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SPP 192

Author: Richard Rose, CSPP
Description: The transformation of East European societies involves an escape from two sources of dissatisfaction: a non-market economy and an authoritarian regime. Since dissatisfaction with the past is the fixed and common reference point of post-Communist societies, indifference or confusion in societies in transition can be preferred to a known and rejected past. Four alternative scenarios of the future are outlined. The less probable are an uninterrupted institutionalization of a market democracy or the return of an authoritarian non-market system. The more likely scenarios are of progress by trial and error, misinterpreted by Westerners as evidence of instability but in actuality moving toward market democracy, an authoritarian takeover, or a sequence in which democratic failings may lead to a temporary lapse into authoritarianism, followed by a return to democracy.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland