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Institutul national pentru istorie recenta (dir Andrei Pippidi




IRIR was created to respond to the need for a dynamic history institute able to tackle sensitive and controversial issues in Romania's recent history, which is understood as the period from the year 1938 to the present. One can easily grasp that IRIR's research and scholarship concentrate on a difficult period that was marked by the two radical ideologies of the 20th century-fascism and communism, as well as by the tortuous post-1989 transition to democracy.

Consequently, IRIR has three major objectives:

To contribute to the democratization of the Romanian society by facilitating-through research, teaching and publications-the process of coming to terms with a most troublesome recent past;

To overcome the parochialism of the Romanian academic community in the field of recent history through comparative studies and by creating a multi-layered framework of international dialogue and exchange;

To devise an institutional framework in order to foster professionalization and specialization-through lectures, debates, seminars, workshops, conferences, publications, free access to IRIR's library, archives and research facilities, and a strong media and Internet presence-among the domestic community of historians.


IRIR's strategy of development follows in many respects the institute's core activities established at the moment of its inauguration: (1) documentation; (2) research; (3) publications and (4) educational activities. Thus, IRIR's activity is based primarily on research and the education/training of the next generation of domestic specialists in recent history, although civic-oriented activities are by no means neglected.

Documentation The institute's library collects books and other publications focusing on the recent history of East-Central Europe. Special attention is be paid to the canonical works in the field of recent history, especially works published abroad which are not accessible to a wider public in Romania (either because they are out of print or due to their prohibitive price). In this respect, IRIR's goal is to establish a rather small but highly specialized library in international languages. The library represents a permanent meeting ground for students in recent history, which genuinely leads to the establishment of further frameworks of learning and joint activities.

Research First and foremost, IRIR has engaged in a systematic study of the most pressing issues related to the recent past of the country. From 1938 to the present Romania has experienced authoritarianism, right and left wing extremism, a bloody 1989 revolution and a long and painful transition to democracy. New concepts, theories and methods have to be introduced and put into practice in order to examine a vast array of controversial events of the recent past. Therefore, IRIR has engaged in collaborative research projects involving a wide range of institutions both from Romania and abroad, and a special attention is paid to similar institutions from East-Central Europe.

Publications The production of articles, studies, monographs and syntheses, using methodologically and theoretically innovative approaches, is crucial in disseminating the results of IRIR's activity. The IRIR yearbook publishes studies, articles, review essays and book reviews. Furthermore, the most relevant works are published, for the moment in Romanian-but a series in English is under preparation-with a major Romanian publishing house, usually the Iasi-based Polirom publishing house. The publication on the Internet is also encouraged, and a series of CD-ROMs containing selected works will be initiated.

Education and training of the next generation of Romanian specialists in the field. Some steps have already been taken in this respect, but a more systematic involvement of IRIR in educating the next generation is envisaged. As the post-1989 conflicts that created havoc throughout the space of former Yugoslavia have shown, history matters in Southeastern Europe. Thus, it is by no means trivial to question the way in which recent history is going to be taught and what idea of "national" history the next generations of history teachers and political scientists acquire. Therefore, IRIR keeps a close contact with the faculties of history, sociology and political science in Bucharest and in the other two traditional centers of academic excellence in Romania (the universities of Iasi and Cluj). Smaller university centers, which also provide undergraduate training in history, such as Sibiu, Constanta, Brasov and Pitesti, are targeted as well. The institute functions as a meeting place for all those interested in recent history and lectures, seminars, and workshops involving undergraduate and postgraduate students are organized on a regular basis. The next step is to address the problem of lack of mutual collaboration and communication between the Romanian and Bulgarian, Hungarian, Polish, students in recent history. Therefore, an elaborated framework of inter-cultural dialogue and international co-operation, including the organization of an annual international conference, will be devised in the near future."




