Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?
A former political leader whom a government wants the people to ignore, because the former leader's views or actions are considered unacceptable by the current government. This unusual practice is most commonly used in totalitarian states (see totalitarianism), where past leaders often disappear from the official histories of one regime and reappear in the histories of another. The creation of nonpersons was particularly striking in the former Soviet Union, where leaders such as Trotsky and Khrushchev became nonpersons even while they were alive. (See rehabilitation.)