threat of being arrested for any negative remark towards the government, the inaccessibility of the much praised Western culture and way of life, the daily queues, etc. In the interviewees' recollections of the past, such fragments were expurgated--consciously or unconsciously--, and the communist "landscape" is colored accordingly, bright and shiny in these people's memories. They are ordinary people, of no high aspirations, expressing no significant or great expectation during state socialism: for instance, since there was no interest and no desire for them to travel abroad, the right to free move being constantly infringed by state socialism was no headache for them. Hence, in a largely restrictive context, this group was provided by the regime according to the expectations it yielded. This was particularly the case starting with mid-60s up to the second half of the 80s. People were generally satisfied and pleased with what the regime offered them in terms of both negative freedoms, but most importantly, of social security. One should also consider the fact that, for older generations, the "modernizing-nationalizing communist dictatorship" (36) in Romania was modernizing indeed, in the sense that it went beyond the expectations of the lower classes, of the workers specifically. During the last years of communist rule, when the overall living standards dramatically decreased, informal relations, linkages, connections and interpersonal networks were put into practice. These mechanisms lied at the basis of a quite peculiar fashion of evading the hardships imposed by the regime, especially in the case of rationed food and gas. The interviewees describe a sort of incipient "second economy", in which exchange of goods was illegally pursued through well-established acquaintances in "strategic" places (shops, town-halls, inspectorships, etc.) that would facilitate the life under the last half a decade of state socialism. Some interviewees proudly assured the interviewer they had never queued for anything, the food and gas rationing at the end of the 80s had not affected them for a moment. The interviewer even felt a sense of contempt in their tone for those "who did not know to carry it off well", "the stupid ones" who actually queued. Subsequently, when the discussions with the elements of the two samples developed and became customary, the majority of them acknowledged that they had queued for "yogurt and milk since 1984". (37) (Even admitting the queues, many of them have not considered this practice as an infringement of the regime in their basic individual rights, simply because part of them, the older ones, had also experienced the wartime in their early childhood and, hence, "everything was better than the period spent at my mother's house" (38).) During the interview, the student-researcher ventured in an exercise, for establishing the interviewees' perceptions regarding official comparative studies on the former and the current socio-economic situation in Romania. In this sense, a study conducted by the International Work Bureau (39), demonstrating the fact that the salaries on different occupational (professional) categories remained largely the same to those in the 70s (taking as a referential point the exchange rate of the US dollar), was employed, and the respondents' opinion was asked concerning the findings of the said study. Vigorous and passionate debate was stirred by this inquiry and its results: the reliability of the entire study, together with the expertise of the researchers elaborating it, were immediately and vividly questioned and contested by a significant part of the first group, while the second sample remained largely balanced in "pros and cons" references regarding the study. One can penetrate, nevertheless, from the attitudes displayed during the exercise and from the overall interview, a sense of profound socio-economic frustration in the case of both samples. One should take into consideration that the members of the lower social classes manifest a greater degree of frustration: it became clear that the workers in the bakery, especially the elder ones, hold more vehement attitudes towards the present economic situation. In perceiving nostalgia as a response to socio-political inefficiency of the transitional regime--as opposed to nostalgia as a natural phenomenon inherent in any society which retrospects to an "ancien regime" and immanent to an individual pendulating between two facets of reality--, the main independent variable shifts from age to social and economic status. The socio-economic identification becomes central in this understanding of nostalgia as externally-generated mechanism of remembrance, coupled with the sense of geographical identification discussed above. Hence, the generational cleavage, the conflict between "old" and "young", changes in the conflict between "the losers" and "the winners" of the new regimes, between the "nouveaux riches" and the "nouveaux pauvres", emerging in the period of democratization. From the interviews and the responses received to the questionnaire, a general perception in this sense can easily be noticed: the number of rich individuals has increased in the last twenty years, but paradoxically so did the number of those whose living standard has gradually deteriorated. While some have rapidly adapted themselves to the new economic rules of free market, others have failed to do so. Therefore, the social gap has widened and the economic differences between social classes and categories (in terms of wages and incomes) have considerably increased, becoming conspicuous. The image of the two communist leaders is ambivalent in the mindset of the respondents. Perceptions of the two leaders were considered in the questionnaire because, as a rule, the nostalgic feelings of individuals are directed towards a strong leader, whose figure had been augmented by a well-conducted cult of personality. The fashion in which people refer to the leader of the ancien regime is instrumental in measuring the degree and the type of nostalgia those people actually display. For the young ones, a lack of information on the topic and misleading accounts of their parents are obviously transpiring from their answers to the questions on Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej and Nicolae Ceausescu. Though all of them know who the persons bearing these names were, 92.85% and 78.57% consider that Gheorghiu-Dej and Ceausescu, respectively, did both good and bad things for the country; the figures indicate clearly an ambiguity sprung from lack of knowledge and distorted images transmitted in the family. But the ambivalent, dualist character of the leader maintains in the opinions of the middle-aged and of the older respondents: 45.45% and 63.63% of the respondents between 35 to 55 years old from both samples and 33.33% and 100% of the respondents older than 55 years old believe that Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej and Nicolae Ceausescu, respectively, did both good and bad things as Romania's leaders. What is surprising is the respondents' attitude regarding the manner in which the democratic state should deal with the recent past. A significant proportion of those questioned (in the first sample, 50% find it very important and 50% important; in the second sample, 57.14% evaluated it as very important and 42.85% as important) acknowledges the imperative of introducing the study of the history of communism in schools, regardless of their actual attitude towards the communist past. It should be also noticed that the exclusive group of the "nostalgic-restorers" is rather prudent and cautious with respect to the necessity of teaching the history of Romanian communism in the public system of education, since, it would presumably imply that an entire "nation" is made responsible of the communist crimes: teaching the lesson of Romanian state socialism is not a means of dealing with the past, by acknowledging the historical reality and assuming responsibility for a problematic legacy, but rather a way of imposing collective guilt. Otherwise, the respondents declared themselves in favor of a series of policies specific to transition and to the process of democratization, that are meant to provide closure to the victims of oppressive totalitarianism, reconciliation between victims of repression and communist perpetrators (mainly the Party nomenklatura and the Securitatea cadres), eventually to provide the peaceful reckoning with the recent past. Concretely, these policies and transitional justice measures refer to the passing and application of a lustration law (or "vetting" legislation), to the founding of a National Museum of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania, to the annual celebration of a "Day for the Commemoration of the Victims of the Romanian Communist Regime", the founding of an Institute for Researching the Communist Crimes and Abuses, etc. The considerable majority of the respondents in the two samples supports such policies, despite some marked nostalgic references in the interviews. Though this situation is definitely paradoxical and confusing by its clear contradiction, these last attitudes, i.e. approving, being in favor or, at least, not denying the above policies, represent probably the only sound ones for a healthy transition to democracy--in terms of transitional justice and the politics of remembrance. The domains in which state socialism had a positive impact are generally indicated as being economy (especially for the respondents in the first group, 25% of the responses) and education (particularly for the units of the second sample and due to the fact that they work within the educational system, their evaluations are prone to concern this field, a similar 25% of the responses). 