Homo sovieticus: călătoria europeană a Omului Nou (Homo sovieticus: the European journey of the New Man)



 Homo sovieticus: călătoria europeană a Omului Nou (Homo sovieticus: the European journey of the New Man)


Rada Cristina IRIMIE


Abstract. The legacy of communism did not encounter only major political transformations, but also considerable individual alternations. The present article examines some of the traits of the Soviet man that we think are important. The concept of Homo Sovieticus, the ‘new’ human type produced by the communist system, represents a critical reference to the average citizen of the Soviet Union. The idea seems to be that years of living in a communist system has produced a personality different from that found in the capitalist countries of the West, while the lack of alternatives turned the universal practice into a mass behavioral structure. Though representing an Eastern political model that collapsed, the idea of the ‘soviet man’ has interestingly been found in many Central European countries that nowadays identify themselves differently and have a stronger association with the West. In the course of the article, we will revisit the Soviet man model, as well as characteristics connected to Homo Sovieticus, according to political, historical and academic literature. What is even more important is to examine Homo Sovieticus from an inter-cultural perspective. Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland offer examples that help us to understand this inter-cultural challenge. Many Central and European countries seem to lag behind the West because of the communist inheritance that includes features of the Soviet person we examine here. Based on the hypothesis that Homo Sovieticus has a powerful intellectual impact on formerly communist countries, there are concerns regarding their transition to successful market economies, which we will address.

Keywords: Homo Sovieticus, communism, individual values, social behaviour, capitalism.



Perhaps the most shocking legacy of over seven decades of totalitarian communism was the creation of an entirely new species of humankind – the New Soviet Man. Although other nations that

experienced totalitarianism unde­niably have had their own New Kind, Homo Sovieticus is the product of a unique experiment: nowhere has totalitarianism been so systematic over such a long time period. Among a volume of litera­ture, a special place is held by findings that indicate the funda­mental changes that have taken place in the last decade in the behavior, habits and the nature of Soviet Everyday Man; what has remained unchanged; and where has there been mutation of stereotypes that became deeply rooted in the Soviet period1. Ranging from a satire that describes the practices of Communist ideology in the Soviet Union to the sociological descrip­tions of a new type of man, historical publications appear to be analyses of contemporary Soviet


Trying to merge numerous contradictory pieces of the Soviet national character and explain Soviet people’s social behavior, we will introduce the concept of mentality: a set of basic perceptions and attitudes, based on political and scientific literature, many of which have been habitually attributed to the Soviet character. However, the Soviet model was not produced only for domestic consumption; integral part of the concept was to develop and promote the Soviet mentality in other countries as a „substitute” citizen for the homo economicus promoted by the rival countries of the West. People turned out to be very different under the different political systems of the East or the West, which explains the dramatic difference in all basic perceptions of Americans and Soviets. The idea seems to be that years of living in a communist system has produced a personality different from that found in the advanced capitalist countries. Even if the Homo Sovieticus theory is somewhat controversial, it is true that serious problems already arise in the former communist countries as they attempt a transition to successful market economies. Our objective here is to sort out the connection between these Soviet attitudes that relate to people’s perceptions of their economic situation.

The article is organised as follows: an introduction to the theory of the Homo Sovieticus, as indicated from political discourse, fictional and scientific literature will help us set the theoretical background to the conditions that illustrate the phenomenon of Homo Sovieticus. Then, in the second chapter, we will study the Homo Sovieticus attributes far away from theory, put into practice, looking at specific examples from formerly Soviet countries. Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Hungary will allow us to give an intercultural perspective to the topic. What we also see as a modern difficulty arising from the Soviet mentality revisited in this article is the problematic adaptation of some formerly Soviet countries to the global economic transitions after the collapse of Communism. This is an issue that will occupy us in the third chapter. Finally, the conclusions will bring us closer to summarising the impact of precedent Soviet attitudes from a political and cultural point of view, as well as understanding the importance of scholarly work in the area.


