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Balazs Apor
Assistant Prof in European Studies, Russian
Assistant Prof in European Studies, Centre fro European Studies


Born in Miskolc (Hungary) in 1976. Undergraduate and Graduate Studies: University of Debrecen (Hungary), 1994-1999. PhD in History, European University Institute, Florence (Italy) (2001-2006)

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Balazs Apor, Review of Curtain of lies: the battle over truth in Stalinist eastern Europe , by Melissa Feinberg , The International History Review, 40, (3), 2018, p709-711 Review, 2018 URL

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

Balazs Apor, Review of Crossing Borders: Modernity, Ideology, and Culture in Russia and the Soviet Union., by Michael David-Fox , REGION: Regional Studies of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, 6, (1), 2017, p153-155 Review, 2017

Hungarian Historical Review, 6, 2, (2017), Balazs Apor, [eds.] Journal, 2017 URL

Irish Slavonic Studies, 26, (2017), Balazs Apor, Hassan Ould Moctar, John Paul Newman, [eds.] Journal, 2017

The Stalin Cult and the Construction of the Second World in Hungary in the Early Cold War Years in, editor(s)Austin Jersild and Patryk Babiracki , Exploring the Second World: Socialist Internationalism in the Cold War, Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2016, pp49 - 76, [Balazs Apor] Book Chapter, 2016

Kevin Morgan, 'Communism and the Cult of the Individual', Youtube, University of Manchester, 2016, - Film production, 2016 URL

Balazs Apor, Review of David Brandenberger, Propaganda State in Crisis: Soviet Ideology, Indoctrination, and Terror under Stalin, 1927-1941, Hungarian Historical Review, 4, (1), 2015, p208 - 214 Review Article, 2015 TARA - Full Text

Balazs Apor, National traditions and the Stalinist Leader Cult in Communist Hungary, 1945-1956, University of St. Andrews, UK, 4 February 2015, 2015, School of History, University of St. Andrews Invited Talk, 2015

Balazs Apor, The Dynamics of the Stalin Cult in Hungary in the Early Cold War Years (1949-53), Exploring the Second World: Socialist Internationalism in the Cold War, Potsdam, Germany, 19-21 June 2014, 2014 Conference Paper, 2014

Sovietisation, Imperial Rule and the Stalinist Leader Cult in Central and Eastern Europe in, editor(s)Roisin Healy and Enrico Dal Lago , The Shadow of Colonialism on Europe's Modern Past, Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2014, pp228 - 244, [Balazs Apor] Book Chapter, 2014

Balazs Apor, The Anatomy of Stalinist Leader Cults in the Soviet Bloc, New Perspectives on the Transnational History of Communism in East-Central Europe, Poznan, Poland, 16-17 October 2014, 2014 Conference Paper, 2014

Balazs Apor, Review of Stalinist Terror in Eastern Europe: Elite Purges and Mass Repression, by Kevin McDermott and Matthew Stibbe , Slavonic and East European Review, 92, (1), 2014, p169-171 Review, 2014

The Leader Cult in Communist Hungary, 1945-56: Propaganda, Institutional Background and Mass Media in, editor(s)Judith Devlin and Christoph Hendrik Müller , War of Words: Culture and the Mass Media in the Making of the Cold War in Europe, Dublin, UCD Press, 2013, pp18 - 29, [Balázs Apor] Book Chapter, 2013

Balazs Apor, Spitting at Rákosi Stamps: Jokes, Resistance and the Leader Cult in Stalinist Hung, Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, 2013 Convention, Boston, USA, 22-25 November 2013, 2013 Conference Paper, 2013

Balazs Apor, State-building and cult construction in Hungary from the 1930s until 1956, Communism and the Leader CultNational and Transnational Perspectives, University of Manchester, UK, 6 December 2013, 2013 Conference Paper, 2013

