Eastern Europe in the Sixties

Eastern Europe in the Sixties

Eastern Europe in the Sixties

Eastern Europe in the Sixties

Excerpt

In the 1960's, as throughout their existence, the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe have been confronted with problems inherent in ruling without popular support and, except for Yugoslavia and recently Albania, with circumscribed powers of decision and action in domestic and foreign affairs. Since the survival of all Communist states in Europe depends essentially on the power of the Soviet Union, most of them continue in their status as satellites. Whatever degree of independence the satellites enjoy is ultimately derived from the Soviet Union, which may -- for broad strategic reasons -- tolerate the insolent defection of Albania, the maintenance of a friendly Communist Yugoslavia or, more immediately, Gomulka's and other polycentric variations on a theme by Marx. However, as a consequence of the increased military and economic strength of the U.S.S.R. since the end of World War II and the subsequent changes in Soviet foreign relations, the issues subordinate to the elemental one of survival are assuming a character markedly changed from that of 1948. Although the Communist countries of Eastern Europe, with the notable exception of Albania, have developed new bases of stability, they must meet ever more complex challenges to the realization of "socialist" aims.

The strength of the East European nations rests not only in the police and the Red Army, but also on new or expanded industrial foundations. The industrialization of society and the ensuing transformation of the social order in the totalitarian states has permitted the establishment of a modus vivendi, however precarious, between populations aware since 1956 of the futility of revolution and governments anxious to avoid creating situations that could jeopardize the status quo. Thus, in the early 1960's, the East European regimes seek to consolidate their gains and eliminate, or at least reduce, weaknesses that tend to impede the process of "so-

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