The Concept of Homo Sovieticus


Many contemporary scholars have been referred to the notion of Homo Sovieticus as the phenomenon that examines the construction of the new Soviet man. Sometimes this phenomenon was illustrated by even contradictory images; on the one hand, Homo Sovieticus is repre­sented by the macho Bolshevik superhero of the Socialist Realist principle2 while on the other, „Homo Sovieticus is seen as a very ordinary, transparent, malleable and submissive human being with rather primitive desires and precious few exceptional features”3. Despite the distance between the official propaganda concept and its true results, the superhero and the common Soviet man share some basic traits. After reviewing some of the most important contributions to the perception, we suggest three categories that assist with the con­ceptualisation of Homo Sovieticus. These come from political, fictional and well as scientific literature.

„The notion of a Soviet man as a unique type of personality is closely related to the Soviet propaganda, as well as the later criticism of intellectuals disillusioned with regime. Nevertheless, one could most likely find such a distinctive type of personality in the Soviet Union. Exceptional social and ideological totalitarian experiments touched and affected spiritual, moral and intellectual spheres of an average citizen”4. In general, one cannot know whether a Soviet man had been ‘designed’ on purpose in advance. But the Communist ideas, Soviet ideological education and propaganda certainly contributed much. The key factors that influenced the emergence and development of a Soviet man were undoubtedly the actual circumstances, „the creation of a new Soviet type of man began from the very first days of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917″5. Here is how the New Man was, in some terms, planned: „Proletarian coercion in all its forms, beginning with the firing squad is the way of fashioning the communist man out of the human material of the capitalist era.”6

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union considered itself to be guided by the principles of scientific communism. This meant that it was the one holding the instruments for the mobilisation and organisation of the Soviet people as they develop socialism towards the goal of communism. In the face of ideolo­gical criticism, the editor of the Party journal Kommunist responds by quoting Pushkin, „We must not retreat in the field of mind.”7

The battle in the field of mind has always been fought energetically by the Soviet Communist Party. Political education and ideological training have been seen as fulfilling two complementary tasks. The first was to educate the Party elite. The need for this was argued first by Lenin in ‘What Is To Be Done?’8 his famous article on party organi­zation – where he argued against the tendency towards either spontaneity or economy. Instead, he claimed that revolutionary political consciousness had to be implanted in the workers by the members of a firmly united Party intelligentsia. Political educa­tion would be part of a systematic, carefully thought out and prepared plan.

The Homo Sovieticus was made by the socialist system in a gradual way. The specific ideology of communism induced three ‘virtues’ in man: obedience, fear and habit. „Loyalty to the system out of fear of punishment or just to be a ‘good citizen’ habit because everything was ruled and organized by the state. Each day looked very much the same. Everything was done for them and no individual initiative was allowed to take place”9.

At the beginning of communist times, after the breakdown of class society the human being became isolated feeling insecure and futile. Class breakdown forced the indi­vidual to acknowledge the loneliness in which is always has been finding himself, but which before was masked by class membership10. The totalitarian and authoritarian halluci­nation of wholeness was considered to be the big new perspective. It, however, soon became fixed as a doctrine. The ideology of dialectical materialism was used to explain all social facts. All human beings came to think in the same terms. Free autonomous thinking was not acceptable until people’s minds became imprisoned.

The man who seemed to have used the term for the first time is Joseph Novak in his book Homo Sovieticus, der Mensch unter Hammer und Sichel. However, Alexander Zinoviev, an exiled Soviet citizen, with his work ‘Homo Sovieticus’, contributed greatly in defining this new type of man. He provides a literary analysis of „a man completely devoid of indivi­duality, who finds his life’s purpose and meaning in the collective. Any activity he undertakes is motivated not by his own intellectual choices or emotional needs but by profound conformity, the wish to adapt to, and merge with, the majority”11. He describes the median and upper professionals that kept the Soviet system going and who were more corruptible and deprived of character. Zinoviev knew this phenomenon too well as he descri­bed himself one of the homogenized and functionalized elements of this gigantic Soviet notion12. Zinoviev was further convinced that much of what causes Homo Sovieticus not only was evident but also consti­tuted a threat for the non-Soviet world.

