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History after State Socialism: Polish secret police archives and accusations of Betrayal (2012-2013)

Author: GOKARIKSEL, Saygun
Field of study: Anthropology

This paper focuses on the Polish lustration process, which uses the former secret service files to verify the public employees’ past links with the former secret service. Since the early 1990s, lustration has been an object of great political struggle between political groups, mainly between the secular liberals and conservative nationalists (including conservative‑neoliberals). In this article, I investigate the strategies through which the conservative‑nationalists seek to create popular support for lustration. Analyzing the exhumation of a well‑known young oppositionist and the public life of a controversial “agent list”, I highlight the popularity of the transparency discourse and explore what this reveals about the broader conditions of capitalist transformation and nation‑state building after state socialism.

Keywords: Secret Service Archives, Lustration, Transparency, Anti‑Communism, Eastern Europe

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