The Western political tradition always emphasized pluralism and the fragmentation of power. In Eastern Europe, which was politically backward, the state played a much more dominant role as the principal agent of change. The political traditions with which Eastern Europe entered the contemporary period can be generally characterized as backward. The scarcity existed at two levels: the ruling political systems, the empires of Prussia, Austria, Russia, and Ottoman Turkey, were weak in relation to the West; while at the same time, East European societies were weak toward the empires. The chapter explains to trace both the "East Europeanness" of Eastern Europe and to explore what changes have been effected by the Communist revolutions, as well as to look at the workings of the system itself. The backwardness of Eastern Europe vis-a-vis Western Europe, both real and perceived, had further ramifications for political development.