31.25% of the respondents in each of the two samples pointed to the international position of Romania as state socialism's most positive aspect. The negative implications of the defunct regime are to be found, according to the responses, in the field of internal affairs (33.33% of the respondents in the first sample) and with respect to the position of the individual within the society (the same 33.33% of the responses in the second sample). While the second answer is self-evident, explanations regarding the preference for the first response are outside the reach of this study, though it might be intriguing the fact that the interviewees in the first sample preferred such a response against allegedly more pertinent ones, such as "the position of the individual within the society". In addition, many of the responses point to the Soviet Union and to the great Western powers as those entities having the decisive role in the installation of state socialsm in Romania following the Second World War; the role of the Romanian Communist Party is, as official historical accounts tend to favor as well, refuted or neglected. So it is the role of the Romanian population in the Communist seizure of power. Most of the respondents in the middle-aged subsample (45.45%) admit the fact that they are little informed about the history of Romanian communism, that they rarely speak about communism in the family, with their coworkers or with their friends. They recognize the importance of teaching about history of communism in Romania (some 72.72% find it indeed quite important), since they themselves have drawn their feeble knowledge on the topic from school--expectedly, they had learned a completely different "history" than the one to be taught today regarding communism--and from films and documentaries. As opposed to the younger interviewees, the middle-aged respondents attribute an average grade of 7 out 10 for the former socialist economic system, planned and centralized, a 5 out of 10 for the present marketeconomy system and a 4 out of 10 for the future economic evolution of the country; the evaluations regarding the political systems are equally pessimistic, as the same is applied for the general evaluation of the political regime: an average of 5 out of 10 dominates the appreciations of the middle-aged respondents (i.e. for the political system between 1948 and 1989, for the communist regime, for the present democratic regime, for the future evolution of the political regime in 5 to 10 years); today's political system is evaluated at 4 out of 10, while the future evolution of the Romanian political system receives a 6 out of 10. It is important to note that, employing the age as independent variable, one can observe that, generally, the middle-aged respondents (6) are slightly more optimistic in their evaluation of the future evolution of the political system than the younger ones (4.25); this thin discrepancy can be explained by a general trust and hope older generations nurture towards the younger ones and to the latter's capacity to operate change in leadership and society. The young ones are usually more reluctant when it comes to their actual ability--and willingness--to trigger positive, beneficial transformations. Also, having lived the communist times (especially, the last years), the middle-aged perceive the manner in which democracy functions presently in Romania as satisfactory, while the majority of youngsters participating in the survey (50%) evaluate the fashion in which the Romanian democracy functions as not very satisfactory (35.71%) and unsatisfactory (14.28%). As it is, younger generations bear higher aspirations regarding the course of democracy and its efficiency than the older ones. There is also another observation to consider: nostalgia might be not necessarily and exclusively a popular response to the failure of transitional democracies to generate welfare, as it could have been seen predominantly from the interviews, but also from questioning the two samples (with a special emphasis on the one from Tecuci, where this externally-generated nostalgia is evident and overwhelming). It might be as well a clear proof of a legitimation crisis, i.e. the impossibility, the inability of the present political leadership to impose itself against the remote, obsolete figures of the communist dictatorship. The above political references--to Stalin, to Vlad the Impaler, etc.--, coupled with the positive (or, at best, ambivalent) evaluations the two communist dictators still enjoy among the respondents, translate the incapacity of nowadays' democratic leaders to replace, in the popular mindsets, the image of an autocratic, "iron hand" leader, perceived by the radical nostalgics as the only salvation to the decadence and the poverty that dominate the present. Cases of high-level corruption (many of the respondents in the two samples denounced corruption as one of the major perils of today's Romanian developing democracy), a perceived acute elite-masses dichotomy (in which the former enjoy too many privileges and immunities and distance themselves too much from the "vulg", from the commoners; 42.85% of the respondents in the first sample and 14.28% in the second sample understand politics as an activity reserved to elites, in which the ordinary citizen has only a marginal, rather insignificant role), too complex and complicated democratic procedures (unreachable and largely uncomprehensible for the general public, as the responses among the two samples have confirmed)--all these, and many other, flaws of transitional democracy determine its own crisis of legitimacy in the public eye. Nostalgia, through its selective memory of the past, through its escapism, passivism and fatalistic facade, becomes an alternative in this context, generating, in turn, disappointment expressed in low levels of electoral turnout, disinterest in and a passive stance concerning the public (i.e. political) sphere, and a general distrust in the relationship between citizens and authorities (all the respondents in both samples declared a low to very low trust in authorities). It is important to notice that, while nostalgia can install quickly and easily, being the most general and natural sentiment that follows dissatisfaction and disappointment with the existing regime--excepting, probably, revolt and violence--, a considerable segment of the respondents, particularly in the second sample (drawn from the city among those pursuing largely intellectual activities: students, teachers, 64.28% of the responses), but in the first sample as well (78.57% of the respondents), do not manifest conspicuously a desire towards communist restoration, probably because they are active persons in economic terms and their views are, thusly, moderate. It seems that the most powerful images from the landscape of the defunct regime, to which the respondents feel emotionally attached to, refer to the private life rather than the public life (only 11.53% of the respondents feel emotionally linked to public manifestations, national celebrations, cenacles, parades, etc., where participation was more often than not compulsory). Those memories that are affectively charged are connected to the general atmosphere at the workplace, to those benefits outside the immediate sphere of work (wage bonuses, for instance): excursions, trips within the country, vacations, etc. 53.84% of the respondents in the first sample and 30.76% of the respondents in the second sample found themselves affectively close to the sweet memory of a holiday to the seaside or at the mountains, or to the time spent in the town's/ city's parks, zoos, cinemas, tea rooms, gas houses, etc., with the family. Hence, it might be assumed that the retreat within the private sphere--encouraged to some extent by the regime, during its last phase, and leading to the atomized society, to a communist paradoxical "Gesellschaft" (40) --and enjoying the material benefits of the private life generated, in the popular mindsets, a neglect towards the overall picture of the communist regime, towards its actual dangers and its illegitimate, illegal and criminal overtones. On these pieces of private life and happy family life, the remembrance of communist is constructed. Part of the present inquiry is dedicated to the general knowledge about communism the respondents posses; it could be hypothesized that some historical information could ponder the nostalgic outbursts. Becoming aware of the ravages of the communist rule can hamper the spread of wistful feelings and the desire of regime restoration. Some general questions regarding the extent to which people get informed about communism and the fashion in which this type of information manages to get disseminated were inserted with the purpose of measuring if knowledge on what communism actually represented is able to reduce or annihilate nostalgia or at least to alter the positive evaluation of the former regime. Hence, the respondents were asked about the entities involved in the installment of the communist regime in Romania, about the institutions implicated in the political repression, about the means and channels of information regarding communism, about the frequency of discussions about communism with family and friends, at school and at the workplace. Linear correlations based on the responses indicated a weak connection between the level of historical information one individual has on communism and his attitude on, his evaluation of the ancien regime (r = 0.215). Otherwise, 60.86% of the respondents in the first sample and 68.42% in the second one indicated the Soviet Union as being mainly responsible for the instauration of the communist regime in Romania, while 85.71% of the answers in each of the two samples acknowledged the existence of repression in the period 1948-1989, indicating the Securitate (43% out of the total of responses) and the police ('Militia") (29.23%) as the institutions conducting the communist repression in Romania. Averagely, mass-media is clearly dominant when it comes to the means of information about the recent past: 20% in the sample for Tecuci and 13.79% in the sample for Iasi (mainly due to the large number of students participating in the survey, as compared to teachers). Pieces of information are drawn, as well, from books (8% in the first sample and 24.13% in the second one), films (24% and 13.79%), Internet (4% and 10.34%). Two agents with a marked role in socialization were introduced among the alternatives of response: family and school. The later was added in response to the high percentage of students within the second sample, that for Iasi; indeed, the assumption verified itself, since 17.24% of the answers in the second sample indicated school as one of the most frequently used sources of information regarding the history of Romanian communism. The former (28% of the responses in the first sample, 20.68% in the second sample) is central for the topic inquired here, for it generally provides an already based account on communism, filtered through the glace of subjectivity: it displays probably the greatest rate of biasness among the sources listed in the questionnaire. One can presuppose that acquiring information about the history of communism from a nostalgic family might directly lead, on the part of youngsters, to a positive evaluation of an unlived past, of a dictatorial regime. It is commonsensical that the new generation of young nostalgic persons, presented above, emerged from primary political socialization within the family. For the selected samples, 27.77% of the young respondents in Iasi drew their knowledge of communist history from the family. This proportion should be correlated with the frequency of discussions on communism within the family (7.14% of the respondents in the first sample and 21.42% in the second sample discuss quite frequently and frequently about the topic). Generally, the respondents tend to neglect the topic of communist past in their current discussions with friends (92.85% in the first sample and 85.71% in the second sample discuss it rarely to never), at school or at the workplace (rarely to never at all for 100% in both the sample of Tecuci and the sample of Iasi). Probably, this is the reason why the large majority of the respondents, particularly in the first sample (92.85%), but significant in the sample for Iasi, as well (78.57%), feel rather uninformed or little informed regarding the history of communism in Romania. A lack of information in respect to the recent past becomes the preliminary step in constructing a misleading image on the same past. Where knowledge lacks, nostalgia takes place.

