Political uncertainty and the repressive nature of the state apparatus under the conditions of communism, combined with economic insecurity and competition for limited material goods, made trust a very scarce resource in personal relations in Central and Eastern Europe.1 It is a widely accepted thesis today that those whose lives are more insecure can afford to trust less, since for them betrayed trust is relatively more consequential (Inglehart 1999; Offe 1999; Uslaner 1999). The lack of trust in East European societies was seen as the main obstacle to mass democratic resistance. But contrary to such expectations, people proved to be capable of putting considerable pressure on their states. The visible activism of East European populations has been explained in terms of strong personal ties. Opp and Gern (1993) argue that while distrust was pervasive in the communist regime at large, small islands of trustful ties among friends and colleagues could be found which served as mobilization vehicles.