Political Change in Eastern Europe since 1989: Prospects for Liberal Democracy and a Market Economy

By Robert Zuzowski | Go to book overview

Such rapid economic transformation, compared to the rest of Eastern Europe, could hardly have been achieved only on the amount of capital available, though that amount was huge. Certainly, the Germans possessed much more capital than anybody else in the region, and they used their money to transform state property into private property. In addition to that, however, they had the know-how--the expertise with and the firsthand experience of modern markets. As much as capital, these factors belonging to the sphere of business culture played a crucial role during the transformation. And these are exactly what the rest of Eastern Europe lacks. What this means is that in other countries the goal of obtaining a successful economic transformation will be much more difficult to realize than it was for East Germany, and perhaps it will not be achieved in the foreseeable future by all.

The following chapter discusses in detail the move from communism to capitalism and democracy in Russia.


NOTES
1.
Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France ( Boston: Little Brown, 1901), p. 102.
2.
Perhaps because of this fact the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), the successor to the East German communist party, consistently received almost 20 percent of the East German vote at the local state and federal elections in 1994 and nearly 35 percent of the vote in former East Berlin. Jeffrey Kepstein, "Weak Foundations under East German Reconstruction," Transition, Vol. 2, 26 January 1996, p. 36.
3.
Ibid.
4.
These countries are Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria.
5.
Vojtěch Cepl and Mark Gillis, "Making Amends after Communism," Journal of Democracy, Vol. 7, No. 4, October 1996, p. 119.
6.
"Disappointment and bitterness are growing throughout Eastern Europe as hopes fade for a quick transition to a market economy. The problems East Europeans now face are far more difficult than anything they could imagine two years ago," argues Leif Rosenberger in "Economic Transition in Eastern Europe: Paying the Price for Freedom," East European Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 3, September 1992, p. 261.
7.
"Some people argue," wrote Sunley, "that with regard to Eastern Europe acquaintanceship with the past will serve you much better than a knowledge of recent events. Indeed, in this part of the world, to know the past--especiay the distant past--is [emphasis in the original] to understand the present." Johnathan Sunley , "Post-Communism: An Infantile Disorder," The National Interest, No. 4, summer 1996, p. 3.

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Political Change in Eastern Europe since 1989: Prospects for Liberal Democracy and a Market Economy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Eastern Europe After the Collapse of Communism 13
  • Notes 40
  • 3 - Russia: Carpetbaggers' Country 47
  • Notes 65
  • 4 - Poland: Spin-Doctors' State 71
  • 5 - Czech Republic: Czechs Are Different 97
  • Notes 115
  • 6 - The West's Approach to Postcommunist Eastern Europe 119
  • Notes 137
  • 7 - Conclusion: Eastern European Prospects for Liberal Democracy and a Market Economy 141
  • Notes 147
  • Selected Bibliography 149
  • Index 161
  • About the Author 166
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