Requiem for a Defunct Region
The East-Central European region is no more; this specific historical entity ceased to exist in 1948-1949, incorporated into the Stalinist region. Forty years later, the collapse and disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Communist system released its satellites from subjugation, but the former East-Central region remained dead and was not reborn. Even its map broke apart at the first moment of freedom. East Germany was reunited with the Federal Republic, Yugoslavia split in to small hostile states, and Slovakia proclaimed its independence.
On the surface, the political change was promising in all the countries that regained their freedom. One-party dictatorship was quickly replaced by a multiparty parliamentary system, though fragmented from the beginning. In the developed center of the former region, the Hungarian, Polish, and Czechoslovak elections brought to power centrist and right-center parties led by the former underground democratic opposition. In the Balkans, in the backward, still mostly agrarian countries of Rumania and Bulgaria, as