Balazs Apor, Leader Cults in Eastern Europe: A Comparative (Narratologist) Reading of the Subject, Narrative(s) in Conflict, Trinity College Dublin, 2-3 May 2013, 2013 Conference Paper, 2013

Balazs Apor, Exporting Charisma? Interpreting Stalinist Leader Cults in Eastern Europe, Zentrum fur Zeithistorische Forschung, Potsdam, Germany, 20 June 2013, 2013, Zentrum fur Zeithistorische Forschung, Invited Talk, 2013

Balazs Apor, Review of The Unfinished Revolution: Making Sense of the Communist Past in Central-Eastern Europe, by James Mark , H-Soz-u-Kult, 2012 Review, 2012 URL

Balazs Apor, Review of The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power, by Jan Plamper , Slavonica, 18, (2), 2012, p161-162 Review, 2012

RTL klub, 'Akinek egy ország ünnepelte születésnapját', XXI. század, 2011, - Film production, 2011

Balazs Apor, Review of The Politics of Language and Nationalism in Modern Central Europe, by Tomasz Kamusella , Ab Imperio, 2, 2010, p324-328 Review, 2010

Communist Leader Cults in Eastern Europe: Concepts and Recent Debates in, editor(s)Anssi Halmesvirta , Cultic Revelations: Studies in Modern Historical Cult Personalities and Phenomena, Jyväskylä-Pécs, 2010, pp37 - 62, [Balazs Apor] Book Chapter, 2010

Balazs Apor, Rákosi a hõs." Sztálinista vezérkultusz Magyarországon, Transindex, (November), 2010, p0 - 0 Journal Article, 2010 URL

Ignorance is bliss': Cult-reception and Popular Indifference in Communist Hungary (1947-1956) in, editor(s)Benno Ennker and Heidi Hein-Kirchner , Der Führer im Europa des 20. Jahrhunderts, Marburg, Herder Institut, 2010, [Balazs Apor] Book Chapter, 2010

Balazs Apor, Kommunikáció és rítusnyelv: "személyi kultusz" és kommunista nyelvhasználat, Korunk, 3, (3), 2010, p69 - 75 Journal Article, 2010

Balazs Apor, National Traditions and the Leader Cult in Communist Hungary in the early Cold War Years, Twentieth Century Communism, 1, (1), 2009, p50 - 71 Journal Article, 2009

Hagiográfia és kommunista vezérkultusz: Rákosi Mátyás életrajzai in, editor(s)Sándor Horváth , Mindennapok Rákosi és Kádár korában, Budapest, Nyitott Konyvmuhely, 2008, pp132 - 153, [Balázs Apor] Book Chapter, 2008

The Spatial Aspects of the Communist Leader Cult: The Case of Mátyás Rákosi in Hungary in, editor(s)Balázs Apor, Péter Apor and E. A. Rees , The Sovietization of Eastern Europe: New Perspectives, New Academia Publishing, Washington, DC, New Academia Publishing, 2008, pp149 - 169, [Balázs Apor] Book Chapter, 2008

Balázs Apor, Péter Apor, E. A. Rees, The Sovietization of Eastern Europe: New Perspectives on the post-Second World War Period, First, Washington, DC, New Academia Publishing, 2008, 356pp Book, 2008

Balázs Apor, Review of Die Erfundene Freundschaft / Das sowjetische Massenfest, by Jan C. Behrends / Malte Rolf , Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 9, (2), 2008, p9 Review, 2008

Balázs Apor, A Rákosi-kultusz, Rubicon, 18, (9), 2007, p28 - 37 Journal Article, 2007

Balázs Apor, The Secret Speech and its Effect on the 'Cult of Personality' in Hungary, Critique, 35, (2), 2007, p229 - 247 Journal Article, 2007

Balázs Apor, Images of a mini-Stalin: the Case of Mátyás Rákosi in Hungary, Communisme, (90), 2007, p91 - 102 Journal Article, 2007

