Susan Senior Nello
The unprecedented nature of transformation from 1989 in the Central-East European countries (CEECs) and after 1991 in most of the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union (NIS) meant that governments in those countries faced difficult choices concerning how (or, in some cases, whether) 1 to introduce democracy and market-oriented economies. In the literature there seems a certain consensus that the international dimension played an important role in influencing these choices. However, the emphasis tends to be on political rather than economic factors, though the two cannot always be separated. The aim here is to examine how external economic influences may affect democratic consolidation and the introduction of market forces in the post-communist countries.
The term 'external economic factors' covers a wide range of very different influences. A first distinction can be made between external shocks and developments on the one hand, and external actors on the other. External shocks and developments include the attempted reform and break-up of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact, disintegration and war in Yugoslavia and the subsequent embargo, the split of Czechoslovakia, and the recession in West Europe at the beginning of the 1990s. There also seem to have been strong interconnections between the transition of various post-communist