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Political rehabilitation is the process by which a member of a political organization or government who has fallen into disgrace is restored to public life. It is usually applied to leaders or other prominent individuals who regain their prominence after a period in which they have no influence or standing. Historically, the concept is usually associated with Communist states and parties where, as a result of shifting political lines often as part of a power struggle, leading members of the Communist Party find themselves on the losing side of a political conflict and out of favour (often to the point of being denounced or even imprisoned) as a result. These individuals may be rehabilitated either as a result of capitulating to the dominant political line and renouncing their former beliefs or allegiances to disgraced leaders, or they may be rehabilitated as a result of a change in the political leadership of the party, either a change in personnel or a change in political line, so that the views or associations which caused the individual, or group of individuals, to fall into disgrace are viewed more sympathetically.

Well known figures who have been rehabilitated include Deng Xiaoping who fell into disgrace during the Cultural Revolution for being a "third roader" but was rehabilitated subsequently and became paramount leader of the People's Republic of China; and Russia's last Tsar, Nicholas II, and his family, who were all shot dead by Bolshevik revolutionaries in July, 1918, but were rehabilitated by Russia's Supreme court on 1 October 2008.[1]

In the Soviet Union following the death of Stalin, the process of destalinization pursued after the 20th Party Congress included the rehabilitation of numerous individuals who had been purged. Furthermore, several entire nationality groups that had been deported to Siberia, Kazakhstan, and Central Asia during World War II (see population transfer in the Soviet Union) were rehabilitated in the late 1950s. Many of those groups were also allowed to return to their former homelands, and many had their former autonomous regions restored, but some did not (e.g., Volga Germans and Crimean Tatars).[2]


  1. ^ "BBC NEWS". Retrieved 2009-01-19.  
  2. ^ Robert Conquest, The Nation Killers: The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities (London: MacMillan, 1970) (ISBN 0-333-10575-3); S. Enders Wimbush and Ronald Wixman, "The Meskhetian Turks: A New Voice in Central Asia," Canadian Slavonic Papers 27, Nos. 2 and 3 (Summer and Fall, 1975): 320-340; and Alexander Nekrich, The Punished Peoples: The Deportation and Fate of Soviet Minorities at the End of the Second World War (New York: W. W. Norton, 1978) (ISBN 0-393-00068-0).

See also



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