Balázs Apor


Balázs Apor
Senior Fellow

Trinity College Dublin

+353 1896 3224
aporb [at]

Associate Professor in European Studies at Trinity College Dublin

Assistant professor in European Studies in the Centre for European Studies and the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies

Doctoral studies in the Department of History and Civilizations at the European University Institute, Florence

Research interests
Central and Eastern Europe in the 20th Century, with a special focus on the Communist periodstudy of propaganda and symbolic politics under Communist rule, and the Sovietisation of Eastern Europe after the Second World War

study of leader cults, the invention and dissemination of socialist myths and the functioning of rituals in Soviet-type societies

social attitudes towards Communist rule, most importantly dissent, opposition and popular indifference

Research Project

Techniques and representations of leadership in Hungary from the late-socialist period to the present day

The proposed project will explore and analyse representations and techniques of political leadership from the late-socialist period (1970s) until the present day. The main focus of the project will be on centre-periphery dynamics and the extent to which methods and styles of leadership promoted by the centre informed leadership practices at a local level. The research will study representations of national and local leaders on propaganda material and in the media (newspapers, television or the radio), and it will also rely on archival material to explore the connection between representations of leadership and the practices of power. In other words, representations will be contrasted to methods of leadership with the aim of exploring the links between images of leadership and the way power was exercised. The main question the project will address is to what extent the similarities between late-socialist and post-communist oligarchical rule are the result of historical legacies. Can one identify historical continuities in terms of leadership practices or are there other factors that triggered the re-emergence of authoritarian tendencies in Hungary? Next to the representation of leaders at national level, the project will study styles of leadership at a regional level.

Selected Publications

Apor, Balázs, and John Paul Newman, eds. Balkan Legacies: The Long Shadow of Conflict and Ideological Experiment in Southeastern Europe. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 2021 (forthcoming).

Apor, Balázs. "From Heroic Lion to Streetfighter: Historical Legacies and the Leader Cult in 20th Century Hungary." In Revisioning Stalin and Stalinism: Complexities, Contradictions, and Controversies, edited by James Ryan and Susan Grant, 93-109. London: Bloomsbury, 2020.

Apor, Balázs, Jan C. Behrends, Polly Jones and E. A. Rees, eds. The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorships: Stalin and the Eastern Bloc. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2004.

Apor, Balázs, Péter Apor and E. A. Rees, eds. The Sovietization of Eastern Europe: New Perspectives on the Postwar Period, Washington, DC: New Academia Publishing, 2008.

Apor, Balázs. The Invisible Shining: The Cult of Mátyás Rákosi in Stalinist Hungary, 1945–1956. Budapest-New York: Central European University Press, 2017.

Apor, Balázs. “Communist Leader Cults in Eastern Europe: Concepts and Recent Debates.” In Cultic Revelations: Studies in Modern Historical Cult Personalities and Phenomena, edited by Anssi Halmesvirta, 37-62. Jyväskylä-Pécs: Spectrum Hungarologicum, Vol. 4, 2010.

Apor, Balázs. “The Stalin Cult and the Construction of the Second World in Hungary in the Early Cold War Years.” In Socialist Internationalism in the Cold War: Exploring the Second World, edited by Patryk Babiracki and Austin Jersild, 49-76. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2016.

Apor, Balázs, Péter Apor and Sándor Horváth, eds. The Handbook of COURAGE: Cultural Opposition and Its Heritage in Eastern Europe. Budapest: Institute of History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 2018.

Apor, Balázs. “Rákosi’s Travels: A Hungarian Communist’s Journey to the West.” In: Mobility in the Russian, Central and East European Past, edited by Róisín Healy, 137-151. London and New York: Routledge, 2019.