The Communist Successor Parties of Central and Eastern by Andras Bozoki, John T. Ishiyama

By Andras Bozoki, John T. Ishiyama

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Although Ágh emphasizes the exceptionalism of the Hungarian INTRODUCTION AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 11 case, his insights have broader implications for the study of the development of other successor parties and their ability to adapt to new circumstances. The principal contours of this argument underline the effects of the nature of the previous regime. In the Hungarian case the communist regime was more liberal and internally pluralist: that produced a reform leadership that ultimately took control of the party.

Everywhere, we are dealing with newly independent postcommunist polities with titular ethnocultural groups that were subordinated to a dominant external ethnic group under the old communist regimes (Rus- 20 HERBERT KITSCHELT sians, Serbs, and Czechs). In these instances, national accommodation meant that communist leaders in the ethnic minority regions and party sections made ethnocultural concessions to the subordinate regional majority community. Where these gestures were credible, such leaders could strengthen their role in negotiated regime transitions and their capacity to acquire a new social democratic post-communist image by joining, if not placing themselves, at the helm of national independence movements and coalitions.

In spite of the fascist interruption from 1933 to 1945, and 1939 to 1945, orthodox Marxist socialist and communist parties here were firmly entrenched in a broadly mobilized working-class movement and confronted an array of middle-class and peasant parties. In Germany by 1928 and in Czechoslovakia by 1930, the communist parties were fully BolshevistStalinist (Suda 1980, p. 99). Moreover, socialist parties steeped in a Marxist ideological transition made many of their activists support communist parties after World War II supplemented them.

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