Historical views and memories of the collapse of Communism in 1989-1991 have significantly changed in recent times. The myth of the «reunification of Europe» still central to the official language of the European Union seems unsatisfactory as illiberal patterns and forces emerge in an increasingly fragmented political landscape. This article maintains that such developments may represent the epiphany of long-term phenomena poorly understood. The significance of 1989 as liberation would be better served by recovering the complexity of the past. At the same time, as our perspective becomes global, the notion of a «short century» makes hardly sense any longer.