Stalin’s Legacy in Romania: The Hungarian Autonomous Region, 1952–1960

The thirty-second volume, Stalin’s Legacy in Romania: The Hungarian Autonomous Region, 1952-1960 by Stefano Bottoni, explores the little-known history of the Hungarian Autonomous Region, a Soviet-style territorial autonomy for the Transylvanian Hungarian community in Romania that was established at Stalin’s behest in the summer of 1952. The Hungarians in the region were provided with full civil, political, cultural, and linguistic rights to encourage political integration, similar to the Bolshevik pattern of territorial autonomy in the USSR elaborated by Lenin and Stalin in the early 1920s. Yet, even as the Transylvanian Hungarians became a “titular nationality,” the Romanian Communist regime used the region as an instrument of political and social integration for the Hungarian minority into the ruling structures. The management of ethnic conflicts increased the Communist regime’s control over the territory and set a useful precedent for the much more forceful “nationalization” of Romanian Communism from the late 1950s through 1989, resulting in an “ethnicized” form of Communism that was increasingly harsh and discriminatory.