This paper examines the striking institutional parallels between the seemingly inexplicable DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and Ceausescu’s Romania. It argues that in both cases, the role of strong anti-liberal ideology that combined both far left and far right nationalist elements was highly significant in sustaining the regime and therefore should not be underestimated. While developments elsewhere in the Soviet bloc deprived the Ceausescu regime of potential nationalist cards it could play and thus precipitated regime change, the DPRK regime was able to hold on to power by using imagined and real external threats to justify its ongoing domestic repression and reinforce its nationalist claims.

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