According to Zinoviev, it is im­possible to study communist sys­tems without a thorough examina­tion of appropriate methodology, training in logic and a structure of an entirely new conceptual ap­proach. Zinoviev argued that West­ern observers of communism were seriously mistaken in using a con­ceptual framework appropriate for studying social phenomena in the West, but inappropriate for the analysis of communist systems. He wrote: „A camel cannot exist if one places upon it the criteria of a hip­popotamus. The opinion of those in the West, who consider the Soviet society unstable, and who hope for its soon disintegration from within, is in part due to the fact that they place upon the phenomenon of Soviet society criteria of Western societies, which are alien to the Soviet society.”13

Zinoviev’s main thesis was that an average citizen living in a com­munist system behaved and re­sponded to social motivation in a similar way his Western counterpart responded to social motivation of their own social scenery. In practice this means that in communist sys­tems the majority of citizens be­haved, lived and acted in accor­dance with the logic of social en­tropy laid out by the dominating Marxist ideology. „Contrary to widespread liberal beliefs, social entropy in communism was not a sign of the system’s illness; in fact it was a positive sign that the system has developed to a social level that permits its citizens to better cope with the elementary threats, such as wars, economic chaos, famines or large-scale cataclysms”14. In short, communism was a system whose social allocation has enabled the masses of communist citizens to develop defensive mechanisms of political self-protection and indefi­nite biological survival.

Professor Mikhail Heller, with his work ‘Cogs in the Wheel’ helps to complete that picture with a por­trait of the cultural and human order Soviet power has produced. Through it, we see that the Soviets are not the same with people in the West. Those who played main roles in the Soviet Union had been cre­ated very differently from the West­ern ideals of a free society. While seventy years of Marxist role may not have replaced human nature with a new Soviet Man, it has defi­nitely influenced the minds of con­temporary Russian people.15

Over the last two decades, a con­siderable amount of empirical re­search and theoretical evidence fol­lowing the decline of communism has taken place. The cultural and mental obstacles overcome by the former system have been extremely interesting for scientific work. It is well understood that attitudes and values have also contributed to the systemic transformation and to so­cial change, in general. Taking this into consideration, the attitude syn­drome is a defining factor to Homo Sovieticus. Two main issues are being examined: a) the degree to which the Soviet society did actu­ally submit to the effects of ‘sovieti-zation’ and b) the question of the utility for understanding the process of transition from communism to democracy and market economy. The sense of entitlement from cer­tain social groups, the poor election turnout, the weakness of the institu­tions of civil society, the lack of interest in the common good, ego­ism and anti-social attitudes have all been interpreted as signs of a men­tality passed to the people by the Soviet regime. Therefore, „this gen­eral interpretative model implies the following question: is this some significant psycho-social phenome­non or is the Homo Sovieticus con­cept simply a convenient buzzword, an incantation which we use to solve problems which require much deeper and subtler reflection?”16.

Homo Sovieticus seems to have many faces. Initially meant to be a new kind of universal man, as a part of the collectivity and embodying the grounds of progression, social justice and social equality, the so­ciological concept became re-inter­preted as a communist and post-communist mentality, a social con­sciousness of being unhappy with its situation amongst people of the former socialist countries. „It be­came the opposite face of the coin of transformation towards the free market economy, the inability of people to make the sudden break with the totalitarian mentality to replace it for a new democratic free and open mentality”17. What we will see in the next chapter is how those countries where communism’s leg­acy was powerfully imposed on, experience a lasting influence of Soviet mentalities.


Sightings of the New Man: an inter-cultural perspective


Socialism was founded on a simple rule: the citizen should not attempt to interfere in public life, and the State would guarantee free vegetation. Towards this goal, the State would tolerate anything: a poor work ethic, minor theft of communal property, irresponsible and inconsiderate behavior toward nature etc. „This contract logically led to a moral corruption and disin­tegration of values on a scale previ­ously unknown. Marxism did in fact cultivate a new man; Homo Sovieticus was the ultimate con­former, lacking all creativity, re­sponsibility and initiative”18. It is interesting to see how this mentality determined the outlook of the new democracies of the East-Central Europe. In this chapter, we want to examine the various ways this Homo Sovieticus ethic has left its traces on some post-Soviet societies.

Political participation in Czech Republic


Theoretically it would appear that Czech society is probably the most successful, and the most sta­ble, of all post-communist societies. But, closer examination reveals that even Czech society has been deeply traumatised by almost forty-five years of communist totalitarianism and finds itself, even now, in a state of serious chaos and confusion19. While entering the 21th century, the Czech society seems undeniably directed by the principle of restric­tion. Czech people were still used to defer to regulations imposed from above as in totalitarian times. From the times of communism they were also used to lack an open debate. It leads one to the conclusion that communism in Czechoslovakia sowed the seeds that helped turning most of Czech society into prole­tarians, an influence apparent even after the split with Slovakia and the formation of a new State (Czech Republic) in 1993.

