In politics,  lustration  refers to the purge of government officials of the Communist system in Central and Eastern Europe.  [1]  Various forms of lustration were employed in post-communistEurope.  [2]


Lustration in general is the process of making something clear or pure, usually by means of a propitiatory offering. The term is taken from the Roman lustration purification rituals .  [3]

Policies and laws

After the fall of the various European Communist governments in 1989-1991, the term came to refer to government-sanctioned policies of „mass disqualification of those associated with abuse under the prior regime“.  [4]  Procedures excluded participation of communists, and especially of informants of the police communist secret, in successor political positions, or even in civil service positions. This exclusion is part of the wider decommunization campaigns. In some countries, however, lustration laws do not lead to exclusion and disqualification. Lustration law in Hungary (1994-2003), Lustration law in Poland (1999-2005), depended on confession.  [2]

Lustration law „is a special public employment law that regulates the process of determining whether a person has a certain position in the public service“.  [2]  The „special“ nature of lustration law refers to its transitional character. As of 1996, various lustration laws of varying scope were implemented in Czech Republic , Slovakia , Hungary , Macedonia , Albania , Bulgaria , the Baltic States ( Lithuania , Latvia , and Estonia ), Germany , Poland, and Romania.  [5]  As of 1996 lustration laws had been passed in Belarus , nor in former Yugoslavia or the former Soviet Central Asian Republics ( Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan , Tajikistan , and Uzbekistan ) (Ellis, 1996).


Lustration can serve as a form of punishment by anti-communist politicians who have been dissident under a Communist-led government.  Citation needed  ]  Lustration laws are usually Passed right before elections, and Become Tightened When right-wing gouvernements are in power, and loosened while social democratic party are in power.  [6]  It is Claimed That lustration systems are based dismissal gold confession might be reliable pour augmenter trust in government,  [7]  while based there Those confession might be ble to social Promote reconciliation.  [7]


In Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic

Unlike many neighboring states, the new government in the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic did not adjudicate under court trials, but instead took a non-judicial approach to ensure changes would be implemented.

According to a law passed on October 4, 1991, all employees of the StB , the Communist-era secret police, were blacklisted from designated public offices, including the upper levels of the civil service, the judiciary, procuracy, Security Information Service (BIS) , military positions, management of the state, the central bank, the railways, senior academic positions and the public electronic media. This law remains in place in the Czech Republic after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia , and expired in 2000.

The lustration laws in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic were not intended to serve as justice, but to ensure that events such as the Communist coup of February 1948 did not happen again.  [8]

In Germany

Main article: Stasi Records Agency

Germany did not have a lustration process, but it has a federal agency , known as the Stasi Records Agency , dedicated to preserving and protecting the archives and investigating the actions of the East German secret police, the Stasi . The agency is subordinate to the Representative of the Federal Government for Culture ( Bernd Neumann , CDU). As of 2012, it had 1,708 employees.  [9]

In Poland

Main articles: Lustration in Poland and Institute of National Remembrance

The first lustration bill was passed by the Polish Parliament in 1992, but it was declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Poland . Several other projects were then submitted and reviewed by a commissioned commission, resulting in a new lustration law passed in 1996.  [10]  From 1997 to 2007 lustration was dealt with by the Public Interest Spokesperson ( Polish :  Rzecznik Interesu Publicznego  ), who analyzed lustration declarations and could initiate further proceedings. According to a new law which came into effect on 15 March 2007, lustration in Poland is now managed by the Institute of National Remembrance ( Polish:  Instytut Pamięci Narodowej  ; IPN).  [11]  [12]

In Ukraine

Main article: Lustration in Ukraine

In Ukraine , the term lustration refers to the exclusion from public office of civil servants who worked under Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych for more than a year „and did not resign of their own accord“ between 25 February 2010 and 22 February 2014 and civil servants who were active in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union . They may be excluded for five to ten years.  [13]

Similar concepts

Lustration has been compared to denazification in post-World War II Europe, and the de-Ba’athification in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq .  [4]

See also

  • Berufsverbot
  • De-Ba’athification in Iraq
  • Denazification and National Indignity after World War II
  • Ironclad oath in America
  • lustratio
  • Proclamation of Timişoara
  • Ritual purification
  • Roman religion
  • Truth and reconciliation commission
  • Vergangenheitsbewältigung

Further reading

  • Williams, „A Scorecard for Czech Lustration“ ,  Central Europe Review
  • Jiřina Šiklová , „Lustration or the Czech Way of Screening“,  East European Constitutional Review  , Vol.5, No.1, Winter 1996, Univ. of Chicago Law School and Central European University
  • Rohozinska, „Struggling with the Past – Poland’s controversial Lustration trials“,  Central European Review
  • Human Rights Watch  [14]
  • Roman David,  Lustration and Transitional Justice: Personnel Systems in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland  . Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.
  • 1904 (Merriam)  Webster’s International Dictionary of the English Language  says:  „a sacrifice, or ceremony, by which cities, fields, armies, or people, defiled by crimes, pestilence, or other cause of uncleanness, were purified“


  1. Jump up^  „In Ukraine’s Corridors Of Power, An Effort To Toss Out The Old“ .  NPR  . 2014-05-07 . Retrieved 2014-05-07 .
  2. ^ Jump up to: c   Roman David (2003). “ “ Lustration Laws in Action: The Motives and Evaluation of Lustration Policy in the Czech Republic and Poland (1989-2001) “ (PDF) .  Law & Social Inquiry  28 (2). 387-439.
  3. Jump up^     Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “ Lustration „.  Encyclopædia Britannica 17  (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 131.
  4. ^ Jump up to: b  Eric Brahm, „Lustration“ , Beyond, June 2004, September 8, 2009
  5. Jump up^   Nalepa, Monika (2010).  Skeletons in the Closet: Transitional Justice in Post-Communist Europe  . Cambridge University Press. p. 99.
  6. Jump up^   Elster, Jon, ed. (2006).  Retribution and Reparation in the Transition to Democracy  . Cambridge University Press. p. 189.
  7. ^ Jump up to: b  Roman David, Lustration and Transitional Justice: Personnel Systems in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011, pp. 183, 209
  8. Jump up^  Kieran Williams, „Lustration“, Central Europe Review
  9. Jump up^  „BStU – BStU in Zahlen“ .  Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records  . Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records. June 30, 2013 . Retrieved 2 January 2014 .
  10. Jump up^  Mark S. Ellis,  Purging the Past: The Current State of Lustration Laws in the Former Communist Bloc  (pdf), Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 59, No. 4, Accountability for International Crimes and Serious Violations of Fundamental Human Rights (Autumn, 1996), pp. 181-96
  11. Jump up^  (in Polish) Najważniejsze wiadomości – Informacje i materiały pomocnicze dla organów realizujących postanowienia ustawy lustracyjnejIPN News. Last accessed on 24 April 2007
  12. Jump up^  (in Polish) Biuro Lustracyjne IPN w miejsce Rzecznika Interesu Publicznego,Gazeta Wyborcza, 15 March 2007, Last accessed on 24 April 2007
  13. Jump up^  „Lustration law faces sabotage, legal hurdles“ .  Kyiv Post  . 23 October 2014.
  14. Jump up^  „Hsw“ .  . Retrieved 7 November 2017 .