The paper discusses several responses to the secret police’s (non-)involvement in religious matters that posed direct or indirect problems for the regime. The secret police’s attitude of allowing communities leeway in dealing with problematic situations had several motivations: to create a culture of self-policing and self-censorship that would defer the punishment to the hierarchical chain of the religious community; so that the community internalized the state requirements; and to infiltrate the community with collaborators in positions of power. Self-punishing and self-censorship were the ways in which communities respected the regulations imposed by the state. The literature on the subject in Romania is scarce and comes mostly from primary texts (memoir, journals, and various histories of religious communities). The article presents a case study of the Sibiu Orthodox Metropolitan See in its interactions with the secret police.
The article covers the 15th General Song Festival “20 Years of Soviet Estonia,” held in Tallinn in July 1960, with about 30,000 participants. During the festival, the choirs started to sing popular songs and banned songs on their own initiative, leading to the festival being called “a small singing revolution”. It was a time of changes when both the authorities and the people were testing the limits of what was allowed and forbidden. As the message of songs plays an important role in influencing the people, the authorities hoped to exploit the song festival tradition in their own interest. The goal of Khrushchev’s new cultural policy was to promote the Soviet model for success to the West and to activate foreign relations. The intermediation of cultural contacts required breaking the anti-Soviet attitudes prevailing among the Baltic exiles, and for this purpose diverse tactics were applied. The article analyses the different manifestations of the people’s will both in Estonia and among the exile community as well as the measures and manipulations of the authorities. Thus, diverse practices of social control unfolded in the context of 1960 from initiatives to support each other to against state surveillance and exclusion.
The article explores if Francoism was different to other totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century, focusing on the example of surveillance and its central meaning for modern dictatorships. As a case study, the article analyzes this through a comparative examination of the political police in Spain and in Eastern and Central Europe. The paper shows the general lines of the conceptualization of modern secret police, inserting them in a wider European context.