The communist totalitarianism caused an overwhelmingly passive mentality to the Czech national character. People were unable to stand up for their rights, which bring them to seek achieving their ends by indirect means, just as Homo Sovieticus would do back in time. The intellectual had to con­form to communist propaganda and relinquish all attempts at original, independent thought or to defy the totalitarian authorities, becoming a non-person. The fall of communism shocked and confused the Czech non-conformist intellectuals, who helped to overthrow the system. Constructing a new programme is far more difficult than fight against oppression. The new landscape, a headless body of society without one strong ruler at the top was un­familiar. People also started to feel disoriented20.

During the last decade in Czech politics, a return to the support to­wards the communist party became evident. The reason why people voted for it is because „the new capitalist system does not work. Or rather, it works very well for 10,000 individuals on top of the social pyramid and very bad for the rest of us”21. After many years outside the political scene, the communist party has suddenly doubled its score. People who voted for it were usu­ally retired people, non-qualified workers older than forty years old or people younger than twenty five, because they haven’t really con­sciously lived under the communist system22. Some Homo Sovieticus elements can hide behind the cause of this revival of the communist party, such as fear and unsatisfied-ness with the present situation.


The Homo Sovieticus mentality in Post-Communist Poland


In Poland, the discussions about the Homo Sovieticus are associated with two figures, Jozef Tischner and Adam Michnik. In Polish newspa­pers, most of the articles which tackle the issues connected with the Homo Sovieticus mentality in Po­land are interviews with them or their books or articles are quoted.

Compared to the West, Poland is still a modernist country23. How­ever, the lasting manichaeistic thinking24 is still integral part of social mentality.

The imaginary division of a per­son looking to find the objective truth and a person who gives him­self the right to decide about the truth are still maintained by church authorities in Poland. The Polish Catholic church had to redefine its role after the fall of communism. Where it prior to 1989 stood as a political and moral antagonist of the State, it now should seek itself a place in the transformation process. A part of the Polish Catholic Church defined itself in the face of its repre­sentatives (bishops, priests) as the moral absolutists who sought abso­lute justice, and the rebels who had overthrown communism. Despite the fact that they demonstrate a dif­ferent dogma, they shared one par­ticular feature in common with the Soviet man of the communist times, the habit of manichaeistic thinking.

Manichaeism, separation be­tween good and bad, universal rules and authorities, moral dogmaticism and claims of the universal moral truth are still apparent in the Catholic Church’s expressions. The manicheistic thinking though has communist roots. „Communism was the manifestation of the absolute good, a plan for a free, equal world ‘defending the peace’ against the (Western) world of absolute evil. He, who should protest against such a perfect system, would really be a fool and immediately needed help. But as it turned out that communists had lied as it became clear that none of the promises ever became fully fulfilled Homo Sovieticus took part in rebellion”25. Homo Sovieticus became a victim of history. The Manichean logic made opponents of communism seeing it as absolute evil and themselves as angels or absolute good. Homo Sovieticus does not really know the difference between his own interests and the common good. That is how he chooses and decides, with pointing to new enemies, cursing, insulting and degrading them26. We focus on the role of the Catholic Church in Poland, as it remains an appealing case of how two historical enemies (Church and Communist State) have consecutively maintained a similar mentality.


Work ethics in Romania


Work is undoubtedly a field that is directly related to political beliefs and ideas in a specific social and historical setting. One area of com­munist legacy related to work is undoubtedly the one related to the attitude towards the state. The state is always the opponent, which con­tinues to be blamed, stolen or tricked. This ‘doing nothing’ instead of working influences greatly the state, as it is stealing from state en­terprises, accepting as state control­lers ignoring people evading taxes etc. The impersonality of the state is such that not even its officials would identify with it. „The attitude towards the state or state enterprises is often reproduced in private enter­prises, where the impersonality and unpredictability of market condi­tions suggest the same uncertainty, implying lack of responsibility for the final outcome. Service enter­prises still suffer from the negative image they had under socialism and this was exacerbated in the enter­prises I have observed by the ser­vice delivered: ‘talk’ (negatively loaded when expressed as ‘vor-bàrie’)”27.The bureaucratic organi­zation behind the structure of busi­ness enhances the ‘doing nothing’ accusation.

