“The Legionaries rise!” The Neo-Legionary Movement in Post-Communist Romania Cover Image
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“The Legionaries rise!” The Neo-Legionary Movement in Post-Communist Romania
“The Legionaries rise!” The Neo-Legionary Movement in Post-Communist Romania

Author(s): Cecilie Endresen
Subject(s): History
Published by: De Gruyter Oldenbourg

Summary/Abstract: This article explores the organisation and whereabouts of the neo-Legionary movement as it was (re)established in Romania during the 1990s. At this time, a spectrum of groups and individuals defined themselves as Legionary, thereby entering into the tradition of the Iron Guard/the Legion of Michael the Archangel, which was founded by the charismatic “Captain” Corneliu Zelea Codreanu (1899−1938). Based on unique fieldwork conducted during the late 1990s, however, this article shows that these neo- Legionaries were not unified within a single organisation. Instead, they formed a loosely interconnected network of groups and figures. That is to say, neo-Legionary groups and individuals comprised a loose movement that was characterised by a particular set of references, a shared ideology and symbolism, and a strong family resemblance. Though it had significant ideological structures in common with the inter-war Legion and even mimicked its predecessor’s organisation and rituals to some extent, the neo-Legionary movement of the first post-Communist decade was primarily a protest movement. It put forward a radical religious, social and political critique of Romania’s Communist legacy. Nevertheless, this message was mainly expressed through references to Codreanu’s movement. The neo-Legionaries’ political ideas and activity were influenced by their belief that transcendental forces influence life on earth. Their ideology fuses fascism, ethnic nationalism, anti-Semitism, Romanian folklore, mysticism and an idiosyncratic interpretation of Orthodox Christianity.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 69/70
  • Page Range: 284-317
  • Page Count: 34
  • Language: English