Unless they have been content to remain defiantly on the oppositional fringe, or transform themselves into supporters of market economics, few of Europe's communist parties, west or east, have found it easy to adapt to the collapse of 'actually existing socialism'. This is especially true of those that have not played down their past. This article looks at one exception, the Cypriot party, AKEL, which has managed to modernize policy, improve its electoral position, and play an important role in government at the same time as maintaining its communist subculture and symbols. It demonstrates, in keeping with Panebianco's 'genetic' approach, how the party's origins and development, as well as leadership skill and the special circumstances of a small, divided island, have contributed to the organizational and ideological flexibility that help explain its relative success. It finishes by asking whether this success can continue in the long term.