There are also other communist legacies that not directly affect work performance. The informal econ­omy that boomed in the socialist period helps solve the same prob­lems as before and many new ones. There are still sanctified mecha­nisms to solve bureaucratic prob­lems. The practice in the informal economy28 compared to that in the formal economy is often more trustworthy in Poland, because it works through networks29. In fact, this is because the same people per­form the same activity both in the formal and in the informal econ­omy. The informal economy, where Homo Sovieticus finds himself so familiar with, is somehow related to the formal and those involved in it sometimes share with their friends. Another socialist legacy is the no­tion of entitlement. This is demon­strated in every field of social life and has implications for work prac­tices. Typically unemployment is viewed as the responsibility of the state. Even if there are state agen­cies for the unemployed and training programs available for them, the labor unions complain that it is not personalized enough; „as a service of social assistance, which would visit people at home after they have been fired and ask them if they have found a job”30. The habit of evading responsibility over one’s predica­ments has its roots in the Soviet mentality of accepting citizen’s helplessness against the powerful State.


A lack of democratic education in Hungary


Although Hungarians have lived better than their neighbors during the communist decades, they have been continuously less satisfied with their life conditions. Foreign visitors always point out what they see as Hungarian pessimism. Some say Hungarians’ complaining is a reac­tion to their obligatory optimism under communism. Now they refuse any promises of a bright future. The truth is that forty years of wasteful economic practices and political mismanagement cannot be easily undone. To those suffering in the period of political and economic changes, democracy and market economy have become synonyms to poverty.

The old communist system did everything when in power to limit and control the masses’ knowledge of the society they lived in. politi­cal education covered the history of the workers’ movement but taught nothing about how democracies or their own societies really func­tioned. Whole scholarly fields were missing from the curricula of Politi­cal Science and Economics depart­ments in universities”31. According to a research project conducted by psychologists on the legal-constitu­tional knowledge of adolescents, ‘democracy terms’ pose special problems to Hungarian teenagers. They are unfamiliar with such con­cepts as solidarity, social safety and citizenship. Also, they seem to overvalue the authority of the state, parent and teacher. According to another poll in March 1995 the per­centage of Hungarians who consider democratic values such as freedom of expression and freedom of the press important is extremely low – 6 percent and decreasing32. On Hungary specifically, the infirmity of democratic education, as well as education about market principles have made it difficult for Hungarians to cope with the politi­cal changes.


Homo Sovieticus in economic affairs


Why do we take for granted that people in ex-communist countries and capitalist countries have very different attitudes? Indeed people who travel between countries report differences in people’s behavior.

Like for instance, about how much more helpful and service-oriented people are in capitalist countries. Differences in economic behavior between countries definitely exist. To what extent are different behav­iors due to cultural mentalities is a matter worth studying.


Homo Sovieticus and the Market Economy


We are interested in measuring how the years of Communism af­fected individuals’ thinking toward market capitalism. „If political re­gimes had no effect on individual preferences, one should not observe any systematic differences between East and West Germans after reuni­fication”33. Homo Sovieticus sym­bolises excessive passivity; collec­tivism and lack of work profit, which are a major barrier in eco­nomic development and comprehen­sion of the mechanisms of market economy. Taking, for instance, the current political and social situation in the Czech Republic, Tornquist-Plewa pulled out the concept of Homo Sovieticus, in her effort to explain the commonalities of Central European nations and their subsequent difference with the West. The behavioral patterns for the species known as Homo Sovieticus, according to Tornquist-Plewa are outlined as: moral rela­tivism, learned passivity, helpless­ness and the acceptance of state paternalism, the demand for egali­tarian distribution as opposed to a merit-based system blaming the system for personal failures and laying various claims at the foot of the state, as opposed to relying on one’s self, an emphasis on security as opposed to a willingness to take


