Interview with Balázs Apor--March 23, 2012

Interview with Balázs Apor, Director of the MPhil program in European Studies at Trinity College Dublin. Interview conducted in Dublin, Ireland on March 23, 2012. 

Balázs Apor specializes in the history of East-Central Europe under communism, especially on the leader cult. He has co-edited two volumes, including The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorships: Stalin and the Eastern Bloc (2004), and The Sovietization of Eastern Europe: New Perspectives on the Postwar Period (2008). He is currently at work on a monograph on the leader cult of the Hungarian Stalinist Mátyás Rákosi. 

Interview Themes   

How Apor came to the study of communist leader cults (1:00) 
How Apor's view of Rákosi and the leader cult has changed since starting work on it (2:20)
How the assessment of Rákosi’s legacy has changed (or not) since 1956 (4:00)
On the inadequacy of the term "cult of personality" versus "leader cult" (7:45)
On the challenges of doing research on Rákosi's leader cult and what Apor found in his research that surprised him (11:15)
The extent to which people were willing participants in leader cults and why (18:30) 
Comparison of Rákosi to other leaders like Miklós Horthy and Imre Nagy in terms of leader cults (29:25)
On whether writing about the leader cult speaks to how Hungarians come to terms with their own history (45:15) 
On teaching East-Central European history in Ireland and where the field is headed (49:05)
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