chapter  1
9 Pages


ByGabriel Badescu, Eric M. Uslaner

The transition to democracy among the formerly communist nations of Central and Eastern Europe has been both slow and uneven. All of these states now have democratic constitutions and institutions but some have made ‘democracy work’ (Putnam 1993) better than others. Slovenia has become ‘Westernized’ far more quickly than Russia, Romania, and even Poland and Hungary. Even in the most ‘democratic’ of these countries – the former East Germany, which has been reunified with the Federal Republic of Germany – citizens are slow to become participants. The Western model of democracy, which posits a trusting and active citizenry, seems far away from the countries making the transition from communism. In this volume we seek to explain why democratic attitudes and participation lag in Central and eastern Europe – and why some countries fare better than others. We thus seek to explain why there is a lower level of social capital in the formerly communist countries and what the prospects are for a civic culture in the future.