Final Remarks and Conclusions

The observations drawn from the interviews and the data gathered through the written questionnaires hardly can verify the dependency of the levels of nostalgic feelings to a specific geographical identification. It is true, from the responses, one can distinguish a different mindset, a different fashion of perceiving the recent past, the current situation and the future in terms of political and socio-economic perspectives. The easiest to grasp is a deeper sense of socio-economic frustration among the respondents in the small town, as compared to the ones living in the city, especially due to the discrepancy of economical opportunities the two urban entities can offer. A deep psychological depression would rather characterize some of the respondents--particularly workers, middle-aged, living in the small town, with no links to the surrounding rural area, hence living exclusively out of the monthly salary--; this specific group presents a special case of nostalgia towards the ancien regime, a nostalgia mixed with the painful acknowledgement of its falling social status and economic condition and its effete morale. Through a low salary, through the general disrespect displayed by the employer towards their work, through the dissolution of social unity among the workers, through the disappearance of trade unionism in their professional field, through the overall decrease in importance of their handicraft, skills or profession for the economy, the people in this category continue to see themselves as persistently undermined by an economic and political system which, by being incapable to provide for them and to respect their social and economic rights--paramount for the social class to which they belong and so cherished (at least declaratively) by the communist regime--, neglects and even breaches their civil and political rights. Observing the challenges posed on the consolidating democracies of East-Central Europe by the socio-economic disparities of postcommunism, Claus Offe explains this attitude at the grassroots: "[P]eople do not want to wait until the blessings of the market economy reach them too and the shock waves of the transition have subsided. And nor are they willing to see the new economic elites (which may often be composed of elements of the old ones) becoming rich at their expense. In this mixture of fear, resentment and envy they are encouraged by their own dispositions acquired under the old regime, as well as by the interested parties in the 'conservative' circles of the old political elites." (41) Generally, the middle-aged represent the generation born, educated, schooled and trained under communist rule, one of those generations which, during the first years of transition, missed the opportunity to radically change their existence by rapidly and efficiently adapting to the new rules of market economy. The acknowledgement of this failure--the respondents in this category speak of a "moment of grace" at the beginning of the 90s, a missed turning point--adds to the overall discouraged and pessimistic attitude towards the present and the future. For such a type of nostalgic, what lacks is the security for tomorrow, equality in social-economic terms, the state providing welfare for its citizens and at least the promise of social justice. What annoys this group of people is the disappearance of that society "in which a labour market is unknown and the overwhelming majority of the adult population consist of so-called Werktatige (working people [...]) with similar incomes and uniformly regulated educational, housing and living standards, competitive democracy lacks, due to this 'atomized' social structure of 'repressed difference' [...]"; of that society in which the ordinary citizen did not have to bother himself with the complexities and subtleties of democratic procedure (57.14% of the respondents in the first sample and 21.42% of the respondents in the second sample sincerely confessed the fact that the complicated democratic procedures pose significant difficulties for their full comprehension). The very idea that a human being must individually and freely pursue the way in which he wants to live (especially from a social and economic standpoint) is still puzzling and confusing for many respondents: 69.23% in the first sample and 71.42% in the second sample consider that the state should provide a job, housing, in a nutshell social security; for this group of respondents, the model of the minimal state is virtually inconceivable. Conversely, the state should be in every domain of citizen's life, the state should be the paradigm of "supervisor, arbiter, entrepreneur and initiator" (42) at the same time: every large-scale investment or activity in economy should still be carried out by the state, hence, social engineering and economic development is exclusively the task of the state; the state is still perceived as bearing discretionary powers in the political realm and its authority is never really challenged, since, anyway, the ordinary citizens cannot significantly influence government policies and decisions, the elections are usually rigged, and politics is the parties' appanage, whose leaders are the ones to take the really important decisions; moreover, state authority is seen to be underpinned by a very complex bureaucratic apparatus and, since procedures and rules are rather complex and complicated, their manipulation for achieving personal interests (corruption, favorism, patronage politics, clientelism, nepotism, peculation of public money, etc.) flourish in a system characterized by the interviewees by excessive legalism, but with no internalized norms and relations of legal-rational and democratic fashion. This is the general representation of the political system after 1989 constructed in the imaginarium of a specific group of respondents, that one can grasp from the answers delivered in the questionnaire. The overall perspective of taking risks (because, after all, this is how "capitalism" can better be described) is equally foreign and dangerous for this group of respondents, while "communism" is remembered of having allowed men to live decently without them taking risks. In addition, since all men received approximately the same salaries, no social disparities, discrepancies and inequalities were possible. Hence, according to these responses, exactly that "repressed difference", which Schopflin writes about, is one important gain of the defunct regime that was tragically lost after 1989: nowadays, the future is unsecure, blurred, unclear, nebulous. Actually, the geographical identification acts rather as a secondary independent variable, as an aggravating factor for communist nostalgia. It affected a series of preconditions (e.g. the extent of repression, the relations between the inhabitants and the communist authorities, the relations at school, at the workplace, the actual degree of material hardships during the last years of dictatorship, etc.) that favored, after the fall of the regime, the evaluations of the recent past of ordinary individuals. Its influence is felt in some of the responses (for instance, asked whether or not the high echelons of the Party had benefited of a range of privileges as compared to the bulk of the population, the respondents provided disproportionately answers that linked them to their geographical provenience: 64.28% answered affirmatively in the sample for Tecuci, while 71.42% answered the same in the sample from Iasi). But, generally, the geographical identification proves less pertinent as an independent variable in measuring citizens' positive evaluations of the past or the desire for regime restoration. It might, indeed, have an irrefutable impact on the everyday life of individuals under state socialism, on the social satisfaction, economical conditions and the living standard of the inhabitants in today's Romania, and, eventually, on some particular sentiments in respect to the past, present and future; but, it remains surpassed in relevance by other, more significant, independent variables for researching communist nostalgia (i.e. age, educational level, socio-economic status, etc.). In addition, one can refer to differences in experiencing and evaluating the communist past, relative to geographical identification, when discussing the extent of informal networks within the dynamics of the "second economy" (or "black economy") and the mechanisms of favours and nepotism. Such informal constructs were dominant and clearly more prominent in the small towns, in small-to-medium communities. Naturally, an analysis of the data gathered through the questionnaires and the interviews drawn from two small samples presenting marked differences in terms of social-economic (i.e. workers, on the one hand, and students and high school teachers, on the other hand) and geographical (i.e. the small town of Tecuci vs. the biggest city of Moldavia, Iasi) identifications, would result in the generalizing conjecture that the Romanian population, imbued with the "nostalgic neurosis", is both confused and insolent to the level of masochism, since it desires a communist restoration in which it was constantly humiliated, abused, oppressed, repressed. By analyzing exclusively the data collected through the interviews, the evidences might seem either shocking or warring for a sound mind. As Jean Starobiski observed in a 1966' study, nostalgia is, after all, "a disorder of the imagination" (43), incurable illness of the spirit. But, this is not to say that entire populations of Eastern, Southern and Central Europe are mad in their awkward nostalgia; the oral interviews were meant to nuance the black-and-white perspective on the past and the present sketched in the short answers to the questionnaire. Engaged in an interview, the respondents are inclined to in-depth reflection about their actual situation during state socialism and in democracy. The conclusions they reach are rather different from the answers in the questionnaire; their attitudes are rather moderate, their posture--relaxed. This observation holds true especially for the middle-aged who are less radical in their approach towards the past (they were only 15 to 25 years old in 1989, too young to construct a coherent political affiliation or undertaking) and who tend to reformulate their arguments towards the "golden (communist) past" and the "dark (capitalist) present" when asked about episodes which are representative to their view on communist realities. Increasingly, what Rossen Vassilev describes for the Eastern European countries as "the Soviet chic" finds an awkward peculiarity in the Romanian case, even after more than twenty years since the regime change, in the conditions of a truly problematic socio-economic situation among the Romanian citizens: "There is a great disillusionment with the failed promises of the 1989 revolutions, which have brought a rapid decline in living standards for the majority of former Communist citizens. The widespread exasperation with the impoverishment, corruption, street crime and general social chaos that have accompanied the transition to market-oriented capitalism and Western-style democracy has produced a growing nostalgia for the Communist past among many ordinary people (who are not part of their countries' new cosmopolitan and pro-Western elites), as they look back with increasing fondness to the 'good old times' of Communism--a disturbing trend across the region popularly known as the 'Soviet chic'." (44) Vassilev's explanation is instrumental in describing the symptomatic features of the majority of the respondents in the first sample. The findings of the present study tends to contradict Romanian sociologist Dumitru Sandu's explanations that "those who [feel] communist nostalgia are neither older nor less educated, nor poorer, [but they are] those who had lived a privileged life during the communist regime" (45). The administered questionnaire and the interviews partly refute this opinion. It has been observed that the respondents who displayed the most powerful nostalgic sentiments are those in the first sample, the representatives of middle-aged, of lower and lower-middle classes (i.e. workers in a bakery), with relatively reduced wages, bearing a problematic, generally cast aside social status, inhabitants of a small town, confronting the feeling of being trapped in a totally disadvantageous space, with no opportunities to pursue, lacking any perspective of socio-economic improvement or advance. Therefore, it might be concluded that the profile of nostalgic is liable to include those older--or, more exactly and frequently, middle-aged--, less educated, poorer individuals. One might add to this repertoire of features the belonging to smallto-medium towns, that are usually disregarded as provincial spaces. In the contemporary era, history means not necessarily a strict systematization, a clear valorization and a scientific operationalization of concepts and dates, carefully and methodically accumulated for the common knowledge of humanity, but rather an appeal to the collective memory of common people, be they witnesses, bystanders, perpetrators, victims, survivors, etc. Though the limitations and the numerous drawbacks of composing histories on collective memory were constantly and persistently voiced by historians (the incomplete, amnesiac, or excessive accounts, contradictory or, conversely, too congruent in constructing a specific representation of the events, the countless subjective motivations, the inner resorts, that drive an individual in presenting a certain kind of story, etc.), judgemental considerations are by no means foreign to historians themselves either. Guilty of having committed arbitrariness and subjectivism under the beautiful disguise of apparently irrefutable evidence and unbeatable arguments, "official" histories, i.e. the consecrated, largely accepted, versions of the story, are hardly less biased or jaundiced than the results of oral historical inquiries, and rarely more righteous to all the participants to a historical event. Nevertheless, simply by being "official" and scientifically-based, they hold the legitimacy necessary to explain some actors' motivations and justifications behind decisions that are bound to change the course of history (if such a "course" exists). Hence, while official historical accounts have the merit of storing about decisions which mark implacably the lives of millions of human beings, oral histories retain the "privilege" of telling the story of those whose lives were influenced by great resolutions, those individuals whose personal decisions affected a quite limited number of other individuals. Moreover, what is peculiar to this kind of historical exercises are exactly their disclosed subjective nature, their individualized character, the beautifulness and the specific color of the language in which memories of personally-felt historic or personal episodes are voiced: it is the often lost significance of the special feeling of a lived, physically and emotionally, event, that stands as a nota bene for emanations of oral history; this sentiment is, indeed, fractured, repressed, substituted, mixed or blended together, even neglected by official pieces of historiography. The discrepancies between the two types of accounts are more often than not troubling, perplexing, warring or disturbing for historians and social researchers, as one may easily see from the inquiry above. But this is how memory works: a mixture of recollections, blended in an original and personal fashion, a mixture in which historical "truth" (if such a "truth" exists, once again) only fragilely and discreetly gleams. The pieces of oral history the paper employs as the basis for its conclusions and observations might be, to some extent, disappointing for the reader: no amazing and fantastic stories are told, no lesson on brave survival and courageous resistance is taught. Both samples selected are deliberately composed of individuals outside the narrow minority of 3% of the Romanian society who considers itself personally affected by the ancien regime. Hence, the respondents are ordinary individuals who were part of the broad "gray zone" during state socialism.