Balázs Apor, Jan C. Behrends, Polly Jones, E. A. Rees, The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorships: Stalin and the Eastern Bloc, First, Basingstoke, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2004, 1 - 298pp Book, 2004 URL

The Expulsion of the German Speaking Population from Hungary in, editor(s)Steffen Prauser and Arfon Rees , The Expulsion of the 'German' Communities from Eastern Europe at the End of the Second World War, Florence, European University Institute, 2004, pp33 - 46, [Balázs Apor] Book Chapter, 2004 URL

Leader in the Making: The Role of Biographies in Constructing the Cult of Mátyás Rákosi in, editor(s)Balázs Apor, Jan C. Behrends, Polly Jones and E. A. Rees , The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorships: Stalin and the Eastern Bloc, Basingstoke, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2004, pp63 - 80, [Balázs Apor] Book Chapter, 2004

Balázs Apor, Tamás Fülöp, Forradalom és megtorlás Szolnokon, Sic Itur Ad Astra, 13, (3-4), 2001, p5 - 57 Journal Article, 2001

Balázs Apor, A Rákosi-kultusz kialakulása és megnyilvánulásai 1945 után, Sic Itur Ad Astra, 11, (1), 1999, p97 - 128 Journal Article, 1999

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Balazs Apor, Man Amidst Inhumanity": THE CENTENNIAL OF THE BIRTH OF RAOUL WALLENBERG, 12 September 2012, 2012, Trinity College Dublin Meetings /Conferences Organised, 2012

Balazs Apor, Nineteen Fifty Sixes": Resistance and Memories in the Eastern Bloc, 7 October 2011, 2011, Trinity College Dublin Meetings /Conferences Organised, 2011

Research Expertise


I'm generally interested in the history of Central and Eastern Europe in the 19-20th centuries and the history of communism in particular. My research priorities embrace the study of culture and cultural politics, the formulation and transmission of myths and ideologies, strategies of political legitimation, and the popular reception of political ideologies and political systems. My research activity involves inquiries into specific issues of the Sovietisation process in Eastern Europe after the Second World War. My particular focus is on the symbolic aspects of communist regimes; the techniques of constructing and transmitting socialist myths and the mass-creating of heroes; the cultic veneration of political leaders; the amalgamation of national traditions and communist ideas, as an essential tool to attain legitimacy; and the role of literature and fine arts (painting and posters) in the promotion of officially professed values. I have a special interest in the functioning of rituals in Soviet-type societies, and the way Sovietisation led to the extensive ritualisation of political language. Aside from concentrating on various aspects of myth construction and the creation of rituals, I have also studied how particular ritual practices and ideological tenets were perceived by the society.


