The Anatomy of Post-Communist Regimes: A Conceptual Framework (2021)
At a previous post about bullying, about which I present workshops from time to time, I have added updates.
At the current post, I bring attention to the updates which (along with an additional note about Beyond Totalitarianism (2009)) read as follows:
Bullying occurs in many realms of life. Not just in schools. In this context, a May 30, 2021 CBC article is entitled: “The Mafia from the mountains.”
An excerpt reads:
That isolation affects Calabria as a whole, with its striking lack of infrastructure — everything from high-speed trains connecting the region to the rest of the country and modern highways to well-functioning hospitals with care at the same level as the rest of Italy.
“In simple terms, the Mafia culture is a culture of bullying, where the bullies exert their power on every level of society,” Giocondo said.
Also of relevance (among other sources) are the following overviews of history:
Gessen charts their paths against the machinations of the regime that would crush them all, and against the war it waged on understanding itself, which ensured the unobstructed reemergence of the old Soviet order in the form of today’s terrifying and seemingly unstoppable mafia state. Powerful and urgent, The Future Is History is a cautionary tale for our time and for all time.
The book highlights the history of the Levada Center in Moscow which is concerned with public opinion research in Russia. A May 12, 2021 Levada Center article is entitled: “Lev Gudkov: ‘The unity of the empire in Russia is maintained by three institutions: the school, the army, and the police.'”
An excerpt reads:
The entire technology of state domination essentially rests on the severing of horizontal ties and solidarities between different social groups. Society is increasingly fragmenting, while the atmosphere of emergency and external threat is being escalated. The Kremlin’s entire control system is based on these two tools.
Having won a two-third majority in Parliament at the 2010 elections, the Hungarian political party Fidesz removed many of the institutional obstacles of exerting power. Just like the party, the state itself was placed under the control of a single individual, who since then has applied the techniques used within his party to enforce submission and obedience onto society as a whole. In a new approach the author characterizes the system as the ‘organized over-world’, the ‘state employing mafia methods’ and the ’adopted political family’, applying these categories not as metaphors but elements of a coherent conceptual framework.
The actions of the post-communist mafia state model are closely aligned with the interests of power and wealth concentrated in the hands of a small group of insiders. While the traditional mafia channeled wealth and economic players into its spheres of influence by means of direct coercion, the mafia state does the same by means of parliamentary legislation, legal prosecution, tax authority, police forces and secret service. The innovative conceptual framework of the book is important and timely not only for Hungary, but also for other post-communist countries subjected to autocratic rules.
See also Twenty-five Sides of a Post-Communist Mafia State
At exploring the structural foundations of post-communist regime development, the work discusses the types of state, with an emphasis on informality and patronalism; the variety of actors in the political, economic, and communal spheres; the ways autocrats neutralize media, elections, etc. The analysis embraces the color revolutions of civil resistance (as in Georgia and in Ukraine) and the defensive mechanisms of democracy and autocracy; the evolution of corruption and the workings of “relational economy”; an analysis of China as “market-exploiting dictatorship”; the sociology of “clientage society”; and the instrumental use of ideology, with an emphasis on populism. Beyond a cataloguing of phenomena—actors, institutions, and dynamics of post-communist democracies, autocracies, and dictatorships—Magyar and Madlovics also conceptualize everything as building blocks to a larger, coherent structure: a new language for post-communist regimes.
In essays written jointly by specialists on Soviet and German history, the contributors to this book rethink and rework the nature of Stalinism and Nazism and establish a new methodology for viewing their histories that goes well beyond the now-outdated twentieth-century models of totalitarianism, ideology, and personality. Doing the labor of comparison gives us the means to ascertain the historicity of the two extraordinary regimes and the wreckage they have left. With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, scholars of Europe are no longer burdened with the political baggage that constricted research and conditioned interpretation and have access to hitherto closed archives. The time is right for a fresh look at the two gigantic dictatorships of the twentieth century and for a return to the original intent of thought on totalitarian regimes – understanding the intertwined trajectories of socialism and nationalism in European and global history.
I have read parts of this book previously and am now reading the entire text closely. The book requires a receptiveness to a particular, specialist level of analysis. Beyond Totalitarianism (2009) serves to sharpen and clarify a person’s thinking about history and historiography. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to read such a book.