A revival of the positive appreciations towards the defunct regime is not striking during socio-economic crises and recessions. Such a rebirth of nostalgia is clearly and irrefutably externally-generated and represents a response to social and economic hardships. Nevertheless, psychological factors (including biological and geographical dimensions), coupled with a poor knowledge of the communist past and its significance and implications are points in case. When dealing with nostalgic phenomena, one should take into consideration three main types of explanatory frameworks: (1) economic, (2) ideological and (3) experiential (46). While the present inquiry insisted on a largely economic explanatory model, the ideological explanation identifies the nostalgic individuals as those who "understood better something they had known", those who resonated with the egalitarian ideal and with the desideratum of social justice. Finally, experiential explanations refer specifically to those who, according to their own evaluation, did not suffer any kind of state oppression/repression during state socialism.

Annexes

1. The construction of the samples: samples of convenience

1.2. The structure of the samples

                  Geographical     Occupation     Educational
                  identification                  background

Sample 1          Tecuci--14       workers in a   high-school
                  respondents      bakery         studies--6
                                   factory--14

                                                  professional
                                                  studies--8

Sample 2          Iasi--14         high-school    university
                  respondents      teachers--6    studies--14

                                   MA students
                                     --8

                          Age                 Gender

Sample 1          14 to 35 years old--6       male--5

                                              female--9
                  36 to 55 years old--5

                  more than 55 years old--3

Sample 2          14 to 35 years old--8       male--5

                  36 to 55 years old--6       female--9

                  more than 55 years old--0


2. The general results of the questionnaire (below, the most relevant responses were codified into percentages; the totality of responses were codified in a SPSS database)

Q1: "About communism, one can say it was: (total no. of answers: 28)

                                              Sample 1   Sample 2

a good idea, but wrongly applied      32,14%   50,00%     14,28%
a good idea, properly applied         17,85%   14,28%     21,48%
a bad idea                            50,00%   35,71%     64,28%
a bad idea don't know/ don't answer    0,00%    0,00%      0,00%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Q4: Do you think that the installation of the communist regime in
Romania at the end of WWII was...?

                                    Sample 1   Sample 2

A good thing               3,57%      0,00%      7,14%
A bad thing               71,42%     71,42%     71,42%
Don't know/don't answer   25%        28,57%     21,42%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Q17A and B: How would you think Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej and Nicolae
Ceausescu should be presented in the history textbooks? (a total
no. of responses: 28)

                  Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej

                  as a man    as a        as a        I don't
                  who did     man         man         know who
                  good        who did     who did     Gheorghiu-Dej
                  things to   bad         both        is
                  Romania     things to   good
                              Romania     and bad
                                          things to
                                          Romania

Sample  18-35     0%          16.66%      83.33%      0%
1       36-55     0%          40%         60%         0%
        over 55   0%          66.66%      33.33%      0%
Sample  18-35     0%          0%          100%        0%
2       36-55     16.66%      50%         33.33%      0%

        Nicoae Ceausescu

        as a man      as a man     as a man    I don't know
        who did       who did      who did     who
        good things   bad things   both good   Ceausescu is
        to Romania    to Romania   and bad
                                   things to
                                   Romania

Sample  0%            16.66%       83.33%      0%
1       0%            40%          60%         0%
        0%            0%           100%        0%
Sample  12.5%         12.5%        75%         0%
2       16.66%        33.33%       50%         0%


Q11, Q18A and B, Q19, Q20, Q21, Q22, Q22.1 refer to the "politics of memory" and "dealing with the past" in Romania.

