chapter  11
33 Pages

The Economic Transformation Process in the Post-Soviet States

The Role of Outside Actors
WithGertrude Schroeder

The sudden and unexpected breakup of the USSR at the end of 1991 delivered a massive societal shock to the peoples of the fifteen independent states that emerged. During the past five years, they have been attempting to carry out diverse societal transformations to build new worlds to replace defunct Soviet worlds. They had to build simultaneously new nations, new states and politics, and new economies, starting from the deformed organizational structures and the human and physical capital in place on their territories. After five years, the case for the transition economies in east-central Europe, the experience of post-Soviet states sheds some empirical light on the much muddled Western debates over shock therapy versus gradualism as reform strategies for ex-Communist states. Despite remarkable progress to date, economic transformation in the post-Soviet states still has a long way to go and the process is bound to be slow, to proceed in fits and starts, and perhaps even with some setbacks.