A POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DICTIONARY OF EASTERN EUROPE is being published for the first time in 2002. The structure and organization of government, politics, production, international relations and trade across this whole region has been reshaped so dramatically in the past decade and a half that the landscape is only just beginning to become familiar in its current configuration.
The likelihood of further major changes, foreseeable and otherwise, remains as a formidable challenge to the publishers of any reference work such as the present volume. There can be no 'ideal time' to try to capture the shape of the contemporary political and economic situation. There is, nevertheless, a powerful case for trying to establish an overview based on up-to-date information, and this is an objective that this book seeks to serve.
Eastern Europe, for the purposes of this book, is taken to encompass all the countries which once formed part of the Soviet Union with the exception of the five Central Asian republics (but including the whole of the Russian Federation, much of which is obviously Asian rather than European), and to extend westwards as far as Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and the former Yugoslavia, notwithstanding that for several of those countries the term Central Europe is both more historically appropriate and geographically accurate.
Entries in the dictionary are designed to stand on their own in providing definitions and essential facts, with coverage of recent developments and, where appropriate, full contact details. The broad scope of the dictionary includes political groups, institutions, main government leaders and prominent individuals, trade unions, financial and trade bodies, religious organizations, ethnic groups, regions, geographical areas and principal cities, as well as essential terms and concepts, flashpoints, and other entries as appropriate. There is extensive cross-referencing between entries, indicated by the simple and widely familiar device of using a bold typeface for those words or entities which have their own coverage. There is also a listing, by country, of the entries relevant to that country (Appendix, p. 627), and a comprehensive index of personal names (p. 637).
The longest individual entries in this book are those for the region's 22 individual countries, giving a succinct structural description and historical survey to place recent events in context. The country entries are followed in each case by entries on that country's economy, again combining up-to-date basic data with a short overview and a focus on recent issues and developments.
Cambridge, April 2002