The division of the world into the first (capitalistic) world and the second (communistic) one for decades seemed very stable. If anything, Communism was often supposed – and even more often advertised – to be more efficient. Western economists were estimating when the second world will surpass the first one.
Many Westerners have seen the break-up of the Eastern Bloc as the long-expected moment of reconnection with the countries of Central Europe. Formerly, in the interwar years, these states formed a crucial part of the order within the region.
After thirty years since the fall of Communism in Europe, Ukraine remains a country with unfinished institutional reforms and significant barriers for business and trade. The country gained independence when the Soviet Union dissolved two years later – in 1991.
In order to understand it, let us take a tour through time and space, to examine the key aspects of this part of the Hungarian history – including foreign policy, democratic institutions, education, business, economy, freedom of the press, religion, and tolerance.
The democratic transition in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) at the very end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s resulted in essential social changes. After the fall of Communism, certainty has disappeared from the everyday life of ordinary people.
With the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc in 1989, transformation has started. The countries such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria changed their political vector from the East to the West. Political and economic changes were done fast – to a greater or less successful degree.
This year it was Tuesday. A terrible heat wave had been affecting Warsaw for over a week. Temperatures were above 30 degrees and everybody was looking for some shade. Those who could, spent their afternoons in parks, and many people voluntarily stayed overtime in offices to enjoy the AC.
Defenders of Poland’s success story may sometimes hear that they focus too much on economic advances, prosperity, and GPD growth instead of thinking about the actual lives of “average people” and the “social costs” of Poland’s transformation.
During the transition towards liberal democracy and a market economy, some countries from the former Eastern Bloc managed to successfully mimic the model that had already been proven to be successful in the West – a multiparty democratic system, combined with mostly free market capitalism.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was a distinct need for the achievements of liberalism. The parties that embraced the rights, freedoms, and the values of a market economy enjoyed more significant voter support, while the non-liberal parties viewed some liberalized basic values as self-evident.