First Steps toward Economic Independence: New States of the Postcommunist World

By Michael L. Wyzan | Go to book overview

Externally, the UN embargo against the rump Yugoslavia and the actions of Greece have taken an enormous toll on the economy. Even though the embargo will certainly be temporary, Greek hostility will likely not be. Moreover, Macedonians cannot be certain of Serbia's attitude toward them once the embargo is lifted and the U.S. troops currently stationed in Macedonia go home.

Everything considered, however, the common view of journalists and others that Macedonia is somehow precariously perched on the brink of extinction is wildly exaggerated. In a thoughtful recent paper, Troebst ( 1994) considers six alternative scenarios posing threats to Macedonia's existence as a separate state. These include Serbian military agression, spillover of an ethnic civil war in Kosovo, partition by neighboring countries, unification with Bulgaria based on a recognition of a common ethnic identity with that country, domestic ethnic conflict between Slavs and Albanians, and a voluntary return to the rump Yugoslavia. His conclusion, with which this author largely concurs, is that none of these scenarios is especially likely, and indeed that they have become less probable over time.

In the end, Macedonia's economic viability is not a question of physical survivability, but rather of its leadership's ability to conduct competent economic policy and demonstrate to the international community that the country is worthy of support. From this standpoint, the Macedonian experience provides considerable scope for optimism. A new currency far more stable than that of the former federation has been introduced, minorities have been brought into the government, commendable economic legislation has been passed in a variety of spheres from international trade to budget policy, interest-group pressure for giveaways in the privatization process has been resisted, new trading opportunities and partners have been found, and successful application for membership in international organizations has been made. Serious problems remain, of course, especially with respect to restructuring a very poor and distorted economy, a direction in which less progress has been made than perhaps anywhere else in Central and Eastern Europe. Everything considered, however, the Macedonian experience is surprisingly encouraging.


NOTES

The author thanks Anders Åslund, Gligor Bišev, Ilze Brands, Patrick J. Conway, Ardo H. Hansson, Simon Johnson, Jane Miljovski, Gary O'Callaghan, Mihail Petkovski, Goce Petreski, Trajko Slaveski, Sofija Todorova, Stefan Troebst, Ljube

-221-

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First Steps toward Economic Independence: New States of the Postcommunist World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1- Introduction 1
  • References 21
  • I- FORMER SOVIET REPUBLICS 23
  • 2- Estonia 25
  • CONCLUSIONS 43
  • Notes 45
  • Notes 48
  • 3- Ukraine 50
  • Conclusion 75
  • References 77
  • 4- Kazakhstan 80
  • 4- Kazakhstan 80
  • Notes 107
  • Notes 107
  • 5- Georgia 112
  • Notes 134
  • II- FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLICS 137
  • CONCLUSIONS 161
  • Notes 162
  • Notes 163
  • 7- Croatia 166
  • Conclusion 185
  • Notes 186
  • Notes 191
  • 8- Macedonia 193
  • Notes 219
  • Notes 221
  • III- OTHER CASES 227
  • 9- Slovakia 229
  • Notes 255
  • Index 259
  • About the Editor and Contributors 267
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