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Case Studies

Political Cleavages and Post-Communist Politics


Whitefield, S.,Political Cleavages and Post-Communist Politics', Annual Review of Political Science, Vol.5 (2002), 181-200

Considerable attention has been paid over the past decade to political cleavages in post-communist Eastern Europe. Investigators have attempted to establish whether such cleavages exist, to map their character, and to explain their formation theoretically. Research initially focused on whether communist rule had created distinctive forms of cleavage in the region as a whole, or indeed obliterated social capacity to form any structured social or ideological divisions. The results of this work, however, have tended to support a more differentiated and less sui generis understanding in which the character of cleavages varies considerably across the region. Debate has turned to accounting for the formation and variation in cleavages by reference to factors such as long-standing cultural legacies, forms of communist rule and modes of transition from it, the effects of social structure and individual social experience in the post-communist period, and the impact of institutions and party strategies.



  • August 6, 1940 - Estonia became a part of Soviet Union
  • From June 1940 until August 1941, more than 7000 Estonian citizens were arrested