15 October 2004
Stelian Tanase, "Paradigma Clandestinitatii": Partidul Comunist Roman in anii luptei pentru putere (1945-1948)
["The Paradigm of Clandestiny": The Romanian Communist Party during the years of its struggle for power]

2 April 2004
Ethnocultural Diversity Resource Center (Cluj), Lansarea raportului "Cu jumate de masura: Raport privind procesul retrocedarii proprietatilor care au apartinut cultelor religioase din Romania"
[Launching of the report "Half Measures - Retrocessions"]

1 April 2004
Dinu C. Giurescu, Vladimir Tismaneanu, Dupa 40 de ani: "Declaratia P.M.R din aprilie 1964"
After 40 Years: "The P.M.R. Declarations from April 1964"]

January, 29
Florin Constantiniu, Petre Otu and Florin Sperlea, Sovietizarea Armatei Romane 1948-1955
[Sovietization of the Romanian Army]


April, 22
Alex Drace-Francis, Paradoxurile occidentalizarii. Insemnari de calatorie in Romania comunista
[Paradoxes of Westernization: Travel Notes in Communist Romania]

April, 8
Stelian Tanase, Valul revolutionar 1917-1921
[The Revolutionary Wave: 1917-1921]

March, 23
Dorin Dobrincu, Agentii Moscovei si sovietizarea Romaniei
[Moscow's Agents and Romania's Sovietization]


September, 30
Dennis Deletant (moderator), Institutul "N.Iorga" sub lupa Securitatii. Iulie-decembrie 1988
["N.Iorga" Institute for History under the Scrutiny of Securitate: July-December 1998]

July, 11
Paul Michelson, Ortodoxia si societatea româneasca post-comunista
[Orthodoxy and Post-communist Romanian Society]

May, 30
Aurora Liiceanu, Andrei Plesu, Marius Oprea, Meditatia transcendentala
[Transcendental Meditation]

February, 19
Maria Somesan, Corpul didactic universitar în anii consolidarii regimului comunist. Eliminarea vechii elite universitare în perioada 1944-1950
[The Professorate during the Strenghtening of the Communist Regime: The Eradication of the University Elites between 1944-1950]

January, 21
Florin Müller, Constructia ideologica a totalitarismului românesc. Extrema dreapta
[Ideological Evolvment of Romanian Totalitarianism: The Extreme Right]

January, 11
Felicia Waldman, Andrei Oisteanu, Marius Oprea, Evreii din România în perioada comunista si post-comunista
[Romanian Jews during Communism and Post-Communism]



November, 13
Ulrich Bürger, Partidele istorice din România în fata expansiunii sovietice (1944-1945)
[Romanian Traditional Political Parties Facing Soviet Expansion (1994-1945)]




Marius Oprea
"Banalitatea raului". O istorie a a Securitatii in documente
["The Banality of Evil": Documentary History of the Securitate]

with an introductory study by Dennis Deletant

Polirom, Iasi

"The Romanian Securitate had a peculiar reputation among all the political secret police agencies in Eastern Europe. The obsession with the subject was so strong in the Western mass media at the time of the 1989 Revolution, that the word Securitate was even included in the Oxford English Dictionary. Such an obsession did not fully reveal how efficiently the Securitate controlled peoples' minds as an unrelenting tool of a regime that, in the context of the postwar repression, might have only been surpassed in Eastern Europe by Enver Hoxha's in Albania. Just like other structures of political terror, the Securitate made use of its best instrument, fear, and the extent this fear was spread among the population explains its success. The legacy of this fear would influence for years the types of behavior Romanians would adopt especially if they are not convinced that the coercive measures of the past were not abandoned…. Nothing in their history prepared the Romanians for the reign of terror that fell upon them in 1944. This collection offers documents about the instrument of this terror. Only after the Securitate wiped out a large part of the categories of professionals and independent peasantry could the Communist Party count on the obedience of a subdued people, for whom fear became a second nature." (Dennis Deletant)

Marius Oprea, Stejarel Olaru

Ziua care nu se uita. 15 noiembrie 1987
[The Unforgettable Day: November 15, 1987]

Polirom, Iasi

 "On 15 November 1987, in response to the wage cuts imposed by the management for the non-fulfillment of production targets, a group of workers from the Steagul Rosu (Red Flag) truck plant in Brasov initiated a revolt that made history. In the context of chronic food shortages and heating restrictions-particularly distressing for a city located in a mountainous area, the Brasov workers generated one of the most daring collective protests in Ceausescu's Romania. They went on strike, marched into the town where they were joined by numerous city dwellers in their protest and, finally, attacked and damaged heavily the building of the local branch of the Party. The present volume gathers precious testimonies by many of those involved in the events. It is a book about real people who speak of their feelings during the revolt and their sufferings during the interrogatories carried out by the Securitate." (Dragos Petrescu)