The results are as follows:

Q11: How important is for the pupils to learn in school about the
history of communism in Romania?

                           Total    Sample 1   Sample 2

Quite important            53.57%   50%        57.14%
Important enough           46.42%   50%        42.85%
Not important enough       0%       0%         0%
Quite unimportant          0%       0%         0%
Don't know/ don't answer   0%       0%         0%

Q18A and B: How important do you think ... is?

                     the free access to Securtate files

                     quite       important   less
                     important               important

           18-35     0%          83.33%      16.66%
Sample 1   36-55     20%         60%         20%
           over 55   33.33%      33.33%      33.33%
Sample 2   18-35     50%         25%         0%
           36-55     50%         16.66%      33.33%

                     the free access to Securtate
                     files

                     Un-important   Don't know/
                                    don't answer

           18-35     0%             0%
Sample 1   36-55     0%             0%
           over 55   0%             0%
Sample 2   18-35     0%             25%
           36-55     0%             0%

                     the passing of the lustration law

                     quite        important   less
                     important                important

           18-35     16.66%       16.66%      16.66%
Sample 1   36-55     40%          40%         0%
           over 55   33.33%       66.66%      0%
Sample 2   18-35     50%          25%         0%
           36-55     33.33%       16.66%      33.33%

                     the passing of the
                     lustration law

                     unimportant   Don't know/
                                   don't answer

           18-35     0%            50%
Sample 1   36-55     0%            20%
           over 55   0%            0%
Sample 2   18-35     0%            25%
           36-55     0%            16.66%

Q19: Do you think that the victims of the communist regime should
receive compensations from the Romanian state?

                                   Sample 1   Sample 2

Yes                       82,14%    85,71%     78,57%
No                        0,00%     0,00%      0,00%
Don't know/don't answer   17,85%    14,28%     21,42%

Note: Table made from pie chart.


Q20: What do you think it should happen with the persons who presently hold leadership public offices and about whom their collaboration with the Securitate was proven/ will be proven?

Q21: Do you think a National Museum of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania would be necessary?

Q22: Do you think a National Day for the Commemoration of the
Victims of the Communist Regime in Romani a would be necessary?

                a National Museum of the Communist
                Dictatorship in Romania

                Yes      No       Don't know/don't
                                  answer

Sample   18-    83.33%   16.66%   0%
1        35
         36-    60%      20%      20%
         55
         over   33.33%   0%       66.66%
         55

Sample   18-    75%      12.5%    12.5%
2        35
         36-    83.33%   16.66%   0%
         55

                a National Day for the Commemoration of
                the Victims of the Communist Regime in
                Romania

                Yes        No       Don't know/don't
                                    answer

Sample   18-    83.33%     16.66%   0%
1        35
         36-    80%        0%       20%
         55
         over   66.66%     0%       33.33%
         55

Sample   18-    75%        25%      0%
2        35
         36-    83.33%     16.66%   0%
         55

Q22.1: If perceived as necessary, what would that day be?

                          Sample 2   Sample 1   Total

Don't know/don't answer   35,71%     28,57%     32,14%
Other day                 0,00%      0,00%      0,00%
May 1                     0,00%      0,00%      0,00%
December 21               14,28%     14,28%     14,28%
December 1                0,00%      0,00%      0,00%
December 25               7,14%      14,28%     10,71%
December 17               0,00%      0,00%      0,00%
December 16               7,14%      7,14%      7,14%
August 23                 0,00%      0,00%      0,00%
December 22               35,71%     35,71%     35,71%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Q24: Which of the aspects above links you emotionally to the
communist period? (total no. of answers: 26)

                                           Sample 1   Sample 2

the participation to public       11,53%     0,00%     23,07%
manifestations (national
fists, cenacles, parades, etc.)

the atmosphere at the work        26,92%    38,46%     15,38%
placela locul de munca

the additional benefits to the    15,38%    30,76%      0,00%
job (trips, holidays, bonuses
to the salary, etc.)

the urban development             26,92%    23,07%     30,76%
(parks, cinemas, cafes, etc.)

Others                            19,23%     7,69%     30,76%

Note: Table made from pie chart.


Correlations:

Q28.1,28.2 and 28.3: From 1 to 10, how would you evaluate: (1) the socialist economic system, planned and centralized, in Romania, between 1948 and 1989?; (2) the present economic system in Romania (after 1989)?; (3) the evolution of the economic system in Romania in 5-10 years? (total no. of answers: 27) Using the scheme proposed by Richard Rose, op. cit., p. 7, according to the grades indicated in each of the three cases for each respondent, four types of respondents are to be identified as follows:

                                         Sample 1   Sample 2

"Pro-market" individuals (i.e.           1-7.17%    6-46.15%
negative evaluation of the socialist
economic system and positive
evaluation of the present
economic system)

"Nostalgic" individuals (i.e.            8-57.14%   3-23.07%
positive evaluation of the socialist
economic system and negative
evaluation of the present
economic system)

"Constantly negative"                    2-14.28%   2-15.38%
individuals (i.e. negative
evaluation of both socialist and
present economic systems)

"Positively indifferent"                 3-21.42%   2-15.38%
individuals (i.e. positive evaluation
of both socialist and present
economic systems)


* "Positive evaluation" was operationalized as the values upper than 5 on the scale 1-10. Conversely, "negative evaluation" was operationalized as the grades lower than 5 (including 5) on the scale 1-10.

Q28.4, 28.5 and 28.6: From 1 to 10, how would you e valuate: (4) the communist political system, in Romania, between 1948 and 1989?; (5) the present political system in Romania (after 1989)?; (6) the evolution of th e political system in Romania in 5- 10 years? (total no. of answers: 27) Using the scheme proposed by Richard Rose, op. cit., p. 15, according to the grades indicated in each of the three cases for each respondent, four types of respondents are to be identified as follows:

                                                Sample 1    Sample 2

"Democrats" or "prefer present to               2-14.28%    4-30.76%
  pasf-individuals (i.e. negative evaluation
  of the communist political system and
  positive evaluation of the present
  political system)

"Reactionary" individuals (i.e. positive        3-21.42%    2-15.38%
  evaluation of the communist political
  system and negative evaluation of the
  present political system)

"Skeptics" (i.e. negative evaluation of both    5-35.71%    6-46.15%
  communist and present political systems)

"Compliant" individuals (i.e. positive          4-28.57%    1-7.69%
  evaluation of both communist and present
  political systems)


* "Positive evaluation" was operationalized as the values upper than 5 on the scale 1-10. Conversely, "negative evaluation" was operationalized as the grades lower than 5 (including 5) on the scale 1-10.

