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The horrifying genius of Soviet communism — as conceived in the 1920s, perfected in the 1930s, and then spread by force to Soviet-occupied Europe — was the system’s ability to get the silent majority in so many countries to play along without much protest. Although a small proportion of people protested and a small proportion collaborated, carefully targeted violence, propaganda, and states’ monopoly of economic and civic institutions persuaded the rest to go along.
These techniques were used to great effect in Eastern Europe after 1945, and they are the central topic of this lecture as well as Anne Applebaum’s new book, titled “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945–56.” Books will be available for purchase at the event.
If you cannot attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Leon Aron, AEI
Anne Applebaum, Legatum Institute and Washington Post
Adjournment and Reception
Books will be available for purchase during the reception
For more information, please contact Kassondra Parker at Kassondra.Parker@aei.org, 202.862.5930.
For media inquiries, please contact MediaServices@aei.org or 202.862.5829.
Anne Applebaum is a columnist for the Washington Post and Slate, covering US and international politics. She is also the director for politics at the Legatum Institute in London, and in 2012–13 will hold the Phillipe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs at the London School of Economics. She has previously worked as foreign and deputy editor of Spectator magazine, as the Warsaw correspondent for the Economist, and as a columnist for the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph. She reviews regularly for the New York Review of Books, The New Republic, and Spectator. Between 2001 and 2006, she was a member of the editorial board of The Washington Post. Her book “Gulag: A History” won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, and has appeared in more than two dozen translations, including all major East and West European languages. Her latest book, “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945–1956,” was just published.
Leon Aron is a resident scholar and director of Russian Studies at AEI. He is the author of three books and over 300 articles and essays. Since 1999, he has written AEI’s Russian Outlook, a quarterly essay on economic, political, social, and cultural aspects of Russia’s post–Soviet transition. He is the author of the first full-scale scholarly biography of Boris Yeltsin, entitled, “Yeltsin: A Revolutionary Life” (St. Martin’s Press, 2000), as well as “Russia’s Revolution: Essays 1989–2006” (AEI Press, 2007) and “Roads to the Temple: Memory, Truth, Ideals and Ideas in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987–1991” (Yale University Press, June 2012). Aron has taught a graduate seminar at Georgetown University and was awarded the Peace Fellowship at the US Institute of Peace.