Recent assessments of the transition processes in the ex-communist societies tend to agree on the increasing diversity in the quality and extent of their democratization (e.g. Rupnik 2000; Karatnycky 2001; Carothers 2002). One possible category of suspects that accounts for this variation relates to the level of social capital in these countries. In his 1993 book, Putnam deplores the fact that ‘proposals for strengthening market economies and democratic institutions [of developing and transitional countries] center almost exclusively on deﬁciencies in ﬁnancial and human capital’ (Putnam 1993: 38). He considers that the deﬁciencies in social capital in these countries are at least as alarming, and asks, as a solution, for more efforts to encourage ‘social capital formation’ by ‘patiently reconstructing those shards of indigenous civic associations that have survived decades of totalitarian rule’ (Putnam 1993: 39).