Using the scheme proposed by Richard Rose, op. cit, p. 17, according to the grades indicated in the Q28.5 and Q28.6 for each respondent, three types of respondents are to be identified as follows (total no. of answers: 27):

                                                Sample 1    Sample 2

"Leading democrats" (i.e. positive evaluation   6-42.85%    5-38.46%
of both the present and the future
political systems)

"Lagging democrats" (i.e. negative evaluation   3-21.42%    1-7.69%
of the present political system and
positive evaluation of the future political
system)

"Opponents" (i.e. negative evaluation of the    5-35.71%    7-53.84%
future political system)


* "Positive evaluation" was operationalized as the values upper than 5 on the scale 1-10. Conversely, "negative evaluation" was operationalized as the grades lower than 5 (including 5) on the scale 1-10

Q16 and 31: How do you think your/your family's socio-economic status changed after 1989? With respect to your household, how would you evaluate your and your family's socio-economic situation? Using the scheme proposed by Richard Rose, op. cit., p. 10, according to the answers provided to the two questions above for each respondent, four types of respondents are to be identified as follows:

                                 Sample 1            Sample 2

Individuals with "standards      1-7.14%             7-50%
rising" socio-economic
situation (i.e. with a
current economic situation
changed for better after
1989)

Individuals with "standards      2-40% of those      2-40% of those
stable, satisfied"               with "standards     with "standards
socio-economic situation         stable" in          stable" in
(i.e. with a current             Sample 1 (and       Sample 2 (and
economic situation unchanged     14.28% of the       14.28% of the
after 1989, and with             total no. of        total no. of
satisfactory or very             answers)            answers)
satisfactory current
economic situation)

Individuals with "standards      3-60% of those      3-60% of those
stable, dissatisfied"            with "standards     with "standards
socioeconomic situation          stable" in          stable" in
(i.e. with a current             Sample 1 (and       Sample 2
economic situation               21.42% of the       (and 21.42% of
unchanged after 1989, but        total no. of        the total no.
with not quite satisfactory      answers)            of answers)
or very unsatisfactory
current economic situation)

Individuals with "standards      8-57.14%            2-14.28%
falling" socio-economic
situation (i.e. with a
current economic situation
changed for worse after
1989)

(total no. of  answers: 28)


Q16, 31 and 32.1: How do you think your/your family's socio-economic status changed after 1989? With respect to your household, how would you evaluate your and your family's socio-economic situation? How would you evaluate your and your family's socio-economic situation in 5-10 years? Using the scheme proposed by Richard Rose, op. cit., p. 10, according to the answers provided to the three questions above for each respondent, four (+one) types of respondents are to be identified as follows:

                                      Sample 1   Sample 2

Individuals with "improving" socio-   5-35.71%   7-50%
economic situation (i.e. with a
future economic situation changed
for better)

Individuals with "satisfactory"       1-7.14%    2-14.28%
socio-economic situation (i.e.
"standards rising" or "stable,
satisfied" presently and with a
future economic situation
unchanged)

Individuals with "deteriorating"      0-0%       2-14.28%
socio-economic situation (i.e.
"standards rising" or "stable,
satisfied" presently and with a
future economic situation changed
for worse)

Individuals with "continuing poor"    3-21.42%   3-21.42%
socio-economic situation (i.e.
"standards stable, dissatisfied" or
"standards falling" presently and
with a future economic situation
changed for worse)

Individuals with "unsatisfactory"     5-35.71%   0-0%
socio-economic situation (i.e.
"standards stable, dissatisfied" or
"standards falling" present and
with a future economic situation
unchanged)


* The last category was introduced by the student- researcher as a response to the contexts encountered in the analysis of the questionnaires. (total no. of answers: 28)

Q34.1 A, B, and C: If yes, what would that regime be?
(total no. of answers: 28)

                    a communist restoration

Sample 1   I totally   I        I          I totally
           agree       agree    disagree   disagree

18-35      0%          0%       66.66%     33.33%
36-55      0%          0%       80%        20%
over 55    0%          0%       100%       0%

Sample 2

18-35      0%          0%       50%        50%
36-55      0%          0%       83.33%     16.66%

           renouncing to Parliament and to
           elections and the installation of a
           powerful leader capable of rapidly
           making decisions in whatever sphere

Sample 1   I totally   I        I          I totally
           agree       agree    disagree   disagree

18-35      0%          66.66%   33.33%     0%
36-55      0%          20%      60%        20%
over 55    0%          33.33%   66.66%     0%

Sample 2

18-35      0%          12.5%    75%        12.5%
36-55      0%          33.33%   50%

                     a military regime

Sample 1   I totally   I        I          I totally
           agree       agree    disagree   disagree

18-35      0%          0%       33.33%     66.66%
36-55      0%          0%       20%        80%
over 55    0%          33.33%   66.66%     0%

Sample 2

18-35      0%          0%       50%        50%
36-55      0%          0%       50%        50%


Q54 and 55: Do you think that today people in Romania are afraid to say what they think to other people they don't know?

Generally, how would you evaluate your trust in public institutions? Using the scheme proposed by Richard Rose, op. cit., p. 27, according to the answers provided to the two questions above for each respondent, five types of respondents are to be identified as follows:

                                                Sample 1   Sample 2

Individuals who "trust everyone" (i.e. who      0-0%       2-14.28%
are not afraid to say what they think to
strangers and have a lot of trust in public
institutions)

Individuals who "trust only people" (i.e. who   7-50%      6-42.85%
are not afraid to say what they think to
strangers and have little to very little
trust in public institutions)

"Distrustful" individuals (i.e. who are         4-28.57%   3-21.42%
afraid to say what they think to strangers
and have little to very little trust in
public institutions)

"Deviant" type of individuals (i.e. who are     0-0%       0-0%
afraid to say what they think to strangers
and have a lot of trust in public
institutions)

"Skeptical" type of individuals (or the         3-21.42%   3-21.42%
"Don't know/don't answer" type)

(total no. of answers: 28)


3. Types of nostalgia: the scheme coupling Ekman's and Linde's model (op. cit., p. 356) and the distinction considered in this paper:

Bibliography:

1. BERLIN, Isaiah. Four Essays on Liberty. Oxford & London: Oxford University Press, 1969.

2. BERMAN, Marshall. All that's Solid Met into Air: The Experience of Modernity. London: Verso, 1983.

3. BOYM, Svetlana. The Future of Nostalgia. New York: Basic Books, 2001.

4. BROOKER, Peter and Will BROOKER (eds.). Postmodern Ater-Images: A Reader in Film, Televsion and Video. London: Arnold, 1997.

5. BROWN, Archie and Jack GRAY (eds.). Political Culture and Political Change in Communst States. London: Macmillan, 1977.

6. CIOFLANCA, Adrian. "Nostalgia pentru communism. Mod de utilizare (I) si (II)". in Ziarul de Iasi, on the 25th and 27th of September 2010.

7. CSIKSZENTMIHALYI, Mihaly and Eugene ROCHBERG-HALTON. The Meaning of Thing: Domestic Symbos and the Sef Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

8. DAVIS, Fred. Yearning for Yesterday: The Sociology of Nostalgia. New York: Free Press, 1979.

9. DeFALCO, Amelia. "A Double-Edged Longing: Nostalgia, Melodrama, and Todd Haynes's 'Far From Heaven'". in SCANLAN, Sean and Tom LUTZ (eds.). Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies, No. 5, Fall 2004, pp. 26-39.

10. DIAMOND, Larry. Developing Democracy: Towards Consolidation. Baltimore & London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

11. DRAGOMIR, Elena. "Explaining Communist Nostalgia in Romania: Some Empirical Evidence". in Valahian Journal of Historical Studies, No. 12 (2009), pp. 7-28.

12. EKMAN, Joakim and Jonas LINDE. Communst Nostalgia in Central and Eastern Europe. A Matter of Principles or Performance?, paper presented at the Nordic Political Science Association's Annual Meeting, Aalborg (Denmark), August 15- 17, 2002.

13. ELSTER, Jon (ed.). Retribution and Reparation in the Transition to Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

14. FIVUSH, Robyn. "Remembering and Reminiscing: How Individual Lives are Constructed in Family Narratives". in Memory Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (January 2008), pp. 49-58.

15. GOLDBERG, Marvin E., Gerry GORN and Richard W. POLLAY (eds.). Advances in Consumer Research (Vol. 17). Provo (Utah): Association for Consumer Research, 1990.