How do nations with such men­tality legacies react to economic activity? Homo Sovieticus will al­ways be skeptical, if not hostile regarding post-communist reality. „Consumed by nostalgia for the by­gone system, or disappointed that the commodities he is looking for cannot be found on the new ‘stall’, he feels that the new reality is alien and hostile. He will see freedom as a threat and will expect the powerful authorities to regulate and control everything. He will enviously see enemies in everyone, who has man­aged to achieve higher social status, and he will reject ‘return to normal­ity’ as a harmful irrationality”.35 Any forms of activity, resourceful­ness and vision which Homo Sovieticus may demonstrate are viewed as an element of his private life. In other words, these ‘positive’ and creative features will not be revealed in the public sphere or as part of economic activity, they will be revealed pathologically in the form of bribery and violation of the law. „Paradoxically, the struggle with the Homo Sovieticus syndrome which has allegedly become deeply rooted in human souls and minds, constructing a mental barrier against modernization of the country which the elites are painstakingly trying to overcome, is petrifying and deep­ening withdrawal, mistrust of the elites and social alienation”36. The promising rhetoric of the transfor­mation is maximizing rather than minimizing the gap between the elites and the citizens. These two worlds are beginning to speak dif­ferent languages.

Have years under the communist rule shaped human preferences and behaviors towards economic activ­ity? This claim would have theoreti­cal value for the prospects of trans­forming the former Soviet-style economies into Western-style mar­ket systems. Whether the legacies of communism, including a careful study of the human nature, have influenced the social attitudes to­wards the competitive market and economic developments is strongly argued above.




There is a great deal of circum­stantial indications about basic per­ceptions of the Soviet people spread throughout the enormous amount of literature about the Soviet Union. The notion of Homo Sovieticus summarises the main aspects of a specific mentality amongst the peo­ple that lived in Soviet times, their thinking and their expectations at the part of the public authorities. This article examined the concept of Homo Sovieticus, as a theory devel­oped under the communist rule in the Soviet Union, as an inherited mentality in post-Soviet countries according to their social environ­ment and as behavioral types that influenced the transition of former communist countries to market-ori­ented states.

In the communist world of Central and Eastern Europe, party policies sought to produce the ulti­mate mass man, who was later christened by Zinoviev as Homo Sovieticus, who became the coun­terpart of Western political culture. Moulded by hours of Marxism-Leninism, Homo Sovieticus inhab­ited a world controlled by surveil­lance and censorship. A new type of man appeared, whose creation Govorukhin rightly calls ‘the main crime’ of Stalinism. „Raised in an atmosphere of lies, treachery, ser­vile loyalty to the leader, sur­rounded by a society in which white became black, Homo Sovieticus was infected at birth with the virus of treachery and mistrust and had fear instilled in his brain”37. However, today the concept has a different meaning. It is described as a men­tality shaped in the totalitarian communist system, the complex situation of transformation, and universal social processes. Proc­esses of propaganda, habituation, selective memory and the constant change of situation made the Homo Sovieticus who he is today.

Post-communist                 transition

affected not only institution-build­ing, but also individuals’ value sys­tems, work ethic and code of con­duct. „This fluid environment is inhabited by a hybrid socio-political character, one both grounded in the present and marked by the past, and who speaks a language in transition, mixing post-communist lingo with communist idioms”38. The East-European post-communist political and public arenas show that the former socialist countries face (among others) deficiencies in the civic culture, necessary for the de­mocratic life, and the enterprise culture, necessary for participation in market economy. In the transition period, major changes were intro­duced in the new democracies. However, the Homo Sovieticus still somehow exists to former socialist European countries; especially those countries (such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania or Bulgaria), where communism was imposed on, now they experience far more difficulties in transforming into their new democratic structure.

A general consequence was that the captive mind dynamic created a „non-political” and potentially anti-political attitude in people’s lives.

This type of Homo Sovieticus mentality is visible in the chasm between external political change and the individual’s inner realm of political values, views and beliefs; in short the continuing division between ‘us’ and ‘them’39.

It is this ideological division between East and West that has made any attempted transition from the Homo Sovieticus to Homo Economicus really challenging. There is fair evidence in scholarly work on certain attitudes developed or crystallized by the communist system and their consecutive stamp on the shape of democracy and the free market.

This evidence justified the belief that Homo Sovieticus was not a concept created by the founders of communist, not only for domestic use, but for a cross-cultural and political expansion. However, most scholarly work examine the transi­tional period of the newly formed democracies, in the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first century. We should not ignore the optimistic signs of open­ness to the completely new chal­lenges of systemic transformation that the European Union has forced to most of these countries since their EU accession.




