The fall of the Berlin Wall launched the transformation of government, economy and society across half of Europe and the former Soviet Union. This text deals with the process of change in former Communist bloc countries, ten of which have become new European Union (EU) democracies while Russia and her neighbours remain burdened by their Soviet legacy.

Drawing on more than a hundred public opinion surveys from the New Europe Barometer, the text compares how ordinary people have coped with the stresses and opportunities of transforming Communist societies into post-Communist societies and the resulting differences between peoples in the new EU member states and Russia.

Subjects covered by Understanding Post-Communist Transformation include:

  • Stresses and opportunities of economic transformation
  • Social capital and the development of civil society
  • Elections and the complexities of party politics
  • The challenges for the EU of raising standards of democratic governance
  • Differences between Russia’s and the West’s interpretation of political life

Written by one of the world's most renowned authorities on this subject, this text is ideal for courses on transition, post-communism, democratization and Russian and Eastern European history and politics.

part |2 pages

Part I The legacy

chapter 1|10 pages

The Iron Curtain falls

chapter 2|8 pages

Living in an anti-modern society

chapter 3|9 pages

Making progress and falling behind

chapter 4|9 pages

The need for patience

part |2 pages

Part II Coping with economic transformation

chapter 5|6 pages

The need for a civil economy

chapter 6|7 pages

Getting enough to eat

chapter 7|11 pages

Social capital when government fails

chapter 8|12 pages

Juggling multiple economies

part |2 pages

Part III Coping with political transformation

chapter 10|9 pages

Freedom as a fundamental gain

chapter 11|11 pages

Democratization backwards

chapter 12|9 pages

The impact of a ready-made German state

chapter 13|7 pages

Ex-Communists in post-Communist societies

part |2 pages

Part IV Elections after transformation

chapter 14|10 pages

Parties without civil society

chapter 15|8 pages

A floating system of parties

chapter 16|8 pages

Voters without trust

part |2 pages

Part V Time matters

chapter 17|10 pages

Learning to support new regimes

chapter 18|7 pages

Adapting to Russia-style normality

chapter 19|11 pages

An evolving Europe

chapter 20|8 pages

Post-transformation issues