History

The Dung House and Nostalgia for Oppression

Like many a Western observer, I was long puzzled—even annoyed—by the fact that so many in the former Soviet bloc still harbour a certain nostalgia for the bygone days of totalitarian control. Why have they forgotten the fear of an ominous knock on the door at five o’clock in the morning? Why are young Russians and Czechs, who were not even born when the Berlin Wall was torn down, again singing the International? Why are so many East Germans nostalgic for the shoddy consumer goods and petty controls of their daily lives, that a word had to be coined to…

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