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Remains of SocialismMemory and the Futures of the Past in Postsocialist Hungary$
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Maya Nadkarni

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501750175

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501750175.001.0001

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Banishing Remains

Banishing Remains

The Statue Park Museum

(p.22) 1 Banishing Remains
Remains of Socialism

Maya Nadkarni

Cornell University Press

This chapter narrates the early years of postsocialist transformation as Hungarians sought to make remake themselves as new national subjects amid the remains of multiple discredited pasts and failed historical trajectories. It explores how politicians, activists, and public officials initially conceptualized the problem of socialist remains in terms of physical remainders perceived to be emblematic of the former regime. Politicians, activists, and public officials battled to “spring clean” remains of the communist past in order to restore Hungary to the “authentic” course of national history. The chapter also focuses on the debates that resulted in the removal of Budapest's socialist-era statues to a Statue Park Museum on the outskirts of the city. Supporters justified the creation of the park as a democratic solution to the outrage that communist monuments inspired. Yet the removal of these statues was not a response to a crisis of defacements and public dissatisfaction, but an attempt to cover up the fact that little such crisis existed.

Keywords:   postsocialist transformation, socialist remains, spring clean, communist, socialist-era statues, Statue Park Museum

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