Open main menu

Communist nostalgia, also called Communism nostalgia or socialist nostalgia, is the nostalgia in various post-communist states of Central and Eastern Europe and Russia for the prior Communist state.[1][2][3]

The best-known examples are Ostalgie (nostalgia for East Germany), PRL nostalgia (nostalgia for communist Poland), Yugo-nostalgia (nostalgia for Yugoslavia) and nostalgia for the Soviet Union. Similar phenomena have also been studied for Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.[4][5][6] On the other hand, the phenomenon is insignificant in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with the exception of socialist-era brands coming into pop-culture fashion ("Communist chic").[7]


Dominik Bartmanski argues that after the anti-communist Revolutions of 1989 the specific perspectives of the development remained unclear for some time, they were expressed in generic terms such as "return to Europe", "to Western values" and the like. This resulted in utopian expectations regarding capitalism and democracy. When confronted with the hardships of the transition, the "post-revolutionary utopianism" produced "post-revolutionary disenchantment".[3]

According to Kristen R. Ghodsee, a researcher on post-communist Eastern Europe:

"Only by examining how the quotidian aspects of daily life were affected by great social, political and economic changes can we make sense of the desire for this collectively imagined, more egalitarian past. Nobody wants to revive 20th century totalitarianism. But nostalgia for communism has become a common language through which ordinary men and women express disappointment with the shortcomings of parliamentary democracy and neoliberal capitalism today."[8]


  1. ^ Joakim Ekman, Jonas Linde, Communist nostalgia and the consolidation of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe,  Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics 21(3):354-374 · September 2005 doi:10.1080/13523270500183512
  2. ^ Monika Prusik, Maria Lewicka, Nostalgia for Communist Times and Autobiographical Memory: Negative Present or Positive Past?, Political Psychology, Volume37, Issue 5 October 2016 doi:10.1111/pops.12330
  3. ^ a b Bartmanski, Dominik, Successful icons of failed time: rethinking post-communist nostalgia, Acta sociologica, vol. 54. № 3. 2011, pp. 213—231, doi:10.1177/0001699311412625.
  4. ^ Maria Todorova, Zsuzsa Gille, Post-communist Nostalgia, Berghahn Books, 2010 (ISBN 978-1-84545-671-9, hardcover), 2012 (ISBN 978-0-85745-643-4, paperback), 2013 (ISBN 978-0-85745-644-1)
  5. ^ Ghodsee, Kristen; Mead, Julia (2018). "What Has Socialism Ever Done For Women?" (PDF). Catalyst. 2 (2): 108. Retrieved January 19, 2019. A 2013 poll of 1,055 adult Romanians found that only a third reported that their lives were worse before 1989: 44 percent said their lives were better, and 16 percent said there was no change.
  6. ^ Anghel, Stefan Costin (June 3, 2014). "Would Romanians Vote for Ceaușescu If He Were Alive Today?". Vice. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  7. ^ "Thanks for the memories". The Economist. June 9, 2011. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  8. ^ "Dr. Kristen Ghodsee, Bowdoin College - Nostalgia for Communism". "Academic Minute", WAMC