Despite living under nearly a century of oppressive, conformist, Soviet-style Communism, Eastern Bloc nations have somehow maintained strong senses of cultural, religious, linguistic, and ethnic identities. What’s more, they arguably have stronger identities today than do most Western European and Anglophone countries that have enjoyed greater freedom for most of the 20th century. Unlike their Western neighbors, Eastern Bloc nations have avoided the cultural decay and self-destruction that has been eating away at Western democracies over the past half-century. How have they done so? The answer, ironically, is Soviet-style Communism and the circumstances it generated.