The Centre for Research into Post-Communist Economies

Lessons From History

Communist Symbols Survey


We thought it would be a good time to compile a comprehensive record of the ways different counties have dealt with the transition from a communist society to a free society, in particular how symbols of communist rule and power have been abolished, changed, destroyed, or otherwise dealt with.

We wrote to Embassies and Government Departments in thirty countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. We received a swift response from a few.  Several surveys were passed on to institutes which enthusiastically completed them.  

However, in most cases we received no response, even after second and third time of asking - perhaps a problem of language?  We followed up in a few cases with requests to individual friends and colleagues, who supplied the information, for which we are most grateful.  We hope information on other countries will be forthcoming.  

We should like to express our gratitude to Annie Beadle who sent out dozens of emails and typed many letters at the start; and to  students who collected all the data and designed the chart.


There is no restitution law as such, although Poland started restoring property seized from the Catholic Church as early as 1989, when the Property Commission was established. Commissions for other denominations followed.

In 2011, following a lawsuit from local governments, it was judged unconstitutional (on the basis that there was no way to appeal its decisions, and that it had power to rule over state-owned property, whereas constitution only allows disposal of state assets by the act of parliament) and henceforth it ceased to operate.

The PC had limited reach (only property seized unlawfully was subject of consideration) and legally complicated competences. However it returned over 65 000 hectares of land, 490 buildings and around 140m PLN in compensations.

Poland passed its Lustration Bill in 2006. In fact there have been several legal acts in the past, such as that establishing the Institute of National Remembrance (effectively put in charge of gathering and publishing documents on communist crimes and operations of security forces), intended to deal with the subject. The 2006 act was the first to introduce compulsory lustration of all candidates to public office and representatives of so-called ‘professions of public trust’.


Out goes Lenin and in comes Putin! There was a wave of demolition of Lenin's statues in Ukraine in the second half of February.

Some Polish folk did an exact map, but there could be more now:,polityka?zobacz%2Fmiejsca-w-ktorych-21-lutego-zwalono-pomniki-lenina%2C71582


We certainly need the survey here. It is depressing to know that there is still a Marshall Tito Square in Zagreb...

Click here to download the survey chart in PDF format.

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