16. GRUNBERG, Kristi. "Remembering the Soviet Past in Estonia. The Case of the Nostalgic Comedy 'The Light Blue Wagon'". in Academc Journal for New Research in Humanities and Social Sciences in the Baltic States--Atelegvard/ Keywords, No. 1, pp. 1-16.

17. HANN, C. M. (ed.). Postsocialsm: Ideals, Ideologies and Practices in Eurasia, London: Routledge, 2002.

18. HARDING, Gareth. "East Europe's Communist Nostalgia". in Washington Times, on the 11th of August 2004.

19. HUTCHEON, Linda and Mario J. VALDES. "Irony, Nostalgia, and the Postmodern: A Dialogue". in Poligrafias. Revsta de Literatura Comparada, No. 3, University of Mexico & University of Toronto, 2000, pp. 29-54.

20. JACKSON, Anthony (ed.). Anthropology at Home (ASA Monographs 25). New York & London: Tavistock/Methuen Publications, 1987.

21. LERNER, Laurence. The Uses of Nostagia. London: Chatto & Windus, 1972.

22. MIHALACHE, Andi. "Despre viata sociala a obectelor: patrimonii, rememorari si biografi Inainte si dupa comunsm", lecture delivered at the Summer University "Ramncu Sarat: Comunismul Intre memorie si istorie (the 5th edition), Ramnicu Sarat (August 21-27, 2011), on the 23rd of August 2011.

23. OFFE, Claus. Varieties of Transition: the East European and East German Experience. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1997.

24. OFFE, Claus. "Capitalism by Democratic Design? Democratic Theory Facing the Triple Transition in East Central Europe" (transl. by P. Adler). in Social Research, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Winter 1991), pp. 865-892.]

25. PETRESCU, Dragos. Explaining the Romanian Revolution of 1989: Culture, Structure and Contingency. Bucharest: Editura Enciclopedica, 2011.

26. PLESU, Andrei. "Era mai bine Inainte...". in Literatorul, 1991 or in Chipur si masti ale tranzitiei. Bucharest: Humanitas, 1996].

27. ROSE, Richard (supervisor ed.). New Europe Barometer. Glasgow (UK): Centre for the Study of Public Policy & the University of Strathclyde, Autumn 2001 and 2004.

28. SCANLAN, Sean. "Introduction: Nostalgia". in SCANLAN, Sean and Tom LUTZ (eds.). Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies, No. 5, Fall 2004, pp. 3-9.

29. STAROBINSKI, Jean. "The Idea of Nostalgia" (transl. by William S. Kemp). in Diogenes. An International Revew of Philosophy and Humanistic Studies, Vol. 54 (Summer 1966), pp. 81-103.

30. STEWART, Susan. On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Durham: Duke University Press, 1993.

31. TODOROVA, Maria N. and Zsuzsa GILLE (eds.). Post-Communst Nostalgia. New York: Berghahn Books, 2010.

32. TONNIES, Ferdinand. Community and Society (transl. and ed. by Charles P. Loomis). East Lansing (Michigan): Michigan State University Press, 1957 [originally published in German, Gemeinschaft und Gesekchaft, Fues's Verlag, Leipzig, 1887].

33. VASSILEV, Rossen. "The Tragic Failure of 'Post-Communism' in Eastern Europe". in Global Research, on the 8th of March 2011.

Internet references:

1. http://www.iiccmer.ro/pdf/ro/evenimente/raport sondaj comunism.pdf, last accessed: 10.01.2012.

2. http://www.iiccmer.ro/pdf/ro/raport_sondaj_opinie_publica_iiccmer_mai_2011.pdf, last accessed: 10.01.2012.

3. DRAGOMIR, Elena. "In Romania, Opinion Polls Show Nostalgia for Communism". in Balkanalyss.com, on the 27th of December: http://www.balkanalysis.com/romania/2011/12/27/in-romania-opinion-polls-show-nostalgia-forcommunism/fl edn2, last accessed: 17.11.2011.

4. Report to an opinion poll, conducted by the Soros Foundation Romania, "Perceptia actuala asupra comunsmului. Comuncat de presa (December 19, 2006): http://www.sfos.ro/ro/comunicate detaliu.php?comunicat=21, last accessed: 17.11.2011.

5. International Labour Office (especially sections "ConsumerPrice Indces/Retail prices of 93 food tems', "Economcaly Active Population, 1969-2008', "Level of Employment, 1969- 2008'), http://laborsta.ilo.org/, last accessed: 24.10.2011.

6. SCARLAT, Sandra. "Partizanii lui 'Inainte era mai bine'". in Adevarul, on the 29th of January 2009, http://www.adevarul.ro/life/viata/Partzanii 0 23399608.html, last accessed: 23.12.2011.

Roxana MARIN, University of Bucharest, Political Science Department, Comparative Politics

E-mail: marin.roxana@fspub.unibuc.ro

Notes:

(1) Anthony JACKSON (ed.), Anthropology at Home, ASA Monographs 25, Tavistock/Methuen Publications, New York & London, 1987.

(2) http://www.iiccmer.ro/pdf/ro/evenimente/raport sondaj comunism.pdf and http://www.iiccmerro/pdf/ro/raport_sondaj_opinie_publica_iiccmer_mai_2011.pdf, last accessed: 10.01.2012.

(3) Andi MIHALACHE, Despre viata sociala a obiectelor: patrimonii, rememorari si biografii Inainte si dupa comunism, lectura delivered at the Summer University Ramncu Sarat: Comunismul Intre memore si istorie, the 5th edition, Ramnicu Sarat (August 21-27, 2011), on the 23rd of August 2011.

(4) Joakim EKMAN and Jonas LINDE, Communist Nostalgia in Central and Eastern Europe. A Matter of Principles or Performance?, paper presented at the Nordic Political Science Association's Annual Meeting, Aalborg (Denmark), August 15- 17, 2002, p. 16.

(5) Larry DIAMOND, Developing Democracy: Towards Consolidation, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore & London, 1999.

(6) This phenomenon--i.e. the existence of several, contrasting and perfectly plausible recollections of people experiencing the same period/event--is referred to as the "Rashomon effect" (after Akira Kurosawa's film of 1950 bearing the same title), a situation profoundly explained through diverse individual, hence subjective, understandings of and perceptions on a singular experience.

(7) Richard ROSE (supervisor ed.), New Europe Barometer, Centre for the Study of Public Policy at the University of Strathcyde, Glasgow (UK), 2001 and 2004.

(8) The term was coined for the first time in 1688, being used by a 19-year old Swiss student, Johannes Hofer, for describing, in his medical dissertation, a quite sophisticated, complex sort of severe, even lethal, homesickness, experienced by the Swiss mercenaries in the army who were too far from their mountainous home. See, Linda HUTCHEON and Mario J. VALDES, "Irony, Nostalgia, and the Postmodern: A Dialogue", in Poligrafias. Revsta de Literatura Comparada, No. 3, University of Mexico & University of Toronto, 2000, pp. 29-54.

(9) Susan STEWART, On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection, Duke University Press, Durham, 1993, p. 23.

(10) Svetlana BOYM, The Future of Nostalgia, Basic Books, New York, 2001.

(11) Kristi GRUNBERG, "Remembering the Soviet Past in Estonia. The Case of the Nostalgic Comedy 'The Light Blue Wagon'", in Academc Journal for New Research in Humanities and Social Sciences in the Baltic States--Atslegvard/Keywords, No. 1, pp. 1-16 (p. 6).

(12) Svetlana BOYM, op. cit, pp. 49-50.

(13) Marshall BERMAN, All that's Solid Met into Air: The Experience of Modernity, Verso, London, 1983, p. 60 (adds mine).

(14) Frederic JAMESON, "Postmodernism and Consumer Society", in Peter BROOKER and Will BROOKER (eds.), Postmodern After-Images: A Reader in Film, Television and Video, Arnold, London, 1997, pp. 22-30.

