East European Communities: The Struggle for Balance in Turbulent Times

By David A. Kideckel | Go to book overview

the 500 pound gorillas of the current historical moment and, people assume, so much of the future of the region depends on what these gorillas choose to do or not. To many east Europeans and outside observers the behavior of these behemoths stands as either or both savior or demon. Russian instability or its potential market can either crush or liberate community energies. Western assistance or the snare of Western dependency are likewise thought to offer the region unending toil or unlimited growth. However, the articles clearly show that the tendency to look to these giants as of ultimate effect in east Europe, is somehow misplaced. Western aid looks more and more insignificant 1 and Russia increasingly mired in her own problems. The solution, if there is one, will come with a release of regional communities' internal energies and with the conscious challenge to the forces of division and despair which stalk our times. It is my hope that these essays have helped outline what these particular forces are, even as they metamorphose in the struggle for balance in east Europe today.


Notes
1.
Reworking a proverb from the socialist past, one commentator at the recent meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies described the current east European futility with Western assistance in the phrase, "They pretend to help us, so we pretend to be helped."

References

Anderson, David and Hermine DeSoto eds. 1993. The Curtain Rises: Rethinking Culture, Ideology and the State in Eastern Europe. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press,

Bahro, Rudolf. 1978. The Alternative in Eastern Europe. London: NLB.

Creed, Gerald W. 1991. "Civil Society and the Spirit of Capitalism: A Bulgarian Critique" Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, November 20-24. Chicago, IL.

-6-

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