Marius Oprea, Nicolae Videnie, Ioana Cirstocea, Andreea Nastase, Stejarel Olaru
Securistii Partidului. Serviciul de Cadre al P.C.R. ca politie politica
[The Party and the Securitate: The Romanian Communist Party's Cadre Service as Political Police]

Polirom, Iasi

This work comprises studies and original documents selected from 929 files originally preserved in the archives of the Brasov Municipal Committee of the Romanian Communist Party (RCP). Based on numerous documents related to the inquiries carried out by the cadre inspectors of the RCP during the 1960s and 1970s, the volume explores the intricate relationship between the Party and the Secret Police-the Securitate-in communist Romania.


Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Gérard Althabe
Secera si buldozerul. Scornicesti si Nucsoara, mecanisme de aservire a taranului roman
[The Sickle and the Bulldozer: Scornicesti and Nucsoara, Boundage Mechanims of the Romanian Peasant]Polirom, Iasi

 This is the story of two villages. One of them, Nucsoara, is a village in the mountains that opposed communism. Many of its inhabitants were detained, tortured or executed. The other, Scornicesti, is a village in the plain and because it was also the place were Ceausescu was born, the post-1968 communist regime was determined to transform it into a town. While Nucsoara escaped collectivization and remained an isle of private property in communist Romania, in Scornicesti the land became collective property and the town was subjected to Ceausescu's experiments in the rural world. The story of the two villages, from 1946 to the present, is the story of the rural society in Romania during communism. Today, one of them became a town, while the other is slowly dying. The consequences of collectivization, modernization and systematization are longlasting and the Romanian village is trapped in underdevelopment and a new kind of dependency, abused by greedy elites for whom politics is "a matter of taking care of one's personal interest at the expense of the public interest" as Ion Mihalache described it.


Despre Holocaust si Comunism
[On Holocaust and Communism]

Polirom, Iasi




Repression and Social Engineering Effects of communism on Romanian society

While the data on the extent of the Communist repression has just started to emerge, a different category of facts suggest that the Communist regime has radically shaped the present Romanian society. Programs under this heading will go beyond the documentation of repression in order to expose mechanisms of repression and outline the causes of durable societal change caused by the Communist regime.


The Guide to the Archives of Romanian Communism
Building of an Internet accessible database orienting historians, journalist and students in the labyrinth of Communist archives. Due to poor classifying and division among many institutions of the archives relevant for the study of the Communism in Romania the creation of this guideline is an essential mean for both Romania and foreign researchers, as well as for archives holders, often unaware themselves of the contents of their collections. IRIR's own contribution is not only to systematize archives, but also to record private archives previously unknown and which are still nor used by contemporay historians and include them in the same database. The project is under way and will need another year to be completed in the a first form, although feeding the database will continue to be a permanent activity.


The Role of Western Governments in Supporting the Romanian Anti-Communist Opposition

Based on the largest archive of the Romanian emigration, which was just donated to IRIR. The archive contains all the publications of Romanian anti-Communist refugees, documents of the exiles alternative government (National Romanian Council), private correspondence and diaries of notable characters, such as Ghita Ionescu,the first director of the Romanian Section of the Radio Free Europe and Radion BBC. Highlights the often-ambiguous role played by the Western governments and the deep divisions running across the Romanian émigrés community throughout the Cold War history.

Cold War Strategies and Dramas

This project will draw on new archival sources from the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as from Germany and Switzerland to reconstitute the event, which triggered the systematic and sustained of surveillance and propaganda among the émigrés by the Romanian Communist authorities. In February 1955, a group of émigrés broke into the Romanian Embassy in Bern, allegedly chasing for evidence of the diplomats´KGB connection, incidentally killing a driver. The immediate stake was Romania’s application to become a UN member, which prompted the group to this desperate attempt to retrieve the traces of KGB. After receiving light sentences from the Swiss court, the culprits were later kidnapped to Romania where their chief was eventually executed.

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