(15) Sean SCANLAN, "Introduction: Nostalgia", in Sean SCANLAN and Tom LUTZ (eds.), Iowa Journal of Cutural Studies, No. 5, Fall 2004, pp. 3-9.

(16) Marin TODOROVA, "Introduction. From Utopia to Propaganda and Back", in Maria TODOROVA and Zsuzsa GILLE (eds.), Post-Communist Nostalgia, Berghahn Books, New York, 2010, p. 7.

(17) Amelia DeFALCO, "A Double-Edged Longing: Nostalgia, Melodrama, and Todd Haynes's 'Far From Heaven", in Sean SCANLAN and Tom LUTZ (eds.), op. cit, pp. 26-39.

(18) The matrix differentiates between (1) illiterates, (2) with no graduated school, (3) primary education (4 classes), (4) secondary education (composed of (a) inferior secondary education, i.e. 8 classes, and (b) superior secondary education, that can be: (b.1) professional studies, i.e. 10 classes, or (b.2) high-school studies, i.e. 12 classes), (5) post-high-school studies, (6) university (superior) studies (B.A.), (7) post-university studies (M.A., PhD.), and (8) others.

(19) Joakim EKMaN and Jonas LINDE, Communist Nostalgia in Central and Eastern Europe. A Matter of Principles or Performance?, paper presented at the Nordic Political Science Association's Annual Meeting, Aalborg (Denamrk), August 15- 17, 2002.

(20) Joakim EKMAN and Jonas LINDE, op. ctt, p. 356.

(21) The scheme is reproduced in Annexes.

(22) Maria N. TODOROVA, op. cit, p. 7.

(23) Adrian CIOFLANCA, "Nostalgia pentru communism. Mod de utilizare (II)", in Ziarul de Iasi, on the 27th of September 2010. The discussion on communism nostalgia in Romania is initiated in Adrian CIOFLANCA, "Nostalgia pentru communism. Mod de utilizare (I)", in Ziarul de Iasi, on the 25th of September 2010.

(24) See Andi MIHALACHE, op. cit., Russell W. BELK, "The Role of Possessions in Constructing and Maintaining A Sense of Past", in Marvin E. GOLDBERG, Gerry GORN and Richard W. POLLAY (eds.), Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 17, Association for Consumer Research, Provo (Utah), 1990, pp. 669-676, and Mihaly CSIKSZENTMIHALYI and Eugene ROCHBERG-HALTON, The Meaning of Thing: Domestic Symbob and the Sef Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1981.

(25) Andrei PLESU, "Era mai bine Inainte ...", in Literatorul, 1991 (later included in Chipuri si masti ale tranzitiei, Humanitas, Bucharest, 1996).

(26) Linda HUTCHEON, op. cit.

(27) David A. KIDECKEL, "The Unmaking of an East-Central European Working Class", in C. M. HANN (ed.), Postsocialism: Ideals, Ideologies and Practices in Eurasia, Routledge, London, 2002, pp. 114-132 (p. 124).

(28) Ivan KLIMA apud Gareth HARDING, "East Europe's Communist Nostalgia", in Washington Times, on the 11th of August 2004.

(29) Laurence LERNER, The Uses of Nostalgia, Chatto & Windus, London, 1972.

(30) Ibidem, p. 52.

(31) What is indeed different from the communist era and what actually generates small wages for the lower social classes is the ratio between the proportion of active citizens and the proportion of retired (whose number has increased since 1989 with more than two millions in Romania). This ratio inevitably generates a large portion of the population being state assisted, living out of social benefits which are considerably lower than a salary. Particularly in these strata, nostalgia finds its fullest expression. For the observations on economic transformations, see the comparative studies and surveys of the International Labour Office, on http://laborsta.ilo.org/(especially sections "Consumer Price Indces/Retail prices of 93 food items', "Economcaly Active Population, 1969-2008', "Level of Employment, 1969-2008'), last accessed: 24.05.2011.

(32) However, one should not forget the fact that, prior to 1989, especially in the period of "crisis and decline" (1977- 1989), basic foodstuffs, footwear and textiles were rationed and literally hard to obtain. See Dragos PETRESCU, Explaining the Romanian Revolution on 1989: Culture, Structure and Contingency, Editura Enciclopedica, Bucharest, 2011, especially pp. 155-174.

(33) The "gray zone" is a label used, more recently, by Aviezer TUCKER, "Paranoids May Be Persecuted: Post-totalitarian Transitional Justice", in Jon ELSTER (ed.), Retribution and Reparation in the Transition to Democracy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2006, pp. 181-238 (p. 182), defining "mostly professionals who neither collaborated nor resisted [with and to the communist regime] but survived while making necessary compromises on the lower echelons of the totalitarian hierarchy."

(34) On the philosophical distinction between "positive" and "negative" liberties, see Isaiah BERLIN, "Two Concepts of Liberty", in idem, Four Essays on Liberty, Oxford University Press, Oxford & London, 1969, pp. 118-172.

(35) These are the exact adjectives used during one of the interviews by a 47-year old female worker in respect to the sinistrous episode of the early communist repression, recently coined in the literature under the name "The Pitest Phenomenon" (14th of November 2011).

(36) For the use of this collocation for the first time in the case of Romania and Bulgaria, see Dragos PETRESCU, op. ct., pp. 48 and 404.

(37) The interview with a 63-year old baker in Tecuci, presently retired (the 15h of December 2011).

(38) Ibidem.

(39) Referred to at page 8, and applied to four of the interviewees. The most energetic contestation of the results was in the case of a 47-year old worker.

(40) For the original use of the concept of "Gesekchaft', in famous opposition to "Gemeinschaft', see Ferdinand TONNIES, Community and Society, transl. and ed. by Charles P. Loomis, Michigan State University Press, East Lansing (Michigan), 1957 [originally published in German, Gemeinschaft und Gesekchaft, Fues's Verlag, Leipzig, 1887].

(41) Claus OFFE, Varieties of Transition: the East European and East German Experience, The MIT Press, Cambridge, 1997, pp. 44 [or in Claus OFFE, "Capitalism by Democratic Design? Democratic Theory Facing the Triple Transition in East Central Europe" (transl. by P. Adler), in Social Research, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Winter 1991), pp. 865-892.]

(42) George SCHOPFLIN, "Hungary: An Uneasy Stability", in Archie BROWN and Jack GRAY (eds.), Polffcal Culture and Political Change in Communst States, Macmillan, London, 1977, pp. 132-133.

(43) Jean STAROBINSKI, "The Idea of Nostalgia" (transl. by William S. Kemp), in Diogenes. An International Review of Philosophy and Humanistic Studies, Vol. 54 (Summer 1966), pp. 81-103 (p. 87).

(44) Rossen VASSILEV, "The Tragic Failure of 'Post-Communism' in Eastern Europe", in Global Research, on the 8th of March 2011.

(45) Dumitru SANDU in Soros Foundation's Publc Opinion Barometer: 1998-2007, quoted in Sandra SCARLAT, "Partizanii lui 'Inainte era mai bine'", in Adevarul, on the 29th of January 2009.

(46) The discrepancy is to be found in Elena DRAGOMIR, "In Romania, Opinion Polls Show Nostalgia for Communism", in BalkanalysB.com, on the 27th of December (http://www.balkanalysis.com/romania/2011/12/27/in-romania-opinion-polls-shownostalgia-for-communism/# edn2, last accessed: 17.11.2011), quoting from a Report to an opinion poll, conducted by the Soros Foundation Romania, Perceptia actuala asupra comunsmului. Comuncat de presa (December 19, 2006): http://www.sfos.ro/ro/comunicate detaliu.php?comunicat=21. See also, Elena DRAGOMIR, "Explaining Communist Nostalgia in Romania: Some Empirical Evidence", in Valahian Journal of Historical Studies, No. 12 (2009), pp. 7-28.
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