  • Title
    • COURAGE: Cultural Opposition - Understanding the Cultural Heritage of Dissent in the Former Socialist Countries
  • Summary
    • COURAGE is a three-year international research project funded by Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The project will create the first digital database of both online and offline, as well as private and public collections in Europe which testify to the survival of various forms of cultural opposition in the former socialist countries. These collections cover a period from the rise of communist regimes in the region to the fall of the Iron Curtain. COURAGE will further a more nuanced understanding of how these collections work, what functions they have in their respective societies, and how they present their holdings to national and international audiences. The project will contribute to the development of nuanced interpretations of dissent, and will advance the preservation of collections as part of common European heritage. The role of TCD is to explore collections of cultural opposition in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, and to address the importance of Ukrainian diaspora collections in the preservation of the legacy of dissent.
  • Funding Agency
    • European Commission
  • Date From
    • 1 February 2016
  • Date To
    • 31 January 2019
  • Title
    • Communist Leader Cults in 20th Century Europe
  • Summary
    • The main aim of the project is to prepare the grounds for the submission of a grant proposal on the topic of Communist leader cults in modern Europe (East and West) to an Irish and/or European fund. The first phase of the process will be devoted to the creation of an international (initially, Europe-wide) research network, starting with the Central European University and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest, Hungary. Activities, other than travelling and meeting potential research partners, will include the identification of priority research themes in co-operation with the proposed partner institutions, and the purchase of computer and digital equipment.
  • Funding Agency
    • Irish Research Council
  • Date From
    • 26/02/2015
  • Date To
    • 07/11/2015
  • Title
    • Memories and Identities in Central and Eastern Europe
  • Summary
    • The aim of the project is to organise the conference, 'Memories and Identities in Central and Eastern Europe'. The conference will be organized by the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, in cooperation with the Center for European Studies at TCD, and the Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies. The project enjoys the support of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, and it will also be advertised as the 2015 annual conference of IARCEES. The conference grows out of a series of lectures, seminars and workshops organized by the Centre for European Studies in the past few years. The notions 'memory' and 'identity' have enjoyed significant scholarly attention in the past few decades. The 'memory boom' in the humanities has resulted in several collaborative projects, and in the publication of numerous articles and books on the subject. Memories of traumatic events-the Holocaust and Stalinist terror-and their impact on the transformation of individual as well as collective identities have been in the limelight of research, especially since the collapse of communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. The aim of the conference is to attract and/or invite renowned scholars working in the field, and to provide an opportunity for the new generation of researchers to present their findings. Due to the interdisciplinary character of memory (and identity) studies, it is envisaged that the conference will attract scholars in politics, sociology, history, and cultural studies. A selection of the best papers will be published either as an edited volume or as a special issue of the journal of IARCEES, the Irish Slavonic Studies.
  • Funding Agency
    • Trinity Long Room Hub
  • Date From
    • 2014
  • Date To
    • 2015
  • Title
    • The "Invisible Shining": The Cult of Matyas Rakosi in Stalinist Hungary, 1945-1956
  • Summary
    • The aim of the project is to commission the translation of my book manuscript.
  • Funding Agency
    • Trinity College Dublin, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Date From
    • 02/02/2015
  • Date To
    • 02/02/2017
  • Title
    • Methods of Cult-building in Communist Hungary
  • Summary
    • The overall attempt of the project was to analyse the emergence, the development and the decay of a satellite leader's cult in the peripheries of the Stalinist Empire - namely the Soviet bloc - in the post-war era (1945-1956). The project was the first endeavour to systematically study the construction of the cult of a mini-Stalin, in this case, the secretary of the Hungarian Workers' Party, Mátyás Rákosi. Such a scrutiny of the methods of cult-building in Hungary would likely enhance our understanding of the dynamics of the post-war Sovietisation project in the region and the similarities/differences in the process of adopting the 'Soviet pattern', including the leader cult phenomenon, in Eastern Europe. The project focused on three different aspects of cult-construction in Hungary and was divided into three main parts accordingly. (1) The major strategies of the party centre to implement the Soviet system of myths and rituals - the requisites of a new political religion - in the country. (2) The party's strategies to monitor the development of the cult, and the popular reception of the worship of rulers. (3) The methods of dismantling the cult in the period of the 'New Course' after June 1953, and after the 20th Congress of the CPSU in February 1956.
  • Funding Agency
    • European University Institute
  • Date From
    • 1 September 2001
  • Date To
    • 29 September 2006
  • Title
    • Election Campaigns in the Press in Hungary in the 1930s
  • Summary
    • The aim of the project was to prepare an article on political election campaigns in Hungary in the 1930s. The focus was on the 1935 election campaign in the Hungarian press. The article analysed 8 major political newspapers published at the time focusing on different ways of self-representation and representations of the political other.
  • Funding Agency
    • Institute of Political History (Budapest)
  • Date From
    • 1 January 2007
  • Date To
    • 31 December 2007


Eastern European history in the 20th century; Social history of Soviet-type regimes



President of the Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies 2012-2015

Awards and Honours

Hungarian-Irish Professor Exchange Programme 12-19 November 2007


President, Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies May 2012 – May 2015

Series editor of Anthem Press' Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (UK) 1 January 2008