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By Tomila V. Lankina, Anneke Hudalla, Hellmut Wollmann (auth.)

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Additional info for Local Governance in Central and Eastern Europe: Comparing Performance in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Russia

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In 1938 the city was forcibly integrated into Poland and a year later into the German Third Reich. After the Second World War Karviná 26 Local Governance in Central and Eastern Europe and Northern Moravia became buttresses of the communist economy. In 1946 Karviná was the first Czechoslovak town to experience large-scale socialist construction to house coal miners coming from all over the country. This led to the establishment of a reputation for Karviná as the ‘iron heart of the republic’. Although coalmining and heavy industry have undoubtedly had a positive impact on the town’s economic development and its overall importance in Czechoslovakia, Karviná at present continues to pay a high price for its industrial heritage, mainly in the form of environmental devastation.

In 1828, the Russian Tsar authorised the establishment of a spa resort in the city. The Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky made Staraya Russa a home for himself and his family in 1872–5 and in 1880. It was at this time that he wrote his masterpiece The Brothers Karamazov, many of whose scenes and characters were inspired by Staraya Russa. Dostoyevsky’s move to Staraya Russa illustrates the status of the city as a favourite resort for Russian ‘society’ at the time. During the Soviet period, Staraya Russa gradually lost its fame and image as a tourism and health centre as the Soviet regime sought to industrialise it.

Scholars writing on the values of post-communist local actors have laid particular stress on the importance of socialisation in a communist setting for shaping an ‘old-timer’ mentality with welfarist leanings. What might be overlooked in such assessments is the importance of post-communist exposure to other values, which is bound to be magnified over time. The ‘other values’ in this case stem from exposure to the West, which is more likely in western-located regions of Russia. Like many other Russian local and regional officials, Kirillov has been no stranger to the numerous training seminars and exchange visits massively funded by Western donors.

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