Stephane Courtois’s “Communisme et totalitarisme” to be launched in Bucharest

The French historian Ste­phane Courtois launches, today, in Bucharest, his book, “Com­munisme et totalitarisme”, at 5pm, at the Carturesti Book­shop within the French Insti­tute, alongside Bernard Bru­neteau, Andrei Pippidi, Marius Oprea and Ana Ciucan Tutuianu, Polirom Pu­blishing House in­forms. Stephane Courtois is one of the major contemporary historians of communism. An academic and researcher, Cour­tois is well-known in Ro­mania both through his works (“Le Livre noir du communisme”/ The Black Book of Com­munism, “Dic­tionnaire du communisme”), as well as due to his constant partici­pation in manifestations or­ga­nized by the Memorial of the Victims of Communism and Resis­tance in Sighetu Marmatiei and as the rector of the Sighet Su­mmer School. Stephane Courtois will be present in this year’s edition of the Sighet Summer School (July 11 to 18) as well.

The study “Communisme et totalitarisme”, translated from French by Ana Ciucan Tutuianu, proposes, two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a new take on the origin and evolution of totalitarianism. Opposing the traditional theses promoted by Hannah Arendt and George Mosse, who trace the roots of totalitarianism to the Nazi and Stalinist state, Courtois underlines Lenin’s and bolshevism’s crucial contribution to the emergence of this political phenomenon. Based on information obtained from archive documents in Moscow, he redefines Stalin’s part and the nature of mass murders committed by the communist regimes – the so-called “class genocide”, the only phenomenon which can account for the Ukraine hunger or the political assassinations in Cambodia. The author ends with an analysis of the tragic memory of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, its glorious memory in Western Europe – particularly France – and the paradoxical memory of the USSR in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which rehabilitates Stalin. A special chapter is allotted to the communist dictatorship in Romania and the murders committed in its name, according to the book’s presentation by the publisher.

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