Property fragmentation Redistribution of land and housing during the Romanian democratisation process

Detta är en avhandling från Uppsala : Kulturgeografiska institutionen

Sammanfattning: In the context of democratisation in the early 1990s, the governments in Central and East Europe (CEE) had to decide how to deal with property that had been confiscated under state socialism. Nationalised housing and collectivised land were to a varying extent returned to former owners and their heirs by means of restitution, as well as being distributed to other citizens who were in possession of the users’ rights to such properties.This thesis examines the spatial impacts, in terms of ownership patterns, of the way the redistribution of nationalised housing and collectivised land has been dealt with politically and at the local level in post-socialist Romania. It also locates the Romanian property reforms in relation to those of the rest of CEE. The impact of political directives on the property redistribution is analysed in relation to both structural influences, such as democratisation and antecedent property regimes, and implementation patterns in varied place-contexts. The thesis demonstrates that restitution was stifled due to disagreements between leftist and rightist political blocs, with the latter arguing for restitution whilst their opponents wrote the first restitution laws. A re-privatisation law allowed for the public sale of nationalised housing to tenants and thereby blocked the implementation of a restitution law, thus constituting a dilemma for constitutional democracy. In liberal place-contexts in West Romania, these obstacles to housing restitution were in part avoided. By contrast, land restitution was most widespread in the east, a stronghold of the left. This was because the legislation gives priority to restitution in areas of this kind, where smaller land-holdings dominated prior to 1945. The left-wing government pursued an electoral strategy of distributing small properties to a large number of citizens, and to current users in particular. This resulted in a fragmentation of historical property.