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Vladimir Tismaneanu is professor of politics at the University of Maryland (College Park) and author of numerous books and articles on communism, post-communism, ideologies, and revolutions. In 2006, he served as chairman of the Presidential Commission for the Analysis of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania. His books include Fantasies of Salvation: Democracy, Nationalism and Myth in Post-Communist Europe (Princeton University Press, 1998) and (as editor) Stalinism Revisited: The Establishment of Communist Regimes in East-Central Europe (Central European Press, 2009). He is currently completing a book on democracy, memory, and moral justice in post-communist Romania.
The epic upheaval of 1989 was a time when east Europeans lost their fear, overcame their moral frustration and...