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Tue Oct 15, 2019, 06:19 PM

30 years after communism, eastern Europe divided on democracy's impact


Pew research reveals very different views on whether countries are better off today

Jon Henley Europe correspondent
@jonhenley
Tue 15 Oct 2019 10.00 EDT

Thirty years on, few people in Europe’s former eastern bloc regret the monumental political, social and economic change unleashed by the fall of communism – but at the same time few are satisfied with the way things are now, and many worry for the future.

A Pew Research Center survey of 17 countries, including 14 EU member states, found that while most people in central and eastern Europe generally embraced democracy and the market economy, support was far from uniformly strong.

Up to 85% of people approved of the shift in Poland, eastern Germany and the Czech Republic, for example, but fewer than 55% did so in Bulgaria, Ukraine and Russia. This broadly mirrored very different perceptions of how individual countries had progressed since the momentous events of 1989-91, when a wave of optimism swept Europe as walls and regimes fell, ushering in more open societies and markets, the survey’s authors said.

Most Poles, Czechs and Lithuanians, and more than 40% of Hungarians and Slovaks, for example, said they felt most people in their countries were better off than 30 years ago; in Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria, more than half felt things were worse.

More:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/15/30-years-after-communism-east-europeans-divided-over-democracys-impact

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Reply 30 years after communism, eastern Europe divided on democracy's impact (Original post)
Judi Lynn Oct 15 OP
Igel Oct 15 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Oct 15, 2019, 07:52 PM

1. Somehow I don't find the Ukrainian results all that informative.

I mean, 30 years later it's lost territory in the south and southeast with thousands dead. If it were still Soviet, that wouldn't have happened. Ukraine is in the same boat as former Yugoslav republics, to a large extent; and even Moldova has felt the pain of pissing off their former occupying colonial power. (I use loaded language wrt the USSR because for so long such great efforts were taken to show the opposite--that it was benevolent, anti-imperialist and pro-proletariat.)

Part is also due to how the different countries handled things right after the breakup. Poland, Ceska, eastern Germany, Slovenia all had fairly quick projects to reform their economic and governmental systems. Hungary was a bit slower, Slovakia much more slow. Bulgaria and Ukraine were split over how to deal with Russia, and both halted between the two sides, sort of in a corrupt limbo.

I'd be curious as to how Romania fared in the survey, but don't feel like taking the time to check.

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