1     Iurii A. Levada, „Homo Post-Sovieticus” in Sociological Re­search, vol. 40, nr. 6, 2002, pp. 6-41.

2     Robert Porter, „From Homo Rus-sicus to Homo Sovieticus – and Back Again?” in Forum for Modern Language Studies, vol. 34, nr. 3, 1998, pp. 214-225.

3     Andrei Rogachevskii, „Homo So-vieticus in the Library” in Europe -Asia Studies, vol. 54, nr. 6, 2002, p. 975.

4     Kateryna Novikova, Homo Sovieti­cus: modern or traditional?, Paper delivered at the Warsaw East European Conference, 15-18 July 2008, http://www.personal.ceu.hu/st udents/02/Kateryna_Novikova/hom o_sovieticus_paper.htm, (accessed on 7 December 2013).

5     Nikolai Popov, The Russian People speak: democracy at the crossroads, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, 1995.

6     Mikhail Heller, Cogs in the Wheel: the Formation of Soviet Man, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc: Westminster, 1998.

7     Ernst Kux, „Contradictions in So­viet socialism” in Problems of Communism, vol. 33, nr. 6, 1984, p. 8.


Vladimir Lenin, „What is to Be Done?” in Lenin’s Selected Works, vol. 1, First published as a separate work in March 190, pp. 119- 271. Diederik Willemans, The Homo Sovieticus mentality. The failure of socialism and its consequences, GRIN Publishing GmbH: Munich, 2000, http://www.grin.com, (ac­cessed on 7 December 2013). Idem, The Homo Sovieticus mental­ity…

Krzysztof Tyszka, „Homo Sovieti-cus: Two Decades Later” in Polish Sociological Review, nr. 168, 2009,

p. 508.

Kurt Marko, „Ex Oriente… and What about It?” in Studies in Soviet

Thought, vol. 31, nr. 3, 1986, pp. 243-246.

Alexander Zinoviev, Homo Sovieti-cus, translated by Charles Janson, Atlantic Monthly Press, Boston,


Tomislav Sunic, „Zinoviev’s ‘Homo Sovieticus’ Communism as Social Entropy”, The World and I, Wash­ington Times Co, 1989, http://www. aryanunity.com/zinov.html, (accessed on 7 December 2013).

Mikhail Heller, op. cit. Krzysztof Tyszka, loc. cit. Diederik Willemans, op. cit. Thomas Halik, „Post Communism and its Discontents” în First Things, January 1996, http://www.firstthing s.com/article/2007/09/006-post-com munism-and-its-discontents-15, (accessed on 12 December 2013). Jan Culik, Czech Political Culture in the 1990s, 1995, http://www.arts. gla.ac.uk/Slavonic/staff/Czech_polit ics.html, (accessed on 10 December


Madelaine Hron, „Word Made Flesh: Czech Women’s Writing from Communism to Post-Communism”, Journal of International Women’s Studies, vol. 4, Issue 3, 2003, http://www.yorku.ca/soi/_Vol_2_1/ _HTML/Hron.html, (accessed on 12

December 2013).

Adam Novak, „L’étonnante résur­gence du Parti communiste tchèque”, Le   Monde   Diplomatique,   2000, http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/ 2000/04/NOVAK/13710, (accessed

on 10 December 2013).

Diederik Willemans, op. cit. Adam Michnik, „Church and State in Eastern Europe: The Clean Conscience Trap”, East European Constitutional Review, vol. 7, nr. 2, 1998, http://www.law.nuy.edu/eecr/ vol7num/feature/cleanconscience.ht ml,  (accessed on  10 December


‘Manichaeism’ is a faith that teaches dualism. In modern English, the term ‘manichean’ is widely applied as an attitude of moral dualism, according to which a moral course of action involves a simplistic choice between good and evil, in a ‘black and white’ fashion. Diederik Willemans, op. cit.

Jozef Tischner (ed.), „The Ethics of Solidarity Years Later”, The Ethics of Solidarity, Krakow, 2005, pp. 249-271.

Monica Heintz, Changes in Work Ethic in Post-socialist Romania, 2001, http://www.mentality.ro/, p. 115, (accessed on 12 December 2013). The difference between formal and informal sectors of employment is whether or not they are under governmental supervision. Informal sectors of employment are usually what are called ‘under the table deals’. Term explained at Informal Economy, Princeton.edu. Available from: http://www.princeton.edu/ ~ac haney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Informal _economy.html

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